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Donut SD 12-10-2012 09:53 PM

Automag valves
Alright so in my search for mag parts I noticed the many different kinds of valves. I figure you pros can lend me your knowledge on this subject.

So far the list for me looks like
Updated list for posterity

  • Rental
  • AIR valve
  • MiniMag
  • MicroMag
  • Classic RT
  • Sydarm
  • Classic
  • ReTro
  • ReTro MicroMag
  • Retro Pro
  • X-valve
  • E-mag
  • E-Maxx
  • Centerfire
  • SmartMag
  • ANS Phase II

My curiosity picks up at the centerfire valve as I just acquired an automag with one on it (well it's in the mail on it's way to me).

Another thing I noticed is the number of E-mag valves popping up for sale. Is there some inherent difference between the E-mag valve and the X-valve, which I understand is the current pinnacle of automag technology.

I've read up on the AGD virtual museum but it's not giving me the answers I want. Satisfy my curiosity and hunger for simple mechanical history. Thanks all.


Extra reading: AGD valve information Thanks for the link spider!

sQuidvision 12-10-2012 11:36 PM

emag valves are functionally identical to xvalves with the exception that a few of them couldn't accept a ULT. other than that they are just half stainless and slightly heavier.

As far as i know the centerfire valves are just regular classic valves with some extra lazsering that are more rare and thus more expensive.

ta2maki 12-10-2012 11:43 PM

Retro valves are the same as the emag valves. The difference for each use lies in the length of the on-off pin. RT classic valves have the input hole the same as the hole for the thumb screw.

You can add rental valves to your list. They are classic valves that have 'field rental' stamped on the side of them and I've read that the power tube is narrowed down to limit velocity.

superman 12-10-2012 11:51 PM

i also dont think you can use lvl10 on rental valves.

also forgot classic rt valve. functions the same as the retro but the inlet hole is in the banjo bolt.

Donut SD 12-11-2012 12:20 AM

All great information guys thanks. Rental and classic RT added to the list.

Next question. Stars on the valve bodies. I read they're for rebuild counting? What's the story on that?

DAVID(GEN) 12-11-2012 12:25 AM

From my understanding it was their warranty. Every time you sent in your marker to be worked on they would drill one of the stars.

JaKaL 12-11-2012 01:12 AM

The older valves had 5(?) stars. As electros started becoming popular and AGD started to get smaller they went to a single star.

Also I second the information about rental valves having a narrower power tube. Don't see many of those valves around.

Don't forget Smart Parts valves.

There were also quite a few aftermarket valve backs available in the 90's.

Menace 12-11-2012 02:06 AM

You forgot the A.I.R., Minimag, and Smart Mag, assuming you were wishing to have a fuller roster.

Take the following with a grain of salt: it's late, and I'm foggy.

The A.I.R., Classic, Mini, Micro, Rental, SmartMag, and Centerfire are all essentially the same valve: all stainless, non-RT-effect, and capable of running the level 10 bolt and either HP or CO2. Only their laser-engraving is different. The exception to this is the Rental, which has a restricted power tube to prohibit excessive velocity, which setup also renders it incapable of running a level 10 bolt. It is readily modified, however, whereupon it operates exactly like the rest.

If you wish to further subdivide the 'Classic' A.I.R. valves you can make a distinction between the level 5/level 6 valves, which had bead blasted regulators, and the level 7 valves, which had the traditional-looking turned/shiny regulators that matched the rest of the valve.

The Minis and later the Micros and latest still the Centerfire valves all had the A.I.R. designation. When the classic valve was reintroduced with the "Classic' script engraving, the A.I.R. designation was dropped.

The older valves originally had no stars. There was no need for them. Service was built into the original price. So you dropped big coin up front, and then had the benefit of as-needed service, usually free of charge.

Later, AGD dropped the price to increase sales and, both to compensate for the loss of revenue and also to make for a nice selling point (and still a nice selling point :) ), they lasered stars into the regs for a kind of 'punch-card' warranty system. Whatever number of stars you had, that amounted to a free service. So you sent in the valve or marker, and they ground off a star. Once you were out of stars you simply paid a normal shop fee for any future repairs.

If memory serves, under this new 'punch card' system the Minis had four stars, the A.I.R. valves had three, and later, when the 'Classic' valves were reintroduced, those came with a single star. There are lots of the latter.

Your Centerfire valve will likely be a four star Minimag valve with additional lasering. It will also have two serial numbers; one corresponding to its original Minimag designation, and an additional serial corresponding to its new Center Fire designation.

They are highly desirable, as are the venerable Micromag A.I.R. valves.

Robertsr is the man to speak to about micros. He's positively mad about them, knows as much as anyone about them, and good luck finding anyone with a better collection of them. I believe the Micros came in both the A.I.R. style and also the RT style valves. In any event, they were done by Pro Team Products with the blessing of AGD. It was a good product.

Smart Parts also did a run in cooperation with AGD, the SmartMag. This was arguably at the other end of the spectrum. This either typically or always came with their goofy (and horrendously ugly) 'magic box' on the side guaranteed to increase everything good and decrease everything bad, all the while making your enemies tremble and women swoon just by your having walked the same hemisphere a few minutes prior. Best to leave this one in the dust bin of history.

The RT-style valves make use of a high-pressure, exceedingly high fill/recharge rate that renders CO2 impossible to use without freezing the valve up, even with slow, single shots. Whereas the A.I.R. style valves involve tank pressure running to the reg, which then fills the dump chamber from the low side of things (about 400-ish psi), the RT reverses this, and does an unregulated, full-pressure (850-2000 psi+?) dump fill with a regged low pressure top-off. If you want uber-high rates of fire, this is the way to go. Because the classics rely on regulated pressure of 400 psi for their full recharge, they have a theoretical maximum recharge rate of 16 times per second, with commensurate bps. But because the RT recharges from the high side, its rate of recharge and fire is limited only by input pressure and the maximum rating of the valve itself. So the more pressure you feed it, the faster it goes, to a point. There are madmen like Zak Vetter who have run over 2000 psi straight into the valve to get mind-numbing rates of fire. The valves are rated to 3000 psi, which is just another way of saying (a) that mags can shoot really fast, and (b) that AGD had a hard time making a cheap, flimsy product. ;)

Well, that's it for me. The newer valves aren't my thing, so someone else will have to tell you more about them.

Welcome to the AGD neck of the woods!

Spider! 12-11-2012 09:29 AM

You should add the RT Pro to the list, not to be confused with the classic RT. It was similar to the ReTro, but I forget the difference. Most differences in the non-classic, RT type valves was either an aluminum regulator and/or aluminum valve body (but not power tube), and whether or not the on/off top used one or two orings.

Some of the micromag valves had smaller dump chambers which makes them a little nicer on CO2.

Zak has a few tidbits. AGD Valve Info

Justus 12-11-2012 02:43 PM

AGD Valve Info

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