I know there's a long and old thread discussing this topic and other Equinox ergonomics but I decided not to bury this post there. In the last few months I've had some minor issues with the elbow on my swing arm ("tennis elbow" according to my doctor) but worse, recently I've been having wrist pain on the same arm. I don't know if the latter is related to detecting but it reminded me of the above linked discussion (and others) about S- vs. straight-shafts. I don't know if the mod I now describe is new. (After 2 years in the users' hands I would have thought not, but don't recall it on this site, anyway.) Here's a picture of the almost finished garage mod:
In a nutshell, I've replaced the two lower sections of the Equinox shaft with the two lower sections of the Minelab X-Terra shaft. Now I'll start at the bottom and work my way up, describing the differences.
Coil to shaft attachment: Surprisingly (because it seems like Minelab changes dimensions, etc. on every new detector) the gap between the ears is almost a perfect fit. It seems to be slightly looser with this mod, but that may be simply due to wear on the gaskets. I measured the shaft's widths and they are very close, possibly about 0.005 inches (~0.1 mm) different. Different gaskets or just a metal or plastic shim could tighten things up, but for now I'm not going to do that. Next is the screw/bolt and nut. The X-Terra had a nominal 1/4 inch diamter bolt while the Eqx is larger, (I think it's 8 mm, slightly larger than the SAE 5/16 inch). Again, until I find out otherwise I'm not going to be concerned about this as the smaller bolt goes through both parts just fine.
Lower shaft section composition: The Eqx has a carbon fiber lower shaft section whereas the X-Terra has an aluminum shaft with a plastic extension/insert for the coil attachment section. I did a quick test-garden check and the mod didn't appear to give any deterioration in performance. 5 in. deep penny and 6 in. deep US nickel, in moderately mineralized soil, I could turn gain down to 5 and still (barely) hear both in Park 1, recovery speed = 5, Iron Bias F2 = 5. Again, at this point good enough for me.
Middle shaft section: This is the S-section. The smaller diameter of this part is why you can't use the Equinox's lower section -- its diameter is too large to mate with the X-Terra S-section.
Middle shaft section (X-Terra) to upper shaft section (Equinox) mating: This is where things get a bit more complicated. The O.D. of the X-Terra shafts is right at 3/4 (0.75) inch whereas the Equinox is ~0.78 in. This 0.03 (~3/4 mm) difference is not acceptable as is. I used 0.0015 in thick copper tape to build up the X-Terra shaft. The tape's adhesive adds some thickness as well. I needed 15 inch length of tape for a complete wrap to make up the difference. (Note: I'm going to add another equivalent wrap above the alignment pin as well, but as of now -- shown in the photo -- I only have the one wrap.) Next, note that the X-Terra has two alignment pins compared to the single one for the Equinox. Turns out they are 90 degrees out-of-phase. In addition, the pin size (and thus hole diameter required) is different, again smaller on the X-Terra. I'm going to drill two opposing holes in the upper Equinox shaft. Again it appears that the X-Terra was made to SAE dimensions and a 1/4 inch hole is the right size. To make sure I don't get more hole than I need, and to avoid the sloppy 'triangular' hole that standard jobber drill bits tend to make in thin sheet metal, I've ordered a 1/4 inch reamer from Amazon for the job.
Weight difference: The X-Terra lower sections and the attachement bolts & nuts are 80 g. (~2 2/3 oz. or ~0.2 lb) heavier than the equivalent Equinox pieces. I assume this is due at least in part to the carbon fiber composition but the tubing (and other pieces) may also be contributing.
Potential concerns: I start by pointing out that I'm not a beach/water hunter. Apparently the drag, etc. in that form of detecting puts more mechanical stress on the connections and parts in general. In particular, drilling two more holes for the alignment pins in the upper section shaft (which unfortunately are located right at the same location as the already present hole) will result in a weakening of the shaft there. I don't think that will be an issue for me, but water hunters (who apparently prefer straight shafts anyway) could be scared away from this mod. I suppose one might be able to buy a replacement upper section from Minelab.... Those holes are the only thing that keeps this mod from being purely 100% reversible and assuming they don't result in future breakage, I have the best of both worlds. (Of course it helps to have an X-Terra sitting around collecting dust!)
By Steve Herschbach
From the Codan news release at http://www.codan.com.au/Portals/0/investorpubs/22 AXS Announcement - Minelab awarded $6.7m contract.pdf (copy below):
"Cooperating with NIITEK Inc., the HDD will combine Minelab’s new Multiple Frequency Continuous Wave metal detection technology and NIITEK’s advanced ground penetrating radar."
