Delrin Turtle Mini Midget Autococker
e2 eBlade with Powerex 9.6V battery
Twisted products LPC / front block screw
CP Shorty HPR
Pulse with RF chip
45/45 Crossfire tank
Deadlywind Wisper carbon fiber barrel with full Freak set of inserts
Fast, easy to clean, simple to use
Expensive, RF chip not easy to install in all markers
The long-reigning champ of hoppers has been the Halo B and Reloader B. However, Draxxus has finally taken a direct stab at the undisputed (until now) king of hoppers with the Pulse RF. I'm not going to bore you with the details of the Pulse, but highlight the differences between the Pulse and the Halo/Reloader.
Before we get started, let me explain the 2 different modes of operation. First there is RF mode (green mode). A small RF chip about the length of a quarter and 3/16 of an inch thick must be wired into one of your solenoids in an electronic trigger frame. The RF chip is pretty small, but some grip frames still may not have enough room for it. Green mode thus will not work on mechanical only frames. In green mode the Pulse spins its wheel to feed balls every time it senses the radio signal from your RF chip. The Pulse also twitches or pulses once every 4 seconds to ensure that the ball stack is still intact. The Pulse monitors the motor's power usage as it spins and doesn't stop spinning the motor until it senses the power change that indicates that the ball stack is full and the wheel has stopped spinning. Green mode is indicated by a green LED light on the back of the hopper.
Red mode is non-RF mode. Instead, the Pulse twitches its motor approximately 2 times a second and monitors the motor's power usage just as in green mode, stopping the motor only when it senses the power change indicating that the feed wheel has stopped moving. Red mode uses a lot more battery power due to the frequent twitching. Red mode is indicated by a red LED on the back of the hopper. The manual seems to indicate that even in red mode, the RF is still active, but red mode will be harder on your paint, batteries, and loader.
Size - The Pulse is about 1/4 of an inch wider and 1/4 of an inch shorter. They are about the same height except that the Pulse feedneck is shorter. The Reloader shell can be cut/sanded to match if you like.
Weight - Using a USB postage scale, the Pulse is 1lbs 4.8oz without batteries. A Reloader B with a Critical delrin drive cone and no magnetic lid, again without batteries weighs 1lb 3.2oz. The 6 AA battery holder was included in both measurements.
Speed - Especially in RF mode, the Pulse deals with high rates of fire and ramping better, responding more quickly with less popcorn problems.
Cleaning - The Pulse is the clear winner here requiring no tools to remove its electronic tray to clean the whole inside of the hopper, much better even than the suicide shells offered for the Reloader/Halo.
Strength - We've all seen the videos. Most likely a Pulse shell is stronger and will last longer.
Lid - The Pulse lid is a bit firm to open and close. A few minutes sanding should fix this if you don't like it. The magnets on the stock Pulse are nearly useless. My lid popped open when I turned the hopper around with just 125 Reballs and Reballs weigh quite a bit less than paintballs do.
Power Button - No membrane type stuff covering it so it won't look ugly in 3 months when the membrane plastic cracks off. It can be sealed with electrical tape which you'll have to do to the Halo/Reloader when the membrane wears out anyway.
Mechanical Operation - The Reloader/Halo use a spring loaded drive cone that belt driven to continually apply pressure on the ball stack. The Pulse doesn't continually put pressure on the stack and instead twitches and applies pressure using the motor only. In red mode, you can ramp up to 7 or 8 balls before the motor twitches and knows to start feeding which may cause a short hiccup in the rope of paint you are trying to shoot. Green mode doesn't have this problem and feeds instantly.
Drive cone - The stock drive cone on a Pulse looks much stronger than that of the Reloader/Halo. Time will tell if delrin or aluminum replacements are a near necessity for trouble-free operation as is the case for the Reloader/Halo.
