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  1. Tried out a new detector on Saturday:Due to some unavoidable delays, I finally made it out with my Makro Gold Racer on the weekend to see what it could do.I don't know about where you live, but winter here just didn't want to let go this year. I mean, we had one of the coldest, longest winters we've had in forever, and snow, snow, snow (we're about four feet over the average mountain snowpack at the higher elevations as I write), but Old Man Winter finally took a breather, and so I got a chance to head to the mountains to swing the coil again.The place I picked was one that didn't have a lot of exposed bedrock, just a small section really, with the rest of the ground covered with six to eight feet of overburden on top of the bedrock, and that's just too much overburden for the size of gold I commonly find.As for the weather that day, it was a true mixed bag. I mean this time of year, we can get all four seasons in one day! Saturday was no exception. It rained early in the morning, then the sun came out and it was nice and warm, then it clouded over, started to rain again, then turned to snow, then the wind blew a cold blast of air for about an hour, then the sky turned blue and the sun came out once more, the wind stopped, and the weather did its best spring imitation for the next three hours.I unlimbered the Gold Bug Pro first, and you can't make this stuff up, within three minutes, I'd found a three gram nugget, one my wife said looked sort of like a four-leaf clover. And, Nature indeed had made it look kind of like one. The nugget was sitting in some tough clay that held a lot of former river stones, so it seemed to me that it was likely what used to be the bottom of a crevice long ago, as the surrounding bedrock had been cut down at least a couple of feet by the former placer miners whose actions would have left the sort of deposit I've described.I kept working the exposed bedrock and any places I could find where bedrock had been tossed out in case some gold had ridden out with it. (I have found nuggets this way before.) I really took my time and went slow, because I wanted to be sure I'd cleaned the area before I broke out the Gold Racer so I'd have as accurate a comparison as I could. By the time I'd finished with the Fisher, I'd gathered another gram and a half of small stuff that I'd thrown in the bottle.My wife had wandered off, and I found her panning near the foot of channel wall, but she wasn't having much luck; however, she pointed out something to me that I'd have completely missed. To the north and east of where she'd been panning, there was a short section left of what had been a bedrock drain, and there were small sections of bedrock still exposed that the boulder clay hadn't reclaimed.Nevertheless, I headed back to the original bedrock I'd worked with the Gold Bug Pro, and I broke out the shiny new Makro Gold Racer. The ground balance worked flawlessly, and setting the sensitivity was a breeze. The ground was moderate to a little hot, so I didn't have to worry about adjusting the ISAT, and I was pretty familiar with the types of hot-rocks I'd likely find, so I knew most, if not all, of them by sight. I started by running the coil slowly over the areas I'd hit with the Bug Pro, and after a few sweeps, I had several quiet but distinct signals. When I dug down, the signals got louder. I called by wife over, and she took the dirt with the signals and panned them out. Neither one of us could believe the tiny gold in the pan! The Gold Racer really did deliver on finding small gold. However, the first bedrock area was not where I realized how good the Gold Racer could perform.Remember I mentioned the bedrock drain? I headed over to it with both detectors. First, I scanned the small exposed areas exceptionally carefully with the Bug Pro, and I got a few small pieces, then I ramped up the sensitivity on the machine as far as I could, fought the background chatter, and all in all, liberated about half a gram of gold from the bedrock. I swapped out the Bug Pro for the Gold Racer and covered the same areas again. Almost immediately I had a signal. I couldn't believe it, but the signal was clear, and I could see a previous dig mark where I'd nailed some small stuff with the Bug Pro, and the Racer was giving a crisp signal, quite unmistakable, right in the same dig hole! To make a long story short, three inches of bedrock later, a nice picker was in the bottle! This blew me away, as the Gold Racer had found the target while running nice and quiet, with the sensitivity not ramped up, yet the signal was very clear.I kept at the small sections of bedrock, and kept getting quiet, but clear, signals until I'd added another gram and a half of small gold to the vial. (Sometimes I'd get a break in the threshold too, but when I dug down, the signal either disappeared or it turned out to be a target. [Some heavy iron deposits in the bedrock did give a weak signal, but I soon learned that due to the broad nature of their signature exactly what they were.]) What this weekend's outing made me realize is that if I'd have given the Gold Racer a run the end of last summer, I'd have undoubtedly recovered a lot of small gold, and I do mean a lot, that the Bug Pro just couldn't see (this test was carried out with virtually the same coil sizes on both machines, elliptical shapes and DD's as well), and knowing now what I likely left behind last summer makes me a bit sad. (Out of six grams of gold for the Saturday, a gram and a half was fine stuff from the Gold Racer, and that's a pretty good added portion of gold recovery I'd say.) In fairness to the Gold Bug Pro, let me say this: I've found lots and lots of gold with that great little machine, and it's super easy to learn how to use making for a quick learning curve. In addition, I don't have an unkind word to say about the Fisher as it's paid for itself many, many times over, and I will continue to use it, and I'll continue to train others how to use it as well. Moreover, let me say that the Bug Pro doesn't run at nearly as high a kHz, so it's unfair to compare apples to oranges that way, but I wanted to see what I was leaving behind, that's all. So, I learned my lesson well on Saturday, and I gained a whole lot of respect for the little Gold Racer for how sensitive it is to small gold, how good it punches into the ground to find it, and how quietly it goes about its job of doing so. Furthermore, The Makro is a great little gold machine I can swing all day long, and I'm looking forward to really taking it for a long, dedicated run this summer to add more gold to the poke because it sure gets the job done in style! (How I wish some fine company would produce a light-weight gold-hungry pulse machine with excellent capabilities or that Minelab would find a way to lighten the technology package of their GPZ 7000. Wouldn't that be great?) (I'd like to thank Steve for pointing me in the direction of the Gold Racer, and I'd like to thank Dilek at Makro for her exceptional customer service.)All the best,Lanny
  2. Since this is a fan club, people may assume it is supposed to be all sunshine and roses. The truth is I love well written critical commentary. The problem with most negative posts about detectors is they come down to "I saw a video somebody posted and that machine sucks". Personally, I see minimal value in that sort of thing. What I want to see here is posts and reviews from people who A. have actually run the detector and B. can offer straight up critique without the extraneous "boy, how dumb can they be" commentary. What do you like, what did you not like. What worked well, what does not work well, and why. Things to do, things to avoid. Whatever. It's not that you have to heap praise - if you don't like something for some reason then simply explain why. Here is the first review I did on a Nokta product. Notice I mentioned several things about the machine I was not wild about. I did not beat the company up for it - just stated the facts as seen from my perspective. Notice I went back later and also commended the company for later addressing those very issues. Where is my similar review as regards Equinox? Can't do it until I have an actual production unit in my hands or assurance that what I have would match a production unit in every way. When the time comes I will do my thing, though it will not need quite the detail of the Nokta review just because so much of that stuff has been covered already here on the forum. Just wanted to get that out there. It is probably premature so I will bump this up again when units start shipping. All we want to know, all of us, is what people around the world think about various aspects. Some things will be great, some ok, and a few not ok. That's real, and real is all I ask for. Thanks!
  3. I just got back from DIV 40 and wanted to give a quick report on how the Equinox 600 performed in the hot Culpeper soil. Mind you I am not proficient with the detector yet. In addition to the Equinox I took my GPX. I used the Equinox for a total of about 8 hours in the three days I was there. I did find some good stuff with the Equinox which included an Eagle coat button, minie ball and a New York coat button. For me I found that the Equinox ran quietest using the beach mode in five tones iron bias one and everything notched out up to 5. If not in the beach modes the machine was really chattery. It can accurately ID a Target to about 5 inches but has a real hard time with low conductors in that soil. With the adjustments the 800 offers you might get better results. At one point I buried a nickel at 6 inches in one of the fields and could not get it with the equinox, the GPX easily picked it up. Overall I thought the detector performed well and was very helpful in the iron infested areas. I know there were other Equinoxes there and some good stuff was found by those using them. I know of at least 1 breast plate found with the Equinox.
