Ion Electronics & pressure setting ZDSPB.com > Tech index > SP Ion > Adjusting and maintaining > Electronics & pressure setting
This page indexes all the currently available lower circuit boards and displays an adjustment guide for each. Select your board from this list to view instructions for HOW to adjust the settings. For instructions on WHAT to set the boards at, scroll down view information about the various features.

Board type: Software versions:
Smart Parts Stock board - basic instructions
Stock board - advanced instructions
Blackheart board
Team boards (unavailable)
T-Board ?
Virtue Virtue Ion
Tadao M7 Raider board
APE ?

Adjusting your Dwell:
Dwell is the name for the amount of time the solenoid remains open, which is the approximate amount of time the bolt will remain forward, which is the amount of time pressurized air will be released to fire the paintball. As a result, increases in dwell generally cause increases in velocity, and vice-versa (however there are working limits). Dwell can affect a number of things, including but not limited to, velocity, consistency, efficiency, or recoil.

The dwell setting on your marker is used to allow the bolt to fully cycle from shot to shot. If set too low, the bolt will half-stroke and the gun won't fire properly. If set too high, the valve will be open for too long and air will be wasted, decreasing efficiency. Because of this, it's generally best to use the lowest dwell setting possible, while still keeping it above the point where the marker has trouble firing. Dwell is a tradeoff between "too high" and "too low". Accordingly, there is no such thing as a "perfect" dwell setting. Some guns will require a higher setting than others, depending on the parts, manufacturing characteristics, weather conditions, etc etc. Each gun requires a bit of experimentation to find the optimal setting that should be used.

Detailed below is the suggested method for finding this optimal dwell setting for your particular Ion. This is how I set all Ions that go through the shop for repair. The setting may be fine-tuned later on, but this will give you a good starting point to use.
1. Pressurize your Ion at whatever input pressure you wish to use. I suggest between 140-170 psi, depending on the internals. The following steps involve dry-firing the marker (firing it without paint). Always be safe.
2. Lower the dwell to the minimum setting (or an extremely low setting, such as 5 blinks with the stock board, or 8 milliseconds with an aftermarket board).
3. Gradually increase the dwell setting until the marker begins to fully cycle. When the marker has trouble cycling, the sound of the bolt firing will be muffled and sound erratic, denoting inconsistencies. When you reach the point where it fully cycles, the marker will sound loud on each shot fired, with minimal sound difference between them.
4. Once the Ion is fully cycling, increase the dwell another 4-6 blinks (2-3 milliseconds with aftermarket board), and that will be your new dwell setting.

Here are some "sample" settings, which are the values I've observed as being average for various combinations of parts and accessories. All dwell amounts are expressed in blinks from the bottom for the stock board, and milliseconds for any of the aftermarket boards.

Stock board:
Aftermarket board:
Ion with no QEV:
40-55 blinks
29-34 milliseconds
Ion with Clippard/ANS/
Eclipse/Palmers QEV:
12-16 blinks
14-16 milliseconds
Ion with SP 360 QEV:
16-22 blinks
16-19 milliseconds
Note: The Smart Parts Blackheart board is adjusted using blinks, like the stock board.

As said, dwell is used to give the bolt ample time to fire the valve and release air. You should set your dwell first then utilize your input pressure to achieve your desired velocity. Do not adjust your velocity by fine-tuning your dwell over the chronograph; this won't yield good performance.

QEV Venting Ability:
When a QEV is installed in an Ion, it will be able to use a much decreased dwell setting, to avoid wasting unneeded air. This is due to the faster bolt speed (described in the section about internal hoses and QEV use). However, the new setting that you will use with your QEV depends on how quickly it's able to vent, which varies from brand to brand, and part to part. QEVs can be imprecise tools and most vent at different rates. Therefore, a lower setting such as 12 blinks on one Ion might not work as good (or at all) with another Ion, even if it's using the same internals and same brand QEV.
QEVs that require higher dwell settings aren't necessarily bad performing or low quality. It simply means the QEV doesn't vent as quickly as others, whci is oftentimes a good thing. All QEVs available, except for the SP 360 QEV, were designed for other markers rather than the Ion. As a result, you may find your QEV venting too quickly and experiencing problems. For isntance, higher chance of breaking paint on the SFT o-ring, or issues with shredding the front bolt bumper. The SP 360 is the only QEV designed specifically for the Ion, and takes this into effect; this is why the 360 QEV uses a higher dwell setting on average.

Setting your Pressure/Velocity:
Pressure adjustment is easier than messing with the electronics. The marker's input pressure is how you determine the velocity for your shots, so after setting your dwell simply use your pressure adjustment to achieve your desired velocity. Higher the pressure, higher the velocity; lower the pressure, lower the velocity.
Use the included 5/8" wrench (or pliers) to adjust the screw. When looking up at the bottom of the regulator, screwing the adjustment endcap clockwise will increase the pressure, and counterclockwise to decrease it. Use the gauge on the side of the frame to view the pressure going into the marker.
Regulator adjustment
Warning Do not adjust your velocity through dwell. This will not yield good performance.
Warning Never adjust the regulator to allow more than 200-psi into the Ion. This will cause internal hoses to blow off their barbs and possibly damage parts.
TechCertain bolts work well at different pressures. Refer to the list above for suggested pressure ranges. Some bolts don't "require" any specific pressure, so they have no recommendation for setting.

