Digital.Complex: [nerf] Rapidstrike CS-18 (N-Strike Elite) - Digital.Complex

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[nerf] Rapidstrike CS-18 (N-Strike Elite)

#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 05:28 PM

I picked up a Rapidstrike CS-18 from Target for $25 after a price cut and some coupons (normal price is $40). As my first electric blaster I'm kind of excited to start modding it...

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Here it is as it came from the box. It's quite a good looking blaster

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I finally pulled it apart after taking off ten million screws

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A quick look at the flywheel system

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A quick look at the trigger system

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my wattmeter doesn't reliably read 5v or less so I used my lipo straight to the battery contacts. Linearly scaling the watt reading, it should pull about 4.5A at 6v.

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inductors on the plunger motor

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jam door proximity switch

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electronics gutted for further investigation

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battery tray, accepts 4x C batteries

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modified so I can fit some real batteries instead

More to come!
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#2 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:24 PM

Finished up the mod. Took about five hours to understand the schematic, wire everything up and test.

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This is the jam door switch, ready to be desoldered from the harness. It's better to leave it in unattached since it prevents the door from rattling.

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pulling the shielding board off of the flywheel assembly, this is the result

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soldered 24AWG wire straight to the motor terminals to both bypass the inductors while keeping the PCB intact, and to better handle the increased current from running higher voltage. I'm not sure how much copper density the PCB has, but I can't imagine it to be much.

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as you can see in the previous picture, I scraped off some of the insulation in order to solder a bridge between the motor pads and the common ground. This will serve as an attachment point for the wiring later, and also it connects the shielding PCB to the ground since I will be reusing it.

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cracked open the pusher mechanism in order to take out the motor in there

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I accidentally a switch

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the pusher motor straight out of the shell

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desoldered the inductors

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rest in the case for now until I finish everything else

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thinking of how to redo the switches in here, there's a lot of excessive mechanical movement

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I found a couple of these microswitches laying around from my old IIDX projects

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I can make it fit with minimal grinding

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marking where to cut the trigger plastic

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cut

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fully depressed

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now I have to figure out what to do with the flywheel switch. I have to use this pathetically small SPDT in order to control the biggest current consumer in the blaster because I broke the other DPDT. :\ I'll just run it like this until it fries, then I'll think of something else.

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checking the clearance with the switch location mocked up

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thankfully the switches were designed to be operated this way, the plastic is slippery enough so that it still works smoothly

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starting to wire everything up

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wiring up the pusher motor

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route the wires underneath and they won't get pinched

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with some care, the wire management works well. All that's left at this point is to test.

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as soon as I hooked up the battery, the pusher extended and held there. The flywheels and trigger worked perfectly fine, but the plunger was logically inverted to what it had to be. I had accidentally flipped the contacts, and this needed to be fixed. You can see on the earlier photos that the red wire was soldered to the right side of the switch before.

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testing everything again to make sure it works properly

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and it does! not bad numbers for using such a tiny NiMH battery pack too. Voltage sagged to around 7.5v under peak amp consumption.

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Soldered on the Deans

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and put everything back together.

The blaster does shoot a lot faster, hits harder and I imagine shoots further now that the voltage to the motors are increased and the crappy stock wire was replaced with RC-grade 22 and 24AWG. I was reading forums of the Nerf community and they all agreed that it was too small and you should run 16AWG but that's stupid since these things pull less than 10A, which is in the order of magnitude of 1:2x scale highly modified 130 motors. I don't see Mini-Z racers running 16AWG, and it's not even a matter of weight. Sure, the wire runs are longer and the harness isn't exposed to very much cooling airflow, but the usage of bursts of power to the motors with periods of off-time when the blaster is empty or being reloaded is completely different than RC racing, where the amp draw average is closer 100% over the use. If something does overheat I will find out quickly by either smell/smoke or a lipo explosion (hopefully not the last one), and I will use larger gauge wire. Until then, I deem it unnecessary. Besides, the ESC BEC's these days can pound out 5A+ and thirsty servos easily drain that much, and those are still run on 24AWG at the largest with connectors that have much higher resistance than Deans.
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#3 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 12:04 PM

After some quick measurements, I found the usable internal dimensions of the C battery holder to be 56mm wide, 26mm deep and 113mm long. Thus, 113x56x26 is the dimensions of lipo that I'm looking for, maybe a little less on the depth due to the battery chamber being tapered for the C cells.

