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The waterproof pulse induction field is very limited at this time. It divides into two classes. Pulse induction metal detectors that ground balance, and those that do not.

A pulse induction (PI) detector by its nature tends to ignore mineralization, so much so that in milder conditions a PI works fine without a ground balance circuit. As I noted above however a PI is not immune to mineralization. A non-ground balancing PI detector will sound off when raised and lowered over true black sands. The more concentrated the magnetite, the more intense these signals will be. The bottom line is that on real bad black sand beaches even a basic pulse induction will sound off if the coil height is varied too rapidly over the beach. In the water with troughs and depressions false signals are all but impossible to avoid. The most extreme situations require a ground balancing pulse induction (GBPI) metal detector.

  1. Pure white non-magnetic coral beaches - most any detector will work well
  2. Even a hint of mineralization - a multifrequency detector has an edge over single frequency VLF where there are both saltwater and magnetic minerals.
  3. Moderate mineralization - you want multifrequency or pulse induction.
  4. Severe mineralization - at some point a ground balancing PI (GBPI) is required.

The above conditions grade from one into the other seamlessly. Hot rocks are a wild card as hot rocks in a normally mild beach can cause false signals on a PI detector that lacks ground balancing capability.

Finally, I should note that PI detectors with ground balancing capability have a crude sort of tone discrimination that can be used to advantage.

fully-submersible-waterproof-underwater-metal-detectors-pulse-induction-pi.jpg
Fully submersible pulse induction metal detectors

Here are the current mainline waterproof PI detector offerings:

Bounty Hunter - no PI
Garrett - Sea Hunter Mark II (PI) and ATX (GBPI)
Fisher - Impulse AQ
Minelab - SDC 2300 (GBPI)
Nokta/Makro - no PI
Teknetics - no PI
Tesoro - Sand Shark (PI) (Discontinued)
White's - Surfmaster Dual Field (PI) and TDI BeachHunter (GBPI)
XP - No PI

Finally, here are the key specifications for comparison:

waterproof-pulse-induction-pi-metal-detector-comparison-chart-2020.jpg
Fully submersible pulse induction metal detectors

fisher-impulse-aq-discriminating-pulse-induction-jewelry-metal-detector.jpg

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Some short personal opinions:

Garrett Sea Hunter Mark II - Well proven detector waterproof to 250 feet, optional coils, killer price. It is on the heavy side but it can be hip mounted. The only real downside is that as a non-ground balancing PI it can react to black sands and hot rocks. But for normal beach detecting I'd recommend the Sea Hunter for somebody wanting a non-ground balancing PI. It's a real bargain at $649 and with interchangeable coils.

Garrett ATX - Ground balancing PI in industrial strength housing. White's TDI Beachhunter has a saltwater beach edge with it's "ground balance off" setting. ATX is the better of the two if ground balance is engaged. The ATX is a dual channel PI whereas the TDI is a single channel PI, which means there is a huge "hole" near the ground balance setting where gold in the 1/4 ounce range is very weak. This also means the ATX is the better prospecting machine. The ATX is expensive, heavy, and suffers from coil cable and rod issues with exposure to sand and saltwater. I did well with the ATX on the beach but that was before the TDI Beachhunter came out. I'd now recommend the TDI instead unless you really needed the coil options.

Fisher Impulse AQ - New model promises light weight and superior performance with ground balance on or off. All is speculation until more is known, but unless you need a waterproof PI detector right now, wait a bit for this one.

Minelab SDC 2300 - Looks good on paper. Extremely sensitive to small items for a PI, and therefore superb on small gold nuggets. But in water it floats like a cork, and it is very expensive. Waterproof integrity is worrisome for such an expensive detector. The hardwired 8" mono limits ground coverage on large beaches. As a result you won't see many of these at the beach.

Tesoro Sand Shark - Was not a bad unit but with Tesoro out of business - stay away.

White's Surfmaster Dual Field - Excellent non-ground balancing PI, solid performer, easy to operate. A lighter weight alternative to the Sea Hunter above, but also more expensive and with a hardwired coil. Note that the Surfmaster does have twice the warranty of the Sea Hunter.

