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Steve Herschbach

Does Anyone Use A Garrett ATX For Gold Prospecting?

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I did a bit of Google searching for posts in the last year to see if I could get a feel for how much use the Garrett ATX gets and what people are finding with it. Not much to see though. The Garrett Australia Facebook page has some gold nugget finds https://www.facebook.com/GarrettAustralia/

The Findmall ATX Forum would have you thinking the ATX is strictly a beach detector http://www.findmall.com/list.php?96 and other than that a few relic hunters out there using it.

The ATX is one of my favorite detectors and quite a capable nugget detector, but after some early nugget detecting it now only gets used seriously as a beach and water detector. The problem is with ATX at $2120 and 6.9 lbs, limited coil selection, it is a tough machine to recommend for prospecting with a Minelab GPX 4500 running only $2699 at this time. I still consider the ATX to have been a missed opportunity. At $1699 in a lighter weight dry land package and sporting less expensive dry land coils the machine could have made a real impact on the prospecting world. Instead it is a rare sight on the goldfields.

 

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7 minutes ago, Steve Herschbach said:

The ATX is one of my favorite detectors and quite a capable nugget detector, but for me it only gets used seriously as a beach and water detector. The problem is with ATX at $2120 and 6.9 lbs, limited coil selection, it is a tough machine to recommend for prospecting with a Minelab GPX 4500 running only $2699 at this time. I still consider the ATX to have been a missed opportunity. At $1699 in a lighter weight dry land package and sporting less expensive dry land coils the machine could have made a real impact on the prospecting world. Instead it is a rare sight on the goldfields.

 

I'm curious as to why you state this in past tense "...could have made a real impact..."  Do you think the opportunity is gone?  AFAIK the White's TDI/SL is easily the lightest dry land PI detector on the market today, even though it's been around several years.  It seems to me that there is still a place for a lightweight, affordable PI detector with greater sensitivity than the TDI's, and from what you indicate the ATX has the electronics to be just that if it could go on a diet and get rid of the military tank style structure.

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I use one, really like it. Butl I never ran a Minelab. Still trying to figure out best applications for the 3 coils. I have found some pretty good southers NV nuggets. 

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I, for one, use it for prospecting.

Not fun packing it back and forth along a steep, rocky slope.

I've had to get accustomed to the weight because it's what I have until I can afford to get something new. Maybe a Fisher PI??

Not good for the hardrock with small gold but it does work good on the better specimen pieces. 

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Nice nugget Chris Ben!! I have found stock coil to be best overall and use 8" mono for surf detecting. The 15" x 20" mono had so little advantage over the stock coil I sold mine. About all it is really good for is ground coverage and an edge on very large targets. In my opinion.

On 7/5/2016 at 10:11 AM, GB_Amateur said:

I'm curious as to why you state this in past tense "...could have made a real impact..."  Do you think the opportunity is gone?  AFAIK the White's TDI/SL is easily the lightest dry land PI detector on the market today, even though it's been around several years.  It seems to me that there is still a place for a lightweight, affordable PI detector with greater sensitivity than the TDI's, and from what you indicate the ATX has the electronics to be just that if it could go on a diet and get rid of the military tank style structure.

Well, at the time the ATX was released the SDC 2300 had not appeared yet, and the GPX machines were still at much higher prices.

The ATX circuit in my opinion is second only to the Minelabs as a ground balancing PI detector. If I can't use my GPZ for any reason the ATX is a credible backup, and another reason I own it. It actually does better than the GPZ in salt ground and in basalt hot rocks. My tests of my ATX vs my old GPX 5000 left me sufficiently impressed that I was able to sell my GPX 5000 without fear of being caught out were my GPZ to fail.

Garrett had one heck of an opening and I think they blew it. The SDC 2300 was introduced and if money is no object, is a better gold prospecting machine than the ATX. Then Minelab lowered the GPX pricing and we are now where the ATX does not look so great by comparison.