Edit: I have about 92mm absolute maximum with the switch installed, unless I clean out the cap. The absolute maximum to the door is about 106mm.
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#4 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 03:25 AM

Picked up another Rapidstrike because I'm an idiot. lol

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Unfortunately this one has the infamous glue update. The pusher gearbox is glued to the top shell. It required a whole ton of force by Kellan to rip open.

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You can see the slight indents where the CA melted the plastic from the outside.

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pulling out the guts, a lot faster this time

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repercussions of blasting the two halves open like we did, the negative lead is mounted in the upper shell so that got torn off. Nothing that a solder job couldn't fix.

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I decided to use the same technique to mount the main trigger switch.

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I routed out a little bit of the top plastic piece so the bottom screw wouldn't cause problems.

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clean parts placement, all there's left to do is wire it up

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instead of using the acceleration trigger, I decided to hard mount this automotive toggle on the outside of the barrel. My hands are large enough to flip the switch back and forth with my pinky when my left hand is holding the grip. This way, I solve the problem of 1. not having a large enough switch to handle the current of the flywheel motors, 2. have the wiring harness to the biggest current hog be unnecessarily long, and 3. when lifting off the accel trigger I tend to hit the mag-release button with my finger.

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what it looks like on the inside.

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mockup with the end cap on. The space between the switch's nut to the end of the cap is about 92mm.
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#5 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 05:24 PM

Finished Itoe's Rapidstrike, which essentially is the same as the second one I started to mod.

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Using an angle bracket as a stop for the battery so it doesn't hit the switch internals

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testing with the shell installed, the screw isn't visible from the outside

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wiring up the internals

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as neatly as I could make them

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all parts installed

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Looking into the battery compartment, nothing gets pinched or stressed. The capacitor is in there to aid the flywheel motors with the dart-firing current surge.
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#6 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:13 PM

I finally finished the 3s Rapidstrike (my own Mk.II) I've been working on. It's similar to Itoe's one in the sense that the acceleration trigger has been removed and that the switch for the flywheel motors is on the grip instead.

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In order to prevent the >9v autofire problem, I decided to use a BEC to drop the voltage to the pusher motor down to 7.2v since it worked ok when I used 2s lipo on it.

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I also upgraded the trigger pull spring, as the stock one on this RS was different from my first one. I used the one out of the lock mechanism from the Sledgefire, requiring roughly twice the force to pull.

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cleaned out the inside of the battery cap in order to fit the 3s lipo I bought

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drilling some leftover 1/4" thick plexi to serve as a stop so the battery doesn't rest against the switch

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installed using leftover EDF-Revo hardware

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front view. I don't know where my countersink went, and it was important that there were no protruding bumps from the plexi in order to reduce the wear and tear on the lipo during bumps

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as it looks when the shell is closed. It covers the middle of the bay, which is what I need.

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closeup view of the front

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clearance with the switch

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straight-on view for the clearance with the switch, and the clearance between the orange and blue shells for the screwhead

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I originally wanted to put it on the other half of the shell in order for it to be out of the way when I work on the electrics in this half. However, because there's that indentation for the outer blue shell of the blaster, the angle bracket I used on the brace would have to have been moved back which puts it dangerously close to the switch contacts.

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the lipo in the battery compartment

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and with the battery compartment cover installed

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internal view. I could've moved the bracket back a couple mm, but it's fine as it is. If I put the lipo in the bubble wrap that it came in before installing it, it shouldn't be able to move around at all.

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now onto modifying the flywheel motors, since I forgot to earlier.

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pry open the tabs

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another comparison photo, which brushes look more sturdy to you

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Xmod gen1 brushes and endbell installed

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a trick I use to close the tabs is to turn the screwdriver sideways and push that way.

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not as good as ball bearing cans, but good enough.

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wired up in parallel with kickback diodes installed, it works. awesome

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starting to wire up the main trigger switch

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the lone red wire is supposed to come straight from the positive of the battery, since nothing else hooks up straight to it. It directly feeds the BEC all the way in the rear of the blaster. I messed it up during assembly and had to fix it later.

