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  1. I do what I can to foster competition that develops alternatives to the all too common VLF detector. There are plenty of options out there, but in my opinion they all weigh too much or cost too much. Usually both. I envision people out there with a popular VLF metal detector for beach, relic, or gold detecting. These machines all sell for around $700 and weigh 2.5 - 3.9 lbs. Perhaps they would like to add a ground balancing PI (GBPI) to what they have. I think that for "normal people" with normal budgets a machine under $2K and under four pounds just makes sense. It would be more than twice what they spent for their VLF, and in this day and age there is no reason why a decent PI should weigh over 4 lbs. To clarify what I am talking about here, I should say that for many people a $700 VLF detector is a great place to start and in many cases is all a person ever needs. However, there are places where extreme ground mineralization and mineralized rocks (hot rocks) severely impede the performance and use of VLF detectors. Alternative technology to deal with these conditions has been developed, by far the most familiar being the Minelab ground balancing PI (GBPI) detectors. These differ from common PI detectors by having the ability to ground balance. Other brands have offered the Garrett Infinium (discontinued) plus Garrett ATX and the White's TDI models. These detectors are used not just for gold prospecting but also by relic hunters, beach detectorists, and others who face challenges regarding ground mineralization and VLF detectors. Frankly, in my opinion GBPI technology is largely maxed out. The main room for improvement comes now in better ergonomics at lower prices. This challenge therefore limits detectors to those that weigh under 4 pounds with battery included, and which sell brand new with warranty after discounts for under US$2000. Detectors need not be ground balancing PI models, but must offer similar ability to ignore mineralized ground and hot rocks that trouble VLF detectors. I am going to rate detectors as to their relative performance using what I call the "Minelab Rating Scale. Details here. 1. Minelab SD 2000 - crude first version, very poor on small gold, excellent on large deep gold 2. Minelab SD 2100 - vastly refined version of SD 2000 3. Minelab SD 2200 (all versions) - adds crude iron disc, ground tracking 4. Minelab GP Extreme - adds greatly improved sensitivity to small gold, overall performance boost. 5. Minelab GP 3000 - Refined GP Extreme 6. Minelab GP 3500 - Greatly refined GP 3000, last and best of analog models 7. Minelab GPX 4000 - First digital interface, rock solid threshold 8. Minelab GPX 4500 - Refined GPX 4000, solid performer 9. Minelab GPX 4800 - Released at same time as GPX 5000 as watered down version 10. Minelab GPX 5000 - Culmination of the series, current pinnacle of GBPI prospecting machine technology. All Minelab models leverage an existing base of over 100 coil options from tiny to huge. I am a very practical person when it comes to detecting. I know all the existing models and options by all brands very well, perhaps better than almost anyone. This is the way I look at it is this. If I personally were to spend a lot of money to go gold prospecting for one month, and needed a GBPI detector, considering machines past and present, what would I get and in what order of choice? Put aside concerns of age, warranty, etc. just assume functioning detectors. Here is the issue in a nutshell. On the Minelab scale of one to ten as listed above, I would be generous in rating the White's TDI SL as a 2. Same with the Garrett Infinium which I will mention in passing as it is no longer being made. If I was going to spend a month of my time and a lot of money going on a prospecting trip, I would choose a TDI in any version over the SD 2000. I might go with a TDI Pro over a SD 2100 but I would have to think real hard about that, and when push comes to shove I would go SD 2100 were it not for the realities of age I said to ignore. A newer TDI Pro might be a better bet than a very old SD 2100 from a reliability standpoint, but again, this would be a tough choice. The TDI SL not really. In my opinion I would be shooting myself in the foot to go on this hypothetical trip with a TDI SL instead of a SD 2100. You see the problem now? The Garrett ATX fares better. I would rate it a 3, roughly analogous to the SD 2200 variants. Still an agonizing choice really and the ATX being new versus SD 2200 being old might again be the tipping point, but from a pure prospecting options perspective the case can be made that the SD 2200 might be the better way to go. The problem for this challenge is the ATX weighs way over 4 lbs and sells for slightly over $2000. The price is close enough really but the 7 lb weight is way off. That's it folks. That is reality. The best of the best that the competition can offer can only go solidly up against models Minelab