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On 3/5/2017 at 11:58 AM, Steve Herschbach said:

If I were White's right now I would publish or leak the details on how a user can access the V3i via a PC and just turn that information loose in the wild to see what happens. Somebody would create that PC interface if they just knew how to interface the unit. The power of open source has transformed the world, and at this point in the life of the V3i, what really does Whites have to lose? I am betting the machine would experience a renaissance as a nerd detectorists programmers/designers/armchair engineers dream machine. I would buy another one right now if they did that. I always liked the V3i as a concept and am continually tempted to get another one to play with. I will be surprised if I don't some day.

What's your guess about where the dongle would've plugged in? Headphone jack? 

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I believe the concept was that the dongle plug into the computer, and V3i would communicate wirelessly with it. It never happened for various reasons. Really too bad as I do think it would have unlocked a certain user base that thrives on that sort of thing.

From Carl Moreland at http://www.americandetectorist.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-16481.html "This was actually part of the original plan on the Vision, and Early V3's. They had wireless USB dongles being tested, but could not get the software written so it was reliable. Huge mistake. I don't know why they did not go with the USB option. Afraid of leakage I guess. Great ideas Rebel.

A late reply, but for the record, the USB/wireless dongle was completed and fully working. About that time Minelab complained that the then-current V3 feature of wirelessly sharing user settings between units infringed on their patent for programming a detector. White's decided that the feature was not worth a legal battle so it was removed, and the USB dongle canceled."

I did get a shiny new V3i to run my Bigfoot coil but also because it is such a playground for detecting concepts. I am in the process of dumping nearly all my detectors but the V3i will stay.

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I just parted with my MX Sport in anticipation of the Equinox. Now I just have to hope I can get my hands on one. I did love that MX Sport though. They ended up getting it straightened out pretty good. Deep and great in iron. If the Equinox ends up not being my cup of tea I'd have no problem going back. 

It would be really nice to open up the communication capability of the V3i. For years I've been proficient in computer and cell phone repair, dabbling in Arduino coding, Make electronics kits, and other things. So the idea is intriguing to me. I submitted an outline of the idea to a local technical open source school to get a feel for what they think they might be able to do, if anything. They are always looking for projects. 

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The original V3 included detector to detector communications for transferring programs between users. This capability was eliminated in later versions, and was probably the key to the wireless transmission protocols. A person might have to track down an original V3 is they wanted to try and hack the system.

Spectra V³ Owners Guide bottom of page 30:

• Share - Allows sharing of program settings by Transmitting (sending a program) to another Spectra or receiving (getting a program) from another Spectra.
• Transmit - Send one or more of your programs to another Spectra.

  • ENTER, then select where to get the programs to send.
  • Menu (Menu & Live Control List) or Library. Menu/Tab to SEND, ENTER.
  • Wait until transmitting completes one or two cycles through 100%.
  • Press ENTER to end transmission. Menu/Tab to EXIT, press ENTER
  • Note: The other Spectra has to be set to RECEIVE, on the same channel as you are sending.
  • Saved Programs; Select a program from your Menu or Live Control listing.
  • Library, select All Programs or just an individual Program to send from your Library.
  • Channel; select a channel free of interference (majority green in bar) and select same channel within other Spectra (Receive Unit).
  • Speed; Select the speed the data is sent, mid range to slower speeds generally more reliable.

• Receive - a program from another Spectra that is Transmitting.
• ENTER, then select how to receive the program.
• ASK, Asks you (after receiving) how and where to save each program.

  • STOP – Stop receiving Programs.
  •  Ignore – Don’t SAVE this Program (skip).
  • Create Library – Add Program to existing Library.
  • Create Program – Add Program to regular MENU and Live Controls (if there is room) , not Library.

• Update Library – Replace existing library programs with new programs being received.
• Create Library – Add receiving Programs to existing Library.
• Create Program – Add receiving Programs only to Menu & Live Controls (if there is room).
• Update Saved – Replace Programs of same name with new received Programs.
• Update Current – Update only Programs of same name on Menu and Live Control listings.
• Don’t Rename – Keep same name as sent. A. B. C. added to front of new programs using an existing name.

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I see the older V3 models for sale at times. I do wonder if the communication hardware remains in the "i" models, with the software hidden or extracted, or if they removed the hardware as well. It sounded like they used the hardware in part for SpectraSound, so it's possible the hardware remains in just that limited capacity. 

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Somewhere, I got the idea in my head that White's was coming out with a new flagship and I sold my V3i. Well White's did come out with a new model but, sadly for me, it was the MX 7. As Sinatra sang, "regrets, I've got a few".

White's could just take the current V3 (not the V3i), package it in an MX Sport case,and have a pretty good seller. That is they could have until the Kruzer came out, now that opportunity is gone. Even if it had a few more features it would be seen as just a copycat. They sure need to do something spectacular because I'm sure sales are hurting.

Glad I'm not in charge of White's marketing.

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1 hour ago, ☠ Cipher said:

I see the older V3 models for sale at times. I do wonder if the communication hardware remains in the "i" models, with the software hidden or extracted, or if they removed the hardware as well. It sounded like they used the hardware in part for SpectraSound, so it's possible the hardware remains in just that limited capacity. 

I doubt the hardware changed - probably just some code removed as you are guessing. Remember that old models were eligible for a software "upgrade" to V3i status, which conveniently removes the "Share" capability at the same time.

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The peer-to-peer comms was done via the same wireless link used for headphones, and also for the wireless USB dongle. The code to support peer-to-peer and dongle comms was physically removed (not just bypassed) to satisfy the Minelab settlement.

But you don't need any of this to "hack" the system. As anyone knows, extracting micro code from products is a $300 endeavor, courtesy of China. And with the V3, it's even easier than that (though I won't say how). When you're done, what you will have is the biggest incomprehensible mess of assembly code imaginable. V3 was written in C/C++, and to do anything with it that's the code you need to work with. But I would argue you need even more than that, you need a Jeff who understands the code and can actually do something with it. Jeffs are hard to come by, and even White's will struggle to do anything with it without a Jeff.

 

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You would know Carl and I am sure not interested in attempting anything like that. Still, It seems to me that with two of the old V3s I could transfer a program from one machine to the other. If I could intercept that transfer it would then be a matter of making program changes one at a time and noting the which parameters are passed and how they change with each transfer. With that information in hand a PC interface could be created that could duplicate or modify the same parameters. But you would be stuck using old V3s that still had the interface code intact.

Or not. I really am just talking out of my posterior! :laugh:

The idea of lost knowledge is intriguing. I once asked about simply adding frequency shift to the MXT. What I was basically told was that was all coded back when Dave was working at White's, and that basically nobody knew anymore exactly what the code did and how to modify it without making a mess. The longest program I ever wrote ran into many pages and although relatively short and simplistic, I know anybody else would have a major chore trying to figure out what it does exactly and how. I would have to spend quite a bit of time myself just to get my head back into that program if I wanted to modify it myself. I would have to expect that a person like you is now imposing strict documentation guidelines, but back in the early days undocumented "spaghetti code" was more common than not.

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True, once David moved on from White's the MXT became a dead end. But then I had a guy take all that assembly code and convert it to C and put it on a modern 32-bit processor. It took 2 years to get it done. That's how MX5, and later the MX Sport, came about. The MXT code is about 2% the size of the V3, that's how daunting the job would be. But just hacking into the code transfer, yeah I suppose that could be reasonably done.

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