Jump to content

My Thoughts On The Minelab Vanquish 540


Recommended Posts

Excellent and thorough Vanquish analysis and write up.  Couple of comments, though.

2 hours ago, abenson said:

Modes I’m sure have different weighted frequencies and it’s anybody’s guess what they are.

ML is not providing any details, but based on what they have put out, they imply only a single Multi IQ profile is being used for all modes with the difference being the under the hood non-user-adjustable recovery speed and default disc settings they are using for each mode, but it appears based on your real world testing there may indeed be other differences going on.  I suspect that ML is using something not too far off from the Equinox beach 1 mode Multi IQ profile to ensure a certain level of salt beach stability but the result might be the Worst of both worlds between say Park 2 and Beach 1 based on your results, but agree with you, who really knows other than ML and they are not providing any clarity.

Did shifting into no disc mode provide any advantage whatsoever when dealing with iffy or clipped non-ferrous signals?

2 hours ago, abenson said:

Comparing the Equinox to the Vanquish is kind of like comparing the Simplex to the Anfibio or ORX to the Deus.

The only thing I disagree with in this statement is that it implies perhaps a much greater performance delta between ORX and Deus. Based on my recent experiences with ORX that are documented on this site in other posts (which I know you’ve seen but others may not have seen), I think the ORX, despite its settings limitations vs. Deus, is a lot closer to Deus in capability than even I gave it credit for until I put it to the test the past few weeks.  But I understand where you were coming from with that analogy.  The Simplex/Anfibio comparison seems appropriate, though.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Abenson ,thank you for the test,..... you have done really extensive and rigorous Vanquish testing ..:
1. The results of the Tests in separation suggest that Vanquish has a low iron bias setting ... still a relatively strong rejection of the iron.

Stronger Iron Bias settings are responsible for less good separation .. it's strongly visible in nail and coin tests when in one line ...

This setup can make an otherwise fast detector pretty slow .. even on a small 4x6"coil...

2..Recovery speed recovery also like  to 3-4 recovery speed max .. maybe  5th according to the program.

This is also suggested by the hard work and and less deeply  detection of Vanquish in tests on heavily mineralized terrain ...

  3.Tests in heavily mineralized terrains could help set discrimination to 0 or better to 1.
At least on Equinox, it works similarly to "Iron volume" ... + but can also correct incorrect iron "VDI",,,, to   better"non- ferous  VDI"!!!


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As most people know for my uses and my difficult ground I have always tended towards higher recovery speed settings with the Equinox. I was personally caught off guard when Tom Dankowski started advocating for low recovery speeds in dense iron environments as it seems counter-intuitive to what I know about how recovery speeds work. Yet testing does show that in low mineral environments that the Equinox can pull non-ferrous targets out of dense iron even at low recovery speeds, though I am very much a skeptic that this is advisable in high mineral environments. This would appear to be related to its multifrequency processing doing magic one would not expect from a single frequency detector at low recovery speeds.

Your comments make me wonder if Tom's advice was taken to heart and that the Vanquish in Relic mode and what appears to be a very low recovery speed is therefore more applicable to low mineral environments. Your testing would seem to imply that given your experience in more difficult ground. In other words the Vanquish may be tuned more for turf type locations and the beach, which would make sense given the demographic it is targeting.

I still just look at Vanquish as an Ace alternative but with far better saltwater handling. I think it's biggest bang-for-the-buck application is at the beach, where multifrequency has always had an edge over single frequency. Never in a million years did I think Minelab would purposefully undermine Equinox sales via the Vanquish however so it should just go without saying the Equinox is a better choice for any serious detectorist for all but the most casual use. Marketing wants to hook the newbie with the Vanquish, then make the Vanquish owner want to upgrade to an Equinox. Looks like they have done well keeping the upgrade path clear.

I have to admit a Vanquish with the small coil was tempting me a little. But I almost always run zero iron bias and generally higher recovery speeds and it appears an Equinox with the 11" coil and my settings will do better than a Vanquish with small coil given the high iron bias and low recovery speed settings that are cooked in.

Great reporting, and thanks for posting! :smile:

Minelab Vanquish 540 Data & Specifications

Minelab Vanquish 440/540 User Manual

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chase-LOL I agree with you about the ORX, should have taken that statement out before I posted it. Yes I tried the zero disc mode and the signals were still choppy.

