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Smart Parts


Product Testing performed with DraXxus Paintballs

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Smart Parts' Vibe
by Bill Mills - Photos by Dawn Mills - Aug 2008

Features Page 2

Features HowItWorks Disassembly Adjustment Testing Data

Continued from Features Page One.

paintball vibe paintgunThe relief valve sends excess gas through a channel along the side of the regulator where the regulator cover directs it down to vent out near the bottom of the reg.

The regulator screws into a vertical ASA at the front of the Vibe receiver. At the top of the Vibe is the marker's feedneck. A 1/2-inch tall feedneck base is molded into the Vibe's outer body shell. At the bottom of the feedneck base is a rounded ridge that looks much like an o-ring, but is actually part of the base's molded shape.

paintballA clamping feedneck fits onto the feedneck base. A channel in the feedneck snaps into the ridge in the feedneck base holding the two parts firmly together, while simple screw and nut secured clamps lock the feedneck to the marker, as well as to whatever loader is installed in it. Test fitting with a variety of loader brands, none required sanding and all fit easily in the feedneck of the marker used for review.

paintballThe stock Vibe barrel is 9 and three-quarters inches long with a black hard anodized finish. Four rows of porting are near the muzzle. It attaches to the marker using the thread pattern introduced on the Impulse. As this thread pattern has now become the standard used on all of its markers, Smart Parts, now simply refers to it as Smart Parts threads. An o-ring serves as a friction lock to keep the barrel in place.

paintballInside the Vibe's body shell is the black anodized aluminum receiver. This part is analogous to the combined assembly of the body breech and fire chamber in an Ion. It is different from that portion of an Ion in three key areas. First, it is a single component. Second it does not hold the marker's feedneck, and third, it is open in the back, utilizing a bolt-out-back design, which allows for very simple disassembly and maintenance.

Because the Vibe utilizes a spool valve design in which its bolt is also the core of the main exhaust valve, removing the bolt, a process which takes about 5 seconds, also removes the entire valve system for cleaning or repair.

The bolt/valve assembly consists of three main parts, the bolt itself, which is the same as an Ion bolt, the bolt stop, a washer shaped piece which keeps air in the fire chamber portion of the body until the bolt has moved forward, and the bolt sleeve. The bolt sleeve serves as the plug blocking the rear of the Vibe's body, and it has a cylindrical sleeve which fits around the bolt and locks the bolt stop in position.

paintballInside the Vibe's grip frame, attached to the bottom of its receiver is its circuit board. The board has relatively few components, a lever switch that is activated by the trigger, a wired battery clip, a few resistors, diodes, a power button, LED and Smart Parts' new micro-solenoid valve.

paintballAt roughly one inch tall, three quarters of an inch wide and one inch long with a gas line sticking out an additional 7/8” this valve, designed specifically for Smart Parts serves as the pilot valve to direct the air flow controlling the marker's bolt movement. Like that of the Ion, the Vibe's solenoid valve has a pass-through that supplies gas continually to the air reservoir behind the bolt. At rest it directs gas to the front of the bolt and then allows that gas to vent out when it is actuated.

paintball vibeLike its sister marker the SP-1, the Vibe has three firing modes, semi-automatic, three-round burst and full-automatic. The the marker's mode can be changed on the fly, meaning a player who wants to use full-auto isn't stuck using full auto for the entirety of their game. Simply tapping the power button cycles the Vibe between each of the three firing modes, which are indicated by the rate at which the power button's LED blinks. The board can also be locked into semi-automatic mode, which is required at most paintball fields.

In comparing the Vibe to its “big brother” the Ion or Ion XE, the Vibe is limited by its rate of fire which is capped at approximately 11 balls per second, and it does not include an anti-chop eye system. Smart Parts says that instead of eyes, the marker makes use of low bolt force to achieve anti-chop capability. This is a method that was used by other electropneumatic markers like the Matrix and Rainmaker, before eye systems were common on high-end paintguns. When put to the test during review, the Vibe's bolt simply bounced off DXS Gold paintballs lowered partially into the breech, instead of chopping them.

paintballThe power button for the Vibe is clear molded plastic, similar to that found on the EOS, Epiphany and SP-8. Because it is clear, the status LED on the circuit board inside can easily be seen through it, and it is easier to activate while wearing gloves than the dome sticker found on the Ion.

The Vibe's trigger is a two-finger blade design, with a slight curve. It pivots on a stainless steel pin that is friction fit into the marker's grip frame. No bearings are used, but the nylon material slides smoothly on the stainless steel.

Continue to How It Works .

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