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Old 01-06-2014, 03:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Palmer's (PPS) Phantom Stabilizer Thread

The Palmer's (PPS) Phantom Stabilizer Thread

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I'm creating this thread to provide a technical discussion of the Palmer's Phantom stab for the benefit of Phantom owners who already have one, and those who just want to know more about it. In this post I'll cover the benefits of using a stabilizer, consistency variables, and a brief overview of the PPS Phantom stabilizer.

My second post will go into troubleshooting, repairing and "sweetspotting" the unit.

The third post will cover testing and performance. Please note that I'm only testing stock-class Phantoms using 12 grams. (Unfortunately, I cannot conduct accurate testing at this time due to both freezing and highly fluctuating temperatures). In an effort to keep all of the pertinent info up front, I'll use the next post as a placeholder until I can conduct controlled testing in the Spring.

If any one else would like to conduct their own tests using OC set ups (HPA, etc), please feel free to post your results here.

Here we go...

The benefits of using a Palmer's Stabilizer (From Palmer's web site 1/6/14)

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Quote:
Palmer's Satbilizer - THE AIR SYSTEM SUPPLY REGULATOR THAT WILL SAVE YOU A LOT OF HEADACHES AND CHRONO PANIC.

All of the features and performance of our legendary "ROCK" regulator, but designed and built for the high pressure output needed to regulate and stabilize pressure controlled paintgun velocity. Well suited for use as the first stage of a 2- stage regulation system for the AutoMags or in the role of the second stage of an on-gun or remote system for all paintguns; with either CO2, Compressed Air, Nitrous Oxide, N2 (nitrogen), HPA pressure supply systems. Two stage regulation will provide approximately 25 times greater control and consistency of the supply pressure that is allowed into the paintgun. Expansion chambers can't even hope to block liquid CO2 the way the that the Stabilizer can, thus virtually eliminating the chance of "hot-gun" penalties. The long proven performance of Palmer's Regulators, makes the "STABILIZER" a must for all pressure controlled firing systems for any paintgun.

Available in five different models to cover numerous applications and setups. Industrial, NASA, scientific, medical and custom applications available. Works in any position, upside down or even in zero gravity. Shock proof. Fully adjustable; 0-750 psi output. Optional outputs 0-250, 200-1200 psi. All of our Regs are Omni-Gas Ready (HPA or CO2). Most paintball applications only need the standard Stabilizer. It's adjustable from 0-750 psi with max input of 1800 psi. The standard Stabilizer will work with Co2 and HPA without any changes. A 3/16" Allen wrench is used to adjust pressure. No tourney locks required. The Stabilizer is shipped with a factory test setting of 500 psi. Just unscrew the adjuster before install for lower pressures. One turn of the screw is about 100 psi average. The springs will max out at around 50 psi above the listed operating range.
Basically, a stabilizer is designed to help stabilize CO2 pressure before it enters the valve system of a paintball gun. A stabilized pressure entering the valve should provide consistent chrono readings. I say "should" because there are multiple variables that can alter chrono results regardless if a stabilizer is being used or not.

Multiple variables can affect and even negate stabilizer performance...

The two biggest variables when it comes to inconsistent chrono readings is an incorrect paint size to bore size match, and the quality of the paint itself. Paintball "rollouts" are a clear indication that you don't have a good paint-to-bore match. Even if you don't have paintballs rolling out of your barrel, you might not have a good match. The easiest way to check if you have a good paint-to-bore match is to remove your barrel and push a paintball into the breech end till it is flush with the lip. If you can see light around any part of the ball, then you need a smaller bore barrel (or insert if you are using them). You need to check with at least a dozen pellets in order to get a basic idea of what size paint you have.

Regarding paint quality... Every single paintball is an imperfectly-shaped sphere that is filled with a thick liquid goo. Besides the fact that the ball isn't perfectly round, there are often manufacturing imperfections in the shells, and sediments inside the paint. If the paint sits for long periods of time, the shell can be affected by humidity/moisture and the sediments in the paint can settle to one side. In addition, the paint itself can be affected by gravity, where the weight of the paint inside a case can compress the balls on the bottom even farther out of shape.

