View Full Version : Otter's - Basic Upkeep of your EM-1

10-13-2008, 02:01 PM
Basic Upkeep of your EM-1

The EM1 is a short lived marker that was put out by Kingman International. They had produced the EM1 and the EM1 Java. The only difference between these two markers is that the regular EM1 was able to run at a low pressure out of the box. It also had 8-dip switches that enabled it to fire over 15bps. The Java edition is more of an upgrade. But to many, it was not. The Java Emmies ran at a slightly higher pressure (300-450psi) and came with a 6-dip switch board that capped the rate of fire to 13bps. The 13bps is sort of an industry standard that is unwritten by many of the top companies like AGD and WDP. Though, with some programing knowledge, one can reprogram the board. This board has been upgraded to respond better. Other than that, all is the same. At the time of this article, Kingman has stopped producing the EM1. But you may be able to find used ones for sale or even new ones from a paintball shop's stock. There is a rumor that it may be released with some significant improvements.

There are plenty of upgrades for the EM1 to improve it's performance. Though, not as much as Kingmans other markers. I will get into that later.

How it fires a paintball is also different from it's other Kingman cousins. The EM1 is not exactly a blowback marker. Yet, it is still an open bolt. Basically, when you pull the trigger, this closes the circuit on the board inside the grip. This sends a signal to the solenoid on the marker to push the ram (hammer) forward. The ram is attached to the bolt by a bolt pin. This ram will hit the valve release the air to fire the paintball. From there, a spring attached to the back of the bolt pulls the bolt assembly back to it's cocked position ready for the next shot. Pretty simple in operation. For more of an explanation of the different parts of the EM1, read over EM1 Works article.

In this article, I will be going over the following...

Tuning and Adjusting
A Toolbox
Air Tank Tips
Cup Seals
Cleaning Routines

whether you spent the MSRP of $500 or used price of $250, taking care of your marker is very important. If you fail to keep the marker in good working order, it will fail you on the field. Maintaining your marker should not take 3 hours to do. Maybe the first time, since you are new to it. But when you know the parts of the marker, maintenance will be easy. Refer to your booklet's diagram. If you do not have one, Kingman has one in their technical section.

Tuning and Adjusting

The first thing that you want to do with a marker out of the box is to hook a battery up and turn it on. The battery compartment is on the right side of the trigger frame. Use a philips heads screw driver to remove the panel. Insert a 9v battery. Close the battery door. Push to 'ON' the on/off switch. The LED light should turn one. Now, pull the trigger. You should hear some clicks. Seeing and hearing all of this means that you are all set electronically.

The Dip Switches: Now that you are sure that the marker is electronically set, let's adjust the fire modes. Remove the grip panel using a philips heads screwdriver. Remove 3 screws that is on the same side as the on/off switch. Removing this grip panel to reveal a blue box with little white switches. Each switch is called a dip switch. If the switch is pushed to the left, it is understood to be in the '0' setting. If the switch is to the right, it is understood as a '1' setting. The switches are numbered from 1 thru 8. Numbers 1 thru 6 is what adjusts the rate of fire. If the marker is set for semi-auto, these switches will not effect the rate of fire. Switches 8 and 9 adjusts the firing mode. Refer to the chart below for switch settings.


Dip switches in the chart above reflect that of the 8-dip switch EM1 boards. For the Java edition Emmies, dip switches #5 & #6 are the fire mode settings. Ignore the switch settings #5 and #6 for rate of fire. The chart below is the fire modes. For Java boards, #7 and #8 are actually #5 and #6 respectfully on the electronic board.


The Trigger Pull: Do not have any paintballs or air in the marker and switch it to semi-auto mode. Turn on the marker on. Pull the trigger until you hear it click. This is the point that the marker fires. You want to shorten the distance the trigger is pulled from the resting position to just about at firing position. Using the smaller hex wrench, turn the set screw on the trigger clockwise to shorten until the marker fires. When it does, unscrew about 1/2 turn. Add some loctite to secure the setscrew in place.

The Regulators: The input pressure of the Emmie should be around 400psi. The EM1 doesn't have a velocity adjustor. Adjusting the inline regulator (the one on the grip) is what adjusts the velocity. At a chronograph, fire a few paintballs over the chronograph. If the velocity is too high, reduce the pressure. If too low, increase the pressure. That is how you adjust the velocity. With each adjustment, fire 4 to 5 paintballs to make sure the regulator adjusts.

Do not attempt to adjust the LPR regulator in the front. This is preset by Kingman to around 90psi. Increasing it could cause the solenoid to blow at prolonged use. However, I am not to sure about how Kingman adjusts it. If you feel it neccesary, turn counter-clockwise the LPR until the marker no longer functions. Then, slowly turn clockwise the LPR until the marker begins to fire. When it does, stop firing and turn 1/2 turn more clockwise. This will actually decrease the firing pressure to around 75psi. Only adjust this if the warranty is no longer valid or choose not to use the warranty.

The Toolbox

Look at the tools and parts that came with the EM1. Visit some retailer (K-Mart or sports store) and invest in a toolbox. You need to hold the items that came with your marker. Also, consider getting a flat head and philips head screw driver. Pliers can be helpful. Get a toolbox that will fit all these items. I have used fishing lure boxes that have adjustable compartments. Visit your local Army/Navy store and get one of those 50cal. ammo cans. They work well. Another useful item is teflon tape found in the plumbing section. This is a white substance in a non-sticky material. This will wrap around on the threads of your air lines and help to seal leaks.

Other very useful items to take to the field is a rag or towel. Whenever you need to dismantle your marker, do it on top of the towel. It helps prevent screws from rolling away and getting lost. It also helps keep the table you are working on clean. Several sheets of paper towels are good too. Use them to wipe paint off the marker (inside and out). A small spray bottle with water is good to have. Paint is water soluable. Spray water on paint ridden items. But do not spray water on the bolt. Will explain later.

When really serious about maintaining your marker and doing your own tweeking, invest in a chronograph. There is a Hand Held Radar Chronograph that is small, yet just as accurate as the large red field units that you may see. Plus, there at a very resonable price under $100. This will help you dial in your velocity after you added a new part. Will not take place from the registration chrongraph. But will help with the night before tweeking.

Unlike its cousins, there is no spring kit available for the EM1. None is really needed since it is a noce shooting marker out of the box. One thing you should consider is to get spare o-rings. The EM1 has plenty. Also, the cup seal is slightly different than the other Spyders. I will discuss these below.

Just remember, having the right tools and parts will help in correcting trouble that may pop up.

10-13-2008, 02:05 PM
Air Tank Tips

The EM1 is built to use HPA/Nitro. It really will not work well with CO2. Though, you can us it. If you insist on using CO2, do take the proper precautions to keeping the liquid out of the marker. Either use a remote or install an anti-siphon tube in the tank. These will help keep liquid CO2 out. I truly do suggest that you use HPA/N2 for your solenoids sake.

When you unscrew the tank from your marker, you may have experienced a burst of gas escaping. Don't worry. This is normal. It really is not coming from the tank and loosing air. By the time you unscrew your tank 1/2 to 1 1/2 turns, the tank valve is closed. The air that is rushing out is what is "resting" between the valve and the tank. Since this air is under pressure, it is constantly trying to find a way out. As you unscrew the tank, you're giving it a way out. Thus, it rushes out as you unscrew the tank. For those that have CO2, this rush of air will cool the o-ring very quickly. Sometimes damaging it. Or, if the o-ring is old, it may not last because it is old and weak.

There are two solutions to keeping the air from rushing out and busting the tank ring. The first one is to buy a one-way valve. This let's air travel in one direction. In this case, from the tank to the valve. This works well, but may be restrictive to some markers. This should only be considered if you have small tanks or have long games. This will enable you to fully unscrew your tank and replace it with a new one without air escaping. The best way to save those tank o-rings is to hold your marker upside down and make sure there are no paintballs in the breech. Turn the tank about 1/2 to 1 full turn, or just before you think the gas will exit. Point in a safe direction as there may be a paintball in the breech or barrel that you may not see, and shoot the marker until it starts to sputter and doesn't re-cock. Cock it once more and fire it to make sure it doesn't re-cock or sputter. If it still fires, twist the tank off 1/4 turn and repeat. This will empty the air that may be "stuck" inside. Take off the tank.

While we are on the subject of air tanks, like to add this. It is a good idea to get a thread protector for your tank. CO2 tank threads are made of brass. Brass is a soft material that can damage easily. A thread protector screws on to the threads to protect them. The protector also keeps dirt from the valve that could enter the marker if not cleaned off. Any dirt that does enter the marker could cause lots of damage. For those that have nitro tanks, in addition to the thread protector, get a fill nipple cap. This fits over the fill nipple on the tank and keeps dirt from entering the tank when filling.

Lastly, never store your marker gased up for more than a day. This will wear out the seals of the marker prematurly. You will be fine having the gas on your marker at the start of the game day and leave it on. After you are done playing and ready to clean up to go home, degass the marker.

Cup Seal

Cup seals is a common problem for leaks. Especially if they are stock cup seals. Always keep at least 2 spares with you. A cup seal will seal off the route the air travels from one side of the valve into the valve body where it goes into the bolt. These seals will slam against the valve every time the marker is fired. These seals are made of a hard nylon material that can scratch easily. I have not experimented with Lapco Cup Seals on the EM1. They work very well with Spyders. With the EM1 cup seal, the housing is a brass with a nylon type of insert. You may be able to reuse the inserts by flipping them around.

O-rings are another consumable. The o-rings are an important item in any paintball marker. It seals passages so that the air travels in certain directions from the tank/regulator to the back of the paintball. The o-rings for the EM1 are different sizes and colors. I will try and sort out the different sizes of o-rings soon into a chart format at a later date.

I am not sure if there are parts kits out for the Emmie since it was a short lived marker. If and when the new Emmie comes out of somebody will make on is still in question. As I mentioned, I will attempt to create an o-ring chart so that you can go to your local hardware store and get bulk o-rings that you need. This is simple and cheaper

The Kingman designations on their diagrams of o-rings are not the size you need to ask for when going to the hardware store. These are simply the Kingman part numbers. The chart below shows what o-ring designation to ask for and what material.


If you have an o-ring and want to know what size it is, measure the inside diameter, the outside diameter, and the thickness of the ring. Use these measurements (in that order) to get the right o-ring size from a chart at a good hardware store. These measurements can be specific down to 1/32". It is also important to get an o-ring that is the right material. Polyurethane that are on the striker will slip better than Buna-N. It also doesn't absorb oil like Buna-N. So, why use Buna-N if it can swell and may cause resistance? For applications like the valve body, the valve is static. Will not move. If it swells, it will seal better. But do not be afraid to use polyurethane all around as it is more resistant to the various oils and high pressures.

Is it a good o-ring, or is it bad?

O-rings over time will get brittle and crack. Dirt may actually embed itself and start to form cracks in the o-ring or even cause friction. Black, rubber o-rings are hard to tell if they are old. Close eye examination is needed. The polyurethane rings are kind of a white material. Easier to see how old they are. If the o-rings are starting to form cracks, replace them. Do they look harder than usual or even shrunk in size? Maybe they are not as flexible as they once were. Again, replace them.


Oil is an important thing for reducing friction of the moving parts internally. May even help reduce the noise internally. Sometimes, leaks can be fixed that have o-rings. Adding some oil may help to rejuvinate the o-rings and help with sealing. There are paintball specific oils that many of the paintball shops sell. A typical name sold is 'Gold Cup'. Most all paintball shops will have this in 1oz. or 2oz. containers. You could use any pneumatic oil or oils for air tools. Try and invest in paintball specific oil like Gold Cup. Oil can change its consistency when the weather changes. Could gum up the operation of the marker if temperature drops. If you cannot find any, you could use Hoppes #9 gun oil found at gun shops and retail stores like K-Mart. Not the best but will do the job. Also, KC Troublefree oil is a great substitute. Use these oils sparingly. I keep a large container of KC. I do not recommend WD-40. This is a totally different type of lubricant that can eventually damage your marker or dissolve o-rings over time. Besides, it smells bad!!

Another lubricant is Dow 33. You may have seen this type of lubricant in conjunction with the Smart Parts Impulse. This is a lubricant that will not damage the circuit board and solenoid of the Emmie. Use this on the bolt and on the hammer. Do not need to gob it on the parts. Just a nice thin film will do. If you do not have this, don't worry. Oil as discussed above will be fine.

What to oil when I do oil?

The most common item to oil is the o-rings. This is simple to do. Remove the ram and wipe off any dirt and paint. Examine the o-rings. Are they pretty old looking or looks like they shrank? If so, replace them. Better to replace them now then to call yourself out during a game because an old o-ring broke.

Oil sparingly! Oil is not only a lubricant, but also a dirt magnet! No need to have your parts look like you dunked them in oil. I will physically oil the o-rings. Clean off any dirt and old oil that may be present. Also, I will clean out the inside of the body where items came from. Add a drop or two of oil onto each o-ring and spread it around with my finger or a q-tip. Important thing is to have the o-ring moist looking. If you feel it necessary, you can add a thin film of oil to the metal of the ram. But not really needed.

I really do not suggest adding oil to the bolt since that is made of a plastic type of material. This may actually soak up the oil and cause the bolt to swell. The plastic material is pretty frictionless. You can add a tiny amount of oil if you feel the need. Replace the bolt assembly.

You do not need to remove the valve for general, routine maintenance. Here is a little trick to oil the valve (and other internals like a regulator or expansion chamber). With your marker together and without a barrel or paintballs, add 2 to 4 drops inside that little hole where you screw your tank in. Gas up your marker and shoot 15 to 20 times. This distributes the oil through out the entire insides of the marker. Be sure to do this outside. This will produce some oil spray. You only need to do this after every 3 to 4 cases of paint (6,000 to 8,000 paintballs).

You may notice that your instructions, or on a gauge, it may say "No Oil". This warning is for the gauge. Adding oil to the gauge will hinder the gauge from registering the correct PSI. But will not hinder the operation of the marker. By doing the ASA/Oil trick, this will add oil to the internals of regulator and valve. This will not harm the regulator at all, unless you flood the ASA with oil. Doing this will not get the oil to all the locations needed.

10-13-2008, 02:06 PM
A Cleaning Routine

So, now you know what o-rings are and what type of oil to use, but when should you do it. There are three maintenance routines that I use in the upkeep of my marker. There is the before game routine, the after game routine, and storage cleaning. Here are the basics.

Before Game Routine
The before the game routine is really easy. It is a simple process to make sure everything is working properly. Not really fun to go to a game, gas up your just filled marker and things are not right. That is where my Troubleshooting - F.A.Q. comes into play. It is possible to avoid referring to it by doing a quick and simple check over the night before. You will have the time to fix anything that may come up rather than trying to fix something 2 minutes before your game starts. You could do it in the morning, but there may be no time for a good healthy breakfast.

Take apart your marker to examine the bolt, ram, and trigger frame. You do not need to remove the ram. Check inside of your barrel and make sure it is clean. There may be broken paint inside that you forgot about from the last game. Look inside of the body of the marker. Any paint shell or paint? Clean it out. Look over the ram. How are the o-rings? If they are in bad shape, replace them as I described above. Severe scratches on the outside of the bolt? Don't forget to oil as I mentioned above. Lastly, make sure all of your screws are tightly secure. If you have had a history of loosening screws, add a very small dab of liquid thread lock. Check for leaks in the airlines and fittings. Fix them with teflon tape. Also, make sure you have a fresh battery. If using rechargeable, make sure they are charged.

If you are adding a new addition to your marker, like a new valve, make sure you test it. You will look pretty silly installing this item and you have leaks the day of the game.

After Game Routine
The after game routine is a little bit more involved than the before game routine. Take a rag and wipe off any dirt, paint, and anything else that should not be on the outside. Have a spare rag just for your hands incase you get called away for some reason and leave finger print trails. Get all the goop that may be in the cracks. Take out the bolt and ram. Clean out any dirt and/or paint that has accumulated on these items. Again, you do not need to remove the ram. For the inside of the body, you could run your squeegee from back to front of the body. I will use twisted up paper towels and save my squeegee for barrel cleaning. Run the paper towels through a few times until clean.

For really badly soiled internals, it may be needed to remove the valve from the body to do a better clean job. This includes removing the ram. Only in extreme cases should you need to remove the valve. If you see or suspect paint has gone into the valve area? It is a good reason to clean. Remember that the valve is a very important part of your marker. It can scratch easily. When pushing the valve out, use a pencil with the eraser portion towards the valve. Insert the pencil from the rear of the marker and push. Remember to unscrew the valve screw from under the body. While the valve is out to be cleaned, check all of the o-rings. When replacing the valve, make sure the larger hole is facing forward. Also, make sure that there is a hole facing up so that the gas can travel from the valve into the bolt chamber. Use the pencil eraser to push back into place.

Storage Cleaning
This is practically a major overhaul of your marker prior (or for some, after) storage. It is up to you if you want to do this before or after storage. I suggest before. When you get it out of storage, all that you have to do is wipe off the excess oil and replenish with new. For those lucky enough to play year round, this overhaul should be done at least once a year. This involves taking your marker completely apart and cleaning everything.

Start off by taking off your bottom line and trigger frame. Disconnect the trigger frame from the solenoid wire. Remove the bolt assembly. Finally, your valve assembly in the front. Be careful not to scratch the valve. Use a pencil eraser to push the valve out. Place little items inside a Dixie cup or mug so you do not loose these items.

Clean everything with a clean rag. I will take some paper towels and twist some up and push them through the body until they come out clean. Get all the excess oil and any dirt that are inside the body. Wipe down the valve and valve pin. Also, the bolt and striker until the rag or paper towel are clean. As you reassemble your marker, add oil to all of your o-rings. Store where ever you can that is not in severe temperatures for long periods of time. A garage that is not weather proofed can get really cold at night. Your marker will be fine if it has to be banished in the garage. You could possibly wrap the marker in some foam or your summer clothes for insulation. A better place to store is under your bed or in the closet. Don't forget to remove the battery after you test fired it to make sure it is working. The battery can and will drain. Plus, corrosian may form. Empty out your air tank before you pack everything away. The seals will wear out quicker if it is full or is a partially empty tank. Besides, it is a hazard incase the tank topples from a shelf and falls on the valve. You got yourself a rocket.

If you are brining your marker out from storage, do the same thing you did when you stored it. Except, replace all the o-rings (tank included). Even if they look like there in good condition. That way you know their fresh, new o-rings for the season. Clean off the old oil as it may have started to partially solidify depending on how long it has been in storage without use and the type of oil you used. Add some fresh oil and test for leaks.