has not made in years. I am not saying that to be mean or as some kind of Minelab toadie, that is my pure unvarnished opinion as a guy who is pretty well versed on the subject. Let's bring it all home. This person with the $700 machine really, really wants that under 4 lb, under $2K GBPI machine, but if they do their homework they discover that truthfully, they would be better off shopping for a used Minelab than what the competition offers new. With the TDI SL rated as a 2 the ATX in a much lighter box at under $2K is a solid win as a 3. A well designed ATX with standard dry land coils would look very enticing as compared to the GP series Minelabs. But Garrett refuses to budge! White's can certainly do something, anything to improve the TDI SL. A battery that lasts all day would be a good start. In the end they are limited by the basic single channel design of the machine. The SD 2000 dual channel design was literally the answer to and the improvement on the single channel technology used in the TDI, the basics of which predate the SD 2000. Still, White's currently owns the under 4 lb under $2K GBPI category so they have the first out of the starting gate advantage. Anything they do would at the very least just show they have not given up. The Minelab MPS patent that formed the basis of the SD series has expired. Not sure about DVT, which formed the basis of the GP series. Where is the competition? What the heck is going on here? Much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair is going on here, that's what!!! That is my challenge to the manufacturers. Under 4 lbs, under $2K, on the 1-10 scale I am offering, what is the best you can do? The TDI SL as a 2? Really? Yes, really, that is currently the best of the best in the brand new ground balancing PI, full warranty, under 4 lb, under $2k category. You can pick up a 3.5 lb TDI SL right now brand new for $1049. The White's TDI SL takes the crown. Hopefully we will see more competition in this wide open category soon. I have been beating this drum for years to no avail, but I do have reason to believe we are finally going to see more alternatives soon. I hope.
  2. Which metal detectors have the most reliable target ID numbers? Target ID is a function of depth - the deeper the target, the more difficult it is to get a clean target ID as the ground signal interferes. Other items directly adjacent to the desired target can also cause inaccurate numbers. The more conductive the item, the higher the resulting ID number, but also the larger the item the higher the number. Silver is more conductive than gold, so a gold item will give a lower number than the same size silver item. But a very large gold item can give a higher number than a small silver item, so numbers do not identify types of metal. Gold and aluminum read the same and vary in size so to dig one you dig the other. Only mass produced items like coins produce numbers that are more or less the same over the years but a zinc penny will read lower than a copper penny due to the change in composition. In general iron or ferrous targets produce negative numbers or low numbers. Aluminum, gold, and US nickels produce mid-range numbers. And most other US coins produce high numbers. Other countries coins, like Canadian coins with ferrous content, can read all over the place. The scale applied varies according to manufacturer so the number produced by each detector will vary according to the scale used. The 0-100 range for non-ferrous targets is most common but there are others. Minelab employs a dual number system on a 2D scale with thousands of possible numbers, but they are now normalizing the results produced to conform more closely to the linear scale used by other manufacturers. Increasing ground mineralization has a huge effect on the ability to get a good target ID. Ground mineralization is nearly always from iron mineralization, and this tends to make weak targets, whether very small targets or very deep targets, misidentify. The target numbers get dragged lower, and many non-ferrous targets will eventually be identified as iron if buried deep enough. Small non-ferrous readings and iron readings actually overlap. That is why any discrimination at all is particularly risky for gold nugget hunters. If you want target ID numbers to settle down, lower sensitivity and practice consistent coil control. The target number will often vary depending on how well the target is centered and how fast the coil moves. Higher sensitivity settings lead to jumpier numbers as the detectors become less stable at higher levels. The interference from the ground signal increases and interference from outside electrical sources also increases, leading to less stable numbers. Higher frequency detectors are inherently more sensitive and are jumpier. So lean lower frequency for more solid results. Multi frequency detectors act like low frequency detectors and tend to have more solid target numbers due to the ability to analyze