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I've had a lot of machines come and go since I began the hobby. One machine I will not part with is my V3i. About a year ago at tax return time money was no object in the realm of hobby machines. I could plunk down cash on a CTX-3030, XP Deus or trade up to a V3i. It was a difficult decision and one that required research, and even hands on testing to determine what was the best fit for me. The following is a compilation of the arguments that convinced me to go with a V3i:

The V3i is a true 3 frequency machine. FBS machines, although the claim is made that they TRANSMIT 28 frequencies, apparently only USE (transmit, receive and process) only 2 fundamental frequencies (3.125khz, 25khz).

http://www.dankowskidetectors.com/discussions/read.php?2,24272,page=1Those frequencies emit harmonic byproducts which are not actually utilized, but which any machine can claim to transmit. Whites could follow this business philosophy and claim to transmit 42 or more, but this is not helpful. 

The V3i can operate in single frequency mode. The CTX-3030 cannot. Being able to operate in single frequency mode provides a depth and speed advantage as all the power of the the machine is dedicated to that particular frequency rather than divided up among many. Conversely, the XP Deus operates in selectable single frequencies, but cannot process them simultaneously, putting it at a disadvantage in discrimination and higher mineralization . 

The V3i is true SIMULTANEOUS multifrequency, meaning all 3 frequencies are transmitted at the same time. Often what is referred to as "simultaneous" is a loose interpretation of the term. What is really happening is their frequencies are transmitted in a timed automated sequence and processed in the time domain rather than simultaneously. This approach causes a greater delay in recovery and target separation often overlooking good targets in iron infested sites.

The V3i offers by far the most access to feature parameters that are usually only available to the manufacturer. When features are locked to certain specific presets a machine will perform reasonably well across most conditions, but will not be optimized. The V3i offers you the option of optimizing its performance in any conditions. This has caused many novice and even experienced detectorists to become intimidated by the V3i. Don't be. The V3i has turn on and go modes and factory defaults like any other machine. In every endeavor the V3i seeks to offer the best of both worlds. It offers you the chance to reach your full potential across all mediums in your own time as you figure out what works best for you, or simply use factory programs. 

The Spectragraph. This allows the user to see what is going on with any one or all three of the frequency it utilizes. It is more information and tell tale signs to help determine the size and composition of the target. It is more information to help determine whether to dig or not to dig. VDI systems are imperfect predictors on every machine. Many variables affect its accuracy and so it is just one consideration among many regarding whether to dig or not to dig.  

The V3i is more consistently "hot" across the spectrum of metals than either the Deus and CTX-3030. You'll often notice in the forums that smaller gold is not the strong suit of FBS machines. Due to their configuration, they favor high conductors and overlook smaller gold. The Deus in similar fashion needs a whole different and very expensive coil to notice small, low conductors such as gold. 

(With the Deus, this is the equivalent of buying a whole new metal detector, because the coil IS the metal detector. The pod only deals with information. That is why it is referred to as a "remote." That's all it truly is. So each time you purchase a coil you are forced to buy all the other hardware that is usually housed in the control box over and over again. These coils will necessarily have to be serviced at some point due to its hardwired battery. The likelihood of long term failure of such a configuration is concerning as well considering that all the sensitive electronics are housed in the most vulnerable part of the machine. Imagine taking your control box off and bumping it up against stubby corn stalks, rocks, tree trunks and other hard mediums over an extended period of time.)

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Great post Cipher.

I would caution most people when looking into this to not let the marketers mess with you. It has never mattered how many frequencies are transmitted. It is about what information is received and how it is processed. All VLF detectors are creating a sine wave effect with variants such as square wave and triangular wave. The wave itself has things happening in specific sequential sequences. The combined signal is received and demodulated into components which are processed/compared. Simultaneous versus sequential is another red herring in that regard. Digital processing takes place in steps and is by definition sequential though parallel processing is possible. This all happens in microseconds and is for all human purposes simultaneous.

And none of it actually matters really. All that matters is how detectors perform and act in the field. I have a V3i myself and so I am not trying to refute the basic argument here - it is a great detector for all the reasons you mention. It's just that delving too far under the hood is like trying to second guess what's going on in that brain box in my truck and how that affects the fuel mileage. I can try and divine the programming and how it is done - or I can just go for a drive and check what my fuel mileage is. The same with BBS versus FBS versus V3i etc - it is far easier to use and compare them in the real world to get useable conclusions then will ever be discovered by reading the patents.

Ultimate White's V3i Information Guide

whites-v3i-waveform.jpg

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Thanks Steve.

I think what influenced me most on the frequency issue was not so much what Whites does, but what FBS didn't do. I'm learning more on this subject daily and you're right, it's complex. Each time I think I have an understanding, there's more to it. In any event, I think marketing relies on us having very little to no understanding on this issue. To a person who has no knowledge at all, they will initially look at it as, "oh wow! 28 vs 3...it's a blowout, to heck with the V3i!" That was my initial reaction and I see it in the forums too, but even knowing as little as I did a year ago something told me to look further into it. From a marketing perspective, what Minelab did there was very successful. Most people won't look further into it. 

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Nice post Cipher.

I have been monitoring Deus for years now on the forums.

It seems to be very dependable.

Have seen very folks report actual problems.

The coil actually seems has the fewest reported problems.

The V3i seems is reliable too.

The Etrac too.

The CTX, I rate comparing to the rest I listed here, the one with the higher odds of malfunctioning over time.  (This rating not tied to underwater use either)

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Thanks Tnsharpshooter 

You're right, the Deus has seemed a very reliable machine so far. My concern for it would be more of a long term consideration, especially on the used market. At some point every Deus user will have to deal with the issue of servicing hardwired batteries. I am curious how that particular issue will play out. I imagine many people will try to do it themselves, and many people will bring it in or send it in for service. In the end it was a smaller consideration than some of the others, but I like the idea of a user removable battery pack. Sending my go-to machine away would give me separation anxiety haha. 

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There will always be trade offs.

Folks just have to decide which direction they will go.

The Equinox too I'll have a battery change requirement in the future if one keeps a model long enough.

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I've heard from acquaintances that the V3i lacks depth.  What's the deepest silver dime you've dug with the V3i using an 11 inch or smaller coil?

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2 hours ago, Bayard said:

I've heard from acquaintances that the V3i lacks depth.  What's the deepest silver dime you've dug with the V3i using an 11 inch or smaller coil?

Mine will hit a dime, in my mild soil, at 10". It won't ID that dime, but you will know it's a good target once you know what to listen for (like any machine).

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I have seen that come up in the forums myself and I'm not sure where that comes from. I'm used to being able to hit deeper targets coming from machines like the F75 LTD and MX Sport (another pretty deep machine), and while in factory programs it might not have the depth of an F75 LTD, my experience has been that depth on the V3i is more than adequate. There is a depth difference from multifrequency mode to single for sure, but even in multi I have pulled coins past the 8" mark. Deep silver program from even deeper, but that's a single frequency mode. The "Magic" Program had me pulling anything as deep as I cared to dig. So it all depends on what mode you're in. I've done everything with the stock coil. The Detech Ultimate 13 is supposed to be a beast on it. Carolina Coin Hunter was hitting coins at "12 in the ground with no issue. I'll know now this year when I invest in more coils, but my opinion is that you can certainly get high end depth out of it. Another thing is your ground. And you have to keep on top of the ground tracking a bit more than other machines I've used, but if you do, it pays off. It sounds like that's a software issue that came with the "i" update where they slowed the tracking down for ID purposes. It would be nice to see an update that would reverse that, but I've been able to compensate pretty well. 

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