Smart Parts 09 Impulse ZDSPB.com > Tech index > Smart Parts 09 Impulse

The 09 Impulse was released in 2009, several months prior to Smart Parts' financial issues which ultimately led to the discontinuation of SP equipment and conversion to GOG Paintball. The 09 Impulse markers are relatively rare because a limited number were sold, and they have little support from the manufacturer. GOG Paintball has some discontinued SP parts, but only while supplies last.

Disassembly pictures

In 2013, a new JT Impulse marker was released after KEE acquired all of SP's intellectual property, but this is not a reinvention of the 09 Impulse. JT Impulses are much simpler in design and none of its parts are compatible. The JT Impulse was designed by GOG and sold by Empire's retailers, but it was also discontinued after slow sales.

History:
09 Impulses were available in mid-2009 with a pricetag of $1000 USD at the time. The marker was highly anticipated because it featured a good amount of enhancement over previous SP markers such as the Nerve. Originally the marker was meant to be a DLX product but was later switched to the Smart Parts brand to sell at a cheaper price. Despite the SP brand, the marker shared many parts with Luxes. Only around 900-1100 Imp 09 markers were sold before SP went out of business (the quantities are estimated).

09 Impulse promotional image
09 Impulse promotional image

Below are some images of the 09 Impulse which were shared on the official SmartCorps twitter account (now defunct).
Marker upper bodies
Marker upper bodies
Marker body assemblies
Marker body assemblies
Markers assembled
Markers assembled

Timeline:
2009.May - The 09 Impulse was officially unveiled (the purple promo picture with details). Details and pictures follow.
2009.June - The 09 Impulse was officially released at PSP Chicago 2009. Afterward, Smart Parts continues to manufacture and build markers from the first couple batches of parts.
2009.September - Conjecture: Smart Parts encounters banking problems with the source of their revolving credit, which is likely the means by which they paid wages to many of their employees (this is common for businesses with more then 100 employees). SP sends out a press release stating that they were forced to lay off a large percentage of their workforce until cashflow improves. The company remains in operation but at a reduced rate, still selling markers and equipment whenever possible. However, they were never able to recover.
2010.May - Smart Parts files chapter-11 bankrupcy. The company attempts to re-structure itself with existing product lines.
2010.May - Smart Parts holds an auction to liquidate their in-house manufacturing operation, raising over $4M in equipment sales.
2010.July - Smart Parts re-files for chapter-7 bankrupcy, meaning that the company cannot be restructured and must sell off its remaining assets to pay depts to creditors. Smart Parts patents are sold to KEE Action Sports.
2010.September - Gardner brothers create the new company GOG Paintball, operating out of Smart Parts former manufacturing facility (100 Station st). GOG Paintball continues to service SP markers so long as supplies last, and cheaper SP markers are re-branded as GOG markers.

09 Impulses in present times:
The remaining information is mostly my opinion based on tech experience with the marker and the community.
09 Impulses use the straightforward hammer/valve design similar to many other markers of the era (09 Ego, Bob Long G6R, MacDev Cyborg RX, etc) however the 09 Impulse had many deviations from the typical Smart Parts marker designs from 2003-2008. The design is very complicated, making it the most complex Smart Parts marker by far. That is only my personal opinion, but the disassembly pictures should make anyone agree. The complexity led to a few problems which likely would have been repaired if the marker were still in production, but Smart Parts never had the chance to redesign the problem components.

The cause for design change revolved around Smart Parts intending to produce an array of 50-caliber markers and equipment around the year 2009, along with the company GI Sports. Smart Parts was leading the prototyping for this 50-caliber paintball product line. Following this push, the 09 Impulse was made with a modular body design, wherein the upper section could be removed and swapped for different caliber bolt/feedneck/barrel/etc. This is a great way to save manufcturing costs, but 50-cal paintball never gained enough interest for this to become a selling point. A small number of 50-caliber Impulse parts were made, along with matching barrels and bolts.

In terms of reliability, there are a small number of problem components that have created trouble for players in present time:
Problem 1. The feedneck is a boss-latch system similar to Eclipse feedneck specifications. 09 Impulses were the first Smart Parts marker to use this system instead of threaded feednecks, however the implementation on the 09 Impulse body is extremely poor. The feedneck boss is a separate component which will come loose after prolonged use. The feedneck is ultimately held in place using only a tiny pair of set screws, which will eventually wear out and fail completely.
Fix A: The "factory" fix is to use JB-weld (epoxy) to permanently mount the feedneck. This will provide a permanent fix, but care must be taken to avoid splashing epoxy all over the marker.
Fix B: I have created a replacement feedneck adapter which solves the problem by press-fitting the new adapter into the body. The new adapter must be installed using an arbor press, but it will solve the issue if installed correctly. The press-fit adapter is sold through Nummech Products.

Problem 2. Eye wiring can wear out from the eye covers being hinged open over and over. This issue depends on a combination of paint, lubricant, and other unknown factors can cause the eye wires to work-harden and fail.
Fix: Fortunately the eye wires can be repaired with soldering knowledge. The marker uses "side-looker" anti-chop eyes common to some other markers (Eclipse markers, newer Dye markers, Mini/Axe, others). However, there is no permanent fix for this problem, becuase the hinged eye cover system is integrated into the marker itself.

Problem 3. Players have reported issues with valve stems that develop leaks over time, and the lack of Smart Parts support means there's not much solution for damaged valves. People have tried indexing the valve stem on a lathe in order to add an o-ring shelf with varying levels of success. The biggest issue with adding o-rings is that it requires more force to hold the valve shut, so simply adding an o-ring might not fix the issue.
Fix: GOG Paintball manufactured a replacement valve stem which is available while supplies last.

Future problems: There are some other common parts with the marker that may simply need replacements over time. Those parts might include the bolt (if it gets overly scratched), electronics parts, regulator base seats, and other items that may wear with use. Some components are shared with DLX Luxes, such as the battery and charging cable hardware. The solenoid is identical to those of other SP and DLX markers (with different wiring).

09 Impulses are still used on the field by various SP collectors. If the marker requires technical support, it's uncertain whether or not it would be repairable if the source of the problem cannot be solved by typical o-rings or the afore-mentioned common parts. This is a common issue with many vintage markers, which now includes the discontinued 09 Impulse line.