Steve-I'm able to run Tom's settings at a recovery of 3 but not 2 in fairly clean ground as in not much iron trash and even at 3 it takes very controlled sweep speeds to make it work in my ground. Id is all over the place on deep targets but it is definitely deeper if you can work slowly. When I get in trash, recovery of 4 works better but still pretty amazing depth and separation is achieved. But I would have to agree that Minelab must have been looking at performance in mild ground and yea why would they undermine Equinox sales with the Vanquish.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I have finally been able to do a little testing of the Vanquish 340 with V10 coil with no coil cover, which somewhat duplicate the testing done by abenson. The 340 has no high/low iron bias adjustment and has Coin, Jewelry and All Metals accepted modes. The only other settings difference was that I did not set the sensitivity on maximum. I set mine at half strength.

The Vanquish 340 in All Metals accepted easily passed 4 for 4, the Monte's Nail Board test with a zinc penny in position 1. It also scored 4 for 4 in Coin mode. In Jewelry mode it was 3 for 4 with failure on sweep direction 4. I have not done this test with a zinc penny in position 2. Nails of course are different. I have my Nail Board test set up with older square nails.

I used two 2" square nails and a zinc penny for a second test with all three targets on the same plane in this configuration with the space between the nails and the zinc penny at 1/2":

l--------------   O   ---------------l.  

In All Metals accepted and Coin mode the Vanquish 340 was able to hit the zinc penny if I paid close attention to making medium speed swings and very good coil control while keeping the coil very close to the targets. If I lifted the coil more than an inch above the zinc penny it was completely masked in both modes. Sensitivity adjustments made no difference. Jewelry mode failed.

This masking remained until the space between the zinc penny and nails was widened to 1 1/2". At this amount of target separation the 340 could easily detect the zinc penny all the way to 3" height in all three modes. With targets separated 2" or more there was no problem at all

I tried this same test with aluminum shards, pull tabs and other coins with similar results. With pull tabs and similar sized and shaped can slaw there was barely a hint of the penny unless the coil was within  1" of the targets in any mode. Coin mode seemed to be the best with Jewelry the worst. Separating the aluminum from the zinc penny by 1 1/2" or more alleviated the masking.

I put a US nickel on the right of the penny and a US quarter on the left and spaced them 1/2" apart. In Coin mode these targets sounded awful with broken sputtering audio and wildly fluctuating numerical target ID. In All Metals accepted these targets produced negative and positive numbers and iron audio, medium and high tone responses almost like iron falsing. To be honest, if hadn't known what these targets were I would have guessed a rusty tin can, rusty iron or a rusty crown bottle cap. Moving the coins apart so that the spacing was 1 1/2" made them clearly identifiable with no nulling or iron responses. The left outer edge of the V10 coil was able to separate these targets at 1/2" if I tilted the coil and moved it very slightly. Otherwise, it was a mess.

So target separation/recovery speed on the Vanquish 340 is definitely not as good as on the Equinox nor should it be for $199.  So, when I'm using this detector or letting a family member or friend use it I will have to remember this and investigate any close to the surface targets that seem larger than normal and that sound like rusty iron in All Metals mode and nulling/falsing iron if the Vanquish is in Coin or Jewelry. Could be multiple close spaced targets like a coin spill.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Great write up abenson and very informative. I would definitely not compare the ORX/Deus in like manner to the Vanquish/Equinox configurations. The ORX is quite capable. I see you’ve already addressed that part though. Good luck!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Heck why buy the Nox 600 ? Do you get extra coil? Do you get wireless headphones?

 You can just go over to Bill Southern forum and on the classified it’s a Nox 800 . It’s got extra coils. You can buy it for about the same price as the 600 .

 Fact of life if you spend less you get less !


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 340 did not include a coil cover or arm strap. It came with alkaline batteries and instructions. My 440 came with coil cover, control box cover,  wired headphones, arm strap, alkaline batteries,  and instructions.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


 I have a 6” coil on my Eagle 2 that’s been on the over 20 years without a coil cover and it still looks great. Now that was the day before coil covers was come to be . 

I think now being we have them we just beat the Sam Hill out them because we covered .

 Dang I was just thinking for what I paid for that E2 I could have bought 3 Simplex +. I can assure you that money was harder to come bye then than it is now.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Content

