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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gearing Up!: Burst Wizard Stampede Easy Install Guide

Before we even get started, this build presumes at least passing familiarity with the mechanism of a Stampede.  While the internals are not nearly so complex and intimidating as some people choose to make them sound, this isn't an internals reveal and review.  The "Easy" in the title of the article is a relative thing, and you will need basic modding skills.  Another word of caution, this writeup is based on a teardown and rebuild of a previous test build, some some steps were already completed before photography became a concern.

Make sure to clear a nice large works space to get to work in, and stock it with the following:

  • Stampede, obviously.  Unmodified is not a necessity, but you'll have an easier time with one you already know is functional.
  • Burst Wizard King Kong Super 2 or newer airsoft burst controller with Deans Ultra connectors.  This writeup pertains only to this particular series of controllers, and we claim zero responsibility for failed installs of other controllers.
  • Orange Mod Works catch spring, Stampede catch control spring, and either 4 or 6 kg Stampede spring
  • #1 Phillips Screwdriver
  • Dremel tool with full compliment of cutting and grinding bits.
  • Hot glue gun and plenty of glue for it.
  • Soldering Iron, Solder, and Shrink Wrap
  • 18 gauge or better wire, I used 18 gauge speaker install wire from Radioshack
  • (OPTIONAL)Castle Creations Castle Series Wire Harness, with Deans Ultra Connectors.

Not enough workspace.
First, obviously, remove your battery tray and open up your blaster.  Stampede screws are notorious for stripping, so don't feel bad if you have to dremel or drill out a screw or two.  Just keep your drill or dremelling as clean as possible.

Remove all wiring, switches and motor, preferably without cutting anything.  Patience and forethought pays off here because we will be re-using a couple of switches, namely the trigger switch and safety switch.  Make sure to leave the leads nice and long on your trigger and safety switches, you can always trim them later.  I also retained the forward magazine safety switch, for later integration with the Burst Wizard 3 when I get around to grabbing one for testing.

Now would be a good time to do all the standard Stampede modifications.  Replace the catch and catch control springs, with the ones you ordered from Orange Mod Works, or other sources.  Remove your air restrictor and install your OMW mainspring.  I haven't tested all possible springs, but the OMW 4 and 6kg springs will work in this build, as should any full length spring in excess of 4kg.  A Tek6 spring, although perfect for many other Stampede builds, cannot be used in this build.  With all that done, remove the Cycle Control Rocker and trim it to remove the upper lobe that interfaces with the bottom of the plunger tube.  We won't be needing that and it only ever interferes with the BW's timing and control.  Nothing good comes from having two separate systems arguing for control over the motor.  Put the plunger tube, cover, return spring and return spring rest back in place and screw them down appropriately.  Don't put the Cycle Control Rocker back in yet.

Next cut the end cap off of the battery tray.  We still need that cap for comfort and neat outer looks, but D-cells are so... 1970's.  We will be replacing the power supply with a pair of 1700mAh 2S LiPo packs in this build, but the way the blaster is build in this write up is quite tolerant of NiMH, LiPo, LiFePO4, IMR's or even Trustfires if you should feel the need to make a rather poor decision.  As an aside here, it would be an utter waste of this build to run it on Trustfires.  They just don't supply enough current to really keep the motor happy, which leads to longer cycle times, slower trigger response, potential cell damage and less dakka.  Seriously, for high performance builds of ANY kind, don't waste your effort by fueling it with half ass power supplies.

Next up:  The motor PCB has got to go.  Anything getting between the power supply and the motor is an unforgivable waste of energy and our time.  Boo Hiss, get that shit out of here.  Mark your positive motor pole before disconnecting leads and removing the PCB, that will be important when you get around to running your connection from the BW to the motor with your nice fat 18 gauge wire.  Over to the right you can see the stock motor compared to the one we pulled out of the test Stampede and later installed in the functioning version of the Burst-pede.  It was a convenient moment to get them side by side to show you what the difference should look like.  When you get around to screwing it back down into the gearbox, make sure the positive terminal is on top.  It won't make a difference to the operation of the blaster but will make wiring everything up a little bit easier.

