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!
By Steve Herschbach
The whole depth with single frequency VLF detectors thing in my opinion has been nothing but a red herring for decades. I have read a thousand posts from people wanting VLF detectors with "more depth". Yet VLF detectors maxed out for usable depth by at least 1990 if not before. I have not used any single frequency VLF metal detector since 1990 that got more depth on coins than my old Compass Gold Scanner Pro.
The only real improvement we have seen and are still seeing is in the ability to find and correctly identify items that are masked by the ground itself or adjacent undesirable targets. There are an amazing number of targets in the ground at depths achievable by any decent detector made in the last 25 years, but that are being missed because they are improperly identified and ignored, or just completely masked and invisible. This is an area where the Minelab BBS and FBS detectors have excelled. They do not go deeper. They simply get more accurate discrimination at depths exceeding what most detectors achieve. Machines like the DEUS and a lot of other Euro machines are excelling not for the depth they get, but this ability to acquire and accurately identify targets at shallower depths that are missed by other detectors.
If we had a detector that could simply see through everything and accurately identify coins to 10" the ground would light up with countless missed finds. I get a chuckle out of all the deep coins I see people talk about on the forums when the best detectors made can't accurately identify a dime past 5-6 inches in my soil. Anything deeper just gets called ferrous. There is huge room for improvement in metal detectors still not by getting more depth, but by simply finding shallower targets that have been missed by other detectors made up until now.
How To Make Yourself Crazy!
U.S. Versus Euro Style Detectors
Hello, and apologies in advance for being a complete noob.
My goal is to find interesting antiques on some land that I've inherited in New Zealand. I'm sure you all have insightful opinions on which detector to purchase, however I need to purchase with cryptocurrency and newegg.com is the only site I've found where I can pay with crypto, and also have it delivered to NZ.
Please compare and contrast:
Garrett AT max
Minelab Equinox 800
Teknetics T2 / or omega 8500
Gratefully accepting opinions on which to buy, or alternatively another place to buy a metal detector with crypto in NZ
From what I can gather, higher frequency VLF detectors are more suited for smaller gold but ground mineralisation may be something to factor in. Would there be a “better” frequency for nuggets 1 gram and above in heavy ground?
I’m not too concerned if I miss sub gram nuggets if there is a better suited frequency.
The old Garrett Groundhog circuitry was legendary in this country…..I think it was around the 15 kHz mark. Is this frequency range a good starting point or do I need to consider other things such as better ground balancing capabilities or Garrett’s extra coil voltage.
My Minelab PI units will be mainstay detectors but as mentioned in another post, I have ground littered in man made iron junk and the ground mineralisation is severe. There are plenty of nuggets in the 1 gram to 5 gram range (maybe bigger) but the iron signals are as dense as 5 per square metre 🤬
Thanks for any ideas.