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Any Suggestions For " Do It Yourself " Vanquish Accessories?


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Hey Everyone, New here, and new/returning to the hobby after a long time away (let's not go into how many years... lol)

Anyway, have a shiny new Minelab Vanquish 540 under the tree that my wife got me for Christmas, and eagerly itching to get out and do some hunting...

But in-line with my other hobbies, and my general nature as an individual, I can't leave anything alone. I'm an Electronics Engineer, Computer Engineer, and I build/diy things like crazy. I have multiple 3D Printers at my disposal, etc...

So, I'm itching to come up with some ways to improve/augment/customize the vanquish, and am interested in hearing what others using these detectors would think of as valuable "quality of life improvements". Since I haven't had much time using them, and even once I do, what I find useful, may be different from what seasoned hunters would find useful, I'd love to hear suggestions.

One obvious idea that springs to mind, is an external power source mod... Which I think I'll be doing for sure. Think of a 3D Printed battery cover replacement, that makes contact inside the battery compartment, takes an external USB power input, and presents a clean regulated 6V to the vanquish. Along with a printed sling for under the arm rest to allow adding the weight of the battery by the elbow for any USB power bank of your choice. would allow longer detecting sessions, and might do a good job of pulling the balance back and lightening the detector... (this is all supposition as I haven't actually handled it yet lol). That one should be an easy build, could probably be done in $20 in parts and plastic, and provide a neat benefit.

I've also thought of printable replacement coil covers. These seem like a "sacrificial" part to me, and would be valuable in having an easy to make replacement for these. My printer should be able to handle the V12 coil on the 540, but maybe not others, so I might have to do this in a couple parts that snap together, but it's easily doable either way.

Anyway, any other thoughts/suggestions/ideas?

I'm eager to build/design some stuff, so now is your chance if there is that little thing you're itching for that minelab haven't released yet!

Cheers!

 

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  • Steve Herschbach changed the title to Any Suggestions For " Do It Yourself " Vanquish Accessories?

4 hours ago, Glasswalker said:

I've also thought of printable replacement coil covers. These seem like a "sacrificial" part to me, and would be valuable in having an easy to make replacement for these. My printer should be able to handle the V12 coil on the 540, but maybe not others, so I might have to do this in a couple parts that snap together, but it's easily doable either way.

Unless you just have 3D printer cycles to burn I would hold off on this.  Do you think you can make them as lightweight as those supplied/sold by Minelab?  You mentioned counterweight to improve the balance.  If you can't make them as light as are available it seems you'll be going in the wrong direction there.

I've never burned through a coil cover but I don't spend a lot of time in rocky or abrasive surfaces.  If your beach eats coil covers you'll need a replacement eventually but why not wait a while and see how the stock one holds up?

Garage mods are fun, but if that takes away from your detecting time it seems counterproductive.  IMO, get out there and use your detector.  You may find some obvious weak points that drive you to mods, and you'll be in better position then to know what you need.

Anything that risks voiding the warranty isn't a good idea, particularly early on when you're more likely to need the warranty (meaning most factory weaknesses show up early on).  But you probably know all this, so just a reminder.

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7 minutes ago, GB_Amateur said:

... Do you think you can make them as lightweight as those supplied/sold by Minelab?  ...

... I've never burned through a coil cover but I don't spend a lot of time in rocky or abrasive surfaces...

... Garage mods are fun, but if that takes away from your detecting time it seems counterproductive. ...

... Anything that risks voiding the warranty isn't a good idea ...

