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X-terra S-shaft Modded For The Equinox


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On 6/8/2020 at 1:50 AM, Tom Slick said:

   I changed mine to an S rod. Having been a White's dealer in the past and using White's detectors for about 20 years, I had lots of White's parts laying around so that's how i went. I used the S rod from a MXT or DFX $19.50 if you buy new from White's. White's lower rods for my Nox coils $19.50 each. The Lower rods are required because the Nox rods are a little larger in diameter than the Whit'e Rod. It takes a little work but simple to do.
The white's S rod has two spring buttons on either side of the upper end. The Nox upper rod has a single hole on the bottom. You must drill a 1/4" hole on the bottom of the White's rod to match. Remove the spring clip from the White's rod, cut off one of the buttons and reinstall so it protrudes thru the new hole you drilled. The S rod is smaller in Diameter so you need to shim it. I cut a small piece from a plastic Folgers Coffee can LID that would make 1 layer around the S rod and you need to drill a hole in the shim for the spring button to go thru. Only thing else you need to do is mount the Nox coil to a White's lower rod.
I've been using this setup about 3 times a week for over two years and it's still rock solid. I think it swings much better as the detector doesn't try to twist at the end of each swing, and I don't thing it needs to be counter balanced like the straight shaft does. Folks buy a 3 pound detector and then add a one pound weight to hang off the back, just so it swings better. Crazy IMHO. Some photos. Last photo shows Fisher Arm cuff with Sheep Skin Cuff Muff, cool in the summer, warm in the winter. 1/2" ratchet extension for attaching large socket for counter balance (I don't use). I decided to try the counter weight idea as many folks like it. I had a hard time wanting to add weight to the detector. These pictures show the 1/2" ratchet extension and a large 16 oz socket as that's what most folks need to balance it out. With the S rod, I don't think it needs the counter weight at all.

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Hi Tom, does the Minelab coil fit on the Whites lower rods without modifications or shimming to prevent strain on the coil ears?  
 

I’d like to try a s bend on my 600 and like your solution and price point. Also seems more available and cheaper than Xterra parts at this time.  I’ve been wanting an extra middle and lower for my other coil anyway.

Also funny, for my counterbalance I also used a heavy impact socket.  My issue is shoulder joint pain.  The counter balance has not changed anything other than make it feel heavier and exacerbate the cuff slop issue I’m looking into as well.  

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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

I agree Tom. I think what GB is saying is we do not see a need for a counterweight with either rod running the 6” coil. Nor I for the 11” coil on the straight shaft for just the reason you mention. Ju

Steve, the weight is an axle socket that weighs about a pound. I can probably get away with a little less at the end of shaft as the coil “floated” a little too much there as compared to the same sock

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After being a dealer for a number of years and having bought and sold hundreds of detectors, I have amassed a large assortment of detecting parts and accessories. The White's lower rod attachment point is about .250 narrower than the Minelab clevis. I just used a couple of firm rubber washers to shim the White's clevis to fit the Minelab coils. I've had my Equinox and all three coils since they first became available and have yet to break a coil ear (knocking on wood). I've always been very careful with my detectors. I don't drop them on the ground like I see so many others do and I keep them clean. Fortunately I have lived in very dry environments so my detectors don't get exposed to mud. I'm super happy with my White's/Equinox "S" rod conversion and just don't understand anyone adding weight to their detector trying to make it swing better. Let me know if there's anything else I can help with on your mod. 

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Tom,

If some folks find that an S-shaft is easier to swing, I think that's great.  However, adding counterweight DOES make a nose-heavy machine "swing better," even though to some that seems somewhat "counter-intuitive."  

While an S-shaft might be preferred by some, that shaft design doesn't change the fact that a machine like the Equinox, which places relatively substantial weight at one end (the coil end), out at the end of a long "lever," and essentially no weight at the other end (the butt end) IS a nose-heavy unit, by definition.  That's just the physics of it.  Which exact groups of muscles you are using to overcome the nose-heaviness of the machine likely changes a bit, when using an S-shaft vs. a straight shaft, and so for some, it may be less difficult to swing a nose-heavy machine using an S-shaft, vs. a straight shaft.  But the bottom line is that if your machine is nose-heavy (and the Equinox is), then you have to fight the leverage exerted by the coil, if you are wanting to keep the coil floating above the ground.  And if the muscles you are using to fight that leverage are not sufficiently strong in order to do so without fatigue, then the machine will feel uncomfortable.  Again, the Equinox is imbalanced with EITHER shaft, that's just the physical facts based on the way the machine is designed.  And therefore, counterbalancing the shaft DOES make it more comfortable to swing.

