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  1. The cable and chip module that I salvaged is from a used GPX 17”x13” coil. The graphite coil shielding has a separate ground/drain wire. I haven’t been able to use it with a standard GPX 5000 coil because the ground/drain wire is internally connected to the mono cable coax shield. Also the GPX 6000 appears to be finicky if the inductance, capacitance and resistance are not just right. I don’t know if the 11” ID chip would signal the control box to expect some different coil specifications. A few days ago I salvaged the cable and module from a defective GPX 6000 14” Double D coil. I have wired it up to a standard 5 pin connector to adapt to the X-Coil connectors. I also rewired a ML GPX 5000 Commander 11” DD coil to the same pin connections as the X-Coils. In testing there are no coil faults and it appears to be working. But with both a GPZ 14 coil and the modified 11” DD coil there is very low sensitivity. I will do some troubleshooting to find out what is wrong.
  2. I find the speculation that the E1500 will somehow outperform detectors costing much more money to be, well, how to put this nicely… questionable at best. If this detector was GPX 6000 class it would be stupid to sell it for one quarter the price of a GPX 6000. I don’t think Alex is stupid. Here is the current price structure in Australia as of today after Garrett just introduced the lower priced stripped down Axiom package: 1. GPZ 7000 $10,499 2. GPX 6000 $8,999 with two coils 3. Garrett Axiom $4,999 with one coil 4. SDC 2300 $4,399 5. E1500 with Sadie & Battery $2649 6. Minelab Manticore $2499 7. Gold Monster $1299 I have pretty solid information in hand indicating that you are going to get what you pay for. The E1500 is a very affordable option at close the price of a top end VLF and will outperform said VLFs on gold in mineralized ground. Time will tell but I think the E1500 will fall short of SDC 2300 and Axiom level performance, essentially being a bridge between VLF detectors and those models. The 6000 and 7000 will continue to rule the roost but at twice the price of the SDC/Axiom level you are not getting twice the depth. Pulling a number out of my ass I’d assign a very debatable expectation of about a 15% increase in overall performance at each major step up in price. People can of course argue that number all day long but I think it is very important to give newbies some sense of reality. Twice the money does not get twice the performance. Gains are more like 10% - 15% - 20%…. pick your number, but it’s not double, triple, quadruple. If I was still selling detectors I’d explain to this new customer that they can go find a gold nugget with a Gold Monster or a Manticore. I’d explain that for not much more than a Manticore they could get an AlgoForce E1500 and be able to deal with mineralized ground and hot rocks that will give the VLF models real trouble. I’d tell them that for substantially more money they could get some very solid bang for the buck in the Axiom/SDC range, a step up from E1500 but still not top tier. Finally, I’d tell them that if money is no object and they simply want the best performance they can get, to look at the 6000 or 7000. I’d comment that out of the box with provided coils the 6000 would have the edge for smaller gold, and the 7000 the edge on larger gold. Adding aftermarket coils (and more money) to the 7000 can close the gap between it and the 6000 on small gold, but nothing you do to the 6000 will have it hitting the big stuff as deep as the 7000. That would be my short and sweet sales presentation and I offer it up as the most simplified big picture no B.S. look at the scene as you are likely to find. My somewhat educated opinions only, feel free to toss in trash bin if you don’t agree. In the States this would be the situation if the E1500 could be had here: 1. GPZ 7000 $8,999 2. GPX 6000 $6,499 with two coils 3. Garrett Axiom $3,995 with two coils 4. SDC 2300 $3,599 5. E1500 with Sadie & Battery under $1999 6. Minelab Manticore $1699 7. Gold Monster $799
  3. In his long-winded video, he finds that there is nothing connecting the PCB to the shield, the confirmation that 2 components are replaced to fix the speaker EMI issue, the graphite paint is very patchy (and has no screen wire embedded to average it) and after doing '5 or 6', he confirms that they are all the same. I agree with him, it seems extremely odd to have only a passive shield and hope that the detector can combat EMI. Something's not right methinks....
  4. I have permission to hunt a property that is a couple miles away from Pea Ridge Battlefield. I have been finding some keepers with my Deus 1, with the 9 " and 11" X35 coils. I recently picked up a GPX 4500 in great shape, with a 12x8 platypus DD coil, 2 11" mono coils, a 11"DD, a 15"x12" mono, and a 18" mono. I going to see what I can find. I have used the SD2000 up to the GP Extreme, but not the GPX 4500. My question to the members is, how good is the iron reject, can it knock out iron the size of 16d rusty nails.