Hey thanks! Basically I'll take this feedback to be that you don't see any real need for any "add-ons". Obviously not random add-on or mod I can do here would significantly change the performance of the machine, or address any of that type of shortfalls. I'm more looking at neat little "quality of life" changes. But if you can't think of any, that's great, perhaps the product is perfect as it is, and I'll find other ways to create little things to help with the hobby 😉

I'll address the above quoted points directly:

To your first point, I wasn't aware Minelab offered an external battery pack for the Vanquish series, could you post a link? I thought it accepted AA size batteries only, and there is the third party Lithium based battery pack for it. One criticism I've read in the forums seems to be either "disposable batteries yuck" or "NiMH, lower voltage, detector doesn't perform as well, or doesn't last as long" (hell, the dealer even told me when we picked it up. My thinking was a printable cover with small interface circuit would be significantly lighter than the 4x AA batteries+stock cover, and then the external pack could be any old USB power bank available retail, which could be located to the back, it would pull the balance towards the elbow, improving ergonomics. The whole thing could be possibly equally as heavy as the 4xAA packs with a small/light Lithium pack, but with lower runtime, or slightly heavier overall, but with significantly longer runtime, and easy recharge options. Anyway it was just a thought 🙂 but if Minelab offers something like this, by all means, no sense re-inventing the wheel.

To the second point, Didn't realize this, just kind of assumed they would be a part you'd wear out and replace once in a while, but if that's not the case, maybe that's not as useful as I thought lol

For the third point, my hobbies cover a number of areas, I have a few of them so I can juggle, and try to line up hobbies that are complimentary to one another. But regardless of all that, I always build things, I tinker, I create, I like to solve problems. That's at the core of everything. For me any hobby I adopt, I will always find ways to tinker, that's just who I am, and part of how I enjoy things. So no worries there 🙂

Finally, yeah to go hand in hand with the third point, not my first rodeo... Though that said I tend to find ways to do mods that do not void warranty. For example external "add-on" accessories that don't interfere in any way, shouldn't impact warranty at all. And whether I use AA alkaline cells, or AA nickel metal, or I use a Lithium pack to power it, without modifying the detector at all, that shouldn't be a problem (unless the control box fails because the battery blows up and fries the mainboard, which would be very easily detectable by Minelab support, and I'd expect to lose my warranty over that).

Anyway just looking for anyone who's used the Vanquish (specifically the 540) who may have thought "Hey it would be really useful if I had ***" in which case maybe that's something worth looking into 😉

And yeah you're totally right, I'm just thinking of stuff, as I can't actually get my hands on the detector until Christmas (or my wife will beat me with it) lol... Anyway as a result my brain is just churning killing time. Once I get hands-on I'll definitely go out and use it a bunch to get a feel, and identify real gaps, but it can't hurt to brainstorm!

Cheers!

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I use the lipo AA rechargables for my machines that use AA's. I use Blackube and AmpTorrent but think in general they are the same and yield more than 1 1/2 the run time over alkalines. Because the power output doesn't gradually drop like an alkaline you need to keep an eye on your battery indicator as it will go maybe half way then you have nothing. I usually carrry an extra set or just do a charge before I head out to be sure. Recharge time on them is less than 2 hours.

I had built a pinpoint/stud finder from a kit. Though it worked it was very weak on silver. Cost wise you don't save anything but definately has the fun factor.

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Detectorist and electronics guy here.
Mounting the battery under the elbow-cup is a reasonable idea. But I suggest you get the machine first, then work out what weight changes will give worthwhile results. I think a larger heavier pack would likely be the way to go, such as 4 off 4/3A size NiMH's, or some similar offerings, like Sub-C. I would avoid any battery with a (switch-mode) regulator in it, as there's the risk that switching noise could affect the detector.
A homebuilt coil cover may be worthwhile if it was a 'solid' one, ie. a flat sheet rather than an open spider that matches the coil. The open coil designs can catch on debris, eg. woodland floor, crop stubble, undergrowth. But I would go for simple and lightweight, such as sheet polypropylene or corrugated fluteboard (corflute/coroplast etc) as the starting point.

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21 hours ago, Glasswalker said:

Hey Everyone, New here, and new/returning to the hobby after a long time away (let's not go into how many years... lol)

Anyway, have a shiny new Minelab Vanquish 540 under the tree that my wife got me for Christmas, and eagerly itching to get out and do some hunting...