Steve

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11 minutes ago, steveg said:

Tom,

If some folks find that an S-shaft is easier to swing, I think that's great.  However, adding counterweight DOES make a nose-heavy machine "swing better," even though to some that seems somewhat "counter-intuitive."  

While an S-shaft might be preferred by some, that shaft design doesn't change the fact that a machine like the Equinox, which places relatively substantial weight at one end (the coil end), out at the end of a long "lever," and essentially no weight at the other end (the butt end) IS a nose-heavy unit, by definition.  That's just the physics of it.  Which exact groups of muscles you are using to overcome the nose-heaviness of the machine likely changes a bit, when using an S-shaft vs. a straight shaft, and so for some, it may be less difficult to swing a nose-heavy machine using an S-shaft, vs. a straight shaft.  But the bottom line is that if your machine is nose-heavy (and the Equinox is), then you have to fight the leverage exerted by the coil, if you are wanting to keep the coil floating above the ground.  And if the muscles you are using to fight that leverage are not sufficiently strong in order to do so without fatigue, then the machine will feel uncomfortable.  Again, the Equinox is imbalanced with EITHER shaft, that's just the physical facts based on the way the machine is designed.  And therefore, counterbalancing the shaft DOES make it more comfortable to swing.

Steve

Steve, I think it may be true for some and not others. Also seems like there are different types of discomfort reported and I suspect people also have different physical specs which could be part of the equation. Hard to tell with the amount of info available. Some don’t even report the type of pain. 

Is it wrist, elbow, shoulder, somewhere in between?  

Are you tall, short, limb and torso proportions?

Do you need counterbalance, s-shaft, shoulder harness, some combination?  

I remember using my Seahunter on the beach that weighs over 5lbs and my arm muscles just being worn out from the weight!  But no shoulder joint pain. But it went away.

With the Equinox hunting on turf, I’ve developed a lot of shoulder/arm joint pain that is lingering. It is light and easy to swing. It can be swung pretty quickly because of recovery speed. I try to walk like my shoes are tied together and try to be meticulous about coverage but it is a lot of back and forth on that joint. I did not think it was so much weight as the stopping and reversing the coil. I’ve tried to counterbalance with a socket but it has not worked for me. Now I just have  lot of cuff slop I had to also address and a heavier feeling detector every time I pick up. I’ve also tried shortening my shaft and swinging closer to my feet.

I suspect the counterbalance might help folks with wrist pain or maybe arm or forearm pain. I’ve read that the s-shafts can help with end of swing wobble. I’m not sure that is something I notice but it is possible it could reduce or change how that impacts my shoulder joint. So that is what I would like to try next in addition to a more permanent solution to my sloppy cuff

I’m 5’11”, slender/lean build.  Longer legs than torso, longish arms just to throw that out there.  I won’t get into measuring my arm proportions but my point is folks will have different mechanical advantages and disadvantages.  I need to find what will work for me so I can keep swinging and the counterbalance has not been it.  The s-bend may not do it.  I may resort to just marking a few targets at a time and resting my arm more often from that motion while digging up targets.  


 


 

 

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Steve,

 I understand what you're saying about balance, but that extra weight has to be alleviated in some way and that is the fingers. With detectors being used at basically a 45 degree angle to the ground, and gravity always trying to push the detector towards the ground. What keeps the detector from dragging on the ground is the grip (fingers) wrapped around the handgrip. A person could tighten the arm cuff strap really tight, or tape the detector to their arm, bust most folks just grab the handgrip with their fingers. As an experiment, Put 3 pounds in a bucket, pickup the bucket and see how long you can hold it. Then try it with 4 pounds. Ok, wait a day so your arm can recuperate from the 3 pound test. Might be quicker to try 30 pounds and then 40 pounds. Either way, it's your fingers that keep the coil off the ground. 

I know that everyone doesn't necessarily like "S" rods. Same can be said about straight shafts, and straight shafts with extra weight added to their detectors. 

