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About LowTide

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  1. In light of the recent release of the Minelab Equinox, and expected release of competitive products I've noticed various posts across the Internet of tests/reviews/comparisons of detectors on fresh and saltwater beaches with "Black Sand". But there is only a 50/50 chance that the beach "Black Sand" you are looking at is iron bearing "Black Sand". The other possibility is that it is plant matter that has decayed and been ground into fine powder by wind and wave action. Those in areas where Bog Iron is produced or those Southern Red Clays have to deal with sands that are iron bearing but not necessarily Black in color. Some of the hottest sands I've ever seen were Purple in color. To know whether the "Black Sand" is the bad kind(iron bearing) you need to test it, a simple magnet can help or a detector with a ground type meter. Unless a tester/reviewer has verified the black beach sand as iron bearing I would be skeptical of the results.
  2. LowTide

    I Just Did A Coin On Edge Test....

    There is nothing wrong per se with the detector. And whether Minelab deems to modify Park 1 etc is up to them. This wrapping phenomena of Large High Conductors around into the ground mineral and iron ID area is well understood and has been for decades. What can affect this? 1. Choices by the designer of the discrimination circuit. 2. Target signal strength. 3. Ground Mineralization. 4. Coil types. If the Equinox were a one trick pony(beep dig machine) then the user would have to live with the behavior that the designer chose. And in the past that's what a user would have to do. If your Acme 7000 XLT acted this way then tough luck, live with it. But the Equinox is a box full of detectors in one, so push a button and solve the problem. Now in regards to the beaten horse. The horse may be dead but several of it's cousins who are jackasses continue to push this as a big issue. Many consider themselves experts and even own the Equinox, all the while thumping on Minelab for any and every issue. The hypocrisy they exhibit is demonstrated in the fact that they themselves have discussed the topic of the wrap phenomena at length on other forums concerning other brands and models. Yet not one peep from them in criticism of those other brands.
  3. LowTide