But in-line with my other hobbies, and my general nature as an individual, I can't leave anything alone. I'm an Electronics Engineer, Computer Engineer, and I build/diy things like crazy. I have multiple 3D Printers at my disposal, etc...

So, I'm itching to come up with some ways to improve/augment/customize the vanquish, and am interested in hearing what others using these detectors would think of as valuable "quality of life improvements". Since I haven't had much time using them, and even once I do, what I find useful, may be different from what seasoned hunters would find useful, I'd love to hear suggestions.

...

Hi Glasswalker ,

I also have a Vanquish 540 , since June 2020 ...A very good machine but I find it a little heavy ( 1,2kg with a V10 coil ) compared to my Deus ( 0.75kg ) , soI tried to find ways of lightening it .... 

- First I have replaced the middle and lower shafts with carbon shafts , saving around 100grams.

- Second I use non rechargeable liithium ion 3000mah ( non rechargeable / 15grams each) , instead of the 2500mah Nimh stock batteries ( 28grams each  ) , saving 50grams.

Look at Testing The Vanquish 540 - Page 9 - Minelab Metal Detectors - DetectorProspector.com

 

With these improvements my Vanquish V10 weights 1.06kg ,

Now the only way to save more weight would be to redesign the vanquish control box , using a lithium ion integrated battery instead of AAs, like the thin control box of the Garrett Apex . For info the current "bulky" Vanquish cb weights around 400grams with the 4AAs . A new control box with an integrated li ion battery would probably weight only 200/250 grams . However redesigning the cb means probably dozens(hundreds)  of hours of work , and personaly I would leave that job to the Minelab engineers , perhaps for the next version of the Vanquish ... 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, kac said:

I use the lipo AA rechargables for my machines that use AA's. I use Blackube and AmpTorrent but think in general they are the same and yield more than 1 1/2 the run time over alkalines. Because the power output doesn't gradually drop like an alkaline you need to keep an eye on your battery indicator as it will go maybe half way then you have nothing. I usually carrry an extra set or just do a charge before I head out to be sure. Recharge time on them is less than 2 hours.

I had built a pinpoint/stud finder from a kit. Though it worked it was very weak on silver. Cost wise you don't save anything but definately has the fun factor.

Hey kac, yeah I thought about the lithium rechargable AA cells, Those may be a good option too.

Yeah building a pinpointer actually sounds like a fun project, may actually try that!

Actually building my own detector is something I may eventually take a stab at. I think it would be neat to try and make a community based multi frequency detector capable of accepting the common models of third party coils, and using modern digital signal processing techniques similar to the Multi-IQ stuff. It of course wouldn't start out with anywhere near the sophistication of what Minelab are capable of, but if the platform was made right, the community could test/tune and advance it over time to be "competitive". And being open-source would mean the various industry players would be welcome to "borrow" our ideas to improve their products... Might be neat. But not a project for a "beginner" need to get immersed into the hobby first, and do more reading on metal detector theory/design/etc.

4 hours ago, PimentoUK said:

Detectorist and electronics guy here.
Mounting the battery under the elbow-cup is a reasonable idea. But I suggest you get the machine first, then work out what weight changes will give worthwhile results. I think a larger heavier pack would likely be the way to go, such as 4 off 4/3A size NiMH's, or some similar offerings. I would avoid any battery with a regulator in it, as there's the risk that switching noise could affect the detector.
A homebuilt coil cover may be worthwhile if it was a 'solid' one, ie. a flat sheet rather than an open spider that matches the coil. The open coil designs can catch on debris, eg. woodland floor, crop stubble, undergrowth. But I would go for simple and lightweight, such as sheet polypropylene or corrugated fluteboard as the starting point.

Hey PimentoUK, Thanks for the input on placement/balance. Yeah I will definitely get a feel for the detector before building anything, just thinking based on what I've read that a larger capacity lithium rechargeable option that sits near the elbow might be a neat add-on. I figured instead of building a custom pack, making it work with regular USB input would be interesting.