White's TDI BeachHunter - Good performance in ground balance off mode, top notch if battery replaced with higher voltage option (see White's Forum). Good ground balance option but does have a weakness on certain heavy gold rings. The weakness goes away in the ground balance is turned off. For $1199 this is really the only decent proven option in a waterproof ground balancing PI at the moment until more is known about the Impulse AQ.

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The Garrett Infinium is the less powerful predecessor to the ATX. But at least it is in a lighter package with coils not priced to the moon. It is also one of the least reliable metal detectors I ever owned, both for coil and control box failures. I owned at least six Infiniums personally and for my pay-to-mine operation, and I don't recall even one that did not eventually fail and have to be returned to Garrett. Great little detector actually and I did very well with mine, but I'd be shy of a used one simply because of my bad luck with the reliability.

The Infinium has no "ground balance off" setting and is always in ground balance mode. The TDI has a very distinct advantage there.

garrett-infinium-ls-pulse-induction-diving-metal-detector.jpg

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1 hour ago, Steve Herschbach said:

The Garrett Infinium is the less powerful predecessor to the ATX. But at least it is in a lighter package with coils not priced to the moon. It is also one of the least reliable metal detectors I ever owned, both for coil and control box failures. I owned at least six Infiniums personally and for my pay-to-mine operation, and I don't recall even one that did not eventually fail and have to be returned to Garrett. Great little detector actually and I did very well with mine, but I'd be shy of a used one simply because of my bad luck with the reliability.

I won't hip mount it anymore   because of all the coil  problems it had when I did  in water.

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On 6/2/2020 at 3:40 AM, Dances With Doves said:

 How would you compare the beach tdi with the infinium for depth?

I have used both units....From my in ground tests and records, the TDIBH is clearly superior in depth. A 12” target seen by the Infinium will be seen at 15” with the TDIBH running the higher voltage pack. The stock TDIBH battery will still have a clear advantage over the Infinium. I used to also run a Garrett Sea Hunter MK2 and it pipped the Infinium in depth......straight PI over the GBPI won out (in white coral sands).

Currently......the TDIBH @ 14.4v is as deep as you will get from any detector (for typical beach hunting) including any PI from Minelab. I don’t have to deal with any magnetic black sands locally. I’d like to test out the TDIBH in true black sands with GB on.

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I’ve always wondered why the PIs have to be so heavy!

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Usually it has been because they have been made for scuba diving depths, and so required very heavy housings. There have been very light weight PI detectors designed, like the DetectorPro Headhunter Pulse (no longer made). It’s not that hard if you are designing a lower power PI, and in fact we have had PI pinpointers for many years. The Headhunter started as a headphone based pinpointer design.

High power PI units rely on very powerful batteries, so that’s been the other issue. Most Minelab PI detectors use a separate belt mounted battery the size of a brick. Getting powerful batteries that are safe and reliable for underwater use has been a major challenge, and one not really solved to anyone’s satisfaction yet.

detectorpro-headhunter-pulse-metal-detector.jpg
DetectorPro Headhunter Pulse

Operating Search Frequency: Pulse Induction
Searchcoil: 11“ Round, Open-Center
Audio Frequency: Adjustable
Headphone Transducer: Piezo Electric
Search Mode: Slow Motion All-Metal
Operating Environments: Salt water, Fresh water
Submersible: Waterproof to 6 feet
Length: Wading Configuration: 43 to 53“
Weight w/Batteries: 3.5 Pounds
Batteries: Two (2) 9V
Life: 6-10 hours
Warranty: 2 Years

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      In outward appearance the Makro Gold Racer resembles its immediate predecessor, the Makro Racer, but this really is a new detector, not just a Racer running at a higher frequency. Feedback on the original Racer has been incorporated as well as extensive testing and commentary from prospectors around the world. Besides the obvious color difference, major physical changes include completely redesigning the layout of the LCD display to better differentiate what are all metal functions and what are discrimination functions. All metal functions are on the left, and discrimination functions are on the right. I think the new display is more intuitive and better accommodates the extra functions implemented on the Gold Racer.