  4. Except for about 15 minutes in the back yard, Saturday's 4 1/2 hour hunt is my first experience with the new detector. I've decided (unless some chance I can't pass up comes along) to do several hunts in previously searched sites. I started with probably my easiest site that has produced old coins. I've described this previously -- a small lot the city acquired early last summer and promptly raized the 1920's house, but did a great job leaving most of the yard alone and just backfilling the house's footprint. Fairly certain I'm still the only person ever to metal detect this property. My notes show I've been here 7 times, mostly with the Fisher F75. With a few exceptions (more on that below) I've searched the entire area at least twice, and in some spots 3-4 times. Previously it's produced 50+ Wheaties and 5 silver coins. For the most part it's fairly clean in terms of iron trash, with more/less the usual amount of aluminum. Park 1 default was my plan for the day, including the default ground setting, mostly in 'all-metal'. Right off the truck I was having trouble with EMI. I forgot how to auto-adjust the frequency so I just went manual, 19 channels to choose from but none was perfectly quiet. Switched to other modes with qualitatively same result. I was getting the least noise at the extreme values (never good in the [-5,5] center region). Having also forgotten how to adjust gain (won't ever again!) I decided rather than walking back to my vehicle and consulting the operations manual I'd just try and hunt with the EMI noise in the background. That started out OK but by the end of 1.5 hours it was getting worse. Before reconfiguring I covered some previously hunted ground, finding mostly ring&beavertail pulltabs (at least 2/3 of the day's catch) one copper cent, one squeeze tube, a bronze threaded bushing, and a few other 'interesting' but non-valuables. Most of the non-pulltabs were along an alley where I had not previously searched. The penny was from a lightly searched spot as well. Turning down the gain to 17, the EMI noise disappeared so on to the next 2 hours. My next dig was the silver Roosie (1954), only about 3 inches deep. Then I hunted the part of the lot which had been used to dump/hide/burn trash. Amongst a lot of noise hits I got a decent high signal and 1 inch deep uncovered a copper penny. Next I found the nickel (1949-D), only about 4 inches deep. The ID was solid 12-13 in one direction but 90 degree angle-of-attack gave less steady values, 11's and even 10's. I guessed some kind of aluminum (slaw?) and was pleased to get the nickel. The last hour I moved to another part of the park (not on the house lot) where I (and others?) have hunted many times with multiple detectors, best find having been an Indian Head penny. I shifted to cherry-pick mode and dug a crown cap (not shown) which ID'ed steady near nickel. The badly corroded zinc read 18 (was hoping for another IH!). Two more coppers were 5 inch and 6 inches deep, sounding a bit iffy but giving repeated high conductivity ID's. One photo below shows the 'trash' -- ring&beavertails plus iron -- those latter were biproducts of digs which contained higher conductors, not mid/high tones by themselves. I did dig a bit of other trash not shown, including some aluminum bits of roof flashing, a total of 3 crown caps plus of couple pieces of aluminum foil. The 'goodies' photo didn't come up so well, but four of the five copper pennies are Wheats (1925, 1945-D, 1952-D, 1954-D). The top row in that photo all read in the 23-25 ID range. I don't know what that is in the lower left (jewelry?) -- it had an ID of 11. The bronze bushing hit at 32 and the copper ring thing (some kind of electrical connector??) signaled a solid, strong 33 -- I was hoping for a large coin . Why did I miss all of these mostly shallow targets previously? Likely a few I missed because I just didn't get the coil over them. However, that doesn't explain the full story. I may be a bit premature in my conclusion but I'm thinking superior target separation with the Eqx. And note all this running Park1 with a gain of 17. The other thing I noticed is that anything above 20 very likely is non-iron and worth digging, no iron wraparound or vertical nail high tones so far. Those theories will be strongly tested as I next move to trashier sites.
  5. Well, we finally got some decent beach conditions today so I could really try my 800 out on the sand. Five hours of pure beach detecting fun! And I feel like I have to say this, even if I get raked over the coals by my fellow PI Club members. My Equinox 800 goes practically as deep on the wet and dry sand as my Garrett Infinium. There, I said it. Shocked the hell outta me too. I say practically because I gave up digging stuff 2 feet down a while ago. It's almost always a big piece of crap anyway. That Equinox was locating stuff a foot down easily, with the added benefit of target ID. I started out digging everything so I could learn, but then found that I could eliminate some can slaw and bottle caps by using all metal mode. If I got an little iron grunt on the edge of the coil along with varying ID numbers and tones, it was trash every time. Every single time I got a 19 or 20, it was a rotten zincoln, so I started weeding those out too. I think when I start to really get to know my Equinox and learn it's quirks I'll be able to weed out lots more of the trash. The pull tabs are what they are and you just gotta dig 'em. I think that whoever invented those things should be tied to a chair and forced to watch every single "Oak Island" episode 10 times in a row. I had forgotten how fun it is to hunt the beach with a VLF! I just thought it was the price I had to pay to find anything on my barren beaches. I honestly think my Equinox got every good target that my Infinium would have gotten on depth, plus way more of the smaller shallow stuff the PI would have missed. I do have to crank the disc up to 2 to get it stable in salt water, so that might be the reason. Poor Infinium. I sure hope it finds some gold in Montana that its new sibling doesn't, 'cause Ammie has a new beach machine. I got about $2 in change, the "gold" pendant is plated crap, the token and the lighthouse thingy were junk too. It's always fun digging jewelry though. The marcasite ring is 925.
  6. I went out this morning to a hunted out sports field. I had hit this field hard with my E-Trac and even last week I was hunting there again with the E-Trac based on my theory that you never completely hunt a location out. I knew rain was coming so I knew I didn't have much time. Actually being my 1st time using the Equinox more than 2 minutes I was a bit confused with the different sounds and some light chatter. I went out in Park #1 and never changed a thing. After about 5 mins I hit a good target in the 20's and not knowing the different ID's of coins I did know most numbers in the 20's were good to dig. 1st target was a clad dime. The pin pointer was spot on. Then I hit a tab posing as a nickel with a solid #13. Then I hit 3 quarters from #26 - #30. Finally I had a solid #13 and was skeptical after digging a tab but it was a nickel and the next target was a nickel. All together I found $1.43 in clad in 45 mins before the rain came. I also found a spent cartridge. All together I only dug 3 signals posing as a coin. One was a can at 8", one copper strap and one rusty piece of iron that was the size of a 1/2" nut but it wasn't a nut and couldn't determine what it was. I feel confident the Equinox will live up to the all the hype about it over the last 7 months. This attached pic is very poor because I rarely use the camera on my phone. Tomorrow I will either go back to the location I was today because I barely scratched it or a hunted out soccer field. The rest of today will be reading posts on the forum and the users manual
  7. As I have mentioned in various posts, I was on an early pre-order list for the E800… and I will remain on that list until my E800 is available. Based on several of the threads and comments by Steve H. and others, when an E600 came available, I had to act, and I am glad I did. Mostly due to the fact that I would be GOING CRAZY reading about all the early experiences from those that were lucky enough to get an E800 in the first two shipment waves. Yes, there are things that I will utilize on the E800 when I finally receive my pre-ordered machine, but I don’t feel like I am leaving any detecting power on the table with the E600. I have had the E600 in my possession for 2 weeks now, and have had it out swinging every day. Some days only 45-60 minutes as my work and family schedule would allow, and other days longer hunts. I have tried to target a few locations that I know like the back of my hand… a few older sites, and a few newer sites, but all I know what to expect from the ground… this is the best way I can measure the performance of the Equinox. Compare it against my numerous experiences on the same ground I have swung the Etrac, CTX, Explorer SE Pro, Tesoro Vaquero and even to some extent the Garrett ATX PI. I am not exaggerating when I say that the Equinox performs as good or better at all these sites than any of the machines I have mentioned above. My settings journey started the same as most new Equinox owners… Stock settings. Park 1/Noise Cancel/Ground Balance/start swinging. Then check targets with AM, or in Park 2… toy with Field 1 and 2… even take a few swings with the beach mode just to hear how it sounds on a target. The Equinox is a feedback machine. It started providing me information almost immediately. Over the past two weeks, I have gravitated to mostly using Park 1 with sensitivity between 18-22 depending on the ground, 50 tones, recovery at 3 (which is maxed for the 600 and equivalent to 6 on the 800) and iron bias at 0. Before I move on, I want to thank some of the early testers for guiding me to these settings, and being open to sharing their testing and experiences with us on the forum and in PM… Steve H., TNSS, SteveG, Cabin Fever, Tometusns to name a few… but not to slight all who share their information through the forum threads. Shout out to all of you! Along with a pile of clad... and more nickels by ratio than I have every dug... and mostly running in the Park 1 settings above, I have been successful in pulling wheats from areas that dried up to me and my other detectors a year ago. One location, I pulled 1-3 wheats from a 25 yard square at an old park in 5 successive days. Then went back and popped a 9.5” Aluminum Washington State Tax Token. It sorts through trash and iron and it goes deep. I should also say I planted a quarter at 7” last spring in this same area as a test. I was not able to hit it with the Etrac, the Explorer gave me a squeaky iffy signal on it, the Vaquero hits it in super tuned all metal only, and the Equinox bangs on it in stock settings. My first extended hunt (2 hours) also gave me my first Equinox silver. At another old location around an old ballfield, I got a solid 14 ID, that I nearly passed on, thinking it was probably a pull tab… but the signal sounded round and smooth… so I turned around, pinpointed, and dug a 6” plug to find a silver war nickel. Last night, I found myself at a school near my house which was built in the 80’s but is a good testing ground for my detectors… with clad down to about 4 or 5”… but last night, I wanted to test out the 2 tone setting. I went into the advanced tones settings and move the tone break up to 19. 18 and below – low tone / 19 and above high tone. I then set out for the trashiest part of the field, just outside the front doors of the school in the playground next to the basketball court pad. All kinds of aluminum targets littered throughout. I usually avoid that area because of the machine gun chatter or nulling from my other machines. Last night, my first target was a clear as can be high tone surrounded by low tones, but easily identifiable. 24-27 on the id. 6” down amongst the trash… 1959 Rosie. Why a silver coin was in a modern school that was orchards before, I can only guess, but the Equinox found it. So, my first “my Equinox experience” post is two fold. 1) The Equinox is for real. I’m not the first to say that, and I won’t be the last. But I share that opinion with all the rest that have said it, and 2) The E600 is a sleeper machine with 90% of the features but 100% of the detecting power of the E800. There have been many great posts outlining the differences between the two machines which are must reads. More important to me than “is the E800 worth the extra $250”… (and honestly, I feel it is worth the additional money for the E800… at least for me), but is it worth waiting for the E800 to become available when you could probably be hunting with the E600 by this weekend… each of us will have a different answer to that… and not everyone is able or willing to buy both like I have committed to doing. But if I had made the choice for only one machine, and opted for the E600 and have it now, rather than waiting for the E800… I would have absolutely no regrets, knowing what I know now having used the E600 for the past 2 weeks. Tim.