Bottom line: Even with a stabilizer, without a tight paint-to-bore match and fresh, quality paint, you'll never enjoy consistent chrono readings, or expect to have decent 12 gram efficiency.

Now that we're armed with a tight bore and fresh paint it's time to maximize the consistency of our Phantoms with a stabilizer...

The Palmer's Phantom Stabilizer - LINK

From Palmer's web site...
Quote:
Built for for CCI Phantoms. Gauge can be installed to read regulated pressure. Input on the side, output to the valve chamber. Stock hardline can be used.
While the PPS Phantom stab offers a convenient and streamlined way to easily incorporate a stabilizer into the valve body of a Phantom, it is very expensive at $145 a pop (plus another $12 for a gauge). I'd say that price point has made most players take a pass at picking one up, and opt for cheaper alternatives. One alternative has been the PPS sideline stab...

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However, some feel that configuration is both awkward and aesthetically unappealing. Another option would be to replace the bucket changer on a VSC with a standard PPS Male stab, and then relocate the bucket changer/12-gram source. This would save $40, but you'd then need to factor in the cost of any extra hardware/hoses when relocating the bucket changer. A third alternative would be to use the CCI (Revolution) regulator which is significantly cheaper, and accomplishes the same thing - stabilizing the pressure before the valve. However, the PPS stabs are externally adjustable and set up for gauges, whereas the CCI reg is not. Being able to easily adjust and fine-tune the PPS stab with the turn of an Allen key (and then read the results from a gauge) are critical features to consider - especially while struggling to dial in a gun at the chrono just before the start of a game.

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Old 01-06-2014, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Troubleshooting and repairing the PPS Phantom stab...

The only real issue that you should expect to deal with is a leak. The majority of leaks will be coming from either the elbow or gauge port. Simply remove the hardware at the point of the leak, inspect, clean and thread it back in using new teflon tape. Leaks coming from one of the seams in the unit, or from a pressure relief hole require a little more effort. Fortunately, the PPS Phantom stab (and all Palmer's stabilizers in general) are very simple to work on.

First you will need a replacement seal kit. For the PPS Phantom stabilizer you need the "Seal Kit, Direct Stabilizer" (part number REGS021) - LINK

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Obviously, make sure the gun/stab is NOT under any pressure - "disconnect any gas source" before working on your stabilizer. Here is a video showing exactly how to disassemble a PPS stab, as well as the tools needed...
Palmer Stabilizer maintenance video - YouTube

The internals of the PPS stab...

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Use the seals in the Direct Stabilizer kit to replace all of the internal seals. Reassemble unit and reinstall on your Phantom. Done.

In some rare instances there may be a leak between the CCI valve body section and the PPS stab body. In this case, you need to separate the two sections. The two sections are held together by a long, hollow screw (same thread as the side inlet ports), and secured with Red Loctite. Craig Palmer suggested using a small strap wrench to break the bond of the Loctite. I was able to unscrew two units using a rubber non-slip pad and some elbow grease.

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Once apart, you'll find a standard tank o-ring on the PPS body section that will need to be replaced.

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It's also good to know this info in case you want to have the unit anodized, and need to have all the sections separated.

Below you can see the difference in two CCI valve bodies that were machined down to work with the PPS stab body. Looks like one might have been supplied to Palmers raw and anodized after it was machined down, while the other was supplied by CCI already anodized black, and then machined down. It doesn't make a difference for performance. I just wanted to show the difference between the two.

