The Dead Zone Paintball Related Chat

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Old 09-23-2018, 06:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Apparently CO2 "technology" advanced a bit further than I'd thought...

Like most of you who started out in the CO2 days, I left it behind as soon as I could afford to- especially being in Alaska, if I wanted to play in the winter, it was either a Mega-Z on siphon, or HPA. Or resign yourself to shooting no more than 20 balls a game.

I still have boxes of old CO2 tanks, 'cause I'm a packrat, but I haven't used it in a game more than maybe two or three times in the last 15+ years, so apparently some... innovations to the tanks have escaped my notice since then.

Over the weekend, I was perusing my local "bargain basement" type secondhand shop, as I do on a regular basis, and through whom I have found such treasures as 100 feet of braided-steel hose and a complete, brand-new, unused 2x72" belt grinder. And in this go-round, I ran across some more paintball gear.

Now, 99 times out of 100, this paintball gear is typical box-store crap. Incomplete Brass Eagle markers, cheap goggles with cracked lenses, off-brand pods, etc. I do occasionally find something worthwhile, however, which keeps me coming back.

This time it was just a couple newish CO2 tanks, and as I have virtually no need for those, I almost passed 'em by.

Except something caught my eye. Okay, standard 20-ounce, painted, with the modern silkscreened warnings and logos on the side...

And this "fill level indicator system", which I'd never seen before, but I presumed works just like the ones they sell for propane tanks...

But the part that caught my eye was the fact the burst disc was mounted to the tank, not the valve.

More interestingly, as I looked the tank over, it rattled. There was something loose inside. My first thought, being an old-school 'baller, was a siphon tube- but that didn't make any sense. This tank was pretty new, likely the last few years before even the box-stores stopped selling CO2 tanks, and it's been 25 years since anyone sold a gun that needed a siphon tank.

And that made me think something broke off the valve... except the other two tanks on the shelf had an identical rattle.

The valve, too, was an odd low-profile thing, with only these two weedy little flats to wrench it into place.

My curiosity was sufficiently piqued that I plunked down the $2.99 of hard-earned and brought it home.

Once safely back in my famous World Domination Laboratory, I lucked out by finding a flat wrench in my stashes that fit close enough to remove the valve. After which, I found another little mystery.

Okay, so this is some latter variant of a "safety" valve. The actual pin valve is apparently recessed a little deeper into the neck, and the part that screws into the gun is just an adapter and pin guide. If the neck comes unscrewed, the actual valve prevents a blowout.

Naturally a configuration like that isn't easily compatible with a typical burst disc, which is why they moved it to the body of the tank itself. Interesting, and fairly logically straightforward so far.

However, the rattle still bugged me, so I had to probe further. Typical needle-nose pliers wouldn't budge the inner valve (yes, I checked, the tank's empty ) so I got scome scrap put of the bins, and took about eight minutes to gin up a makeshift tool.

I mean, why own $50,000 in machine tools and accessories if not to waste an idle half-hour investigating a $3 air tank I'm never going to actually use?

... And you guys wonder why I'm not rich.

Anyway, the inner valve popped right out. Neat little unitized cartridge thing, and has to have a smooth inner portion of the neck to "seat" against, and for the O-ring to seal to. No worries of anyone trying to retrofit this to an old tank.

I shook the tank and the first thing to come out was.. swarf?

I didn't know what I was expecting, but no, I wasn't expecting chips left over from the machining.

I pulled that out, shook it again, and... what the hell is that?

Again, I didn't know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't a block of roughly-bandsawed wood.

It's not really wood, it appears to be some kind of dense, hard foam, but it'd definitely been shaped by simply bandsawing- by hand, as the cuts aren't all that straight- and then these two... nails? were driven into the ends.

Strike that, they're not nails or weights, they're magnets.

Ah, of course. I'd assumed- and we all know what that stands for - that the "fill level indicator" thing was a temperature-sensitive strip, like the indicators on propane tanks.

Nope, it's magnetic.

Wave the "wood" piece over the strip and lines appear, fading back away after a while. The foam, therefore, is something light enough to float on liquid CO2, and when you swirl the tank, as the indicator instructions tell you to do, a line will appear telling you how much you have left. (According to the "percentage" marks on the side, since a "full" tank, as we all know, isn't 100% full of liquid CO2.)

So, that solves the mystery of the weird rattly JT tank. While it's knowledge that is unlikely to ever be of any real benefit to me at any point, it was still a fun bit of education for only $2.99 and half an hour of forensic airsmithery.

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Old 09-23-2018, 06:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is neat!
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well that was a fun adventure in reading. Sort of like a mystery novella is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2018, 06:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Enjoyed the post. Pretty cool how it all works.
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was wondering what the dot marking was thinking on those tanks ...
I'm also wondering if the hole for the bust disk will affect the integrity of the neck of the tank on long use ...

Thanks for the educational write up.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the bit of useless knowledge Doc. Not all of us have the tools to investigate these things without destroying the assembly.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Lol! My son used one of those (jt 9 oz) on his pump mag for a few years. You have to swirl the liquid around to read the level. Being larger than 2 inches, it was really useless after it's hydro. Nice and short for 9 ounces though.

I took his apart also for the same reason, but not nearly as neatly.
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Old 09-23-2018, 09:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by XEMON View Post
I was wondering what the dot marking was thinking on those tanks ...
I'm also wondering if the hole for the bust disk will affect the integrity of the neck of the tank on long use ...

Thanks for the educational write up.
I chopped up an expired 20oz tank a few years ago, just because, and that portion of the tank is quite thick... I don't think it's as much of an issue as one might think.
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