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Any Suggestions For " Do It Yourself " Vanquish Accessories?


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If you're curious about the innards, here's a disassembly by the Russians ( Ukranians?)


https://md-hunter.com/minelab-vanquish-teardown-in-pictures-you-must-see-it

As you're looking for electrical ideas : a cable extension for the search-coil could open up some possibilities. Either with a custom long shaft assembly, which may be useful for water-hunting ; or hip-mount the control box and use it 'normally'.

A quick-disconnect coil cable system could also be handy, such as a short extension cable with a locking-ring-less free-socket on it. For example a normal free socket plugged into the control-box, a short cable, and an inline plug with the threaded section removed/machined down, and the coil's free-socket just pushed in.

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10 hours ago, palzynski said:

- 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 ...

 

 

Hey, yeah I saw the RNB lithium packs, that is another idea, make a smaller version of that.

Mounting the pack by the elbow was more an idea not for a "permanent" pack, but for the option to use USB power bricks... which would have a "holder" near the elbow, but would be easy to add remove. The cord would be loose (not attached) so would have no impact on breaking down the rear shaft. And a short usb cable going from the elbow up to the control box I didn't think would be intrusive during use (but again, just brainstorming)

As for the control box, as I said, it's actually not "hard" to do, it's pretty easy to redesign it. But it's invasive to the machine (no way to install a new control box without disassembling the existing one, and voiding the warranty). I'm open to designing/manufacturing it, but not quite willing to void the warranty on my own vanquish just yet.

4 hours ago, PimentoUK said:

If you're curious about the innards, here's a disassembly by the Russians ( Ukranians?)


https://md-hunter.com/minelab-vanquish-teardown-in-pictures-you-must-see-it

As you're looking for electrical ideas : a cable extension for the search-coil could open up some possibilities. Either with a custom long shaft assembly, which may be useful for water-hunting ; or hip-mount the control box and use it 'normally'.

A quick-disconnect coil cable system could also be handy, such as a short extension cable with a locking-ring-less free-socket on it. For example a normal free socket plugged into the control-box, a short cable, and an inline plug with the threaded section removed/machined down, and the coil's free-socket just pushed in.

I did see that thread, another thing I was quite curious about was tweaking the firmware, and was interested to learn from that teardown (and comparisons to the equinox insides) that it's very likely an STM32 ARM processor on the vanquish (I'm actually very familiar with programming that chip). But again, warranty voiding behavior 😉

Not saying I won't get there eventually (almost certain I will) but usually either:

A) Once I've gotten a new shiny toy to replace the existing one
B) Once I've had it long enough that I'm no longer concerned with the warranty (or warranty expires)
C) Once something requiring a warranty voiding fix bugs me enough to do it anyway...

🙂

Though realistically, it may be simpler to build an entirely from-scratch detector than to reverse engineer the minelab firmware. And since so much of their IP is in the firmware (processing code), they are likely taking some effort to protect it, and wouldn't take kindly to someone mucking about in there, and I don't want to step on toes this early on getting (back) into the hobby lol...

I'm not stuck on doing an electronic fix of some kind. Some nice to have things may be simple mechanical parts/add-ons. Sometimes it's the simple things. So yeah just looking for any ideas from users of the Vanquish.

Cable extensions / quick-connects shouldn't be too hard to do at all. I will have to look at that once I get my hands on it, to see if it's using a readily available connector of some kind.

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1 hour ago, Glasswalker said:

...

As for the control box, as I said, it's actually not "hard" to do, it's pretty easy to redesign it. But it's invasive to the machine (no way to install a new control box without disassembling the existing one, and voiding the warranty). I'm open to designing/manufacturing it, but not quite willing to void the warranty on my own vanquish just yet.

.....

Cable extensions / quick-connects shouldn't be too hard to do at all. I will have to look at that once I get my hands on it, to see if it's using a readily available connector of some kind.