If Garrett came out with a Garrett LTX tomorrow there is still room in the under $2K market for a better alternative to the TDI. I think Nokta/Makro knows this and is hard at work on an under $2K alternative, and probably Fisher also.

The TDI is what it is and it is the only real option under $2K. Unfortunately it lacks a bit of punch, and I would go head to head with my ATX gold prospecting against anyone with a TDI of any type and feel I have an edge with same size coils. Where the TDI smacks the ATX is on coil options. An ATX styled and priced more like a TDI SL would be a great little machine and I would have one in a heartbeat were one available. If Garrett waits much longer however somebody will beat them to the punch.

The wildcard is always Minelab. Their old discontinued machines still beat the competition, and a repackaged SD 2200D or better at under $2k would beat any alternatives. Something like that could really take the air out of any attempts to unseat Minelab for PI gold prospecting primacy.

Don't know, just an early morning ramble really. I do know if all I had were the two detectors below I could do pretty much anything anywhere as far as metal detecting goes and be quite happy.

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My First Year With The Garrett ATX

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We did hear this about the Garrett ATX way back in January, and nothing since:

"Garrett additionally released details of two new, larger 11”x13” closed searchcoils for the ATX pulse induction detector. Available in either a DD or mono configuration, the new ATX coil will be lighter weight and offers increased depth versus the standard ATX searchcoil. The new closed style provides more resistance to scrubbing of the coil against the ground and allows gold prospectors to use the upper coil deck to sift/find tiny nuggets easier. The new ATX searchcoil includes an exclusive Garrett design slide-lock system that creates a center-mount style while still allowing the ATX to collapse into its soft cover carrying case. Designated for a mid-year release, the new ATX coil will be available as the new standard offering on ATX detectors and can be purchased as an accessory coil by existing ATX customers. More details and pricing on the new ATX packages will be forthcoming."

Note the part about mid-year release. It sure would be great if a new ATX package did include a repackaged lighter weight less expensive version. I am not holding my breath however.

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I used one for a day. Previously had found a few 2.5 gram slugs in the drainage. The mine lab 3500 could easily hear them from one foot plus. The atx on the other hand could only hear it from a maximum of 6 inches. Maybe I just got a junk atx machine or don't know how to detect. 

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I am sure you know how to detect. The Minelabs are just better. Except for Garrett dealers almost nobody disputes that. However, my ATX ran a very close second to my GPX 5000 so I would agree something was up if the ATX was only getting half the depth of a GP 3500. Like all PI detectors there is gold that will favor some machines over others and perhaps that was the case here. No matter. The reality is that most serious prospectors were already using a Minelab when the ATX came out. Garrett offered them no reason to get an ATX except for being waterproof. If you are a happy GP 3500 owner, why get an ATX that is less powerful and weighs more, has few coil options, and those coils cost as much or more than a Minelab coil?

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Steve,

What's your opinion of the "Deepseeker Package" offered by KellyCO for the ATX?  I'm considering an ATX and it will be used on east and west coast beaches along with mine tailings here in Colorado?  Most of the gold I've found here is pretty small.  

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The Deepseeker Package is a standard configuration option. Any dealer can sell them. I got one but ended up selling the large coil and will probably sell the case also. If I lived on the beach I would have kept it, but it was kind of extraneous to my needs given the other detectors I own. It did not appear to me to have any real depth advantage on coin size and smaller targets, but might have an advantage on oversize stuff. What you really get is 20" coverage in a 15" wide coil that is not as bad to swing as I thought it was going to be.

It would be great for huge sanded in beaches or for relic hunters. For nearly all the gold nuggets a typical prospector might find I think the stock coil is the better option, with ground coverage being the only real gain.

The coil might allow small surface items to be ignored if the coil is held a couple inches off the beach, but still hit deep on coins and rings.

A full skid plate cover is recommended for brushy or very uneven ground. It will collect a lot of light debris but beats having the coil hang up on stubble or a rock.

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