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Geotech last won the day on December 9 2016

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  1. Cal: I spent 21 years at Analog Devices & Maxim doing chip design. Our road maps were highly confidential, shared only with key customers under NDA. Most competitive new product development is done that way, whether chips or cars or metal detectors. As you point out, Minelab gave no hint of what they were working on until a few months prior to release, except to key people. When I was at White's I used to be a bit more liberal with development information, partly because there was no Marketing Dept to keep me in check, but also because it was some pretty exciting stuff. None of that exciting stuff ever made it to market, and it wasn't because it didn't work, but rather other factors. Maybe it will some day. At FTP I tend to keep a lot quieter about what we're doing, not because I'm not just as excited -- I am -- but because I don't want to make grandiose claims that may not live up to the hype. (Plus, Marketing has a big club, and it hurts.) Hell, I'm even pretty quiet within the company, not even telling the boss (and especially not Marketing!) what I'm working on. My preference is to get it working first, then I can make promises I know I can deliver. Steve: 25 years ago Minelab was dismissed as a nobody. 10 years ago XP was dismissed as a nobody. Today, I hear the same kind of talk about other New Kids, and I wag my finger at the naysayers. Never dismiss anyone, it's arrogant. But you're right, my job is simple: get a new product out. To that end, I have largely locked myself in the lab, and I'm finally making good progress. The pinpointer was unfortunate diversion that's now (mostly) over, and I still have other diversions and commitments, but the Main Event is high priority and making progress. Beyond that, I got nothin' to say until I got something to show. --Carl
  2. There are several problems with releasing early information on projects. One is that it gives competitors a heads-up and allows them to react quicker, maybe even preempt our efforts. Second, it can bring sales to a dead stop if people decide to wait for the Next Big Thing. Yes, it can freeze competitor sales as well, which might outweigh the negatives. Third, sometimes things just don't work out the way we planned, and those early sneak peeks come back to bite us hard. If, ferinstance, you're still waiting on a CZX or a Mosca, well, my point exactly. FTP has a lot of stuff going on. I think it will be really good stuff and may even get us out in front for a change. But things don't move at a lightning pace at FTP, nor are things highly predictable. I thought the new PI machine would be getting released this Spring, which is partly why information on it got leaked. Not Spring. And since I can't predict exactly when it will be ready, I won't even try. The "5 new machines over the next 4 years" should rightfully elicit a chorus of yawns from everyone here. I don't even know why Marketing says stuff like that. The reality is, if all we can muster is 5 new machines over the next 4 years, then I probably should be fired. Expect more, and demand more. But don't expect a 5-year roadmap.
  3. Pretty exciting, eh? Watch for a Russian photo of a marketing slide for more details.
  4. Hacking The White's V3i

    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.
  5. Hacking The White's V3i

    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.
  6. Yes, same exact unit, just whether you like red or green. Sunray had a nice thing going for a while. The good news is that in the world of wireless it won't be long before everyone has wireless pinpointers that mimic the Sunray mode of operation. The TRX was designed to do that (has space for a wireless module) but never got there. The Fisher/Tek models will eventually get wireless.
  7. I signed off on final paperwork just now. First shipment may go on the truck today. Again, this is Tek only, not Fisher.
  8. Production began today on the Tek version. Don't know if any shipped. Fisher next week. The delay was two-fold. First, when units from the pilot run were water-tested a few failed at 10 feet. We determined that the Gore membrane isn't reliable to 10 feet, so we backed off to a 6 foot rating. Second, the overmolded plastic was difficult to get right, and to make that job worse the molder (USA, not China) shut down for Christmas. But what I saw today was really nice and worth the extra wait.
  9. Electrically, gold, silver, & copper are all "good conductors." But, while good, gold is a lower conductor. In detector-land, "conductance" has become a bit of a misnomer to describe the phase (or decay) response of different targets. The size, shape, and thickness of the target often dominates the response, although the alloy also plays a role. In PI detectors, the decay time is measured instead of phase. Gold has a faster decay because, as a lower "conductor," it has more electrical resistance which acts to kill off the eddy currents quicker. Silver has less resistance, and the eddy currents last longer resulting in a longer response time. This is an over-simplified explanation that really requires a book, or at least a chapter in a book.
  10. When I was thinking of the cover, there was no doubt I wanted a detector wide open on the bench with all the guts exposed, and all that crap laying around it. The question was, which detector? I decided on the Red Baron because it represented such an enormous shift in hobby detectors. In the background, there is also a Tesoro (modified Bandido), White's (XL-Pro), and Minelab (Sovereign), plus a couple of home-brews. BTW, that was my real work bench at White's, and that's how it usually looked. Or worse.
  11. Good example. In this case it's not being used as a traditional pinpointer, but as a very small metal detector. I recall someone once sawed down a Tesoro to just the handle, the uMax box, and a 4" coil. Seems that would be an ideal hut/pit detector. Tesoro Pinpointer Conversion
  12. As you know, Mark Rowan got a patent on zero-motion disc but it requires 3 frequencies. Probably won't show up in a pinpointer any time soon. Since a PP has to run in static mode, motion disc methods are out, and you are left with old-fashioned TR-disc methods that are prone to have problems. I think that's the issue in the video.
  13. Steve, how much iron ends up in the bedrock crevices? Is it mostly shards from old logging/dredging cables and the like? A potential problem with this is that the smaller gold is already right at the threshold of the ferrous/non-ferrous break point, so there is a decent likelihood of a wrong ID, and that goes up if the bedrock includes decent mineralization. My thought remains: if the pinpointer indicates there is something in the crevice, it is probably worth a look.
  14. Basically it's just battery life. The F75 will actually run on 2-AA batteries, but with (a little less than) half the run time. Newer detector designs use switching regulators that can boost the battery voltage to whatever is needed. You can literally run a detector on a single AA battery. Everything internal is the same regardless of the input voltage, so a bigger battery pack doesn't offer any more depth. PI detectors can be more voltage sensitive as the TX circuit often runs directly off the battery.