- Concerning the control box redesign , I think that the front part ( the screen display ) can be kept like it is , only the back part ( containing the batteries and loudspeaker ) needs to be redesigned to my opinion ( the part that integrates the li ion battery + loudspeaker ) . I would be ready to sacrify a 340 to test a new lighter cb  ... On the other hand I would never ask to anybody to do that job knowing the amount of work to be done ... For sure you would better spend that time detecting in the field with your Vanquish  ...  🙂

- This cable extension ( PimentoUK s post ) is a great idea , this because when using a cable extension the control box could be mounted at the rear of the machine under the elbow , improving the Vanquish balance. The drawback is that the Vanquish screen could not be seen any more. However I often rely on the audio then I can afford not to see that display.... And it is probably simpler to make a cable extension than redesigning a cb ...

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50 minutes ago, palzynski said:

- Concerning the control box redesign , I think that the front part ( the screen display ) can be kept like it is , only the back part ( containing the batteries and loudspeaker ) needs to be redesigned to my opinion ( the part that integrates the li ion battery + loudspeaker ) . I would be ready to sacrify a 340 to test a new lighter cb  ... On the other hand I would never ask to anybody to do that job knowing the amount of work to be done ... For sure you would better spend that time detecting in the field with your Vanquish  ...  🙂

- This cable extension ( PimentoUK s post ) is a great idea , this because when using a cable extension the control box could be mounted at the rear of the machine under the elbow , improving the Vanquish balance. The drawback is that the Vanquish screen could not be seen any more. However I often rely on the audio then I can afford not to see that display.... And it is probably simpler to make a cable extension than redesigning a cb ...

Honestly not a lot of work to redesign the control box, I do that kind of thing all the time. And I think other than the button layout, the control boxes are essentially the same, so I could likely do one design to accommodate all 3 models, and leave the front interface panel as a separate piece so that it could be re-designed for the 440 and 540 ultimately in the end.

That said even if you were willing to sacrifice a 340, I think shipping it to me in NZ would be completely unrealistic (expensive). But either way it's an interesting idea.

Sounds like a cable extension and/or quick-connect is a valuable item, and that's probably super easy so I'll definitely look into that.

Cheers!

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13 hours ago, Glasswalker said:

....

That said even if you were willing to sacrifice a 340, I think shipping it to me in NZ would be completely unrealistic (expensive). But either way it's an interesting idea.

Sounds like a cable extension and/or quick-connect is a valuable item, and that's probably super easy so I'll definitely look into that.

....

After thinking a little more about all this , the most interesting thing for me , and probably not too complex to make would be a "lite" rnb like battery pack.  I would say max 70grams incl. the plastic cover ( instead of 150g for the current rnb li ion pack , and instead of 124g for the 4AAs stock nimh batteries system) .  This would replace my relatively expensive AA lithium batteries and probably interest other Vanquish users ... 

btw I know a little about electronics and I have a question , is it easy to convert a li ion 3.7V output into a 5 or 6V voltage output ?  Does the  electronics converter consume a lot of power for doing this ?  thanks ...

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9 hours ago, palzynski said:

btw I know a little about electronics and I have a question , is it easy to convert a li ion 3.7V output into a 5 or 6V voltage output ?  Does the  electronics converter consume a lot of power for doing this ?  thanks ...

There are a number of ways to either "step-up" or "step-down" voltage, and regulate it. The common inexpensive modules available are switch mode regulators (in either step-up or step-down configurations). So yeah you either have a single lithium ion or lithium polymer cell at 3.7V and step it up, or you put a pair of them to make 7.4V and step it down.

Switch mode regulators are usually (if designed well) pretty efficient, about 90% approx. meaning 10% of energy used is burned off in the regulator components themselves, or as waste heat. 

The main problem with switch mode regulators is that they are noisy. Creating a lot of RFI. But that can be filtered with additional components (caps/chokes for example).

That said, if you're building a custom unit with a cell built in for light weight, I'd go with a Lithium Iron Phosphate cell, which is nominal 3.2V (about 3.6V peak at maximum charge, but only for a very small amount of the charge curve), they have a very flat voltage curve around the nominal voltage. These would output very close to the 6V (if you use a 2S pack) needed for the control box circuit, meaning the internal regulators are fairly likely to handle it just fine without issues, and no additional regulator needed. This would also require adding a BMS/Battery Protection/Charge circuit to handle charging of the cells, and protection from short, or drawing them below the minimum drain voltage, etc... (your Lithium rechargable AA cells include a small BMS inside the cell to allow recharging etc)

LiFePO cells also have slightly better energy density, and are safer and more stable than standard Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer batteries.

