Planet Eclipse Ego LV1 Review!

So..

Back in late 2012 Ledz sent a simple yet intriguing email…  “Random leading question for you, are you guys (specifically you Indie & Rosey) playing any games in December, January 2013 & February 2013?”

What spawned from this was an intro email to Jack Wood (Legendary Planet Eclipse Lead Designer) followed by a cryptic email, containing no real clues or information, about something that we would be receiving in the next few days!

SPM0102-LV1-01

As you could imagine the feeling of Christmas as a kid had nothing on this..  A few days went by and the anticipation grew. After a few more mails were exchanged I had THE email from Jack “They are on their way!”   At this point I still had no idea what it was that would be on its way :$

That night I couldn’t sleep… What was it that Jack could be sending to us?  Was it a new hopper design, a mask possibly… It couldn’t possibly be anything big…………. ;P

Planet Eclipse has just launched the HDE Etha at this point so when I opened the main box to find two Etha markers boxes I thought WOW, must be a new addition to try, a slight design change perhaps… I then took the case out an opened it………….

IndieLV1

OMG… What on Earth was I seeing in front of me?  The Manual said LV1, The marker had ‘Ego’ stamped in the side…  The New model Ego had landed!   What first struck me was the lack of macro line, then the eyes were drawn to the Air Through Pipe and Rubber Grip… Then you notice there is no LPR torpedo poking out the front… In the place, where I would normally expect to see a metal regulator, was a rubber covered regulator.

In the case was also an extra rammer, the LV1 comes with a Lightweight Zick3 as well as the standard unit. BONUS..

I emailed Jack after I processed what I’d been sent to test..  With this came some strict instructions that the marker had to be disguised and that we were not to speak of it to anyone..  After a search on eBay the disguise materials were ordered and with a few off cuts of fibre optic cable sheath I set to making the LV1 look standard :

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The first time out was a team training day in January @ Campaign Paintball in Cobham, Surrey. I filled my bottle and screwed it into the ASA..  I pulled the POPS back and heard the familiar click when you gas a marker up.. I waited… No Leaks.. Excellent…

I was the first to the chrono station but couldn’t resist unleashing a few pew, pew’s first.  A few turned in to a full hopper which turned in to 1 hopper and pod… The LV1 is so smooth, so quiet, less noise from this than my Geo!  I turned to the chrono station and put some balls over it, 303, 301, 304, 301, 306… It seems to have been set for tourney FPS out the box. A few turns of the velocity screw (which is in the same place as every other Eclipse Marker and operates in the same way) and I was down to 265, 272, 269, 266, 270 and after a few minor tweaks I was at an average of 275FPS.

I was shooting Pure Arctic through my Boost4 Barrel using 0.685 back.  The accuracy of the LV1 is so good. The brand new internal mechanism design not only means the power pulse of air produced behind the ball is controlled resulting in a more stable, accurate shot but the kick is significantly reduced as well.  (I will post some words from, the Legend, Jack further down the page) With the LV1 comes the Cure5 bolt with its super cushioned tip suitable for all types of paint

Second outing was Clint Moore clinic and UWL Training @ Campaign Paintball again. Some of you will have been shot by me using the LV1 :D

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Because the flow of air is smoother through the marker the efficiency has increased.  Only having access to 3k fill stations meant I cannot comment of the full potential of the LV1 if used with 4.5k fill.  I can report that I shot about 1000 balls off of 2k worth of air in a 68/4500 from a 3k supply.

The LV1 is a really nice marker to shoot, it feels well balanced and is lighter than my Geo3.  There is almost no kick and it shoots smooth and quiet.  Its super accurate and efficient.  The ideal marker!

The new rubber grip has been received with varied views, I personally really like it, it feels great. Here is what Jack says about the design :   The Ego LV1 features a raft of changes aimed at making it as comfortable, ergonomic and stable as possible. The grip-frame itself has been strengthened to make it less susceptible to twisting under excessive impact and sports a new set of grips that blend seamlessly into a fully contoured console that gives a continuous rubber grip surface round the back of the frame. And it’s not just the frame that has received a new grip; a contoured ergonomic rubber grip sleeves the HPR and runs up the front of the body, the grip surface designed to provide optimal control of the marker at all times. The distance between these two grips has also been increased to give a more stable shooting platform to work from. The trigger is, of course, opto sensor and micro-switch enabled and incorporates both magnetic and leaf spring return mechanisms and attached to the bottom of the frame is a sleek new AT POPS system which has all of the features of the existing POPS, without the macroline.

