Shocker SFT Solenoid ZDSPB.com > Tech index > Shocker SFT > Parts of a Shocker > Solenoid
ZDSPB.com > Tech index > Shocker NXT > Parts of a Shocker > Solenoid

The solenoid of a paintball marker is the physical connection between the electronics and pneumatics. The electronics control the firing action whereas the pneumatics comprimise the mechanism that actually carries out the firing. Solenoids are electromagnet-based devices which control a pneumatic valve in the case of Shockers. The valve switches airflow within the marker, simultaneously pressurizing and depressurizing different parts to actuate the valve system. Every electronic marker uses a solenoid, although there are many differences in some of the valves used in other applications.

Shocker SFT; frame internal view showing solenoid and circuit boards
Shocker SFT; frame internal view showing solenoid and circuit boards
Shocker NXT; frame internal view showing solenoid and circuit boards
Shocker NXT; frame internal view showing solenoid and circuit boards
Shocker SFT; solenoid attached to Shocker body underside
Shocker SFT; solenoid attached to Shocker body underside
Shocker NXT; solenoid attached to Shocker body underside
Shocker NXT; solenoid attached to Shocker body underside
The Shocker's solenoid is located attached to the underside of the body, within the grip frame.

Solenoid Operation:
The purpose of the solenoid is to take in pressurized air and shunt it to one of two possible output ports. This makes the solenoid in the Shocker a four-way valve, meaning it has two inputs and two outputs. The output air is delivered to the solenoid inserts, where it leads to the bolt sleeve and forces the bolt in one direction (either forward or back).

Shocker SFT/NXT firing animation (HE bolt is shown)
Shocker SFT/NXT firing animation (HE bolt is shown)
Four-way solenoid valve animation (Parker K-series solenoid)
Four-way solenoid valve animation (Parker K-series solenoid)

Solenoid Types: (Parker vs. Humphrey)
Smart Parts used two different types of solenoids throughout the reign of Shockers and Nerves. The two solenoids were made by different companies; originally Shockers used a Parker K4H03 valve, used from 2003-2005. In early 2005, Humphrey released a new solenoid called the CRCB-0045W which was specifically designed to function in a Nerve, but also worked in a Shocker too. Smart Parts used both the Parker and Humphrey solenoids until late 2006, at which point they reverted to using Parker solenoids exclusively.
Solenoids

Neither solenoid is necessarially "better" than the other; they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. There isn't much need to replace your old solenoid with a different one so long as your marker is currently functioning correctly. Swapping out solenoids may lead to a performance increase but it may simply be due to manufacturing differences.

Technically speaking, the CRCB-series Humphrey solenoids tend to offer increased venting, and their valves can withstand higher pressures. However, the drawback is the spool takes more time to shift, so dwell times are often higher. The Shocker's Parker K-series solenoid has lower dwell times and are easier to disassemble for cleaning, but can be less reliable due to the electronics connection. Humphrey solenoids are arguably "better made" but have a higher cost as a result. The Humphrey solenoids also offer a removeable upper circuit board to help compat the problem of Parker solenoid coil damage. Parker solenois require you to desolder the upper board in order to remove it (see the below section Connection).

It is true that the Parker K4H01 solenoids from the Impulse and pre-03 Shocker will functionally work in a 2003+ Shocker. However, the circuit board won't attach to the top of one of these solenoids (they're designed to attach with wires leading to the board, not the board itself). It's true that they can be modified to fit, however this isn't a modifiction I suggest you perform unless you have the right equipment. The solenoid terminals are very fragile and easy to destroy in the process.

Solenoid/Upper Board Connection: Warning
The upper board is removable with the newer Humphrey solenoids, but NOT removable with the older Parkers. Parker solenoid terminals are soldered directly to the circuit board, which therefore cannot be removed unless it is desoldered from the solenoid terminals. I personally do not recommend doing this for any reason, unless you are absolutely forced to do so. I recommend this soldering task only for advanced technicians, since desoldering the solenoid is a very delicate operation and the coil terminals are extremely fragile.

Solenoid Manifold:
The solenoid is screwed onto the body of the Shocker at the spool housing end; this is the end where airflow is exchanged between the Shocker and the solenoid. Located between the solenoid and the Shocker body is a metal plate known as the solenoid manifold, which supports and aligns a series of o-rings used to seal the air exchange. The below diagram shows the o-ring grooves and the o-rings that fit inside:

Metric o-ring diagram for Shocker/Nerve solenoid manifolds
Metric o-ring diagram for Shocker/Nerve solenoid manifolds
Please note, the pair of 1x3-mm o-rings are simply common circular o-rings which have been pushed down into the ovular groove. They'll appear ovular once installed.
Warning The tapered side of the manifold faces toward the front of the marker. The marker will leak if installed backwards.
Warning Although the Nerve also uses a solenoid manifold, Shocker and Nerve manifolds are not interchangeable.
Warning Solenoid "body gaskets" from Impulses and pre-2003 Shockers will not work with a 2003+ Shocker solenoid.

Solenoid Manifold Mounting:
The solenoid manifold is secured onto the Shocker body using a pair of 4-40 x 1/4" button head screws, which accept a 1/16" allen wrench for removal. The solenoid itself is attached to the top of the manifold using a pair of specialty spacer screws, which will also accept a 1/16" allen for removal, however can't be purchased at a local store. The spacer screws have a tall head to help support the upper circuit board.