Now to get a discharge in Wh close to what normal AA Alkalines give, you'd want 15Wh of energy capacity. To do that with LiFePO cells you'd need a 2S1P pack with 2.3Ah capacity. A 2.1Ah capacity pack that's easily available is only slightly under this, but weighs about 100g on it's own. Though it would likely have a fair bit longer runtime than the AA Alkaline cells, merely because of the better discharge curve, so maybe going smaller to 1.6Ah but that's still 80-90g. And you still need to build the actual housing/chassis. 

Now IF experimentation shows the unit can take 7.4V directly without any issue (which I hesitate to jump to that conclusion). Then you could use 2S1P Lithium Polymer packs, and I can find some of those at 1.5Ah and 70g of weight. That would provide 11.1Wh of energy capacity, vs 15Wh with AA Alkaline, but you'd be able to discharge fully most likely, getting longer run time with full voltage. But you'd still probably be looking at 80g-90g for the whole package, including a BMS, and the chassis.

So I think as far as an actual replacement for the normal battery compartment that is rechargeable and light, I think you're better off with the RNB pack (which will be difficult to improve on much), or rechargable lithium AA cells like you've been using. I think the only way to further improve the balance/weight is to rebuild the control box as you've been saying, or to move the battery back to the elbow (which doesn't help with weight, but possibly improves the ergonomics of where the weight is located)

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1 hour ago, Glasswalker said:

... Now IF experimentation shows the unit can take 7.4V directly without any issue (which I hesitate to jump to that conclusion). Then you could use 2S1P Lithium Polymer packs, and I can find some of those at 1.5Ah and 70g of weight. That would provide 11.1Wh of energy capacity, vs 15Wh with AA Alkaline, but you'd be able to discharge fully most likely, getting longer run time with full voltage. But you'd still probably be looking at 80g-90g for the whole package, including a BMS, and the chassis.

So I think as far as an actual replacement for the normal battery compartment that is rechargeable and light, I think you're better off with the RNB pack (which will be difficult to improve on much), or rechargable lithium AA cells like you've been using. I think the only way to further improve the balance/weight is to rebuild the control box as you've been saying, or to move the battery back to the elbow (which doesn't help with weight, but possibly improves the ergonomics of where the weight is located)

Thanks for this very detailed info ... So yes the only way to significantly lighten the Vanquish is to redesign the control box .   A thinner control box would require less plastic than the current one ,with the use of a Lithium or Li Po, this would perhaps save 150 grams vs the current 4AAs cb.  Adding to this a lower and mid carbon shafts and you obtain a Vanquish + V10 coil at a total weight of 0.95kg vs 1.2kg for the factory machine, this means a 20/100 improvement of the detector balance , not bad  ...

Concerning the 7.4V lipo  experimentation, yes it is a little risky to plug this in the Vanquish , I am not sure that I am ready to sacrifice a 340 for that ... 🙂

 

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Regarding the Lithium-Iron cells: I don't see why they can't be intentionally undercharged, for example limiting the final voltage to 3.2V per cell ( a safe 6.4V for the pack ). This would require a balancing charger, with all 3 connections used, you wouldn't be able to rely on a balancing board and plain series charging.
I've never seen any data about capacity loss / gain of Li cells when using different terminal voltages. It's often stated that battery life ( number of cycles etc) increases if you undercharge them, eg stop at 4.1V instead of 4.2V for regular Li cells, but no details about how much/what benefit etc are quoted.
I see there are 'high voltage' Li cells around now, that have a max charge voltage of 4.3V or 4.4V. They appear to store more energy as a result, the R/C model industry brand them as 'Graphene' Lithium, or Li-HV.

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1 hour ago, Frank M said:

Hello

My suggestion would be a waterproof box (see link Garrett Ace)

And illuminated buttons.

waterproof

Hi

Making a waterproof Vanquish would be too complex and expensive to do to my opinion. Because the control box needs to be entirely redesigned from the front digital display to the rear part of the box ... 

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