Product Review: Viewloader Vlocity Loader
Review on Vlocity loader
review by Young Choi
|XSV rocking the Vlocity|
With insane rates of fire, the need for a loader to keep up led to the demise of Viewloader’s dominance as the loader manufacturer of choice amongst the players that sought after the fastest loaders available to match their machine guns. Look at the pictures on any paintball website, open up any paintball magazine and you will notice that the vast majority of players are using a Halo/Reloader B loader.
Viewloader has finally released a loader to help them gain back market share. Their creation, the Vlocity loader, has been beta tested for months and I’m sure you have seen them on the guns of XSV in the later half of last season in both the PSP and NPPL. With all the feedback and tweaking, Viewloader was finally satisfied that the Vlocity loader was ready for the open market.
|Remember that stick horsey toy...|
At first glance, I’m not gonna lie, my first opinion with the looks of the loader reminded me of a horse’s head. The tapered look at the top and the bottom and the rounded back of the shape of the loader was “unique.” Everyone is so accustomed to the look of something and when something new comes around I guess you could say that “weird” is the one word that would sum it all up when it comes to the look of the Vlocity loader. The Vlocity loader also looks huge, but comparing a Halo loader to it, they are about the same height and width. The Vlocity loader is noticeably lighter than the Halo.
The view of the top of the loader is almost spade shaped. Take your thumbs and fore fingers together and this will give you an idea of the shape of the top of the Vlocity loader. There looks to be some deflection characteristics when it comes to the sloped angle of the sides and top of the loader.
|Extra wide hinge on lid|
At first, I had some hesitation with the loader lid. It over cups the back end of the loader and I wondered how long it would take for me to snap that lid off. The hinge of the lid is ultra wide and is reinforced by three plastic braces to add sturdiness. The wide hinge felt and proved to be very sturdy and I think it would literally take a punch to snap the lid off.
The first time I tried to lift the loader lid, well let’s just say that it took some effort. The lid on Vlocity was on the body pretty tight, I even considered sanding the edge down to make it easier to pop open the lid. I’m glad I didn’t though cuz after one day of play, the lid became a whole lot easier to open and close. I would hate to think how loose the lid would have been had I sanded it down initially.
Since I’m talking about the lid I may as well bring this up now. I don’t know about you, but I have always had this problem with reloading my Halo loader while I’m shooting my gun to maintain control of my lane. I am normally stuck behind the snake guy and keeping the other team from advancing into the snake or running my snake guy down (not to mention it’s a whole lot easier for me to just rope paint down the tape so my mirror doesn’t even get a chance to shoot back). The lid only opens to a 90 degree angle and the spout (where the paint goes in) is at a 45 degree angle. I have had to dip my gun really quick to reload due to the design of the Halo. I’ve seen other people reload while shooting but for the most part I’ve seen people dump half a pod onto the ground while loading and shooting. In fact, when I know I’m playing a man-protect position where I have to just shoot paint to suppress my opponents I just use my lidless Halo.
Why do I bring all this up you ask? Here’s why, shooting while reloading is a dream with the Vlocity loader. The loader lid hinges open wide enough to allow me to hold a pod up with plenty of clearance space. The spout has a slight 20 degree angle and the lip is high enough on the Vlocity loader so that paintballs won’t bobble out when the paddles turn. These two factors not only allowed me to reload and shoot easier, but I wasted less paint too. The wide spout made it easier to ensure that all the paintballs went into the loader. If you are a firm supporter of not dipping your gun while shooting a lane, the Vlocity loader is a huge thumbs up.
The on/off switch is located at the bottom of the raceway at the back of the Vlocity loader. To the right is an LED indicator and to the left is a button to set which tension mode that the loader will be in. I’ll get back more on the tension modes later.
|Dual 9 volts|
The Vlocity runs off of two 9 volt batteries housed in the lower front portion of the loader. The battery lid is secured by a screw but anchored against some plastic tabs inside the battery lid. I think a lot of thought went into everything when the Vlocity went into its design phase and ultimately the feedback from the months of beta testing came through to the final production model. I bring this up cuz a small but important detail occurred to me as I scrutinized the battery lid. It slides out towards the front of the loader via a rail slot but the plastic tabs that the battery lid screw anchors onto is such a way that if a head on shot hit the front of the battery lid, the impact would not brake the plastic tabs. The tabs are towards the rear of the screw and any frontal impact would clear the anchors away from the screw.
