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 Co2 VS. HPA

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casper
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Posts : 90
Join date : 2009-07-08
Location : War-Zone City

PostSubject: Co2 VS. HPA   Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:31 am

CO2, or Carbon Dioxide, is actually a liquid that must be changed to a gas within the markers expansion chamber. The Conversion from liquid to gas causes your tank to get cold and the colder your tank gets the less pressure it will produce. The Ideal tank temperature is about 70 degrees, this is because at 70 degrees liquid CO2 produces about 850psi, which is the average operating pressure needed for optimal performance of most paintball guns. As the tank temperature gets lower the pressure drops and the gun performance drops as well. The faster you pull the trigger on your gun the colder your tank gets. At some point most guns will end up sucking in liquid CO2. This will cause things to freeze inside your gun which will cause your gun to stop working for a short period of time. In some instances this can cause damage to o-rings. In most cases CO2 works ok, but if temperatures are below 50 degrees you can expect to have some problems with things freezing up.

Some other points to think of on the issue of CO2 are tournaments and cost. First on the tournaments issue and the �free air all day� issue. Free air is usually HPA only. Plus tournaments are normally setup to accommodate HPA fills only. So this will cause problems when you show up with CO2 tanks to and all HPA tournament or event. Always call ahead to make sure that there will be CO2 fills available. CO2 fills can be expensive when they are done in volume. With tank fills costing from $3-$7 depending on the size.

The attractive part of CO2 is the relatively low cost of the cylinders. CO2 cylinders can be bought for $20 or less depending on size.

Lastly because of the nature of CO2 in that it must go from liquid to gas within the internal passages of the marker it is rather unstable at times. CO2 is greatly affected by humidity and temperature. CO2 fps chrono readings can range 15-20 fps depending on the weather. Plus as you may all know when you fill a CO2 cylinder it will gain its capacity in weight when full. In smaller 9 oz cylinders this is really not that big of an issue, however when you get into 20 oz cylinders it can add a considerable amount of weight to your marker as a whole which will in effect handicap your game by making it harder to snap shoot or turn quickly on a target. CO2 tanks will feel cold to the touch after filling until temperature stabilizes. This is normal.

What is HPA (or nitrogen)?

HPA, or High Pressure Air, is a far more stable gas. HPA or Nitro starts in a gas form and stays gas through the entire cycle. It is cleaner and better for the internal components of your marker. Compressed air systems use a regulator to regulate the output pressure fed to the marker. Many marker configurations incorporate 2 regulators to get perfect air pressure at all times. These regulators are usually adjustable from 0-about 850psi. Many blowback type markers on the market can properly operate at pressures far below the 850 psi that CO2 operates them at. Many marker manufacturers have targeted the CO2 market and build their markers to accommodate the popular CO2 setups that can be purchased anywhere you can purchase a marker. However with some experimentation you will find that your marker will properly operate around 450 psi or lower. This lower air pressure will greatly improve shot s per tank fill and lessen the firing report from your marker.

The designation of 3000psi, 4500psi, or 5000psi refers to the pressure capacity of your tank. The more pressure you can fill it with, the more shots it can deliver. The same goes for larger cubic inch sizes. How many shots will your get? 3000psi tanks deliver about 10 shots per cubic inch (68ci = 680 shots, 47ci = 470 shots, 88ci = 880 shots, 114ci = 1140 shots). 4500psi tanks can deliver 15 shots per inch (68ci = 1020 shots, 88ci = 1320 shots, 114ci = 1720 shots). Shots fired vary with each gun depending on the type of setup you are using.

HPA cylinders cost most than CO2 to get started in. Depending on your uses of the tank and the rest of your paintball rig your prices will go up and down. Steel cylinders are among the cheapest, then aluminum, and lastly the expensive fiber wrapped tanks. The fiber wrapped tanks are desirable because of their extremely low weight in comparison to the other cylinder types. Some things to consider when selecting a tank are your needs. Naturally you want something that will keep up with the volume of paint that you would like to shoot. You would never see a self respecting back player with a small 45CI tank. This tank is simply not big enough to get the job done that a back player requires. There are some pros and cons to each of the tank setups that you can get. One of them is applicable if you are a woodsball player that does not frequent an organized field. This is due to the fact that your local hardware store or other CO2 fill source may not be able to fill these cylinders. They require a special multi stage compressor that is capable of reaching 3,000-5,000 psi.

Each of these cylinders has different hydro test requirements. Some are 5 year cylinders and some are 3 year cylinders. Ask before purchasing if you have any questions, as to having a tank hydro tested will take about 3-5 days to get done if it must be sent out and will cost you about $15.00-$20.00.

Steel:
Heavier than the others and has an unlimited life span. These tanks are generally much cheaper to get than the fiber counterparts. Good entry level HPA tank source. These cylinders will do well in rec ball and mild tournament situations. They are also durable and quite resilient to damage.




Aluminum:
Light weight also has an unlimited life span. These tanks have a comfortable spot right in the middle of price and lifespan realms. Good mid level HPA tank source. These tanks can be damaged more easily than the steel tanks.


Fiber Wrap:
Lightest tank of them all and has a life span of 15 years. These are also the most expensive of the three. These tanks are also far lighter than the previous two, making them a perfect cylinder for a player that must be fast on their feet as well as being able to quick draw or snap shoot. These are the tanks you see on all of the pros markers. These tanks are not very durable as far as impact goes. If any part of the fiber on a cylinder is damaged it compromises the over all integrity of the tank and it must be fixed by a qualified repair facility. Do not attempt any repairs to these cylinders yourself. Always use a cover with these tanks as this will help alleviate most impact damages.
In closing with the move to HPA our test marker Spiker cut only one ball in a case of paint. This was probably user error as our Halo hopper was not on at the time. Before on CO2 �Spiker� would cut around 2-4 balls per 1000. In a high speed environment this was unacceptable and was the reason for that change. Also by moving to HPA Spiker's fps leveled out with a variance of +/- 6-8 fps, which was a drastic improvement from the old 10-15 fps variance. Plus one of the biggest advantages to HPA is that fact that the weight gain over all on the cylinder is near zero unlike the CO2 cylinders, which fill by weight. Because HPA does not have a true liquid weight like CO2 its weight gain after filling is nominal. These tanks will also feel warm when they are first filled, this normal.
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