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Steve Herschbach

Fisher Impulse AQ (formerly Aqua Manta) Pulse Induction Metal Detector

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This detector is all but certain to appear, and probably before the end of 2019. I have been on a quest to get a high power ground balancing pulse induction metal detector that is reasonably light in weight and in a somewhat standard metal detector housing, preferably waterproof. Whatever detectors I personally use must have dealers and service support in the U.S.

Edit 3/2019: The Manta has been officially named the Fisher Impulse AQ, a development that happened later in this very thread. You can follow along here to get the latest information later in this thread and see the history. Or quick jump to the Fisher Impulse AQ Detector Data & User Reviews page.


The challenge I have for Fisher or anyone else is to make a dry land ground balancing PI that weighs under 4 lbs yet is more powerful than a TDI SL. The alternative is waterproof but under 5 lbs. The price must be under US$2000.00 Waterproof Pulse Induction Metal Detectors Compared

The Fisher Aqua Manta (edit 3/2019 now known as Impulse AQ) has been rumored for some time, and confirmed by First Texas as a project nearing completion. Prior threads:

January 2015 New Fisher Pulse Induction

January 2018 New First Texas PI Under Development

June 2018 Aqua Manta Pulse Induction Beach Detector

The long story short is this is a project by Alexandre Tartar. The Manta is most likely an offshoot and improvement on the orginal Eric Foster Goldscan circuit. Alexandre has built at least three major prototype devices before the rights were acquired by First Texas. The following photos and information is derived from this thread where the V3 prototype is sold.

Here are the basic specs as described in advertisement (the seller is French and translating):

"I sell a "prototype" Manta v3

There are only three copies of this detector and it is the best of three ....
(See mantametaldetectors website)

Pulse induction, works exclusively with mono coils to the beach, possibly for the land, but no ground control

Calibrated for low conductors, gold and platinum, among other. Delay 7us of 17 volts more sensitive, deeper and faster than Deepstar

Equipped with a coil, Manta, latest generation
she has one month, the quietest and most efficient on the market, all brands included. (it will operate on TDI and Deepstar)

Connector Type TDI, it accepts all coils (mono) of TDI / GPX

Weight: 1.5 kg without battery that is worn at the belt
headphone jack and on / off switch on the battery pack (lipo) supplied charger
more than six hours of detection at full power.

Carbon Rod Anderson + extra cane down
braided nylon belt military style

All the possible settings and need a good PI
SAT speed, TX frequency, noise threshold, delay, volume, sensitivity....

The delay was 7us , lets see gold ends
very thin rings, earrings, jewelry hollow that other detectors can not see
and of course, the wholesale jewelry it goes deeper

Ferrous recognition by a double beep well marked"

What I find interesting is this note "Pulse induction, works exclusively with mono coils to the beach, possibly for the land, but no ground control"

Yet here is the picture that accompanies the advertisement. Now remember this is from March 2016, almost three years ago. The prototype clearly has labels for ground controls...

Alexandre Tartar Manta V3.0 prototype

The control markings as seen above:

  1. Volume
  2. Threshold
  3. Sensitivity
  4. Sat Speed. Motion. (recovery speed)
  5. Tx Frequency (transmit frequency, usually to offset for EMI mitigation)
  6. Pulse Delay. GB Type (the shorter the pulse delay, the more sensitive to tiny metal and salt water)
  7. Ground Balance (usually a ground balance control, but ad says this is lacking?)

Statements by First Texas suggest version 1 of the new machine is aimed at beach use and may not be suitable for land use (gold prospecting). That in turn makes me think work on the ground balance system is lagging and may be key to the future of the machine. Will it be beach only, or have a future for gold prospecting?

I have to assume the unit will be competitive when it comes to the horsepower, or why bother? Until now the Eric Foster Deepstar is generally acknowledged as one of the deepest beach PI detector’s ever made. And the ad says “more sensitive, deeper and faster than Deepstar”. That being the case what really has my interest is the weight and compactness being displayed. The following photo collage from the advertisement shows the size of the control box and belt mounted battery:

Alexandre Tartar Manta V3.0 prototype

Granted the battery is belt mounted, but that is one tiny control box. I have to think that First Texas can slim down the circuit board and use a top notch integrated rechargeable battery and get this machine into a very compact package - hopefully waterproof and with wireless headphone capability built in.