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nickeldNdimed --

A couple of things.  First of all, you are right that there are different types of pain experienced by some, versus others.  In addition, some users experience "fatigue" only, not really pain, and some experience no pain or fatigue at all.  If you are experiencing no fatigue or pain, then there's no reason to counterbalance.  Obviously, for that person, the muscular effort to keep the coil floating is not so great, that it "strains" the muscles.  But, if you are feeling fatigue, or pain, then it's quite likely due to the machine's imbalance.  There are few people that couldn't lift 3 pounds, and carry that 3 pounds a long distance, with little to no problem.  It is how the three pounds is DISTRIBUTED, and which muscles you are having to use, that matters.

You mentioned shortening your shaft.  That will definitely reduce nose-heaviness.  Again, that's just physics.  And yes, arm length, shaft length, height, etc. are "variables."  I consider all of those, when "fitting" a customer for counterweight.

You said counterweight did not help you, and that it just gave you a "heavier-feeling" machine.  My guess is that you were not using the right amount of weight.  If you put on some counterweight, and it's not enough to balance the shaft, then yes -- you have not solved the balance issue but instead you've just made the machine heavier, without the benefit of "balance."

With that said however, the pictures you showed do indicate that you "helped" the balance situation, in that the machine is "better balanced" in the picture where you have your weighting attached, versus the one without.  That would by definition mean you were exerting less "muscle effort" to keep the coil lifted off the ground with the counterweighted shaft, than you were with the un-weighted one.

In any case, there's no doubt that everyone is different, their physical capabilities are different, etc., but there's also no doubt that the Equinox is a nose-heavy machine, and that if you struggle with that nose-heaviness, counterbalancing will help...

If you struggle with other aspects of the machine's ergonomics, then that may be a different story.

Steve
 

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Tom,


I agree with you.  There are two things you need to be able to do, physically, to swing the Equinox.  One, as you said, you have to have the strength in your fingers/hand/arm to LIFT the machine, and KEEP it lifted, in the first place.  If you can't easily lift 3 pounds, and KEEP it lifted for several hours, then yes, detecting will not be comfortable.   And yes, if your main issue is that you struggle to lift the 3 pounds and carry it for several hours, then it will be even more difficult for you to lift and carry FOUR pounds.  So I agree with you there.

However, most folks I speak with have a consistent experience with the Equinox.  They say the machine feels "light" at first, but after several hours of swinging, they "feel it" in the wrist, forearm, etc.  Most of these users ALSO say that when swinging the 6" coil, the machine feels not only light AT FIRST, but that they can swing it all day, with no issues.  In other words, it REMAINS light.  But, they say, while even with the 11" coil the machine starts out feeling quite light, they become fatigued after a couple of hours, when swinging the 11", unlike when swinging the 6".

So, given that, let's consider this.  The 6" coil weighs about 10.6 oz.  The 11" weighs right around 19 oz.  So, by removing the 6" coil and adding the 11" coil, you are adding 8.4 oz. to the machine.  Adding 8 oz. is very unlikely, just from an "absolute weight" perspective, to be the "make or break" issue.  In other words, that 8 oz. of ABSOLUTE weight should not be enough to move the machine from the "I can swing it all day with no issues, it feels light as a feather" category, to the "after a couple of hours, I start feeling fatigued" category.  Said another way, it's not the "absolute weight" making most of that difference, it's the fact that you increased the nose-heaviness of the machine MUCH MORE SUBSTANTIALLY than just an 8 oz. addition of weight would otherwise suggest.  Why?  It's due to the physics/leverage arguments, of course.  Adding that 8 oz. at the "fulcrum" (i.e. the handle of the machine) would have MUCH less effect, than adding that same 8 oz. down at the end of a 3-foot long lever (the shaft).  Leverage, as we all know, multiplies the forces involved, substantially.  

So, to continue with the analogy, since adding 8 oz. of absolute weight to the machine when switching from the 6" to the 11" coil should not be a "deal breaker" in terms of comfort, adding 8 ounces of absolute weight to the machine (but as a counterweight, at the butt end of the machine) should ALSO not be a "deal-breaker."  Again, this is speaking from an "absolute weight" perspective.  However, when 8 oz. of weight is added in an EFFECTIVE location, relative to the coil, THEN that 8 oz. of counterweight can have a SUBSTANTIAL effect in balancing the machine, and thus making it counter-intuitively MORE comfortable to swing.  In fact, 8 oz. of counterweight is very close to being the amount needed -- when swinging the 11" coil -- to return the overall balance of the machine back to where it was when you were swinging the much lighter, 6" coil.  And therefore, for most people, adding 8 oz. of counterweight makes the machine SUBSTANTIALLY more comfortable to swing, with the 11" coil attached.  Again, it brings the "feel" of the machine back much closer to what it felt like, when swinging just the 6" coil.

