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WARPIG Ballistic Labs:
Revolution X-Board and Polycarbonate body testing
by Bill Mills
August 2001

In the summer of 2001, ViewLoader, a division of Brass Eagle, introduced two new changes for the Revolution loader, a new polycarbonate body, and the X-Board.

X-Board

As of August 2001, all newly manufactured Revolution loaders include the X-Board, and the X-Board is available through paintball stores as an upgrade for existing Revolutions.  A previous upgrade to the Revolution electronics prevented problems with sunlight interfering with the infrared sensor in the feed neck. 

The drawback to the upgrade was that it caused a delay between the time that a ball jam created a gap in the stack of balls in the feed neck, and the time the agitating paddles began to spin.  This delay, which averaged 0.162 seconds in a WARPIG Ballistic Labs test could cause problems with continuous rapid fire.  Click HERE to see the results of that test.

The X-Board can be identified in a side by side comparison with the 2000 board.  The X-Board has a clear (though it illuminates red) low power LED, while the older board features a red plastic LED.

Users of the X-Board at the International Amateur Open reported improved performance on the field, but was the how much of a difference was there?  To compare hard data, the X-Board was connected to the same test equipment used in the original WARPIG Ballistic Labs Revolution time test.  The X-Board performed as it was designed.  The motor activates just as a signal change is detected from the infrared detector.  Click the graph below to see the results of the X-Board test.


X-Board response graph

Unlike the original Revolution board however, the pulsed IR signal used by the X-Board allows the electronics to discriminate between an empty feed neck, and sunlight striking the detector.  A practical test, turning on the loader, blocking the feed neck with a finger, and exposing the loader to sunlight from various angles.  The sunlight did not trigger the Revolution's agitator.

Polycarbonate body

Also new for the ViewLoader is a polycarbonate body, rather than the inexpensive plastic that has been used for the last several years. Polycarbonate is an extremely strong and resilient material, it is used regularly in the manufacture of paintball goggle lenses.  The replacement bodies and new Revolutions will be produced with polycarbonate in the fall of 2001.   Approximately 35 first run bodies had been produced in early August, and a sample was provided for WARPIG Ballistic Labs destructive testing.

Typical breakage of the Revolution loader occurs from paintball impact on the field, or the feedneck breaking.  In order to test impact resistance, a test stand was configured with a weighted pendulum set to deliver a strike with a consistent force against a loader either vise mounted, for strikes on the loader front, or standing on the floor, backed up by a solid surface.

The pendulum was constructed from a typical claw hammer, suspended from a length of nylon rope.  There are two very convenient attributes to gravity that make it an attractive power source for this sort of test.  First, gravity is consistent.  Time after time, as the hammer is dropped from the same height, gravity will accelerate it with the same amount of force each time.  The second is, that it is freely available, making the pendulum simple to set up.  The length of the pendulum was six feet and six inches.  The hammer was raised to the height of the pivot point to allow a 90 degree swing for each strike.  A small shop rag was attached to the claw of the hammer to provide air resistance, similar to the tail of a kite, and insure that the hammer would face the proper direction when it struck the test targets.

After initial set up and testing (which destroyed the body of a well used Revolution in determining what kind of force was needed to break a Revy) the two rest samples were prepared.  They were marked with target points, and labeled to avoid confusion as they were both "clear."  When seen side by side, it is apparent that the polycarbonate body is more transparent than the plastic.

As sunlight and physical stress can weaken plastics, an unused clear Revolution loader was used to compare to the polycarbonate model.

Having seen broken Revolution loaders coming off the field, it appears that the front of the loader is the most common area for impact damage in Revolution loaders.  This idea makes sense in that the flat shape would not provide as much structural integrity as the curved areas, but also because in a game the front is the mist likely area to get shot.
 
After set up, the first strike against the front of the plastic Revolution body yielded a significant crack, knocking in a section of the plastic.  The damage was enough to consider the loader destroyed.
The first strike against the front of the polycarbonate loader, on the other hand yielded nothing but the hammer bouncing back.  Four more impacts, for a total of 5 left only very light marks, smooth areas, on the loader's surface.
Five strikes on the side of the plastic loader did not break it, but did produce minor damage.  Curved stress marks left a clear indication of the impact points, and they could be felt as minor dents in the surface.
The polycarbonate body, on the other hand, when struck five times on the side had no visible signs of damage at all.  The only indication that anything had happened were abrasions on the lower edge of the side a full inch below the impact point, where the loader had slid on the concrete floor after rebounding off of the test stand's backstop.

Conclusion

Both of the new changes to the Revolution loader were shown in testing to be marked improvements - the faster response time of the X-Board, and the increased strength of the polycarbonate body.

Click Here to see how the X-Board compares to other loaders in the WARPIG Ballistic Labs Loader Speed Comparison.

 


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