      The angle of the bend in the S rod handle grip has been relaxed based on feedback from Racer owners. The vibration mode was eliminated, shaving a tiny amount of weight and freeing up room on the display menu. The Gold Racer with stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil and NiMH batteries installed weighs in on my postal scales at exactly three pounds.

      Coils available at launch are the 10” x 5.5” DD that is stock on the detector. Optional coils include a 10” x 5.5” concentric coil, 5” round DD coil, and a light weight 15.5” x 13” DD coil.

      Makro Gold Racer with 5" round DD coil
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      All Metal is the heart and soul of nugget detecting, and the Makro Gold Racer has an extremely powerful, smooth, and sensitive threshold based all metal mode. The Sensitivity setting is familiar to anyone who has used a metal detector, except that there are three base levels of sensitivity or gain. Significant boosts occur between 39 - 40 and again between 69 - 70. Most detectors max out at what is a setting of 69 on the Gold Racer. Settings of 70 and above are a type of hyper gain setting that takes the machine above and beyond, but in extreme ground overload signals may occur. Overload signals are indicated by a “warning siren” audio and the machine is telling you that there is either a large metal object under the coil, or that you are encountering extreme mineralization. In the case of mineralization, either raise the coil slightly while scanning, lower the sensitivity setting, or both. Overloads occurring at 70 will almost always be eliminated by dropping to 69.

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      Makro Gold Racer - clear, bold display
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      Conversely, lowering the Tone Break setting would create a more conservative approach for nugget detecting by accepting a little more ferrous digging in return for possibly finding another nugget or two.

      The Sensitivity control on the Disc menu is the same as but independent of the All Metal setting of the same name. ID Filter is a variable discrimination control, with higher settings eliminating or blanking out id numbers lower than the current setting. This setting is independent for each Disc mode, and again flipping back and forth can create some interesting scenarios for comparing targets at completely different sensitivity and ID Filter levels. This quick mode switching between All Metal, Disc1, and Disc2, all with independent settings, is a very powerful tool once you get used to it.

      Also new with the Gold Racer is the iMask setting. I noted at the start of this review that all metal detector designs involve making trades of some sort. Extreme high frequency sensitivity to small metal targets does increase chatty false responses in extreme ground when in the discrimination modes. iMask attenuates or suppresses weaker target responses in the discrimination modes and provides a secondary level of adjustment separate from and in addition to the Sensitivity and ID Filter settings. If the detector is producing lots of quick, spurious signals in the discrimination modes, reducing sensitivity or increasing ID Filter settings or both is the first line of attack. If this does not work, go back to the original settings on those functions, and try increasing the iMask setting. If this does not work, again lower sensitivity or increase the ID Filter or both on top of the current iMask setting. iMask acts as a pre-filter giving an extra level of control to help deal with extremely bad ground conditions. Finally, Disc1 is a less aggressive mode than Disc2, so using Disc1 offers even another level of possible options when dealing with bad ground in the discrimination modes.

      The Backlight setting is independent for the discrimination modes, as is the Factory Default/Save Settings function. I think it goes without saying that there has never been a high frequency metal detector ever produced with this level of options and control. There are a lot of variables to play with here, and I would not be truthful at all if I said I have this machine all figured out. In fact, I think part of the fun with the Makro Gold Racer is we are entering uncharted territory. Until the final version of the machine is released, and until quite a few people get their hands on it and experiment, it is very difficult to say just what applications creative detectorists may find for the Gold Racer. It is a very powerful VLF gold prospecting detector, I can vouch for that. Applications also may be found for jewelry detecting and relic hunting in particular, and even coin detecting, due to the unique combination of features the Makro Gold Racer offers.

      OK, finally – some notes on real world use! Again, this is all based on prototype models and so I can only speak in generalities for this report. However, there is no doubt in my mind that even the prototype detectors rival anything currently available in a VLF detector for finding tiny gold nuggets. I can easily locate flakes of gold weighing under one tenth grain with the Gold Racer and the stock 10” x 5.5” DD coil. In fact, the machine is so hot with the stock coil I thought using a smaller coil offered minimal if any benefit, mostly because of lost ground coverage and possibly lost depth on larger nuggets. I would only use the smaller coil myself for nooks and crannies where the stock coil can’t fit, but otherwise the stock coil really is the way to go in my opinion. Keep in mind I did say grain not gram. There are 480 grains per Troy ounce and in my opinion I can find flakes all day long with the Gold Racer that weigh less than 1/10th grain, or less than 1/4800th ounce.