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I'd like to talk about "sweetspotting" the stabilizer for a minute. The "sweetspot" on a reg or stab is when the unit is set at exactly the right pressure to provide maximum consistency, at hopefully the maximum efficiency. Unfortunately, the problem with finding a sweetspot is getting that spot to stay sweet for a long period of time. Again, the problems come from multiple variables like the ones stated in the first post. Another huge factor is temperature. A player who finds a sweetspot in upper 60 temps in the morning will need to adjust that sweetspot when the temp rises 20 or more in the afternoon. For those who live in climates where there aren't large temperature shifts during game play this isn't as much of a factor. Finding the best operating pressure for your gun is all well and fine. Just make sure you are taking into consideration all of the other variables that impact that pressure during the course of play.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Reserved for more info regarding testing and performance results.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You mention anodizing, but how tight are the tolerances on a Stab? Could you get away with powdercoating one?
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You mention anodizing, but how tight are the tolerances on a Stab? Could you get away with powdercoating one?
I can't say with any certainty, but would imagine powdercoating would be fine if you taped off the front section of the modified CCI valve body that slides into the main body of the gun. Obviously, you'd need to block off the side ports, the rear cap where the adjustment screw is, and all the threads on the inside of the body sections. Making sure you don't bung up the threads while applying a powedercoat on paintball equipment is why I've never been a fan of the process.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for posting this information! I was planning on ordering one in a couple of weeks and there really wasn't much information on here about them.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for posting this information! I was planning on ordering one in a couple of weeks and there really wasn't much information on here about them.
I'm hoping this thread will provide even more excellent information after I start posting up some test results. As I mentioned though, I'll need to wait for the warmer temps of Spring (ideally around 75/80) before I can provide any legitimate data.

I plan on doing a few side-by-side consistency comparisons of stabilized and un-stabilized Phantoms. For the sake of accuracy, I'll probably do testing in different temps as well (Spring and Summer tests). Obviously, we'll be able to look at 12-gram efficiency as well, though the primary function of the stab is to promote consistency. I'd also like to do a few tests comparing the PPS stab to the CCI reg which I think a lot of folks will find interesting.

While I've done quite a bit of informal testing over the years, I'm looking forward to setting up a controlled testing situation and documenting everything with video/photos.

To be perfectly frank, it's pretty frustrating reading all the posts from players claiming they can get XX amount of shots per 12-gram, or XX amount of shots within a 5 FPS range, with no documentation or regard for critical variables. I think the main problem is that controlled testing takes a lot of time, energy and money. I probably go through almost as much paint and 12-grams off the field as I do on. Testing is a pain in the hind quarters, but if I can produce accurate data, then I'm hoping the benefit to the Phantom community will be worth the effort.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I should have my phantom finished by time it warms up and will be able to contribute some data.

A few summers back I picked up a grey ghost, and added a sideline stabilizer to it. The difference in consistency was night and day, and the shot loss was negligible. It was however an eyesore, and not an ideal solution. I wish I had taken the time to document the shot to shot difference the reg made.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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To be perfectly frank, it's pretty frustrating reading all the posts from players claiming they can get XX amount of shots per 12-gram, or XX amount of shots within a 5 FPS range, with no documentation or regard for critical variables. I think the main problem is that controlled testing takes a lot of time, energy and money. I probably go through almost as much paint and 12-grams off the field as I do on. Testing is a pain in the hind quarters, but if I can produce accurate data, then I'm hoping the benefit to the Phantom community will be worth the effort.
I am totally guilty of this for the reasons you mentioned. Non of my tests have been objective, controlled, variability stable or accurate. Always been a ballpark due to laziness and lack of interest in getting perfect data. Just not worth the effort and limited time I have. That being said I'm glad you're doing it lol. Better man than me by far. I look forward to your results and wish you good luck. Thanks for making this thread. Doubtless it will prove useful over and over again.
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Just fyi everyone the answer is stock class for all questions related to paintball and to solve all paintball related problems except carbon emissions because we gotta use those 12 grams.

Double FYI for paintball rules there should be no "offer" of surrender, its either mandatory surrender at X distance when guy is behind you or no surrender and you get shot in the booty. "offer" of surrender makes for some ridiculous and dangerous john woo tactics.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'll have an unregged stock phantom in the mail which I will run off a 13/3000. I'd be happy to shoot a hopper or two over a chrony. I'll also get barrel sizing, temperature, and psi decrease.

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