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Smart Parts' Ion
By Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills - Aug 2005
Field stripping the Ion is limited to removing the barrel for breech cleaning, and removal of the vertical regulator to clean the body filter screen. Bench stripping is a bit more involved, but due to the simplicity of the Ionís design, not overly complicated.
Removing the receiver from the grip frame is necessary to access the bolt. This begins by removing the barrel. After a the body frame screw is removed from beneath where the barrel sits, the two grip frame screws can be removed from the front and back of the grip frame.
At this point, the receiver and grip frame will be interconnected, by pneumatics hoses. The hoses mate with the receiver using right angle banjo bolt (a hollow gas-through bolt) assemblies.
Using a hex wrench both the front and rear banjo bolts can be unscrewed from the receiver, and the wiring harness unplugged from the Vision circuit board. It is important that the wring harness be pulled out by its connector, rather than tugging on the wires which might pull them loose.
With the wires and hoses free the receiver can be handled separately from the grip frame. The body cover simply slides off of the receiver, and can be cleaned or swapped out for a different color. On the right hand side of the body cover, inside, near the breech is a reflective sticker. It is important that this sticker remain in place, as it is necessary for proper performance of the Vision system.
With the body cover removed, care must be taken not to drop the Vision circuit board. This C shaped board holds the infra-red emitter and detector used to detect the presence of a paintball in the breech. The board itself lifts easily out of its zig-zagged slot in the bottom of the body breech. At this point a rolled piece of paper towel, or cotton swab can be used to clean out the openings for the Vision eyes.
Similarly, the rubber-like nubbin style ball detents can be pushed out and cleaned.
The fire chamber unscrews from the body
breech. If it is fitting too tightly to unscrew by hand, the rear
of the fire chamber has wrench flats where an adjustable wrench can get
the job done.
On the rear of the fire chamber, held in place by a snap ring is the swivel donut, a cylinder that is able to swivel. The swivel donut allows the rear grip frame screw hole and rear gas feed and banjo bolt threads to line up with the grip frame. Standard methods for machining threads like those linking the fire chamber and body breech donít allow for parts to line up.
If the screw and gas port holes were drilled straight into the fire chamber, this would have to be done when it was assembled to the body breech. While that might work, huge problems would arise because the fire chamber from one Ion would end up with misaligned holes if it were fitted to a different body breech. Long time players may remember the Air Power Vector which required custom drilled gas ports when a replacement valve was installed, for this very reason. The swiveling donut on the Ion elegantly solves this problem without the need for more costly and time consuming indexed threading. In typical maintenance, the swivel donut will not need to be removed.
When the breech body is removed from the fire chamber, the bolt will go with it. Gripping the bolt face by hand is all that is needed to pull it out of the fire chamber. With the bolt will come the bolt stop.
It is important to note the orientation of the bolt stop. It is narrower on one side of its o-ring than the other, than the other. If the bolt stop is reinstalled backwards, the fire chamber will not be able to screw all the way onto the body breech, and the receiver will no longer line up correctly with the screw holes in the grip frame.
The force with which the Ionís bolt moves forward depends on two things, the pressure of the gas in the fire chamber and the rear surface area of the bolt. Because the fire chamberís air input is on a part that swivels, and the bolt stop is a removable part, the Ion is open to aftermarket bolt manufacturers to experiment with various possibilities, both in changing the pressure of gas fed to the fire chamber separate to that fed through the solenoid valve, and in varying bolt diameter to compensate for the pressure change and still allow proper bolt movement.
After cleaning, the Ionís receiver parts re-assemble in a reverse of their disassembly procedure. Shocker grease is the Smart Parts only recommended lubricant for the seals in the receiver, and it is important to note that over-lubricating can cause performance problems.
While the receiver is off the grip frame the Ionís circuit board can be slid out of the top of the grip. Because of the size of the solenoid valve used, it can be cleaned and checked with relative ease compared to the miniscule valves found in most electropneumatic paintball guns.
A metal bracket holds the solenoid together, and is clipped in place by spring tension. Care must be taken when removing the clip, not to damage the exposed wires of the solenoid coil. A small hex wrench or tweaker can be used to pry between the clip and the section of black plastic coil frame at the top of the solenoid.
With the clip removed, the head of the solenoid can be removed and the core slides easily out of the coil. When reassembling the solenoid, its head must be oriented correctly. The two hose barbs on the head are not perfectly aligned, they form a slight angle. This angle should point, like an arrow, toward the right side of the grip frame when the circuit board is in place.
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