In Game Testing:
I used the Magna in a Halo shell on my 04 Viking (full specs can be listed on the Viking if requested). I used semi for Canadian Carnage simply because I'm not made out of money. I bought a bag for Friday's pump night and a case for Saturday's game. My Viking uses an 07 MacDev Militia board. It has these options in regards to eyes:
Flickering White - Eyed Mode
Setting 1 = delayed (if there is no ball in breach when the trigger is pulled, the software will wait 1/2 sec and fire)
Setting 2 = forced (trigger can be held to force a shot)
Setting 3 = test mode with full dwell
Setting 4 = test mode with adjusted dwell (test mode dwell setting)
Setting 2 is the default and it's the one I routinely use. Why? It lets me know when there's a loader jam.
Loader Jam Chain of Events
-Viking fires (clear Dye sticky grips show green LED)
-Viking stops firing (clear Dye sticky grips show red LED)
Traditionally, I would do the following:
-crank Rip drive backwards
-power cycle the unit
-check Dye sticky grips LED colour
-crank the Rip drive backwards
-push the power button once to spin the cone and load a round
-check Dye sticky grips LED colour
I was actually hoping the Smartguide would jam.
Hear me out.
Every loader will eventually jam. I don't care how much you pay for it and what Greek god forged it--it will jam. At least, that's been the case in my experience.
In the horror that was Berlin at Canadian Carnage, I got my wish. Under heavy fire, my Viking was firing away at a seemingly unending hoarde of Red players. In the middle of a long string of finger taps, my Viking stopped shooting. I checked the Dye sticky grips and they were red. So, I know I have a loader jam. Rather than reach for the Rip drive, I thought I'd try the default method xeonpb recommends. I held the trigger for a second and forced a dry shot. I then checked the Dye grips again and they were green. I tapped the trigger again and it fired.
The Smartguide had automatically cleared the jam, loaded another round, and I was good to go. I went from fumbling around for a minute trying to get my setup play-worthy again like with my V35 to being ready to mow faces in seconds with the Smartguide.
I would now consider setting my Viking to fire automatically upon a trigger pull. The Smartguide really does what it's supposed to. It's been the best unjam sequence I've ever had happen. I was highly impressed.
So what do I think of the Smartguide? I firmly believe it is the best functional upgrade you can apply to any Halo based loader. That includes the following:
-any other Halo that uses the "standard" spring-tensioned cone and raceway
It provides these benefits:
-exceptional automatic unjam
-lower power consumption
-one of the best reball loaders on the market
-can be set for brittle tourney paint, rec paint, or reballs by simply flipping the discs or just changing loader speed (I would recommend fast bottom, slow top, and then just mess with your loader speeds. 3 worked great for paint. I'd probably up it for reballs)
-easy, tool-less cleaning
-no need for additional complicated programming....it just works
-a bang-for-buck not commonly found in the paintball world
-excellent customer service
-xeonpb is always striving to improve his product (ie. rev 1, rev 2, etc.)
-it gives new life to an old backup loader
-functionally, it may be one of the best loaders on the market
Improvements? Not really anything I can think of within xeonpb's control. The only thing I wish is that there was an option so that it would come bundled with a loader from the factory. An Invert Too or Reloader B2 with a Smartguide TL instead of a cone would be the best bang-for-buck loader on the market. I hope xeonpb can work out some sort of deal with Empire. Or, a really cool idea that will likely never happen, is if he could sell a kit that you assemble yourself. If it was a kit that addressed some of the traditional Halo short-comings it would be the best loader on the market. Period. For everyone else, if you've got an old Halo kicking around this is probably the best thing you can do for it.
I was impressed enough with its performance that it's now become my main loader and I don't think I'll bother with any of the "super loaders." I'm not on a pro team, but I still like having good equipment. However, I don't have an unlimited budget. I doubt you do either. Smartguide gives me the option to functionally upgrade my old Halo to keep up with the loaders of today while not breaking the bank.
I'm going to update this review throughout the summer with further tests (ie. high speed firing, reball, tourney paint, test with an Etha, etc.).
Thanks again to xeonpb for getting me the Smartguide so I could test it at Canadian Carnage.