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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nerf Vulcan Mod - Increase Rate-of-Fire!

Want to increase the Nerf Vulcan's rate-of-fire?

The Nerf Vulcan's rate-of-fire (RoF) is voltage dependent. By default, the stock battery sled holds 6 x 1.5V D Batteries which combine to provide 9 Volt of power to the vulcan's motor, this supports a RoF of approx. 3 rounds per second or 180 rounds per minute.

To increase the RoF, a popular method is to increase the voltage to the motor. Here is how it can be done in a modular manner with affordable easy to find parts.

Step 1: Get the following items from an electrical supply store.

1 x Battery Holder (holds 10 x AA Batteries)
1 x Battery Holder Snap-on Adapter
2 x Insulated Wire Leads (Red + Black w/ Crocodile Clips)




Step 2: Attach everything together and install the AA Batteries (in this example, i used 10 x 1.5V AA Batteries which provide 15 Volt power in total). Please take note of the Positive (Red) and Negative (Black) wire leads, do not let them short-circuit!




Step 3: Remove the Nerf Vulcan's stock battery sled and clip the Red and Black wire leads onto the connection points (clip properly and note the wire lead colours!).




Final Step: Test out your upgraded Nerf Vulcan!




Here are the Test Fire Videos of my stock vs. upgraded Nerf Vulcans:

Nerf Vulcan RoF - Stock 9 Volt Power (180 RPM)

video

Nerf Vulcan RoF - Upgraded 15 Volt Power (300 RPM)

video


Do note that as expected with most electrical components, increasing voltage to a motor might invariably shorten its operating lifespan.

I've also tested increasing the voltage to 18 Volt and 24 Volt by adding more batteries (and also tested with other battery types like R/C car Li-Po batteries), the RoF gets even faster! But at those crazy speeds i could smell the motor start to overheat even after firing just 2-3 ammo belts, therefore do be careful when increasing voltage to those limits! Don't let your Vulcan's motor burn out prematurely.

This upgrade is easily reversible back to stock voltage (just detach the clips and revert back to using the stock battery sled) and its very modular too, so you can adapt it to your own preferences. :)

95 comments:

  1. At least it wont melt like the one done by Manapotions.com xD

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    Replies
    1. You could literally smell it through the video.

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  2. I like it! I wonder how hard it would be to replace the motor with something less melty...

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  3. Its possible, just need to find the right sized motor with higher voltage specs. :)

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  4. 15 volts is that, 5 darts per second? Also, could I upgrade to a 15 volt battery pack, and it would not melt the housing, right?

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  5. Yup, at 15 Volts i measured a 5 dart per second firing rate.

    I guess you could try a 15 Volt battery pack (ie. RC battery or other battery source), it should work too. But as with any voltage upgrade, if you start to smell the motors heating up, just make sure to let the motors cool down for a while before continuing. :)

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  6. While using it at 15 Volts, have you ever been able to smell the motor?

    Also, do you know of any 15 Volt battery packs that would work?

    Thanks!

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  7. At 15 Volts, i'd usually smell the motors start to overheat after 6-7 ammo belts of continuous firing. I'll usually let it cool down for a while before resuming.

    If you are looking for 15 Volt battery packs, check at R/C hobby stores, they can usually custom build battery packs in various voltages for you.

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  8. Thanks for the help!
    One more question, I could use a battery a battery like this and use it in the Vulcan, right?

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  9. this one
    http://www.batteryjunction.com/a23.html

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  10. Well, you could use those small 12V battery too... but do note that other than voltage ratings, you'll also need to factor in the battery capacity or mAh.

    In general, mAh determines how long a battery can last at a given voltage output.

    If you notice, that small 12V battery only has 65 mAh. In comparison, a 1.5V AA battery has around 3,000 mAh, and a 1.5V D battery has 20,000 mAh!

    Low mAh batteries are more suitable for small, low power requirement devices. If its used for larger devices which consume alot of power, its power would be drained very quickly.

    Check out this wiki link for more info on battery technology:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity)

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  11. Would it be possible to replace the motors with ones that won't last less time or overheat, but are the same size or a little larger?

