This page explains some of the major features of the Halo-B hopper, and has some assorted information relating to how it works. The secondary purpose of this page is to dispell many of the rumors surrounding feedrate and alleged "upgrades".
The original Halo is now referred to as the Halo-A. The difference between it and the current Halo-B version is that the A lacked the spring-fed drivecone. In other words, the Halo-A drivecone was directly linked to the motor. These are easy to identify; the Halo-A used a black drive section, whereas the Halo-B uses a blue one. You can also feel the difference by trying to wind the drivecone; if the drivecone moves then springs back into position then it's a Halo-B. If the drivecone moves but encounters resistance (since you're moving the gears and motor), and doesn't spring back into position after having been released, it's a Halo-A.
There are a boards out there, and a few versions of the stock boards.
|Odyssey LE board:
This was the original stock board for the Halo, long since discontinued. Variations of this board were used with the original Halo-A's as well as the current Halo-B's for a short time.
|Odyssey Z-code board:
This is currently the stock Halo board. It features an anti-jam sequence to attempt to clear paint jams. This replaced the LE boards a few weeks/months after the Halo-B was released.
|Odyssey Victory board: (aka v35 board)
Upgraded board from Odyssey. It allows the user to choose from one of six possible speed settings to use. Most people simply set it for the maximum speed and leave it there.
|Angry board: v1
These are sold by Angry paintball. They appear similar to the regular Odyssey boards (except obviously a different color), however there are slight changes to them. The programming is the same except [reportably] the Angry board lacks most (if not all) of the z-code's anti-jam detection. This allows the hopper to feed slightly faster than the Victory board.
|Angry board: v2
New version of the Angry board. These ones are noticeably different in hardware, and feature a superbright blue/red board indicator LED (instead of green/red). There may be other programming changes besides for the ones above.
|KM2 Cheetah board:
Upgraded board from KM2/TAG Sportz. This was the first actual redesigned Halo board, and boasts many features compared to the stock boards. Main features include enhanced eye detection (can detect any paint if properly calibrated), auto-unjam detection and clearing, much lengthened battery life, varied auto-shifting speeds. These boards come in and out of availability.
|WAS Halo Equalizer:
Never released; preseumed shelved. From Wicked Air Sportz.
|APE Halo board:
Not yet released. From Advanced Paintball Electronics.
Sound-activated board used in Empire Reloader-B hoppers. This can be used in a Halo-B, although it won't work with the Halo's stock eyes.
Halo boards use two main connector harnesses, a left and a right. The left connector controls the eyes (except with Reloader-B boards, where this isn't used) whereas the right connector controls the battery and motor wires.
Halos are made to use a standard 6xAA battery pack, however can function off a pair of 9v batteries with the use of an adapter. Using a soldering iron and a few spare 9v battery connectors, you can assembly your own adapter using the below pictures.
This is mainly beneficisl if you want to use only 9v batteries in your equipment (assuming you're using an electronic marker). However, you should be aware that there's a battery life difference. Two alkaline batteries will only last for about 2,000-4,000 rounds, whereas the 6xAA battery pack lasts much longer. Two 9v Lithium batteries will last much longer (as well as being ligher in weight) but are naturally more expensive.
Eye Sensitivity Adjustment: (Odyssey boards only)
The small potentiometer (or pot for short) located toward the top of the Odyssey boards is used to control eye sensitivity. Turning it clockwise will set the board for darker shells; turning it counterclockwise will set it for lighter shells.
It's good to leave it in the middle for regular use, unless you're having trouble with darker paint. There isn't any real-time notification of adjustment so you won't really know if the new eye setting is working or not, without just testing it out.
Maximum Mechanical Feedrates:
There are many modifications and upgrades out there that are designed to increase the speed of the drivecone. At first glance you may assume, the faster the drivecone spins, the faster the loader will feed. This is true, but only to a finite point. The bottomline is that upgrades designed to make the drivecone spin faster often don't influence the actual performance one way or another.
Explaniation. As stated above, the maximum feedrate of a Halo is typically controlled by the speed of the drivecone. However, there are working limits to the consistent feedrate. In order for paint to be successfully loaded, paintballs must fall into position within the drivecone, then be pushed down the "raceway" into the feedneck. If the drivecone is set spinning too fast, paint never makes it into the raceway. Instead, it gets flug around inside the hopper, or gets pinched at the lip of the raceway and breaks inside the shell. As a direct result of this concept, all the available circuit boards for the Halo tend to feed approximately the same speed, and most enhancements designed to increase drivecone speed often don't influence the actual performance.
Now...it's true there are often slight speed differences in the available boards. For instance, a Victory board feeds slightly faster than the stock Z-code board. However, due to the poor results of having the drivecone spin super fast (above), Halo boards are actually programmed to limit the speed to a set feedrate. An aftermarket Halo board can't magically feed twice as fast as the stock one; it's simply not how the loader works. This is a massive misconception that I wish would end.
The more a Halo is used, the less and less strong the motor will become. The exact lifetime for this varies from motor to motor (and obviously depends on how often you play, etc) however they do wear out over time and will eventually benefit from being replaced. The inside of the motor is coated with an enamel layer which tends to break down from regular use. Fortunately replacement motors are relatively cheap, and can be installed with or without soldering skills.
Motor torque is sometimes a factor with the motors, depending on how old the motor is. The torque of the motor is actually what decreases over time, as the enamel coating wears off (described above). Some people have experimented with using replacement motors that have a higher torque rating than the stock ones. This seems to yield a slightly higher feedrate, however isn't widespread due to the availability of the motors.
Drivecone spring tension:
The initial feedrate (speed right at the start of the firing burst) is controlled by the drivecone's spring tension. This is applied by a small torsion spring placed under the drivecone, which applies constant force on the balls in the raceway/feedneck. At first thought, one might assume that one could increase the feedrate by using a tighter spring...however in practice this doesn't seem to make any noticeable difference. Additionally, the use of tighter springs makes installing the drivecone more and more difficult.
The PR mod for victory boards will fry your motor and will often cause additional damage to the circuit board itself. The PR mod will only increase your feedrate by a minimal amount (typically 1-bps increase). Don't bother with the PR nonsense.
Pulley gear ratios:
This covers the use of "speed wheels", or modified gear ratios. This is a common modification sold by a couple aftermarket developers. It involves the addition of a small bearing to the head of the motor, which decreases the ratio between the motor and the first pulley; the ratio is lessened and as a result the loader often feeds slightly faster.
This modification depends on several other factors which may not be under your control. Mainly, the strength of the motor seems to affect it more than anything else. An older/weaker motor won't feed any differently with the modified gear ratio. In extreme cases, very weak motors won't even be able to feed at all (the motor stalls out). Strong motors can see a slight increase in feedrate, sometimes as high as 25-bps or faster. The torque limits of the stock motor are also altered with this mod, which is the reason it's able to feed faster when needed.