Hi, just though this was worth sharing as it turned out so well. A number of things happened to bring this together - the biggest one being having just bought an Equinox my neighbours changing their curtains for blinds. I ended up with 3x6ft lengths of wood curtain pole.
I also (long story) smashed my right hand up some years ago in a bike crash - straight stem won't work for me. I had read the threads (various threads on straight vs S) and puzzled over the alloy pipe bending method. But then I already have a Mars universal shaft and took a closer look at this. After reading the thread on the Garrett gizmo that screws into the end of the stem so the arm cup can be moved along I got to thinking some more - I don't own a Garrett but am always intrigued to read what others are up to.
So the Mars universal shaft will come apart. Held by a holding screw and with some hard pushing and pulling the arm cup pole (I'll call it that) will release. I measured the length I needed, then by hand whittled the shape to Mars flat sided (not round). A tight fit and the holding screw back in place to hold. The strength of this part of the Mars hand grip (the bit under the hand grip) left me confident that it could cope with some pretty minimal stresses - like it would have to do anyway.
The curtain pole hand whittled at the arm cup end, then drilled through with a slightly under size drill bit. I didn't note the size, but it waggled freely in the Equinox upper stem hole for the arm cup. As I drilled it I waggled the drill to make it a little splayed out (as is the shape of the plastic fitting in the arm cup bits).
For the Equinox itself a similar blind hole, but on an angle (judged by eye) as per the angled shape of the Minelab underneath grip bit - and also drill waggled around to get the splayed out shape. Two lines of wood were whittled away to the correct diameter for the equinox and it lower grip to meet perfectly. It could be neatened up. I may spray it black.
Some things considered were the Equinox grip needed to be far enough away from the Mars grip to allow fingers of winter (thick) gloved hands - and also the coil cable and head phone cable. The Mars shaft can be made to shorten - and in effect smash into the back of the Equinox unit. I would just put a wrap of tape around the release lever. I won't ever release it - I don't need to I have a long detector bag - but I guess somebody could.
Weight for weight the wood pole is pretty light. I weighted the Minelab top piece of shaft, and my piece of wood was 14 grams heavier.
The next step (which I am waiting to arrive) is a proper Minelab Equinox lower stem end piece for the coil to go on, The Mars universal one is a bit narrow and this looks it will swap over fairly easily.
Today I went to shorten the rod by one notch to put the coil closer to my feet for water hunting. I have been hunting, both in and out of the water with a length more suited to wet sand sweeping. It was very difficult to get the locking mechanism loosened up so I could slide the rod. Same issue I've had before with similar locking mechanisms when used in salt water; particularly with fine sediment in the water.
Please change to a different type of locking mechanism.
The one in the first picture is the AQ, and I do not like it since it is already freezing up and took a lot of work to free it up. The second picture is an after market straight shaft with locks that work very well and don't freeze up. The last two pictures are of locks on my wife's shell / shark tooth scoop with the lock open and closed; this one works well and also does not freeze up after much sand and salt water use.
For those that have extra coils, do you just get an extra lower shaft?
Or would it make sense to have lower and a middle shaft as well so that length can already be set and you have all of your coil wraps already there?
I also thought about a second full shaft and using one of those 3D printed pod quick connects but they don’t seem durable and it adds to the cost of for the extra convenience...
By Steve Herschbach
The first aftermarket shaft I got for my Equinox was a Golden mask telescoping shaft. The early version took a lot of crude adapting to make work. Later versions had custom adapters made for a more finished product. I also ended up getting a TeleNox telescoping rod.
Between the two they are both fine but I like the Golden Mask version a little more. A bit stouter, no flex, and less levers and other moving parts. The plus for the Telenox is it is directly compatible with the Equinox rod size and therefore the pod/handle swaps over with no fuss. The Golden Mask requires the adapter and its own armrest due to the larger rod diameter. The Telenox starts with the smaller rod and so the last section is thinner than with the Golden Mask, which starts with a larger diameter rod (a need for adapter) but then ends with a larger diameter rod section also.
There was a final Golden Mask kit you could buy that had everything you need, but now it seems to be no longer available.
So what did I do a while back? I know much better than to ever leave my detector leaning on the rear end of my truck. But I did it anyway and backed over the detector. Right over the pod. Crushed the handle completely! A testament to the Equinox is after I pried the pod out of the ground it still worked. I had to clamp and glue the lower part of the face back to the housing later but it is still working fine. But the rod was a total loss. All I scavenged was the adapter parts and the armrest.
With no more Golden Mast complete assembly available, after lots of Googling I found what looked like a possible replacement rod and took a gamble and ordered it. If nothing else I figured I would end up with a new walking stick. $46 delivered from Amazon.
I got lucky - seems to be the same rod, except if anything of higher quality. I peeled off the foam hand grip and removed the last rod section, which is too small and makes it too long anyway. I am lucky in that I have a lot of Equinox lower rods sitting around, because I had to cut and grind the part needed to bolt this rod to a coil from a spare lower rod. That could be a tad expensive otherwise. I glued it into the lower rod opening, drilled the new armrest holes and bolted it on, and used the adapter to add the Equinox pod/handle. Finished item is probably a little nicer than what I ran over, same exact length, etc. That worked out quite well and at $46 a lot cheaper than if I had been able to find a new Golden mask assembly. But like I said, I had all the other parts required. If you get this rod, the Equinox handle and armrest will not adapter directly to it without additional adapters.
Bonus is I have a nice case for the rod when not in use, and an adapter sticking out of the end that I am going to use to create a removable coil counterweight. Not needed at all for the 6" coil, but nice for the larger coils.
Custom carbon fiber telescoping rod for Minelab Equinox
Custom carbon fiber telescoping rod for Minelab Equinox
I decided to see if I could balance out the Nox without too much time or $ involved. So far I'm at $7 and we'll see if this will even pan out. First, I moved my control box forward 11/2" moved my armrest forward as far as possible and added some ballast at the very back. I used 9 3/4" washers, with a piece of 3/4 round stock in the center as a bushing. I ran a 1/4" hole thru the bushing and mounted it in the last armrest hole. I'll see if the extra weight is worth trying to balance the machine just a little bit more tomorrow when I take it for spin.