Well, that's about all I know about this one. This thread will collect any new information as it is available. This is one of a couple detectors I am watching so fingers crossed for a 2019 release. It is encouraging that Alexandre's original website at http://www.mantametaldetectors.com/ has been taken over by First Texas and is displaying this banner:

Fisher Research Labs - New Pulse Induction metal detector COMING SOON!

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 I already want to see that machine and how it will unfold on a daily basis

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Sounds like a great machine.  Good for gold prospecting, maybe.  Beach hunting, yes.  But I don't get to beach hunt but once a year.  Waterproof, great.

But I'm still waiting for the day when a PI will be developed that can discriminate out nails and still see the deep silver.  Not trying to manipulate the ground balance settings achieve such a feat. 


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The poster who goes by “LE.JAG” is the chief field and development tester for the Manta project.  His name is Denis - don’t know his last name.  As as far as I can determine, Alexandre Tartar has only posted on the Geotech forum and then under the “handles” of “Poseidon”and “Asgard.”

It was a post of his on Geotech which got Carl Moreland interested in his work and after some back and forth resulted in First Texas doing an “aquihire” of the Manta project and the team.

The salt water beach detector market is a niche within a niche - water detecting - salt not fresh - beach and wading vs. diving. Fresh water, lots of waterproof detectors will do fine - even not so waterproof ones if you are careful.  Salt water is another problem.  Diving is yet another problem, pressure resistance greater and in the case of a PI detector, rules out the use of very short minimum pulse delays due to the huge volume of water.

Gold at the salt beach - that’s the manta’s meat. Their belief is that it will be the best detector for that that has ever been fielded.  It has to appear however before any of us can see if they are right!

As far as land use, it does have ground balance control.  It is labeled in the prototype “accept” and “reject”.  I expect this indicates that the iron IB/Silence feature is at least partly controlled by changes in the GB settings. 

The fact that they have announced the development of a land version probably means that the GB function for the beach machine “AquaManta” is utilized in a way that makes it not optimum for cancelling highly mineralized inland ground.

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Leave it to Carl, to see an opportunity and jump on it.


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If they build or are building a land version of this for nugget detecting I surely hope they have auto ground balance rather than the manual gb seen here on the beach machine. I would be interested in a nugget version of this machine for sure, look how light weight it is!!!

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Sounds like a good one. Forgive my ignorance,   I was under the assumption  that pulse detectors ignored the ground.  Does anyone know why this unit is not suited for mineralized ground, but only salt water  beaches? TIA

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Pulse induction detectors do not ignore the ground. They are less affected, yes, but not immune to mineralization. That is exactly why ground balancing pulse induction metal detectors exist versus machines like the Tesoro Sand Shark, Garrett Sea Hunter, and White’s Surf PI, which do not ground balance. Those units are for beach use because they can’t handle hot rocks and severe mineralization. All Minelab PI detector’s ground balance, as do the White’s TDI and Garrett ATX.

Long story short a beach model does not need a ground balance circuit that works as well as that needed for gold prospecting, for example. A ground balance circuit is not needed in mild ground and can rob depth if used where not needed. That is why the White’s TDI lets you shut off the ground balance. Here is my attempt at explaining the subject.

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My GP Extreme is sensitive to the wet beach sand. Is this due to a sample timing too short, ground balance, or the type of coil I was running (platypus)? Is it typical of the GPX series as well or do they have settings to normalize there?

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    • By Rick Kempf
      The latest developments of the AQ pre-production platform continue to increase the utility of the ferrous discrimination capability of the machine. Steady refinement of the design have made the machine not only deeper overall but greatly narrowed the gap between sensitivity in all metal and sensitivity in the iron ID modes of mute and multi-tone. 

      I suspect that if no iron/steel trash existed at the beach, no serious beach hunter would use anything except a Pulse Induction machine - unless they were in dry sand, and maybe not then. The reason I say this is that the depth advantages of existing PI machines is well demonstrated since they can operate on most beaches without the penalty of using ground balance. Also, except for iron/steel, no other level of discrimination is useful since gold jewelry can appear almost anywhere in the ID range above iron. So of the iron wasn’t there - PI’s would likely dominate. 

      In the case of Phase shift discrimination systems like VLF IB detectors use, the strong iron signal dominates the audio output, either silencing the audio entirely in the case of a single tone VLF, by nulling like an FBS/BBS - or by giving a lower tone in a multi-tone Detector. Even in the case of the multitone VLF’s, hearing the non-ferrous target depends on the recovery speed of the processing hardware in the detector. 