I'd like to reiterate that I was not saying that simply switching to an S-shaft couldn't bring a bit more comfort, for some.  Switching to an S-shaft, you would definitely change, to some degree, which muscles are being used, and that might be at least a partial solution, for some.  My only argument is that the idea that adding counterweight "doesn't help" in making the machine "swing better" is not, in a large number of cases, a "true" statement.  Because, in fact, for many users, it in fact does...and there's science behind the reason that it does.

Steve

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2 hours ago, steveg said:

You said counterweight did not help you, and that it just gave you a "heavier-feeling" machine.  My guess is that you were not using the right amount of weight.  If you put on some counterweight, and it's not enough to balance the shaft, then yes -- you have not solved the balance issue but instead you've just made the machine heavier, without the benefit of "balance."

With that said however, the pictures you showed do indicate that you "helped" the balance situation, in that the machine is "better balanced" in the picture where you have your weighting attached, versus the one without.  That would by definition mean you were exerting less "muscle effort" to keep the coil lifted off the ground with the counterweighted shaft, than you were with the un-weighted one.
 

Steve, the weight is an axle socket that weighs about a pound. I can probably get away with a little less at the end of shaft as the coil “floated” a little too much there as compared to the same socket attached further forward under the cuff. 

Either way, the weight needed at point A to offset the coil increase weight at B is roughly double. All of that extra weight is felt at C. Which is all then felt through the arm at each joint as more weight.  
 

Intuitively I feel the counterbalance may help someone suffering from wrist, forearm, and maybe elbow pain trying to use those muscles to force the coil to be level at an unbalanced state.  I feel this is were your  counterbalance concept would help most.  I wish it worked for me. 

I feel that pain or discomfort further up the arm or shoulder may be more related to the angle the detector is being held.  Shortening the shaft helped bring my arm closer.  I think the s-bend will allow My arm to be closer to vertical while the S-bend effectively moves the coil forward again(and so perhaps would offset coil ears like the F75).  I feel more weight hanging off an aching shoulder joint with a closer to vertical arm would certainly not help regardless of balance.
 

That’s my theory anyway so wanting to try other solutions.  It may also prove ineffective for my issue.  I certainly don’t want to be tethered to a harness with a less than 3lb detector and wireless headphones. 

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S shaft puts the center of gravity towards the upper part of your hand and not on the lower part of your wrist. Balance is the next issue where a nose heavy detector will put the forces towards your elbow. Last is the angle of the grip where your hand should be in a relaxed position and still have control.

Be nice if someone made a universal adjustable shaft system.

 

 

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One of the main problems with the Equinox is the grip, more to the point your hand wanting to slip up the grip to the screen all the time.  Hence you tend to hold the grip quite tightly trying to prevent this from happening which can be tiring after a while.  In comparison the Simplex grip is more ergonomically correct with the notch below the screen preventing hand slippage resulting in a much more relaxed hand grip. 

I do see a lot of people with lower shafts near fully extended when it is maybe not so necessary (depending on how tall you are), personally I prefer a shortened shaft closer to my feet vs being extended out a fair way from my body.  If I can get a detector to effectively hang off my arm using the cuff strap and with the grip loosely held, then I know it can be swung comfortably - essentially an extension of my arm.  Same for the Deus S-stem, the balance and lack of weight is so good that I never need to run with a cuff strap - in fact it being a bit nose heavy tends to work in its favour.  The pivot point transfers the weight to the forearm via the cuff, and the grip only needs a moderately tight hand to keep it in check.  I guess that is why I still prefer s-bend shafts that have the main shaft in-line with your arm - most the detector weight/swing is controlled through the stronger muscles in your upper arm and shoulder vs relying on the hand/wrist. 

As for counter-balances, the jury is still out for me on adding extra weight for balance vs total swung weight.  Much like some saying that the CTX is perfectly balanced, though there is still a fair chunk of weight to swing/control for extended periods.

What Minelab should have offered is a universal control box with either an optional straight or S-stem shaft, similar to that provided with the Vanquish.  Though it is pretty hard to please all involved with so many personal preferences, having such options available should appeal to a wider user base.

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