Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nerf Barricade - Mod Guide!

This Mod Guide will cover some performance mods for the Nerf Barricade.

Mods covered:
- Voltage Increase
- Trigger Activated Power On
- Flywheel Width Adjustment
- Stefan Compatibility

Disclaimer: Modify at your own risk. Modifications may wear out or damage your blaster. Please be careful when using hobby tools!

:: Voltage Increase ::

As the Barricade is a flywheel based blaster, the faster the flywheel motors spin the faster foam darts get fired out, hence longer range and faster dart velocity.

To increase the speed of the motors, simply increase the voltage feed.

In my examples, i use 14500 size 3.7V Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries (Brand: TrustFire / Unprotected versions) in my modded Barricades. The batteries can be sourced from specialist electronics stores or online sites.

14500 size 3.7V Li-Ion TrustFire rechargeable batteries are usually charged up to 4.2V, so i use 2 of them with a dummy AA battery in the 3rd battery slot. This configuration provides 8.4 Volts of power to the Barricade's motors.

With 8.4 Volts of power, the Barricade's motors spin much faster and the start-up response time is also quicker.

See the test fire video below for the range results based on this increased voltage.

I have also tested it with 3 x fully charged unprotected TrustFire Li-Ion rechargeable batteries with a total of 12.6 Volts, but the motors did not move. Therefore, it seems that 12.6 Volts from unprotected Li-Ion batteries is perhaps over the limits of its inbuilt safety thermistor, due to the higher discharge rates and voltage of these batteries.

Note that normal Alkaline batteries have limited discharge rates, and may therefore perform differently at the same voltage compared to these unprotected TrustFire Li-Ion batteries.

:: Trigger Activated Power On ::

Stock Barricades require their motors to be separately switched on, then constantly running to be able to fire.... but the motors will still be spinning even when its not firing anything!

This creates an incredibly annoying constant buzzing sound that has put off many players from using Barricades, not to mention the added power drain on the batteries.

I've worked out a way to solve this issue by installing a pressure switch which would be activated by the trigger pull instead.

Interestingly, the stock Nerf Barricade already has a pressure switch included for modders to use... its just under the original On/Off switch!

Step 1: Open the internal cover to the On/Off switch and you will find a pressure switch. Remove it and detach it from the circuit.

Step 2: Locate the area directly under the trigger, cut a slot around the size of the pressure switch and make sure it is aligned so that the trigger will be able to slide properly over the pressure switch.

Use the cut-out piece of plastic to make a ledge, this will serve as a holder for the pressure switch.

Step 3: Glue the pressure switch onto the plastic ledge and make sure it is positioned properly to allow the trigger to slide over it and depress the switch smoothly.

Connect the pressure switch to the circuit with some additional wiring.

Solder all the parts and wires together and wrap electrical tap on all exposed wiring.

This is how the new circuit should look like.

Thats it! Now your Barricade motors will only spin when you want to fire it.

The key to efficient usage is to simply pull the trigger a quarter way to get the motors spinning. As the motors start-up response time is much faster at higher voltage feeds, its just a split second before you can fire shots continuously.

With abit of practice, you'll be able to use it as a quick draw sidearm!

After firing, just release the trigger and the motors will stop spinning. No more constant buzzing when not firing! :)

Although the original On/Off switch is now no longer functional, it still acts as a useful trigger "safety" lock. So you can slide it forward to prevent accidental trigger pulls.

:: Flywheel Width Adjustment ::

For modders who want to use other types of foam darts, especially those which have narrower tips (ie. streamlines or stefans), one solution is to adjust the width of the flywheels.

In my example, i simply use electrical tape to increase the width of the flywheels.

The amount of tape layers required will depend on the foam darts used, so its up to modders to test and find the best combination of tape layers to apply.

Note that the plastic casings and ramps around the flywheels would need to be trimmed if thicker layers of material are wrapped around the flywheels, or else the wheels may get stuck.

:: Stefan Compatibility ::

For modders who want to use stefans or foam darts that are much shorter than normal stock foam darts, here is an idea you can try.

Slot separate foam spacer pieces in the barrels behind each stefan or short foam dart. The Barricade's dart pusher rod will push the foam spacer piece which in turn will push the stefan forward into the flywheels to be fired out.

:: Modified Nerf Barricade - Demo & Range Testing Video ::

Here is a demo and range testing video for reference.

:: Sample Test Fire Data ::

PTG: Parallel-To-Ground (Shoulder height, no elevation)
ATG: Angled-To-Ground (Aimed higher, 30 degrees elevation)

Distance is measured at where the dart lands (Average of 10 darts).

Stock Barricade
PTG = 25 ft
ATG = 35 ft

Modded Barricade (8.4 Volts & Trigger Activated Power On)
PTG = 50 ft
ATG = 60 ft

Note that the tests were done under controlled conditions with stock Nerf Sonic foam darts. The results are sample estimates for reference (your results may differ depending on materials and mod techniques used).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nerf Stampede - Plunger Catch Control Spring Troubleshoot!

Credit goes to Spartan at the NerfSG forum for detecting and solving this issue.

