By Steve Herschbach
There is on-going field testing of the Fisher Impulse AQ in progress trying to improve the discrimination. This despite the machine getting ready to go to production at any moment.
For those that do not know metal detector development never stops. It just gets to a point where it is good enough and you launch. Engineers can improve for eternity if you let them. This does raise a concern however. This machine is as far as I can tell using a new premise for what it does, and is obviously up against deadlines to get out the door. There is nothing here about internet update capability, and in fact it seems I recall somebody at FT saying there never would be such a feature on their machines. But given that nearly every serious platform released by FT sees software bugs and updates in the first year, including the recently released F-Pulse, the odds are this machine would benefit from an update once it gets into user hands and the inevitable bug is found. It really is a set up for having to mail machines back to be updated.
I would like to be one of the first to jump on one of these but given the First Texas poor track record in this regard a lack of update facility does give me pause, especially in a detector that will likely be over $2000. I get a cheap detector having no update facility, but First Texas may end up regretting not putting the capability in this detector. Forget the unhappy customers - it costs the company money if it ends up having to physically reprocess every machine sold to perform some kind of software fix. In this day and age internet update capability is an expectation - every Nokta/Makro machine no matter the price has it, even the upcoming under $300 Simplex. I am a bit amazed that there is no mention of this capability on what appears to be the most expensive First Texas metal detector ever made.
Source thread at Dankowski Forum
Fisher Impulse AQ Data & User Reviews
Fisher Impulse AQ metal detector
By Steve Herschbach
The Fisher Impulse AQ is clearly aimed at beach hunters. Specifically saltwater beach detectorists. It is a PI and as such is being billed as able to handle thick black sands. Pictures have been posted showing just that - saltwater beaches with heavy magnetic black sand content.
Yet at the same time we are being warned this detector has a ground balance with limited range, and that it can't handle extreme ground and hot rocks i.e. gold prospecting.
So what's the deal? Can it handle intense mineralization or not? I also wonder about the discrimination. The machine is clearly based on the Eric Poster/TDI in some regards but is also being billed as multi-channel, which TDI is not.
I suspect just as with TDI that the discrimination is tied directly to the ground balance, and that in order to be effective as far as discrimination the ground balance is very limited. It has been mentioned that the all metal mode might be better for prospectors, which makes sense given what I am speculating. The discrimination is said to be "gold only" with high coin signals eliminated. That makes sense again as coin and nail signals are in the same GB range with the TDI. If they are going dual channel it may be employing two ground balance points as the limits on the discrimination range, something I suggested ages ago. It should be obvious that the TDI can use ground balance to establish one range limit - a second channel defining another limit seemed a no brainer to me. I always wanted to get an SD2100 to experiment with the concept since it allows the two ground balance channels to be set manually. Never got around to it though.
Any PI can deal with relatively homogenous ground. Even the non-ground balancing White's Surf PI handles black sand beaches well, as long as the coil is kept at an even height over the bottom. I therefore think the machine will do well on relatively homogenous beaches. Given that it is said to not handle hot rocks well, how does that translate into Hawaii as a location? My main issue there with the Surf PI was basalt hot rocks embedded in blond non-magnetic sands derived from reef erosion. I have to question whether the Impulse AQ can handle those hot rocks given what has been said about it.
What about freshwater? The is no difference between a freshwater Tahoe beach and some of the worst prospecting ground. Thick black sands plus hot rocks. Is the ground balance range tied more to saltwater operation? I would like to run this machine at Tahoe, but given what is being said I am questioning whether it can handle the hot rocks there.
Not a bit of this speculation is a knock on the Impulse AQ. It is a machine targeting a subset of a niche market. In other words, a machine with very limited application and they are telling us that up front. I am not one to ever complain when I get a detector and it does not work when I try to make it do things it was not made to do. And there is always a catch, always limitations, always unexpected things that pop up in widespread use that can't be captured in limited prototype testing. I get all that.
The bottom line is I am just airing the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head. I don't worry about it because I am perfectly capable of getting all the answers to these questions on my own. It's actually these types of questions that makes me want to get detectors because I love pushing detectors outside the envelope and finding the limits.... and then doing things with them others might not think of. It's kind of my detector super power.
They sure seem close to having a finished product. I hope so as once end of October hits I will have to wait until spring. Well, I don't have to, I just will. I may wait for the prospecting version anyway. We will see.
