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Home arrow Guides arrow Advanced Gearbox Tech I: Increasing Rate of Fire with Capacitors
Advanced Gearbox Tech I: Increasing Rate of Fire with Capacitors Print E-mail
Written by Jay   
Friday, 25 February 2005

 Increasing Rate of Fire with Capacitors

In this article, we test the effects of adding capacitors to AEG mechbox circuitry and verify that the use of capacitors is an effective means to increase rate of fire economically.



The inherent design of the AEG gearbox presents an uneven load to the AEG motor per firing cycle. During half of the firing cycle, the motor encounters gradually increasing torque loads as the main spring is compressed. After full compression is achieved, the motor encounters minimal load for the 2nd half of sector rotation as the gears reset to the firing positon virtually unencumbered. This uneven load demand on the motor results inevitably in an uneven current demand from the battery, and a naturally fluctuating voltage output. Since motor performance is tied closely to battery output, the ability to minimize voltage fluctuations, especially sudden voltage drops, can enhance motor performance and result in an increased rate of fire.


Capacitors are structually simple electrical devices composing of little more than 2 conducting elements separated by a dielectric medium. Their simplicity belies their myriad uses, arising from the ability to act as temporary storage vessels for electrical energy. Capacitors store energy by maintaining a physical separation of electrical charges, creating an electrical potential. The magnitude of the potential which the capacitor is able to maintain is given by the voltage rating of the capacitor, while the total amount of energy the capacitor can store is expressed by its capacitance rating, usually in units of micro-Farads or mFD. A capacitor can not be charged with a potential higher than its rated voltage, or risk catastrophic failure. In the charged state, the capacitor acts like a mini-battery, ready to provide current when the need arises. When a charged capacitor is connected to a load, energy is released from the capacitor to drive the load until its capacity has been exhausted. When several capacitors are wired together in parallel, the resulting capacity of the system is the sum of the individual capacities of each capacitor. This property allows for easy increases in net capacitance by simply adding more capacitors to the system in parallel. The ability of capacitors to temporarily act as mini-batteries gives them the ability to act as buffers to sudden changes in voltage in an electrical circuit. As the AEG mechbox cycles, the increased load it presents to the battery causes a voltage drop as the battery tries to meet the demand. With the addition of capacitors to the circuit, the magnitude and rate of the voltage drop should in theory be reduced, resulting in improved performance.


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