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Steve Herschbach

The Things About The Fisher Impulse AQ That Puzzle Me

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The Fisher Impulse AQ is clearly aimed at beach hunters. Specifically saltwater beach detectorists. It is a PI and as such is being billed as able to handle thick black sands. Pictures have been posted showing just that - saltwater beaches with heavy magnetic black sand content.

Yet at the same time we are being warned this detector has a ground balance with limited range, and that it can't handle extreme ground and hot rocks i.e. gold prospecting.

So what's the deal? Can it handle intense mineralization or not? I also wonder about the discrimination. The machine is clearly based on the Eric Poster/TDI in some regards but is also being billed as multi-channel, which TDI is not.

I suspect just as with TDI that the discrimination is tied directly to the ground balance, and that in order to be effective as far as discrimination the ground balance is very limited. It has been mentioned that the all metal mode might be better for prospectors, which makes sense given what I am speculating. The discrimination is said to be "gold only" with high coin signals eliminated. That makes sense again as coin and nail signals are in the same GB range with the TDI. If they are going dual channel it may be employing two ground balance points as the limits on the discrimination range, something I suggested ages ago. It should be obvious that the TDI can use ground balance to establish one range limit - a second channel defining another limit seemed a no brainer to me. I always wanted to get an SD2100 to experiment with the concept since it allows the two ground balance channels to be set manually. Never got around to it though.

Any PI can deal with relatively homogenous ground. Even the non-ground balancing White's Surf PI handles black sand beaches well, as long as the coil is kept at an even height over the bottom. I therefore think the machine will do well on relatively homogenous beaches. Given that it is said to not handle hot rocks well, how does that translate into Hawaii as a location? My main issue there with the Surf PI was basalt hot rocks embedded in blond non-magnetic sands derived from reef erosion. I have to question whether the Impulse AQ can handle those hot rocks given what has been said about it.

What about freshwater? The is no difference between a freshwater Tahoe beach and some of the worst prospecting ground. Thick black sands plus hot rocks. Is the ground balance range tied more to saltwater operation? I would like to run this machine at Tahoe, but given what is being said I am questioning whether it can handle the hot rocks there.

Not a bit of this speculation is a knock on the Impulse AQ. It is a machine targeting a subset of a niche market. In other words, a machine with very limited application and they are telling us that up front. I am not one to ever complain when I get a detector and it does not work when I try to make it do things it was not made to do. And there is always a catch, always limitations, always unexpected things that pop up in widespread use that can't be captured in limited prototype testing. I get all that.

The bottom line is I am just airing the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head. I don't worry about it because I am perfectly capable of getting all the answers to these questions on my own. It's actually these types of questions that makes me want to get detectors because I love pushing detectors outside the envelope and finding the limits.... and then doing things with them others might not think of. It's kind of my detector super power. :smile:

They sure seem close to having a finished product. I hope so as once end of October hits I will have to wait until spring. Well, I don't have to, I just will. I may wait for the prospecting version anyway. We will see.

Fisher Impulse AQ Detector Data & User Reviews

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Since this product(Manta) was first announced I have been waiting to see any U.S. "Patents Applied for" to show up either in Mr. Tartar's name or First Texas and have found none.  C. Moreland has recently filed a Multi-Freq patent which looks interesting.  But if there is nothing novel about this PI to be protected, holding a +2K USD price point may be an interesting challenge.

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You won’t find a patent covering the Equinox processing methodology either that I am aware of.

What’s novel for me is the package. All I ever wanted was a subset of the GPX 5000 packaged up like this or an ATX packaged similarly. I am not looking for power that does not already exist, just that power in something more ergonomic. No matter what this will be a pleasure to swing. I much prefer the ATX control panel however over all these knobs. Some will love the knobs I am sure so that’s just me. However, from a practical standpoint it would have made for a less expensive, easier to clean, and more durable design.

I think they have a better shot at getting a high price for this machine than the prospecting version. Right now the GPX 4500 puts a solid challenge out there at $2699. I have to believe that if challenged Minelab could bring that down. They recouped all the engineering etc on the GPX ages ago so it is purely a manufacturing cost issue at this point.

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Another interesting question will be in clean white Florida sand. A pulse excels over a VLF mostly as regards the intensity of the mineralization. There are plenty of people who have this much money wrapped up in a CTX 3030 with 17” coil, and I suspect in Florida a CTX 17” with unquestionably great discrimination will give this machine a run for the money.

The real market for this is the west coast, volcanic islands, or anywhere else mineralization is an issue. In my gee I barely know anything really about this machine opinion!! :laugh:

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But what if looked at another way? What if the idea was not so much to use VLF when you can and PI when you must, but the reverse? When I was starting out I knew a couple old water hunters that used PI exclusively and did not believe VLF would amount to anything. When I used PI, even the very same PI Garrett is still selling all these years later, I could swear I found more gold even though I dug more and covered less ground.