  8. I put the official order to my preferred dealer my Equinox 800 on Monday, it arrived about midday today (Tuesday), I was expecting it Wednesday, I didn't realise his free shipping would be overnight shipping from 600 km's away to a Rural address. Very impressed by that. I just had to get one with all the great reports on them, especially from a couple of people I highly respect in the detecting world. I'm sure they know who they are. I had to run around the house trying to find every 2 amp usb phone charger I could as I suddenly had 3 usb devices I had to charge at once as I wanted to get straight out and use it. It's disappointing it doesn't come with a power adapter/usb charger with 3 ports, it surely wouldn't have cost Minelab much to include that. If you don't have a mobile phone usb charger or a computer, you're stuck charging it. Seems so weird to me they wouldn't include a power adapter with usb. I guess I have a small head as every headphones I've ever used have to be on their smallest size, my Minelab Koss UR30 headphones are a pretty loose fit even on their smallest. The GM1000 headphones fit OK but are complete rubbish. The headphones with the Equinox 800 are brilliant, love them and a perfect volume level for my hearing. It was quite windy tonight when I walked down to the river to do my detecting and the volume levels were perfect even with the strong wind noise. I had no trouble pairing the headphones up directly to the detector, and I'm pleased to see after a power off of the detector it pairs up straight away by itself to the headphones on the next power on. Also the headphones seem to turn themselves off if they get no signal for a while, handy as I'd always forget to turn them off. I didn't end up using the WM08 and just paired the headphones directly to the Equinox for true wireless headphones, now I've had that I could never go back to corded headphones. I believe the response time is quicker if you use the cord and WM08 but I felt no negative effects. I used the supplied little cloth to clean the screen before putting on the screen protector, but the little cloth left little bits of hair on the screen so the screen protector looks terrible with bubbles under it where the little hairs are, I would have been better off not trying to clean the screen before applying it. I hope dealers start to stock new screen protectors as I want one already I used one of the foreign language ones and cut it up to size and put one on my Gold Monster 1000. It went on nice and clean as I didn't use the damn cloth to clean its screen. On my walk down to the river I have to walk along under high voltage power lines from some nearby Windmills, and right next to the track I walk down is an electric fence to keep some cows in, the cows were there so I can only assume the electric fence was turned on, I wasn't game to touch it to find out but it usually would be on if the cows are in the paddock. I turned the Nox on and performed the Noise cancel while under the powerlines and the thing was completely unstable in Multi Frequency, tried all the different frequencies to see if it would settle down but not really, the closest to stable was on 20khz, What even made me think of trying different frequencies as a beginner was my T2 is rotten near the power lines, you cant use it, same with my Garrett Euroace, but my Gold Bug Pro with Nel Sharpshooter works perfectly fine right under them. It's 19Khz so I figured 20khz maybe decent, it was OK, a bit of falsing but not unusable, still no match for the GBP in high EMI areas. Once I got down to the river long away from the power lines and electric fences I turned the unit back on again, did my noise cancel and started detecting, the thing ran perfectly, no falsing and hitting on targets (although nothing of value) with solid stable VDI numbers, it's the first time with a detector I've felt confident I can mostly trust the VDI numbers as they were so stable. I cranked the sensitivity right up to max (25) and was in Park 1 mode, no other settings were messed with at this stage as I was just testing it out and there was no knock sensitivity at all, my coil control is that of a person who's drank a good 15 beers in about 10 minutes so I was bumping rocks all over the place, no issues at all with bump sensitivity, so I tried it in all the different modes to see if I could get this bump sensitivity issue, but no, it just doesn't exist in my local soil. I made the mistake of just taking my Lesche digging tool to dig my finds and was grossly unprepared, this wasn't a good idea with the Eq800 as the thing finds stuff so much deeper than I was expecting, one target, a ring looking thing but not a ring although the same sort of size was coming up at 32 on the VDI and I dug it from about 25 cm's deep in gravel and rocks, quite the mission with just a Lesche. When I take the Nox out tomorrow, a small shovel is coming with me. I've never had a fully waterproof detector before so I figured I'd dunk it in the river, and that I did, down it went under the water and I could see the screen on it in the water, it was as happy below the water as above. No issues at all there, I turned on the backlight under water so I could see the screen better. I also got it a bit dirty so I hosed it down when I got home. I like this waterproof stuff. I ended up making a few small mistakes on my detecting, for example I accidently notched out a target by pressing a wrong button, then the target just disappeared, and I couldn't work out why, I changed to Park 2 and it came back again so I pinpointed it and dug it up. It was an old tiny little hinge off something. I still haven't worked out how to bring the notched out segment back, I will read that in the manual soon as it appears to stay even after a power off. As for pinpointing, its amazingly accurate, something else I'm not used to, my other detectors may well be accurate to someone who can work out how to do it with them, but for me with the Equinox, it was simple, smack bang in the middle of the coil will be my target. I love the little meter system it has to pinpoint too, so easy to know exactly when you're on a target. All in all I am super impressed with my Equinox, I can't wait to try it out on the Gold areas, my wife is getting sick of going sluicing and doesn't want to go this weekend so I'm going to drive on up myself to the gold area and just mess around with my metal detector learning the ropes and hopefully finding some gold with it... The Equinox seems like a real game changer for me, it's super simple for a beginner to use and understand. I plan to make myself a chart tomorrow using Steve's template so I can know what local coin and so on is what VDI number.
  9. Fskafish

    Equinox Review

    An interesting interview on all metal modes podcast march 12 show...wow Listen to "George "TEX" Kinsey pt. 2" on Spreaker.