Solenoid 'spacer screw' pair
Solenoid "spacer screw" pair
Solenoid manifold-to-body screw pair
Solenoid manifold-to-body screw pair

Note: Original 2003 model Shockers used a different style of spacer screws, which are still occasionally seen today. These screws were two screws in one; a hex head screw held the solenoid to the manifold, then a smaller socket head cap screw held the circuit board onto the hex screw. These were replaced coming into 2004 since assembly was very difficult; the updated spacer screws are significantly easier to operate.

Warning When reinstalling solenoid spacer screws, DO NOT overtighten them into the manifold. The threads are very fine and will easily strip out if you torque the screws too hard. Overtightening screws in the marker is never a good idea, and will be extremely easy to cause damage in this case. A stripped solenoid manifold cannot be fixed; it can only be replaced with a new one.
Warning Severe overpressurization to the marker has been known to strip the solenoid manifold as well. This would generally be pressures of 240-psi or higher. If you overpressurize your marker and it is now leaking, this is a probable cause (please refer to the Troubleshooting page for solenoid leak information).

Aftermarket Solenoid Manifolds:
Some alternates to the stock manifolds are available. Some offer performance change while others are simply made from a different material. In brief, manifolds made from stainless steel will offer more protection against stripping. Manifolds with adjustable bolt speed can be used to slow the marker's bolt, thereby allowing it tooperate more gentle on brittle-shell paint which would otherwise be broken by the bolt or SFT o-ring. The drawback of adjustable manifolds is they require advanced tuning to properly set up, and they will restrict your theoretical maximum firing speed to around 14-bps (depending on how much you slow the bolt). This concept is also used in the Luxe Feathertouch manifold, Eclipse Geo-series solenoids, and Thin Air Sports Zealot marker.
Below is a list of every manifold you might find on a Shocker:

Smart Parts
Air Vent manifold
This alternate solenoid manifold is made from the same aluminum material as the stock/OEM manifolds. The air vent manifold was the original adjustable-bolt-speed system and the first of its kind; it was primarilly used by SP-sponsored teams. The manifold was initially available for purchase from SP Europe only, then later available from US retailers for $50. However, Smart Parts never really advertised the benefits of the manifold, so they are fairly uncommon and few players outside of sponsored team-markers own them.
Air vent manifolds use a pair of 2-56 thread set screws to constrict exhaust, which require an extremely tiny 0.035" allen key for adjustment. These manifolds are silver in color, made from aluminum.
Smart Parts air vent manifold
Smart Parts air vent manifold
Evolve
Stainless manifold
Evolve was the first company to release a stainless steel manifold for Shockers. This manifold is virtually identical to the stock manifolds, but manufactured from stainless steel instead. WARNING: these manifolds aren't threaded the same as all other Shocker/Nerve manifolds; they shipped with a new set of hex head cap screws and are incompatible with the typical "spacer screws" used by Shockers and Nerves. Evolve stainless steel manifold
Evolve stainless steel manifold
New Designz
Stainless manifold
Another stainless steel manifold, offered by the popular developer New Designz. Generally these manifolds were hailed as being more accessible because of NDZ large network of retailers and the fact that the manifolds were compatible with Shocker/Nerve spacer screws. NDZ also made a similar stainless manifold for use in Nerves, and both of them are engraved on the body side. The NDZ manifolds have ball-rounded flow paths which theoretically should increase airflow moving through the solenoid; however there isn't a measureable performance increase from this feature. New Designz stainless steel manifold
New Designz stainless steel manifold
SpeedsCustom
Adjustable manifold
Released in 2009, these manifolds offer the same adjustable benefit as the early Air Vent manifolds, which were discontinued at the time of release. These manifolds were also cheaper in price. Made from aluminum and anodized black. SpeedsCustom adjustable manifold
SpeedsCustom adjustable manifold
Nummech/ZDSPB
SAM stainless adjustable manifold
This unique stainless manifold offers partial bolt speed adjustment when used in conjunction with any marker made from a Slug-style Nummech/ZDSPB Shocker body. Slug Shocker bodies have an additional air channel and adjustable set screw hole located beneath the manifold, which can control the bolt's forward speed when used with a SAM manifold. SAM manifolds can be used with OEM-body Shockers, however the marker cannot take advantage of the flow restriction. This is the only way to achieve a stainless solenoid manifold while simultaneously offering adjustable bolt speed.
Shockers made from Slug bodies use a 4-40 "cone point" set screw located in the right side of the marker body; it's adjusted using a 1/16" allen key.
SAM stainless adjustable manifold rendering
SAM stainless adjustable manifold rendering

Overview:
The solenoid is a pneumatic valve that switches airflow within the marker, when energized by electricity from the circuit board.
Older markers came with Parker solenoids, newer ones come with Humphrey solenoids.
Parker solenoids are NOT removable from the circuit board. Humphrey solenoids are.
The solenoid manifold is a mounting plate between the solenoid and the body; it houses o-rings that seal the solenoid pressures.
The solenoid manifold is easily stripped by overtightening.

Related Links:
Shocker solenoid assembly manual scan
Shocker leak troubleshooting
Solenoid maintenance
How solenoids work
Upper circuit board (Shocker SFT)
Upper circuit board (Shocker NXT)