Email This Page
Paint for this
test was provided by:
WARPIG Ballistic Labs Loader Speed Comparison
by Bill Mills
2001 has proven to be a booming year as far as loaders are concerned. The loader is an area of paintball technology that has been basically stagnant while other items such as paintguns and goggles keep advancing with more choices for the player.
2001 has already seen the launch of two new loaders, with a third scheduled for release in October, as well as the beginning of aftermarket upgrades for existing loaders.
With new products come new performance claims. Some sound, and some wild. To see how capable these loaders are, we put them to the test on a computer controlled test stand.
It is important to note that a lab test can not duplicate every condition that occurs in the field. Players tipping, moving and jostling loaders will affect how reliably they feed during a game. Since those individual movements are different from game to game, the best way to do a true side by side comparison of loaders is to eliminate that movement, and take paint from the loaders at identical rates. Using a test stand to duplicate the way a paintgun takes paintballs - one ball at a time, provides a more accurate simulation of real world use than simply allowing a loader to empty itself into a pod or bag in free fall.
Tested in the line-up were a variety of loaders. With one exception, all ViewLoader Revolutions were manufactured in 2000. The following Revolutions were tested. Standard Revolution, Revolution with X-Board, Revolution with X-Board and bent paddles (mfg in 2001), Revolution with X-Board and modified eVLution impeller, and a Revolution equipped with Wicked Air Sportz' TurboRev board. Also tested were Zap Paintball's Mach 404 loader and the Ricochet 2K. Also tested was a Warp Feed with the Revolution and TurboRev board. For more in-depth reviews on each of the tested loaders click on their linked names.
The core of the test stand was a Worr Games Products Autococker mounted at a 45 degree angle. The body was a right hand feed body, the side mounting allowed the test to run with a vertical feed, eliminating elbow and power feed issues from the equation. It should be noted that the Warp Feed can not mount like a loader. It was bench mounted to the test stand with a Pro Team Warp Feed mount which sensed vibration from the stand to activate it. The Warp Feed hose ran to a plastic power feed mounted on the Autococker body.
Another factor that varies from paintgun to paintgun and affects feeding is blowback. To eliminate blowback from the testing, the balls were not fired from the Autococker. Instead they were ejected by bolt movement into a catch tray. The tray allowed the balls to be counted in order to ensure that the expected number of balls had been fired, in order to detect any misfeeds or skips.
The bolt movement was controlled by a microcontroller circuit driving a Mac solenoid valve. In this way the rate of fire, and bolt movement could be controlled by making software changes in the microcontroller. Metal contacts on the back block and body of the Autococker linked to a computer data recorder verified the cyclic rate of the bolt. The pneumatics were set to run the Autococker as an open bolt paintgun.
The microcontroller was calibrated to drive air long enough to close the bolt, and return it as soon as it had closed completely. By minimizing the amount of time the bolt was closed, it would sit open as long as possible between shots to allow a ball to feed. The software allowed for single shots, and 10 round bursts. By altering the delay between shots in 10 round burst mode, and recording the cyclic rate for a string of 10 shots, delay values were chosen to provide various feed rates for testing.
Each loader tested was fitted with fresh new, Duracell batteries, and fresh Diablo Blaze paint was used for each loader in the test. If a ball was broken during a test trial it, and every ball it came in contact with were replaced with fresh paint, and the Autococker bolt and loader were removed for cleaning. Odd or misshapen paintballs were removed prior to loading and not used in testing.
The testing consisted of firing 10 shot bursts to check the loader's ability to continuously deliver paintballs at a given rate. Tests were performed both with 100 paintballs in each loader (roughly half full, simulating typical playing conditions) and with 15 balls in the loader (nearly empty, when feeding is often most problematic. At each selected firing rate three trials (a 10 round burst) were performed (with reloading after each trial). The Warp Feed setup was excluded from the 15 round trials, as it would not feed at all with only 15 rounds (due to the balls in the flexible feed tube).
The results of each trial were recorded
After three trials at a given feed rate, each loader advanced to the next feed rate only if it passed two or more of the three trials. Performing three trials reduced the chance of a "fluke" or odd chance feeding from preventing the loader advancing to the next test level.
Additionally, paint was tested feeding through a vertical tube, in order to establish a baseline of how fast paint would feed using gravity alone and with the balls organized in a stack. The tube was only tested with 15 rounds inside.
The results of the tests are summarized
in the following tables:
Vertical Tube - A vertical tube, fed reliably at 11.5 balls per second, but started having trouble at 13 balls per second. This coincides with mathematical proofs which some have put forward claiming that approximately 13 balls per second is the fastest paintballs can feed under the power of gravity (note all of the agitating loaders listed only use power to break up ball jams, not to accelerate the ball into the feed neck). This math is based on the idea that the ball must start from a rest (when the bolt is closed) and only has .68 inches in which it can accelerate under the force of gravity into the breech.
2000 Revolution - This is the Revolution model which first featured the electronic filtering, and has a delay from the time there is a ball gap until the agitator spins. The stock Revolution feeds better when partially full, and worse when nearly empty. When nearly empty is was visible that balls were thrown past the feedneck and had to roll back to it.
2000 Revolution with X-Board - The X-Board was ViewLoader's fix for the delay problem. In both tests, the X-Board improved feed performance of the Revolution. This is the standard Revolution now being produced.
2000 Revolution with X-Board and bent paddles. Some players have bent the paddles of their Revolutions so that they do not drag the sides of the loader, and thus rotate faster. When the hopper was partially full, this did not make a difference, but when nearly empty performance was decreased. Again, it was noted that balls were thrown past the feedneck and had to roll back into it.
2000 Revolution with X-Board and modified eVLution impeller - Some players have modified eVLution impellers and installed them in their Revolutions, noting that when nearly empty the new impeller throws balls straight to the feedneck. Performance was the same when the loader was partially full, and improved over the standard paddle when nearly empty.
Turbo Rev - Aftermarket upgrade board for the Revolution. While it did not perform quite as well as the stock Revolution when the loader was nearly empty it's performance with 100 balls in the loader was the best of all the loaders tested.
Mach 404 - Zap Paintball's new loader which uses a wobbling pendulum, instead of paddles to agitate the balls. Performance was sound when compared to the other tested loaders, but not as good when nearly empty. The balls had a tendency to be bounced away from the feed neck at that time.
Ricochet 2K - Another new agitating loader with ball counter, timer and other features. When filled with 100 balls, the Ricochet was on par with the other leading loaders, and it had the top performance when nearly empty.
Warp Feed - The Warp Feed is not really a loader, but rather a ball accelerator. The combination of a Warp Feed and Revolution (with TurboRev) fed flawlessly at 14 balls per second, and had one bad trial at 16.6. If gravity limits the balls to 13 per second, how is this possible? The mathematical proof of the 13 ball per second limit is based on the idea that the ball must start from a stop and move .68 inches. With the Warp and loader combination, at times during the 10 round burst, balls were able to freefall almost the entire distance of the feedneck, accelerated by gravity the whole way. In the Warp Feed wheel they were further accelerated and then stacked, delivered by pressure of the Warp Feed into the breech.
It should also be noted that the numbers
represent loader performance under the test conditions. Varying
degrees of paint quality, gas blowback, position and movement of the paintgun,
and bolt friction can also affect feeding of paint in the real world.
The hose of the Warp Feed tested bent through a 90 degree angle on the
test stand, this may have been more restricting than typical placement
on a paintgun which is nearly straight.
Copyright © 1992-2012
Corinthian Media Services. WARPIG's webmasters can be reached through our feedback form.