  10. After some button mashing in the back yard and a quick ball field hunt that netted me an earring and some change, I felt like today I could hit a local beach park primarily with the intent to try the beach modes and learn more about the Equinox 800. This local park is hunted extensively and in the off season the pickings are slim so I did not have any expectations that I would find much of anything. In fact I was willing to dig trash because that would just help me continue to learn the tones and get used to the routine of initializing the machine (mode select, noise cancel, GB if necessary, etc.) and get used to the routines associated with target ID, interrogation, and recovery. The beach is nice because target retrieval is easy, just dip the scoop in the sand, shake, grab the target and move on. Little did I know what I was in for. With my multiple test garden runs and short park run, I felt comfortable navigating the menus and doing the routine things needed to run the machine. Ergonomics: I set out for an hour or two hunt, but it ended up being almost 4 hours. I really had no trouble at all swinging the Equinox for four hours straight. I have made no modifications but being short the Equinox is shortened for me and does not have a great lever arm that torques me so I am comfortable with it. I have not even counterbalanced it AND I keep forgetting to install the arm strap. Despite that, the Equinox was really a dream to swing AND that is coming from a Deus guy. I guess I can go all day with the Deus if necessary, but I feel with the Equinox I can do pretty good all day, if I have a nice lunch break. Performance (Beach Mode): I put it in Beach 1, noise canceled and did nothing else to modify the program and started swinging away. I intended to stay high mostly on the dry sand to see if I could pick up old drops near the beach entrances. First target was a pencil (hit the eraser holder). I next hit foil juice pull lid. Third target sounded solid and was jumping a little but oscillated around 10. Dug it and boom. Gold in the sand. It was a small, gold Christ figurine from a crucifix that looks like it became separated from the cross. I could not find the cross. But yeah, Equinox scores gold on the third beach target and I thought well this was worth the trip and I don't mind digging trash the rest of the way. I did not hit much more trash or keepers other than a dime and some fishing tackle and then a few pennies on the high sand. I encountered several random noise bursts throughout my walk and wondered if it was nearby traffic (the park is adjacent to the main thoroughfare across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge). It was weird and I could not figure out the source. I u-turned and started heading back at the tide line but was not going to get myself or the Equinox wet at 45F and a steady 15 knot wind. The tide line is usually a sparky mess for the Deus but I can still hear strong coin targets above the din. Equinox, not a peep except for those noise bursts. I finally figured it out. I had my phone in my right hoody pocket which put it in close proximity to the control head. Moving the phone to my left pocket got rid of the random EMI. I never thought it hindered performance, it was more just weird and a little annoying. Anyway problem solved. As my made my way up the tide line I got a jumpy low 30's signal. Though jumpy, the tone was repeatable and said dig me. I honestly did not think I was going to find anything much on the tide line, just wanted to test the Equinox stability. All I had was my dry sand scoop so digging targets in the wet sand tide line ment I would just have to take several two handed scoopfuls of wet sand out and periodically check to see if I got the target out of the hole. This sucker was deep. A good foot plus and it was still sounding off. I figured I was chasing a phantom until the damn thing finally ended up in the pile. Boom, clad quarter. This scenario repeated itself several times up the tide line for quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Each time I pretty much knew I was digging a coin and they were all 7 to 15 inches down. Got fooled once with a sinker. The nickels hit just as hard as the high conductors and tells me this thing will hit some deep gold at the beach. I never worked so hard for a dollar plus worth of clad and never enjoyed it so much. I even dug a wheatie. I know these coins have been sitting there for awhile on this pounded beach and have been missed by a lot of folks because of their depth and proximity to the salt water line. The water hunters don't bother with this area and the sand people's vlf detectors don't work so well at that interface point and now I know what the Equinox can do. Also, lesson learned: always bring my water scoop for the wet stuff, there WILL be deep keepers found with Equinox. Lol. The other thing that was exciting were the very tiny targets that the Equinox had no trouble hitting (but I had a lot of trouble recovering, lol). An earring fastener, a small gear, small small pieces of mid-conductive metal, probably aluminum. These are the types of targets the Deus only hits when using the HF coils at 28khz or above. Very cool. [Note it is even more impressive to think that these tiny targets were mostly mid-conductors hit by the second least sparky program on the Equinox, i.e., lower frequency biased Beach 1. The magic of MultiIQ at work]. Trash was not really a problem, pic of some of it. Expected to dig the pull tab stuff but it was either 12 or 14/15 not 13. Ha! And the "All Metal" iron grunt trick does work on the crown caps. Color me impressed. Up next (hopefully) some colonial era relics in central Virginia. Thanks for reading. Chase
  11. On Sunday 25th February 2018. My first session out with the Equinox using Field 1 & 2 and the finds were quite mixed I found a slither of gold but I don't have a clue what it is off maybe off a watch strap I also had a nice Hammered Silver farthing of Henry 7th, a Victoria silver sixpence, 4 Roman bronzies 3 of which are Minums and a coin slightly smaller than a copper farthing I can't make out what it is. This last week I have been doing quite a bit of setting the Equinox up on my test bed and I thought I had it how I wanted it but when I got on the field I soon found out that I had jumped the gun as I started to get ground chatter and a slow reactivity so I had then to start from scratch and the machine was then coping well with the new settings and I started to pull out a lot of non-ferrous crap the good finds were giving repeatable signals but I will have to change all of the default "Tone Pitch's" and Volumes as they are not suitable for my lugs, I was using my GOG Headphones on the WM08 wireless module. I don't do a lot of screen watching but this being the first real session with the Equinox I kept looking at all of the signals to try and get an identity check of the signals in the grey matter, the slither of gold was hitting 8 but repeatable and was around 6" deep the small hammered silver was hitting 16 - 17 and again about the 6" mark, the Victoria sixpence came through on a solid 25 and was around 9" deep, the Roman minums and the larger copper coin were again giving repeatable signals between 16 - 20. I would almost certainly say that the CTX, the Etrac and the Deus would have got these coins, but with the Equinox it is early days and I feel sure that there is a lot more to be got from this machine. The biggest shock I got was when I got a good solid repeatable signal of 16 and I had to dig a deep hole and at 12" deep I kept thinking it has to be something non-ferrous and it was when I was poking about with the probe in the bottom of the 12" deep hole that I found a 1" ferrous steel screw and I thought that I must have something else down there in the hole but no nothing else, I will have to get better acquainted with the "Iron Bias" settings. There has to be a big learning curve with this machine because the signal responses and settings are nothing like the CTX or the Etrac or the Deus and most of the signals are of the same volume strength in my ears very soft and could be louder and before my next session I will setup the tones differently to get a better pitch and individual volumes as well.
  12. Ok, I've taken my 800 to several heavily hunted places where I had finally stopped pulling anything worthwhile the last couple of visits. I have pounded these places into submission with the Etrac and several large and small coils. Then last January I went back with the CTX and took out a few more keepers using the stock and 6" coil. The trash is light to moderate here, I normally run an open screen with combined tones on the CTX, 2TTF on the Etrac with no disc as well. I had visions of taking the EQ to these sights and finding a few more coins and things I thought I may have missed with the FBS and FBS2 machines. Well, you know what happens when expectations meet reality, disappointment. I spent 3 days and 15-20 hours hunting behind the CTX and I scored a big fat zero, nothing old, deep or worth keeping. I was kinda bummed out to say the least!! I tried using Park 1 and 2 with a low recovery speed, 3-4 and iron bias at 2-3 and as high a sensitivity as possible. I was reading a post by someone on one of the forums about him hitting a iffy target with a recovery speed of 4, he then upped the speed to 7 and he got a nice clean repeatable signal in some heavy trash. Light bulb moment!!! I came to the conclusion that I was trying to force the Nox to perform the same as the CTX and not for the purpose I had bought it(extreme trashy sites) I had sold a Racer 2 and some some coils to buy the Nox for the same purpose I had acquired the R2, fast recovery in heavy trash. So, I set my 800 up in Park 2, 5 tones, full volume on all segments, tone break for high conductors at 21, recovery at 7 and iron bias at 3 with no disc. Yesterday I headed to an an old abandoned baseball field that must have been used as a dumping ground at one point, it is the trashiest place I've hunted in town. I fired up the Nox and did my noise cancel and GB, set my sens at 20 and began swinging. It didn't take long to see where this machine is going to shine for me, the speed and crispness of the tones even in a heavily polluted sight was amazing. I used a moderate swing speed, faster then I would swing my CTX, but, not whipping it. There was no doubt when I hit a target in my high tone zone I ended up taking out 2 Mercs yesterday a 1940 and 44 and one today, 1924, along with a wheat. I zeroed in one the nastiest places on purpose since I had spent hours with the CTX on the cleaner spots and didn't want to waste my time, maybe another day!! I found more memorials today than I had in the last 3-4 trips combined, all intermingled with trash and iron of every kind. The high tones pop compared to the lower tones and left no doubt I had run my coil over a high conductive target. The copper pennies read 25-26 with steady numbers, deep flattened alum screw tops read 29-35, very bouncy. The merc I found today locked on at 28, 4" down and almost straight up and down with a sweet high tone. So, what I now realize is, the 800 will not take the place of my CTX in light to moderate trashy sites, it provides way too much target info on the deeper high conductors. But, anywhere I need target separation and a faster sweep speed, the Nox will take over from there. I just need that 6" coil to really see what this machine can do, I'm sure I'll have another big surprise in store.
