• Niedtech

    by Published on 03-19-2013 03:38 PM

    This guide may be edited for content and clarification.

    Foreword:
    This guide is a brief summary of my experiences after the purchase of an xmod loader in April of 2012. I would like to thank all of those anonymous users who have attempted to help me; it is great to be part of a community that can offer so much without asking anything in return.

    If you are not interested in the history and backstory of Xmod I do Highly suggest you scroll down to THE EXPERIENCE and SOURCES

    History:
    Xmod is a software update developed by Lornecash and a small team of dedicated AGD enthusiasts. Xmod gives the E/Xmag extended options not regularly available for the Electronic Mag. It offers features such as ramping, full auto, ace configuration, psp/millennium shooting modes, etc. and is considered to be the premier software upgrade for an electronic AGD Marker.

    The Xmod software itself represents hours of insight and assistance from a multitude of big names such as KyleAGD, BigEvil, and a host of other people that sadly, I do not recognize (Bit-Wizard, Miscue, Sig11, Majinebz, Z-man, cabldawg). And hundreds of programming and development hours by for an independent study during his last semester of college at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Lornecash offered the Xmod beta software to the AGD community for FREE, and sold the Programmers and cabling to users for an additional charge. There was formerly an informal donations list to help fund the project that was used to support things like programming time, and the special wire crimper that attaches the molex connectors to ribbon cable for the board interface. I know for a fact that these crimpers are by no means cheap, and can be more expensive than buying a brand new marker.


    The Story

    In July of 2008 Lornecash was in full swing of sales of the Xmod loader and respectfully updated what he had seen as the vision of his software but it did not take long for users to purchase the Xmod programmers and begin programming boards for other players for their own profit, with members profiting on his intellectual property Lornecash put a not so subtle reminder out about license restrictions and a how to guide to dealing with xmod guns:

    Buying/Acquiring a Gun with XMOD already loaded • If you're buying a gun that has XMOD on it it should come with a programmer or you should make me a $50 donation. (Paypal: pniedfeldt@gmail.com) Just because someone else is trying to screw me you can still do the right thing.
    • If you buy more than one gun with XMOD on it you only need to make one donation of $50. I am selling it per person not per gun.

    Bought a programmer and Selling Your Gun - You must either...
    • Include the programmer with it and remove XMOD from all other guns you own, if you sell the gun with XMOD on it.
    • Remove XMOD from the gun, if you want to sell the gun and keep the programmer. (I will provide you with an AGD 3.2 flash via email if you don't have one saved)


    Programmer Owners
    • You can flash all the guns you own. I am selling it per person not per gun.
    • If you buy more than one gun that comes with a programmer you are free to sell the second programmer for a profit
    • You are not allowed to sell the programmer and keep XMOD on any gun you own.
    • When you sell the programmer you are completely giving up your rights to use XMOD

    Paid for Flash

    • You are not expected to remove the flash from your gun when you sell it as you have no way of doing so
    • Any future flashes for YOU are free
    • If you choose to sell your gun either you add $50 to the price and send me that on the sale of the gun or inform then next person they they are to pay for that Right to own that flash
    • the exception would be if that was the only gun you owned then your rights to the free flash would be transferred to the new owner providing you did pay for them in the first place

    To be honest I wouldn't care if someone else flashes your gun and you just paypal me the $50 to save yourself shipping. The problem is that I have never received $50 from a single person.


    Jump Foreword 2011:
    I’m not sure of the specifics, but Tunaman of Tunamart acquired the sole distributorship rights of Xmod. The links have been removed from Lornecash’s website. In essence, Lornecash invoked disclaimer #6; revocation of all rights to all users of xmod software. All xmod software upgrades from that point forward were/are pirate copies of stolen intellectual property.