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  12. Its possible to replace the original motor with a better motor, you'll just need to source for suitable sized motors.

    Check with R/C hobby shops, bring along the original motor to help match the motor size.

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  13. Thanks! On a side note, YOU RULE!

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  14. If i go to a R/C hobby store, what motor should i ask for so it can take more voltage higher than 15 volts?

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  15. R/C hobby shops stock various designs and types of motors, so it'll be best to physically bring along your existing Vulcan motor to the shop and seek their professional advice on suitability and fit.

    You'll have to make sure that the aftermarket motor has the necessary speed as well as torque to operate the Vulcan's mechanism, and be able to operate at higher voltages without overheating over extended periods of time.

    In addition, with added speed and torque, do consider that the firing mechanism gears may also need reinforcement or replacement too.

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  16. how can u make a tutorial on how to replace the moter

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  17. You can find a brief example on replacing the Vulcan's motor here:

    http://antonolsen.com/2009/03/02/nerf-vulcan-repair-and-modification/

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  18. Through my research - Calculator - I have found that for ever 3 volts you add, you get +1dps - Dart Per Second. Thus, 30 volts would be 10 darts per second, and if you could somehow give it 75 volts, you could fire off the whole belt in less than a second, though you'll be able to have motor soup, seeing as it's already melted for you..

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  19. I used a 9.6 volt r/c battery because it is cheaper per volt and amp than D size batteries.

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    Replies
    1. Is it possible to cut vents in the thing, or better yet, put a small fan in there to cool the motor and reduce overheating?

      Delete
  20. did the motor melt with your mod?

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  21. lachlan,

    With the 15 Volts setup thats shown in my mod guide, so far after a dozen or so Nerf games, my modded Vulcans are still running well.

    I guess it all depends on the amount of usage put into it... and luck! :)

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  22. Does it jam any more with this mod than in stock condition?

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  23. John,

    Well, i've not experienced any significant increase in the chances of jams occuring after modding the Vulcan for higher RoF.

    I guess it just depends on users making sure good ammo belt feed methods are still practiced (ie. make sure the ammo belt is positioned properly and supported well, let the ammo belt feed freely, don't pull on the ammo belt etc).

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  24. So this method is compatible with my 75 round Vulcan?

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  25. tim,

    Yup, it'll work with any length of Vulcan ammo belt.

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  26. i have been trying to put in 2 9 volt batterys in with wire and duck tape it does not work ive tryed 5 way to rewire what am i doing wrong

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  27. johnathan,

    Make sure you have the battery polarity (ie + and -) connected properly and the batteries you are using have enough mAh capacity left to provide power.

    Imho, 9V batteries have very low mAh capacity, so there is a chance that those 9V batteries you are using might have no more power already, hence they can't even run the motor.

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  28. is there any way to change the gears or up anything else

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  29. blackcat54321,

    Sure, you'll just have to find suitable aftermarket springs, gears and motors to replace the stock versions. :)

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  30. I had an idea. What if you used a small computer fan or three? You could port ducts in for air flow, and out to keep it flowing smooth, and I am sure that you could feed the power that the fans would need off either the power supply for te gun, but that may not work so you could always make it have its own little power supply... Like some of these Blowers on this page might work... http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDrillDownView?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&categoryName=cat_37&subCategoryName=Fans%20%26%20Cooling%20%2F%20Blowers&category=3720&refine=1&position=1&history=xtbzani3%7CsubCategoryName~Fans%2B%5Ecategory~37%5EcategoryName~category_root%5EprodPage~15%5Epage~SEARCH%252BNAV

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  31. firstly i dont know what to buy and mod a vulcan or stampede
    for the batteries can i use a power rce that has dynamo so when i run around in it it recharges like a car battery by itself

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  32. omar,

    Get the Nerf Stampede, much easier to use in Nerf games.

    As for your dynamo idea (like a car alternator), you can try and see if it works. Do post your results here if you are successful with it. :)

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  33. Where did you buy the 10 AA battery holder?

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  34. Cliff,

    From electronics parts supply shops.

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  35. Would a 9.6V R/C NiCd rechargeable battery pack work?

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  36. Epic Bro ofthe Flow-25,

    Yes, it should be able to work.