  5. I have been looking at pi detectors lately never used pi before have used gold monster and regular coin machines alot want a pi for gold nugget hunting. I have heard alot of good and bad about the 5000 great detector but very complicated as well. Most gold in and around redding california are little bits from what ive heard obviously big chunks come out rarely. Is a 5000 worth it for a novice who doesnt get out as much as he would like or find something simpler like a sdc 2300. Thanks in advance. Will check back at replys later at work now
  6. Hi all, I work for Avantree, and I stumbled upon this forum and noticed that many of you in the prospecting community are enjoying our Torus for use with your detectors! We would love to continue supplying quality audio devices for the prospecting community. We're currently developing a new product called the Sky Infinity. It is a bundle including our Infinity earbuds (https://www.avantalk.com/products/infinity-multifunctional-wireless-earbuds) and the Relay Bluetooth transmitter (https://avantree.com/relay-airplane-bluetooth-adapter-for-headphones). We will also include a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter so you can plug the Relay into your detector. The Infinity earbuds have the aptX Adaptive and LE audio codecs. aptX Adaptive's latency levels are slightly higher than aptX Low Latency (which the Torus has) at 60ms delay v.s 40ms, but provides far superior sound quality. LE audio is a new technology as phrunt mentioned earlier, which trumps both aptX Adaptive and aptX Low Latency. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a transmitter that supports LE audio, but if there's enough interest in this, we can definitely develop one! If you're interested in trying the Sky Infinity bundle for use with your detector, let me know via message. We can send you one to try! If you have any other ideas for a product that would work well with your detector, please share and we can develop something great for you.
  7. Hi Jeff, An update...2 of us have sent our Axioms back and waiting for a response. I hadn't heard anything after a week so emailed Garrett Australia. I got this "We have received the machine and I will be testing through the week." - so obviously we are not a priority to them. I spoke to a Garrett dealer last week and mentioned the issues, he remained tight lipped and just rolled his eyes and said he was about ready to rip their sign off the wall. I also spoke to a detector repair technician and again, same response - they didn't think much of them at all indicating their performance was sub par to the price. Word obviously is getting around and Garrett don't seem to be interested in listening. From what I can see - their ground handling ability is the first major problem and without that, not much else will work. Being that the majority of detector basics come from a component level - looking for a software fix isn't going to be easy without changing the electronics. The GPX 6000 has a lot more that needs to be corrected than the EMI speaker system fix. That's just the official recognized problem. A company called Detectormods here in Aust. offers the upgrades at a rather steep fee $$$. https://detectormods.com/news/20/all-about-the-new-2020-upgrades The guy "Woody" had a YouTube channel and explains further short comings of the 6000. Be aware, he rambles on for about an hours to part with 15 minutes of actual information. To his credit, I applied some of the mods from one of his videos to my old 7000 and is ran so smooth and quiet, I had to "kick the coil" to see if it was still on. I run bogenes so is dead quiet till it hits a target. ..........."Basically, I feel ripped off by these two giants of the metal detecting industry more often than not."............... At least with the GPX 6000 you have options and a company that admits some of the detectors faults. As for the DD coils, people are always talking about needing them and our coil manufacturers "usually" listen....eventually. I'd say hang in there and maybe contact Nugget Finder, Coiltek and X-Coils to see where they are at? Garrett just plain deny there is any problems although they always counter with "we are happy to test the detector for any possible issues" then get our detectors back "No Fault Found"???? I'd strongly suggest selling the Axiom and use the 6000 until a successor for the 7000 comes out - which could be some time yet. Maybe even send it over for the mods to fix the issues with the money from the Axiom, you will be happy you did! I'm pretty sure that is currently the only place offering them. Ahhh, the life of a detectorist..............................
  8. Just sent my 5000 to Mick at Detectronics. Any good advice on settings when it comes home. Sounds like 3oclock is the sweet spot on the gain. We have pretty easy ground here in Montana in most places but do have some hot spots here and there. Also with the new level 4 mod sounds like the evo 15" is the go to all around coil. Thoughts?
  9. Maurice Coppola (a very well known Golden Triangle prospector) has another video comparing various detectors and coils. Well worth a watch.
  10. So I'm in Idaho and dont see Algoforce making any inroads here for a at least a few months. What can I do to upgrade my gpx 4500 ? Don't have any aftermarket coils but I'm working on it. Are any upgrades going to be worth it? I have have learned a lot on this forum and thank everyone for posting their knowledge. I don't always have the time to geek out on the subtleties that might give me an edge. Yes I have found gold and do my research. I guess I'm asking if the aftermarket coils are worth it?
  11. Please help me out with some GPX experiences. Living in the eastern US I don`t have the opportunity to use the 5000 much. I try to do two or three trips a year in gold country, so my actual time on the machine is limited compared to those who can get out more often, so any advice or helpful hints are much appreciated to shorten the learning curve.
