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Old 08-17-2011, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Deathwish/Y0da Mech Ion Drop-in Kit Review (now with videos!)

UPDATES AT BOTTOM

I wanted a nice recball marker, just didn't feel right using electros with walk-ons, yet still wanted the option of semi without resorting to cockers (i hate timing) or blowbacks (been there, done that). Pumps serve very well but there are days, especially with larger groups of people, that a pump just isn't dumping enough paint for the situation (i.e., Big Game Days w/ 200+ players on the field, plus respawn).

So in comes Deathwish_DW and Y0da900, working on a simple drop-in kit for Ions that converts them to mechanical markers - no board, no battery. Here's their sale thread for more info.

Received the kit in the mail recently, in a small padded envelope. All parts contained within a zip loc baggy inside. Emptied them out and took a cell phone pic:



Then i assembled the kit while sitting at my desk at work, much against the install instructions saying to first install the bracket/valve in the frame, THEN connect hoses. Not a big deal, but you'll see in a minute why it would've been best to wait.

Finally home, i sat down with the prepped Ion and began getting the bracket in the frame. At first, it refused at any angle, yet a wiggle here and there and suddenly it slid right in from the top. Now the hardest part was lining up the bracket to sit in the preferred position in relation to the trigger, and low enough so the hoses aren't too scrunched up on top. Took me some time because tightening the set screw alters the position a bit as the screw slides into what used to be the board slot groove. About 10 min with that, and it was done. Trigger pull adjusted to sit right on the valve "button" at rest, which is a pretty nice position. Adjusted the return tension (the fat magnet underneath the trigger guard) to be just about equal to the return strength of the valve, or as similar as i could get it; i didn't want just the valve alone returning the trigger (personal preference). While there's only 1 set screw, the top grip screws double as set screws as well. This bracket won't move at all.



The hose sticking out the top of the valve, leading to the bottom of the T-fitting, was too long, evident when trying to sit the body flush after connecting everything. Something i probably would've realized if i hadn't assembled the entire kit itself before installing, then i wouldn't have to cut hoses and remove hose nubs from barbs. The way that particular hose curls around in the frame, it just wouldn't sit low enough. So i trimmed that & reconnected it. Another trim was needed for the qev hose, and a final trim for the front fitting hose, so that the entire assembly settled into the frame with no unnecessary hose bends or kinks.



So with everything connected and Ion re-assembled, i screw on a tank. First good sign, no leaks. Second good sign, a trigger pull = a shot. Third good sign, multiple trigger pulls = nothing bad happening. I put on a 9v revvy, grab a few handfuls of cheap Sports Authority paint my cousin gave me, and head outside. Trigger pull is very snappy, but not in the same way as having only magnetic tension and a microswitch. Hard to explain. I have no base for comparison, maybe Tippmann's Response Trigger, or AGD's similar gas-assisted trigger (they had one, right?), is similar but i've never tried either of those.

Let off a bunch of shots while chrono-ing, leaving it at about 280. My chrono results actually varied +/- 5, more in some instances, probably due to the cheap paint. Not really relevant, but anyway... I really like how this works and feels. Not a light trigger pull, but that is beneficial in this situation, as there are no eyes so you don't want to shoot too fast (and if you did, why get a mech kit?). Also has a very different sound signature, like a pop-unpop sound, or a blow/suck sound. It's not disconserting at all, rather, it's just something different. DW posted a vid in his thread that captures the sound pretty well. My fave thing about that is it instantly distinguishes a mech Ion from a regular Ion.

8/19/11 EDIT, the PRESSURE TEST: Tested the operating pressure with stock ion reg, and it reads about 150 psi shooting about 280 fps with bolt included in kit & 360 qev.

9/3/11 EDIT, the FIELD TEST: Finally played with the mech ion. Put ~900 balls through it (short day, it was sticky balls HOT). - Specs - full mech drop in kit using bolt included in kit, 360 qev, stock reg shooting a consistent ~275 fps, Myth G2 45/45 at 3500 psi. Shooting same mystery paint my cousin got from Sports Authority (glossy silver/green shell, thin orange fill). 14" Redz Pepperstick .687, if that makes any difference.
- On average, 2-3 pods brought me down to 1000 psi, with the exception of one game that it went to 0 because i chopped and the ball's shell wedged the bolt forward.
- Couple times while stopping run-throughs, i actually out-shot my 9V Revvy. Looks like i need to fix up this Reloader II or use the Vlo Jr. But those instances didn't result in chops, they just resulted in blanks (previously mentioned chop was due to a swollen ball that didn't fully drop).

Recap - installation takes a little patience, but that patience = a very nice mech spoolie. SAFETY NOTE - since the ion is not a mech by design, there's no safety. Pretty much, either don't pull the trigger or turn your air off between games. Luckily, the valve piston is not feather-light, so accidental fires have a slim chance.

2/1/12 EDIT: made a couple vids. Enjoy! Oh, and the ion it's installed in looks much different than when i originally posted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvSZaH4JZjw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFESCgEDF9Q

5/1/12 EDIT: Ok, if you lend a mech ion w/ no safety to a friend who is new to paintball... well, don't lend a mech ion w/ no safety to a friend who is new to paintball. Never seen a barrel cover do so much work!

1/4/13 EDIT: Unicorn Nano bolts work fine. TechT L7 bolts work but with poor efficiency and what sounds a lot like short-stroking. L6 bolt works fine, as stated in their sale thread (well, all this is stated in the sale thread, by myself and others). But the stock bolt provided in the kit is really my go-to bolt, and i've re-installed it for good.

Latest photo. Added an XE conversion.
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Last edited by nerdcore; 01-04-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yup, I'd say you're pretty spot on comparing the trigger pull to an RT Automag. Really, this is pretty comparable all the way around... except that you can build one of these for less than $150.

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Old 08-17-2011, 04:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review! =p

No electronics = good for my GF, lol

a note on the hoses -
I cut them longer then needed because of different frames/ways of adjusting the bracket/triggers, etc. Rather send extra hose then have the poor guy (or gal?) wait another 3-5 days for more hose to get sent out (and waste another $5 on hose/shipping =p)
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Does the bolt reset after a trigger pull even with the trigger held? Just wondering how it might compare to a FASOR.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The bolt does not reset, but the chamber is sealed, so you won't have any air escaping.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice review nerdcore- thank you.

One thing I would like to point out so nobody feels deceived - the trigger pull may be similar to an RT trigger, but there is currently no reactivity. It is snappy and has a decent return force, but there is no active reset mechanism.

For now....
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm glad there's no reactive capability, not something i'm interested in. I like ol' fashioned semi.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Not sure if it will ever get an actual release, but I am working on one that has it.

Definitely not for everyone, just didn't want someone to see the comparison to an RT pull and assume it had the reactivity too.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nice review, I am letting the paint dry on my frame right now, hoping maybe to get it gassed up tonite. I am curious to hear the sound off this mech kit combined with the closed bolt kit
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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:// You called me deadlywind. lol
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