a target with different frequencies. Another issue is the number of target categories, or ID segments, or VDIs, or notches, or bins (all names for the same thing) that a detector offers. For instance here are the number of possible target id categories or segments each detector below offers: Fisher CZ-3D = 7 Garrett Ace 250 = 12 Minelab X-Terra 305 = 12 Minelab X-Terra 505 = 19 Minelab X-Terra 705 = 28 Minelab Equinox = 50 Fisher F75 (and many other models) = 99 White's MXT (and many other models) = 190 Minelab CTX 3030 = 1750 Fewer target categories means more possible items get lumped together under a single reading, but that the reading is more stable. Many detectors will tell you the difference between a dime and a quarter. The Fisher CZ assumes you want to dig both so puts them under one segment along with most other coins. People who use detectors with many target numbers usually just watch the numbers jump around and mentally average the results. Some high end detectors can actually do this averaging for you! But I think there is something to be said for owning a detector that simplifies things and offers less possible numbers to start with. The old Fisher CZ method still appeals to me, especially for coin detecting. So do detectors like the Garrett Ace 250 or Minelab X-Terra 505 for the same reason. The problem is that as people strive to dig deeper targets or smaller targets the numbers will always get less reliable. But if you want to have a quiet performing metal detecting with solid, reliable target numbers look more for coin type detectors running at lower frequencies under 10 kHz or at multiple frequencies and possibly consider getting a detector with fewer possible target segments. And with any detector no matter what just back that sensitivity setting off and you will get more reliable target numbers. ads by Amazon... Detectors often use tones to identify targets and often use far fewer tones than indicated by the possible visual target id numbers. The X-Terra 705 for instance can use 28 tones, one for each segment. However, most people find this too busy, and so simple tone schemes of two, three, or four tones may be selected. I think it is instructive that many people often end up ignoring screen readings and hunting by ear, using just a few tones. This ends up just being an ultra basic target id system much like the simpler units offer. Reality is that most people do not need or care about huge numbers of target numbers. For many just three ranges suffice, low tone for iron, mid tone for most gold items, and high tone for most US coins. The meter could do the same thing, but for marketing purposes more is better and so we get sold on detectors with hundreds of possible target ID numbers. Perhaps this is a digital representation of an old analog meter with its nearly infinite range of response but the reality is we do not need that level of differentiation to make a simple dig or no dig decision. Finally, a picture often says it all. Below we have a shot of the White's M6 meter. I like it because the decal below illustrates a lot. You see the possible numerical range of -95 to 95 laid out in the middle. Over it is the simplified iron/gold/silver range. Note the slants where they overlap to indicate the readings really do overlap. Then you get the probable target icons. -95 is noted as "hot rock" because many do read there. The M6 can generate 7 tones depending on the target category. I have added red lines to the image to show where these tones sit in relation to the scale. It breaks down as follows: -95 = 57 Hz (Very Low) Hot Rock -94 to -6 = 128 Hz (Low) Iron Junk -5 to 7 = 145 Hz (Med Low) Gold Earrings, Chains - Foil 8 to 26 = 182 Hz (Medium) Women's Gold Rings/Nickel - Small Pull Tabs 27 to 49 = 259 Hz (Med Hi) Men's Gold Rings - Large Pull Tabs 50 to 70 = 411 Hz (High) Zinc Penny/Indian Head Penny - Screw Caps 71 to 95 = 900 Hz (Very High) Copper Penny/Dime/Quarter/Dollar Note that the screen reading of +14 is noted as being a nickel or ring but it can also be the "beaver tail" part of an aluminum pull tab or the aluminum ring that holds an eraser on a pencil, among other things. The best book ever written on the subject of discrimination is "Taking A Closer Look At Metal Detector Discrimination" by Robert C. Brockett. It is out of print but if you find a copy grab it, assuming the topic interests you. Always remember - when in doubt, dig it out! Your eyes are the best target ID method available.
  3. Would love to get your opinions and feedback on this machine coming to market supposedly soon, and supposedly uses a BT connection from your phone or smart device to control the coil. Similar to Deus, but using a phone or iPod touch etc. as the controller. Believe it's single frequency. Here's a video demo. I've long liked the idea of a setup like this but I thought there were good reasons the major players have not created a machine utilizing a phone or iPod touch this way, so I'm skeptical.
