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Old 10-17-2011, 05:15 PM #1
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How the Etha Works (Including Animation)

Seeing a lot of questions and comments on how the Etha works. This post is in my Etha thread, but it seems like people are missing it, so I figured I'd make a separate post:

Below I have animated the images from the manual. A few of my comments on the operation...
  • This is a spool valve.
  • It is not based on the GEO drivetrain.
  • It is not a poppet valve.*
*All of the seals are axially sealing o-rings. There are no face seals (or "poppets"). The manual chooses to call the center stalk a poppet, but it is not actually creating a face seal.

Two key features of this design are the fact that it seals the dump chamber when the firing sequence is initiated, and it that it has a 2 stage bolt speed profile (starts moving slowly and then rapidly speeds up on the second half of its movement). The first is important because sealing the firing chamber is critical for efficiency. The second will allow the gun to deal with misloaded or jammed paint very well.

Enough comments. Here is the animation:



Edit: Found a better animation online. No idea who made it



Edit 2: Even better animation from lentyay. Thanks!



Here's a quick rundown of the operation (taken from the manual).

Quote:
Assuming the Etha is gassed up and turned on the marker will be in its idle position. The bolt is held back under the tension from the bolt spring, with the bolt guide filled with pressurized gas directly from the inline regulator. The firing poppet is held in its forward positioning by the firing poppet spring, keeping the bolt guide sealed.

When the trigger is pulled and electrical signal is sent to the solenoid which directs a supply of air to the rear of the firing poppet. The force of this gas is greater than the spring tension pushing the firing poppet forward, and the firing poppet is pushed back to its rear position. In the bolt guide this opens the exhaust port to the bolt and seals off the supply port from the inline regulator.

The gas pressure in the bolt guide forces the bolt forward, overcoming the spring tension from the bolt spring, this pushes a ball into the breach and closes off the feed tube. The internal stem of the bolt is pushed out of the bold guide, which then fully opens the exhaust port, allowing the pressurized gas in the bolt guide to exhaust through the bold propelling a ball.

As the bolt guide volume empties, the force pushing the bolt forwards decreases and the bolt spring starts to push the bolt back into the bolt guide exhaust port. The spring continues to push the bolt back up to its rest position against the rear bolt bumper.

The solenoid continues to hold the firing poppet in its rear position until the Dwell time expires. When this expires the solenoid exhausts the supply of air from the rear of the firing poppet, removing the force holding the firing poppet in this position. The firing poppet spring forces the firing poppet forwards, closing the exhaust port and opening the supply from the inline regulator.

The bolt guide begins to fill with pressurized gas. The Etha has now completed a full cycle.






And a more succinct description from Uziel Gal:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziel Gal View Post
The poppet is moved backwards by air pressure, not by magnetism. This air is supplied by the solenoid.

As the poppet moves backwards, it unseals the stem of the valve chamber, allowing air to flow to the bolt, pushing it forwards to chamber a ball in the barrel. As the bolt moves forwards, it is compressing the return spring.

When the bolt reaches the front of it's travel, the air is released from behind the bolt to fire the ball.

At the same time that the poppet is moving back to release air along the stem, it is also closing the air supply to the valve chamber, so the marker fires from a fixed volume of air - air isn't always being fed to the valve chamber, and isn't free flowing through the valve chamber for as long as the bolt is forwards.

When the valve chamber has emptied, the spring in front of the bolt can push the bolt rearward again.

When the solenoid dwell time has expired, the air that was being used to push back and hold the poppet in the rear position is released. This allows the spring behind the poppet to push it forwards again.

When the poppet moves forwards, the stem of the viring chamber is sealed again, so air cannot reach the bolt. The poppet moving forwards also allows air back in to the firing chamber to re-charge.

^^^
Not sure if you will find that explanation any easier than the version from the manual, but hopefully that helps.
I hope this clears up any confusion...

Last edited by xluben : 10-23-2011 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:50 PM #2
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Shame about my typo..... what's a "viring" chamber. Doh!

But hey, I never claimed to be a good typist or not to have sausage fingers.....
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:48 PM #3
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i wonder what the efficiency is
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:56 PM #4
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Efficiency has been mentioned a couple of times in the 'Thoughts/Reviews' thread.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:42 PM #5
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Thanks for the explanations Ben and Uziel. Makes a lot more sense now.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:06 AM #6
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its like a single tube design of the deadly winds aedes.

http://www.zdspb.com/media/tech/anim.../aedes5fps.gif

i dont get how it's a spool valve.. the bolt doesnt double as the valve.. it has a seperate valve thats opened and closed using air pressure....

