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Newbie.... Target ID For Galvanized Bolts, Nails Etc

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Im brand new to detecting and have the Nox 800.  I thought id do a test bed and search around home first before going out...Im having a issue trying to figure out what is what...I have a VID numbers list but not sure i see galvanized nails, bolts washers etc...  My readings are all over the place...so just started digging up yard 😂.  Tons of stainless steel nails (For siding i assume) as well..when i go over these targets in park 2, 15hz and multi i get readings of 24-30and they also jump all over...so I go into all metal mode...Then changes to mostly less than 0 #s as well the higher numbers...Ive also have gone 90 deg to targets as well and get same reading.  So getting a bit frustrating...  I have threshold at 0, sensitivity at 20 or less, 2 breaks less than 0 for ferrous (volume at lowest setting) and then above 0 for non ferrous, recovery speed at 2 ....is there just too much trash and am i better just to go to a park to learn?  there also seems to be a lot of black sands and small pebbles that are magnetized as well as a magnet picked up a lot..and my pinpointer was going off like crazy and i couldn't even find the target  I know Im all over place here but a little guidance would be much appreciated! thanks!

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  • Steve Herschbach changed the title to Newbie.... Target ID For Galvanized Bolts, Nails Etc

When I first got my 800 I thought I could just go out and find anything according to the numbers.

I had tried several different settings like you have and to my surprise found that the factory settings  worked the best.

In my yard I use Park 1, sense 18-20, and make sure that I have ground balanced and noise cancelled.

This took me a few days to learn to what I was hitting on as nails, foil, and aluminum have several different numbers that willl show up.

Take some coins, space them out in your yard, and go find them to see what their numbers are.

Good luck and don't get discouraged.

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If you are brand new to detecting, you are detecting in a ton of modern trash, AND you are using default Park 2........you are asking for trouble. Park 2 at sensitivity 20 (hopefully you are not using 50 tones!) is going to hear absolutely every iron or aluminum particle the size of a pin head that is within 3 " or your coil and will also detect any coin sized or bigger metal target down to around 12 "  I would be using default multi Park 1, sensitivity at 10 to 15 or until your Nox 800 is quiet, and use 5 tones or even 2 tones in your backyard or better yet in an area that doesn't have so much trash. That way, only fairly shallow 6" or less, quality targets will sound off and hopefully they will have the same beautiful two-way swing tones and only slightly jumpy numbers. 

Galvanized nails and other fairly modern steel have a zinc coating and other types of metal alloys mixed in. The Nox is accurately responding to those different metals in the steel and you will get numbers in the mid teens, 20s and even high 30s depending on the size and orientation to the coil. Anytime numbers and tones jump a lot on the Nox across tone breaks the target is usually trash, a corroded zinc penny or a coin spill. Using the horseshoe button like you described will let you know if the target has iron in it by giving very low tones and negative numbers like you experienced.

Practice in a low EMI area on gold and silver jewelry, every US coin you have, aluminum pull tabs, aluminum trash, bullets and shell casings, screw on and crown bottle caps, crushed aluminum cans and any type of iron targets you are likely to find, using Park 1 default and learn the tones and numbers. For the most part they will be the same numbers and tones for the other modes (except the Gold modes which are 1 tone).

good luck,


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Nothing can be more confusing and frustrating than what you're doing now.  Follow the advice of the guys above.  Don't mess with settings, that's just wrong, defaults are the settings the designers have worked out are the general settings that work well for most people in most situations, why mess with that when you have no idea what you're doing?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I've got hundreds of hours on my Nox 800 and I rarely change off default settings for anything other than sensitivity and I have no problems doing what I consider well on my Nox.

I now understand why the Vanquish is the beginners version of a Nox, it stops people messing with things.

If you follow the advice above I suspect you'll start to get the hang of things in short order and enjoy your detecting experience with some great finds, you've got the detector for the job.  Starting out sure isn't easy, so make it as easy as you can... Park 1, defaults, sensitivity suitable for the location, lower the better when learning, 15 to 18 would be a good starting point.

Factory reset your Nox and start again 🙂



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My opinion on this is that the nox800 is a little too complex for a beginner. There are too many settings and you can spend your life trying the hundreds of combinations between, reactivity , iron bias,  the 4 modes and so on … It took me several months to master this detector and I have been detecting since 1998 … Then I agree with the posts above , use the factory settings. Park1 is the best mode for starting with the Nox with only 5 tones and an high iron bias that filters the ferrous .