  4. I myself like the looks of screen of my MX Sport but not the weight. It would be great for it to trim some fat off of it. Out of all the ID numbers it has to offer I’d like to be able to notch out one at a time. We all know that different frequencies is better than others depending on what you’re detecting. If I can I’d like it to be multi frequency where I can run in all and single one if I do wish. What I want is a detector that it will do the major part of my detecting. My thing I’m a coin hunter first be it on a beach are around some old homestead . I’ve never been a relic hunter but it would have to offer the same for that person too . I love nugget hunting but it’s just not a lot of gold in Texas but it would be great to have some high frequencies to nugget hunt. I don’t see the need that I should have to buy another detector for what little I do get to nugget hunt. We all different and our wants runs different too.I know too it’s other detectors offer the things I’m wanting from White’s right now but I’d like to see America made on the side. Chuck
  5. I've seen debate about this question over and over. Thanks to Minelab's vague description of their use of Multi-IQ on both machines. I measured both the 800 and the 600 (my backup machine) and can put this to rest. They both output identical spectrums.
  6. I hooked up a sensor coil to pick up the transmit frequencies from my 800. Connected to an audio spectrum analyzer I could see what was being transmitted in all the modes. Surprise, Park 1 uses only a single frequency ~ 15KHz. The amplitudes shown are relative.
  7. Just finished a second day hunting with the new Mirage PI. Short days, I seldom go for more than 2-3 hours, but enough to start learning a new to me machine. Something I notice and wonder about. The 9.5" mono coil appears more sensitive to iron near the edge of the coil, while nonferrous seems to hit harder near the center of the coil. Could that be a thing or am I deluded? If it is a real thing, is it a reliable way to make dig decisions? I could swear I read something somewhere about this, but am no longer sure because I am deluded in general anyway. Anyone got thoughts?
  8. I did a quick recording of items I had going from a small nickel silver bead through a screw cap. Total of 20 items 6" away in both all metal mode and discrim mode with disc at min. It is interesting how you can actually see the different sounds and how they have unique patterns. I plan on redoing the test when I can set up outside. There is a lot of emi here and my audio setup was not tuned so I couldn't hear the threshold through the computer even though it was pretty loud on the detector. The audio was also recorded really hot which I will correct next time. Wonder if digital machines have just flat signals with no variation other than tone and volume? I can't record my Garrett as it has a proprietary audio jack.
  9. i have my dual field that the pots were starting to act up a while ago and decided to get new pots etc so after removing the board to remove the pots i had to remove all connections etc so im not 100% on were they connect now on the board along with the speaker ,coil etc, if any one is able to help i really appreciate it . cheers
  10. I don't know if I'm right on this but I've found my Teknetics T2 to be a good guide to mineralisation at an area, I use its Fe3O4 meter as a guide. Would I be right in using that as a guide?
  11. How does IB detectors compare to VLF and PI's? Worth trying to build one or just a waste of time?
  12. The whole depth with VLF detectors thing in my opinion has been nothing but a red herring for decades. I have read a thousand posts from people wanting VLF detectors with "more depth". Yet VLF detectors maxed out for usable depth by at least 1990 if not before. I have not used any VLF metal detector since 1990 that got more depth on coins than my Compass Gold Scanner Pro. The only real improvement we have seen and are still seeing is in the ability to find and correctly identify items that are masked by the ground itself or adjacent undesirable targets. There are an amazing number of targets in the ground at depths achievable by any decent detector made in the last 25 years, but that are being missed because they are improperly identified and ignored or just completely masked and invisible. This is an area where the Minelab BBS and FBS detectors have excelled. They do not go deeper. They simply get more accurate discrimination at depths exceeding what most detectors achieve. Machines like the DEUS and a lot of other Euro machines are excelling not for the depth they get, but this ability to acquire and accurately identify targets at shallower depths that are missed by other detectors. If we had a detector that could simply see through everything and accurately identify coins to 10" the ground would light up with countless missed finds. I get a chuckle out of all the deep coins I see people talk about on the forums when the best detectors made can't accurately identify a dime past 5-6 inches in my soil. Anything deeper just gets called ferrous. There is huge room for improvement in metal detectors still not by getting more depth, but by simply finding shallower targets that have been missed by other detectors made up until now. How To Make Yourself Crazy! U.S. Versus Euro Style Detectors
  13. Published on Jan 19, 2019 - Just a quick video showing the benefits of the Vista Gold running at a higher kHz and using zero gain in highly mineralised soil Here are the videos, after further testing I can confirm that the 15 kHz hits stronger on deep silver in clean Non Mineralised Soil and both are exactly the same on the gold coin at depth in Non Mineralised Soil.