Here are some more images of the LV1 with parts removed :

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Jack has already said the a ‘Tech Kit’ will be available and posted the following on one of the forums : To ease technical support of the marker the SL4 HPR can either be completely replaced with a standard SL3 HPR or the SL4 swivel can be quickly and easily replaced with the optional hose-style swivel to allow the LV1 to be gassed up with the frame removed. A handy ‘Tech’ Kit is available that includes the SL4 swivel, hose and tank adaptor for those that feel they may need it.

This really is an advance in marker development and has been under design for some years. Rather than produce small improvements often the team at PE wanted to utilize time more productively by making more significant changes, less often. The LV1 is ‘Significant’!

The LV1 is expected to be available from April and is likely to cost in the region of £1100+ (all details should be confirmed soon)

I know one thing for sure……… The Geo3 can stay in the bag!

We will be shooting the LV1 at UWL S1 event and at the Going Postal event The Siege in April (Copehill Down people’s!!)

Here are the first colour ways to be released :

Ego LV1Ego LV1 Features:

Unique Lever Valve Mechanism
Zick3 Rammer System
Heavy and Light Zick3 Rammer Included
Cure5 Bolt
Internal LPR
SL4 Inline Regulator
AT Pipe Gas Transfer System
High Flow Onion Valve
Shielded Valve Spring
AT POPS
40% Larger Valve Chamber
65-80psi LPR Pressure
120-135psi Inline Pressure
Contoured Grip and Console
HiGrip Foregrip and Body Sleeve
Adjustable Direct Acting Solenoid Valve
Dual Rammer Speed Controls
Tool-less Bolt, Rammer and Valve Removal
14.5″ Shaft4 Barrel with 0.689″ Back
Infra-Red Break Beam Eyes
Replaceable Transflective Graphic LCD Module
Adjustable Tru-Colour RGB LCD Backlite
16-Bit Microprocessor – 16 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second)
Improved Solenoid Drive Circuitry for increased Velocity Consistency
Menu Driven User Interface
Ultra-Lightweight, Single Billet 3D Machined Body (Machined in the UK)
Deftek Offset Feed Tube
Clamping Feed with Sprocket Wheel Adjustment
Integrated Rammer Housing
Integrated FRM
Offset Bores
Micro-Switch and Opto Sensor Trigger Activation
Dual Instrument Grade Ball-Raced Trigger
Dual Trigger Return Mechanisms – Magnetic and Spring Trigger
Integrated Audible Sounding Device
Ramping and Semi-Auto Modes
Compliant with Regulations of all Major Paintball Leagues
E-Portal Compatible
Assembled and Tested at Planet Eclipse HQ in the UK

 

Jack Wood on the LV1 :

When Planet Eclipse decided to halt the annual release of its flagship marker, the Ego, many people assumed that is was because Planet felt that there was little that could be done to improve on the existing design; this simply wasn’t the case. In 2011 Planet Eclipse decided that rather than spend time making small, incremental changes to its models – in order to conform to the industry annual release model – it would utilize time more productively by making more significant changes, less often.

It has been over two years since the launch of the Ego11 (renamed to the Ego-S in 2012) and that time has been used to dissect the Ego, and poppet-valve markers in general, in order to better understand every aspect of their function; to break down their operation into its component elements so that a new system could be designed, one that overcomes all of the shortfalls of the conventional poppet design while retaining all of its strengths. As a result, the Ego LV1 utilizes technology never before seen in a paintball marker in order to transform the way that it shoots and feels, yet still provide the robustness, hassle-free reliability and ease of maintenance that Egos are renowned for.

