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My VLF detectors are rapidly sorting themselves out and I am satisfied I am doing about as good in that regard as can be done. There really is only one area of metal detecting left that is bugging me.

The Garrett Infinium was the first waterproof ground balancing PI and not a bad first effort. White's TDI might have improved on it but White's never did a waterproof TDI. Surprisingly, Minelab has never done what I would consider to be a true waterproof saltwater beach hunting PI. The SDC 2300 really is a prospecting detector first and second. I finally ended up with the Garrett ATX, which currently sets the bar for a waterproof ground balancing beach and water detector.

Yet the ATX housing was designed more for military use than beach detecting. The coils are overly expensive due to an integrated rod design. Worse, the detector weighs in at 6.9 lbs and cannot be hip or chest mounted.

In a sign of faith I am going to sell my ATX and wait on whatever First Texas has in the works. As Rick Kempf posted here previously, First Texas hired Alexandre Tartar and purchased the rights to produce a version of his Manta PI Project. And to quote First Texas engineer Carl Moreland from this thread "Yes, we've hired Alexandre. Yes, we are working on PI. I was personally working on PI before hiring Alexandre, but now we are seriously working on PI."

Fisher has not made a PI since the Fisher Impulse was discontinued back around 2013. This collaboration with Alexandre Tartar gives me hope that First Texas can get something out in the next year or two. My bar is low - a waterproof ground balancing PI at least as good as the ATX in a more ergonomic package. Seems fairly doable. Another company that may come out of nowhere all the sudden is Nokta/Makro as we know they are working on a PI. I don't know, but I think this is First Texas' game to lose at this point. So there you go, ATX going up for sale and a spot held open for whatever company can meet the challenge. Good luck First Texas - I am rooting for you!

https://youtu.be/G8sdp4RG73g

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I'm also rooting for 1St Texas, they were in Florida doing the first field "beach" test the first of December.  There were several issues, not overly complicated but never the less adjustments that needed to be made before their next test.  Even though the first unit is not exactly for inland hunting, I'd love to get me hands on one to compare to my TDI.

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I'm rooting for them too. I have a big soft spot for them more than any company, and right now they have one badass lineup of engineers over there. 

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So you might not be beach PI'ing for two years potentially :tongue: No consideration for the Tesoro Sand Shark or Whites Surfmaster PI, or do you strictly need GB? 

The SDC is an excellent beach PI, especially if you wish to work narrow gutters slowly, rather than gobble up big swabs of ground, as the SDC needs a very slow sweep. I think most seem to forget that the SDC is waterproof, and has 3 x Salt settings. The main drawback for me and why I don't use it more often is that on 70% of my local beaches the EMI can be pretty severe. There is no Cancel switch or DD coil option or other options to tame it. 

GPX5000 in Salt-Gold timing is a beast, but you have to be really careful with the water, and obviously can't hose it down after a hunt :blink:

I do like the sound of the Manta - it sort of reminds me of the SD series. If FT can put it in a good package it will be a winner. 

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Good point about the Manta - the days of - “OK, the thing works, what box do we put it in?” - are long gone.  

The market for a high end machine now demands not only excellent detecting capabilities but an innovative and impressive mechanical package. A water machine even more so because of the mechanical stresses of salt and water pressure. Designing and testing, then producing to high quality in volume take time and care. The Manta prototype is likely the basis for a groundbreaking PI beach detector.  I doubt FT would be satisfied with the prototype’s mechanical package.

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On 2/2/2018 at 2:56 AM, PhaseTech said:

So you might not be beach PI'ing for two years potentially :tongue: No consideration for the Tesoro Sand Shark or Whites Surfmaster PI, or do you strictly need GB? 

The SDC is an excellent beach PI, especially if you wish to work narrow gutters slowly, rather than gobble up big swabs of ground, as the SDC needs a very slow sweep. I think most seem to forget that the SDC is waterproof, and has 3 x Salt settings. The main drawback for me and why I don't use it more often is that on 70% of my local beaches the EMI can be pretty severe. There is no Cancel switch or DD coil option or other options to tame it. 

GPX5000 in Salt-Gold timing is a beast, but you have to be really careful with the water, and obviously can't hose it down after a hunt :blink:

I do like the sound of the Manta - it sort of reminds me of the SD series. If FT can put it in a good package it will be a winner. 

Hello Nenad!

Well, I was just talking about me and my uses/preferences. The SDC 2300 I think is a fine wading machine. For underwater use it is too buoyant for me, though I suppose a lead weight would fix that. The tall vertical box fights every swing underwater. I prefer a machine like the ATX which has coil options, and the SDC does not. These are all reasons why I have an ATX and not the SDC in the first place. The final kicker - I prefer not to learn how long a $3500 detector goes before leaking, and nearly all waterproof detectors do fail eventually if the get lots of use. An ATX is almost half as much money at risk.

The ATX has mainly been riding shotgun as backup for my GPZ, and got a few days use last year due to that. I also tend to saltwater hunt about once a year. So for me this is a detector that might see two weeks use per year.

This is partly a rebellion. The GPZ 7000 is the last detector I will ever get that weighs over 6 pounds. I am keeping the GPZ but at 7 lbs. the ATX can hit the road until something better comes along. In the meantime my GPZ can serve for above water, and Equinox will suit me well enough for saltwater. 

The Whites Surf PI is an extremely good non-ground balancing option, and in a pinch so cheap I could get one and ditch it again should I feel I need a PI backup for the Equinox.

Long story short I just figure for the limited use that even were I to hit a saltwater beach right now I prefer to use the Equinox just because it is new and fun. I like a ground balancing PI for saltwater but I want and will hold out for whoever next makes something I like better than the ATX or SDC for that particular purpose. If nothing comes along for a year or two, fine. I have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime!

I am not sold on Manta per se. If Garrett stuck the ATX back in the Infinium box as I suggested in the first place I would get one. Or maybe that mystery Nokta. GPX in CTX box? Whatever. Something better has to be possible and First Texas and the Manta Project have first shot at the empty slot.

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