  14. Deep in the depths of winter here, I found myself partaking in some serious speculating. With all the controversy of whether or not the Equinox is multi frequency or not, I figure I'd bring some wood to keep warm lol. Some of you may recall in one of those threads I was trying to explain that the waveform we see can actually be comprised of more then one, two, three or more frequencies. Additionally I pondered if the multi frequency processing could just be done on the receive side using typical sinusoidal waves that are actually doing the work. Nonetheless here is the transmit side, the side that actually excites the target. Below you will see a FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) of the Equinox in Gold2. The scale goes from DC to 125 kHz. (Left to right) If you consider the advertised range of Multi-IQ frequencies as being 5 kHz to 40 kHz, you might be satisfied by this as the left half of this 125kHz graph is filled out nicely. There is even a couple little peaks up around 100 kHz, whether or not that is utilized I don't know. I'm way off base as to how MIneslab actually does this, but I just wanted to show the kind of information that can be extracted from these signals. I am not trying to prove anything specific other then to say I don't think Minelab is being misleading IMO. Assume something is a little off with my measuring, still that looks like multi-something. The approximate frequency peaks of interest measured from left to right are: -2.5 kHz -8 kHz -13 kHz -18 kHz -23.5 kHz -28.5 kHz -33.5 kHz -39 kHz -44 kHz -50 kHz -54 kHz -59.5 kHz That covers the advertised range of frequencies which exist on the left hand side of the graph, (Midpoint is 62.5 kHz) I wont bother with the higher frequency stuff as it may not be relevant. It doesn't really hit any of the single frequencies, on the other hand Minelab does not explicitly say what frequencies are used in Multi-IQ. (That I know of.) I am happy to see that low frequency response. I was thinking the Equinox was going to be all 8 kHz and higher, which it basically is, but I'm glad to see the 2.5 kHz peak right beside it and of almost equal strength.
  15. Version KBA 04-1 2010


    Metal Detecting Terminology (Minelab) 2010 Knowledge Base Article KBA 04-1, 1.65 MB pdf file, 17 pages Metal detecting terminology and definitions, with an emphasis on Minelab technology wording and descriptions. Minelab Metal Detector Forum
  16. Version by Bruce Candy, Minelab


    Metal Detector Basics And Theory by Bruce Candy, Minelab 1.42 MB pdf file, 24 pages Bruce is a co-founder of Minelab and the man behind their most advanced designs. This information delves into much greater detail than the above link and has many more illustrations and diagrams. Minelab Metal Detector Forum
  17. Version by Dave Johnson, First Texas


    Gold Prospecting With A VLF Metal Detector by Dave Johnson, First Texas 10 Mar 2010 Edition, 2.93 MB pdf file, 56 pages Dave is the Chief Designer for First Texas Products and has been involved in designing most of the VLF gold prospecting detectors sold over the last 30 years. This is an excellent primer on using VLF detectors to prospect for gold. First Texas (Bounty Hunter, Fisher, Teknetics) Forum
  18. Version by Thomas Dankowski, Fisher Labs


    Fisher Intelligence - Advancing the Hobby of Metal Detecting by Thomas J. Dankowski, Fisher Labs 5th Edition 04/2006, 6 MB pdf file, 48 pages Thought provoking articles on aspects of metal detecting not often talked about. First Texas (Fisher) Forum
  19. Version FRL870295A 3rd Ed 1993


    Advanced Nugget Hunting With the Fisher Gold Bug Metal Detector by Pieter Heydelaar & Dave Johnson, Fisher Labs 3rd Printing Jan 1993, 2.36 MB pdf file, 46 pages This out-of-print book is a good basic text on gold nugget detecting. Although it uses the original Fisher Gold Bug as an example the information applies to most nugget detectors. Part 2 by David Johnson is an excellent primer on hot rocks. First Texas (Fisher) Forum
  20. Version 2010


    Tesoro 2010 Metal Detector Information #22, 2.61 MB pdf file, 64 pages This detector catalog and field reviews is packed full of extra information that will be of interest to anybody who has or is thinking of getting a metal detector. Lots of good answers to basic questions. Tesoro Metal Detector Forum