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wiring another capacitor, a 1500uF 16v I stole off a broken Xbox360, right out of the BEC output. I noticed that even with the relatively miniscule current draw (1.4A peak) the BEC was dumping down to just over 6v.

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a photo taken after I had worked out the kinks in the soldering, you'll see that the red wire goes through the flywheel board instead of attaching to it, and there was a misplaced wire on the gearbox feedback switch that basically shorted the BEC out. :\ Fortunately nothing broke, and this is how the wiring looks in the final product.

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I soldered the main filter cap (1000uF 50v) straight to the flywheel switch, as it's an automotive one with an onboard LED that lights up when the switch is on and thus needs both Vcc and ground to be attached. It only switches hotside, but for this application it was perfect.

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ziptied the leads off the BEC to clean it up a little

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it's a little hard to see in the photo, but I attached the BEC to the top of the gearbox case with a four-thick application of 10lb outdoor doublestick tape. Hopefully the grease won't leach through and cause it to fall off, but there's enough crap around in the vicinity so that even if it does it doesn't have much room to flop around.

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sticking all the rest of the guts back in before reassembly

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a really crappy blurry closeup of the Gorilla Tape strip I put over the missing accel trigger, to prevent foreign material from going in the blaster when I use it outdoors. It didn't stick too great, but the blaster shell pinches in that area so I'm not worried about it coming off.

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filled up a 6rd mag and fired em on 2s lipo (it was 3am at this point). If the peak current scales linearly, then the blaster should pull around 9A on 3s which means it's up to 100W, majority of which is in the flywheels. Not bad at all, I will do some actual testing the next time it's sunny.

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the completed blaster next to my Rayven Elite. There's more in store for the RS.II, I'm waiting on things to be delivered. :D Stay tuned for updates
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#7 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 11:44 AM

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Itoe blew a motor...actually he blew both of them. One of them threw a coil catastrophically, and the other one just cut itself on something. I don't really know why both of them would at the same time under normal operating conditions, but there we are. My original Rapidstrike is still going strong after being tested and used during a game, and my 3s Rapidstrike is still working so maybe a batch of motors were bad in an Amazon shipment.

The magnets in the stock motors seem to be stronger, so for now Itoe is running the Nerf can+motor with Xmod Stage 1 arms+endbell.
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#8 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:52 PM

Finally got around to adding the voltmeters to my RS.

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mockup on some plexi I was gonna use as the backing

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underneath the jam door

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clearance checking the door, this is the fully retracted position

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drill locations

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here we go

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feed the bolts through

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drilled tiny holes so I could mount the voltmeters. I ended up using some screws I found from my broken iwaver, in hindsight I should've tapped those holes better since I stripped two of the screws trying to install them

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installing

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mounted to the plexi. They're not coming off, one screw on either voltmeter was stripped going in

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spacers are bushings out of a Revo throttle arm

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hole drilled for the wires to exit. I can't have them flopping around in there since they could get tangled in the pusher mechanism

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routing the wires through the hole

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peeled off the protective sheet from the plexi, and it looks fantastic

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I didn't have a grommet readily available, so I made do with this vibration dampener from an old CD player

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the bolts' protrusion was minimal and normal operation of the jam door is unaffected

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view from the bottom

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had to work some magic with the wiring back here so it wouldn't get pinched by the shell

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and on this side

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used some teflon tape to minimize the annoying wiggling that the barrel extensions (particularly the Longstrike) do when installed on this blaster

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except I used too much and now the shell won't close properly. It's ok, at least the wobbling is almost gone

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finally put it back together for hopefully the last time

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jam door still slides back without problems

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with the lipo connected, it shines through

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view from the front

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easily visible through the door plastic

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I think the blaster's complete. We'll see if the Longstrike's barrel is enough to prevent it spraying as badly as it usually wants to.
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#9 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 04:55 PM

I finished up modifying my first Rapidstrike because a friend was interested in buying it.

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You can see the foam powder accumulating around the flywheel area

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This is the original switch setup, with the pathetically small microswitch on the accel trigger

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Closeup of my wiring job

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Comparing the new switch. This one is out of the Stampede; it's larger, and it's also SPDT so there's two sets of contacts.

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Placement inside the handle. Also notice that I've sanded the tip of the switch to mate better with the accel trigger.