As for RFI from a switch mode regulator, yeah I was thinking depending on if the detector actually "prefers" 6V or 5V I would possibly add a small step-up regulator to 6V, as well as add some nice RFI filtering components (a nice strong choke, and some filtering caps for example).

I build amateur radio gear as well as complex systems, so am quite familiar with filtering RFI from sensitive electronics, as well as the particularly crappy nature of switch mode regulators without effective noise mitigation on them.

1 hour ago, palzynski said:

Hi Glasswalker ,

I also have a Vanquish 540 , since June 2020 ...A very good machine but I find it a little heavy ( 1,2kg with a V10 coil ) compared to my Deus ( 0.75kg ) , soI tried to find ways of lightening it .... 

- First I have replaced the middle and lower shafts with carbon shafts , saving around 100grams.

- Second I use non rechargeable liithium ion 3000mah ( non rechargeable / 15grams each) , instead of the 2500mah Nimh stock batteries ( 28grams each  ) , saving 50grams.

Look at Testing The Vanquish 540 - Page 9 - Minelab Metal Detectors - DetectorProspector.com

 

With these improvements my Vanquish V10 weights 1.06kg ,

Now the only way to save more weight would be to redesign the vanquish control box , using a lithium ion integrated battery instead of AAs, like the thin control box of the Garrett Apex . For info the current "bulky" Vanquish cb weights around 400grams with the 4AAs . A new control box with an integrated li ion battery would probably weight only 200/250 grams . However redesigning the cb means probably dozens(hundreds)  of hours of work , and personaly I would leave that job to the Minelab engineers , perhaps for the next version of the Vanquish ... 🙂

 

Hey Palzynski, thanks, that is good feedback on the weight/balance issues. I find that the lithium non-rechargables are great batteries, but the value just isn't there in them for me except for long running low drain devices (remotes, wireless sensors, etc) where you want them to last forever, and don't want to have to change the cells often. Otherwise you're better off buying more conventional cells (I find at least from what I see here, the lithium cells have somewhere between 150% and 200% of the capacity of cheap alkaline cells, but the cheap alkaline cells cost as little as $0.50 per cell here, even "good" alkalines are $1 per cell, while the lithium disposable cells are $4 per cell... So the value just isn't there (for me anyway) 🙂

Re-designing the control-box is a neat idea... That could theoretically be done pretty easily without re-designing the actual circuit. Just re-make the chassis to be thin/light, and contain an internal flat lithium polymer cell and battery protection/charge circuit. Or even some 18650 cells or something. Overall like you said could likely save a few hundred grams doing it that way. I have the design skills and tools to do such a redesign, but that one would be pretty "invasive surgery" on the vanquish, would definitely result in voiding the warranty... Because would have to completely disassemble the control box, and replace the whole control box/grip assembly with a new printed part. I think I'll have to leave that project for another day when I've upgraded past the vanquish, or once the vanquish is already outside it's warranty. Though it is a neat project that is tempting to undertake 🙂

(If someone wanted to donate a vanquish to me to be modified I'd be happy to modify and return it, with the understood risk that while highly unlikely, it's possible something could happen that causes it not to survive). Otherwise that project will wait until I'm prepared to put mine "under the knife" lol.

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"Depending on if the detector actually "prefers" 6V or 5V I would possibly add a small step-up regulator to 6V... "
All modern detectors are internally regulated, and the Vanquish will have several switch-mode converters in it. So 5V or 6V will make no difference, though I presume current draw will increase as battery voltage drops.
Another simple option is a 5-cell NiMH and a series Si diode, at least it's clean DC, and it won't flatten the battery when the detector is turned off.

As you're new to detecting, you won't know about Geotech1 , where techy types who homebrew equipment, hack commercial gear etc hang out.
https://www.geotech1.com/forums/forum.php

Enjoy, but watch out for the angry East Europeans. And laugh at the Middle-Eastern types, repeatedly "wanting finding golden treasures ten metres dep please"

 

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7 minutes ago, PimentoUK said:

All modern detectors are internally regulated, and the Vanquish will have several switch-mode converters in it. So 5V or 6V will make no difference, though I presume current draw will increase as battery voltage drops.
Another simple option is a 5-cell NiMH and a series Si diode, at least it's clean DC, and it won't flatten the battery when the detector is turned off.