    Calabash In Depth Video Review Of Equinox

    Great post Steve! That post is worthy of copy and paste with attribution across a large number of posts on other forums. A recent video on another forum by a well known member brought rejoicing by the Minelab haters. Yet the video shows a 13 inch dime being detected in some challenging soil. And the videographer also stated that usage in a carpet of nails was limited because of coil size which as you state is detecting 101.
  4. OK I admit that I am a coil control snob. I have always concentrated on maintaining a perfect 1 inch above the ground elevation and with the coil perfectly parallel to the surface. Having spent many years hunting on ocean beaches with very gradual slopes and close to tidal flat characteristics, I strove for perfection. I developed a gait where if my right foot was forward the coil was 90 degrees to the left. As the left foot came forward and even with the right foot the coil would be straight in front, and as the left foot moved forward the coil 90 degrees to the right. I was very efficient and could cover a lane about 7ft wide over wet/flat sand. So being the snob that I was. I observed other detector users with golf swings or scythe mode murder the weeds methods, and I was constantly saying tsk..tsk..tsk. If only they could achieve my higher plane of enlightenment and skill they would be much more successful. Pride doth cometh before the fall! When beach hunting I always arrived at the crack of dawn and most of the time there was a fog or mist still in place leaving a light coating of moisture on the dry sand. As I always had single and multi-freq detectors this never concerned me much as I could adapt to the conditions. Usually very early in the morning you see the runners and dog walkers out, and only occasionally another detector user. But there was one old codger that I saw quite often working the dry sand for recent drops, and he moved along the beach at warp speed stopping briefly to retrieve a target. I had observed him a couple of times from a distance and could tell he knew very little about metal detecting or how to swing a coil. His big mistake was that he was holding the coil at a 45 degree angle with the left side about an inch above the sand and the right side up about 8 inches high. He looked to be sporting a Tesoro Compadre from the shape of the control box and the coil design. He was whipping that coil back and forth and flying down the beach as if he was making a run for the porta-potty. About the third time that I saw him light shown through my snob fog. The dry sand had a thin layer of moisture on it in the morning and if he held the coil parallel to the surface it would chatter and false. So he had adapted to the situation with the equipment he had on hand. By only exposing the outer edge to the sand no false-ing. But only shallow targets(recent drops) would be found and he was only covering about a 3 inch wide swath side to side. That explained the rapid swing and foot speed to cover ground. Also iron was easily rejected because the signal was on the edge of the coil. And he wasn’t carrying a digger or sifter with him, he would just kick the sand to find the target. He was probably looking at me and thinking that I was sporting enough gear to make a moon landing. The arrogant Master had become the Grasshopper.
  5. The ID system on the Equinox is the way it is because it was specifically designed that way to address the targeted market segment for the detector. The ID system is not the way it is because of an oversight, poor planning, or lack of familiarity with end user wishes. Minelab is very methodical in attacking market segments. They developed advanced PI technology and dominate the high end PI market. They went after the low slow turf market with BBS/FBS and they dominate that market. They developed the Xterra 70/705 to go specifically after the Whites MXT. They developed the Go Finds to go after the Ace’s. All of the aforementioned devices had very specific design criteria to attack a market segment. The Equinox primarily was designed as an iron trash high speed detector to go after the XP and AT. That is why it is so fast and has an iron bias setting which is an integral part of the Multi-IQ discrimination system. With that thought in mind what happens to a detector’s ID of a non-ferrous target co-mingled with a pile of nails? The answer is that it skews, and the more ID segments, the more it is going to skew. To which there will be the complaint that the detector can’t “lock on”. In this iron trash detecting application if they had made the ID 200 points wide the meter would be whiplash-ing wildly. So having the ID be fairly stable in a difficult target environment has it’s advantages to address this market segment. There is also a belly button factor at work. Included with the detector there is a wide assortment of overlays in different languages. So despite a U.S. user thinking the ID system should be U.S. specific and a U.K. user thinking it should be U.K. specific that is simply not realistic. This is a world wide product. In a nutshell here is Minelabs thinking. If you go to a park that has cleaner ground, and then areas with trashier ground, they want you to break out an FBS for the cleaner areas. And then after your arm gets tired, go back to your vehicle and get the Equinox and then attack the trashier area. If you are a relic or saltwater beach hunter the Equinox is all you will likely need unless scuba diving. If you are a casual prospector the Equinox will at least make you competitive. The uptake is that if you are a serious hobbyist they want you to buy two models of their’s to cover most of your detecting needs. Here’s a disclaimer, I don’t own an Equinox nor have any immediate plans to purchase one. However I am enjoying the release of this product to no end because I am extremely frustrated with the complacency of U.S. manufacturers. Boys the chickens have come home to roost! And I will make a prediction, and that is that Makro will be the first to respond and in doing so may offer a wider ID span which will be good for the hobby and push Minelab.
  6. LowTide