      Smallest nugget unweighable, largest 2.4 grams
      In trashy locations I generally preferred running in all metal and just checking the meter for ferrous targets, which tend to lock in hard at 21 or 22 on the numbers. In theory anything under 40 is ferrous, but to be safe I might investigate items as low as 35 or even 30 depending on the situation and amount of trash. However, as I noted most ferrous locks in hard around 20 leaving no doubt what the target is. In All Metal mode very tiny or very deep targets beyond discrimination range give no target id at all, automatically meaning they need investigation. The main reason I prefer to always hunt in All metal is the extra depth and sensitivity it affords, and checking targets visually is very quick and more efficient than toggling back and forth to a Disc mode under normal circumstances.

      For areas with too much trash where meter watching might get to be a bit too much, I normally use one of the disc modes set for two tone ferrous/non-ferrous. Iron targets just burp away, while non-ferrous target pop out with a beep. If even that got to be too much for some people, increasing the ID Filter to eliminate most ferrous responses completely can make for a quieter experience in really trashy locations. As always, I must include the warning that the more discrimination applied, the more risk of missing a good target. Use no more discrimination than needed to preserve your sanity!

      I used the Gold Racer to hunt a couple trashy areas where I just could not go with my big dollar all metal machine, and easily located nuggets in the midst of trash. For me personally the Makro Gold Racer fills in two areas where the high price big gun detectors come up short. The ability to find the tiniest, most dispersed gold possible, both in flake form or enclosed in specimen rock. And the ability to deal with really trashy areas where good discrimination is needed.

      Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was when I decided to give the 15.5” x 13” DD coil a try. Honestly, I did not expect much from it. You normally do not see a coil this large for high frequency machines because the ground feedback usually overwhelms them, negating any gains that can be had regarding depth. Instead, the Gold Racer seemed to be even better behaved with the larger coil than with the smaller coils. I hunted some cobble piles with it and it ran smooth as can be at higher sensitivity levels. I then wandered into some moderately hot ground with it, still with no problems, and was actually surprised when I came up with a couple small gold nuggets with it. The first was only 0.8 grams which I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put a little more effort into it, and found a 0.3 gram nugget. With a 15.5” x 13” DD coil on a VLF? That is really kind of unheard of, and I was thoroughly impressed. I am not sure what is going on there but I do know the Makro detectors can sense what coil is on the detector. Something different going on with that big coil? I don’t know, but the results and performance surprised me. Also surprising was that for such a large coil it actually was not bad swinging it for half a day. That could be from my using large, heavy detectors all summer however. Still, it was an eye opener all around and changed how I think my Gold Racer might get used in the future. It looks to have more use for covering very large areas blue sky prospecting than I would have imagined. This coil with scuff cover weighs 1 lb 11 oz (766 grams) as weighed on my postal scales.

      Makro Gold Racer with GR40 15.5" x 13" coil
      I would be remiss if I did not include at least a note on the versatility possible with the Gold Racer. I recently took it to a local park. Now, my ground in Reno is screaming hot, full of magnetite. The mineral percentage graph on the Gold Racer and similar machines all come up one bar short of maxed, and ground balance numbers run around 88-90. A magnet dropped in this stuff comes up with a lump of magnetite. As a result getting accurate target id numbers with even the best coin detectors past 5” is a chore. I know that sounds crazy but it is the truth. I ran the 5” DD coil and even then had to back the sensitivity down to 69 to prevent overloads in the worst areas.

