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Another Nox Ground Balance Question


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18 hours ago, 57buick said:

Ive read hundreds of posts about ground balance but what I want to get clarification on from Steve or somebody is this.

When you say you mostly manual ground balance do you mean you just start at zero setting and just raise the number up till its stable? Am I understanding that correctly?

Also, Am I right in thinking zero is the best depth in general an the more you have to raise it the less depth you theoretically get?

The best depth you can achieve with your Nox with respect to ground balance is when you’ve normalized your machine to the ground minerals in the area you’re detecting at. Whether that be at a value of -3 or 78, etc.....it depends on the minerals in the ground.

I don’t like to do a completely “manual” ground balance...I prefer holding in the accept/reject button while pumping my coil up and down a few times (in an area of ground that is free of any ferrous/non-ferrous targets), and letting the machine arrive at a ground balance value after it has normalized the ground with the air.

I also think it is more beneficial to “not” leave your machine in “auto-track” mode when you detect in highly trashy turf.....with auto tracking on, your machine will be trying to normalize the ground while the coil may be over a conductive target.

I don’t use my Nox at the beach, so I can’t tell you if auto-tracking ground balance would be beneficial in that environment, but I’ve read it can be...with varying amounts of black sand at specific beaches

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4 hours ago, Raphis said:

The best depth you can achieve with your Nox with respect to ground balance is when you’ve normalized your machine to the ground minerals in the area you’re detecting at. Whether that be at a value of -3 or 78, etc.....it depends on the minerals in the ground.

I don’t like to do a completely “manual” ground balance...I prefer holding in the accept/reject button while pumping my coil up and down a few times (in an area of ground that is free of any ferrous/non-ferrous targets), and letting the machine arrive at a ground balance value after it has normalized the ground with the air.

I also think it is more beneficial to “not” leave your machine in “auto-track” mode when you detect in highly trashy turf.....with auto tracking on, your machine will be trying to normalize the ground while the coil may be over a conductive target.

I don’t use my Nox at the beach, so I can’t tell you if auto-tracking ground balance would be beneficial in that environment, but I’ve read it can be...with varying amounts of black sand at specific beaches

Yea there is at least a couple  spots I still detect occasionally that you cant find a clear piece of ground to do a ground balance. I guess thats part of why I asked the original question about doing a manual balance. And I think your right in those situations I'm worried that Im not getting an optimal ground balance.

Which is why I was trying to understand the "theoretical" part of ground balancing so I could better understand how to compensate.

I understand that doing a balance for the ground your on will give you the best balance and thus depth in that situation. But does say -3 or 78 have any "theoretical" effect on depth or something. Im totally overthinking it im sure. I ask stupid questions like this with everything I do lol probably to make myself try to think outside the box or see if there is a  different perspective to look at my process of things.

 

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21 minutes ago, 57buick said:

I understand that doing a balance for the ground your on will give you the best balance and thus depth in that situation. But does say -3 or 78 have any "theoretical" effect on depth or something? Im totally overthinking it im sure.

There are no stupid questions...only stupid people who don’t ask for help because they think they know it all already 😂

I think the ground balance numbers are simply telling you the level of mineralization in the ground (i.e. how hot the ground is).  Higher numbers are an indication of higher levels of mineralized ground...In my areas I detect, I’ve only seen a max ground balance value in the 20’s....but I’ve seen other YouTube videos where a Nox’s ground balance number was in the high 70’s.....In other words, you shouldn’t decide what ground balance number your Nox wants to be at for the given ground you’re swinging on...the machine should decide the proper ground balance for you to get the best depth and less falsing of signals in the ground....

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1 hour ago, 57buick said:

Yea there is at least a couple  spots I still detect occasionally that you cant find a clear piece of ground to do a ground balance. I guess thats part of why I asked the original question about doing a manual balance. And I think your right in those situations I'm worried that Im not getting an optimal ground balance.

Regarding your inability to find a clear spot to GB - what may be happening (especially if you are searching for a "clean" spot using no discrimination (i.e., horseshoe mode)) is the detector is reacting to mineralization ground feedback as opposed to actual ground targets.  Try this next time you are having trouble finding "clean" ground to GB - use the pinpoint mode find a clear patch.  Pinpoint mode is a non-motion mode and is also not subject to reacting to ground mineralization.  If pinpoint mode does not sound off then there is no target under your coil to interfere with getting a sat GB.

