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Hi, hoping one of the Gold Bug Pro brains trust could give me their opinion please?

I'm new to detecting & was wondering about the ground balance number and the ground phase number in the middle of the screen. In order to ground balance I'm pumping the coil up and down whilst pushing the GG button and most often the ground phase number and ground balance number match closely pretty quickly, however.....once I get started sweeping again the ground phase number (in the screen centre) jumps all over the place. Is this normal? Or should after I've ground balanced, the phase number pretty much remain the same? 

I've read through the manual and I think I'm doing everything correctly, just not sure if an erratic phase number is right? I was in all metal mode, both dials at 12:00 and up on dry sand. 

Thank you 


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Welcome to the forum!

As long as the detector is acting properly ground balanced (little or no response when coil raised and lowered to ground) then I would not worry about it. Ground and even individual rocks are not homogenous. In theory if the ground phase strays too much and too consistently from the ground balance setting it is time to ground balance again. In reality however it is the audio responses that best clue you to this. Just bounce the coil over the ground, and as long as it does not respond dramatically you are good to go. If in doubt however, you punch that "Ground Grab" button.


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I've used the GB Pro and F19 for years now and came up with my own routine for maintaining ground balance. When detecting in  mineralized ground (most gold districts) I got into the habit of every  10 or so swings, hitting the GG while pumping the coil a couple times, 10 more swings and then repeat. After a while you don't even have to think about it and it works well for me. If the ground is super hot and nasty you would have to ground balance much more often but at that point I just go and get the PI.   Good luck!..........Rob

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Hiya Steve!

i was secretly hoping you'd reply being a Gold Bug Guru ?!  And thanks for the fast reply. 

Okay so I need to clarify what "little or no response when coil is raised and lowered to the ground" is please? So sorry about the noob questions.  Sound? numbers? 

When I'm pumping the coil up & down both numbers jump around a bit & then they even out, this is when I press the GG button. As soon as I release it & start sweeping, the ground phase no is totally different- eg: let's say I ground balanced at 42, my ground balance number will still display 42 but the ground phase might jump from 7 to 50 to 30,its like it doesn't know what it's reading and it's not even with the ball park of the ground balance no.  

So utimately I'm thinking I have to re ground balance every few steps??? ?

The sound of the detector seems to remain the same hum though. 

Thanks Steve 

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Thanks Rob great tip! ??

Perhaps that's what I need to do.  I was at the beach so maybe this is why the ground phase number was going crazy?! 

As a novice to the whole ground balancing thing I really feel like I need to know if my detector is working as it should be or if it's operator error ?Haha!

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A perfect ground balance would have absolutely no audio change when the coil is raised and lowered over the ground. If audio is produced such that it sounds like a target when you sweep the ground, you need to work with the ground balance and sensitivity. In a perfect world you eliminate ground effects with these controls. However, the worse the ground (worse meaning you have to keep playing with detector controls) the more often you have to adjust. I have been on a lot of ground where I can set the ground balance in the morning and forget it.

And then you have Rob's ground - every ten feet.

Remember, ground balance is about obtaining a smooth threshold sound. If you achieve that, numbers flashing mean nothing really. You actually do not need the screen. I can tape over the screen and run the machine just fine.

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The ground phase number is always reading the ground and changing despite having a proper gb. One tip i always used is, if you go over some hotrocks, they will transmit a audio signal and possibly a very high or low target id. But during then the ground phase will jump around like normal. But if it is any metal, the ground phase number will drastic drop lower towards 0. Usually somewhere between 0 and 20. If it is a hot rock it will not drop towards zero. Youll just hear the zip zip like a signal. Ground phase is not a target id but can be used to identify a hot rock or metal. I had this happen hundreds of times before i received any target id for the metal for it was still out of range for the target id to identify.  I dont remeber ever finding one hot rock that made the ground phase drop towards 0. Other then that, what everyone else said also was helpful. Good luck

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22 hours ago, californiagold said:

But if it is any metal, the ground phase number will drastic drop lower towards 0. Usually somewhere between 0 and 20. If it is a hot rock it will not drop towards zero.

I think there are exceptions both ways. Part of that depends upon your definition of 'hot rock'.  Negative hot rocks (also called 'cold rocks' by some) have ground phases higher than the quiescent ground phase.  Postive hot rocks do the opposite.  I have a couple very large (near bowling ball size with masses in the 9-13 kg range) positive hot rocks which are so conductive that they give a TiD of 40 with the discrimination circuit and a phase shift value of 0 in All Metal.  One of these appears to have a very high concentration of graphite.  The other, I don't know its composition.

Also I've noticed that metallic conductive targets at the edge of detection in All Metal mode (and thus out of detection range on the discrimination side) can have phase shift values greater than 20.  But I do think in the vast majority of cases your rules-of-thumb hold.

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