As you're new to detecting, you won't know about Geotech1 , where techy types who homebrew equipment, hack commercial gear etc hang out.
https://www.geotech1.com/forums/forum.php

Enjoy, but watch out for the angry East Europeans. And laugh at the Middle-Eastern types, repeatedly[b]"wanting finding golden treasures ten metres dep please"[/b]

 

 

I wish I understood how to work this forum, I can't get the bb-code tags to work this time. Other times there's no 'submit post' button, other times the hyperlinks don't work .....

 

Hey, yeah of course the detector would have internal regulators for the UC and other sensitive components. But that usually doesn't tell the whole story. For example in Radio gear, it's not uncommon for the paths from regulated supply to vary for the control electronics, and the transmission path which runs through a series of amplifiers, sometimes driven directly off PSU rails for example (sometimes regulated, sometimes not). So I didn't want to make any assumptions about the internal architecture of the Vanquish. For example, there would be 3 potentially important dependencies on source voltage:

  1. Regulator efficiency for sensitive electronics (possibly additional power loss, or noise)
  2. Impacts on user interface and possibly other aspects of program flow (anything controlled by the processor/software) being altered by the detected input voltage:
    1. The obvious and minimal impact one of these is the battery indicator, and low voltage alarm etc.
    2. Less obvious ones might be slight changes to frequencies, or transmission control, or throttling/power-save functions when it detects "low battery" etc.
  3. Impact on the actual detector functions if it has an independent (potentially unregulated) transmission amplifier leading to the coils for generating the frequencies and pumping power into the ground to detect at depth.

As I have no idea about the internal architecture I don't know if any of these are a factor, but that's why I implied it may "prefer" 6V over 5V. If in-fact anything in the 5V to 6V range is acceptable, then the input from USB regulated power supply (usually between 5V and 5.2V depending on quality of the device, and current draw) should be sufficient to power it directly (taking into account the switch-mode noise issues you mention). However if it "prefers" 6V over 5V, then I would need to step-up the 5V USB output to 6V AND deal with the noise issues.

I have seen a few posts from Geotech, and yeah their forum seems pretty interesting. I'll probably sign up over there as well, as I think I can learn a lot about construction, design, and theory from them. As I mentioned above I may one day try to DIY a whole detector. But for now looking at baby steps 😉

Thanks!

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- Concerning the battery pack accessories , there is a thread that willl probably interest you :

 Is Anyone Using An Rnb Lithium Battery For The Vanquish? - Minelab Metal Detectors - DetectorProspector.com

This RNB lithium battery for Vanquish is a great design because a li ion battery is more reliable than multiple AAs . Unfortunately for me, this high capacity pack( 36Wh / 33hours duration)  is heavier than the stock AA system so it does not solve the Vanquish balance issue.

Actually for me 12hours duration is enough , then for sure I would be interested by a RNB pack  or a similar design with an only 12Wh capacity/12hours duration, because this would be lighter than the 4 AAs nimh  

- Concerning the battery pack at the rear near the elbow , frankly speaking I dont like this solution because this means that there will be a cable between the battery at the rear and the control box. Then the rear shaft cannot be taken apart/compacted  any more . And this will be a problem when you want to put the Vanquish in a rucksack for example , where the telescopic shaft is a great feature. And also you still have this heavy control box ( even empty ) , then I am not sure that this will improve the balance a lot . For me the neat solution is to redesign the cb but clearly it is not easy to do ...

Btw now most of the entry level detectors : for example Nokta simplex , Quest X5 , X10 , etc ... now use thin control boxes with integrated li ion batteries . This Vanquish 4 AAs power system is clearly outdated ...

 

 

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