      One thing about the Racer detectors that I have heard people complain about, and that is that they tend to up average target numbers in bad soil. For me this is a good thing. Many detectors will see target id number average lower in bad ground, and so fringe targets are more likely to get identified as ferrous when they are in reality non-ferrous. This is obviously not a good thing for nugget detecting. The Racer and the Gold Racer both tend to up average, and so targets like lead sinkers or aluminum that you would expect to give lower numbers often give coin like responses with the Racers. It is odd to see in practice. I got a good high signal reading near 80 at about 5” that when dug up turned out to be a common round lead fishing sinker. Out of the hole the target id promptly dropped to about 45. This effect whether by design or by accident is common with European detectors. I think it is by design because first and foremost these machines are made to pull non-ferrous targets out of ferrous trash. Improperly identifying a non-ferrous item as ferrous is the worst possible result, and so up averaging helps insure that non-ferrous items will not be missed. However, it also means these types of detectors are not as efficient at cherry picking coins as common coin detectors are. You get the coins for sure, but you dig more trash doing it.

      Still, I experimented a few hours and if you are content to live with the limitation I just described you can actually make some good finds with the Gold Racer under almost any conditions. The ID Filter works very well, and by just running it all the way to 79 it was easy for me to cherry pick a few coins though larger aluminum items like screw caps or big pull tabs often came up in the 80s also. I do think this is a result dependent on ground conditions to some degree, but really the Gold Racer is best suited for people like me who want to recover all non-ferrous targets. I prefer to hunt jewelry rather than coins myself, as one gold ring makes up for a pile of coins. And to hunt jewelry you have to dig aluminum, no two ways about that. The Gold Racer will suit me well hunting jewelry, especially micro jewelry like ear rings and fine chains.

      This report is very long, and yet I really am just skimming over the features and possibilities inherent in the Makro Gold Racer. I will close by once again noting that while everything regarding the Gold Racer is pretty much set in stone at this point, last second changes are possible. Look for more soon when the factory production models hit the street. I also get frustrated when people want information on new units, but then turn right around and characterize reports trying to provide that information as hype or a sales pitch. I have tried my best here to just present what facts I can without leading anyone to think that the Gold Racer is anything other than what it is. And that, in my opinion, is a very interesting, unique, and capable metal detector. I look forward to hearing for myself in the future what people think about it and the applications and tricks they come up with, because you pretty much need to toss anything you think you know out the door when approaching this machine.

      Many thanks to the folks at Makro and in particular Dilek Gonulay for providing me with the opportunity to be one of the first to use the Gold Racer. I admit that VLF detectors were beginning to bore me, and the Gold Racer has reignited my interest in seeing what they can do for me.

      Specifications and details on the Makro Gold Racer
      Disclosure Statement
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      so quite cheap ,almost the price of a coil ... My plan was to do some tests with the 340 and resell it later ..
      A few days ago I did my usual static depth tests. See pics below. I could see that the 340 had the same depth 
      than the 540 V10 , either on a big coin at 11inches or a small coin at 6inches, so very good news for the 340. 
      I could also check that the 340 is as sensible as the 540 V10  on tiny targets lying on the surface like small
      hammered coins , good news again ..
      So today I went to an open field cultivated with wheat. Sandy low mineralized soil. Low to medium iron trash.
      Actually the conditions were not ideal because the field has not yet been ploughed and I had to sweep the coil 
      3 or 4 inches above the ground because of the cut wheat. I found many targets , mainly 1st WW rubbish... 
      Among that stuff I could find 2 coins , a 16th century copper coin and a tiny roman bronze coin .. 
      Very happy with these 2 coins 🙂, the copper coin displayed 15 id and the roman coin 11 id . 
      The 340 is very accurate and deep, the same as the 540 V10 actually , I did not see any difference in the field, 
      the only thing there are only 3 tones for the 340 instead of 5 for the 540. Iron separation is the same between the 340
      and the 540. The V10 coil is excellent for coin shooting , and very light .. 
      The only limitation I see for the 340 , the same as the 540 and other multifreqs MLs , are high iron trash areas , 
      so the 340 is a little too chatty and slow on these areas . And unfortunately there is no dedicated "FA" ( fast ) mode 
      like on the Teknetics T2 ... On such iron trashed areas I prefer to use my Deus .
      So if you dont need wireless and backlight and you detect on low/medium iron trashed areas , 
      the Vanquisg 340 offers a great performance for a very limited budget. Even experienced users will be happy with it ...
      I was thinking of reselling it but eventually I will keep my 340 for the moment .. 🙂 


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