    Setting And GB Question

    Well I may ruffle some feathers but that is not my intent. Personally I would never ever not ground balance a detector that has that capability for two primary reasons. One, I don’t want to wonder if I missed a target by a half inch of depth because my ground balance was off. Two, it may have an effect on rejecting iron signals since in reality ground balancing is part of the discrimination chain where you are discriminating out the ground to hear metal signals. The Equinox presents an interesting case because of the multiple frequencies and based on this quote from Bruce Candy: “However, the reality is that soils do not have resistive VRM signals that are the same for different VLF transmitted frequencies.” VRM = Viscous Remanent Magnetism Therefore based on the above quote when operating simultaneously in 5 different frequencies, and depending on the ground, there could be 5 different ground balance points. And, with the information that there is some sort of different frequency weightings with mode selection then things can get very complex. Now there are situations where you will never be able to get a solid ground balance point no matter what you do. A typical one is a gravel bank that consists of pebbles/stones that come from different rock types and therefore each pebble has it’s own ground balance point. You can ground balance, then move the coil 1/4“ left or right and the balance changes. The method I have used in this situation is to use automatic or manual GB and note the number. Then I repeat the procedure 5 times while moving the coil slightly left then right of my starting point. I take my lowest number and highest number and manually adjust for a number half way in between. If the detector is still too chatty I lower sensitivity till I’m comfortable. On the Equinox the Speed and Iron settings may provide other possible remedies. Auto tracking. The big bugaboo on auto tracking has been that you will track out a target. That is of course going to depend on how aggressive/fast the process is on a particular machine. For those who are worried about this you can test it yourself quite easily. The Equinox GB range is (-)9 to 99 so for this test you will need to locate some clean ground with a GB point in the 50 to 60 range. You will also need a stopwatch or some device with a stopwatch function(phone, tablet). Simply manually set the GB to (-)9 or 99, set tracking on, click stopwatch, move coil at regular detect height over the ground like you would search. When detector reaches a balanced condition click stopwatch off. This should give you an idea of how fast/aggressive the tracking is, whereupon you can feel confident that it will or won’t track a target out.
  7. QED in an Otterbox. But there are some added costs....you'll have to join an Ozzy forum where body armor is required for survival.
  8. Well......................I was not doing market research but I met more than one person who wanted to buy the top of the line White's model when the DFX was the big cheese. They typically had a bit of a mystified look on their faces and the guys with Tesoros were killing them. After a few minutes of conversation it became apparent that they were on Cockpit Overload. I don't know what percentage of DFX owners were in the same boat but when the V3 came out it appeared to be a modernized DFX with the same Cockpit Overload issues. Now giving credit where it is due the V3 interface is a thing of beauty and I can appreciate the amount of coding that went into it. But my rule of thumb is that once you get beyond two levels deep in a menu you start losing people. Also the supposed simplified dual knob interface where you have to scroll through a dozen screens is tedious.
  9. Many people have their favorite brand and I'm sure that if the Equinox or a work-a-like was released by Tesoro that there would be more warm and fuzzy feelings about it in the U.S. . However those Tejon vs Troy forum battles were pretty epic! As far as USA made, Minelab does use Plexus a U.S. based contract manufacturer. And they also use other U.S. based resources in their manufacturing side which I am not at liberty to discuss. In juxtaposition First Texas did not move close to the Mexican border to have those of Scandinavian heritage assemble their product. And some are only too happy to buy product from Turkey which is run by a Muslim Strongman. Mak/Nok are moving at the speed of light and are really forcing hands of other manufacturers. But in my mind there are some warranty concerns. Minelab, Xp Deus, and U.S. manufacturers are all located in stable Western style democracies. Mak/Nok is located in a powder keg run by a Strongman with a fairly recent Coup attempt. Turkey has a history of having absolutely fierce fighters that have bloodied the noses of more than one Empire that has tangled with them. At some point that Strongman will leave by one means or another, and the hope for a peaceful transition is rather fleeting. An internecine affair in Turkey will possibly reach a level of brutality not seen since WWI. So when I think of buying a product from Turkey, I ask myself if I would buy a product from Syria, because that is what Turkey could turn into overnight. If Mak/Nak moved at least their manufacturing to a more stable geographic region I would be more inclined to buy their product.
  10. Well CD I know you are going to be looking mainly at the performance issues. But if it does happen you would then have another multi-freq vs multi-freq and be able to look at how that EMI hits both machines. I'm not betting on either being better than the other, but it will just provide a little more information overall. Thanks for all that work, I know it is time consuming and takes some drive to keep doing it while taking some arrows to the "behind". As the man said, "it all looks easy from the cheap seats".