Jamming - I haven't had a jam yet, though I've never had a jam with good paint in a Reloader/Halo. The reverse button on the Pulse will reverse the feed wheel for as long as you hold the button meaning that you need to press and hold it for a bit to (hopefully) clear the jam. The reverse button doesn't activate in green mode (according to the manual) until the next twitch occurs (up to 4 seconds). If you are in green mode, the Pulse switches to red mode briefly for about 4 seconds, twitching once every half second and then it returns to green mode. Basically, jams in green mode will take longer to clear, but it shouldn't take as long as it takes to rewind the rip drive by hand on a Reloader/Halo. No rip drive on a Pulse means no hope if your batteries die, but finishing a game with a rip drive isn't too likely to give you a win anyway.
LEDs - Both hoppers use a red and green bi-color LED to indicate status. The LED on the Pulse stays on all of the time and is rather bright. It's easier to know whether your Pulse is turned on in bright light, but it may take a lot of tape covering the Pulse's clear back panel to block this same light if you ever play in a night game. The Reloader's light blinks faintly to indicate status making it harder to determine status in daylight.
Other maintenance - The Pulse is clearly easier to take apart and put back together should you ever need to take the shells apart. You should never pinch wires on a Pulse. The Halo and Reloader were terrible to put together with wires to pinch and the difficulty of getting the raceway, wires, board, and back cover to line up correctly all at the same time.
Cost - The Pulse costs more. The cost of a Pulse rises if you buy the RF chip that is sold separately. The RF chip normally needs to be soldered into the grip frame, which most players won't be comfortable soldering it themselves meaning that the player has to find and pay someone to solder it in. Once soldered in, the RF can't be moved from marker to marker. In my case, the eBlade uses a small plug. I bought an install harness on eBay adding even more cost, but now its easier to swap the RF chip to a different marker with the same type of plug.
Capacity - Both the Pulse and Reloader hold roughly the same 180 rounds of paint. New shells available for both (though more likely for the Pulse with its removable tray) are a possibility.
Battery Life - I haven't owned the Pulse long enough to know, though I usually use rechargable batteries and frequently charge them meaning I've never run a hopper out of battery before. Another reviewer mentioned that the Pulse shuts off after 2 minutes of inactivity. The manual states that it shuts off after running continuously without paint for 2 minutes. If the Pulse is accidently turned on while sitting in your bag and doesn't have any paint in it, it should shut off automatically to save your batteries.
SPECIAL NOTE ON REBALLS: I did some ramping tests with reballs and I find the Pulse to be almost useless at feeding reballs. I don't know if its the smaller size or rubbery surface or what, but the Pulse jams frequently (more than once every 125 rounds on average) when feeding reballs. You'll have much better luck with a Reloader B when using reballs. Consider using a different hopper if you plan to play with reballs.
I'm giving the Pulse RF a 10 because it simply is the best thing out there now for pushing paint into your marker. The 10 is given for the RF mode. I personally feel that if you have to use red mode all the time, then a Reloader B or Halo B may be a better option for you. If you have a mechanical-only marker and don't plan to upgrade, then a regular 12V revy or Reloader (non B) makes more sense.
It's not entirely unthinkable that someone couldn't make a RF-based board for the Reloader/Halo unless Draxxus holds a copywrite on the idea, though you still won't have the easy maintenance with the removable feed mechanism. It would also be kind of cool to see a Pulse with a sound or eye activated operation to help with the red mode where the RF isn't available.
If you already have a Reloader B or Halo B and you don't need the absolute best, then you might not want to take the leap, though there is more than speed to consider with the Pulse. The easy cleaning and maintenance and reliability in stock form are compelling arguments to help get you into the game and keep you on the field longer. If you don't have a good hopper, definitely give the Pulse a long look.
10 out of 10
Last edited on Monday, March 5th, 2007 at 10:13 am PST
This hopper worked unbelieveable until one day, not even really playing just walkin around and shooting in the target area, lift up my gun and the hopper falls, feedneck snapped. I was quite mad considering this is THE most strong hopper out there. The feedneck is built in 2 peices instead of one. not a week after this incident,we had just finished a practice and just one more breakout, my teammate lifts his gun and his breaks as well. We were both very dissapointed in this so we are getting new shells and getting rid of them along with the oterh 2 members of my team that are also selling them. Im not trying to make a bad review but it did happen and i am not too happy
Last edited on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 7:06 pm PST