Primary Regulator Pressure: Tech
If you're using an HPA tank (preset or adjustable), the regulator on the tank is known as the primary reg. If your primary reg is adjustable, set the input pressure to 450-550 psi if you're using the stock vertical reg. If you have an adjustable screw-in tank, set the reg as high as it will go, under 800-psi.

Indoor Velocities: Tech
Ions sometimes don't work as good while in the indoor setting, where velocities are limited to approximately 250-fps (or lower). If your Ion doesn't function well with such a low pressure/dwell setting, you may need to get creative and fill the fire chamber with something to take up some wasted air volume. I usually suggest cutting a small section of PVC pipe and dropping it into the fire chamber, however this requires experimenting and can be a hassle.

Debounce and AMB Adjustment: Tech
Debounce is an electronic filtering timer that will tell the board how long the trigger must remain compressed before it will recognize the trigger pull as being an actual pull of the trigger. The reason for this is because the switch will actually tend to close several times before and after you actually compress the trigger fully (known as switch bounce), which causes the board to think you've fired multiple shots quickly in a row. This is due to any number of factors which I won't bother explaining at the moment, but it is a characteristic present on all switches, used for paintball guns or not.

Debounce should only be set as high as required to filter out unnecessary bounce. Basically, lower this setting and your marker has a higher chance of adding shots (and vice-versa). The default setting on most boards (for any gun) is around 10-ms, however a higher setting may be necessary in order to prevent the marker from adding shots. A good way to test this is to compress the trigger as slowly as possible and see how many times the marker fires. If the marker fires more than once when you pull it, your marker is bouncing and the setting should be increased. If the marker fires once and only once, the current setting is sufficient and will work okay. If the setting is set too high, the board will wait too long before firing and slow down your maximum ROF (this usually happens around 16-ms, but will vary depending on how the board is programmed). Bouncing guns are often illegal in tournaments.

Some boards have an additional setting known as AMB which stands for anti-mechanical bounce. This is a setting which limits the length of the shot buffer to help filter out false trigger signals sent to the board. This happens when the gun kicks, which tends to create a small amount of bounce as well. This setting can be adjusted if your marker seems to add shots when you rapid fire. Setting AMB too low may cause the marker to mechanically simulate fully-automatic firing.

ABS (Anti Bolt Stick) Adjustment: Tech
This setting is used to increase the dwell for the first shot you take after a period of inactivity (generally 10-15 seconds). This is useful if the marker is experiencing first shot dropoff problems (known as FSDO), where the first shot you fire is much slower in velocity than the rest. Sometimes this is caused by the bolt, in which case ABS can be used to guard against it.
The default ABS setting is 5-ms added dwell time. If ABS set too low, the marker's first shot will still move slower than the rest. You may be able to live with it as long as the ball actually has some speed to it. Setting ABS too high will add velocity to the first shot, so you would then have to turn the velocity down over the chronograph (which would put you at a disadvantage). The perfect ABS setting may be difficult to find (since you would have to adjust it, wait a while, then test over a chrono, then repeat). Because of this I suggest setting it to 4 or 5-ms and testing the gun out; if at that point the first shot is reasonably strong, just leave the setting there. if the ifrst shot is higher than the others, decrease the ABS setting.

ROF Adjustment:
Most boards have an adjustable max rate of fire (ROF). There are a few reasons why you may wish to adjust this:
1. You may be required to limit your marker's rate of fire due to the tournament or field rules.
2. If your marker is experiencing velocity dropoff, slowing the ROF will help to keep your shots from dropping. However, this is only a way to circumvent the dropoff problem, it isn't a fix for it. You should try to repair your dropoff issue when you have the time.
3. If your Ion's eyes are malfunctioning, decreasing the rate of fire may be necessary to help prevent chopping in the chamber. If you're using an agitated loader, a BPS setting of 12-13 will work good. If using an eVolutionII, a setting around 15-16 bps will work. If using a Halo-B or Reloader-B, a setting of 18-bps will often work. Please note that hoppers will feed slower and slower as time goes on, due to the motor wearing out.

Eye Holdoff Adjustment: Tech
Eye holdoff is also known as loader delay on Tadao boards, or eye sensitivity on Virtue boards. This is a small delay setting that is used to prevent chopping during that split second between when the ball is detected by the eye, and when it actually clears the top of the bolt and is seated in the chamber. This is a necessary delay because the ball is detected on its way down into the chamber, not as soon as it reaches the bottom. Eye holdoff should be set to 2-ms on most Ions, or possibly higher if you're not using a force-fed hopper. Most force-fed loaders won't require a high loader delay setting unless you frequently participate in extremely fast bursts of shots.

Ramp Activation Speed / Shot Count: Tech
Some boards allow the adjustment of the speed required to activate their ramping modes. Most users will wish to adjust this between 5-9 bps, depending on the trigger setup and max speed. Higher settings will usually prevent the user from activating ramping mode unless he/she specifically tries to do so during the game (a setting of 12-bps will prevent unwanted ramping, for instance). Some tournament series require a certain activation speed to adhere with their rules, however most series won't be too strict on it. PSP rules require a speed of 9-bps, for instance.

Ramp activation shot count is a similar setting which is used for ramping and other firing modes. This is the number of semiauto shots that must be fired (at or above the ramp activation speed) before the marker enters the mode. This is set by default on just about any board at 3 shots, in order to adhere to most tournament rules. Too low a shot count will result in the gun entering ramping mode too quickly, and perhaps firing one or two unwanted shots.

Related Links:
Firing assembly