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Hotglue the shit out of it

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On to the flywheel cage

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Replacing the stock motors with these Xmod gen1 Stage 1 motors, which are rated at [email protected] I did an audio rpm test of the flywheels and it clocked in at around [email protected], which sounds about right (unloaded rpm calculated at 32krpm).

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The new switch is much bigger, which leaves me with a better feeling about the blaster's longevity.
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#10 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 05:17 PM

Modified another Rapidstrike

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I think they've done some running updates, since the brush holders are blue plastic now rather than the standard peach, and the stock wiring in the blaster is a bit thicker.

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the last of my Xmod Stage 1 motor armatures going into the RS can with Xmod endbell

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Using a Stampede switch for the acceleration trigger, but the layout requires me to cut off one of the screw posts in order for the shell to close properly.
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#11 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 05:22 PM

Steve and I decided to test out PN Racing's ball bearing 130 motor can to see if it makes a noticeable difference. We went with the neodymium magnet kit, and here is the install process

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These are the motor cans in the packaging, with signature PN orange

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I did a quick lineup of the motors I still have, one set of Rapidstrikes and two sets of Stryfe

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Pulling out the armatures from the stock Rapidstrike motors

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Installing the armatures into the PNR cans

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Armature swap completed

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I took a moment to look around the rest of the blaster for maintenance, and there was a lot of foam dust buildup

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a lot of foam dust

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a lot of foam dust lol

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The flywheels in particular had a nice buildup of foam from the three wars it's been used in without cleaning

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Different angle on the flywheel cage

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Speaking of flywheel cages, I found something interesting when looking at it

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The Rapidstrike and Stryfe flywheel cages can fit on each other...and interestingly enough, the Stryfe cage can fit into the RS one with no modification that I remember

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I installed the motors into the Stryfe cage with the Stryfe flywheels

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Another view

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Wiring it all up (notice the kickback diodes on the outside)

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Installed in the blaster with a test battery hooked up.

The rpm of the motor is lowered due to the higher field strength of the neodymium magnets, but the stronger magnets allows the motor to pull more surge power and as such the time it takes to recover between shots is minimized. The blaster sounds different, it's more of a growl than a roar, but as a whole I recommend getting the motor cans. The brushes it comes with are carbon as well so if you don't have other motors around to cannibalize for brushes then it performs that upgrade for you as well.
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#12 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 01:25 PM

Recently I did another Rapidstrike modification, this time for Gmunny.

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Pulling the RS out of the box. It's been awhile since I've seen one brand new like this.

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The styling of the outer shell still impresses me to this day.

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Pulling the shell apart. This one was from Amazon, and lacked the infamous supergluing of the pusher assembly update.

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All the electrics taken out

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Closeup on the pusher assembly, just a reference photo before I start desoldering everything

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Flywheel cage

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Pulling off the pusher switch pcb to clean it off

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Cleaning out the handle to put a microswitch for the acceleration trigger as usual

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I didn't get to take very many photos later in the build, since I was running late into the morning, but here's it all wired up. It was a simple, straightforward rewire.
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#13 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 12:50 PM

Further modifications to my Rapidstrike, got an alloy cage for it. It's technically for a Stryfe but in my experiences the cages from the Stryfe, Rapidstrike, and Rayven are all interchangeable.

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Back on the table for the first time in years

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Cracking the beast back open

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Extracting the cage from the shell

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First thing in motor removal is to remove the flywheels

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Comparison with the Worker mod wheels

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Putting the motors into the Worker alloy cage

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I'm not sure why it's not directly compatible despite the stock cages being so, but there is a small amount of shell modifications necessary.

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Even the orange part of the shell needs a slight cut

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The plastic around the post needs to be cut down due to the alloy interfering

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Finally got it in

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Some of the top shell needs to be cut off as well in order to fit back on

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I cut off a bit too much as it turns out, but it should be fine

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Everything back together

I will say that the PN Racing motor can screw holes don't line up properly with the ones on the cage, however I'm not sure if that's a problem with the PN can or if it's tolerances on the Worker product. I'm using a single screw to secure each motor at the moment.

There hasn't been an opportunity to test this out in quite some time, but operation seems smooth so I am satisfied for now.
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