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  37. how do u put back the batteries once u have mod it. wont the croc clips come off?

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  38. Mag Lu,

    The battery holder and croc clip layout is just a test example, i simply slot it into the empty battery sled space in the Vulcan. Another method is to mod the battery sled so that the battery holder fits securely in it.

    There are many other ways to connect external power sources to the Nerf Vulcan, just try out different ideas and see which work best.

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  39. Hi SG Nerf,
    Is there a specific reason you used 10 normal AAs instead of 4 of the 3.7V TrustFire unprotected Li-Ion rechargeable batteries like you used in the Stampede mods?
    This would allow for recharging as well as not burning through a thousand AAs.
    I realize that would get 16-17v instead of 15v, but is that enough to make it overheat?
    Also, why use Unprotected vs. Protected batteries?
    Thanks!

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  40. Micah,

    The reason is quite simple... this mod guide was posted almost 2 years ago and i did not have any TrustFire rechargeable Li-Ion or Ni-Mh batteries then. :)

    Yes, you can definitely use rechargeable Ni-Mh or Li-Ion batteries in the Vulcan voltage increase mods.

    Note that although the 16-17V (and higher) voltage feeds seem to work well in the modded Stampedes tested so far, from previous modding experience, the Vulcan's motors seem to be less durable and tend to burn out more easily, so you might need to be prepared for that.

    As for the usage of unprotected vs protected batteries, its all a matter of how much current draw the motors require.

    Protected batteries have set limits on their current discharge rate, and if this limit is below what the motor requires, then the motor will just stall. This is even more apparent if stronger aftermarket plunger springs are used, as the heavier load will cause the motor to increase its current draw to higher rates.

    Thats why i use unprotected batteries, as they have no limits and provide the motor with all the current it requires even under heavier loads.

    ReplyDelete
  41. What other mods would you encourage with the Vulcan?
    I bought one and i attempted to take out the air restricter from the gun but I was dissapointed to find out nerf glued the bolt shut to prevent the AR from being taken out.

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  42. DOOM,

    You could just drill the AR out. The other mod is to replace the stock spring with a stronger aftermarket spring.

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  43. from the front? wouldn't that mess with shooting the darts if you drilled it?

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  44. DOOM,

    It depends on how you do it, some modders drill out the AR on the bolt so it becomes just a clear channel from plunger to ammo belt, others just drill out the pegs in the ammo belt shells.

    Note that once the bolt AR is removed, you have to be careful not to dry fire as the repeated full force of the plunger impacts may result in damage to the plunger components.

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  45. i see, if i put those stick on bumpers on the plunger like you did with other mods would that solve the dry fire issue?

    would you recommend removing the AR from the bolt?

    Are those the only mods for the vulcan besides AR removal, increase voltage, and replacing the spring?

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  46. DOOM,

    The plunger padding is to cushion the impacts when an AR removed blaster is firing foam darts, it helps to reduce the chances of breakage but it's still not recommended to dry fire without foam darts (plungers can break if dry fired often even with plunger padding installed).

    If you want to remove the AR to get abit more range, just factor in the higher wear and tear that will occur, and the possibility of parts breakage. If you okay with it, then by all means.

    So far... AR removal, spring upgrades and voltage increases are the basic performance mods that are relatively easy to do on the Vulcan, you can try other advanced mods like replacing the motors with more powerful ones or increasing the size of the plunger system, but that'll depend on your skill and time. :)

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  47. Is there an easy way to pop out the overhand handle? I slotted it in before i realized it prevented me from opening up the casing when i want to mod it. :3

    ALSO: your mods are wonderful. I just finished what i had assumed was the daunting task of removing the stampede AR. But it was actually pretty easy. thanks!

    ALSO also: have you thought about installing an ammunition counter for the vulcan or stampede or something? like a small digital readout? could be pretty awesome looking, assuming you find the right parts, cut the right holes etc.

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  48. John,

    Thanks for the nice feedback, i appreciate it.

    I guess the simplest and quickest way to pop out the Vulcan's carrying handle is to just use a large flathead to pry it off.

    Alternatively, you could also remove the machine screws in the handle and try taking it apart in pieces.

