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Steve Herschbach

Video - Garrett AT Max Vs Teknetics G2+ Nail Test

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The AT Max is Garrett’s latest machine following the AT Pro and AT Gold. The Teknetics G2+ is one of the First Texas 19 kHz variants (Gold Bug Pro, F19, G2, G2+)

 

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I put the AT Max up against the F75 LTD and MX Sport for my own tests. First Texas was king in iron with the Sport able to keep up much better than I expected. It's a shame that FT didn't waterproof any of their more recent machines. Hunter points out that the vast majority of people that say they want a waterproof machine never take it in the water. This is true, but it's also true that what people think they want is what sells if you look at the amazing success of the AT Pro, a machine FT has been outperforming for years. What tips them toward the AT Series over the FT machines always comes down to the waterproofing. They just want to know that if they want to go in the water or get it wet, they can. 

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Detectors get dirty. Really dirty. It's great to be able to wash it with a soapy sponge and a garden hose. So some many never get in the water (I do occasionally) but I'm sure every AT series owner appreciates how easy they are to clean.

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Great point Dan. I'm one of those that takes great care of my equipment for a couple reasons. I care about how my machines look, and I am ever mindful that clean and well kept machines carry a higher resale value. Waterproofing mid-upper level machines just seems logical to me. And as Minelab and even Garrett to an extent has shown us, waterproof doesn't have to mean heavy. It also doesn't have to mean terribly expensive. But it does make machines easier to maintain, and I'm sure that most who buy a waterproof machine intend to use it in the water, even if they don't. 

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I've always maintained that metal detectors should be waterproof.  Why? As Dan says above, our machines get dirty and its always nice to be able to spray them off without worry.  Secondly, since our hobby is an outdoor sport, rain is always a potential threat to the internal electronics.  So even if you don't physically hunt  in the water,  getting caught in a sudden Florida afternoon rain is a problem.  It sure would be nice to remove that concern regardless of where you hunt.

My first Minelab was the Safari.  A nice machine but not waterproof.  So even when I searched ONLY the dry and wet sand and had a plastic bag covering the control box, I was always paranoid about salt spray, dropping it or some rouge wave taking me out of the game.  When I got the Excal and CTX (with the new gasket), my worries were gone and I enjoyed the hunt that much more....and...I could hose them off or take them into the shower for clean up without concern as Dan B says.

Just the view from my foxhole... 

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    • By Steve Herschbach
      Despite all the noise about pulse induction (PI) metal detectors these days I firmly believe that in the United States most beginning and many professional nugget hunters are often better served with a good mid-frequency VLF. For beginners I think it is more important to master the real skills involved in prospecting before investing a ton of money in a metal detector. If you can't find gold with a $700 detector there is little point in investing thousands of dollars in a detector that still probably will not find the person any gold.
      Perhaps a PI is required in most of Australia but I have seen very few places in the United States where a good VLF will not work very well or at least well enough. Certainly in Alaska that is the case, where low mineral ground and smallish gold is the norm. Even locations where large gold lurks are so loaded with iron junk a PI detector has a hard go of it. It is nearly impossible to convince die-hard PI users to accept this until they experience it for themselves.
      One of the best detectorists I know has found hundreds of ounces of gold including two nuggets each weighing over a pound, all with a White's MXT. He also has a Minelab GPX 5000 and is very good with it. This last summer we hunted a lot together in junk infested tailing piles. I tended to use my GPX 5000 and he tended to use his MXT. We ran neck and neck for finds, and he detected less and dug way less junk than I. When all the shallow stuff is gone a PI shows its value with extra depth. But in target rich environments, especially ones filled with junk, a good VLF is a worthy choice.
      Let's set the VLF versus PI thing aside though and accept for the purposes of this article that VLF detectors are still a good choice for many people in the United States. I know for a fact I could own nothing but a VLF and do very well indeed. So what VLF to own?
      Two detectors stand out in their high operating frequency as dedicated nugget detectors, the Fisher Gold Bug 2 and White's GMT. I could make a great argument for why either of these detectors will eke out gold where other detectors fail and do it consistently enough that a skilled operator would be wise to own either one. However, I think overall a better case can be made that if a person had to own just one VLF detector, a mid-frequency model would be a better choice. There is much more versatility offered plus a better balance of performance on all ground types and all gold sizes than the hot high frequency models.
      The contenders from the "Big Five" brands? The Fisher Gold Bug Pro (also sold as Teknetics G2), Garrett AT Gold, Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold, Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ, and White's MXT. All available for around $700 more or less. This is the choice I personally faced, and the decision took several years of use to settle. What follows is purely personal but I will explain why I ended up where I did.

      Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Garrett AT Gold, Minelab X-Terra 705 Gold, Tesoro Lobo, White's MXT
      First up, the White's MXT. Simply a superb detector, and one that has found me pounds of gold. Yet I am just going to go ahead and blow White's off at this point! Why? The weight. I am sorry White's, but at 4.3 pounds the MXT is the heaviest detector in this slug-fest. I love what the detector does, but I am no longer willing to forgive detectors with poor ergonomic factors, weight being the most obvious. In the 21st century, the day and age of the iPhone, poor ergonomics is not acceptable. The MXT needs to lose a pound, plain and simple. So I sold my MXT after one particularly arm wearing day.
      Now the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ is a great beginners detector in that it is very easy to operate, but it also gets put aside. The detector is locked in ground tracking at all times while in all metal nugget mode. This is great for beginners but I personally find it unacceptable. I almost never use ground tracking systems as they mess with the signals from weak targets. If there was a locked or fixed mode it would be fine. Worse yet, the alternative discriminate mode has a factory pre-set ground balance. Sorry, fail. Just my opinion, but the Lobo is way overdue for an update after 16 years on the market.
      Garrett is to be commended for finally producing a waterproof detector that does not penalize the owner by weighing a ton and removing all the features. The AT Gold is a miracle in being waterproof and yet fully featured, with even the speaker being waterproof. And only three pounds with batteries! This detector is so wonderful I really do feel bad about taking a pass on it here also. Why? Sadly, the waterproof design also means special o-ring connectors for the coils and headphones. If you do not need the detector to be waterproof they are delicate connectors that collect dirt and require quite a bit of care to not mess up. The coil connection in particular is in a maddening location making it almost impossible to connect coils with bare fingers alone. A special adapter must be purchased if you want to have a choice in headphones. If you want waterproof the AT Gold is an obvious choice but I do not need waterproof for most of my nugget detecting.
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    • By Leighton
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    • By Steve Herschbach
      Fisher Research originally released the 19 kHz Gold Bug model about 1987. It was a real breakthrough design at the time with a compact control box, S-rod, and elliptical coils. The detector is a good unit but is strictly all metal (no discrimination). It has no LCD readout and looks much like the current Gold Bug 2 but has a white lower rod and a black control panel face. Some people are confusing this old model with the new so be aware of this when looking at used detectors. The 19 kHz coils for the old Gold Bug will not work on newer versions of the Gold Bug below.
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      1987 era analog Fisher Gold Bug
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      Fisher digital Gold Bug
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      Fisher Gold Bug SE
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      Fisher Gold Bug Pro
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      Teknetics G2
      Gold Bug Pro DP compared to Teknetics G2:


      Click on images below for larger versions.....



    • By foreverteachable
      I had the opportunity to detect an old summer camp and an old store cellar hole and was rewarded with some old relics and a v nickle and wheatie. The spoon piece was about a foot down.




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