1 hour ago, 57buick said:

understand that doing a balance for the ground your on will give you the best balance and thus depth in that situation. But does say -3 or 78 have any "theoretical" effect on depth

Again, GB is not so much about depth as it is about reducing ground feedback noise that can interfere with getting a clear target signal especially if that signal is a lower conductor or deep target that can appear to be ferrous.  Sat GB tends to clear up those iffy signals.  On the other hand, especially in multifrequency, the Equinox is very forgiving of a less than perfect ground balance, so don't sweat it too much.  But if you are experiencing ground noise or you are at a site that is subject to ground phase variations, periodically check your GB or use tracking mode.  Unless you are looking for micro jewelry or small natural gold, tracking will not typicially null out a keeper target.  Don't use tracking unless you have to though and be sure to do a GB first before you put it in tracking to get tracking "in the ballpark".  If there is not enough of a change in mineralization to trigger a rebalance, then tracking can do more harm than good, so just ground balance once and be done with it.  Similarly, if your ground phase is taking "wild" swings, your best bet might be to just periodically do an auto ground balance because tracking reacts rather slowly (in order to not over compensate and cause target nulling during target interrogation) and may not be keeping up with severe changes in ground phase.

37 minutes ago, Raphis said:

I think the ground balance numbers are simply telling you the level of mineralization in the ground (i.e. how hot the ground is).  Higher numbers are an indication of higher levels of mineralized ground...

The numbers don't necessarily directly correlate to the level of mineralization in the ground.  There are several soil properties that can affect the ground phase reading including mineralization (attributed mostly to magnetite and to a lesser extent, maghemite) and alkalai salt content.  But other consituents such as moisture content can also affect the ground balance point.  The only way to tell if mineralization is driving the ground balance point is to have a separate mineralization meter which the Equinox lacks (although it does measure mineralization because that is what it uses to trigger its tracking ground balance algorithm, it just doesn't display mineralization level to the user).    Also, beware, that each mode responds to the ground differently due to the differing Multi IQ frequency profiles.  On the same patch of ground you may get a 30 with Park 1 and 55 with Park 2.  So the numbers are just giving you a visual reference for how close the detector is to being balanced and the relative variation from the default neutral ground reference point of "0".  This is also the reason why you need to balance each mode separately if you intend to use more than one mode at the site (for example searching in Park 1 and interrogating the target in Field 2 or Gold mode to see how the target ID and audio ID tone respond).  Generally, at the beach, keeping the GB at the "0" default is fine, even in wet salt sand.  But if you are in the surf with varying levels of salinity or the wet sand is showing signs of variable black sand mineralization (or the mineralization overload warning shows on the display), shifting to tracking GB is a best practice as recommended by the manual.

Hope all this doesn't make you over think it even more.  In practice, just get a sat ground balance (use pinpoint to find a target-free patch) and swing away.  Periodically check the detector response using the horseshoe mode (no discrimination) and if you are getting a lot of ground feedback in form of ferrous grunts and -9, -8 target ID numbers, then re-balance the detector.  HTH.

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thanks, yea I never thought of using the pinpoint mode like that. But yea this is  a particular park that had multiple schools on it in the past and large areas are just solid nails and you can hear every one of them every 3 inches lol

But I have still managed to pick out a couple gold rings there so I will continue to experiment

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12 hours ago, Chase Goldman said:

In practice, just get a sat ground balance (use pinpoint to find a target-free patch) and swing away.  Periodically check the detector response using the horseshoe mode (no discrimination) and if you are getting a lot of ground feedback in form of ferrous grunts and -9, -8 target ID numbers, then re-balance the detector.

It's even easier when hunting with discrimination 'off' -- what I like to call 'wide open'.  (Horseshoe button is a toggle so I don't know what it means when someone says horseshoe 'on' and horseshoe 'off'.  Some people mean one thing and other people the opposeite?  I do notice that when the detectors turns on it defaults to discrimination 'on'.  I wish it would remember the setting when the detector was last on, but after getting burned enough times I've learned to immediately turn it off.)