Fisher Impulse AQ Detector Data & User Reviews
By Steve Herschbach
I just added the upcoming Fisher Impulse AQ pulse induction metal detector to the Metal Detector Reviews & Specifications Database.
Fisher Impulse AQ Prototype
By Steve Herschbach
This detector is all but certain to appear, and probably before the end of 2019. I have been on a quest to get a high power ground balancing pulse induction metal detector that is reasonably light in weight and in a somewhat standard metal detector housing, preferably waterproof. Whatever detectors I personally use must have dealers and service support in the U.S.
Edit 3/2019: The Manta has been officially named the Fisher Impulse AQ, a development that happened later in this very thread. You can follow along here to get the latest information later in this thread and see the history. Or quick jump to the Fisher Impulse AQ Detector Data & User Reviews page.
The challenge I have for Fisher or anyone else is to make a dry land ground balancing PI that weighs under 4 lbs yet is more powerful than a TDI SL. The alternative is waterproof but under 5 lbs. The price must be under US$2000.00 Waterproof Pulse Induction Metal Detectors Compared
The Fisher Aqua Manta (edit 3/2019 now known as Impulse AQ) has been rumored for some time, and confirmed by First Texas as a project nearing completion. Prior threads:
January 2015 New Fisher Pulse Induction
January 2018 New First Texas PI Under Development
June 2018 Aqua Manta Pulse Induction Beach Detector
The long story short is this is a project by Alexandre Tartar. The Manta is most likely an offshoot and improvement on the orginal Eric Foster Goldscan circuit. Alexandre has built at least three major prototype devices before the rights were acquired by First Texas. The following photos and information is derived from this thread where the V3 prototype is sold.
Here are the basic specs as described in advertisement (the seller is French and translating):
"I sell a "prototype" Manta v3
There are only three copies of this detector and it is the best of three ....
(See mantametaldetectors website)
Pulse induction, works exclusively with mono coils to the beach, possibly for the land, but no ground control
Calibrated for low conductors, gold and platinum, among other. Delay 7us of 17 volts more sensitive, deeper and faster than Deepstar
Equipped with a coil, Manta, latest generation
she has one month, the quietest and most efficient on the market, all brands included. (it will operate on TDI and Deepstar)
Connector Type TDI, it accepts all coils (mono) of TDI / GPX
Weight: 1.5 kg without battery that is worn at the belt
headphone jack and on / off switch on the battery pack (lipo) supplied charger
more than six hours of detection at full power.
Carbon Rod Anderson + extra cane down
braided nylon belt military style
All the possible settings and need a good PI
SAT speed, TX frequency, noise threshold, delay, volume, sensitivity....
The delay was 7us , lets see gold ends
very thin rings, earrings, jewelry hollow that other detectors can not see
and of course, the wholesale jewelry it goes deeper
Ferrous recognition by a double beep well marked"
What I find interesting is this note "Pulse induction, works exclusively with mono coils to the beach, possibly for the land, but no ground control"
Yet here is the picture that accompanies the advertisement. Now remember this is from March 2016, almost three years ago. The prototype clearly has labels for ground controls...
Alexandre Tartar Manta V3.0 prototype
The control markings as seen above:
Volume Threshold Sensitivity Sat Speed. Motion. (recovery speed) Tx Frequency (transmit frequency, usually to offset for EMI mitigation) Pulse Delay. GB Type (the shorter the pulse delay, the more sensitive to tiny metal and salt water) Ground Balance (usually a ground balance control, but ad says this is lacking?) Statements by First Texas suggest version 1 of the new machine is aimed at beach use and may not be suitable for land use (gold prospecting). That in turn makes me think work on the ground balance system is lagging and may be key to the future of the machine. Will it be beach only, or have a future for gold prospecting?
I have to assume the unit will be competitive when it comes to the horsepower, or why bother? Until now the Eric Foster Deepstar is generally acknowledged as one of the deepest beach PI detector’s ever made. And the ad says “more sensitive, deeper and faster than Deepstar”. That being the case what really has my interest is the weight and compactness being displayed. The following photo collage from the advertisement shows the size of the control box and belt mounted battery:
Alexandre Tartar Manta V3.0 prototype
Granted the battery is belt mounted, but that is one tiny control box. I have to think that First Texas can slim down the circuit board and use a top notch integrated rechargeable battery and get this machine into a very compact package - hopefully waterproof and with wireless headphone capability built in.
