By Steve Herschbach
Last July (July 2014) Tim Mallory of First Texas made a post on a Facebook page. First Texas is the parent company of Fisher, the well known detector manufacturer. Fisher used to make a pulse induction diving detector, the Impulse, but it has been discontinued. Fisher stands out as a company with strong VLF prospecting detectors but also as the only "Big 5" manufacturer without a PI detector of any sort in the lineup.
2019 Edit - Announced as Fisher Impulse AQ
Fisher was also a leader in multi frequency detectors with the CZ series but has rested on the laurels ever since, with no digital version of the old CZ3D offered to date. It has been common knowledge for some time that Fisher has at least been working on a new PI and a new multi frequency models.
Facebook post by Tim Mallory of Fisher (excerpts):
Tim Mallory - I'm new to your group. I'm head of sales and marketing at first texas products, which owns fisher, teknetics, bounty hunter and two night vision companies, night owl and nivisys. We've got a lot of exciting new products coming down the pipe, starting with the f19, introducing right now, then an upgrade for the f75, in the fall, and then new super weather resistant machines on the mid to low range, in the spring.... Lots coming....
Joe Trino - Is the water resistant machine dual feq?
Tim Mallory - Joe, no. They are replacements for f2 and f4. They'll be a lot of machine for the money...but not multifrequency. We have a mf in the hopper and it has recently moved from research to development, but it takes a long time to innovate a new machine of this caliber.
Joe Trino - Tim I love my cz21 I have dug a lot of gold and silver with it my only complaint would be the shaft is flimsy and could beef up the coil wires and headphones I feel confident I can keep up with any mine lab machine about time for a new fisher pi unit.
Tim Mallory - Joe, we have 15 seasoned engineers. Still it takes 3 to 5 years to get a new platform to the intro stage. Let me just say, a PI is in the works.
Dusty Willis - So I was wondering.... When is fisher going to get into the pulse induction business and come out with a pi machine for gold to compete with minelab?
Tim Mallory - Dusty, it's on the bench. But still in research...arguably close to development stage...someday we will have a kick ass PI.
I notice Fisher getting grief on some forums for "being late" with the new machines. The fact is however there has never been any hint of a production timeframe from Fisher. Units are always under development, and many never see the light of day. Anything under development can stop or go at any time for any reason. There simply is no reason to expect a new pulse induction or multi frequency machine from Fisher until they make an official announcement that a release date is near. Still, one can always hope, and I hope we see something one of these days. I would certainly welcome a lightweight affordable PI alternative to what is currently available. The CZ was always one of my favorite detectors, and a more compact lighter CZ would also be welcome.
But I am not holding my breath!
By Steve Herschbach
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.
2019 Update: The Manta is now called the Fisher Impulse AQ - see Fisher Impulse AQ Detector Data & User Reviews
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!
By Steve Herschbach
I consider myself to be extremely fortunate due to the fact that the entire age of modern metal detecting has taken place over the course of my lifetime. I was too young in the 60's to be one of the many famous names that were there first on the ground with these new toys that go beep. That's good though for me as most of them are gone now and I'm still here. I got my first detector at the true dawn of the modern detecting age when I got my White's Coinmaster 4 in 1972. It was one of the first of the new "TR" machines that were the starting point for what most of us use today. Mine was as basic as a detector gets, no ground balance existed yet or discrimination. Just a couple inches depth and a beep, dig it up. So I have been involved in detecting now for 47 years. I started my business while in high school in 1976, and have been involved in metal detecting pretty much daily ever since.
Anyone who followed my online presence starting in 1998 may see a pattern. I have been involved in some top end machines, some VLF, but basically almost every ground balancing PI made has been in my hands at some point. I had a vision in my mind based on my background in computers that told me what was possible and where we were headed.
I was particularly incensed when an upstart company from Australia showed up the industry leaders at the time with the world's most powerful gold detecting PI machines. All the more so when I heard White's had a shot at it and passed. I made it my mission to jump on and foster anything that came along that might compete, and so I was involved with the Garrett Infinium, the first U.S. ground balancing PI. I had a lot to do with White's finally producing the TDI.
Yet the fact is nobody ever seriously took Minelab on, and finally they won me over because they delivered when the rest just milked us. Minelab has been the sole company at the forefront of this technology since the SD2000 was introduced.
All this time I have wanted two things. A vision in my mind of what a VLF could be. And a similar vision regarding a PI. Both those visions basically revolved around something a normal person could use both as regards ergonomics and price, two areas we kept getting bent over on for 20 years.
Long story short I am grateful to Minelab for allowing me to be involved in the machine that delivered on my first vision. The Minelab Equinox is the first machine ever that really can do any VLF metal detecting task and do it well. In any one area it may not be "the best" but no one machine delivers across the board like the Equinox. My VLF quest is over. I will use an Equinox as my primary unit until a detector comes along, probably a Minelab, that does what it does but better. No more VLF buy and try for me. Yay!
In 2017 I laid out my vision for the PI I wanted. The price was kind of a set the bar high (with a low price) thing so there is a little wiggle room there. But not a lot... the machine price should be something most people can stomach. As far as I am concerned the GPX 4500 sets the standard at $2699 both for performance and price. The TDI wins on ergonomics but loses too much in performance for me. All I really wanted was a GPX performance in an ergonomic package, and we all know it can be done. That is what is so frustrating. It's one thing to introduce new tech but all I want is proven tech packaged right. Garrett has really been a disappointment not putting the ATX in a light box. They can do it but so far have refused. I would have been satisfied with that.
Right now I am calling the Australian made QED as being the default winner of my challenge. The rough edges have been smoothed out, and it's got the ergonomics, coil selection, and price all right. I am not going to argue with anyone over performance. Based on what I know it's good enough for me to go find gold and easily beats the TDI and is competitive with GPX. Good enough for me and good job boys. The only niggle is no FCC approval for U.S. sales, no U.S. dealers or service. But by end of 2020 if there is nothing better I will have one anyway.
But we have the Fisher Impulse AQ on the verge and a dry land prospecting version promised. I would be crazy not to wait and see what develops there. I sold my GPZ for many reasons, mostly because I was not going to be detecting much this year, but I resolved when I sold it I would wait until my vision appeared. I knew it was close. I decided I can have fun enough with Equinox until that happens.
Put as simply as possible I want a reasonably powerful PI packaged like a good VLF that most of us can afford. Something that can get in and out of a small backpack with an hour of labor being involved.
So I am tossing down the gauntlet. I have my magic VLF and am looking for a mate for it. Right now QED and Impulse are in the running. And it's up to Minelab, Nokta/Makro, and sure, let's toss Garrett and White's in there also. It's time to deliver as by the end of 2020 I am getting one. I prefer in the spring but if something is one the radar I may wait. By 2021 I will be using something that finally fulfills what this high school kid from Alaska has known would happen someday. And I got to be there and see it all from start to finish. As I said... a very fortunate soul!
Interfacion QED PL2
Fisher Impulse AQ
¿Alguien tiene noticias de AQ?
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