  13. Ok video but unfortunately for most of it we have no idea what the settings are...
  14. I was one of the lucky first recipients of the Equinox 800 and now after a couple weeks of use here in Boise, I figure I'll go ahead and give my rundown of my impressions of the machine. I agree with several other users that the TID is jumpy on deep silver (or other deep coins) certainly compared to the CTX. I never had an etrac but I did have (and liked) a CTX, and the CTX did better on deep coins, there's no doubt. Minelab said as much in their releases regarding the Equinox and Multi-IQ, specifically that FBS is still going to be superior on deep high conductors, and my experience with the Equinox is that they were right. The Equinox is a very good, but not great, detector for deep coins. For deep isolated coins, the CTX still reigns supreme. However, the current thinking is that the vast majority of yet-to-be-found silver coins are still there not because they are deep, but because they are masked. The Equinox unmasks far better than the CTX does. So you may actually have a better chance of coming home with silver with the Equinox because it unmasks so much better than the CTX (or, I'm assuming, the various other FBS machines which I haven't used). Park 1 with iron bias set to 0 and Recovery Speed set to 3 or less, seems to do best on deep coins. Despite the talk of Beach 2 being best on deep coins, I haven't found that to be the case, but everybody's soil and local conditions are different, or maybe simply because Beach 2 operates at a reduced transmit power level. Set up right, my V3i and MXT with the 10x12 SEF and Ultimate 13 coils, get just as deep and with just as stable TID on the deep coins in my test garden as the Equinox, the MXT maybe even a bit better. The MXT separates as well too, but that's probably because I have many, many, hours on the MXT and know just the right coil control techniques to use with the MXT, and I'm still learning the Equinox. And on mid to low conductors, like most gold jewelry, the Equinox does far better than the CTX. What really are the main types of targets that most of us would like find? I would suggest that gold jewelry has become the main target for most of us, whether it be on the beach, sports fields, or wherever, and for these targets, the Equinox does a fantastically good job. A couple more thoughts after using the Equinox for a couple weeks. The depth gauge does not work very well, for whatever reason. Not useless, but not very accurate, and it's slow and reports targets deeper than they really are. It seems to be calibrated for quarter or larger sized targets which is different than almost every other detector out there, so it takes some getting used to. The inaccurate depth gauge is compounded by the lack of much audio modulation. From the audio, it's easy to tell a 2" deep target from a 8" deep target, but not much else in between. The pinpoint VCO audio is much better for determining the depth of a target, but that means you have to go into to pinpoint each time to get a good read on target depth. Also, I wish the depth gauge and TID worked in pinpoint mode, and this shortcoming seems to be a step backward in technology after having used most other modern detectors with that capability. I expect some tweaking in a subsequent firmware update. The audio is great. Smooth, stable, very pleasant to the ear. Unlike most detectors with a lot of tones, the Equinox actually sounds really nice in full 50 tone mode (my V3i is almost unbearably horrible when used with many tones, in comparison). Maybe it's the stable TID or lack of a lot of TID segments, but the tones are very stable and communicative, and it's a great detector for hunting by ear rather than visual TID. One of the first adjustments I made was adding a threshold tone, which is very useful for determining when targets are disc'd out, as the threshold goes silent for an instant. This is kind of a good middle ground between totally silent search and all-metal "horseshoe" mode, so you get some info but without the chaos of too much noise. The threshold is a great feature. As I mentioned above, the modulation isn't great, but at least it errs on the side of letting you hear the deep targets. The audio does get very busy in trashy environments with a lot of shallow targets. The DD coil design causes very strong signals on the edges of the coil, so you actually get three strong "beeps" as you sweep the coil over a shallow target. The strength of the three beeps is almost the same intensity, so it sometimes gets very hard to locate a target in a target rich environment where targets are less than a coil width apart. Out in the open, it's easy to tell you are sweeping over one shallow target, with a distinct rhythm of three beeps that you soon learn to recognize, but with lots of closely-spaced targets, it gets confusing fast. I know this is inherent in the nature of DD coils, but on the Equinox, for whatever reason, the edge targets are very strong and frequently difficult to distinguish from the main center target response. I found this to be still confusing even after several hunts. Going into pinpoint and examining the individual targets clears this up, but it makes hunting in disc mode where there are lots of targets to be sometimes quite tedious as you have to stop, go into pinpoint, and slowly separate out each closely spaced target. Other detectors with DD coils have the same issue, but it just seems a lot worse with the Equinox. I expect more time with the Equinox will help me learn to better separate out the false edge signals from the true center signal. The Bluetooth feature is great. One you go wireless, you don't go back, and Minelab was good enough to use the widely available aptx-LL codec, so that users can pair any number of aftermarket headphones with the detector, as I have already done with the Audition Pro's I bought on sale on Amazon. Build quality seems good. It's just so light and small, it just feels light duty, kind of along the lines of my old Gold Bug Pro. For the price, however, it is excellent and is very well designed, using a tough feeling plastic and nice connectors. Cost of production must be very low, as there are so few components. Picking up my V3i, it feels like a multi-thousand dollar beast in comparison, the screen, the heft, the buttons, everything about the V3i is heavy duty and high-dollar feeling compared to the Equinox. The CTX, too, feels decidedly high-end in comparison, with heft, thick housings, heavy-duty connectors, and the color screen. The Equinox screen is functional, but very simple, not a lot of info, just the basics. The Equinox is a mid-level detector after all, so I'm not faulting it, just making an observation that it has a definite mid-level feel compared to the top machines. And balance: it's so light that it is nose-heavy. Not bad in practice because it's overall so light, you're basically just feeling the weight of the coil itself, but it definitely does not balance well. I'm thinking of adding an external USB battery under the arm cuff mainly just to try to balance it out better. But again, it's so light, that it's not really a problem, just an observation. I have a 6" coil coming, and I'll bet it will be a lot better with the smaller coil. The Equinox does everything very well, including finding deep coins, in one detector. Minelab markets it as an all-purpose detector, and for this, it is the best ever built. But for detectorists who are focused on one type of hunting only, they would still probably be better off with a detector specialized for just that one purpose. I'm not bashing the Equinox. I love mine. But don't expect a silver bullet that will do everything better than every other detector out there. I actually think that Minelab has very nicely filled a hole in their lineup, so that the so-called "well-equipped" dectectorist would have a CTX for deep coins, an Equinox for heavy trash and beach and jewelry hunting, a Gold Monster for VLF nuggetshooting, and a GPZ of some flavor for the die-hard semi-professional prospectors. (If Minelab released a good closed 5x10 coil for the Equinox, it could probably substitute for the Gold Monster). Being fully waterproof opens it up to a lot of different uses for a lot of people. So it fits nicely withing their product line, and if someone wanted just one detector, they would do very well with the Equinox. Overall, I really like the Equinox, but it's not a miracle machine. I will happily keep this detector for its waterproofness, its separation ability, simplicity, cost-benefit ratio, and overall fun factor. It's amazing that Minelab was able to pack so much capability into such a small and inexpensive detector. Bang-for-the-buck factor is the best of any detector.
  15. I have to admit I would have bet money that Scott would have reported differently due to a long history with another detector and videos that seem to inevitably favor that model. My apologies for thinking that as I get testy when people say similar things about me. I would never say it however except to admit I appear to have been thinking wrong! The fact is that model he normally uses is one of the best and he is expert with it so there you go. This video goes a bit differently than what I have seen him do in the past. Tip of the hat!
  16. Well I got the chance to hit my favorite park this afternoon for the first time with my new nox. I ran it in 5 tones, park 2. To be completely transparent, I ran it in this way because this was somehow how it was when I turned it on today and pushed some buttons. I was able to pair the bluetooth headphones completely on accident as I thought I was following the instructions and it wouldn't paired and then I went to turn them off and when I did it paired. Seriously I had no idea how I did it. When i finally hit the ground all I could think of is man this thing is fast! The park I'm hunting is one of those "hunted out" parks. Over the past 45 years it has had MD club hunts, and a bunch of detectorists like me who have brought every machine known to man to hunt it. I personally have used a silver umax, Whites MXT, V3i, AT pro, Etrac, CTX, XP Deus on it over the years. I was out for 2 hours and it was a great hunt! 2 silver, some clad and of course the junk. Some observations 1. If you're a new detector and you just got a Nox, I'd use 5 tones and for the first 10-15 hours or so I'd just hunt for coins. Set your tone for coins to 25 so it rings loud and start to see how your coins sound in your soil. Learn your VDI's, the merc dime was a 26-27 and the 1940 quarter was 6-7 inches down and gave a VDI 31-35. 2. If you're coming from a Deus the Nox will seem heavy believe it or not. I got so spoiled using my deus in terms of lightness and the nox was heavier. Obviously if you are coming from a CTX or Etrac it will be like swinging a toothpick. 3. The 11" coil is easy to sweep and scrub the grass with. It really feels like you can cover a bunch of ground. 4. Beaver tails come in at 12-13. So does nickels, so does gold. 5. Pinpointing is a breeze but truthfully you can wiggle it just as easy and not use the pinpointer and end up over the center of the coil. The tone is easy to "see" under the coil if you know what i mean. 6. Study Steve's VDI diagram. It's spot on. I knew with an 80% accuracy rate everything I chose to dig. I dug one zinc just to test the VDI and then avoided them the rest. Now when I go jewelry hunting I'll change my approach but for today I could notch it out just by hearing and seeing. 7. The Equinox is a confidence machine. The hype definitely gives a placebo effect. You feel like you're going to find good stuff. 8. I didn't think I'd sell my XP and Excal but after today I likely will and replace them with a second 800 and once the coils come out I'll just keep the 6" coil on one and the 11" on the other for beach and park hunting. 9. Don't let the haters change your view of the Equinox. Multi-frequency is going to be better in 90% of the the situations you'll likely find yourself hunting in. The arguments surrounding FBS and BBS is irrelevant to the average hunter who is simply looking to find coins and jewelry. That's not a criticism of the CTX or Etrac but rather how good the nox is going to be. Who cares if it costs a 3rd of a CTX. Unless you're buying a CTX it's price shouldn't matter. There's probably a ton more I could say if I was a technical type person. I'm not, I'm strictly a treasure hunter and what I don't have in eye sight I have in hearing and the equinox is a really, really good machine. Tomorrow it's to the ranch and the iron patch. I can't wait, life is good. Best to all of you.