  12. I figured I'd contact Nugget Finder to see what's going on with the other GPX 6000 coils, I quite like my Xceed 12x7" so intend to buy the 8x6" also, I think it'd be a weapon on the 6000. So, to save anyone else wasting Rohan's time replying to endless emails about when the coils will be available, I thought I'd post it here. This was his reply. Hi Simon Releasing the 16x10 is our priority at this stage, I don’t expect to have the 8x6 ready for sale until sometime in 2024. I understand these delays may be frustrating and I appreciate your patience. Regards Rohan Perhaps that means the 16x10" may be released this year, but the little guy is a fair while off yet, a shame as spring/summer (now) is when I do most of my detecting so I'll miss out this season. I'll stick to my GPZ and 8" X-Coil for the most powerful small coil detector for now.
  13. It thawed out enough today to do a much deeper test in a semi frozen freshwater beach erosion cut using the Axiom with 13X11" Mono coil, GPX 4000 with Coiltek Elite 14X9" Camo Mono and Deus 2 9" DD coil. I wanted to see if the pulse induction Axiom and GPX 4000 using similar settings and similar sized coils had similar performance. This is important to me since the Axiom is the new detector on the block and it sure is a joy to operate and swing. No worrying about craning my neck to see the GPX front and back panels, worrying if I have accidentally bumped a toggle switch and in the case of the 4000 with no backlight.....trying to see what the display says and then getting strapped in for the ride. None of that is necessary with the Axiom. All the controls are right in front of me to easily see and manipulate and the ergonomics are off the chart good. But how is its performance on deep coins and is that transferrable to deeper jewelry, relics and deeper gold nuggets? Deus 2 once again, was along for the ride. It did great giving an iron mineralization reading and for checking the test area for any obvious targets and clearing them out. So, I ran it through the test knowing full well that it was way out of its league due to its 9" coil and it being a VLF. The test was on a 0.5 gram Liberian 24K gold coin, a 5 gram US nickel and a 5.75 gram US quarter (a high conductive target) . I dug three notches about 2" into the cut that these targets could easily fit into. I made one notch at 9" from the surface/swing area, a second notch at 13" and the deepest notch at 18". The Fisher F-Pulse pinpointer in the photo is 9" long. iron mineralization again was pretty high using the Deus 2's iron mineralization meter (lower left display bar graph). You can actually see the black sand on the surface of this beach and in some of the photos. I started with the Axiom using its 13X11" mono coil using the Normal timing/Slow speed with sensitivity on 3 as 4 was just a little unstable for the EMI and ground conditions. Ground balanced easily and stayed fixed. Threshold was just audible. I tested the 0.5 gram gold coin at 9" depth. The Axiom with 13X11" coil had no problem giving a text book high/low fairly sharp audio response on all sweeps. It wasn't loud, but it was easily a no doubt Dig Me type signal for me. Raising the coil an inch or so and the target response became very iffy. Next I tested the 5 gram US nickel at 13" depth. The Axiom responded with a solid, sharp, text book high/low response on all sweeps. Again, these responses were not loud, but they were very obvious, no doubt responses. I moved the 5 gram US nickel to the 18" notch. The Axiom responded with a smooth, broad, one way low/high response swinging from right to left. The response swinging from left to right was much shorter and mostly a higher tone. I could have mistaken this response for shallow ground noise, but since it was very repeatable I probably would have dug that target. The US quarter at 18" had a similar but fainter response. Digging that target........maybe. I then did the same tests with the GPX 4000 running in Normal/General/Slow with gain on 10 and with the threshold barely audible. The Coiltek Elite 14X9" Mono coil was very quiet after doing a frequency scan and ground balanced easily and stayed that way throughout the testing. The 9" deep 0.5 gram gold coin sounded sharper on the GPX. The response was high/low as expected but it was a bit more clearly defined and obvious than on the Axiom. Digging that response all day. Raising the coil about 1" resulted in a very iffy response. The 13" deep 5 gram US nickel also sounded a bit sharper and clearer than the Axiom, but the overall high/low response actually seemed to have less volume/signal strength. The nickel at 18" did not have a broad response like the Axiom. It was very short and faint, but clearly something under the coil. Much softer response than the Axiom. The 5.7 gram US quarter had a similar response at 18" with just a quick rising tone above the threshold. Deus 2 using its 9" coil running FMF Goldfield, no Disc IAR, sensitivity 95, reactivity 2, audio response 4 could barely hit the 9" deep 0.5 gram gold coin and I mean barely. Without headphones, I would not have heard that response or even looked at the display for a possible target iD. Understandably, it could not hit any of the deeper targets. No mode could hit them. I expected that so no surprise. Once again, the Axiom really held its own against a fine pulse induction detector like the GPX 4000 setup similarly.