Some users who have modded their Nerf Stampedes may have encountered an odd issue whereby their blasters continue firing even after they release the trigger, resulting in erratic firing operation... or the bolt moving to and fro but the catch not releasing at all.

Here is a possible cause of this phenomenon:

The Stampede's Plunger Catch Control Spring has somehow popped out of position and no longer functions properly.

The solution is to remove the catch control component and reposition the spring back to its original position, then install it back into the Stampede.

Applying some tape to cover the gaps can also help prevent the spring from popping out again too.

This should help solve the Stampede's "auto-running" or erratic firing issues... or at least narrow down the causes. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nerf Stampede - Battery Sled "Quick-Release Catch" Mod!

Ever wished you could do away with using a precision screwdriver every time the Stampede's battery sled needs to be opened?

Especially for those of us modders who use higher voltage but lower capacity Li-Ion rechargeable batteries and need to frequently access the battery sled.

Here is an excellent functional mod from fellow Nerf enthusiast and modder irfanzain... the Nerf Stampede battery sled "Quick-Release Catch" Mod!

Check out his forum threads on this modification at NerfSG and NerfHaven. Full credits got to irfanzain for his simple yet efficient idea and design! :)

Here is an example of a set of quick-release catches that i've installed on one of my modded Nerf Stampedes:

Nerf Stampede - Battery Sled "Quick-Release Catch" Mod

Quick-release catches can be sourced from most major hardware stores and shops.

Yeah, i'm definitely installing quick-release catches on all my modded Stampedes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nerf Barricade - Internals Guide!

This guide will serve as a reference for the internals of the Nerf Barricade RV-10.

For a detailed review of the Nerf Barricade, click Here.

Nerf Barricade RV-10 - Disassembled

Nerf Barricade RV-10 - Flywheel System Detail

Nerf Barricade RV-10 - Motor Comparison with Tamiya Plasma Dash Motor

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Blaster Protection Cases!

As readers may have seen in my earlier post on Blaster Protection Cases which could fit blasters like Longshots or +bows... they worked well, but that version was just slightly too small for the Nerf Stampede.

Good News! I've managed to get larger protection cases that can fit the Nerf Stampede!

Yeah... Stampede players can now arrive in pro-style too!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nerf Stampede Mod Guide!

This Mod Guide will cover some performance mods for the Nerf Stampede.

Mods covered:
- Air Restrictor (AR) Removal
- Plunger Rod Air Release Seal
- Plunger Padding
- O-Ring Replacement
- Voltage Increase
- Aftermarket Spring Replacement

Disclaimer: Modify at your own risk. Modifications may wear out or damage your blaster. Please be careful when using hobby tools!

:: AR Removal ::

Step 1: Disassemble your Stampede. Make sure to remove all the screws before detaching the casing.

Step 2: Disassemble the plunger mechanism components and remove the plunger rod from the plunger casing.

Step 3: Use long screwdrivers and a hammer, carefully knock out the Air Restrictor (AR) assembly from both ends of the plunger and bolt.

Left Photo: Stock Air Restrictor / Right Photo: Air Restrictor Removed.

:: Plunger Rod Air Release Seal ::

Look at the front and back of the plunger tip, notice the 2 air release holes?
For a better air seal, use super glue or epoxy glue to seal both of them.

:: Plunger Padding ::

Without the AR, there is no air buffering system to cushion the plunger on bolt impact.

This results in very high wear and tear on the plunger and bolt casing, by both normal firing and dry firing. Due to repeated direct impacts on the bolt (hence the loud cracking sound during firing) over time, the bolt and plunger may become damaged.

Therefore, padding should be applied to the plunger to help cushion the impact.

In the following photo, i attached a 20mm diameter soft bumper padding to the tip of the plunger.

The 20mm diameter soft bumper pads i used in the above example are from a brand called "Volkmar-Fix", they can be found at most common hardware shops.

:: O-Ring Replacement ::

To test the plunger air seal, block the bolt exit and try to push the plunger rod into the plunger casing, if the air seal is optimized, there should be some resistance in the plunger. It should still be able to move smoothly when the bolt exit is not blocked.

If the plunger seal is loose, simply replace the stock o-ring with a more air-tight aftermarket o-ring.

From my experience, the plungers in different Stampede units can differ slightly in diameter, therefore you will have to test various o-rings to find the ideal ones that fit properly for an air-tight seal.

Photo Left: Aftermarket O-Ring / Photo Right: Stock O-Ring

:: Voltage Increase ::

The voltage feed to the Stampede's motor determines its speed and torque.

To increase the Stampede's Rate of Fire (RoF), simply increase the amount of voltage to its motor.

In my examples, i choose to use 14500 size 3.7V Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries (Brand: TrustFire / Unprotected versions) for all modded Stampedes.

I prefer to use these type of battery sizes due to their versatility in usage. Because of their AA compatible size, they can fit into multi-slot AA battery holders, and are not just limited to specific hobby or modding usage, they can also be used other devices like CREE torch lights or even to replace normal batteries in compact electronics devices (with proper voltage matching).

