Refilling paintball tanks is a tad-bit tricky, but we’ll be covering up all you need to know to stay on track.
This guide is for all paintballers, novice or professional, so without further ado, let’s dive straight in!
What Exactly Are Paintball Tanks?
We’re quite sure you’re familiar with the Paintball gun, which is also known as the “Paintball Marker”. Paintball markers shoot gelatin capsules, also called paintballs, which contain paint to mark your opponent.
But where exactly does the force responsible for shooting the capsule come from? It’s from the paintball tank.
Types of Paintball Tanks
Paintball tanks are either one of the following types.
High-pressure Compressed Air (HPA) Paintball Tanks
These contain highly pressurised oxygen or breathable filtered air, HPA tanks have different sizes and capacities but the biggest capacity available is a tank that holds 5,000 PSI.
Compressed Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Paintball Tanks
These paintball tanks contain CO2 in its liquid state (the reason is that gaseous CO2 turns liquid when compressed).
Liquified CO2 tank sizes range from 3.5 to 40 fluid ounces (100ml to 1,180 ml).
Compressed Pure Nitrogen (N2) Paintball Tanks
However, these are a bit rare.
One of these paintball tanks gets attached to your paintball gun, compressed gas is released in your gun providing the force that shoots your paintballs at high velocities.
Types of HPA Tanks
Contrary to CO2, air is a lot less dense, which means that it can be stored under high-pressure conditions.
This means that HPA tanks can usually sustain up to 4,500 PSI of pressurised air inside, contrary to CO2 tanks that can only take up to 1,800 PSI.
Carbon tanks only come stored in a standard aluminium tank. HPA tanks come in 2 different types.
Fiber-wrapped HPA Tanks
Fiber-wrapped HPA tanks are made out of carbon fiber shaped into a cylinder. They’re light-weight, can store air at a higher pressure threshold.
However, they’re not durable against harsh impacts, and they’re also expensive.
Aluminum HPA Tanks
Aluminium tanks are heavier than Fiber-wrapped ones, hence they’re usually sold in small sizes.
This leads to it not being able to sustain high PSIs, but it can take up to 3000 PSI. They’re cheap, durable and will last as long as 15 years if kept in proper care.
CO2 Tanks vs HPA Tanks
Please take care that paintball markers are designed for either HPA or CO2 tanks. So it’s not possible to just ‘switch’ between tanks. Refer to your marker’s manual for more information.
HPA tanks are preferred over CO2 tanks and we’ll discuss the reason in this section.
As we’ve mentioned, HPA tanks are already filled with gas, but CO2 tanks contain liquified CO2 but it expands and changes into gas once it’s freed from being compressed inside the tank (i.e when you pull the trigger to shoot a paintball).
Another thing to know is that CO2 is greatly affected by the ambient temperature. If the tank is subjected to a high temperature, CO2 inside will expand, increasing the pressure inside the tank.
If it’s subjected to low temperatures, CO2 will shrink decreasing the pressure inside the tank.
The Downsides of Using CO2 Tanks
The nature of CO2 causes the following issues to arise.
Fluctuations in Shot Velocity
Fluctuations in CO2 pressure inside the tank according to the ambient temperature. This may cause shots to vary in velocity.
Meanwhile, HPA tanks are filled with gas, so it provides consistent pressure and therefore consistent shot velocity.
Proves to be Impractical in Rapid Shots
If you shoot rapid successive shots, CO2 in the tank may not have enough time to expand into gas which again, causes inconsistent shots.
It may be so severe it leads to introducing liquid CO2 into your marker which ultimately damages it. You’ll notice frost as liquid CO2 is at extremely low temperatures.
The Bright Side
Refilling a CO2/HPA Paintball Tank at Home
It’s economical to refill your paintball tanks at home as opposed to paying for every single time you refill.
If you’re a pro, you’ll probably be refilling a lot so it would serve you best if you just do it on your own.
Refilling an HPA Tank
Don’t attempt at filling your HPA tank through a car tire’s pump or a regular air compressor. They can only yield out air of pressure 180 PSI max.
After you’ve got your equipment, follow these steps:
- Attach the fill station to your scuba tank
- Hook your paintball tank with your fill station
- Make sure the release valve on your fill station is closed
- Slowly turn the primary valve to let air into your paintball tank till its gauge fills up
Don’t turn the valve rapidly as the air will rush in causing something called a hot fill. Hot fills cause the paintball tank’s pressure to drop after some time.
So let’s say you’ve filled your tank successfully till 4,500 PSI but did so very rapidly, your tank will get hot, and after a couple of minutes, you’ll notice a drop in your tank’s pressure shown on its gauge.
- In order to release your tank after filling it, rotate the release valve to relieve pressure in the fill station – paintball tank connection, you’ll then be able to release your tank.
Voila! All done and you’re good to go.
HPA Tanks have something called a hydro date, which refers to the last time they were inspected for any possible issues that may cause accidents or leakages so they generally have to be inspected every five years.
Refilling a CO2 Tank
- Refrigerate your CO2 paintball tank before filling it to avoid fluctuations in pressure due to temperature differences
- Firmly attach the fill station to your CO2 tank
- Attach the paintball tank to the fill station
- Rotate the bulk tank’s primary valve
- Open up the station’s valve, let air in your tank till it fills
And that’s it!
Please be careful in storing your CO2 bulk tank, as there are hazards associated with the inappropriate use of them.
Refilling tanks at home saves up a lot of trouble, it’s always good to have the above-mentioned equipment with you. You can refill your tanks at any time, at the comfort of your house.
Now that you know how to do so, refill these tanks and rock it in the arena!