Anyway, back on topic.  If not notching out any digital TID segments, the detector tells me with grunts as I swing if ground balance is off too much.  (Here I'm talking about when running multi-frequency.  I hardly ever run single frequency so don't know about this 'property' with those settings.)  Yes, sometimes iron objects in the ground (typically nails) also grunt, but if I'm not sure which it is I just pump the coil up and down in a few different spots.  If GB is off I hear the ground while pumping, telling me it's time to rebalance.  The advantage going this route is that I don't have to change any settings (hit any buttons) until I've determined that GB is off.  Also, pretty sure if the ground balance is off but not terribly so -- in my moderate mineralization soils anyway -- I don't see the far negative numbers on the screen even when I can hear the ground.  (100% full disclosure, though, since I hunt by ear until I find a target I want to interrogate, those numbers may be showing up and I just don't notice....)  Bottom line:  if not discriminating, let your ear signal a ground-balance-off warning.

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13 hours ago, Chase Goldman said:

Pinpoint mode is a non-motion mode and is also not subject to reacting to ground mineralization.  If pinpoint mode does not sound off then there is no target under your coil to interfere with getting a sat GB.

Not to confuse things but I am confused. Pinpoint mode on the Equinox is definitely a non motion mode but it IS subject to reacting to ground mineralization. Once the pinpoint button is pressed to enter pinpoint mode any discrimination pattern  being used is removed and all detectable targets under the coil are detected. So, the ground and its mineralization become a target and from my experience any target response is also momentarily amplified. I experience this everyday when I am detecting. If my ground balance is a little off, using the pinpoint mode creates quite a bit of ground feedback and creates even more unwanted noise while trying to pinpoint say a coin at 4" which normally is a fairly small sounding target in pinpoint mode. It becomes much larger or is just swallowed up in the ground noise if my ground balance is appreciably off while using the pinpoint mode.

Jeff

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Jeff is correct to call me out on my imprecise language (should have said “not AS subject to reacting  to ground mineralization).  Pinpoint  does react to ground mineralization (though in my experience not in the same way as it responds to targets) so my suggestion previously to use pinpoint to differentiate between target response and ground feedback is a YMMV thing depending on how much mineralization you are dealing with.  Should work for most “out of balance” situations, though.

To recap, I get a lot of reports that people can’t find a clean spot to ground balance. And what I have found is that folks are often reacting to ground feedback noise (with disc off) vs. a true carpet of targets situation.  In that case switching to pinpoint can aid in finding that “clear patch” of ground to pump the coil. The non-motion aspect and desensitizing action of the pinpoint feature helps trace and shrink the target footprint (unless that target footprint is indeed large) and minimize mineralization feedback to manageable points so you can adequately find a clean enough spot to pump the coil.  Pinpoint reacting to mineralization is typically not as repeatable as a true target under the coil. I personally don’t sweat it much and have never found a place where I couldn’t find a clear enough patch to pump without going into pinpoint (in fact, I am not sure if it really matters unless something large is under your coil).  In severe mineralization conditions, sure, you might be chasing ghosts, either way but in my experience, pinpoint clears the picture up under the coil vs. constant -8/-9 grunts in detect mode.  After awhile as you gain experience, you quickly recognize the -8/-9 grunts are merely ground feedback and not targets and just pump away without going through this hoop.  

This concept is hard to get across in words without tripping over details because of oversimplified explanations.  Just trying to help people differentiate between legit targets and ground noise  Pinpoint has been the best way for me to demonstrate this in the field.  Yeah, it’s not perfect or foolproof, but what is when it comes to detecting?

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I am not missing your point or over analyzing your suggestion. I just respectfully disagree with the premise that pinpoint mode on the Equinox does not react to ground mineralization. That has not been my experience. Quite the opposite in fact.

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Ok.  My bad.  I’m a poor communicator apparently because I tried say that in my response but apparently failed and the lead in didn’t help.  BTW that was also referring to GB’s post who I couldn’t exactly tell whether or not he was agreeing with me or just bringing up a separate related point (it was the latter) until I read through it a couple times.  Hopefully, fixed now.

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