31 August 2016
MINELAB AWARDED CONTRACT TO DEVELOP NEW HANDHELD DEVICE DETECTOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE
Minelab Electronics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Codan Limited, has been awarded a $6.7m contract by the Department of Defence to develop a new Handheld Device Detector (HDD). The funding received under this contract is to further develop a dual sensor metal detector which incorporates ground penetrating radar. It will partially offset the development costs of the product, and the project is expected to be completed by 2018.
The development of the HDD builds on Minelab's success in technology development and product innovation for use in military programmes.
Codan is particularly pleased to be of service to the ADF and to provide an enhanced capability that currently does not exist. Once the HDD enters into service with the ADF, we are confident that other militaries will seek the same level of capability, broadening our market for countermine products.
The contract supports Codan's stated strategy of growing its profitability by improving and broadening our product offerings while ensuring our value propositions remain relevant and leading-edge.
Previous to this award, in March 2014, Minelab was selected by the Department of Defence's Rapid Prototype Development and Evaluation (RPDE) programme to receive
$1.0m in funding to further integrate metal detection and ground penetration radar technologies into a lightweight and compact mechanical platform. In December 2014, RPDE provided an additional $1.3m in funding, and Minelab subsequently produced an advanced prototype of the HDD.
Cooperating with NIITEK Inc., the HDD will combine Minelab's new Multiple Frequency Continuous Wave metal detection technology and NIITEK's advanced ground penetrating radar. The HDD was designed taking into account the comprehensive requirements of the ADF, supplemented with feedback from Army User Groups. It will include advanced detection technologies as well as new standards of compactness and ergonomics.
On behalf of the Board
Michael Barton Company Secretary
MORE INFORMATION ON THE NIITEK/MINELAB GROUNDSHARK
I wanted to give an update on the GARRETT shafts (middle and lower sections) that I've been working on, at Steve's Detector Rods. The first batch of 10 prototypes are complete (I made them in four different colors -- black, green/black, red/black and blue/black), and I am VERY pleased with the result -- I think they have turned out great! The two shaft sections are connected by one of my heavy-duty clamp-type cam locks (as used on my Equinox shafts), which eliminates the twist-lock and the spring button/button-hole design that is used for attachment of these two shaft sections, on the Garrett shaft.
AS A RESULT, my shaft offers four benefits over the stock middle and lower shaft sections...
LIGHTER WEIGHT. My carbon-fiber middle and lower shaft sections offer a 20% weight reduction over the stock Garrett middle and lower sections. (My two-piece shaft weighs 5 ounces +/- .1 oz or so, whereas Garrett's two sections weigh 6.1 ounces +/- .1 oz or so). FASTER/EASIER INSTALLATION AND SHAFT LENGTH ADJUSTMENT. With no twist lock and no spring button/button holes to fumble with, attachment of the lower shaft to the middle shaft is quick and easy; simply flip open the clamping lever on the cam lock, insert the lower rod section into the middle shaft section, and lock the clamping lever closed! UNLIMITED ADJUSTMENT LENGTH OF THE LOWER ROD SECTION. Again, with no spring button/button holes on the shaft, you can quickly and easily adjust the lower rod to ANY desired length, as opposed to having your lower rod adjustment length confined to pre-determined button-hole locations. IMPROVED AESTHETICS/VISUAL APPEARANCE. The high-quality, attractive look of carbon fiber offers an upgrade the look of your Garrett machine. And, you can add even more visual appeal -- making your AT- or Ace-series machine really "stand out" from the crowd -- by choosing one of a number of custom colors for your carbon-fiber shaft. A green/black prototype shaft is pictured, below!
If you have any interest in upgrading to a carbon-fiber shaft for your AT- or Ace-series machine from Garrett, contact me via PM, by email at email@example.com, or via Facebook message (www.facebook.com/stevesdetectorrods).
By Ridge Runner
I was gone part of the morning but when I got home it was a pleasant surprise at my door.
My I believe new Simplex was waiting for me. It came on a two day priority mail that I believe that Dilek had something to do with. It came back double boxed like I sent it .
Life is great when you’re dealing with great people and a great company. You know up front who you want to spend your money with.
Dilek I sent you a personal message but let me say it again. Thank you so much !
By nugget hunter nz
So I was verified today by someone I cant name for obvious reasons that minelab will be anoucing a new pi in May at the ballerat dealers conference whay that pi is is a unknown it could be a new sdc a new gpx or new gpz that we have to wait and see but I'm excited either way and hoping I won't have to sell my house for it