  14. What is so special about this Battery Cable and why are they so so expensive,do you have to buy it solely from Minelab or do aftermarket ones even if they are made do the same job but at a far cheaper price,i absolutely hate being taken for a ride when a company dictates high prices for something just like this battery cable. As far as i can gather a few folks have mentioned this is a weak link due to it moving all the time,has anyone got any suggestions on who makes cheaper ones but of the same quality as i might carry one as a spare backup one in my detecting bag. Once again many thanks
  15. I was watching this video from Woody that he did about 3 months ago, oddly my GPX 4500 had the exact same problem whereby they'd painted the housing causing the alloy front and rear plates not to contact the housing, thereby making the alloy grounding not perform as it was intended so I had to file the paint off and it worked very well. Then with the 6000 it appears they've done the same thing, EMI shielding painted the housing, yet not connected it to the ground of the detector. It's just bizarre how these things take place. I do wonder if this is something that was a problem on early 6000's and they've resolved as they've worked it out, and later ones have the grounding done properly. I've no idea if mines been done or not, and the way he does it is a bit crude although working, I'd not do it that way with the squished washer, the tap washer seems a bit better and something a bit better than one of the fibrous cardboard types might be alright, still I prefer if this is the case and there is a grounding problem on them they fix it as a warranty repair, perhaps as part of the EMI fix with the inductors this was part of their procedures fixing this problem too, as I did notice not only was my detector no longer going crazy randomly it also appeared to be more stable with general EMI.
  16. Quick Question: Would you rather use a 6000 with the 13'' by 17'' coil or the 5000 with a 13'' by 17'' evo coil on a two gram nugget? That's the average size of nuggets here. And how much would a 15'' evo coil give me over that?
  17. You and Rob have both mentioned this. Yet it is apparently still made and sold in Australia? What the ???????
  18. I did a quick in the ground depth test today in a freshwater (frozen) lake beach cut using the Axiom with 11X7 Mono and DD coils, GPX 4000 with an older Nugget Finder 10X5" mono and Deus 2 using its 9" coil. Deus 2 was really along for the ride. I used it to test for iron mineralization and for targets in the test area so I tested these targets with it too. I had a 0.03 gram nugget at 2.5" depth, a 0.15 gram nugget at 5" depth and US clad dime (2.27 grams) and a US nickel (5 grams) at 10" depth. I had these targets taped to some 13" long shims and they were stuck about 2" into the vertical wall of the cut. Photo just shows the test setup. I only tested one target inserted into the cut at a time. Iron mineralization was moderate to high as shown by the Deus 2 iron mineralization meter (graph at bottom left of display screen). I first tested the GPX 4000 using General/Normal Mono coil setting with Gain on 12. That little Nugget Finder 10X5 coil gave clear, soft hits on both gold nuggets and also easily hit both US coins at 10" depth. Next I tested the Axiom with the 11X7" focused core DD coil running in Fine/Slow with gain on 4. I had no problems ground balancing this DD coil at this site. The responses on both gold nugget targets were faint and audible but they were not as sharp as the GPX 4000 responses with the Nugget Finder Elliptical. The Axiom DD had strong, clear responses on the 10" coins. Next was the Axiom with the 11X7" Mono coil running Fine/Slow with gain on 4. No problems ground balancing. The responses on the 2.5" and 5" deep nuggets were more sharp and rivaled the responses of the GPX 4000 with the 10X5" Nugget Finder. The Mono coil also gave strong, clear responses on the 10" US coins. Deus 2 using FMF Goldfield and the Mono program set on 45 kHz, Pitch tones, -6.4 disc, had almost identical responses on the 2 gold nuggets. The targets responses were a bit faint but clearly audible. For me anyway, definitely "Dig Me" responses. Both programs were also able to elicit a response over the 10" deep coins. They were not strong responses but at least FMF Goldfield had enough information to throw up some fairly accurate target IDs occasionally on both coins. I also gave the Sensitive and Deep High Conductor programs a chance to hit those coins..........absolutely no response. Hope this helps anyone that was wondering about the Axiom especially and even Deus 2. Both are very capable detectors in high iron mineralization even on small targets. GPX4000 with that ancient Nugget Finder elliptical......amazing.
  19. Now that the Axiom has been out awhile are there any relic hunters that can provide some feedback on how the Axiom compares to the GPX 4500/5000 on discrimination? I've scoured the internet and have found a couple of competing opinions but very little other than that. I've owned the GPX 4500 and now 5000 and for 2 years I didn't own a vlf machine and I was very successful at finding Civil War relics in pounded sites in my area. Once you get your ear "tuned" I dug very little iron. Also on the Axiom is the iron check a button you hold down or a mode you can leave it in for those high iron areas?