Well, that's about all I know about this one. This thread will collect any new information as it is available. This is one of a couple detectors I am watching so fingers crossed for a 2019 release. It is encouraging that Alexandre's original website at http://www.mantametaldetectors.com/ has been taken over by First Texas and is displaying this banner:
Fisher Research Labs - New Pulse Induction metal detector COMING SOON!
By Rick Kempf
The latest developments of the AQ pre-production platform continue to increase the utility of the ferrous discrimination capability of the machine. Steady refinement of the design have made the machine not only deeper overall but greatly narrowed the gap between sensitivity in all metal and sensitivity in the iron ID modes of mute and multi-tone.
I suspect that if no iron/steel trash existed at the beach, no serious beach hunter would use anything except a Pulse Induction machine - unless they were in dry sand, and maybe not then. The reason I say this is that the depth advantages of existing PI machines is well demonstrated since they can operate on most beaches without the penalty of using ground balance. Also, except for iron/steel, no other level of discrimination is useful since gold jewelry can appear almost anywhere in the ID range above iron. So of the iron wasn’t there - PI’s would likely dominate.
In the case of Phase shift discrimination systems like VLF IB detectors use, the strong iron signal dominates the audio output, either silencing the audio entirely in the case of a single tone VLF, by nulling like an FBS/BBS - or by giving a lower tone in a multi-tone Detector. Even in the case of the multitone VLF’s, hearing the non-ferrous target depends on the recovery speed of the processing hardware in the detector.
With the AQ’s PI time-based discrimination, The discrimination of iron is reported to the user either as silence (in the mute mode) or as a low tone (in the case of multi-tone).
In mute, not only do you not hear the iron, but you hear instead silence - unless there is a non-ferrous target, in that case you hear the target with no hint of the iron at all. In this mode, the AQ software simply makes the ferrous targets disappear - just disappear.
In the case of multitone, you hear a high tone for non-ferrous low and medium conductors and a high tone for ferrous targets - close or even superimposed, makes n difference you would hear both tones in any case.
This has several major advantages.
First, there is “zero recovery speed” - All targets produce an output signal if they return one - the ferrous is - by operator choice - either silenced or assigned a low tone. The low/medium conductors always return their characteristic high tone. This occurs 100% of the time - there is no “switching delay” from target to target based on processor speed limitations happening.
Separation distance between adjacent ferrous and non ferrous targets is ZERO.
By zero, I mean exactly that, even non-ferrous directly beneath ferrous gives a clear non-ferrous high tone and the iron simply “isn’t there” (in mute - in multi-tone it gives a low tone which you would hear along with the non ferrous high tone).
This means that “silent masking” that Tom wrote about long ago, where even a tiny bit if ferrous like a common staple can mask a deeper and larger valuable target, is largely eliminated.
Now this isn’t magic, it’s just that the iron is above the ground balance point (or at it) and you are hearing the signals below the GB point and the ones at or above the GB point are silenced (or give a low tone).
Is it perfect? - no. In discrim on the AQ some high conductor targets will be “above the GB point” and be treated as iron. If your idea of a good beach hunt is finding a bunch of dimes and quarters in dry sand, then stick with whatever light, cheap VLF you want, they can help you avoid all that aluminum and gold which would just slow you down - lol
All this is clearly demonstrated in the video I have linked to before. The machine in the video is the Manta prototype from 3-5 years ago. The system has gone through a lot of development since then, including the very latest gains in overall depth and depth in the iron ID modes which I reported in the first sentence in this post.
Will the AQ “obsolete” any other detectors? Depends on what you mean by obsolete. The gas turbine aircraft engine (the jet) quickly replaced the extremely complex, high maintenance multi cylinder reciprocating aircraft engines for heavy, fast and high aircraft, but lots of light aircraft are still piston powered. The piston engine is still undergoing development for some aircraft applications.
So I expect that IF the AQ in the hands of the early buyers lives up to its claimed capabilities, that serious beach gold hunters will adopt it quickly. When a new tool in the hands of early adopters proves to be superior at doing a specific job to the previous best tools for the job in question, those who are really serious about performance for economic or other reasons will adopt the new tool and stop using the old one. How many framing carpenters still use a hammer. Not many if the compressor/nail gun noise at any construction site is any guide. The framing hammer is not obsolete - it still works just fine - but for serious users the nail gun became “compelling”.
Time will tell how “compelling” the AQ will become for serious beach jewelry hunters.