Last edited by Uziel Gal : 10-18-2011 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Animation replaced with link.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:43 AM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1ryan1l View Post
i dont get how it's a spool valve.. the bolt doesnt double as the valve.. it has a seperate valve thats opened and closed using air pressure....
IMO, the bolt doubling as a valve has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not it is a spool or poppet valve.
  • A poppet valve is a face seal
  • A spool valve is an axial seal
The Etha uses axial seals only. I agree that the mechanism that releases air is similar in design to other guns that have been mentioned (Aedes, Axe/Mini, etc), but the implementation is different. The fact that it uses a separate mechanism to initiate bolt movement does not make it a poppet valve, but it does make it different from other "traditional" spool valves (Matrix, Shocker, Geo, etc). IMO, it is a similar design to what has been dubbed as the "pressure controlled poppet", but it has been implemented with axial seals only.

As for nomenclature, you can call it whatever you want. You can also interpret any type of similarities and comparisons that you wish. But the part that separates the Etha from similar designs, is the way that it automatically closes off the firing chamber as the firing cycle is initiated. This is a very important design consideration that is not present in some other markers. The implementation in the Etha is very simple and sleek. Not requiring any special parts, just an extra seal on the firing mechanism.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:45 AM #8
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I'd say it's a poppit also. The center stalk may not be creating a face seal but much like a rammer in a poppit gun it is moved by air from the noid to open the valve and start the firing sequence.

It seems to be exactly the same as the Aedes except inline and not stacked.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:52 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun View Post
I'd say it's a poppit also. The center stalk may not be creating a face seal but much like a rammer in a poppit gun it is moved by air from the noid to open the valve and start the firing sequence.

It seems to be exactly the same as the Aedes except inline and not stacked.
It comes down to nomenclature. The paintball world seems to have locked onto a poppet valve being a separate mechanism to release air, and a spool valve means it is built into the bolt. In the rest of the world (ie. pneumatic/hydraulic industry) this is not the case. Poppet=face seal and spool=axial seals. I guess any more arguing won't really make a difference, I'm just stating my opinion, take it or leave it.

I agree that the concept is similar to the Aedes, except in a much smaller package. A main difference I see in that comparison is that the Aedes is based on the mQ valve. This valve relies on an electrical solenoid to actuate it. The firing valve in the Etha is actuated by air pressure. Subtle difference, but worth noting. Also different are the seals in the Etha (at the bolt - reducing air leakage during the firing sequence, and at the firing chamber - closing off airflow during the firing sequence).

Sorry, not trying to argue here. Just pointing out the differences (and similarities).
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:59 AM #10
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A request has been made to remove the Aedes animation, in order to keep the thread focus on the Etha - it was after all a considerably larger image than that of the Etha!

The link has been retained for those that wish to follow it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:36 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun
The stem poppit in the center of the mechanism does seal off the incoming air but if it didn't would you then claim it was a spool? Doesn't the ego open a valve the exact same way using a rammer and not sealing the incoming regulated air?

I agree though, it does come down to what players define as the standard for poppit and spools. Either way, the marker is interesting and should be a hit for those who don't want to pay the high end price for other guns.
Yes, I would still call it a spool even if it did not seal off the firing chamber.

I think the issue is that people are comparing this to other paintball guns that have already been given designations. If you step back and simply look at this as two different valves (independent of their use), a poppet valve (ie. cup seal) is vastly different than a spool valve (ie.stem or bolt with o-rings around it). The spool/poppet name that I refer to indicates which type of sealing mechanism is used, and has nothing to do with how that seal is implemented into the design.

EDIT: It appears this post was deleted. Hope it's OK that I post this, since I had already quoted it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:26 PM #12
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It's fine. I didn't have all my thoughts in order and wanted to reword my post but I think we are on the same page. It is somewhat a hybrid of what we would normally think of in terms of how it operates. Either way, I'm sure it will live up to the hype.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:19 PM #13
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Found a better animation online. No idea who made it

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Old 10-21-2011, 10:35 AM #14
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well even if its not an inline poppit, it looks like it definitely took some ideas from them and changed it around a bit. The inline poppit is a great format if you ask me and this looks very, very similar.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:11 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
IMO, the bolt doubling as a valve has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not it is a spool or poppet valve.
  • A poppet valve is a face seal
  • A spool valve is an axial seal
The Etha uses axial seals only. I agree that the mechanism that releases air is similar in design to other guns that have been mentioned (Aedes, Axe/Mini, etc), but the implementation is different. The fact that it uses a separate mechanism to initiate bolt movement does not make it a poppet valve, but it does make it different from other "traditional" spool valves (Matrix, Shocker, Geo, etc). IMO, it is a similar design to what has been dubbed as the "pressure controlled poppet", but it has been implemented with axial seals only.

