The Minelab SDC 2300 metal detector was released in 2014 and is still in production. The SDC 2300 is making news due to the compact folding design waterproof to ten feet, and its extreme sensitivity to small gold in very mineralized ground. The SDC 2300 is also quite simple to operate for such a powerful detector, making it a good choice for those not wanting to invest lots of time into becoming proficient with harder to learn detectors. The animation below best illustrates the standout feature of the Minelab SDC 2300 - its ability to quickly fold into a compact package.
The Minelab SDC 2300 is extremely compact, folding down to only 15.7 inches (40.0 cm) by 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) for stowing or packing. It is waterproof to 10 feet (3 meters) and is very rugged, the housing being originally designed to military standards. It is assembly free, needing only to be folded out to full operating length from the compact, stowed position.
The Minelab SDC 2300 uses high performance Multi Period Fast (MPF) technology designed to optimize the performance on small gold nuggets and specimen gold. It offers both and audio and visual target response via waterproof speaker, headphones (included), and LED indicator. The SDC 2300 is designed to be easy to use, with an intuitive icon user interface. It operates on only four easily obtained C cell batteries (both alkaline and NiMH rechargeables included) that have no issues with shipping or air travel. The SDC 2300 weighs 5.1 pounds excluding batteries and approximately 5.7 lbs with four NiMH rechargeable C cell batteries.
Minelab SDC 2300 folding and unfolding animation
The Minelab SDC 2300 is fully waterproof and submersible to ten feet but the included headphones must be kept dry, only the cord can be submerged. To get the full use out of the ability to submerge the detector optional waterproof headphones are available. The four C cell batteries are inserted into the end of the SDC 2300 via a waterproof cap.
The handle mounted LED control panel on the Minelab SDC 2300 is one of the more intriguing features. It is quite small, measuring only about 2" x 3" in size. The LED Indicators show target signal strength, threshold level and battery status. The Audio Control touchpad adjusts the threshold level and low/high audio tone to suit user preference. The Noise Cancel touchpad automatically reduces external electrical interference. Nine LEDs indicate detection signal strength, battery status and threshold level. There is also one Low Battery warning LED. Just behind the control panel is a thumb operated button on top of the handle that engages a quick automatic ground balance sequence. When released the SDC 2300 goes into a continuous slow automatic ground tracking mode.
Minelab SDC 2300 waterproof pulse induction metal detector
A recessed control panel on the left side of the SDC 2300 has two rotary switches - the on/off Power Switch, and a Detecting Mode/Sensitivity Control. Both these twist knobs must be lifted and twisted to adjust, making it near impossible for them to be accidently knocked out of position during normal operation. There are two operating modes, Normal Mode, and Salt Mode. The Normal Mode has five sensitivity settings and the Salt Mode has three sensitivity settings.
Normal Mode is for most gold prospecting situations and the default recommended sensitivity setting of 2 is highlighted in green. Areas with low mineralization may allow higher sensitivity settings. Extreme mineralization or electrical interference may require lowering the sensitivity setting.
Salt Mode is for salt flats of salt water beaches. Three sensitivity settings are offered. Only use Salt Mode when Normal Mode will not suffice as it has lower sensitivity to the smallest gold targets. The Salt Mode may also be a setting of last resort in mineralized areas where the lowest Normal Mode setting still does not provide stable operation.
The Minelab SDC 2300 employs a round 8" mono coil that is hardwired to the unit. This allows the coil to be optimized for the best performance possible and eliminates a possible leakage point in the system.
Ground balancing is almost a non-issue with the SDC 2300. In many areas the SDC 2300 simply ignores the ground right out of the box and there is no ground balance procedure. In more mineralized ground, holding the ground balance button causes a quick ground balance to occur. The SDC 2300 is always automatically ground tracking at a medium-slow rate to maintain the best possible balance, so it is impossible for a novice operator to mess it up. I had no issues with it tracking out targets.
I did encounter hot rocks the SDC would not balance out, the very same types my GPX 5000 would not balance out. Overall the SDC handles ground as well if not better than the GPX because it is running a variation of the fine gold timing and the small coil "sees" less ground than the stock coil on the GPX 5000 therefore there is less ground for it to balance out.
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I can get my GPX 5000 to make a threshold that is perfect with no waver. The SDC 2300 has a less stable threshold more reminiscent of other SD series detectors at higher sensitivity settings. It is pretty stable at the stock "2" sensitivity setting but still not as solid as my GPX.
The SDC 2300 is quite a bit more EMI resistant than the GPX 5000 and plays well with other detectors as long as reasonable spacing is kept. When my brother fired up the SD2200v2 I could get within about 50 feet of him unless he ran a larger coil, then I needed a bit more space.
The bottom line is the SDC 2300 is perhaps the most user friendly nugget detector you can buy. Anyone can run it. It really is normally a turn on and go detector. The only option normally to consider is the sensitivity setting, which gives a balance between a bit more depth but more threshold noise. We were in mild ground and I could run it maxed out but that did make for a less stable threshold. Once you find the sensitivity setting you like in an area you just leave it alone; the ground balance setting is retained when the detector is turned off. So for me operating the SDC 2300 boiled down to turning it on or turning it off. Batteries lasted a good seven hours plus. It seemed just right for most days, never quite running dead by the end if the day except for rare occasions.
If I have to complain about the unit I could complain about the armrest folding up every time I pull my arm out and the lack of volume control. The headphones I received were wired on the left and the cord runs across your chest. You either wear the headphones backwards, or in my case run the cord behind my back. I need a headphone adapter to run optional phones with volume controls. But these really are minor niggles. The waterproof, compact folding design is extremely compelling and easily offsets these minor complaints.
The SDC 2300 except for the cost is a perfect detector for many more casual nugget hunters who would never, ever learn what all the settings on a GPX 5000 do. It is far easier to operate in bad ground than a VLF. I can hand one to anybody, tell them to turn it on, keep the coil on the ground, and dig everything that goes beep. If it were not for the high price I would flat out just tell everyone to go buy one. It is practically impossible to be unhappy with the SDC 2300.
~ Steve Herschbach
Copyright © 2015 Herschbach Enterprises
5 Grams gold found with SDC 2300 - smallest nugget in lower right only 0.045 grams!
|Transmit Frequency||Multi-Period Pulse Induction|
|Autotune Mode(s)||Slow Motion|
|Ground Rejection||Automatic Ground Tracking|
|Soil Adjust||Normal and Salt Modes|
|Tone Adjust||Yes, High or Low Tone Options|
|Audio Output||Waterproof Speaker or Headphones|
|Hip Mount||Shaft Mount Only|
|Standard Coil(s)||8" round Mono|
|Optional Search Coils||No|
|Battery||4 C-Cells (Alkaline and NiMH Supplied)|
|Operating Time||Approx. 7 Hours with NiMH Batteries|
|Weight||5.7 lbs. with NiMH Batteries Installed|
MPF (Multi Period Fast)
Waterproof to 10 feet (3 meters)
|Notes||Ultra compact folding design derived from Minelab F3 Compact Demining Detector|
*Notes on Technical Specifications - Detailed notes about the specifications listed in this chart.