  11. Getting back to my original post let me pose this question that will need some objective and rational thinking. In the next two years how many new design single frequency VLF's by the major manufacturers will be released? And when I say new I don't mean cranking up the decal machine. And even though the French Speaking Pulse Devil Jr. has been promised that should not be included in the mix because I have a better chance of hitting the Lottery. Another way of thinking about the question. If you could teleport the Equinox platform back in time to just before the design phase of a whole raft of detectors, i.e. F75, T2, V3, AT etc etc. Would those designs have ever gone forward with the time and resources devoted to them, based on expected return against an Equinox platform? If you are the CEO are you going to give the go ahead based upon whatever sales projections that you might have? Remember the Equinox 600 price will be trending downward, especially since Minelab/Codan will be able to recoup their R&D and manufacturing setup costs very quickly with the amount of demand.
  12. Thank you flak, the areas I have faced are not layered but consistent throughout depth of the strata caused by Basalt formations that are 100 to 200 yards offshore. I've attached a photo and in it it you can see some ground up white sea shell particles. It really is PI territory but I just can't bring myself to digging the iron that I know is there. Maybe the Equinox can present some possibilities so I will continue observing.
  13. Cipher I agree with your analysis and at the bottom of single freq VLF market lay the Chinese in wait. A $150USD detector is not where you want to go head to head with them. A U.S. company may hold a greater market share against them for a while, but the Chinese may occupy enough of the market to prevent you from going forward. And by that I mean that you can only hold your price point by ordering raw parts in large enough quantities. Yes purchase orders with timed releases are possible, but will that decision be taken with stagnant or declining sales? On the other point of your post, the release of a competing product. Minelab has been busy wallpapering the U.S. patent office with applications concerning PI, multi-freq, and signal processing. Minelab has also made clear that they are willing to defend those patents by forcing White's into a court settlement. And XP Deus last October ended up settling with Minelab in U.S. Federal Court. I would love to have a look at that settlement because I suspect with every Deus sold Minleab will get a percent of the profit. Even if a company thinks they have a clean technology, do they have the financial resources to fight Codan in a multi-year lawsuit where the attorneys are the only real winners?
  14. A previous post by Daniel really caught my attention, but I don't recall if it was on this forum or another. The reason it caught my attention is that early on with the release of the Equinox I had two questions concerning the technology in certain soil types. One soil type is the iron bearing red clays of the mid and southeast U.S. . I had mused to myself that if this technology allowed 2 inches deeper with correct ID(not just iron grunt) in those soils, then the relic hunters would flock to it over single frequency VLF's, and not have to pay for more expensive PI's. Daniel reported not 2 inches but a clean 3 inches. If you look at either of those figures as a percentage of the overall depth a single freq VLF is capable of on coin targets in benign soil, then there is some there there. There is a DIV this weekend and hopefully some participants are Equinox equipped. If some experiment with Gold mode it could be even more interesting. The second soil type is one I have a more personal interest in. Black sand saltwater beaches of which I've seen zero reporting by end users. They present a challenge because in essence there are two ground balance points to be dealt with. A conductive salt ground and a ferrous iron rich ground. The ferrous ground kills depth and varies as a percentage of clean sand to black sand ratio. Even using a couple of CZ20's with standard and large coil these beaches kill depth like the iron rich clays. Typical depth on a U.S. quarter is 4 to 5 inches with a CZ. Metal detector Stockholm Syndrome. Some people seem owned by their detectors instead of the other way around. If they own a Ford you had better not mention Chevy in their presence! I own a lot of different detectors and brands with varying strengths and weaknesses. But on pleasant summer evening you can find me strolling along a freshwater beach with a cold beverage in one hand and a Fisher ID Excel(red flames & all) in the other hand. I love that little detector because it is fun to use!
  15. When Minelab offered the statement that the new Equinox would obsolete single frequency VLF detectors there was a hue and cry of disbelief from a group of end users. Yet the manufacturers, even before the first Equinox was available for retail sale confirmed that statement by lowering prices. There were two aspects of the statement issued by Minelab that seems to have been missed by some end users: 1. The statement was 90% aimed at other manufacturers. 2. The statement was forward looking at the economic viability of future production of single frequency VLF’s. Now an end user may think that the Acme 4000 was the greatest relic detector ever made and cannot be displaced by an Equinox. However if the sales numbers fall to a certain point then the Acme 4000 will end up being discontinued. So even if an end user loves and is totally invested in an Acme 4000 there is no guarantee it will survive the sales onslaught of the Equinox. To those who say “hogwash” then may I ask how many new recent model BFO or T/R detectors do you see being for sale by manufacturers? Why aren’t there any? Because Technology moved on, just the same as is occurring with the Equinox. Tough time to be a product or sales manager at a competing metal detector company!