Internally the Ego LV1 introduces a revolutionary new design that rewrites what can be achieved with this type of platform. The system incorporates a profiled (cam-shaped) lever between the rammer and the exhaust valve that is used to separate the action of the rammer and bolt from the action of the valve. This additional element in the mechanism has several major benefits over the conventional directly-linked knock-open system, particularly with respect to the force required to open the valve and the rate at which the valve is opened. This indirect operation of the exhaust valve means it can be opened more slowly, with considerably less force, yet retain excellent seal integrity, something that has blighted other low opening force or balanced valve systems.

While existing designs may require a low force to open the exhaust valve they are still bound by the need to overcome blowback using the speed and mass of the bolt which means that the valve has to be opened with a greater speed than is actually required. Often, these designs will also suffer from low closing forces that can drastically affect efficiency. The LV1 suffers none of these drawbacks: the valve can still utilise a large closing force to help create a robust seal and yet, through the mechanical advantage of the lever, it requires significantly less force from the rammer to open it. Also, because the lever has a shaped profile, similar to a cam, the rate at which the valve opens and closes is no longer in a fixed ratio with the movement of the rammer; this allows accurate and independent control of the power pulse of air behind the ball unlike anything previously seen on a marker of this kind.

So what are the benefits to shooting the LV1? Well, the smaller forces generated by the reciprocating components (the bolt and the rammer) due to lower LPR pressure and the smoother profile of the air which is released behind the ball combine to greatly reduced kick and significantly lower the sound signature. The change is so marked that in terms of feel and sound the Ego LV1 is no longer comparable to other poppet-based markers, but instead finds itself competing with the very best spool operated devices. The LV1 has to be seen and shot to fully appreciate the leap forward this system has made to poppet valve markers.

Of course, the lever operated valve is only one of the innovations in the Ego LV1, there are many more improvements throughout the entire marker; front to back; inside and out. For example the exhaust valve itself is a completely new design: from the profile of the “onion bulb” valve to the fully sheathed valve spring, the goal is to provide a path that is as smooth as possible, leading up to and through the valve, in order to reduce turbulence and allow the air to flow and work as efficiently as possible. The exhaust valve and valve guide also incorporate a very large post-release sensing surface area that is tuned to complement the lever mechanism and the forces generated by the reciprocating parts. This works to shut the valve off quickly after each shot so that the excellent efficiency that users expect from a poppet valve marker is retained. The vast increase in valve chamber volume that the LV1 offers over previous Egos further aids this feature and helps lower the overall operating pressure of this marker.

The rammer has also been further developed: gone is the institutionalised 1 inch bolt and rammer stroke found in all other poppet valve markers; this throwback from old off-the-shelf pneumatic components has no place in the modern paintball marker as it limits both intelligent bolt-head design, which can prevent stack clipping and bolt strike fractures, as well as the development of staged acceleration in systems that still have momentum requirements. The LV1 is fitted with a new Zick3 rammer that uses a longer stroke in order to help facilitate both of the above while allowing for the longer valving stroke required by the lever mechanism and, contrary to popular belief, this additional stroke length has negligible effect on cyclic rates, with the LV1 capable of rates of fire well into the 20+bps range. The Zick3 also has a far more pronounced dual force set-up designed to help reduce the initial force on the ball as it is pushed towards the barrel and to offer more cushioning on the return stroke. The LV1 also benefits from the fact that, as standard, it will come complete with two different weights of rammer. The Standard rammer offers the benefit of allowing the LV1 to run at the lowest possible operating pressures. It is perfect for shooting the most fragile paint or when looking for the quietest shot. The Lightweight rammer on the other hand offers exceptional efficiency. A small increase in operating pressure and the associated small increase in sound signature are the only penalties.

The rammer drives a new bolt with a fully rubberised, ramped tip and floating transfer port seals. Combined with the smoother gas release from the valve, the LV1 works to minimize all ball breakages in the marker. The bolt and rammer design minimize instances of stack clipping and ball cracking from the forward motion of the bolt and the profile of the gas power pulse reduces peak pressure behind the ball to help combat fragile paint being blown apart in the barrel. When trying to shoot super-fragile, tournament grade paint every little bit helps get that ball out of the barrel and straight on target.

