This page contains an index for all the information I have on the Smart Parts 2000-2005 Impulse marker (which I refer to as the classic Impulse).
Getting started: Guide to using this website
Impulse Technical Information
Impulse Electronics Settings
Impulse Maintenance Guide
Impulse Troubleshooting Guide
Impulse Private Label Guide
The Impulse is a relatively simplistic electropneumatic marker which retails for $400 at the time of this wirting. It's an average-sized platform, one which uses a stacked open bolt electropneumatic design (meaning the body is two bores high). Under the body is a small space used to house the marker's electronics, and the grip frame connects to it and hold the marker's power source (battery). The Impulse is the choice of many amateur, rookie, and professional teams worldwide. This is because it is a very cheap electropneumatic marker if you buy the base model, however can be upgraded into a top-performer if you wish to spend the money on it. In fact, the Impulse is one of the most customizeable markers available, as quite literary every single part of the gun can be upgraded. The only other marker that offers this level of customizing (from what I can tell) is the Autococker. Currently the Ion also offers the same number of upgraded parts, due to its massive popularity.
The stock components of the Impulse are not geared for performance. Several key upgrades are needed in order to balance out the marker and give it the advantages that most players wish to have, such as speed or efficiency. The Impulse comes stock with the Impulse Cricket II board, which is only semi-automatic. Impulses are upgradeable to a Cricket Vision board for around $160, which will include new electronics and give the marker the ability to fire only when a ball has loaded. Although this means it is rare that you will chop in the chamber, it doesn't mean you'll never come across a break in the barrel. For this reason it is suggested that you use high-quality paintballs with your Impulse Vision, and use a good barrel with it as well.
While it is not a secret that not all stock Impulses are extremely reliable, the addition of a few key upgrades will yield a high-quality, efficient, fast marker that will treat you well. Many players intially purchase an Impulse because of its low price and upgradability; personally I see these as the marker's greatest advantages. Other characteristics include...
· Max-Flo vertical regulator with standard bottomline ASA.
· Patented stacked tube design; maximum ROF of 30-cps.
· Electronically-controlled, open bolt electropneumatic design.
· Optional reflective anti-chop eye.
· 12" Progressive one-piece barrel.
· Double trigger with adjustable pull weight, post-travel, and pre-travel.
· High-rise vertical feed tube with dual ball detents.
· Operates with any tank using an output above 400-psi.
· Marker operates at 125-200 psi.
· Stock efficiency in the range of 800-1000 shots from a 68/4500 HPA tank.
· Extremely versitile; no single part of the marker cannot be upgraded.
· Operates on one 9 volt battery, housed within the grip frame.
The creation of the Impulse is chiefly credited to Adam Gardner in 2000 (SP Vice President), as well as some other SP master technicians. At the time, the only other marker Smart Parts sold was the Shocker Sport, so the Impulse was created to be an inexpensive alternative, one which could also operate at faster cycling speeds and would be more efficient. Several things have changed since that time with the Impulse, such as the body milling and composition of internals, however for the most part the marker has remained unchanged over the years. And it is a very proven design indeed; similar setups are found in almost all other stacked open bolt blow backs.
In early 2001, just over a year after its release, Smart Parts released an upgrade to their Impulse called Vision. This was a completely revolutionary firing system which added an anti-chop eye (ACE) to the Impulse using it, which prevented the marker from chopping a ball in the chamber as described above. At some point before Vision's release, Impulses began to undergo some design changes dealing with the possible addition of a Vision board. All Impulses were made redialy Vision-ready from the factory, which included the addition of a small hole in the circuit housing and another in the right side of the chamber just behind the ball detent. This is where the ACE would be placed. A small silicon cord would lead between the ACE and the board. This would travel down around the receiver and into the hole in the solenoid housing and onto the Vision board. It would be covered from the outside for obvious reasons. Previous versions of the Impulse were not made with these milling differences, but could be retrofitted by Smart Parts if the owner elected to do so.
In early 2002 the Cricket board was released (aka. the blue-light board), and the older board that Impulses used was deemed obsolete. The Cricket board brought with it a simplistic and more exact method of dwell adjustment, and completely got rid of the ROF and eye sensitivity adjustments (as they are not needed). The old boards (frequently known as green/amber boards) were also wired oddly and were considered unconventional by other circuit boards' standards. Green/amber boards had an LED on the back of the marker which flashed green-orange-green like Shockers, whereas Cricket boards only flash blue. Only Cricket boards are available now. Also, before the Cricket's release it was possible to get an Impulse with a Turbo board like a Shocker (these are also no longer available). I believe that there were even some multi-mode boards with fully-auto and burst shot modes but those are rare. Currently the Impulse uses the Impulse Cricket II board, the second generation of Cricket boards.
The original Impulse had some design differences as well. It had a sight rail even though all Impulses were vertical feed, and also have an aluminum ram shaft, a stainless steel valve, and an aluminum bolt pin. Soon after the stainless steel valve was replaced with an aluminum one (for obvious weight concerns), and the ram was made into stainless steel because the aluminum ones were unable to take the pounding of high fire rates that the Impulse subjected them to. The bolt pins were also changed to stainless steel for the same reason. These are significantly heavier, though, and that is bad.
Sometime later the stock triggers were changed in both Impulses and Shockers to the triggers available now in Impulses (the silver ones, with much less side-to-side play). The frames were also changed to incorporate the vertical trigger return spring which is found in 2001-2002 Shockers as well. Soon around this a fairly important change was made: up until this point you could feed air directly into the valve or the manifold seperately, however the then new Impulse bodies would no longer be made to do this. Instead only a single hole into the bottom of the valve would be drilled. This nullified some upgrades such as the Voodoo Full Flow and NEW DeSIGNZ High Flow Vertical, which isolated the manifold from the chamber and eliminated bbolt stick. This meant that only solenoid optimizers such as the Smart Parts Tapeworm could be used to eliminate bolt stick, however it is no more costly and it works just as good, so no big deal. Some Private Label Impulses, however, are still drilled with the old milling (this is frequently refeered to as VFF porting)
Over the years the Impulse has been around, its popularity has nearly sky-rocketed with every type of paintball player, professional or recreational, and now it's one of the most popular electropneumatics around. With the release of the 2003 Smart Parts gunline, the new Nerve marker was born. The Nerve is another stacked open bolt electropneumatic marker like the Impulse, however it has has many upgrades over the stock Imp such as an LPR. The body is also smaller, and it comes with an improved grip frame (the bolt design is also slightly altered). The Nerve is a top-of-the-line paintball marker, and retails for $1250 because it comes stock with the Freak Barrel, Vision system, LPR, redesigned body and frame, as well as many other features.
If you wish to learn more, move on to the technical information page.
(Private Label Meteor Impulse)
All the above pictures are from the Smart Parts 2002 catalog.