electronic airsoft timers

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Why does the announcement about these products say "replicas"? What are they copies of?

In fact, these devices are not replicas but models as they have (obviously) not been designed after real-life time bombs. They are programmable electronic timers that can be used in airsoft skirmishes for emulating time bombs. You can play bomb defusing games with them similar to those you can play in the computer game Counter Strike. (Hence the idea of making them, to be honest.)

How exactly do they work? Do they really blow up?

No, they obviously do not blow up as they are only timers. Their only function is to start beeping (unless set not to beep during countdown, which is a function in models AST-3XX) after having been activated and beeping differently after the previously set countdown time has expired or, in other words, after they have "gone off" ("exploded" virtually). They also give a different beep if they have been stopped (i.e. defused).

What are the buttons for?

In the current models, everything (activating, defusing and programming) is done by the two buttons on them. You can start the countdown (i.e. activate the "bomb") by pushing the left button for approx. 5 seconds, after which the countdown starts. This is done by one of the players of one of the airsoft teams in a game. The other team has as much time to stop the countdown (i.e. defuse the "bomb") as it has been previously programmed in the device (1 to 99 minutes in models AST-3XX). Defusing is done by pushing the same button as by which the device has been started for 5 to 30 seconds (which is also adjustable) in models AST-3XX. The right button is for entering programming mode when the device is in stand-by mode.

What are the keys and the key switch for?

Apart from the game type (mode) described above, there is a second one, where the way the game is played becomes a bit more difficult. You can play a game during which only two players (one from each team) can access the device because, by using the key, the controls can be disabled. This way, only the appointed player from the attacking (bombing) team can activate and only the appointed player from the other team can defuse the "bomb", whereas the other players cannot access the device even if they can get to it. This is game mode nr. 2, which is only available for models AST-311 and AST-321 (the ones featuring the key switch).

What are the three wires for?

In model AST-321, there are two more game modes you can play by using the wires. You can play a game when the "bomb" can only be defused by the wires or you can play another game mode when the device can be defused either by the player who has the key and can stop the countdown by pressing the button or anyone else from his team by trying his luck with the wires. The point is that you never know which one of the three wires will "explode" or defuse the "bomb" if you disconnect them. The third wire makes the pace of the countdown twice as fast. The order of the wires changes everytime a new game (countdown) has been started. It is very important that the wires must not be cut but disconnected! You can choose among the four different game modes in programming mode.

(In model AST-311, the game modes do not have to be chosen in the software as it only depends on whether you use the keys or not. Not using the keys means leaving the switch in green position.)

How big (rather small) are these devices?

All the models share the same rugged plastic housing, the dimensions of which are 130x70x60 mm (5.12x2.76x2.36 inches). It fits in most BDU pockets.

How rugged are these devices? Can they tolerate active skirmish usage?

All our assembled models can withstand dripping water (rain), being dropped from a height of approx. 1 meter, and are BB-proof. All these features were tested with the demo devices. The plastic housings are sealed so dust or sand should not be able to penetrate the box. However, even if contamination gets inside the housing, the PCB is heremtically sealed by epoxy gel.

What is the difference between the kits and the ready-made models?

The kits will have everything (including the PCB with all the parts welded in and the software burnt in) except for the plastic housing. We decided to sell them this way too because we can imagine that there are many of you who would want to build the electronics in something that looks more military than a small gray plastic box. The kits will come with a manual of how to connect the parts.

Why AA batteries and not a built-in rechargeable one?

We decided so because, luckily, rechargeable AA batteries are quite wide-spread and widely available (and also of convenient price) nowadays and we did not think anyone would want to pay extra money for the battery and the intelligent charging circuit (together with the AC power supply) when a pair of regular 1000 to 2000 mAh AA rechargeable batteries, which you can buy for a few euros together with the charger, will give you days of operation. (The models will be delivered without batteries.)

However, we are planning further models with many more functions and a built-in battery but those will obviously be more expensive.

Can you make real time bombs out of them?

You can even make a real time bomb out of an old-fashioned mechanical alarm clock (or a kitchen timer or a simple electronic watch) providing you are a skilled terrorist but we obviously did and do not want our devices to be used for anything else than what they have been designed and intended for. We have created these timers to make airsoft games more enjoyable. Again, they are timers. Toys.

Why are they so expensive compared to an alarm clock?

Because they feature many more things than a regular alarm clock. Also, because they have been designed especially for this purpose and both the hardware (PCB) and the software had to be created uniquely, and because they are not produced in China. We have also been testing the devices (in airsoft games as well) so that they will be as easy-to-use and durable as possible. © 2010