One of the benefits of the new valve, bolt, lever and rammer design is that the operating pressures of the Ego LV1 are significantly lower than in previous Egos. The low pressure regulator (LPR) operates in the 65-80psi range and the SL4 high pressure regulator (HPR) supplies air to the valve chamber in the range of 120-135psi. Both the LPR and the HPR have been redesigned: the LPR in order to house it inside the body, leaving the area under the barrel clear of any obstructions that might impede grip; and the HPR in order to shorten its overall length such that it blends both aesthetically and ergonomically with the internally mounted LPR. Both regulators are designed to operate within limits that will prevent accidental damage to key components such as the solenoid and the exhaust valve. The SL4 regulator is also capable of operating with tank regulators ranging from SLP-level outputs right up to high pressure (800psi) outputs. It’s an incredibly versatile regulator.

Also new for the Ego LV1 is the AT (air transfer) Pipe system. The conventional fittings and macroline hose of previous Ego designs has been removed and the gas is now routed through the frame and across to the HPR via an adjustable pipe. This design keeps the marker body height to an absolute minimum and keeps the trigger hand as close to the barrel axis whilst negating the need for complex and tortured gas paths through the marker body. To ease technical support of the marker the SL4 HPR can either be completely replaced with a standard SL3 HPR or the SL4 swivel can be quickly and easily replaced with the optional hose-style swivel to allow the LV1 to be gassed up with the frame removed. A handy ‘Tech’ Kit is available that includes the SL4 swivel, hose and tank adaptor for those that feel they may need it.
Ease of repair and maintenance has also been significantly improved in the LV1 by making the majority of the markers key components accessible without the need for tools. The rammer cap no longer requires a hex key to remove, meaning the rammer can be cleaned and lubed without tools. The inline regulator, LPR, valve plug, exhaust valve, and valve guide can all be removed without turning a screw. It really is one of the easiest markers available to strip down and service.

Of course in a game one of the most important aspects of any marker is how it feels in your hands. The Ego LV1 features a raft of changes aimed at making it as comfortable, ergonomic and stable as possible. The grip-frame itself has been strengthened to make it less susceptible to twisting under excessive impact and sports a new set of grips that blend seamlessly into a fully contoured console that gives a continuous rubber grip surface round the back of the frame. And it’s not just the frame that has received a new grip; a contoured ergonomic rubber grip sleeves the HPR and runs up the front of the body, the grip surface designed to provide optimal control of the marker at all times. The distance between these two grips has also been increased to give a more stable shooting platform to work from. The trigger is, of course, opto sensor and micro-switch enabled and incorporates both magnetic and leaf spring return mechanisms and attached to the bottom of the frame is a sleek new AT POPS system which has all of the features of the existing POPS, without the macroline.

Inside the grip-frame the Ego LV1 has every electronic feature that you’ve come to expect from an Eclipse marker: super-fast processor; perfect eye logic; backlit, transflective LCD that’s easy to read in even the brightest direct sunlight; E-Portal compatibility for personalised splash screen design, firmware updates and custom profile settings; and compatibility with the rules of all of the major leagues, worldwide.

Of course, the Planet Eclipse experience doesn’t stop the moment you take the gun out of the box. From the very beginning, over twenty years ago, the company has prided itself on training and supporting more technicians, in more countries and attending more events, both at the recreational and the tournament level, than probably any other manufacturer. Every Planet Eclipse marker is designed with durability, simplicity and ease of maintenance at the fore and Planet strives to ensure that its customers never require technical support. However, should the need arise then access to that support is available through virtually every form of communication: from email to social media to forums and telephone as well as through technical classes and qualified technicians in as many places as possible to make sure that Planet Eclipse customers always receive a timely response to their queries or problems.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to shoot an Ego LV1 will tell you that there has been no compromise in any way with the performance on offer from this marker. Every aspect of the Ego LV1 has been shaped to create the ultimate expression of Eclipse passion, performance and quality. There has never been such a complete and thorough overhaul of the Ego. No stone left unturned in the pursuit of perfection. It has to be felt to be believed.

Ego LV1. A new chapter in Ego history.


Expect to see more release information in the coming months.

Planet Eclipse PaintballBZ Paintballcp-small

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