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So you've bought your shiny new blaster, stocked up on magazines, face and eyepro, tactical gear, pouches etc. But that new blaster seems a little lacking, the trigger response seems a bit slow...the rate of fire is pretty meh also. So what can you do about?
Have you considered adding a dedicated MOSFET unit? What are they, and what are the pro's and con's for installing one? Read on for our dive into the world of electrical upgrades!
HELP! WHAT's a MOSFET?
In layman's terms, a MOSFET (which stands for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transmitter) is a small electronic chip or device that is widely used for switches in all types of electronics, not just gelsoft or airsoft. When we are referring to their use in gel or airsoft guns, a MOSFET is used for diverting electrical current away from the trigger contacts.
The trigger in an AEG/EGB works by simply touching two contacts together via pressure when you pull back on the trigger. This closes the circuit, and allows current to flow from the battery to the motor. When using an 11.1v LiPo battery, in some cases the electrical current can be large enough to cause arcing between the trigger contacts. This might appear as tiny burn marks on the contacts, and will certainly lead to the eventual failure of your trigger and switch. Installing a MOSFET negates this by redirecting the current from the battery directly to the motor, bypassing the trigger contacts. MOSFETS typically use an additional wire called a 'signal wire' that lets the MOSFET know whenever the trigger has been pressed. Because the signal wire only uses a small amount of current, this saves any damage to your trigger from arcing.
Installing a MOSFET grants gains not only in reliability, but also in performance. The lower electrical resistance can lead to small performance gains in both trigger response times (semi auto), and full auto rate of fire.
Strictly speaking, the MOSFET is only the specific part of the circuit board that redirects the current, with additional features controlled by extra electronics chips and onboard programming. The airsoft and gelball community universally refers to any circuit boards of these types as a 'MOSFET'.
BENEFITS TO USING A MOSFET
1. Using a MOSFET reduces the resistance, allowing more electricity to flow to the motor. This results in an increased rate of fire, and a faster trigger response.
2. Less current flows through to your trigger contacts, so there is little risk of damaging them.
3. Less repair or maintenance of trigger contacts and wiring systems.
4. Active MOSFETS may come with a micro-controller onboard, which grants access to a host of more features, such as ActiveBrake, battery diagnostics, electronics fuses or customization fire modes! (More on this below).
IS IT HARD TO INSTALL A MOSFET?
Installing a MOSFET can be tricky if you have limited knowledge of electronics or wiring. Additionally, if you're unfamiliar or lack soldering skills it is recommended that you approach a qualified technician for assistance. The process should only take an hour or two at most! In order to do it yourself, make you have at least:
+ Soldering Iron
+ Solder Wire and Flux
+ Low-Resistance Wiring
+ MOSFET Unit or Kit
+ Pliers, Side Cutters
+ Heat Shrink Tubing
The more advanced the unit is, the longer your installation will take. Note also that you can purchase 'drop in kits' that contain all connectors and parts soldered together to make things easier! We use and recommend PERUN MOSFETS for a simple and cheap solution, while still delivering premium features and options!
Serious MOSFETS come with serious features and additions, delivered by onboard controller chips. Many of these features should only be used with caution!
+Active Braking --
This functions allows the MOSFET to use the excess torque in your motor as a brake. This allows for compensating gearbox overshooting with high rps tuned gearboxes. However this puts strain on your gearbox and motor, and as a result it may cause premature failures.
+ Battery Diagnostics and Protection --
Some MOSFETS have built in battery under-voltage protection. This will warn you when the battery is getting low, and will shut down your blaster. This is exceptionally useful for LIPO batteries, as it will help to extend the lifetime of the battery, AND your blaster.
+ Customizable Fire Modes --
Advanced MOSFETS allow you to customize your firing modes in such a way that auto mode may become 'burst mode', shooting a pre-determined number of shots per trigger pull. Other modes allow turning off automatic fire mode completely if for example, your field or competition only permits semi!
+ Electronic Fuses --
Micro-controllers will stop shooting when a high current drain is detected (for example, a short circuit), or when the MOSFET or battery temperature gets too high, preventing your gun from being damaged.
DO I NEED A MOSFET?
If you want to get the utmost from your blaster or AEG, then YES YOU DO! Besides the initial cost in labor and dollary-doo's, there aren't really any downsides to installing one. You will get better performance, more reliability no matter which model you choose, and some cool features (depending on how much you spend!). If you're using a 11v battery long term, then it's almost mandatory on a high end build. Using an 11v for awhile won't be world ending, but prolonged use is not recommended.
MOSFETS are becoming more and more popular in the gel blaster community - manufacturers such as PERUN, Jefftron, GATE etc are all available from various vendors, and whichever you select, you are sure to be pleased with your decision in the long term.
Check out our range of PERUN MOSFETS on our website by clicking here!
As always, play hard, play fair - see you guys on the field!