Next, clip your trigger switch out of the stock wiring harness, leaving nice long leads.  Remember that Cycle Control Rocker I told you not to put back in earlier?  Put it and the trigger switch back in, and put the cover on them.  Clip the wire off of the NC position of the trigger switch, you won't need it.  While we didn't think to photograph the preparation of the Burst Wizard itself, it's an easy enough thing to describe.  Cut the heat shrink tube off, desolder the MOTOR-side connector leads along with their female connector, and replace them with a nice long section of your own wire, whether using speaker wire like I did, or two lengths of hobby wire.  While on the subject: Why speaker wire?  Simple, It can be left together to give nice clean runs of parallel wires, especially useful since your leads will go directly from the BW controller to the motor leads, when we get around to running those.  CAREFULLY solder a nice long piece of 24 gauge wire salvage from the stock Stampede wiring to the trigger contact pad on the BW controller's PCB.  The location of the pad is in the manual that came with your controller.  On the BW2 it's next to the indicator LED.  Place a nice large piece of heat shrink tube over your newly prepared BW, leaving the LED exposed.

Test fit your BW in the cavity below the battery bay, and if you're happy with that positioning, cut a slot in the bottom of the battery bay to feed the battery leads through.  If you're happy with its placement tack it down with hot glue and begin running the wires through the body to the are with the motor and trigger switch. Tack down wires and trim bulkheads as needed.  In my case I also used a Castle Creations Series Wire Harness, with the connector inside the BW's cavity so that I couldn't accidentally pull the harness out during a battery change.  I would recommend using a single 4S battery with a 30C rating and 3500mAh rating, if you can afford the expense.  If using two packs like I do, be aware of the additional requirements of making sure that the batteries are always charged together and balanced. In short if you use twin packs like I do they MUST be identical packs, and those two packs are married to each other for life.

Connect your 24gauge wire to one of the two trigger switch leads, either  the Common or NO (that's the lower one).  Trim wire lengths, solder, heatshrink and tack down to keep that line out of the way of the trigger mechanism.  Solder the negative motor cable directly to the negative motor terminal, after appropriate routing and trimming.  Next, solder BOTH the remaining trigger lead AND the positive motor wire to the positive motor terminal, after appropriate trim and routing of course.  Check all your connections for shorts.  If desired splice your safety switch into the 24 gauge trigger wire.  Trace your leads from the BW to double check your work.  You should now be able to hook up your power supply of choice and proceed to programming your BW according to the manual, using mode 11 to set a custom burst length.  If using a Lithium based battery make sure to set the appropriate Lithium battery protection mode.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Voberries 7.2

EDIT: Additional measuring has led me to the conclusion that these are the exact same the Voberry darts mentioned below.

Seems like we have a lot of choices lately when it comes to the ammo we use for our blasters.  Stock elites, koosh darts, cheater lengths as well as the new voberries that just popped up.  And this doesn't take into account any of the many stefan varieties.  I recently noticed a different batch of darts pop up on ebay.  Cheap and plentiful, I ordered a batch to evaluate.  The short of it is that they appear to be identical to the voberries except for their length.  More detailed information below.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Burst Wizard: Lets Talk Features

Previously I talked about how I got my Stampede to fire in three round bursts.  Today I talk about the little device that made it possible for Rebound and I to accomplish it in only a week.  Okay I suppose that would be computers and the UPS supply chain.  Lets revise that to within a couple hours of sitting down with the device.  Specifically let's talk about features.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hasbro, Meet the Streisand Effect

"An injunction is a very expensive way to make sure
 a very boring story reaches the maximum number
of people"
Jeremy Clarkson, Have I Got News for You
Dear Hasbro,

It has come to my attention by way of other bloggers that one of your employees, or someone pretending to be one of your employees, has demanded that one of our community take down a picture of a display showing a series of unreleased blasters.  I suppose that's a step up from last time when you sent people to his home to harass him, so I applaud your marginal improvement.

