But what of the Etha itself? Well, internally the Etha is a radical departure from anything seen before in an Eclipse marker. For the first time we utilize a spring return bolt system in the firing mechanism, allowing us to simplify the pneumatic side of the marker and use a Pull Poppet spool to release air from the firing chamber.
The Etha bolt features dual-stage acceleration so that it picks up the paintball at a lower speed before accelerating further to push the ball fully into the barrel. The front of the bolt has a ramped rubber section.
This extended rubber piece is both removable and replaceable and designed to flex freely in order to prevent clipping of the second ball in the stack as well as to be flexible on the face to cushion the paintball as its pushed toward the barrel. Both of these features work hand-in-hand with the Deftek Feed System and Break Beam Sensor System to keep any occurrences of barrel breaks to an absolute minimum.
The Pull Poppet that releases the air from the firing chamber is driven by a new, super-robust high pressure solenoid that is controlled by the fully adjustable PCB. The PCB controls the firing mode (semi-automatic and ramping), rate of fire, dwell and de-bounce through the multi-colour LED mounted in the rear of the frame. It is pre-programmed with modes compatible with all major tournament series meaning no upgrade needed wherever you play.
The frame, together with the lever operated clamping feed-tube, eye covers and the new OOPS knob are all manufactured from extremely resilient glass reinforced nylon. The Etek3 LT has proven to us just what this amazing composite is capable of: it is extremely strong, very tough, and more than capable of handling the abuse that even the roughest and toughest paintballer can throw at it. When it came time to specify the materials for Etha there was no question that this material would be at the top of our list for these parts.
Inside the frame there are sintered brass bushings for the trigger pin to pivot on and a captured, fully adjustable leaf spring similar to that found in the Ego11. These components combine with the externally adjustable trigger to produce a crisp, smooth trigger action with which to operate the micro switch. And for the first time in an Eclipse marker the trigger can be fully removed for maintenance or cleaning without having to separate the frame from the body - it makes cleaning up after a hit to the frame a breeze. To help keep paint and debris out of the inside of the frame, the grip panels are sunk into the frame around their perimeter, they also use a clever upper locating tab that means that each grip panel only requires one screw to fix it in place making access to the board and battery quick and easy.
On the bottom of the frame there is a brand new OOPS (On/Off Purge System) ASA with front exit porting and the same internals that are found in the POPS ASA. It actuates with the twist of a knob and fully vents the entire marker when turned off. It mounts to the frame via the robust T-Slot system.
The OOPS feeds through a macro-line and up to an SL3 regulator. The SL3 reg was first seen on the SLS and has since made its way onto the Geo2 and the Ego11 as well as the CSL where it has been very well received. With the ability to run HP, MP or LP compressed air tanks without adjustment it makes it a truly versatile regulator. And with its replaceable and reversible main seal it is robust, reliable and easy to service too. Like all other Eclipse markers, the Etha is designed to run solely on compressed air and not CO2.
The barrel also shares some similarities with those found on its bigger brothers. The Etha barrel is a 14.5 inch, two-piece, precision honed, 0.693 bore barrel that has a 'Cocker' thread into the gun body and uses the same threading as the Shaft4 barrel to join the front section to rear section.
This means it has the longer control bore as well as being compatible with all other Shaft4 barrel accessories such as the Boost Kit and 16" tip. With such a good standard barrel there should be no reason to run out and spend money on an aftermarket system.
And like all other Eclipse markers, the Etha comes delivered in a hard case, lined with shock absorbing foam and packed with everything you need to look after and maintain it: a full colour manual; a full set of hex keys; a tube of Eclipse Grease; a comprehensive marker and regulator spares kit; and a barrel safety device.