The feedneck is long. The length is a bit much, but a dremel and a cutting blade will take care of that. I want as small a profile as possible and the feedneck had to be cut. I suppose this was done cuz there are many different length feednecks on guns so better to be longer rather than shorter.
Well now down to the details… by now you know that the Vlocity looks like a horse’s head, is easier to reload while roping paint, and that the battery lid won’t get shot off to God only knows where. But how does the Vlocity perform? Ok, ok, let’s get to it.
|Underneath the paintball cone|
One question that I have been noticing all over the message boards is whether the Vlocity is a true force feed loader. So taking my Phillips screwdriver I decided to take this thing apart to see what makes it tick. After taking apart the loader I can answer that, yes, the Vlocity is a true force feed loader. The Vlocity has a spring that helps add tension to the three propellers that forces balls into the feedneck. If the batteries or the motor dies, there are no paintballs getting to your gun no matter how much you shake it. It looks as though there will be a manual external drive available in the future to ease this problem, but as it is now, no power and you are pretty much relegated to the “one shot” method.
The Vlocity works on the same principle as all the other Viewloader products. Eyes and sensors on each side of the feedneck let's the circuit board know when the channel is empty of balls so that the motor activates in turn rotating the propellers.
For loader capacity, The Vlocity held between 195, 198, and 196 PMI Premium paintballs in three separate fills. I'm sure the variance comes down to how the individual balls line up in the Vlocity.
|Tension spring aides feed rate|
Back to the tension settings button that I talked about earlier. There are seven different settings for the amount of tension/force that the propellers will place on the ball train/ball stack. It goes from low to high; the highest setting puts the most tension on that ball stack to accelerate the feed rate from stop and go. The whole time this is happening, the Vlocity motor is adding more kinetic energy to the tension spring. The higher the setting the faster the loader feeds balls into the gun. The draw back to this is the higher the tension setting, the faster the battery is drained. On the box of the Vlocity, it states that the loader is capable of feed rates of 25 plus balls per second. I don’t have a gun that is capable of breaking the 25 balls per second barrier. So I was not capable of testing the truth to this claim. Looking at the design I would not doubt this claim.
The “chip” companies are gonna be having a field day trying to come up with a better program to make the Vlocity even faster. When the loader senses a jam, the propeller immediately turns in the opposite direction an eighth of a turn to clear the jam and goes back to normal operation. If the jam is persistent the ball is still safe from being chopped cuz the tension spring will take up some of the force from the propeller. On the day of my test, I honestly cannot tell if I experienced a jam so I can’t tell you personally how well it did in a game time environment. Off the gun, I shoved some toilet paper into the feed neck to simulate a jam and the propeller kept removing the jammed paintball without breaking the ball.
I am really excited about the Vlocity loader, it is roughly the same size as the Halo, lighter than the Halo, and will be easily (hopefully cheaply) upgradeable via the removable chip. I have heard grumbling about the how fast the Vlocity will consume battery life, but I haven’t had the loader long enough to actually see if it is as bad as some people have been saying. I used it the whole day shooting two cases of paint and haven’t noticed a lull in the feed rate. The Vlocity loader definitely has my thumbs up, towards the middle of the season, I’ll let you all know how the loader is holding up.
Feed rate test
We tested under these conditions. 60 PMI Premium paintballs were used and timed three times till the last ball ran through the Vlocity loader. The average was taken on the test of four different tension settings.
Setting: 1 No Tension Average Time: 3.19 seconds BPS Rate: 18.81
Setting: 2 Tension Average Time: 2.89 seconds BPS Rate: 20.76
Setting: 4 Tension Average Time: 2.81 seconds BPS Rate: 21.35
Setting: 8 Max Tension Average Time: 2.37 seconds BPS Rate: 25.31