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Rhino to AK Upgrade
The Ricochet 2K was Ricochet’s introduction into the loader market, offering electronic agitation activated each time a ball feeds, and a host of timer and counter features utilizing its rear mounted LCD display. The 2K was soon followed by the AK which gives the same performance, but features a simpler circuit board which replaces the LCD and timer/counter features with a simple LED to indicate when the loader is turned on.
Since that time, Ricochet Development has released the faster feeding Apache loader, as well as the entry level Rhino. The Rhino is built with the same external shell as a Ricochet AK, but features a simpler agitating system. A dome shaped agitator with twin monofilament arms is in slow, constant rotation while the loader is turned on. For a review of the Rhino, click here.
Ricochet has capitalized on the fact that the Rhino uses an AK body by producing the Ricochet Rhino Upgrade Kit. The kit consists of the circuit board, an AK agitating head motor and gear pack, a clear Ricochet lid, and the bend sensor used by an AK to detect when a paintball has fed into the paintgun. Installing the upgrade kit in a Rhino, the loader becomes part for part, the same as an AK.
Ricochet has set their suggested retail pricing to place the cost of a Rhino and an upgrade kit about the same as that of buying a brand new AK loader. This price structure means that a new player can start off with a Rhino, and move up to an AK later when they have a need for faster feeding, without paying a serious cost penalty or having to worry about selling the entry product, to recoup some of their initial costs.
Installing the Rhino Upgrade for testing was a straightforward process that took place in less than 10 minutes time. It begins with opening the Rhino’s flip top lid, as this is one of the components that locks the two clamshell body halves together. It should be noted that the Rhino’s lid is flat black, while the AK lid is clear. From the outside, the type of lid is the fastest way to tell a Rhino and an AK apart.
The next step was sliding off the battery cover, and removing the o-rings from the feed neck. A pair of o-rings sitting in grooves on the loader’s neck cause it to friction fit snugly into paintgun feednecks and elbows without the need for a clamping neck system. Seven Phillips head screws held the two loader halves together, and once they were removed the two haves easily lifted apart. Care was taken to lay the screws around the body half in the order they were removed. The Ricochet body design uses different screw lengths in different areas, and this was a simple way to ensure that the right screws made their way back into the right holes.
Lifting the left body half off of the right revealed all of the Rhino’s operating components in the right half of the body. Between the circuit board and the two loader shell halves was a rubber insert which protects the circuit board’s pushbutton from dirt and moisture. This was pulled out and set aside to be put in place with the new circuit board. The bend sensor and motor were then plugged into their labeled sockets on the circuit board.
The Rhino motor/agitator and circuit board lifted easily out, and were replaced with the new AK motor/agitator and circuit board. The AK bend sensor was then placed into its supports, which extended its flexible surface into the feedneck. It was important at this point to make certain that the printed side of the sensor surface faced up into the loader body to allow for proper operation.
After swapping the lids, the loader halves were reassembled and screwed into place. The feed-neck o-rings were rolled into their slots, then a battery loaded and battery cover installed.
The new Ricochet AK loader was ready to go. The only sign of its previous life was the word “Rhino” in raised lettering on the loader’s side window. Performance of the upgraded loader was identical to that of an originally manufactured Ricochet AK.
Rhino Upgrade kit means that Ricochet’s low cost entry level agitating
loader is no longer buy and outgrow product, but rather a buy and it grows
with the player product, with price points that make upgrading a viable
alternative to replacement.
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