Sunday, 13 November 2016

Mod: Rhino-Fire with MTB Honey Badger Pusher

I was given a Rhino-Fire some time ago, and had no real idea what to do with it. I eventually settled on replacing the pusher with a Honey Badger and running it off a 3S LiPo. Though similar to a Rapidstrike in many ways, there were also a lot of other issues to deal with.

The first main issue is that although the flywheel motors are 130 sized, they are dual-shaft motors, and the shafts are unusually long. This means that typical replacements like the MTB Rhino or typical 180s like the MTB Hellcat would not be usable without extreme amounts of work. It also means that typical dual-shaft 130s like the Shark 40k are also not usable as their shafts are not long enough. As a result, I was forced to use the stock motors.

Interestingly, the ends of the shafts are not smooth, rather they are textured in a particular way (knurled?). This increases the friction between the flywheel and the motor shaft, helping to ensure that the flywheels don't slip. This in particular also makes it harder to remove the special shaft from the motor.
I didn't leave them completely stock however, as the metal brushes inside them would likely burn out quite quickly on 3S. To ensure longevity, I replaced the brushes with a set of carbon brushes from my unused Tamiya Mach Dash Pros. In the above picture, the stock metal brushes are on the left, and the carbon brushes are on the right. This was a relatively simple job, though required opening up and reassembling the motors, which I managed to screw up far too much.

The Honey Badger pusher replacement was pretty easy, about the same as a typical motor replacement in a typical flywheeler.

One particular annoyance was the trigger mechanism. Since the Rhino-Fire uses a paddle trigger rather than a conventional trigger, it is set up to be a multi-stage trigger, activating the flywheels first and then the pusher. This was particularly annoying to set up with proper microswitches however I was able to do it and it seems to work quite nicely.

Here's an overall shot of the new internals. I've just wired it up as if it were a Rapidstrike, using MTB's 2 switch setup. Unlike a Rapidstrike, cycle control is not as relevant as the two barrels are timed half a cycle apart, and the pushers are designed to accept new mags even when extended. It's very simple and compact considering the sheer size of the blaster. Compared to the Vulcan, the Rhino-Fire is definitely much lighter.

Internals all back in place, ready to be closed up. There's a heap of deadspace internally, the blaster could have been much smaller without losing any functionality.

Range is not great. Not only are these Aus-spec flywheel motors, which are distinctly worse than US-spec motors, but they also drive two sets of flywheels, so suffer double the deceleration in rapid fire. That said, being run on 3S still achieves a usable range for a support type heavy blaster. Rate of fire however, well...'s pretty impressive. Even on nominal LiPo voltage (~11.1V), the Rhino-Fire is achieving the same ROF as a Rapidstrike with a Honey Badger/Wolverine Mk2 pusher on 3S at full voltage (~12.6V). Naturally since the pusher motor is driving two pushers instead of one, it's a fair bit slower than having two seperate pusher motors, and the reciprocating barrels don't help either.
But the Rhino-Fire is not a blaster you get for raw performance, it's a blaster you'd get for fun/silly factor, and this Rhino-Fire certainly satisfies that. I'm relatively happy with it, I probably won't bother doing much, if anything else to it. It spews out darts and looks awesome doing it, that's all I really wanted from it.

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