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Electronics in airsoft guns


The electronic circuit in the airsoft gun

Anyone who is interested in airsoft at least for a moment knows that airsoft guns can be divided into three basic groups in terms of their propulsion. First, we have spring-loaded airsoft guns. These are the most manual layouts. They are quite simple and therefore rather reliable. They are often used in very cheap replicas such as simple shotguns or very budget pistols. We will also find them at the exact opposite end of the spectrum in expensive, well looked for sniper replicas. Gas replicas represent a wider price segment. There are also cheap constructions here. These will be basic gas guns without a blowback system. On the other hand, we can have hi-end GBBR airsoft guns. In the middle, there is nothing to complain about the choice either.

Elements of airsoft electronic system

The most popular, however, are AEG electric replicas. In these airsoft guns, some kind of electrical system is responsible for the drive of the cycle that will eventually push our BB out of the barrel. Without going into details. We have a gearbox in which parts of the pneumatic system are driven to compress the air. The motor is responsible for this drive, which needs electricity for its operation. We supply it from a power source, usually in the form of a battery. Although there is no problem to connect the airsoft gun to the power supply as well. As long as we don't mind the cable and if we have a power supply device with the right parameters. Here, greetings to service technicians who sometimes use such a solution.

Where did the evolution in replica systems come from?

Before we move on to specific solutions for supplying power to the replica's motor, let's describe the challenges in this field. This will make it easier for us to analyse individual systems.

The first thing is the simple desire to create a reliable system. Therefore, airsoft guns often used solutions proven in modelling. Low-resistance wires, plugs and the batteries themselves were easily adapted. Then there was a need for a bit more control over the cycle and a kind of separation of cycle initiation from voltage transfer, and hence the MOSFET circuits. Finally, we wanted the airsoft replicas to literally play melodies and allow us to freely program their work. And here we need circuits that we can call replacing the contact switch. Now we can discuss each of these solutions.

Trigger box - pros and cons

Initially, replicas came to us only with trigger boxes. And all in all, here the Polish phrase is better "connector cube" is probably a more precise term than the English "trigger box". Here, the battery, motor and switch form one system. The aforementioned cube closes and opens the system by means of the trigger movement. All the voltage that we can supply to the motor goes through the wires, the contact block and drives our airsoft gun.

Scheme electronic system with a trigger switch

From these times comes one belief that is still popular today. The point is that using a high-voltage battery will burn our electrical system in the airsoft gun. More precisely, it was feared that the contact cube would be damaged. Indeed, in the past they were made of inferior materials, and since all the voltage driving the airsoft guns passes through them, it could theoretically be damaged. Manufacturers also used lower-quality wires and their heating happened more than once. Currently, we don't really have to worry about it in most replicas. Something else in the gearbox, such as the tappet plate spring, will not last much longer than the trigger box.

Simple MOSFET systems

Knowing how the simplest electrical system of an airsoft gun works, we can already notice its weak points. The biggest problem is that all the current that drives the motor must pass through the contact switch. In simple terms, it can be said that it is a source of performance loss. What if we could separate the function of supplying voltage to the motor and controlling the start of the cycle?

Scheme of the electronic system with a MOSFET and trigger switch

The above-mentioned possibilities were given to us by MOSFET systems. An example of such a device is X-ASR from GATE. Thanks to the appropriate transistor, we can open the voltage supply to the motor on a signal from the contact block. MOSFET is a kind of gate that opens and closes the power supply on the signal from the switch, which is our contact cube. Thanks to this, we achieve an increase in system efficiency. The current does not have to pass through a piece of metal, which is our contact block. In addition, we minimize the risk of mechanical damage.

Gate X-ASR

I still remember the times when the described devices were best done by yourself. There were no ready-made solutions like today. It was necessary to go to an electronics store, buy a transistor (preferably a few at once), wires and, using a diagram found on the Internet, solder the MOSFET to the airsoft gun. Over time, service technicians came up with a market offer for such modifications. There are improvements such as the active brake that controls the length of the cycle. Finally, there were also companies that excelled in the production of ready-made MOSFETs and significantly facilitated their assembly in airsoft guns.

Circuits replacing the trigger box

In fact, even the simplest MOSFET system, especially if it is equipped with an active brake, is probably enough for most players to have fun. But the innovation doesn't end there. When the problems of low efficiency of the contact cubes were eliminated, further disadvantages came to light. Personally, I consider interrupters to be the greatest. They regulate the replica cycle. Unfortunately, they can wear out quite quickly. In addition, the human need for cool gadgets is strong and over time we wanted more possibilities to control the cycle or selector settings of our airsoft guns.

Scheme of work of the airsoft electronic system

Circuits replacing the contact cube perform a similar function as MOSFETs. Here, however, we additionally have functions such as precise detection of the cycle and pressing the trigger. Various sensors are used for this. Microswitches, magnetic sensors or probably the most popular recently - optical sensors. They are also used to detect the settings of our replica's selector. Thanks to this, the electronic systems know well what is happening with the airsoft gun. So, we can influence how the replica behaves on individual selector settings.

Probably the pioneer in this type of solutions was Airsoft Systems with their ASCU system. Later, other companies with chips in a similar style also appeared. Currently, it is not a problem to find such a gadget. Personally, I think that this is one of the best things that can be installed in your replica, if it does not come with such a system already from the factory. I often change the selector settings myself, so I don't have to worry that I will move the lever on the semi-only game and start shooting full auto.


Author: Boreq

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