  20. So I read all the old reviews on here for the GPX17 coil for the 6000. Is everyone still in love with this coil like the old reviews indicate? The 6000 is my primary gold detector and I dont have a 7000 or 5000, and I also know the 6000 will never match these machines regarding depth on larger gold. Is the GPX17 still a good coil to have for patch hunting in open ground and some extra depth compared to the stock 11 inch or the NF 12x7? I was patiently waiting for the NF 16x10 mono coil to be released but it does not appear like this is going to happen any time soon and maybe never. Please advise if the GPX17 is a worthwhile investment now or should I wait for another year to see if the NF coil will be released. I have not seen any field test results comparing the GPX17 to the NF 16x10 even though it appears that JP and maybe others have tested it. Please advise, Ceril
  21. The two coils that I've used for the most part on my machine(s) are the Coiltek 9'' and Coiltek 10'' by 5'' Goldhawks. I haven't used either stock coil in the goldfields yet.
  22. X-Coils have been working away in the background and took me by surprise with this one, I've always wanted a Concentric coil for my GPX 5000 but not a giant sized one, and I think they've nailed it with the perfect size coil for my needs, a 15" Concentric for the legacy GPX. I have a spot that I like to detect that's quite close to home but the hot rocks drive me mad with the GPZ there, I've found a few bits of gold there, biggest is 1.2 grams and that was with the Equinox 800 and 11" coil, the reason I was using it was I got sick of digging hot rocks with the GPZ, I haven't even bothered to take the 6000 there as I already know it's worse on these particular hot rocks than the GPZ. I've had the GPX 4500 there once but had a fair bit of problems with EMI as it's near a busy road and every car going past sent my 4500 nuts, their alternator or something, you could hear them coming. It's quite a steep gully with a road going through the bottom of it. This nugget would have been no more than 20 feet from the road So, I'm very much looking forward to using this 15" Concentric coil on my 5000 and going back to this spot. In mono mode on the GPX it's a full-fledged spiral mono coil, flick it to DD mode and it's a Concentric coil which handles bad ground and my hot rocks very well, along with being very good for EMI. A real 2 in 1 coil. This coil will be on its way to me very soon, I can't wait to use it. My 5000 hardly weighs more than my 6000 now with its carbon fibre shaft and lithium battery setup.
  23. I don't often bother to enter competitions, and I recently entered a Coiltek one not because I was hoping or expecting to win, more so as I wanted to express my view on the Coiltek 10x5" GPX 6000 coil, I really like that coil and felt it deserved some praise and what better way to do it than by putting my view in their competition where many will read it. It's my first ever Coiltek competition entry, they hold regular competitions, I'm constantly seeing happy winners of their competitions. Either way, to my surprise I won and they sent me a nice Christmas gift package. This was from their newsletter. Detectorist Simon Muilwijk won a Coiltek merch pack for sharing this with us: “I've been very happy with the Coiltek 10x5" GPX 6000 coil, certainly the most sensitive coil available for the detector, runs nice and stable too,.” So, if anyone's thinking of entering one of their competitions, go for it, you may just win it. I didn't even hunt around for a gloat photo with a bigger bit of gold or anything to try and impress, I just put up my first gold find with it on the first day using it. And my gift package. Thanks @Coiltek, and most importantly, thanks for making the coils I want to use and having them available in a timely manner, keep it up! An even smaller coil for the 6000 in elliptical shape would be appreciated seeing the other one talked about may never exist, and replicating the Nox coils for the Manticore would be great, an even smaller elliptical for that would be perfect too, say a 6.5 x 3.5" solid coil for small gold sniping in creeks!