  17. I got out to my old rancho permission with the nox this afternoon and I went to a spot that I had felt reasonably sure I had cleaned it out with my deus in the last month. The Old rancho had approximately 70 small homes spread out over 50-60 acres. It's now a nursery and my spots to hunt are predicated on when the owner moves his trees. Sometimes I literally hunt in between the rows in a 2-3 foot wide by 100 feet lane between trees. I've used Historic aerials to help out but the way I find a house that's been wiped from the face of the earth is to find the big iron left behind in the ground and then start to hunt in between it. The spot I hunted today was cleared about 2 months ago and it's about 60 feet wide by 100 feet deep. I was pretty secure in the fact that I had cleaned the area pretty well as I had taken out clad from the 60's and 70's, 4 mercs and about 20 or so wheaties. In addition I've found some pretty cool relics. I had hunted some of the same ground in the past 3-4 years with the CTX and ATpro just not all of it like I did with the deus. Unlike yesterday when I felt like I had an 80% guess rate in the park, the iron knocked me down to between 50-60% as evidenced by all the junk I dug that fooled me. The fooling came in the beginning though and here's what I learned. - all that junk sounded good, clear and strong however the VDI would move + or - 4 numbers. I'd get a great high tone, and then check the VDI and it would show 23, I'd move around it and then it was 27 or 24 or 25. In order to learn if this was true most of the time I dug all that junk and the tone with the jumpy VDI was the same every time so remember, good tone, jumpy VDI is probably junk. - the nox sounds way different in the iron homesteads than in a park. That may sound stupid or "duh" but my Deus sounded the same no matter if i was at the beach, park or the old rancho. To me, the fact that my deus responds the same isn't good. It means it's not AS ADAPTABLE as the Nox. I don't know if this is the reason but one is a single frequency and one is multi-frequency. I'm not trying to knock the deus but it has more limits than the Equinox and I suspect this is going to be the same for most other detectors. - when you hear the chirp you have to investigate further, don't walk on. One of the wheats only sounded off on one side in one direction only. Every time I got a chirp today it was mixed in with another signal. You could hear the iron and the barber each give a repeatable tone. I didn't have a single target that was by itself, everything was mixed together but the amazing thing was the equinox gave me the info I needed to dig. So back to the hunt in the hunted out iron patch. 6 coppers 1 zinc 3 wheats (46, 37 and one too hard to read) 1 1912 Barber Dime 1 palmolive token that's rotting and the Good Roads bell. All this from a place I'd "cleaned" out over the course of the last month. The barber was in between an iron nail and aluminum. The token had iron in the hole which is why I think it's rotting because the iron seemed to rest on the token. It's probably cliche now but the Equinox is a game changer and today proved it for me as did yesterday in the park. 2 hunted out locations, 3 silvers, 3 wheats and a bunch of clad. Keep in mind that I really don't even understand the Equinox yet. Every park, old home or place is now back open for business no matter who has come before to it. I can't wait for all of you to get yours. You're going to have a lot of fun. Best to all you, Skate
  18. I know these are what many of us don't consider relics this is more of my first impressions of the Equinox as many of you are waiting on one or considering one my hunting buddy and I gave the nox 800s a run in two tough homesites that were heavy iron. I mean carpet of iron with iron audio on ( horse shoe button) sounded like a machine gun When we get our video clips together I will post a video of the hunt. We pulled lots of coins and some modern relics from thick iron. I ran field 1 and 2 5 tone iron audio on as well. The find that truly impressed me was the small cuff size flat button it was a soild tone a 10 vdi both ways it was 9- 10" inches with nails and iron in and around the hole. I stuck the pinpointer in the hole to measure it the black cap was just below soil line. Now it's important to note the scale as most of you know is from -9 to 0 iron and 0 to 40 non ferrous. This button IDs 10 or 11 out of the ground Here in our soil finding relics and coins over 6 to 8" is not common unless it's milder soil or large targets with vlfs or even FBS . We have moderate mineralized soil and often hunt heavy iron homesites both combined present challanges to the ctx and the at pro even with iron audio on. My hope was the nox would perform well in our soil. If so it would work better in Culpeper, VA (where I go a few times a year for civil war relics) then the ctx or at pro where soil can be nasty as many of you know. However, my go-to machine there is the gpx 4800 but in heavy iron or trashy fields the gpx just doesn't work well being PI. I am very impressed with nox so far and I know we have barely scratched the surface of how to unlock it's full potential. In our soil here the nox performed in the type of site the ctx would struggle in. What I found different about the nox was its power, recovery, separation and accurate id in tough conditions. That's a big deal in mineralized soil folks must non pluse I'd anything over a few inches as iron. Now the only thing I changed was tones to 5 instead of 50 in field 2, sensitivity and recovery in fact everything else was stock. I already feel this machine is different and has excellent relic potential especially in mineralized ground. For me when I don't need a gpx or in areas it can't do what I need the nox will be my first out.
  19. OK all, I finally did a bit of testing of the Equinox 800, and the CTX 3030, in my test garden. There is a lot I could say, but I will try to keep this relatively short. Background -- My test garden was "planted" about 6 years ago. I have pennies, nickels, and both clad and silver dimes and quarters buried, generally at depths from 6" to 12", every two inches. I also have a few "challenged" targets -- a 6" deep penny with nail on top, a 6" deep penny with a nail roughly 3" to the side, and then the same nail configurations with two 6" deep dimes, and then two 8" deep quarters. The soil in my test garden is rather harsh/mineralized; today, ground balance on the Equinox was ranging from the high 40s to high 50s, depending upon mode. There is also some EMI; I could not run the Equinox any higher than 20 sensitivity, if I wanted to minimize the chatter -- and that includes repeated noise cancels. I have tested numerous machines in this test garden. Many single-frequency machines will fail to ID coins beyond about 6" deep -- with all IDs trending solidly toward iron after the 6" depth mark. Exceptions to this have been Explorers/E-Tracs, the Fisher Gold Bug Pro, and Fisher F-19. I will also note that Minelab FBS machines get a bit more depth in other locations locally, as compared to what I get in my test garden. I wanted to accomplish a few things, today, in my limited amount of time. 1. I wanted to get a general sense of how the CTX 3030 was seeing each coin, and then do the same with the Equinox -- just to get a general sense of what the "limits" of each machine were, and which would detect/ID "tough" targets better (both fringe-depth targets, and the "challenged" nail/coin targets) 2. Check several different modes/configurations of the Equinox, to see how changes affect the unit's capabilities. 3. Check the Equinox on a few deep coins, to see whether it could match CTX depth in this dirt, on these coins. Before I give any analysis/summary, I would point out that back when my primary machines were the Minelab Explorer SE Pro and the Fisher Gold Bug Pro, I ran a lot of "head-to-head" tests between the two. At that time, the Gold Bug Pro would consistently give equal, if not better, reporting on most -- if not all -- coins in my test garden. Particularly on low conductors (nickels), but even on clad and silver coins. HOWEVER, "real world" use proved the Explorer a much better choice for deep-coin hunting, for various reasons -- including better depth at most locations than could be achieved in my test garden, better identification of trash targets (allowing me to move more efficiently through trashy parks and not dig as much junk), etc. Having said that, I will say that in short, the Equinox performed better overall, on all targets, than the CTX did. VERY similar to how the Gold Bug Pro "bested" the Explorer. Points: 1. The Equinox gave more consistent "dig" information on the coin/nail combination targets, from a larger range of sectors in 360 rotation around the targets. In other words, smaller sectors of "pure iron" tones and ID were given as compared to the CTX; in other words, the high-tone, higher VDI responses from the Equinox formed a more complete portion of the 360 circle-of-rotation around the targets than the CTX was able to. My conclusion, the Equinox will be a superior "unmasker." Not surprising. 2. The Equinox could give chirps on deep high-conductive coins that the CTX could not. My conclusion, the Equinox does not "lack depth." 3. The Equinox could give enough clues to make a "dig" decision on some deep coins that the CTX could only manage inconsistent "chirps" on -- and I attempted to capture an example on video (a 10" deep clad quarter), which I will link later in the post. My conclusion, interesting, but not totally surprising, given my experience with my test garden, and other units I've run through it. 4. Lowering reactivity/recovery settings does increase depth/give a better signal on deep targets, BUT -- sweep speed must be slowed down substantially for the lowest reactivity settings, and increased substantially for the highest settings, to accommodate the speeds, and achieve maximum results. 5. Park 1 mode was tested the most; different modes (and settings) did afford different advantages on different targets, but I am not prepared to comment more thoroughly yet. I did note that Gold 2 mode is indeed a HOT mode, and could hit targets as well if not better than any other mode. 6. Ground balance matters (duh) on this unit, and it should be balanced each time you switch modes, as each mode settles at a different ground balance number depending upon mode (when using the auto-balance process). 7. Noise cancel should ALSO be performed when switching to a different mode, as different channels were selected by the machine as the "quietest" channel, depending upon mode. 8. Higher reactivity settings seemed to experience higher EMI/noise. 9. The Equinox is NOT weak on deep high conductors, compared to FBS. 10. With that said, the Equinox was able to give more stable ID, to deeper depth, on nickels, versus high-conductive coins -- i.e. better ID "lock" on nickels, versus bouncier ID and audio on high conductors (though overall depth of detection -- in terms of a "dig-me" response, was similar between nickels and higher-conductive coins, if allowing for the jumpier VDI numbers on the high conductors). 11. Beach mode -- despite lower frequency weighting -- did not offer improved detection of high conductors, as I thought it might. One reason, I believe, may be that because ground balance is "locked" to zero in beach mode (which I did not know until today), and with my test-garden dirt balancing in the high 40s to high 50s, this was too much of an "offset" from the fixed "0" balance for beach mode to "shine" in this case (my guess). 12. The Equinox should not be thought of as "one detector, with multiple adjustments," but -- in my opinion -- more of a "multiple different detectors in one package," with each mode representing a "different" machine. I have much more testing to do, but wanted to put my preliminary thoughts out there, for those interested. Here is a link to the CTX vs. Equinox video, shown over the 10" clad quarter. Forgive the quality -- I've never shot/edited a detecting video before, and only had an iPhone to record with. Still, I think this video illustrates the results I was getting in general, CTX vs. Equinox. I chose this target, as it was "on the fringe" of what was still "diggable" with the Equinox (Park 1, reactivity/recovery 2, iron bias 3, ground balance 48, sensitivity 20, noise cancel channel 1) but "sub-diggable" with the CTX (maxed out manual 30 sensitivity, open screen above the 20 FE line, fast off, deep off, 50-tone conductive, Ferrous-Coin separation). https://youtu.be/JZpCD1NTmE4 Steve
  20. People may be wondering, with machines shipping, will I be shooting any of the super popular “this versus that” videos. I think my doing that sort of stuff with me involved in Equinox as closely as I have been would be in poor taste. I am not trying to show anyone up or prove anything, so I will leave all that to people who are. Anything I do would be blown off as biased anyway so really just not worth my time. They will be shot and posted by others however. I don’t really care if somebody posts videos showing anything one way or the other about any detectors. All I ask is they get posted where appropriate. As a general rule, if a video is this versus that, with the express goal of showing one machine as better than another, then the Metal Detector Advice & Comparisons Forum is really the most appropriate location. Expect such videos to be moved there if posted anywhere else. The videos most welcome here will be the ones helping people get the best performance out of the Equinox or fun live dig videos, etc. It certainly need not be all sunshine and roses. If somebody finds a glitch in Equinox and can document it with a video, great. The main thing is to stay focused on facts and leave the tirades that seem to accompany such things aside. Good critical feedback done well results in better product going forward. Thanks!