    The Experience:

    I hope you’re still with me now that I’ve butchered the story to death. I wanted to set a preface for the rest of the 2012 xmod experience which is now to follow:
    Required Bits:
    (1) Xmod Loader- This is actually a AVR Programmer. The AVR Programmer has a USB connection on one side (the square printer style) and the molex connection to board on the other.
    (2) Xmod Cable- This cable is the most important part of the Xmod experience IMO; it connects the Loader to the board.
    (3) AVR Studio 4.0 for windows: This is the program interface that will allow you to load Xmod onto the board.
    (4) Xmod: Xmod comes in many flavors, I didn’t know this. There’s Beta 1.7 which does not support ramping, and then there’s 1.8 that does. 1.8 comes in multiple files typically labeled Xmod 4bps, 5bps, etc. where the BPS is the pull speed required to start the ramping, apparently this was done because it was not possible to alter the code to adjust the starting rof.
    (5) AVR Drivers: This is the driver that allows you to connect the Xmod Loader to your computer; it is specific to the loader board and not the AVR studio.

    I run a Windows 7 computer, at this point in its life it’s up to date but windows 7 has been around for quite some time and is due to replacement for windows 8 in October, this will be important later. Xmod was programmed roughly 2006, and uses software designed for Windows NT, 98, 2000, Millennium, and XP (See where I’m going with this?)
    I purchased XMOD from a reputable dealer without being aware of any of the history of xmod (I will return to this). It came as a board and a ribbon cable with no other software. Although disgruntled I turned to the AGD community to help bail me out, software couldn’t be that hard to obtain, could it?

    With a little bit of help and many questions I secured my copy of AVR studio 4.0 and AVR drivers, excitedly I installed both, and ended up with the following problem: the USB bridge drivers were not compatible with windows 7! After some exhaustive searching and a message sent out to the guys from AVR the reply was “that system is so old we never updated it and do not intend to, please try one of our newer programs”. In that respect, I am an idiot. I have no idea how to use this thing outside of Lornecash’s manual, this was not an option. Turning back to the forums I requested more assistance which found me in multitude, but still no firm answers. As it turns out the AVR studio and drivers required to load XMOD have a service life that ends with Windows XP, which means, if you don’t have a XP machine your SOL. There are other options, however, such as a Windows XP virtual environment available such as what comes included with the Windows 7 professional edition. As this would tag on a $70 anytime upgrade to my tab I was not that interested in trying it out. Apparently for some people installation in safe mode for windows 7 is an option for the AVR Studio, this made no difference on my windows 7 pc, even with the most up to date drivers and packages I could find.

    Luckily for me I purchased my loader from a reputable location and can get a return. As I write this my loader is happily shipping itself through the mail with a thumb drive that includes the AVR Drivers and AVR studio and I will likely not be out my moderate chunk of change I spent on the loader itself.

    Looking back on things, and the hours of frustration and headache I went through trying to get this updated I would much rather have contacted the great and powerful Tuna and at least investigated his multi-gun pricing structure. According to Lornecash the license for Xmod was only applicable per user, and my interpretation was that I could flash all my guns for the same $50 which is a fantastic deal, I would have even settled for a 10-15 dollar cover for each additional gun past the original to not deal with the driver headache.

    Although I will not be affecting Lornecash financially and will be rocking out the AGD 3.2 for a while longer I am disappointed that such a great guy who offered such a great product was ripped over the coals by a select few who may have ruined opportunities for us as a community in the future. The goal of this post is to give people the understanding that when they attempt to buy a loader they are on dubious grounds at best and may not be received well in the community for looking for support assuming they receive any at all. They should also know that xmod is available through trusted sources for a fair price (www.tunamart.com/feedback.php) and the hardware itself at this point may be obsolete and no longer compatible with your computer. Please, use Xmod responsibly. If you have any questions or would like clarification I by no means consider myself an expert but feel free to send a PM.

    Sources:
    Xmod Beta 1.8 User’s Guide- Available at www.niedtech.com
    Automags.org:
    Xmod programming thread:
    http://www.automags.org/forums/showthread.php?t=185314
    Xmod Sale Thread:
    http://www.automags.org/forums/showthread.php?t=219652
    Amended Xmod Disclaimer:

    http://www.automags.org/forums/showthread.php?t=232437
    http://www.automags.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2539273
    Xmod Programmer Piracy example

    http://www.automags.org/forums/showthread.php?t=256156
    by Published on 03-19-2013 03:39 PM

    *Thanks to UThomas for the video.