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Minelab CTX 3030 Detecting Forum


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Hacking the CTX
Posted by: bklein
Date: June 06, 2015 10:58AM
I have read a post somewhere of a guy hacking into the ctx operating system with the goal of customization. I'd like to find a writeup of how that is generally done (not ctx specific - just what the process is). I'm a hardware EE not software so no I don't think I'll be actually doing it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/06/2015 11:14AM by bklein.

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Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: CT Todd
Date: June 06, 2015 02:12PM
For what possible reason would anyone think they could improve the unit. Just stupid



Dig Colonial or go Home! www.cttodd.com

Started in 97, Fav Coin 1774 2 Reales, Oldest Coin 1st Century Roman Silver

When I go detecting I always do so with permission of the land owner.

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: Yeasty
Date: June 07, 2015 02:40AM
GPS information such as Track (GeoHunt), Waypoints and Findpoints can be extracted from the Minelab/CTX3030.MLX file created on your computer when you have it hooked up to your detector. The CTX3030.MLX file contains all the mode set ups, discrimination patterns and GPS data stored in the machine and is used by XChange 2 for information. Operating system data is not in the .MLX file. I extract and process the .MLX data to display Track and Findpoints on Google Earth rather than the cheesy (in my opinion) Google Maps used by Xchange 2. Google Earth is much more versatile by being able to display ALL your GPS tracks and finds from multiple hunts at a site, especially with map or old aerial photo overlays.

Unless you are very computer literate I DO NOT RECOMMEND anyone disturb the CTX3030.MLX file.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2015 02:49AM by Yeasty.

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: jas415
Date: June 07, 2015 02:25PM
"For what possible reason would anyone think they could improve the unit. Just stupid" I admit it is a great machine, but EVERYTHING can be improved. Millions of patents, inventions, etc., all because someone, somewhere, thought they could improve something. The above post about the GPS display is one place it could be improved. How about 5 or 6 or 8 tone bins? Somewhere out there is a computer software guy that could very easily hack the system and make tweeks here and there, maybe even create some of the 'upgrades or online improvements we all thought we were going to get from Minelab.

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Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: CT Todd
Date: June 07, 2015 03:31PM
Quote
jas415
"For what possible reason would anyone think they could improve the unit. Just stupid" I admit it is a great machine, but EVERYTHING can be improved. Millions of patents, inventions, etc., all because someone, somewhere, thought they could improve something. The above post about the GPS display is one place it could be improved. How about 5 or 6 or 8 tone bins? Somewhere out there is a computer software guy that could very easily hack the system and make tweeks here and there, maybe even create some of the 'upgrades or online improvements we all thought we were going to get from Minelab.

Yes take something as a starting point and build a new one. Not presume to change the internal workings of the CTX in your hand. Sure somewhere there's a "guy"
Less time on the Internet more time detecting will equal more finds. But go ahead take yours apart



Dig Colonial or go Home! www.cttodd.com

Started in 97, Fav Coin 1774 2 Reales, Oldest Coin 1st Century Roman Silver

When I go detecting I always do so with permission of the land owner.

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Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: KinTN
Date: June 07, 2015 06:34PM
Not just this thread, but why all the hostility lately? Folks have different ideas, wants, and ways of approaching life. Rather than name calling, show them scientifically where they are wrong instead of name calling. Posts with no useful info, just 'u suk' are a waste of everyones time.


I like my CTX and don't have the abilities to tinker with it beyond some very basics (change an O-ring, etc), but I appreciate those that tinker, make discoveries and share them with the forums. And if they destroy their toy, well then, some folks have more disposable income/resources than others. Its their stuff.



Minelab CTX 3030
Minelab Excalibur II
Minelab Safari

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: bklein
Date: June 07, 2015 10:46PM
Usually with something like this, you make an image of the flash as it is. You have means to reprogram that at any time. You usually need a hardware "tool" to do this via USB. But heck I don't know - thus I ask. Obviously a smart guy would ensure that whatever they do they can get back to factory image if they need to.

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: sube
Date: June 08, 2015 04:24PM
Waiting to see what happens . sube

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: MINELABBOB
Date: June 10, 2015 04:51PM
NO HACKING DUDE
LEARN THE UNITE AND YOU WILL HAVE THAT MAGIC SETTING


MINELABBOB

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Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: JamesBondaka
Date: June 12, 2015 01:38AM
Quote
KinTN
Not just this thread, but why all the hostility lately? Folks have different ideas, wants, and ways of approaching life. Rather than name calling, show them scientifically where they are wrong instead of name calling. Posts with no useful info, just 'u suk' are a waste of everyones time.