  21. I am primarily a prospector but have also been coin and jewelry detecting since 1972. Like most people when in parks I use discrimination to pick targets but when prospecting I usually dig it all. Not always though, sometimes I am tired or an area is just too trashy so I crank in a little VLF discrimination to sort things out. The problem is when prospecting I have seen some pretty scary things. It is one thing to walk away from a dime because your detector called it a nail. Think about walking away from a solid multi ounce chunk of gold because your detector called it a nail. Not likely, you say? Far too likely, I am afraid. I and others dig big nuggets other people leave behind on a regular basis, and I know I have missed some very big ones myself in the past. It gets your attention to realize you may have walked away from $40,000.00. I have this pile of detectors headed my way to check out. One, the Nokta Fors Gold, showed up yesterday. Good first impression out of the box, but that is another story. The main thing is today I got it out along with a Gold Bug 2, Gold Bug Pro, F75, White's GMT, and CTX 3030. I rounded up a 1 gram gold nugget and a collection of nails and hot rocks and did a little playing around this afternoon. I am still waiting for the XP Deus to show up and a V3i so this was more about coming up with some methodology more than anything. My interests run more towards hot rocks and magnetite sand than would be the case with most people. So the particulars do not matter at the moment, except this. Discrimination sucks! You fire these babies up in all metal and they are all powerful detectors that do the job, with some amazing depth for VLF units (not counting the CTX which lacks a true all metal mode). It is pretty easy to compare units as it really just boils down to depth and how well they handle hot rocks, which is mostly a function of frequency and ground balance. EMI is a big factor in urban areas also but much less so when prospecting. So then I put the detectors in disc mode and I just cut the legs out from under them. Bam, instant lost depth. Also, target masking or so-called reactivity is usually a non-issue in pure all metal modes. Not so at all in disc modes, and disc modes that lack true zero discrimination settings mask targets immediately even when set to zero. Anyway, all I can say is playing around for awhile with these units and my pile of hot rocks and little nails was rather disheartening. It was just so darn easy to get that little nugget to bang out loud in all metal, then disappear entirely in disc modes. Or get detected but called ferrous. Or get masked by a nearby hot rock or nail. It just hammered home with me once again the huge difference in raw power between something like a GPX 5000 and even the best VLF detectors in all metal mode, and how that huge difference becomes an almost impossibly large gulf once you turn to disc modes. When you just go detecting in a park you do not see what you are missing. But in my case it was all to visible and really kind of bummed me out seeing just how far we have to go when it comes to metal detector discrimination. The only icing on this cake is that there is a huge amount of fantastic stuff in the ground, and not deep at all. It is there, quite shallow, just under or near that thing you discriminated out. If we could see through discriminated items rather than be blocked by them an amazing amount of stuff would come to light. Beneath The Mask by Thomas Dankowski The Painful Truth by Thomas Dankowski
  22. I am a little overdue but just finished my latest update to Steve's Guide To Gold Nugget Detectors. The main changes: The 15 kHz Nokta FORS Gold was discontinued in January and replaced in the Nokta product lineup by the 19 kHz FORS Gold+. Dealer shelves should be empty by now so the model has been deleted from the listing. The Garrett AT Gold dropped from $679 to $639 changing its relative position on the list to a better position (best bang for buck are lower price units). At this price it is a real alternative to the Gold Bug Pro, especially for those wanting the detector to be waterproof. I fleshed out my "opinion" of the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 based on the latest information. White's discontinued the old basic White's MXT in favor of the MXT All Pro. The problem is this boosted the internet price from $729 to $823 and shifted the unit quite a bit higher in the listing. There is nothing about the added features for the extra $100 that makes the Pro a better nugget detector than the old version (though the ground grab is nice), so this ends up hurting the relative rating. At this point there are better options at lower prices and so for those looking to White's for a prospecting detector I would now lean much more heavily in favor of the $699 GMT. In theory the MX Sport at $749 is the better option than the MXT Pro but as far as I can tell the MX Sport has had no acceptance in the prospecting world, being marketing much more to the coin, jewelry and relic world. The latest ad in the ICMJ shows that White's now considers the GMT and TDI SL to be their two prospecting models. The Minelab Equinox 800 having a dedicated Prospecting Mode running at up to 40 kHz has been added to the list. Too early to know how that will shake out. I somewhat upgraded my opinion of the DEUS based on the prospecting capability added by the new HF coils, but in the end this still is a VLF detector selling for well over a thousand dollars that can find gold nuggets no better than much less expensive detectors. The main reason to own a DEUS is because you want the overall capability and like the way it is configured, not solely for its prospecting capability. I hope a HF coil as stock version is sold in the future at a much lower price. The White's TDI Pro was discontinued some time ago but I left it on the listing due to dealer stock still being available. They appear to be gone now, so this is another model retired from the list. I somewhat downgraded my opinion of the Garrett ATX based mostly on the Minelab GPX 4500 now only being a few hundred dollars more in the U.S., and actually less expensive than the ATX in Australia ($3999 ATX vs $3550 GPX 4500) Finally, my three Steve's Picks remain the same this year as the Fisher Gold Bug 2 (specialized tiny gold sniper), Fisher Gold Bug Pro (general purpose detector hot on gold), and Minelab GPX 5000 (versatile PI performance for all conditions).