    As for digital ammo counters, there are a few modders over at the NerfSG forum who have successfully done ammo counter mods on their Vulcans, it basically requires the installation of a digital counter kit with pressure switches positioned to register the ammo count, quite a fun project to try out. :)

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  49. Hum... ive looked around the forums and i cant seem the find a digital counter mod. I dont know how well the search function works on the forum, but nothing is coming up.

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  50. John,

    You can check out a video of the digital ammo mod on a Vulcan in this video done by one of the NerfSG members (D-Mauler):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwaffu5cdoY

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  51. Do you think 8 AA batteries would do the trick? I bought a pack that holds 8 then realized you used a ten pack. Can I still get 4 rmp?

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  52. DL,

    Well, 8 x 1.5V Alkaline batteries will output 12V so you'll get slightly faster RoF than the stock 9V... with fresh new batteries, 4 rounds-per-minute RoF should be possible.

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  53. How often do you have to change your batteries?

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  54. DL,

    It varies depending on the quality and capacity of the batteries used, you'll just have to test them to find out their effective usage lifespan.

    Nowadays i use sets of 4 x 14500-size 900mAh Li-Ion rechargeable batteries to get around 16.8V, so far i've found that those can last through at least 40-50 ammo belts before requiring a recharge.

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  55. Thanks for the help!
    One last thing: Have you thought of doing an internals guild for the Vulcan?

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  56. DL,

    Well, Vulcan internals guides have already been done by other modders, you can refer to a good example in this photo link (by "Splitlip" from NerfHaven forum):

    http://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo244/cheesypiza001/THE%20INTERNALS%20DIRECTORY/Vulcaninternals.jpg

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  57. I tried a 12 volt rechargeable battery with 2500 Mah, and all it did was strip the gears. Advice?

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  58. Henry,

    I guess the batteries you used are perhaps a high discharge rate version? 'cos that might explain the extra torque the motor gets when you use those batteries. Something might have caused additional resistance during operation but the motor just forced it's way through, hence resulting in stripped gears.

    As with all mods, the internal components of your blaster will experience much higher wear and tear, so mod at your own risk! ;)

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  59. hi you know those adapters you use to convert double "a" batteries to "d"? i used double "a" batteries and taped a small metal ball in between the batteries and it worked! cuz i don't really know where to get the adapters for a cheap price...

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  60. Kyle,

    Yup, there are many alternative ways to connect up smaller batteries in series configuration (like how you used some metal contacts to connect your batteries).

    Just make sure they are secure and safe enough, and don't disconnect during usage or cause short circuits.

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  61. I am planning to use a 1x4 clip for aa's and 4 3.7v 14500 size rechargeable batteries. I just wanted to make sure this will work.

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  62. annother guy,

    Using 4 x 14500 Li-Ion rechargeable batteries in a 4AA battery holder should be workable for the Vulcan, just make sure the batteries are unprotected versions or have specifically higher discharge rate limits.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Does this look about right?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/2PCS-14500-AA-1200mAh-Rechargeable-Battery-3-7V-/120759090595?pt=US_Batteries&hash=item1c1dcd7da3

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  64. annother guy,

    Although the 14500 size is correct, there is no mention of whether it is unprotected or what its discharge rate limits are in the listing description... so not sure if they are the right ones.

    For easier reference, i use the following batteries and chargers for my voltage mods:

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/trustfire-14500-3-7v-900mah-rechargeable-lithium-batteries-2-pack-19771

    http://www.dealextreme.com/p/trustfire-tr-001-multi-purpose-lithium-battery-charger-12594

    You can just order them directly from the DealExtreme.com website, they offer free international shipping.

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  65. Hi, I replaced the entire motor assembly with a ESC, brushless RC motor, and servo tester as the trigger. Hits 600+ rpm with no burning.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcocUwG6JeE

    ReplyDelete
  66. so is there an air restrictor to remove or not. if so is it internal or on the belt. and will changing the spring mess up how the belt fire when it aligns causing a late release of air?

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  67. crakdice,

    Yes, there is an AR in the Vulcan's plunger tube... its actually very similar to the Stampede.