  24. Hello everyone ! new user here, first of all thanks for this awesome forum, well made and functional. I have been detecting for a couple years now with my trusty companion equinox 800 that follows me in steep mountain climbs, long hikes and swims to get to remote areas were ancient settlements can be found without trash. I mainly search in low trash environments, for obvious reasons, but often the geological deposit is too high to get to the desired historical level and my VLF just can’t find any target under 20cm. For this very reason I was looking for a good PI machine, packable in a backpack, that can help me go deeper to the relics/hoards i’m looking for, without going on bulky machines that make you dig 2 meters for you need a damn excavator (those PI that you bring around in two person used by the military to find unexploded ordinance or bombs). For obvious reasons the Garrett AXIOM should be my choice (modern, lightweight, ironcheck, ergonomic, easy setup..) but i’m just afraid it can’t pack the punch that I need to go deeper. In comparison I’m looking at the Minelab GPX5000 (older, heavier, bulky, iron reject, huge aftermarket for coils, hard to learn) that being around for more than 10 years has been tested and tested again, proving itself a well made machine that should suit my needs. Now, I know technology has made big steps forward in the last 10 years, but i’m doubtful wether to trust a new product that hasn’t been reviewed as well as an other, overall when buying a detector that costs 4000€ !! In my opinion all the ergonomics and versatility of the AXIOM can’t come without any loss in other aspect…. maybe the energy that flows through the coil of the GPX (seen that huge battery pack) is more than the AXIOM, hence less reach ? Maybe the AXIOM has been developed too specifically for gold and less for silver and bronze ? I’m afraid that the AXIOM is just a very very good upgrade to my EQUINOX, and not a deep machine like i’m looking for ! Earlier I have posted the video that made doubt between the two machines, i’ll post it again here to make you understand the kind of depth and targets i’m looking for with this new machine: Please help me ! Its now months i’m choosing and start to feel philosophically undecided like Soren Kierkegaard 😫
  25. I have used the Minelab GPX 5000 since it was introduced, and in fact probably owned the first one in Alaska. I have used the Garrett ATX also since it came out with one of the first units off the production line. I have been putting this review off while I got to know the ATX. I now have over 100 hours on the detector in a variety of environments so the time has come. This metal detector comparison review was very challenging for me to write. It pits two very different yet very similar detectors against each other. In a way it is almost like discussing three detectors instead of two, and there is the issue of a huge price difference. I apologize for the length but this is a case where I wanted to be as thorough as possible on the subject. This is the review you will never see published in a magazine! In a way it is all about that price differential. If the two detectors were priced similarly there would be much less debate than is going to occur amongst people and a far easier buying decision for some to make. For me personally it really is a story of the Garrett ATX being two very different detectors at once and so I will start the review there. I have been metal detecting over forty years now, and metal detecting is very important in my life. Not a day goes by that I do not think about, write about, or actually go out metal detecting. Luckily for me a large chunk of my income is derived from metal detecting and so I can justify a collection of metal detectors for what I do. I engage in quite a few detecting activities and I strive to have the very best detector possible at my disposal for whatever it is I am doing. Because of this I am constantly on the look for new detectors that might help me in some way. However, now that the technology is maturing I have the bases pretty well covered. The only thing I was still looking for was a detector that satisfied me while water detecting in Hawaii. Every other detecting scenario I have covered to my satisfaction, but every time I hit the water in Hawaii I was left wanting something better than was available. The combination of salt water, volcanic rock, and military grade electrical interference is very challenging for any detector. What I generally want is a combination of stability and power with good ergonomics. The perfect detector should only signal on desired targets and nothing else, at good depth, while feeling good on my arm. I obviously reject detectors that get poor depth - these are usually the lower price detectors. Most top tier models are very competitive in the depth department. Other detectors I have put aside solely due to an inability to handle electrical interference. Fine machines otherwise, but unstable in an urban environment. Other detectors are too noisy in mineralized ground or too chatty in dense trash. And finally, some detectors are holdovers from the old days of heavy and clunky. I do not like detectors that make my arm hurt! I was therefore very excited when I heard the Garrett ATX was on the way. I was very familiar with its predecessor, the Garrett Infinium, which was tantalizingly close to my perfect Hawaii detector. Unfortunately the Infinium suffered in the stability department. I was also aware of the Garrett Recon Pro AML-1000 military demining detector. I was intrigued by its having a non-motion monotone search mode and wondered if that could be incorporated into a new improved "Infinium Pro" model. I not only had Hawaii in mind but started envisioning scenarios involving underwater sniping for gold employing a metal detector. Add to this that neither Minelab nor White's seemed interested in putting a waterproof ground balancing pulse induction metal detector in my hands. I never expected it would be Garrett that would come out with a second generation model based on the Infinium before anyone else got to first base. I have told you all this to explain what I was expecting and hoping for in the Garrett ATX. The fact is Garrett delivered with flying colors on my desires and the ATX is now one if the most important detectors in my collection. I have already paid for the detector with jewelry found and it is the Hawaii detector I always hoped for. Garrett ATX in Hawaii If we are talking about the Garrett ATX as a new waterproof detector for use on black sand or volcanic island beaches