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Making Use Of Monte's Nail Board


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I got in a few hours of metal detecting yesteday with my AT Max, which included some time at a park and a few permissions (private homes). Nothing of note was found, although I continued to struggle with trying to find good targets in high-trash soil. Given how I'm using the Garrett AT Max, I know have two primary options for finding good targets (silver coins) in these types of conditions.

First, get a smaller coil, like the 5x8.

Second, start digging the trash targets to clear up the ground and reveal possible good targets that are being masked or otherwise "overshadowed" by all the bits of aluminum, nails and other garbage.

The second approach is not a viable option for most places I hunt (parks and private permissions). Not only do I not have the time to implement that strategy, my body can't readily handle that much digging. Also, I'm pretty sure digging almost everything is bound to lead to the loss of any good graces I have with property owners and park maintenance crews.

Ok, so that leaves the first option. But before I go that route, I have to concede the possibility of getting an Equinox. Based on my experience with my Vanquish, limited time on the Equinox 600 and experiences with my AT Max and Fisher F2, I'm confident that one of the advantages of getting an Equinox will be more stable VDIs and more accurate VDIs at depth. And right now, I think I can live with that.

I understand that getting a solid signal (a good, repeatabe signal from both swings and in 2 directions) on a dime or quarter at 6+ inches in my mineralized soil isn't always realistic with the AT Max. But I know the AT Max is at least capable of getting a decent signal (a good, repeatable signal from at least 1 direction and in 1 swing).

Put another way, I get how the AT Max may not get me the "dig me!" type of signal that an Equinox can, but I at least need it to get me the "take a closer look, please" signal.

All of that to say that I'm thinking about how my AT Max's target separating ability and recovery speed limitations (using the stock coil) will compare to an Equinox 600 and a stock coil. I came to this realization when running the AT Max with only iron discrimination set at 35 resulted in information overload for me and notching out everything below 70 was likely leading me to completely miss "take a closer look, please" signals that might lead to silver coins, dimes or quarters.

Therefore, I want to use Monte's Nail Board. I know it's not ideal, and I plan on using Steve's approach of using both the AT Max and Equinox 600 on real-world targets. But I think the Nail Board will offer quantitative data when comparing the AT Max and Equinox.I also plan on using it with my Fisher F2 and Vanquish 340 to help put things into perspective. So how do I go about doing this test? Here's my approach so far:

Step 1: Create Monte's Nail Board and use it with a modern, clad dime and new nails.

Step 2: For each of the 4 passes, I will give it a rating: Will Dig, Maybe Dig, Won't Dig.

Step 3:  I will set the sensitivities at either 50% or the highest possible given EMI

Step 4: I will run each machine with zero discrimination and with enough notching so that it's only going to sound on dimes and quarters (and maybe copper pennies).

Step 5: For the AT Max, I will also test it with iron discrimination set to 35.

Step 6 (maybe): Run the test with the AT Max using both its stock and 5x8 coils.

So here's my first real question: what changes or additions would you all make to my current approach? 

My second real question(s): what "base" setting should I use with the Equinox 600. I'm thinking Park 1 with recovery speed set at the highest setting (3?) and a small or moderate amount of iron bias. Should I also run some tests with the Equinox 600 in 4KHz mode?

My third real question: would it be benefitical to modify Monte's Nail Board so that the nails are replaced by either clumps of aluminum  or maybe pulltabs? A lot of my hunting is in parks and yards that are often littered with more aluminum trash than iron trash.

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

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"" Monte Performance Nailboard Test "/ 2D separation test / I consider one of the 2 most important separation tests .... which can accurately analyze ... how the tested detector and coil will perform in the separation in conditions of the type * Ghost Town ... - this means in an environment where there is a lot of surface-stored iron .. and where you can still find wanted targets such as coins or jewelry ...

If you use a smaller coil in this test ... you can get better results as when using a standard 11 "coil .. even though modern separation perfectly adjustable detectors can separate targets well even when using a standard 11" coil ...

for good results you need to use with Equinox 600 ... high recovery speed ,,, and low value of Iron bias setting ... using multifrequency ... or you can also use frequencies 15 khz ... and even better the separation will work at 20khz or 40 khz ..

 

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The Apex seems to have only a single recovery time. I don’t know if the ATMax is the same.  The recovery time hampers the ability of the detector in target separation in a trashy site. I think you are going to experience difficulty in trashy areas with nearly any detector.
 

In trashy areas, the 5 x 8 coil definitely makes it a lot easier to hunt with the Apex.  I use it a lot around old home sites.  When it comes to trash and size, i.e. siding scrap, I try to “size” the target with the pinpoint function.  If it seems too big to be a coin, you can choose to dig it or skip it.  As the targets at the site begin to diminish, I can go back over it later and dig. 

I bought an extra lower shaft and mounted the 5 x 8 coil so I can quickly swap them at a site you cannot cover a lot of ground with it quickly but you will separate the coins from the trash better.

Even the ‘Nox has smaller round and oval coils available for better separation in trashy areas, even with its adjustable recovery time.  

Good luck hunting!

 

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26 minutes ago, DIG5050 said:

The Apex seems to have only a single recovery time. I don’t know if the ATMax is the same.  The recovery time hampers the ability of the detector in target separation in a trashy site. I think you are going to experience difficulty in trashy areas with nearly any detector.
 

In trashy areas, the 5 x 8 coil definitely makes it a lot easier to hunt with the Apex.  I use it a lot around old home sites.  When it comes to trash and size, i.e. siding scrap, I try to “size” the target with the pinpoint function.  If it seems too big to be a coin, you can choose to dig it or skip it.  As the targets at the site begin to diminish, I can go back over it later and dig. 