    • By mcjtom
      I started thinking about buying Minelab Vanquish 440.  The closest distributor from Bangkok (according to the Minelab website) is in Kuala Lumpur - that's a different country.  It looks like it is possible bo buy this detector in Thailand from online sellers - but I really don't know who they are.  Is that a good idea to use the online sellers?  If not, how do I do that from Thailand?
    • By Joe D.
      Back at it again today,
         But this time, I had a definite goal in mind! To intentionally try to squeeze out a few more old coins! And, oh yeah, to get rid of my now sore "detector legs" from Friday's somewhat short hunt! 
          A little side note question first! Am I the only one getting sore legs; and other parts, when digging a bunch of targets at the beginning of a season, or long hunt?? Or are the rest of you just too "afraid" of what the rest of us will think, to mention it??.... No matter, I'm sore, and "Proud" of it!!🤣😂
        I went out today with a more focused purpose, and more time to put it into action! Did about 5-6 hours today!
         Same setup, with the Vanquish, and V8 coil! I more or less wanted to repeat the other days hunt, with a wider range of coins, and some added emphasis on finding some oldies, in some curb strips!
         Our oldest neighborhoods are generally from the 1920's forward! And have had many roadwork and "beautication" projects, that have destroyed prime "old coin" hunting grounds! But you work with what you got!! So knowing that some of the "tree lined" streets still had their original trees, (i grew up here), I would focus on them for the oldies!! 
          Between those, and general hunting of this park, adjacent to some of them, I should at least, be able to get a few shallower "older" coins!
         My V8 park hunting produced plenty  more modern coins, as expected, and was good fun! But also, self-limiting, as that coil doesn't get the depth needed for those elusive oldies that may be there! The soil under the St. Augustine Grass here, tends to be very rich, and easy to dig, with lots of earthworms, so the coins get buried pretty deep, over the decades! Not unexpected, but i was jumping back and forth, from the strips to the park, so I kept the same coil on the detector the whole time! I also have the V10, and V12, so I will go back with those at some point, and test my theory! And of course, the Nox!!
         So, to the Good Stuff!  One each from just beneath three different "parking strip" old trees! No deeper than about 6 inches, but hidden up against large tree roots! And thankfully, not grown into them!!
      A 1942 Silver Merc!! 💖🎊 No nail board test from Monte this time!!🤣
      Two 1919 Weaties!! 💕(Same date, two different trees; weird!!)
         So now, I at least know that my theory; while producing only a few oldies; is actually sound enough to follow-up with, In future hunts! I can live with that!!
         The rest of the hunt produced alot more pennies than I wanted to dig, thanks to two fairly large "penny dumps" in two separate curb strip locations! (Over 100!!🤯) I basically just sat there with my pinpointer, and located them till my legs got numb, and I had enough!!😂  Still more in both spots for another round! I guess there are non-detectorist that hate the pennies as much as we do!!🤣
         A rough count puts it around 140 coins total! And I skipped alot of penny's, believe it or not!! So I'm "Tremendously Happy" with the 2 Silvers, and 3 older Wheats, over two days! They actually give me some hope for more now! Or maybe, those where the last two Silvers left in Florida!! So I can leave now!!🤣😂

    • By Joe D.
      The weather has been slightly cooler, and dryer here this week! (85 with about 75% humidity!) And my sore foot is manageable now! So yesterday morning I went on a sunrise beach hunt with the Nox, and 11" coil! Conditions were very sanded in, and I only found a few coins, a junk earring, and a lead weight; among the usual junk items! I didn't stay long, as I wanted to do a park hunt too, and not reinjure my foot!
          I didn't actually get to do the park hunt till about 4pm today! And decided to use the Vanquish and the V8 coil! I was really only wanting to dig some shallow recent drops of quarters and dimes, on the edges of the park's "weekend soccer field", in a small area, before dark! and avoid most of the trash that is there! It's not very groomed, and is full of short weeds and various grasses! When I drive by, I see the players and family's gather, like clockwork, every weekend! So there is generally a constant supply of easy clad to find, under the nearby trees, every few months! 
          Today was really no different than any other day I've been there, other than the detector and coil I used this time! I really enjoy the V8 coil for obvious reasons, and in no time I had a decent amount of clad! I had a few iffy targets that I kept track of,  and went back around to, after the initial run through! A few were mult-coin spills of a quarter or dime, mixed with some pennies, and maybe an additional quarter or dime! Those were found rechecking the hole, and I knew by the V8's response, that there were others nearby!
         One particular target gave me some aggravation, as it was under some weed block, and there was also a mat of small roots to dig thru! This was in a dug out area of one of those exercise stations! I initially got a very clipped "quarter" signal on my first pass, and came back to it later, when the quarter signals got to be fewer!
          So back to it a second time, and not wanting to dig a big hole, it took a while to locate some targets through the obstacles, and small hole! I knew I had some iron mixed in, when the first pinpoint was a rusty nail! These "targets" were roughly about 5 inches down, and being a "dugout" area, actually got me down about 10-12 inches below the sod area! So detect, dig, pinpoint, a few times, and finally locate the "Beautiful Sight" of my dodgy target! A Bright Smiling 1951 Silver Rosie! 😃 Very satisfying, as the only silver I've found here before, was a nice money clip, and some cheaper jewelry! The silver coins where "all" vacuumed up years ago, and any left have gotten deeper, or totally out of reach!!
         My main theory though, is that all the rusty nails had masked this one! And with my small V8 coil, and the added depth I was able to get, in this "low" spot! I found one of the few that were missed!
          When I got home and washed off my coins, and set them out to dry and examine! I got another nice little surprise, in the few pennies I picked up! A 1920 Wheatie  (And yes, looks like i nailed it!! 😔) That was probably even more rare here, as it predates the park by about 30 years! 
          So, nothing earth shattering by most of the standards of what you all find elsewhere! But for my area, and the start of detecting season here, this is about as good as it gets! Short of private permissions, which are hard to come by here!!
          The pictures include my previous day's beach finds in the upper right! All the crusty nails where around the immediate area of the Rosie! And the Wheatie is near the Rosie in the picture! I have no clue which hole that came from! That was just a bonus!!👍👍