If the thing really is good at identifying iron, and if it can be set to miss small foil even at low pulse delay, then would it not beat nearly anything even on a freshwater beach?

Somehow I expected it to have user control of pulse width too.

Will it be prone to target masking if used to mask iron? 

I owned a CTX with a couple coils, books, etc. Replaced it with a Compadre and never looked back.

It absolutely is easy to wonder with almost no information at all. 

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As far as competing with a top VLF like the CTX in low mineralization - time will tell. If it does prove more effective, it will not be on account of advanced discrimination. The AQ’s discrimination is much more limited than a discriminating VLF IB system. The AQ isn’t a multipurpose machine however - gold jewelry is its meat. So the question becomes which device will find more gold jewelry in a given number of hours on a given Florida (or elsewhere) low mineralized beach. 

If you bet on the CTX, you would likely cite its’s better discrimination - fooled less by a rusty Bobbie pin or a steel crown cap. If you bet on the AQ, I suppose you would bet on it’s useful level of iron ID and its claimed ability to “see through” iron and return a clear high tone (low conductor) for a nice ring or charm under or amongst some nails from a wrecked pier or beach pallet bonfires. Videos from 5 years ago of earlier prototype Manta showed remarkable iron see-through.

Time and usage will tell.

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Yes, eventually we will figure it out on our own since no answers are forthcoming. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Just lay out your $2000 plus and cross your fingers.

It may be that I am trying to hard to think of what this machine can do “outside the box”. It may quite literally have a single tightly focused use and that’s it. To quote Rick Kempf “single minded pursuit of one thing - gold jewelry in salt beach environments”.

The repeated emphasis on salt makes me think Tahoe is going to be a real gamble.

Anyway, still loving it, moving in the right direction. I guess just watch and wait now.

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Been thinking a lot about this new machine. Reading the description and comparing it to my TDI SL it seems the machine only has three present advantages, well it was three, now two. The Manta can sample to 7 micro seconds and the White’s TDI can sample at 10. Now that might not sound like much but 7 allows the smaller stuff to be heard before going silent if running at 10 micro seconds. The other market advantage was to be the water proof feature, but since White’s released a water proof version of the Sl that advantage is gone. Now we’re back to only two market advantages for the Manta, well unless 1st Texas is holding a trump card of a feature. Or when White’s released the water proof version they, 1st Texas decided to add another feature to excel the competition which might explain the official delay of this new machine. The other advantage will be in the weight/balance advantage and everyone knows 1st Texas makes some very ergonomic machines. The manta coming in from 1.6 – 1.8 kg which amounts to somewhere between 3.5 and 4 lbs. Verses the SL at 5.2 lbs which now offers an option to detach the control box and hip mount the unit which greatly reduces the weight issue. Now in comparison of price, the TDI at $1300 and the Manta at $2100 I wonder, just how many will spend the additional $800 for the Manta. And I might add, after watching the Manta video on You Tube, where the machine could silence iron yet still see the gold, my SL can do the very same thing.

I think the release of this machine has taken way to long and their procrastination will cost them on this machine. But, that’s just my thoughts, time will tell.

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13 minutes ago, Mark Gillespie said:

Now in comparison of price, the TDI at $1300 and the Manta at $2100 I wonder, just how many will spend the additional $800 for the Manta.

This would have been a lot harder comparison to choose from if the TDI in every of it's versions had not been progressively weakened over time. People are taking the brand new batteries out and replacing with aftermarket versions now for heaven sake, and why on earth they would they remove the conductivity switch just to put a now even less capable version in a waterproof box and then hard wire the coil to prevent any real coil selection is beyond me.

It remains to be seen what Fisher will ultimately do, and it is absolutely taking too long. It is waterproof and looks pretty good so far, but if they fart around too long we will have ourselves talked out of it before it arrives or someone like Makro will have a better model out by the time they do get it together.

Right now, I am looking for some corporate vison from an American company and  not seeing much. My two cents, and worth every penny.

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It takes on average around 3 - 5 years to get genuinely new platforms to market. Not counting rehashing the same old thing or making most VLF detectors which is just sticking old tech in new boxes. This has been on the radar since 2015 so the time frame is not unusual. It’s just been visible and like a watched teapot that makes it seem forever.

But I agree First Texas has been stuck too long on single frequency VLF. Why no digital CZ in the last ten years will always be a mystery to me. Nothing new, just convert the analog version into something more compact with a modern target id system. Same performance would have been just fine. Just update for the 21st century.

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