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Steve Herschbach

My Tips On Nugget Detecting With The Minelab Equinox

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This little guy here came up in the negatives, regularly hitting -6


I'll do some experimenting, I may have to go back to this spot to do it as it's the only place with virtually no junk and really tiny gold.  Thanks for your replies, it's starting to make sense to me.

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What does the nugget air test as?

There are many things that might pull a nugget negative, like an adjacent hot rock or ferrous, hot ground, or mineral in the nugget matrix.

If the gold air tests negative it would be the last one. I saw a nugget once a Gold Bug 2 insisted was ferrous. It would disappear when iron disc was engaged.

If the nugget air tests positive then it has to be something in the ground or the tuning. I am going to put a test bed together and see if I can force a negative response on a tiny nugget.

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I only have the 11" coil fitted at the moment so I thought I'd try air test it, 11" doesn't see it at all unless touching the coil and comes up as 0 if I move it around on the coil, I'll put the 6" on and try it soon.    I had to have it on sensitivity 25 to even see the nugget but it was very ratty being inside, it's still dark outside so I'll try test properly later in the day.  I'll edit this post when I get more information.

I kept those tiny gold nuggets in their own little Jars as I was so impressed I found them ?

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Ok, It turns out Steve's right, the tiny 0.011 gram nugget comes up as a VDI 1 on the Equinox with 6" coil when it's very close to the coil, the further away you get from the coil the less reliable that number is.  At about an inch away it was well into the negatives so when I detected it I guess being in the crevice it was down around the inch mark from the coil which is why it was flicking around -6 on the VDI's.  I wonder if bigger nuggets act the same, dropping into the negatives when getting out of reach of the coil, I'll have to keep experimenting.


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Simon ....one of the gold benefits of the one-tonne-mode is if you have enough open discrimination still a nice ton though you are getting minus-vdi. Can it be mineralization .... Have you tried other 2 ton mode like Park2? .If the program isn't as deep as the Gold modes.
It's a bit out of the way, but it has a definite ... well with gold prospectus ..
Today I am at 7 bar Fe3O4 -extremne mineralization for Black-sand tests.
-tested several detectors and coils between the other and Equinox ...

Tested item "N.4 " was 1.2grams gold pendant about 12cm deep in Black sand.

When testing equinox, I noticed a non-ferrous audio signal - which was sometimes a bit worn out ... but Vdi is almost still in the minus VDI numbers -2, -3, sometimes at 1a just occasionally jumping to the right 11-12 ID ..

So I tried all the programs and the best work here was Gold Programs .. enough better audio and more correctly VDI 11-13 ... but it was still not 100% OK ..
So I changed the 11 "standard coil on a small 6" coil. The signal detection work was further improved, but Vdi on a small coil was still very often on minus VDI ...

So I tried to change my discrimination that I use / accept -3 to + 40 / to +1 to +40.
After such a change in discrimination, Equinox detection has improved dramatically and I have been practically + VDI .. very often with the correct VDI 11-12.

  At the end I put on the Equinox standard 11 "coil and tried to test Equinox again on the new discrimination settings. The new discrimination setting worked great ... even on the 11" standard coil.

Lessons learned from the test - in too harsh conditions, it may be too open to discriminating and allmetal has a great impact on working and displaying the correct VDI on Equinox.

maj 9 iphone 5S 2019 039.JPG

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Thanks ElNino, I have much experimenting to do. I'll test out your methods.

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Something else, .... in this 7-Bar Fe3o4 Black Sand test my optimum setting Equinox 800   on programs Park1 and Park2...  was .. :

1."Discrimination"  from +1 to +40 ..-you get a great and exact ID.=reading "11-12"ID -for  small gold  pendant its - perfect..

If you only discriminate on accepting from +0 to +40-you get too much reading or "0 ID "or "+1 ID"- for small gold pendant   to mean non-accurate read ID ..                                                                  


2. "Correctly set the Recovery speed 7-or 8".-very important setting .. -to make miracles
At lower settings ..Recovery Speed 1-6 ... you will not get almost any number ID even at the highest sensitivity -...25 .. even if you still get the correct audio signal ..
On optimal recovery speed 7-8 ..
 you get right number 11-12 ID and good signal..from sensitivity 15.... and it works well on sensitivity up to 25-max ..

3 ."Sensitivity ".. good signal and correct ID I got at the sensitivity of 15 I tried it on both 11 "as well as small 6" coil.
What is more interesting ... Equinox correctly detected 1.2gram gold pendant up to a maximum sensitivity of 24-25 in this test.

 This is a difference from other detectors where you have to reduce the "Gain" or "Sensitivity" setting so that you can properly detect the 7-Bar Fe3o4 mineralization.

4. "I tested 11 "and 6" Equinox coil" - ..and found the correct Equinox detector correctly and the same for 11 "standard and small 6" coil.

5.. Another observation ... it is definitely good to change ground balance - again in such a rough terrain when changing the Recovery speed.

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Steve,a terrific article that you have written,albeit as you are aware that in theory we dont have gold nuggets as such,but we do have of course celtic gold staters and other gold coins as well,i have the 11'' stock coil and also just purchased a 6'' coil as well,from your experience of detecting here in the UK would/could this gold nugget method using the 6'' coil be used for hunting for gold coins here in certain locations that other celtic gold staters have also been found.Try too improve the odds in my favour.

The Equinox and small coil are a deadly combination for silver hammered coins but was wondering what your thoughts are on celtic gold staters and gold hammered coins ??

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All I can say is I was really pleased with my Equinox in the U.K. and would use it again if given the chance. It’s an excellent detector for any gold targets. In theory Gold Mode can be used to hunt anything... it’s just a name and certainly not just for gold nuggets. However, it’s something a person has to experiment with. Tuning up for max sensitivity on the tiniest gold bits can unfortunately be inefficient in places with too much small lead bits. I found when I hunted in the U.K. that I had to draw a line as to how small the items were that I was digging. It’s purely a function of time, and on a time limited hunt it may make more sense to find a happy medium.

For max gold sensitivity and more targeted/smaller areas I would sure give Gold Mode a try. The 6” coil is super hot but of course it will really slow the hunting down, so very much for niche type scenarios. Great for hunting tiny gold nuggets but in my case in the U.K. it was more about ground coverage and therefore a 15” coil. I do think creative methods are always worth pursuing though for certain situations when they arise. It’s what sets the detector pros apart from the rest - out of box thinking.

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Question for you Steve (or anyone else).

I don't have a 6" coil yet so have been using the 11" for everything, including nugget hunting. I have had very noticeable coil knock on all the gold field areas I have gone to. I don't even need to tap the ground, tapping a twig is enough for a signal. The detector is still working well as I still recover small bullet fragments. I've gotten pretty good at sensing when I have touched anything and just brain filtering those signals.

My questions are:

1. Is have this much knock sensitivity hurting me in some way, as in is the detector so far out of tune that it isn't working as well as it could.

2. If that is the case what should I try to eliminate it. I already picked up to adjust recovery speed, but I am already using stock gold 1, so not lots of room to increase there.

It really isn't hard to ignore the knock signals so if just ignoring them is best I have no problem with that.

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