    • By George1971
      Good morning, everyone I would like someone to explain how the iron volume exactly works on minelab Vanquish 540. I am using low iron bias and maximum iron volume and, in some coins, when I detect them, it is created a non-ferrous sound mixed with ferrous sound like when you are detecting trash. What am I doing wrong?

    • By Malcolm1984
      I’m completely new to metal detecting and the vanquish 540 is my first detector. I am hoping that someone can provide some advise on the random signals I am picking up. Whilst detecting in woodland I am frequently getting signals that range from 6 to sometimes as high as 39 in the exact same spot, when I dig it up most of the time it appears to be iron nails or other iron objects. I was expecting iron objects to show as a very low number or even minus figures. Has anyone else experienced very high numbers for iron and how do you know when something is worth digging? I have iron bias set to high so that should help but doesn’t seem to. I have found an old coin that showed a reading of 16 so it’s very confusing to know what to dig and what to leave. Thanks for any advise you can provide.
    • By mh9162013
      In tot lots, they seem to be the same to me in terms of being able to find the coins. The 540 is more pleasant to use though, in that it's lighter (I think...feels that way, at least) and a lot less noisy or chattery.
      In my soil (which ground balances anywhere from the upper 70s into the low 90s), they both seem to perform about the same, although the AT Max might have a slight edge. After doing some direct comparisons b/w the two in my yard, it seems like that at least 95% of the time, whatever one machine found, the other machine would have found it too. I did the comparisons with the 540 in custom mode where only targets hitting 20 or above would come through. With the AT Max, I was usually in custom mode where only targets hitting 70 or above would come through. I was often hunting with the AT Max at 3-5 sensitivity, but could go to 8 if I needed a better VDI read on a deeper target.
      One thing I really like about the AT Max over the 540 is the all metal mode. Because of my highly mineralized clay layer about 2-6 inches down in my soil, I know the 540 has a tendency to increase the VDI numbers of target sometimes. And in some cases, I think my 540 has flat out falsed, saying there was a quarter 10+ inches down when all that was there was clay. This was especially evident when the soil was wet. Given the 540's tendencies, I tend to ignore its iffy signals that are 10+ inches down, assuming it's either falsing on the clay or its reading foil or iron as a higher conducting target. But with the AT Max, I have the ability to check an iffy signal and see what happens when I try to detect it in all metal mode.
      During one of my digs today, I got an iffy signal with the AT Max saying I had a dime or quarter target about 8-10 inches down. The Max's VDIs were all over the place, but I was getting a consistent high tone in at least 1 direction. Then in all metal mode, it was clear I was getting a signal, and while jumpy, the VDIs would sometimes hit 90. With my 540, even on max sensitivity, it was an iffy signal, hitting in the mid 20s and sometimes upper 20s...and sometimes nothing at all. In the past, I would have ignored this signal thinking it was iron or foil that was deep and my 540's inability to ground balance was making it seem like a better target than it really was.
      I dug it, and it ended up being 2 clad quarters located just inside the layer of clay that lies beneath the upper layer of milder brown/black soil in my yard.
      Anyways, this is only a half-dozen hours of comparison b/w the 540 and my AT Max, but I think the AT Max is going to stay and the 540 is going to go. Another factor in this decision is that I found out my AT Max is a much older machine than I thought and that its 2 missing LCD segments on the screen can't be fixed under warranty. Finally, there's the fact that I still have the Vanquish 340.
      Thanks to many of you who humored me and provided advice and feedback on my observations and questions with the AT Max over the past week or so.
      Oh, and I found my first IHP today too, thanks to the AT Max. It was at least 8 inches down and around the clay layer . My 540 was able to pick it up from the surface, so I probably would have found it with my 540...probably.

  • Create New...