My brother and I took my XP Deus out to the Mojave Desert today to try out the new Goldfield program and to test the GB notch feature. We went to the worst ironstone hell hole I know of to put the Deus to the test. This location is literally carpeted with ironstone. PI's struggle there and it is not somewhere I would ever take a VLF expecting to find nuggets.
After I figured out how to GB notch (not covered in the manual that I can see) I set the Deus to program 10 (Goldfield) found a clean piece of ground to GB on (it GBed at 87) then swung the detector for a few minutes around the ironstone patch. It was machine gun audio similar to swinging over a bed of nails.
Now what follows is in no way a scientific test, just a couple of prospectors trying to figure out a new machines capabilities. Neither my brother or I are experts with a VLF. Your results in a different location may vary, hell they may vary if you went to the same location.
I left the Deus in Factory settings, accessed the GB notch function and started notching as I was swinging above the ironstone. It started notching at GB87. Each successive push of the button adds 1 number above and 1 number below GB87. The upper end stops notching at 90 then each successive push just adds 1 to the lower end. I think it will notch from GB 60-90. When the lower number read 85 most of the signal from the ironstone was gone but there were broken tones similar to ones iron emits when it has been partially discriminated. I notched down to GB80 and the detector was relatively quiet when swinging.
The next step was to see if the detector would detect gold in this configuration. Toward that end I had brought some nuggets (2, 4, 14, and 32 grain) in those little round plastic display cases. All nuggets were air tested in the display cases sitting on a granite boulder. I am not going to mention depths achieved as we had no accurate way to measure them. I will say that they roughly paralled a GB Pro with 10" elliptical coil we had brought along. My brothers Pro was set on a discrimination setting of 40 which was the minimum he required to quiet the machine when swung over this HOT ironstone. It was impossible to run it in All Metal Mode at this location.
Both machines detected all the nuggets to expected depths when sitting on the granite boulder with the aforementioned settings. The problems arose when we placed the test nuggets on top of or next to the ironstone. Detection depths were drastically reduced. I found that to get better depth I needed to notch at GB 85-90. I also reduced the transmit power from a setting of 2 down to 1 (less swamping of the mineralization) which enabled me to up the sensitivity slightly. This seemed to be the best setting to use to ignore most ironstone and yet be able to best detect the nuggets.
We tried all sorts of combinations (different size nuggets next to or on top of different size and/or hotness of ironstone) way to many to enumerate here. Suffice it to say we determined that it was POSSIBLE to run the XP Deus, GB notched at 85-90, and the GB Pro, discrimination set at 40, in this the worst ironstone locale I have ever run across even though the depths attained on the test nuggets were severly impacted. Is it the smart thing to do? Well I wouldn't if I was coming back, I would grab my GPX 4500 and leave the VLFs at home. Seeing as we were already there we decided to detect awhile. I chose a location near an old fire pit thinking no PI guy is going to come within 30' of this place and I was rewarded with about 20 targets, none gold.
After we burned out on detecting the ironstone hell we headed for some cleaner dirt about a mile away. I wanted to see how the Deus performed in a more normal setting in regards to the goldfield program and GB notch effectiveness. Upon arriving at the spot I had to change the settings back to what I had settled on earlier as I had failed to save them to a custom program in one of the 8 slots provided for that. When you turn the detector off, any factory program you have tweaked resets to default. The menu tree on the Deus is well set up and very intuitive to learn.
This was my 3rd time out with the detector and I have pretty much mastered it. One thing I love about this detector is you can quickly make adjustments to various settings while swinging over a target to maximize it's performance for your current location/conditions. In short order I had made the setting changes so I GBed then started detecting up a small wash. The GB notch seemed to do its job as I observed some of the hot rocks local to the area so turned the notch off/on to double check them. This technique is not "Gods Gift" to VLF prospectors but it is a useful function albeit you do get some broken tones over hotrocks on occasion but they are easily identifiable as such.
What was not acceptable was the poor performance of the TID on small targets. Just as the GB Pro has TID numbers in All Metal Mode, so does the Deus. On the Deus it takes a fairly large target (in the world of nugget shooting not coin hunting) at shallow depth for the screen to show any number at all.
You have to understand that this machine was not built as a gold machine. It was designed to be a top notch coin and relic machine for the plowed fields and forests of Europe. Any VLF struggles with accurate TID at depth and the designers of the Deus decided rather than provide a TID with questionable accuracy that if the machine did not have a good idea what the conductivity of the target was it would report nothing.
This actually makes sense as first and foremost the Deus is a tone machine. When they created the goldfield program I imagine the software designers did not think to change the parameters for TID reporting as I doubt they are gold prospecting in the south of France. Hopefully this will be something they can change when they next upgrade the software. When you purchase a Deus all future software upgrades are free for life.
I eventually got disgusted because if I want to dig every target I will bring a PI along so I went and grabbed my GB pro and went back to work.
Conclusions - these were two short hunts at very different locations with a new machine that is unfamiliar to me and I am about as dumb as dumb can get when it comes to VLF metal detectors so please don't flame me. The Deus is a great detector. The light weight wireless configuration with blazing fast processor speed will rock your world when it comes to coin and relic hunting. I am impressed by the build quality and thought that went into this machine. With the advent of software version 3.2 it now has the gold field program and GB notch. This was a step in the right direction but the designers need to confer with an expert gold nugget detectorist to get the TID issue up to snuff for prospectors. Once this is taken care of I would think this detector performance wise would be close to the other mid-range hertz gold detectors.
As it stands now you will dig way more small iron with the Deus. The GB notch feature could really shine in specific areas littered with hot rocks but more testing needs to be done by the experts in a scientific manner at a number of locations to prove this. The fact that there are no coil or headphone wires to snag on brush is a bonus but the lack of a small elliptical DD coil available restricts where you can use it effectively although the stock 9" round DD seems to be a good coil.
This post was in no way intended as a shoot out between the XP Deus and GB Pro. They just happen to be two VLF detectors I own and am slightly familiar with.
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