Nicely said!:thumbup:



................................*.................In Oregon, I will find a million dollars, one penny at a time!............Viva la diggo.................*.........................................

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If the hobby of metal detecting made perfect sense...everyone would do it~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: jas415
Date: June 12, 2015 09:59AM
Quote
KinTN
Not just this thread, but why all the hostility lately? Folks have different ideas, wants, and ways of approaching life. Rather than name calling, show them scientifically where they are wrong instead of name calling. Posts with no useful info, just 'u suk' are a waste of everyone's time."

You are so correct. Negative, insulting comments don't lend anything to a forum, just shut down the willingness to post other comments, afraid they will be insulted, degraded, demeaned by other posters. . If a person makes comment in good faith, with an idea, why cant the idea be debated, discussed, without insulting or demeaning the person? With that sort of 'shoot the messenger' attitude how in the world did we ever get an automobile, a refrigerator, or any improvements on anything. But, I would bet when one of the caveman started making a round stone with a hole in it to fashion some sort of wheel, there were many other hunter gatherers that were absolutely positive that if he continued attempting to make changes, then the result would be world would explode. IMHO, we should welcome new ideas, new thoughts, new patterns, ways to improve. As that is the basis of the United States of America.


Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: mypenneys
Date: January 29, 2016 09:40AM
I think there's lots of room for improvement especially with the tones and 5 line discrimination patterns would like to set pattern lines bit by bit not line by line.
Also would love to have a quick set adjustable gain. Push a button and reduce full power of 30 to what ever I want for a low and high number. Like full 27 over 13
Or 30 over 17. Or 25 over 13. I want a programable high low control touch one button. We already have control over the high now let me contro a low setting.
The way it is now is time consuming. I hate it
I want more control over the combined tone lines like I said. I want to follow my discrimination pattern. And lower tone sounds. I like really low overload and iron sounds.
And sometimes I'd rather listen to low tones for my silver targets. The high tones give me a headache. Easier on the ears.

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: Altamaha
Date: January 29, 2016 02:33PM
Quote
CT Todd
For what possible reason would anyone think they could improve the unit. Just stupid

Most things can be improved and one way for starters to improve/enhance the CTX 3030 as many have been requesting would be to add a couple more bins!


Very interesting that someone is considering securing a copy of the CTX 3030 Ucode and studying/modifying it. I have discussed doing just this (for personal use of course) with a couple of my former engineering colleagues.

Should be able to get a copy of the CTX 3030 Ucode by hacking Exchange2 to be able to extract a copy to a PC for example. Once one has a copy of the Ucode then it's a matter of studying/understanding the Architecture (Ucode instruction set layout/function) and micro processor (ARM II) Data Flow.

As a Software Engineer/Programmer (having experience with the Arm familly of micro processors) and talking with my fellow colleagues I don't think that it would be too complicated.

One area of concern of course would be whether the CTX 3030 micro processor (ARM II) has the processing power/overhead and memory to support additional functions without impacting current performance levels. From my familiarity with the CTX 3030 and the ARM II processor I can't imagine a problem with processing overhead. Concerning memory capacity and taking into consideration today's insane memory densities/size, I can't imagine that this would be a problem!

The biggest work would be in studying/understanding how the various CTX 3030 functions are programmed/implemented and then deciding if/how one would want to modify them or what new function(s) one would want to add..

Then of course after the Ucode is modified it would need to be loaded (hacked version of Exchanges 2) into the CTX 3030 to be tested (experienced CTX 3030 User(s)) to confirm if the changes/additions work as designed/planned.

Sometimes the only way to get something done is to do it yourself and based on Minelabs foot-dragging (4 years) regarding CTX 3030 updates, probably the only way that changes/improvements will get done is to go the do it yourself/outside vendor route!

Just my humble opinion


HH

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: Rex123
Date: January 29, 2016 05:55PM
Quote
CT Todd
For what possible reason would anyone think they could improve the unit. Just stupid


"If it weren't for those who dared to try we would still be living in caves" my old man always said.

I have not bought my CTX yet and after reading a lot of what's been posted in the last 12 months I may not bother. I came on to this forum as there's little in the UK about this machine, oh I know there's plenty of vids on youtube but most users are wearing Minelab hats...

Will maybe re-read some of the posts, before making my mind up.

Re: Hacking the CTX
Posted by: bklein
Date: January 30, 2016 11:09AM
HH,
There is a firmware file on Minelab's site that they had to post because of linux open souce agreement they signed. Is this a file that can be understood by firmware engineers or just a binary/hex upload?

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