  23. I have too many detectors and am slowly making my way to a "thinning of the herd" this winter. This is a very informal little test I set up today for no purpose other than to see if I can sharpen my opinions about which ones stay and which ones go away. The goal is a general purpose tackle anything I might run into while wandering the hills machine. Above we have, from left to right, the Minelab Gold Monster 1000 w/10: x 5" DD, Nokta Impact w/11" x 7" DD, Teknetics G2 w/11" x 7" DD, Minelab CTX 3030 with 10" x 5" DD, Makro Gold Racer w/10" x 5" DD, Makro Gold Racer w/10" x 5" concentric, XP Deus HF 10" x 5" DD, XP Deus 11" DD And below we have a bunch of common ferrous trash on right, including some problematic items like sheet steel, bolts, etc. plus a scattering of hot rocks. There are a couple nickels, couple copper pennies, and a dime placed in the mess, one of the five in the open as a comparison. The stuff is rather randomly scattered with the coins placed so as to be hard to detect but not impossible. I am as much interested in how the hot rocks and trash responds as I am in how the coins respond. My testing is non-scientific and only intended to help me sort things out for myself, but I can offer a few observations. My criteria are my own, but do include how the detector feels on my arm and how it sounds to my ear. This session is without headphones as I often detect in quiet locations and want a detector with good, loud, clear audio as provided by an external speaker. The Gold Monster and CTX 3030 are not on the chopping block, but just for more information. The rest are all VLF type detectors and I am trying to sort out which I may be happiest swinging away in locations where I may run into hot rocks or lots of trash, while seeking non-ferrous targets. Here are some random observations, few of which are new by any means. 1. The Gold Monster excels at pulling non-ferrous items out of the hot rocks. It balances the rocks fairly well in all metal mode but this mix of intense hot rocks can be a little noisy (still way better than most machines). The iron disc setting however just shut the rocks right down and still popped on the coins. Very good. The machine fails however as a detector in dense trash. I can attest that the GM1000 does very well with scattered trash. The dense stuff however is more than the machine can handle. The high frequency helps enhance signals on flat steel in particular plus you get peculiar ghosting effects, weak signals that sound like echos of the stronger signals. So while the Gold Monster is a good nugget detector, even in scattered trash, it is not, in my opinion, a machine for pulling non-ferrous items out of classic "carpet of nails" scenarios, like old burned down cabins. 2. The Nokta Impact does extremely well overall, though the number of settings options are a plus as well as a negative. Lots of possible options to fiddle with. My main gripes are the weight/non-compact design and the odd overload signal. It is tied directly to the volume control. As you advance the volume everything gets louder, including the overload signal, until you hit 8/10ths volume. From there on up the target volume increases but the overload signal volume decreases, until at full target volume you have next to no overload signal. People who go to full volume at all times probably wonder why their detector makes no overload signal. This gets mentioned in the manual but I am sure people miss it. Even at its loudest the overload signal is very faint to my ear. Why do I care? An overload is a quick hint that you have a flat steel item like a can lid or large bolt under the coil. The Impact like other Nokta/Makro machines likes to overload on shallow targets so running sensitivity low in dense trash (39 or lower) can be advisable, and you are not going to lose depth because no machine gets any depth to speak of in dense trash. I do like the ability to adjust the ferrous volume as a separate item in the dense trash. 3. The Teknetics G2, a Gold Bug Pro variant, continues to impress me by being really simple and effective. Best speaker volume of them all, it really bangs out. However, there is no volume control at all so it can be quite the noisy machine in dense trash. 4. The CTX 3030 is amazing in its ability to just shut the trash up. If flat steel is your problem, the CTX is the answer. Almost quiet as a mouse in the trash. Unfortunately and no surprise, the CTX also suffers the worst from target masking. The CTX is superb if it has room to maneuver, but it goes almost blind in dense trash like this, and is only so-so at best when it comes to finding the targets in the hot rocks. 5. A couple Gold Racers, one early prototype and one late prototype (more or less production). At 56 kHz the Gold Racer handles the ferrous better than I would expect, but it does tend to "light up" flat steel and such and is very prone to overloading in dense trash. Again, sensitivity 39 and lower can really help. Overall however the Gold Racer holds its own with the Impact and G2, especially at picking low conductive items out of the trash. The concentric does seem to help a little with ferrous trash and hot rocks, but not so much as I hoped. No real need for most people to have the concentric coil from what I have seen. 6. The Deus is a wizard in the trash but not by the margin I expect given how popular the machine is. The 11" coil seemed on par with the other machines (the 9" is no doubt better) and the elliptical overall has the edge over all the other options. But only by a little, not a lot. Flat steel and bolts that bother other machines bother the Deus also. I tried small coils on most of the machines also. They do help getting between the trash but obviously ground coverage suffers also. That being the case I was more interested in what the stock type coils did. If I was headed for the Sierra Mountains tomorrow and wanted something light to prospect for gold with, and some ability to deal with the ever present ferrous trash left by logging operations, I would grab the Gold Monster. It bangs on gold, handles hot rocks, and can deal with normal random ferrous trash. If I thought I might bump into an old cabin or camp I wanted to hunt however, it gets to be a hair splitter. For just shutting trash up the CTX is unbeatable, but it also suffers the most from target masking. If you just want a machine that shuts up unless a good target is under the coil, hard to beat, but a lot will get missed also. Good for low to moderate trash levels but in dense trash it is going to suffer, even with a small coil. I will generally stick to parks and beach work with the CTX. I have and continue to have a hard time loving the Deus, although it is the winner in the densest trash. The external speaker volume is very poor but for me the main problem is simplicity and priorities. I dream a lot about hunting old sites with lots of trash chasing a gold coin, but the fact is it is probably the type of detecting I do least. With apologies to the relic hunters, the stuff most people show on forums like the Dankowski forum would just go in the trash at my house. Gold, silver, and platinum in all forms (nuggets, coins, jewelry), plus coins made of anything else, sums up what I detect for. If hunting dense trash was something I did constantly the Deus would be a no-brainer, but as rare as it is for me to engage in relic hunting, something like a G2 does nearly as well from what I am seeing, or at least well enough to suit me. I like the idea that if my battery goes dead I just put another battery in the G2 and back in business. No separate charging of coil, controller, and headphone. As much as I like playing with complex detectors when it gets down to my detecting I do prefer simplicity. The bottom line for the Deus is I was hoping the 14/28/74 kHz elliptical might be as good as a 19 kHz G2 and 45 kHz Gold Monster combined. The Deus has the edge in the dense trash but the Gold Monster has an even bigger edge on the gold nuggets, so having my cake and eating it also all in one detector still involves compromises in real life. For a different perspective on the Deus HF elliptical coil from a hard core relic hunter see Keith Southern's review. The GM1000 and CTX 3030 are keepers for different reasons. I have not given up on the Impact and Gold Racer by any means though between those two I still get along best with the Gold Racer for my particular purposes. The Deus is really good at what it does best. The machine that impressed me the most does so by being so simple. The two knob G2 combination of lightweight, excellent ergonomics, loud audio, and simple but effective operation make it very hard for me not to like the machine. It is not "the best" per se but the G2/Gold Bug Pro still hits a certain sweet spot for me personally. For a trip into the hills to prospect for gold but to also hunt a cabin site or old camp, it is a toss up for me at the moment as to which I would grab, the Gold Racer or the G2. Gun to head right this moment, I guess it's G2. Tough call though. Anyway, that narrowed it down a bit and gives me more directions to pursue going forward as far as what to test and how. I will finish up again by pointing out I am not trying to prove anything to anybody but some of the observations may be helpful to some people - so there you go.
  24. 1864hatter

    Racin' The Racer

    A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be offered the use of a Macro Gold Racer with an 8x4 inch coil by a prominent local metal detecting personality. His name is Julian and has the blog at www.marlboroughmetaldetecting.com where he keeps track of all his finds and such. My first outing was with the racer was a lazy Sunday trip to a spot on a local river that you can literally drive right into the river. I was with 4 other guys, one intended to snipe and the others had three different detectors between them. We spent a few hours here which saw me locate quite a number of very small lead shot targets in bedrock crevices but gold eluded me right to the end of the day when I found a tiny 0.12g flake. Initial thoughts about the detector after this outing was that it was quite hot at finding tiny targets and it was the only detector that found gold on this day. My next trip was to a somewhat more remote area that turned out a little trick to get to. I had suspicions that there might be gold in this particular waterway based on local geology and nearby discoveries. As soon as we go to the river it became apparent that the VLF detectors we had with us were not going to handle the local levels of ground mineralisation. Bedrock was a mixture of igneous rock that in some cases overloaded the detector completely. Despite the racers variety of settings to enable detecting in tougher ground I found it impossible to get it to function here. I could get it to run reasonably quiet but then I was only able to detect a half grammer at a couple of cm and the signal was far from crisp. And lucky last trip. I took the detector to a mates’ claim for a run. This spot is also in quite a public spot and myself and others have hammered it in the past. At an estimate I have taken a couple of oz’s from it in the past in the form of predominantly <0.5g nuggets. The racer ran very nicely here with sensitivity at 80 and isat at about mid-way. It didn’t take long before I started pulling tiny lead shot soon followed by a crevice that gave a weak signal. With a bit of chipping I recovered about 20 small flakes and colours to for a total of maybe 0.1g from the crevice (not in picture). The gold was all located in an area the size of a 10c coin. I was impressed at having found such small gold despite it being shallow as normally an aggregation of targets seems to be quieter than one large target of similar weigh. Or so I have found. I carried on for a couple of hours and got 6 further pieces of gold for a total of 0.2g as well as a bunch of lead. In fact, 5 of the pieces together weigh just 0.1g! So, it seems the racer is ridiculously sensitive to small gold and has plenty of scope to be manually adapted to different ground. Personally, I found the detector a bit on the “manual” side with the option of setting a lot of search parameters yourself. I know this is preferred by some and less so by others, just like manual and automatic cars I guess. I’d like to say thanks to Julian for the opportunity to let me use his Racer, especially as he didn’t know me at all. It’s always fun trying a new bit of kit.