As for nomenclature, you can call it whatever you want. You can also interpret any type of similarities and comparisons that you wish. But the part that separates the Etha from similar designs, is the way that it automatically closes off the firing chamber as the firing cycle is initiated. This is a very important design consideration that is not present in some other markers. The implementation in the Etha is very simple and sleek. Not requiring any special parts, just an extra seal on the firing mechanism.

okay it was just to my understanding that a spoolvalve was defined when the bolt acts simultaneously as the firing valve.

"Spool valve markers are unique in that they typically have only one moving part (the bolt) which simultaneously acts as both the firing valve and the bolt to close the feedneck. other types of markers have a separate bolt and valve, which has been simplified into one moving stroke with spool-based markers. "

where as standard poppets use mechanical force to open and close a poppet valve

and Pressure Control Poppets use air pressur to open and close a poppet valve.

anywho what we think will be different and you have valid points to your side, as do i...... but this marker does seem pretty solid and i really like the design of it

Last edited by l1ryan1l : 10-21-2011 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:32 AM #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1ryan1l View Post
okay it was just to my understanding that a spoolvalve was defined when the bolt acts simultaneously as the firing valve.

"Spool valve markers are unique in that they typically have only one moving part (the bolt) which simultaneously acts as both the firing valve and the bolt to close the feedneck. other types of markers have a separate bolt and valve, which has been simplified into one moving stroke with spool-based markers. "

where as standard poppets use mechanical force to open and close a poppet valve
Key word here is "typically". This statement is a broad generalization that applied to currently mass produced paintball guns at the time. This is a very narrow scope, but within that range I would say that it is an accurate statement. Matrix's and Shocker's are spool valves and they use a single moving part (bolt). Ego's and the like are poppet valves and they use a stacked tube design. Nothing inherently wrong with that statement, but it only applies within a narrow range.

BUT in the big picture (ie. not just paintball, and also not just designs that were out at the given moment that quote was written), the definition of a spool valve is axial seals, and a poppet valve is face seals. It is merely a coincidence that in the paintball world, at the time that quote was written, that spool valves were created with a single bolt assembly and poppet valves were generally stacked tube and/or a hammer/rammer slamming into a cup seal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by l1ryan1l View Post
and Pressure Control Poppets use air pressur to open and close a poppet valve.

anywho what we think will be different and you have valid points to your side, as do i...... but this marker does seem pretty solid and i really like the design of it
Pressure controlled poppet is just a descriptive name that was created to characterize the operation of certain paintball markers. I think it works fairly well for the markers it is used to describe. And I do think the Etha could be seen to operate in a similar way. BUT that does not inherently make it a poppet valve. It is still a spool valve by the definition of things.

All naming conventions aside, I am sure someone will come up with a new name for this operation, and it will probably catch on eventually. I think PE is actually calling this a spool-poppet of some kind so that name may stick even though there is no actual poppet valve. I think the words spool and poppet have certain associations in the paintball world, so it will probably work well enough.

So, maybe this will end up being called a poppet valve of some kind, and oh well, it doesn't really matter. But if you were to show the cutaway to any pneumatic/hydraulic/mechanical design type person (not a paintball player), I am sure that they would describe it as a spool valve, and not a poppet valve.
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:32 PM #17
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Even better animation from lentyay. Thanks!

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Old 10-23-2011, 07:47 PM #18
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So, the bolt spring will end up needing regular replacement? What's the tension, spec of the steel to deformation?
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:21 PM #19
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So, the bolt spring will end up needing regular replacement? What's the tension, spec of the steel to deformation?
No.
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:23 AM #20
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Clever... I know this is a cliched thing to say about any blow forward marker with spring return, but it reminds me of a well-designed electro-pnuematic automag
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:24 AM #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xluben View Post
Even better animation from lentyay. Thanks!

A good animation to be sure, but not 100% accurate.

This doesn't show the slow speed first part of the stroke (where the poppit stem goes into the bolt - that will get air until it completely clears the stem and then goes full speed.)
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