I bought an extra lower shaft and mounted the 5 x 8 coil so I can quickly swap them at a site you cannot cover a lot of ground with it quickly but you will separate the coins from the trash better.

Even the ‘Nox has smaller round and oval coils available for better separation in trashy areas, even with its adjustable recovery time.  

Good luck hunting!

 

Thank you for your insight.

Here's a question for you: AT Max with 5x8 coil versus Equinox 600 with stock coil: which do you think finds coins better through typical park and yard trash?

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Given the conditions above, that’s a tough question to answer, since I don’t have experience with either machine.

It could probably go either way depending on the number of metal objects under the coil at a given time. Machine with smaller coil would have less metal objects under the coil giving it an advantage.  Machine with larger coil would have would have more objects, but the faster recovery speed could be beneficial in separation of objects giving it an advantage.

if you do the testing proposed above, maybe it will provide some insight for future buyers of either machine or their successors.

 

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10 minutes ago, DIG5050 said:

if you do the testing proposed above, maybe it will provide some insight for future buyers of either machine or their successors.

If I do my proposed tests, I'll see if I can post my results here.

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19 hours ago, mh9162013 said:

...

My third real question: would it be benefitical to modify Monte's Nail Board so that the nails are replaced by either clumps of aluminum  or maybe pulltabs? A lot of my hunting is in parks and yards that are often littered with more aluminum trash than iron trash.

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

. . . I know the discussion about this aluminum scrap from other forums, but I absolutely don't get it. Rejecting iron and get all the other good stuff is one thing, and rejecting/notching pull-tabs in a pt littered area can be good, too, but there are to many unknown factors in this game as the depth of good targets and the lesser visibility for the detector; so in this case a 2-d nail board test will be useless I think.

And depending on the fact that smaller coils will handle the NB test better keep in mind smaller coils have less depth.

Montes NB test is a good thing to get trusted to a detector and see what the machine can do in this environment.

just my 2 Pfennig

 

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IMO, the biggest value of the Monte's Nail Board Test (MNBT) is being a standard anyone can build to Monte's specifications and then test detectors (with different settings as in the video above or comparing different detectors).  Being a standard, the results can be compared across the globe; it's not simply a test only repeatable by one person.  It does have usage as a pre-hunt tool but like every test setup, it has specific orientations of good and bad targets which don't usually mimic the complete real world situation.  The latter can only be done rigorously one way -- go into the field and detect!

If you read Monte's monograph, he 'stumbled' (my word) upon a distribution of nails and coin(s) in a ghost town and copied that.  From my limited experience in desert ghost towns, targets and trash tend to be on or near the surface.  So the MNBT is pretty realistic in those situations.

As far as iron (& alloys) vs. aluminum (& alloys), that's a more complicated subject due to iron having both magnetic and conductive properties (either/or, and often both) vs. aluminum being purely conductive.

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1 hour ago, locator said:

. . . I know the discussion about this aluminum scrap from other forums, but I absolutely don't get it. Rejecting iron and get all the other good stuff is one thing, and rejecting/notching pull-tabs in a pt littered area can be good, too, but there are to many unknown factors in this game as the depth of good targets and the lesser visibility for the detector; so in this case a 2-d nail board test will be useless I think.

And depending on the fact that smaller coils will handle the NB test better keep in mind smaller coils have less depth.

Montes NB test is a good thing to get trusted to a detector and see what the machine can do in this environment.

just my 2 Pfennig

 

In most places that I hunt, depth isn't an issue. There's just so much trash within the first 1-3 inches of the surface, losing out on depth is less of a concern for me.

Now, in my own yard, where I know there may be some good, deep targets, yes, I want depth. But for most parks and private permissions, I'm realizing that getting depth doesn't mean much if there's so much trash, I sometimes skip ground balancing b/c I can't find any clear ground.

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25 minutes ago, GB_Amateur said:

IMO, the biggest value of the Monte's Nail Board Test (MNBT) is being a standard anyone can build to Monte's specifications and then test detectors (with different settings as in the video above or comparing different detectors).  Being a standard, the results can be compared across the globe; it's not simply a test only repeatable by one person.  It does have usage as a pre-hunt tool but like every test setup, it has specific orientations of good and bad targets which don't usually mimic the complete real world situation.  The latter can only be done rigorously one way -- go into the field and detect!

If you read Monte's monograph, he 'stumbled' (my word) upon a distribution of nails and coin(s) in a ghost town and copied that.  From my limited experience in desert ghost towns, targets and trash tend to be on or near the surface.  So the MNBT is pretty realistic in those situations.

As far as iron (& alloys) vs. aluminum (&alloys), that's a more complicated subject due to iron having both magnetic and conductive properties (either/or, and often both) vs. aluminum beung purely conductive.

I know that Monte's Nail Board helps create a standard for anyone and it's this standardization that I hope to take advantage of when comparing my AT Max to an Equinox (and comparing my other detectors). I know it's not perfect, but it's better than nothing, in my opinion.

I'm also mulling over how to create a test garden in my back yard. I haven't done so yet b/c I can't properly create a good "soil profile" that has the less mineralized dark soil on top and the heavily mineralized red/brown/yellow-ish clay below that. But I'm beginning to think despite these flaws, having just 1 clad dime buried at 4/6/8 inches in my red clay would still be better than nothing when comparing different detectors.

I've never hunted a ghost town, but many of the places I hunt have trash near the surface, too.

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