  21. Always thought it would be a good book to read and study.
  22. Can someone explain to me what makes this new Anfibio different from a X TERRA 705 the 705 can run three different frequencies all be it you have to change coils to be able to run any of the three different frequencies it can run the Anfibio you push a button to change frequencies but with that being said I also know I can purchase a coil from a manufacturer that pretty much allows me to run one coil on the 705 and just by turning the 705 off and back on in a short time period it changes to one of the different frequencies that the 705 can run in in other words one single coil will run 3 KHz,7.5 KHz,and 18.75 KHz all done with just one coil so can someone please explain how the Anfibio is any different from the X TERRA 705 and not trying to start a bashing war here just trying to understand how the Anfibio is much different from the 705.
  23. I've been trying to make a PI detector as a learning exercise in another forum(Geotech). Asked the question below but haven't got a reply. Maybe someone here could answer the question. Nugget sizing info: We are often asked how many pieces per gram or ounce. It is very hard to predict how many pieces there are per gram or ounce as the # of nuggets by weight varies quite a bit per batch. But in general you can expect around 1-2 pieces of gold for 4 mesh, 2-4 pieces of 6 mesh per gram, 7-12 pieces of 8 mesh per gram and around 15-20 per gram for 10 mesh. You can expect many more pieces for smaller 12 (around 20-25), 14-16 (around 30-50 or more) pieces and hundreds for fine gold. Every batch is very different and each piece of gold is natural and of course therefore unique. Some may be flat and light or rounded and very dense (heavy). How small a nugget can a good PI detect? What mesh size would make good test targets for smaller nuggets? 8 mesh, 10 mesh, both or other? Any guess on typical TC for 8 or 10 mesh nuggets?
  24. I was just wondering if you had the opportunity to test a new detector before it came on the market would you be willing to do it ? Most of the time it’s given to people you could say that their name is in lights . We have so many people that has been swinging a detector for years that are more qualified than the so call star . Let me hear your view point on this subject . If you ever have the pleasure or opportunity to do it in the pass let us hear that too . Chuck
  25. This is something that has me a little perplexed, especially when a whole raft of opposition detectors from abroad are offering such an option on their detector platforms. How easy would it be to improve current popular models like the F75, AT Pro, etc with additional frequencies to make some US made detectors a more attractive proposition, or are we talking about the requirement for a completely new platform for this to happen ( too much cost for not enough return)? If just worries me when we see little or no response at all on trying to compete on the selectable frequency front. Some may say the market is already flooded with such detectors, though if you do not offer up an alternative to just single frequency VLF's, then customers may look elsewhere for detector platforms offering more flexibility/features for the money. Some of the selectable frequency detectors made abroad: Minelab Equinox (plus multi) Minelab 705 (coil change for different frequencies) Rutus Alter71 XP Deus/Orx Makro Kruzer Multi Nokta Impact Nokta Anfibio multi ...and many other lesser known Euro manufacturers with at least dual frequencies. It is evident that there are two distinct lines of thinking when it comes to producing a detector, either make one that has the capability of covering all or most fields of detecting (ie. prospecting, relic hunting, coin shooting, beach detecting), or produce several detectors, each with a specific purpose. The obvious downside is the sheer cost of owning a whole raft of detectors for specific purposes, something that used to be common place, though now not such an issue with the advent of very capable multi-use detectors suitable for low conductors right through to sub gram gold. Will be interested to see other views on the subject, have we seen the end of single use or specialist detectors, and whether multi-role/multi or selectable frequency detectors will rule going forward.
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