    The plastic stems in ammo belt shells are just to restrict ammo types, they can be removed if you plan to use stefans.

    Changing the spring to a stronger one would basically just require more torque from the motor to pull it (using battery sources with high current discharge rates is therefore recommended)... the firing process and ammo belt cycle timing will still be in sync.

    ReplyDelete
  68. how much damage would 18 volts do to the motor?

    and whats the ROF with eighteen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lanh, Duc, Joey & Sydney Nguyen-Khoa,

      RoF will probably be abit faster, and i guess it'll also just wear out the motor abit sooner than at 15V. :)

      Delete
  69. i tried 12v and all went well. i tried 18v and after a few shots it stopped. i reverted to 12v and it still didnt work. when i pull the trigger, some weird gear sounds are made. do you know what happened?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lanh, Duc, Joey & Sydney Nguyen-Khoa,

      I've not encountered that issue before... but i guess it could be one of the gears somehow slipping out of alignment, you'll have to open up the gearbox to check.

      Note that there is also a gear system controlling the ammo belt cycling process, that might be out of sync too.

      Delete
  70. well i got a few vulcans and a few laptop power supplys and i am in the middle of attempting to add the power supply into the battery bay to the gun but as i am testing the motor its just like really slow like 1 dar per 2-3 secs slow any help here could and would be very much appreciated thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TG Mods,

      Well, most laptop battery packs are made up of Li-Ion battery cells, but if you just link the battery pack directly to the Vulcan, there might be internal protection circuits in the packs that limit the current output (which may not supply the higher current required for the motor to pull the spring plunger quicker).

      I guess an alternative is to open the laptop battery pack (check online for guides on how to do it safety), and remove the individual Li-Ion cells, then see if they can be used as individual cells in battery holders.

      Delete
  71. Could i use my NEW BRIGHT R/C cars batteries to power it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JBalsamo,

      I've not tested those type of batteries before... i guess you'll just have to try them out to see if they can work well in the Vulcan.

      Delete
  72. Can you use a battery holder that doesn't hold 10 AAs, like a 8 AA holder, or a 6 AA holder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      Yes, you can use battery holders with different number of slots to increase or decrease the amount of voltage feed to the blaster.

      Delete
  73. I don't know if this has been mentioned in the mile long comments, but no matter how many batteries you want to add, they all still need replacing or recharging. How about wiring in a power socket to take an adaptor pack (9, 12v or whatever) and run it straight from mains power. It's not going to be portable, but it will have indefinate usage, specially for fixed or mounted use! Off to the electronics shop to see what I can find :)

    ReplyDelete
  74. UPDATE: Wired in a DC Male plug to battery terminals, bought a 9 - 24 selectable voltage adaptor....result: 540rpm at 24v, (3 x standard rate of fire) All for $40.

    ReplyDelete
  75. That's totally awesome! What about car batteries!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HK nerfer,

      Usable... but not practical. :)

      Delete
  76. If you add a stronger spring, will it slow down the RoF?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      Yes, if stronger springs are installed, the RoF will also slow down accordingly.

      Delete
    2. Does that mean that a stronger spring with 18V will wear down the motor slower than a stock spring with 18V?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous,

      Stronger springs will increase the load on the motor, so it will contribute to the overall stress.

      When a blaster is modded with stronger spring and higher voltage, both mods will decrease the motor lifespan.

      Delete
    4. I know, but the chance of the motor melting won't be as high, correct?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous,

      As mentioned, a stronger spring will increase the load on the motor, that will cause it to overheat sooner (with both stock or higher voltage), so it contributes to the chances of the motor burning out.

      Delete
  77. what if you used more than one car battery?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calvin Wilcox,

      I guess you'll get a good gym workout lugging all that extra weight around. :)

      Delete
  78. This article sorely needs info on battery capacity and voltage drop. 8 AA batteries will only hold 12 volts up to about 5 amps, after that the batteries begin to overheat. However, a 3S LiPo battery pack of the same weight (which isn't very much), although it will be slightly larger, would be able to hold out as much as 70 amps of current before dropping below 12V. Please advise, before too many innocent AA batteries are drained.

    ReplyDelete