the review can end right here. The Garrett ATX is a superb detector for those conditions and well worth the money. There is only one fly in the ointment. If you look at the full page ads for the Garrett ATX it is clearly being marketed as a prospecting detector, and one pretty clearly aimed at Minelab's top end models. Specifically "The ATX performs head-to-head with the most expensive prospecting detectors in the world." ads by Amazon... Interestingly enough this idea was not even on my radar. I had always thought it was a huge mistake for the Infinium to be set up as direct competition for the high end Minelabs. Anyone involved in that remembers the hype and resulting disappointment and backlash. The Infinium eventually found its place but more as a water and relic hunting machine than a prospecting detector, although it is a capable enough unit. My hope was to avoid a similar scenario with the ATX. I do not like hype and prefer things to be under sold so people are pleasantly surprised when their expectations are exceeded. Hype leads to disappointment when inflated claims cannot be met. The reality here however is that Garrett has chosen to make prospecting the battlefield of choice. There is a lot of money at stake here for a lot of people, and so I am going to do my best here to compare the two units as dry land prospecting detectors. I think we can all agree that if you are looking at both the Garrett ATX and Minelab GPX 5000 and need the detector to be waterproof the Garrett ATX wins hands down. The funny thing here is that if Garrett was gunning for Minelab then in my opinion they went about it the wrong way. I get the distinct impression the design process was backwards. It was not a matter of "what do prospectors want in a metal detector?" I think it was "we have this housing on the shelf we developed at great expense to go after a military contract. We need to leverage our development cost by putting something in that housing we can sell to the public." In other words, I do not see any sign of design following function. All I see is a prospecting detector crammed in a box inappropriate for the desired end use. If Steve Jobs was into metal detectors he would be rolling in his grave. I will have to suffice instead by simply shaking my head at missed opportunity. I will explain more about that later. Let's set ergonomics aside though for now and just talk about straight up prospecting performance. How does the Garrett ATX fare against the Minelab GPX 5000 on gold in mineralized ground? I have done fairly extensive tests but I do have to throw in the caveat that the world is a big place and when you discuss prospecting detectors one truth is paramount. It is all about the ground mineralization and hot rocks. What works well in one place fails in another, and for this reason alone I cannot offer 100% assurances. I have spent a month traveling Western Australia detecting every day and so I am quite familiar with what prospectors face there. I am not about to begin to offer more than an opinion about how these two detectors fare in the worst Australian ground but I do think my conclusions will prove to be true. I can tell anyone right now knowing detectors the way I do that either machine will prove superior at certain locations given their differing capabilities. In a nutshell, the Garrett ATX has a ridiculously good circuit. The engineers at Garrett have done a superb job of producing a detector that out of box performs extremely well on a wide variety of gold in a wide variety of ground conditions. I tested both units in some very red mineralized soil, both outfitted with stock DD coils. The ATX comes with a 12" x 10" DD coil. The GPX 5000 comes with two coils, one of which is an 11" round DD coil and this is what I used. The nuggets ranged from 0.1 gram to 6.5 ounces. Test conditions The impression I was left with was definitely not how the GPX 5000 blows the ATX away but instead by how well the Garrett ATX does. It is impossible to not be impressed by how well the $2120 detector does when run head-to-head against a $5795 detector. Garrett has done a fantastic job and in my opinion their advertising claims are not off base. This is a serious prospecting circuit well worth consideration. The two detectors basically differ in the range of gold they find best. The Garrett ATX skews towards the smaller more commonly found gold nuggets. The Minelab GPX 5000 skews towards larger gold nuggets that tend to be the goal of professional prospectors. Out of box with similar coils the ATX will find small gold nuggets the GPX 5000 would normally miss without special coils and tuning tricks. It does this simply and with no fuss. However, in mineralized ground with similar coils the GPX easily bests the ATX on large nuggets. By large I mean one ounce and larger and by easily I mean by a margin of 10-15%. The GPX 5000 does this using a coil that in my case had never been on the detector before. Most Minelab users would never consider hobbling the detector by putting the 11" round DD coil on if hunting large nuggets at depth. It is informative therefore that even doing this in the interest of "fairness" and with nothing more than stock Normal timing with Gain bumped to 16 (out of 20) the Minelab GPX 5000 easily outperformed the Garrett ATX on a 6.5 ounce nugget. The ATX was at max Gain of 13 for the test. Now the depth differential here was only about two inches but I have to throw in the huge caution note again that it will vary depending on ground conditions. Absolute depth was about 17" ATX versus 19" GPX for good solid signals. The kind nobody can miss. Again, do not take these as some sort of magical numbers as ground conditions and even nugget shape and alloy could cause you to get some surprising differences. That is why I hate mentioning exact depths and differences in most cases and just stick to relative conclusions. But you are going to ask so there you go. For reference a Fisher Gold Bug Pro with 13" round DD coil and White's GMT with 14" elliptical DD both with settings jacked to the max were barely able to obtain this solid gold 6.5 ounce nugget at 12" in this ground and the GMT in particular would not really have been able to hunt maxed out the way it was. Depending on who is reading this the response may be "really, only two inches?" or "wow, two whole inches!" Similarly, it is interesting to see the GPX with DD coil scrub a little nugget with no signal that the ATX easily detects at a couple inches. This however does end up being my basic and not new finding by any means. Others have reported similar results. The