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Steve Herschbach

Important Changes In Gold Bug 2 Coil & Rod Design

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This is very important stuff for Gold Bug 2 owners so do please take note. Go so far as to tell friends that own a Gold Bug 2.

I made note back in June 2015 that the design of the 6" coil had changed, along with the coil cover. The old coils had an exposed epoxy bottom, with either a black or light gray epoxy exposed to the elements unless you used a white scuff cover / skid plate. Here are the old coils and cover:

6x4-old-style-coil-gold-bug-2-bottom-small.jpg  6x4-old-style-coil-gold-bug-2-with-cover-small.jpg

The new coil has a fully enclosed white plastic housing and is a compatible replacement for the old coils. However, the scuff cover / skid plate is a different size and is black in color (thank you Fisher!). Here are the new coils and cover:

new-fisher-6-inch-coil.jpg  6x4-new-style-coil-gold-bug-2.jpg  6x4-new-style-black-coil-cover-gold-bug-2.jpg

The new coil cover will not fit on old coils and the old coil cover will not fit on new coils.

Here is another tidbit I found out recently by accident - I have not seen it published anywhere. The Gold Bug 2 three piece rod was always a bit odd. The upper rod inserted into the middle rod. In other words, the middle rod section was female on both ends. I have never seen anyone else do it this way, but back in the day this was one of the first if not the first three piece S rod designs to hit the market. The original Gold Bug 2 rod was a two piece design. This made the Gold Bug 2 an oddball rod design compared to most of the rest of the First Texas lineup, and somewhere in the last couple years they went to the rod and arm cup used in other First Texas detectors for compatibility between various models. There are also more adjustment holes in the new middle rod - seven old versus nine new - an easy way to tell them apart. A good idea actually, but it means if you have an old Gold Bug 2, the upper and middle rods are different than the new ones. If you need parts, be careful to explain what you need. I promise most dealers will not know about this change in the rod design. Click on the image below for closeup.

Lower rods are compatible between both versions so no worries there.

old-fisher-gold-bug-2-rod-assembly-vs-new.jpg

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I had to get a new cover for my Bug 2 its an older one. I ordered one from Rob and he called me to see witch one I had he was on top of this change

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Steve, my GB2 is from 1997. It has a one piece 'S' rod. And my 6" coil is original. It has found a couple thousand little pieces and is my (my wife's) go to detector. I am relegated to my GB Pro. A few years ago while I was in Quartzsite for the winter I sent the GB2 to Fisher for some work. I didn't send the coil and they contacted me and I told them to calibrate it to their 'standard' coil. When I got it back i took it out and found a sub grain piece the first time out. Works for me.

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Hey Ron,

I had the first Gold Bug 2 in Alaska, and except for brief spells have owned one or more ever since. A true classic and remarkable in being on the market now for over 20 years, yet still setting the standard for performance on the tiniest of gold.

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The original Gold Bug was a true marvel at the time. In 1986 all Fisher had for a prospecting detector was the VLF-660 Mother Lode. This 4.5 kHz detector sported the "square box with handle wrapped around back" design so common then. Horrible things to hold, wrist twisted down and back, and "only" 4.4 lbs. There was a chest mount option however.

fisher-vlf-660-mother-lode-metal-detector.jpg

Fisher was getting killed at the time (again, this was 1986) by the latest version of the famous Garrett 15 kHz Ground Hog circuit, now upgraded and called the Garrett Gold Hunter. The same god awful box and handle at 4.3 lbs but at least Garrett was ahead of their time running at 15 kHz. And hey, a Garrett found the Hand of Faith!

garrett-gold-hunter-vlf-tr-1987-metal-detector.jpg

Fisher had to do something. Enter Dave Johnson and not only some circuit design chops but thankfully a lifelong emphasis on ergonomics. Fisher literally revolutionized the nugget detecting industry with a machine running at what was then an incredibly hot 19 kHz but also in a lightweight ergonomic package that could be chest and hip mounted. Hardly a need however at only 2.9 lbs on the rod assembly. Some people may scoff at S rods now, but believe me, this was an amazing step forward in ergonomics for prospectors. And due to the chest and hip mount convertibility still pretty hard to beat in my opinion. Introduced in 1987 at only $499.95, the original Gold Bug set a new standard in many ways.

original-19khz-gold-bug-metal-detector.jpg

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Hi all,

I went to a yard sale of sorts, a friend was cleaning out his garage, everything sold but a pile of metal detector search coils, a 14" Coiltek, a 6 inch Gold Bug 2, AND a 10 in Gold Bug 2 coil.  These coils were now in a "FREE" pile, which got my attention, as I still have a 5 digit serial number Gold Bug 2, with 10 and 6 inch coils, which I bought together in the early 1990's. 

My questions are:  I have found some incredibly small gold with this old Bug 2, and I am curious just how much better or worse my 26 or so year old machine might be, if I sent it in to be "calibrated"   Add to that, I have heard that if a person buys a new coil for your Bug 2, or acquires another coil that didn't come with the machine, that you need to send both coil(s) and control box in so it can be calibrated to the new coils...  For a small fee of course, I would think... 

I am thinking that I should try my new found coils before I send the machine in.  What might be your thoughts, folks?  What would you do in this situation?

Thank you!

Gary Long/ Largo
 

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Well, you certainly want to try them first to make sure they work. Cables can be bad internally with no visible sign, etc. As far as tuning goes, if your machine/coil is already running to spec tuning will not make it better. And generally you only get a great tune to one particular coil, as coils vary a bit. If you had one coil you use 90% of the time getting the machine calibrated to that coil might be worth it, if nothing else for the psychological factor involved. If it was me and the machine that old, and - here is the key - I really planned on using the machine a lot, I would send it in for a tuneup. You might want to call Felix in service at Fisher first however just to discuss it, cost, time frame, etc.

Felix is the greatest! He had been there a long time, knows his stuff.

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I bought a GB2 on eBay and was shocked when it arrived such a small box.

turned out to be the 3 piece unit.

I kinda liked the rugged design of the resin filled coil,

does anyone have feedback on the new coils performance?

And why didn't they move the cable location or angle it somehow?

 

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The Gold Bug 2 has not had a two piece rod in over 15 years. The new coil is epoxy filled also, but they wanted to go to an injection molded housing for manufacturing efficiency. Having used both the performance is indistinguishable but I will not be surprised if some folks seek out the old coils. Older always seems to be better for a certain set of people. The fact is the Gold Bug 2 is a very hot and very finicky detector and discerning users will always note slightly hotter machine and coil combinations. The bad news is short of trial and error there is no way to know which is what in that regard. The dirty little secret of the metal detector world has always been that some machines are hotter than others, especially with analog models, and the same with coils. For some people that becomes an obsession, me, not so much. Small differences noted in air tests tend to level out in bad ground.

Yes, it would have been nice in the redesign if the cable connection could have been offset. You can't lay the coil back flat as it hits the cable connection. Not a big deal but mildly annoying under some situations.

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