I, however would like to introduce you to the Streisand Effect.  When an individual or group attempts to suppress something that they don't want known or seen, often this causes people to become more curious, and in many cases mirror the content to make suppression effectively impossible.  This is particularly true when intimidation, legal or otherwise, is used against a party with comparatively little power.  This was the case when Barbra Streisand attempted to sue a photographer to suppress a photo of her house, and it was true in 2012 when you attempted to intimidate the owner of Urban Taggers.

If you wish to keep information under wraps, I suggest plugging your leaks rather than attempting to intimidate and harass your fans.  Look at your supply chain and contractors.  The information originates with them and their failure to control said information, not with bloggers who receive the information and publish it.

If you had left it alone, you would simply have your fan base stirred up and excited for more information and new products.  Instead you have ensured that this information will be spread as widely as possible, while alienating your fanbase.  Good Job, Big H!


Gearing Up!: Burst-fire Cheap and Easy

Every once in a while.... Okay, quite often, I have been known to have some wacky ideas.  Ideas like "How much trouble can I get into using only a box of corndogs and a pack of rubber-bands?"  or "Can I shove this thing into that other thing?"  This latest bit of wackiness falls in the latter category.

I was sitting at work, minding my own business, trying to do some actual work for once.  And along comes my brain, "Hey.  Hey! Hey, Listen!!  Hey, Animal!!..... Burst fire!".  That last bit actually got my attention, because I loves me some nerf modification with a dash of mad science.  Nothing makes me giggle quite so madly as when one of my abominations works and I get to reenact the "IT'S ALIVE!" scene from Frankenstein.  Anyway thus begins the story of why I have accomplished NOTHING productive this last week.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gearing up! Midland XTC Action Camera with Bonus!

Something personally I've liked doing recently is watching footage from other groups nerf events.  The stuff coming from B.U.R.N. as well as Basic Nerf and others is fun to watch and a good way to get ideas for games and gear.  At some point, the thought might cross your mind "I'd like to try recording my own events!"  But which camera to use?  Everyone has an opinion, here's mine.
The Midland XTC 205 with mounts and case.

I chose the Midland XTC 205 for several reasons.  First probably was cost.  What can I say, I'm a cheap bastard when it comes down to it.  Really though, it can be difficult to justify the cost of something like a Go-Pro (which costs several hundred dollars)  when you're only going to be using it maybe once a month.  The unit I picked up clocked in at about $40 plus shipping and was purchased through ebay, which is how I suggest buying one incidentally.  Amazon has a similar  model for just over $70 while buying one directly from Midland will cost about $100.

More after the break.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gearing Up!: Apex Weapon Systems "35 Oscar Mike"

Jangular is at it again, this time with a review of Apex Weapon Systems' 35 round drum holder, the "35 Oscar Mike".

As a prior user of AWS mag carriers on one of my older rigs, as reviewed in a previous blog entry, I can stand by the review in this video in good faith.  Apex Weapon Systems has never done me wrong, and has been the go-to supplier for gear in my local group.

Click the image for the video.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blastersmiths UK MkI Battle Belt

Jangular has been kind enough to submit a review of the BSUK Battle Belt he ordered, for use in the GearUp! Database. I've been pondering ordering a set of the Cuirass and the Battle Belt for a while, but while I was trying to decide, Jang got himself one and some other goodies.

If you looked at the review of the NC Star M4 Chest Rig, and thought you'd like it better without the shoulder harness and hydration pack, this may be the solution for you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I know it's late in coming, but...

As some no doubt know already, Akmetan from teh Reddits has joined our writing staff.  Akmetan runs Reynolds Corner Nerfers, or ReCoN for short, way up in the perpetually frozen land of Ohio, and hosts frequent successful indoor wars.  Welcome to our motley crew, Akmetan!

Special Thanks

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