Such batteries can be installed in the original Stampede battery sled without additional modification, simply use AA or 2AA to D-battery converters, or use multi-slot AA battery holders.

14500 size 3.7V TrustFire unprotected Li-Ion rechargeable batteries can be charged up to 4.2V each, so i use 4 of them in a 4AA battery holder to get around 16.8V of power.

Notice how little space these rechargeable batteries require. :)

These 14500 size Li-Ion rechargeable batteries are compact and lightweight. Although their 900mAh capacity are low compared to other batteries, i've tested sets at full charge and have managed to fire around 40 x 18-dart clips worth of foam darts before the battery sets require recharging.

That's more than 700+ shots per charge, more than enough for most Nerf games.

As a reserve, i usually just carry an extra spare set for extended Nerf games or when the first set is recharging.

:: Aftermarket Spring Replacement ::

One way to increase the speed of air delivery through the bolt is to replace the stock spring with a stronger aftermarket spring.

There are many different springs with different sizes and spring force ratings. Spring choice will depend on your usage.

The examples below show the stock spring compared with 3 other aftermarket springs.

Photo (Left-Right): Stock Spring, 6kg load Spring, 9kg load Spring, 13kg load Spring.

Tested effects and usage of the various aftermarket springs shown above:
6kg load Spring
- Works with 9V but RoF will be reduced by 50%, recommend >12V for better RoF.

9kg load Spring- 9V has difficulty moving the plunger, 12V gets normal RoF, recommend >15V for better RoF.
13kg load Spring - 12V has difficulty moving the plunger, 15V gets normal RoF, recommend >18V for better RoF.

Note that the above voltages are tested with TrustFire 14500 unprotected Li-Ion rechargeable batteries. These unprotected Li-Ion batteries have high discharge rates which are necessary to provide the required torque to the motor to handle heavier spring loads.

Be advised that protected versions or regular Alkaline batteries may not have high enough discharge rates (separate factor from voltage) to enable the motor to pull such heavier spring loads.

For an optimal balance of RoF, range and reliability, i currently use 9kg load aftermarket springs with 16.8V power on my modded Stampedes.

Photo Top: Stock Spring / Photo Bottom: 9kg load Spring

:: Modified Nerf Stampede - Test Fire & Range Testing Video ::

All the above modifications will result in this...

:: Sample Test Fire Data ::

PTG: Parallel-To-Ground (Shoulder height, no elevation)
ATG: Angled-To-Ground (Aimed higher, 30 degrees elevation)

Distance is measured at where the dart lands (Average of 6 darts).

Stock Stampede
PTG = 20 ft
ATG = 30 ft

Modded Stampede (AR Removal & 6kg Load Aftermarket Spring)
PTG = 45 ft
ATG = 60 ft

Modded Stampede (AR Removal & 9kg Load Aftermarket Spring)
PTG = 60 ft
ATG = 75 ft

Modded Stampede (AR Removal & 13kg Load Aftermarket Spring)
PTG = 70 ft
ATG = 85 ft

Note that the tests were done under controlled conditions with customized foam darts. The results are sample estimates for reference (your results may differ depending on materials and mod techniques used).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Nerf Stampede - RoF & Test Fire Update!

Here is an update to the Nerf Stampede Voltage Increase and RoF Testing.

I have test fired more clips and have found that voltages of above 20 Volts produce way too high a rate-of-fire to be able to reliably chamber foam darts from clips and magazines. Although some clips might be able to fire properly once in a while, the majority of clips will get jammed easily very often. Just a slight delay in dart advancement or a bent dart can cause jams to occur.

Testing with 18 Volts provided more manageable speeds, the rate of jams occurring is less but it still happens, especially when worn-out foam darts happen to get stuck in the clips. Not a good situation to be in during a Nerf game!

Overall, i've found 15-16 Volts to be just right in terms of improved rate-of-fire, yet with smooth operation and low chances of jams occurring, even when slightly bent or damaged darts are used. Therefore, i'd recommend using 15-16 Volts for reliable operation in modded Stampedes.

With that note... here is a Clip Reload & Test Fire video of a modded Nerf Stampede running on 15 Volts.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blaster Protection Case!

Looking for an alternative to chucking your valuable blasters into a large bag and finding out later that they have been scratched up and full of scuffed marks en route to and from Nerf games?

Well, check this out... go all "professional" to Nerf games with a cool Blaster Protection Case!

Arrive at Nerf games in ultimate pro-style! :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nerf Stampede - Voltage Increase / RoF Testing (Work-In-Progress)

With the Nerf Stampede now available in stores, i've managed to get alot more sets to tinker and modify. I will be posting up a series of Mod Guides on the Nerf Stampede soon.

In the meantime, here is a glimpse at how increases in voltage affect the Stampede's Rate-of-Fire (RoF).

Important Disclaimer: DO NOT attempt this modification unless you are familiar with electrical circuits and accept if your blaster is damaged in the process! Modify at your own risk!


Refer to this follow-up link below for the test results and optimal RoF recommendations: