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The Nexus Experiment (aka My Crazy Craft Project)

An opportunity presented itself recently and I had to bite. I have acquired a used Zone Nexus system!

I will begin with the story of how this came about and then go into why I wanted it in the first place.

When I saw a post about a “for parts” lot of Nexus packs being offered for what I considered an incredibly reasonable price I got chills of déjà vu as it felt very similar to the Infusion opportunity I missed out on a few months back. I decided if I really wanted to make a move this time I had better not wait. My confidence was higher this time because I recognized the name of the seller as a gentleman whom I had previously interviewed who is also the head of a different laser tag manufacturing company. I searched my email addresses for his contact info and we made on arrangement that same night for me to connect with him as he was passing through my part of the country on route to doing another laser tag installation the very next week. Perfect! When I met up with him we loaded up my car with 15 packs, a full charging rack, the radio receiver and a big box of spare parts.

Now, this is only half the battle because you’ll note I did not mention a computer. Acquiring a proper Zone license and software will be a follow up step if I want this to work correctly, but in the short term I am happy to just get the bulk of the equipment in hand so I can play around with it.

The next day I connected on Zoom with General Nicolas a.k.a. Glendale a.k.a. my Nexus Guru. We had an unboxing event as I had not actually had time to unpack anything from the night before since I didn’t get home until 1AM. I appreciate Nick’s knowledge and advice because, as I have mentioned many times, I am not a “techie” person. However, through his coaching me over Zoom I have learned a tremendous amount and have gained enough confidence to be able to open up one of these packs and at least check around for some of the basics that he has taught me. Thank you for that Glendale!

My first step was to try and get organized. Although my purchase came with a charging rack, this is not really practical for me to use at home. I am not trying to run a business, I am just a hobbyist messing around with these at my house, so I lugged the two big boxes containing the rack components up to my attic just to get them out of the way while I sorted through the remaining relevant pieces.

I built my own temporary rack out of PVC pipe that I had laying around, just to get the vests organized.

Following Nick’s suggestion, I began by numbering every pack, every phaser and every battery so that I could take a proper inventory of what I had. I had no illusions that this was going to be a simple “flip of a switch” process. I knew that the person I bought them from had taken them on trade “sight unseen” and no representations were made about whether any or all would be in working condition to start with. However, I am an optimist who loves a craft project! So I spent the next couple of days checking everything out.

Nick was surprised to learn that I had never tinkered around with the insides of one of these packs before, but really, when would I have ever had a need to? All I do is go to play with the gear at centers that take care of it all because that is their business. I have no business here whatsoever, so for me the novelty of acquiring this gear is very similar to a kid getting his first used car and learning how to change the oil. There’s something special about the process, but it is in no way a substitute for my love of going to an arena and playing my favorite game using properly maintained equipment. That’s why to me this is simply an experiment, a project and a learning experience. :)

After charging the batteries and finding out which packs were in the best shape I started up a demo game. Things I take for granted when I go out to play (like someone else programming the teams or color choice for the packs) took on a different significance as I did it for myself for the first time.

And with some modest success I was ready to take things a bit further, so I packed up several of the best vests and took them for a proper test where Jackal, Fox and Brendan were happy to help me out because of the novelty and nostalgia of what I was bringing through the door.

We had a successful test run!

I am satisfied that this experiment is working out. As I mentioned, if I was being serious with this the next step would be to acquire the proper license in order to operate these packs fully and the way they are intended to work with the radio receiver. So this project is far from complete, but I am delighted that as a hobbyist I have had an opportunity to play around with getting this started at all. What a girl won’t go through just to play some laser tag!

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