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Pulse Review

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Product Testing performed with DraXxus Paintballs

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DXS Pulse RF Chip
by Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills - Jan 07

Green Mode Test Data Pulse Review

paintballThe DXS Pulse loader has a very tiny but powerful accessory – a compact radio transmitter that gets mounted inside a player's marker. Every time the marker is fired, the Pulse Transmitter sends a signal to the Pulse loader, allowing the loader to pro-actively begin the feeding process.

pulse rf chipWith the transmitter in place, the loader does not have to wait for any movement of the stack of paintballs in the feedneck to be fed, or change in resistance they offer – it simply applies some pressure to its drive cone in anticipation of an open and empty marker breech.

paintballThe transmitter itself is a small, black rectangular component approximately 0.3 by 0.3 by 0.9 inches, with a trio of contact pins sticking out near one end. The transmitter acts as a tiny parasite circuit. It is designed to send out a radio “chirp” each time the marker to which it is attached is fired. The transmitter gets wired in parallel to the marker's solenoid so that when power is delivered to the solenoid by the circuit board, it is also delivered to the transmitter.

paintballThe transmitter's power requirements are so minimal that in testing for review, it did not cause any noticeable problems for its host circuit boards. This power requirement does mean that the transmitter can only be used with electronically triggered markers. Use on a purely mechanical marker would necessitate adding a trigger switch and battery to be wired in series with the transmitter.

paintballIncluded with the transmitter is a small plug with a pair of wires. The transmitter plugs into the plug – direction does not matter, as it is not current specific - which must be wired into the marker. For some paintball markers which have removable plugs on their solenoids or solenoid valves, it is not unreasonable to expect that a variety of plug and play “Y” cable solutions will soon be available.

paintballHowever for some other markers in which there is only a direct soldered connection between the circuit board and solenoid coil, the transmitter's included wires must be soldered to either the circuit board or solenoid terminals. Because of this, and because such modifications will undoubtedly void the warranty of the circuit board, DXS officially recommends professional installation, and offers on their web site to help their customers get in touch with a professional installer.

That said, for anyone with basic soldering skills, installation is a fairly simple task. The included transmitter leads are pre-tinned, so they are ready to go. For testing, the Pulse transmitter was installed both on a Matrix LCD test bed receiver, as well as into an Epiphany.

pantball pulse loader epiphanyFor the Matrix LCD circuit board, the two leads were soldered to the backside of the board, connecting to the two contact points where the solenoid valve plugged in on the front (conveniently a pair of pins were already soldered here to allow computer recording of solenoid output.) For the Epiphany, the circuit board was removed from the marker, and the transmitter leads were soldered to the contact points on the circuit board where the solenoid valve leads were soldered to their posts.

paintballIf anything, the trickiest part of installation can be finding free space inside the marker to stash the transmitter. Installation on the Epiphany was simple as far as wiring was concerned, but space inside of its grip frame proved limited. Placing the transmitter horizontally below the battery was a near-fit, which caused the wrap-around grips to not seal completely to the grip frame. While suitable for testing and review, a good permanent installation in this location would involve carving small hollows in the wrap-around grip to fully accommodate the transmitter.

Each Pulse RF transmitter sends its own unique radio chirp – much the way garage door openers do. This is to prevent two players side by side from activating each other's loaders. While the exact range could vary due to a number of factors including the voltage and dwell duration of the marker, in testing on for review, the Pulse was activated by its transmitter at distances over 10 feet. Each transmitter's identity number is printed on the transmitter itself.

Because of the coded RF signal, the Pulse loader must be programmed to recognize the transmitter it will be working with. This is achieved by turning on the marker with a barrel blocker in place, and no paint or gas. For markers with anti-chop eyes, the anti-chop feature should be turned off, so that they will send a pulse of power to their solenoid valve when the trigger is pulled.

The Pulse loader must then be turned on, and the power button held down until the loader's power LED begins flashing slowly. The trigger on the marker should then be pulled multiple times. Once the Pulse has recognized the radio signal and programmed itself for that particular transmitter, the LED will flash faster. The power button can then be released, and the loader is ready to go.

Once programmed, when turned on in green mode, the Pulse will try to spin its drive cone. When it feels resistance, it will stop. At rest between shots, it will twitch at intervals of approximately 5 seconds, to ensure that the stack of paintballs is in position ready to feed. By greatly reducing the amount of twitching that occurs during wait times, the Pulse is not burning as much battery juice while the player is crawling without firing, between games, or waiting in the dead box (no, that's not you, right?) The power needed to listen for a radio chirp is very small in comparison to the power needed to twitch the loader's motor several times per second in red mode.

paintballWhen the Pulse receives a radio chirp from its marker, it goes into action and twitches the motor, providing loading force for a fraction of a second, and continuing until resistance is felt. In this way the Pulse is able to operate pro-actively, anticipating that the marker's breech is about to be empty and open, and applying pressure to the ball stack to deliver a paintball.

So, how does it perform? The Pulse and its transmitter were fitted onto a Matrix LCD body for the same 10-shot burst sustained feed rate test as used to review the Pulse by itself in red mode. In green mode, the results showed measurable improvement.

Pulse Loader Performance Chart

With the RF chip in use, the Pulse loader fed flawlessly at rates up to 17 bps. It only skipped one paintball out of three trials at 18 bps, and 19 bps, before the 20 bps test rate delivered only 9 paintballs per trial. This resulted in a score of 19 bps on the 10-shot burst test. Further testing was continued up to 22 bps at which point 7 out of the 10 shots from each 10 shot string were feeding correctly.

Pulse Loader Ramping Performance

Using the newer ramping burst test, in which each test trial consisted of four shots fired at 10 bps, followed immediately by 10 shots at the test rate, the DXS Pulse with RF transmitter was the first loader to max out this test format. Starting at 17 bps, the loader fed perfectly up through 20 bps. At 21 bps, a ball broke in the breech on the first of three test trials, resulting in only 11 balls feeding. After cleaning of the test equipment, the following two trials delivered all 14 balls as did all three trials at 22 bps, the maximum rate for which the test controller was configured.

Clearly the use of the RF transmitter improved the on-gun performance of the DXS Pulse loader, and the combination showed measurably better performance when given the opportunity to ramp up their feed rate during a string of shots.


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