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Product Spotlight

ViewLoader Revolution

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Not content to sit on their laurels as the company that dominates the tournament loader market, ViewLoader released the ViewLoader Revolution at the 1997 World Cup in October.

When semi-auto paintguns developed to where they could spit out a lot of paint, from a stable receiver, players rapidly out-shot the loaders, having to shake their marker every few shots to maintain the flow of paint.

The VL 2000 was Viewloader's origninal mainstay agitating loader. Using patented technology, an infrared beam detects the presence of a paintball in the loader's neck. If there is no ball, it is due to a jam, so the electronic circuit activates an agitating paddle, mixing up the paintballs until they feed.

The VL 2000 Shredder was the next step, using a pair of 9 volt batteries to drive the agitating motor at 18 volts. However neither of these loaders were without their problems. Both relied on snap-on 9 volt battery clips. These clips have a tendancy to snap their wires off if they flex too much, meaning they have to be re-connected with a soldering iron. Overdriving the motors at 18 volts also lead to stripping of the gears, or burning out of the motor as causes of failure. So while they were popular, they weren't perfect.

Along comes the Revolution. It jumps past the battery clip problem by using spring clips that are mounted on the circuit board directly. The circuit board is new too. It regulates the voltage down to operate the motor at an optimal 12 volts, which not only reduces wear problems, but also extends battery life by 30-40%. As to the motor, the gears are custom molded for ViewLoader, not R/C servos as with the Shredder and 2000, and according to Viewloader's James "Tex" Christopher, the new gears can't be stripped. A new and welcome addition, is the low battery light. When the supply voltage (the raw battery voltage before the regulating circuit) gets low enough, it triggers a warning light on the side of the loader. That light indicates there is enough power left for "one and a half NPPL Style Games". While some players we have spoken to don't care for the placement, preferring it to be hidden on the back, the back remains clear to allow for the ViewLoader Game Timer.

While Tex says that the new model feeds paint reliably at 11 balls per second, we found it to empty at a rate of more than thirteen and a half per second. It certainly caught on with the players. The 600 units ViewLoader brought to the 98 World Cup sold out before the event was over, and as Tex told us, only one of them came back for repair in that time, which is impressive for any paintball product, let alone on in its first week of release.

For ViewLoader contact information, see their web site at www.viewloader.com.


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