      With the AQ’s PI time-based discrimination, The discrimination of iron is reported to the user either as silence (in the mute mode) or as a low tone (in the case of multi-tone). 

      In mute, not only do you not hear the iron, but you hear instead silence - unless there is a non-ferrous target, in that case you hear the target with no hint of the iron at all. In this mode, the AQ software simply makes the ferrous targets disappear - just disappear. 

      In the case of multitone, you hear a high tone for non-ferrous low and medium conductors and a high tone for ferrous targets - close or even superimposed, makes n difference you would hear both tones in any case. 

      This has several major advantages. 

      First, there is “zero recovery speed” - All targets produce an output signal if they return one - the ferrous is - by operator choice - either silenced or assigned a low tone. The low/medium conductors always return their characteristic high tone. This occurs 100% of the time - there is no “switching delay” from target to target based on processor speed limitations happening. 

      Separation distance between adjacent ferrous and non ferrous targets is ZERO. 

      By zero, I mean exactly that, even non-ferrous directly beneath ferrous gives a clear non-ferrous high tone and the iron simply “isn’t there” (in mute - in multi-tone it gives a low tone which you would hear along with the non ferrous high tone). 

      This means that “silent masking” that Tom wrote about long ago, where even a tiny bit if ferrous like a common staple can mask a deeper and larger valuable target, is largely eliminated. 

      Now this isn’t magic, it’s just that the iron is above the ground balance point (or at it) and you are hearing the signals below the GB point and the ones at or above the GB point are silenced (or give a low tone). 

      Is it perfect? - no. In discrim on the AQ some high conductor targets will be “above the GB point” and be treated as iron. If your idea of a good beach hunt is finding a bunch of dimes and quarters in dry sand, then stick with whatever light, cheap VLF you want, they can help you avoid all that aluminum and gold which would just slow you down - lol 

      All this is clearly demonstrated in the video I have linked to before. The machine in the video is the Manta prototype from 3-5 years ago. The system has gone through a lot of development since then, including the very latest gains in overall depth and depth in the iron ID modes which I reported in the first sentence in this post. 

      Will the AQ “obsolete” any other detectors? Depends on what you mean by obsolete. The gas turbine aircraft engine (the jet) quickly replaced the extremely complex, high maintenance multi cylinder reciprocating aircraft engines for heavy, fast and high aircraft, but lots of light aircraft are still piston powered. The piston engine is still undergoing development for some aircraft applications. 

      So I expect that IF the AQ in the hands of the early buyers lives up to its claimed capabilities, that serious beach gold hunters will adopt it quickly. When a new tool in the hands of early adopters proves to be superior at doing a specific job to the previous best tools for the job in question, those who are really serious about performance for economic or other reasons will adopt the new tool and stop using the old one. How many framing carpenters still use a hammer. Not many if the compressor/nail gun noise at any construction site is any guide. The framing hammer is not obsolete - it still works just fine - but for serious users the nail gun became “compelling”. 

      Time will tell how “compelling” the AQ will become for serious beach jewelry hunters.
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      There is on-going field testing of the Fisher Impulse AQ in progress trying to improve the discrimination. This despite the machine getting ready to go to production at any moment.
      For those that do not know metal detector development never stops. It just gets to a point where it is good enough and you launch. Engineers can improve for eternity if you let them. This does raise a concern however. This machine is as far as I can tell using a new premise for what it does, and is obviously up against deadlines to get out the door. There is nothing here about internet update capability, and in fact it seems I recall somebody at FT saying there never would be such a feature on their machines. But given that nearly every serious platform released by FT sees software bugs and updates in the first year, including the recently released F-Pulse, the odds are this machine would benefit from an update once it gets into user hands and the inevitable bug is found. It really is a set up for having to mail machines back to be updated.
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      In a weird way I see this as good news. Apparently Fisher was ready to start producing the Impulse AQ. The reason I know that is there has been a publicly announced "production delay" over some sort of mechanical aspect of the detector. So I read that as meaning that as soon as this hardware bug gets addressed units will be rolling out the door. The only problem is we don't know how long it will take to fix the bug, but they must be on it 24/7 at this point. Management has to be cracking the whip hard by now to get it out the door. I have to assume we will see this before end of summer. Fingers crossed! 
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