So use Park1 and reduce the sensitivity , thats all ( and do not modify the other settings )  … Never use your machine near your home because there is too much trash , this is too difficult for a beginner . Rather go in a field / wood away from the houses , then your machine will be much quieter and you will be able to start to learn your detector … Happy Hunting ...

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Simon has it correct, you have to crawl before you can walk. factory reset and find a nice quiet chunk of ground and learn what the nox is telling you. This means digging a lot of unwanted targets. Doing this will force you to learn that sometimes the numbers aren't always correct, it's a combination of numbers and sounds that you will learn over time. Most metals have many different alloys and will produce all kinds of numbers and tones. Over time you'll get the hang of it, and soon will be on your way to a very rewarding hobby. Don't get discouraged, and ask questions from the many more skilled people than me on this forum. You'll find your way in a few months, Good Luck

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The 800, although more complicated, offers you more flexibility over the 600.  That's a good thing even if you're a new owner.

Best way to start detecting your yard, without losing your mind, is in stages.  First detect and recover dimes and quarters. 

Set the detector to 5 tones.  On the 800 you can adjust the Tone Break.  When I'm out hunting for coins in a location that has a very large amount of targets, I extend my t3 Tone Break from 10-20 to 10-24 by using the + button.  I then go into the advanced Volume setting and lower the volume to 0 for t2 and t3, also lower the iron volume (t1) to 10.  Doing this will only allow iron (t1) and VID numbers 25 and up to generate a sound.  You'll also detect some copper pennies as well.  Most trash will also be ignored but not all...such as aluminum siding/flashing, copper piping.  

I prefer doing it this way rather than by manually discriminating individual VID numbers because IMO, it makes the target signals less clipped off sounding. 

After you clean out the copper pennies, dimes, quarters, aluminum and copper bits and maybe some silver...you can return the t3 tone break back to 10-20.  Next raise the volume of t3 (VID 10-20) back to 25.  Now you can clean out targets that were earlier ignored between 10 and 24...like nickles, zinc pennies, a lot of trash and maybe some jewelry.  

Once you've cleaned out those targets, raise the volume of t1 back up to 25 and detect everything left in the yard.   

Here's a link to the 800's manual so you can see how to access the advanced settings.  Page 50 explains how to adjust the tone break (do that first) and page 43 explains how to adjust tone volume.  

https://www.minelab.com/__files/f/414877/4901-0249-6 Inst. Manual, EQUINOX 600 800 EN WEB.pdf

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You're getting some good advice, but here is something to also watch out for -- ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI).  The way to figure out that is pretty easy, but you need to know the trick.  With your detector in it's normal orientation, set the detector coil flat on the ground and hold the detector still.  (You can even just lean it against your body.)  Make sure you've toggled the Horsehoe button so that the full TID range is showing (there is a speedometer arc that goes 3/4 of the way around the outside edge of the display -- you'll see as you toggle that the lower left part will disappear and reappear).  If your detector stays perfectly quiet for 30 seconds or so, then you're not picking up EMI.  If you hear intermittant noises and see target ID's flash onto the display then you are picking up EMI.  Read the manual on how to alleviate this, but with every detector ever made, turning down the gain is a foolproof method.

Fasteners -- like nails of all kinds, wood screws, drywall screws, machine screws -- are notorious for giving good TID's when in certain orientations.  The heads tend to look/act like a coin.  Usually the shank will give a very different TID than the head, for non-stainless steel typically in the iron range.  But sometimes (especially with roofing nails oriented vertically, due to their large heads) you will get such a good sound and consistent TID that you get fooled.  Happens to me quite frequently.  Even if only one nail in 20 sounds good, you'll end up digging a lot in a nail infested site.  Comes with the territory.


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WOW! thanks for all the advice!  Makes a lot of sense...Im going to reset and try as suggested. Its funny I also do astrophotography....8 years later still trying to get right!  So I will be patient...Love learning new stuff ...am printing all of this and will work at a quiet spot and gain some confidence with a variety of planted objects.  Thanks as well for the EMI info.. Thanks again for all your feedback!  

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