ATX does better on small gold and the GPX on large straight out of box with stock DD coils. I do believe the GPX has more ability to handle more varied and more intense ground conditions and hot rocks due to its many adjustments. However, this is more a belief than a fact as so far the ATX has easily handled everything I have thrown at it, including salt water, basalt rocks, and electrical interference in Hawaii. Garrett does make use of a salient fact in its advertising. The ATX handles a wide range of conditions with deceptively few settings. This makes it very easy to set up and it avoids a common complaint with the GPX detectors. They are so complex people are often left wondering if they have the optimum settings for the conditions. I know for a fact from observation that many people tend to use timings that are too aggressive for the actual conditions when using a GPX. The tendency often is to find something that seems to work well and then to just default to that way if doing things, even if conditions change. To get the best performance out of a GPX does require that a person be somewhat of a tuning wizard. The bottom line for many more casual prospectors in the United States especially is that the Garrett ATX represents a fantastic value. It is truly impossible to say but in my case at least most of the gold I find in the US with my GPX an ATX would have found it also. In particular when hunting areas where bedrock is a foot or less the ground would have to be extremely hot indeed for the ATX to not only find what the GPX will but to have an edge on the more common small gold. Even in deeper ground as long as the gold is measured in grams and not ounces and the ground not extremely mineralized the ATX is going to be a close match with the GPX. Again, out of box with stock DD coils. Where the ATX is going to clearly come up short is on large nuggets, especially those sought after 1 ounce and larger nuggets at depth and on gold in the worst mineralized ground and hot rock locations. To be perfectly honest I feel my putting an 11" inch round DD coil on my GPX 5000 in the interest of being fair does not reflect for one second how I look for gold. I am not out there being fair, I am out there looking for gold. I will be running a larger mono coil with settings optimized for larger gold and then the difference in large gold performance between the ATX and GPX is even more pronounced. I would consider a 10-15% to be a bare minimum advantage gained while in effect running the GPX with its hands tied. I have not done comparisons on the iron discrimination systems but I find the method used by the ATX to be inherently more reassuring. The GPX reacts to shallow ferrous targets by blanking out, a sort of non response. The ATX has a momentary ferrous check that kicks in at the touch of a button, and that gives a low tone growl on iron, which provides a more nuanced and natural response expected by most detector users. I am not a big fan of using discrimination on either unit but I did find the ATX method more to my liking for confirming shallow ferrous stuff as trash that I already thought was trash due to the response. Note that on either detector the ferrous rejection only works on shallow items and only with a DD coil. The amount of rejection is adjustable on the GPX and preset on the ATX so more tests really need to be done in this regard to determine which is the more accurate and useful system. Minelab GPX 5000 and Garrett ATX (Minelab outfitted with optional Nugget Finder coil) I do own both detectors and there is a simple reality here. If I am going looking for gold in the water, be it jewelry or nuggets in a creek, I will grab the ATX. For any other prospecting, the vast majority of it, I will be using the GPX 5000. I am not sure where the line between casual and serious is, but I am way, way over on the serious side. I spend a great deal of time targeting and hunting deep ground looking in areas where very large nuggets have been found historically. Most of the ground I detect I am hunting because it has produced nuggets weighing a pound or more in the past. I hunt tailing piles a lot so bedrock is tens of feet down, and the gold can be at any depth from shallow to extremely deep. I think most professionals would tell you that small gold is what happens along the way while looking for the big stuff, and at the end of the day it is the big stuff or the lack of it that makes the difference. I found over thirteen ounces of nuggets metal detecting in 2013 which is no great sum of gold in my book, but well over half of it was in the form of two nuggets, one weighing 6.5 ounces and the other 2.37 ounces. Now in this case the ATX would have found both these nuggets. Yet I would not use anything but a Minelab GPX for what I am doing. I am spending a lot of valuable time going over ground that I may only get one shot at. I plan these things well in advance and not only time but good money is invested in taking my best shot at getting good results. I basically cannot afford to be running anything that I feel does not give me the best chance of delivering that make or break it big nugget. One nugget can make all the difference between a month of lackluster results and fantastic success. If both the Garrett ATX and Minelab GPX 5000 detectors had exactly identical electronic performance I would still be swinging the GPX. I am on one hand very impressed with the ATX as a nugget detector and on the other hand very disappointed by it. The up front decision to use the Recon AML-1000 housing is an automatic fail from a nugget detecting perspective in my opinion. It adds not only needless weight but weight that is very much an impediment in rough, uneven terrain. This is accentuated by a stock coil that is sensitive to knocks and bumps. It requires an extra level of coil control to manipulate the detector in such a way as to not produce excessive false signals. This differs from Minelab coils that basically do not false at all unless something is wrong with them. I would caution anyone using a detector the way I do that the ATX requires extra care as regards the possibility of repetitive motion injury. Trust me as somebody who detected too much one year and ignored the signs this is something to regard seriously. A harness is a must for weeks of long daily use of the ATX. I shudder to think about how the detector feels with the 20" long rear mounted mono coil hanging off the front. That is an ergonomic nightmare. The ATX features silicone lubricated battery door o-rings that collect dirt. The coil connectors also have o-ring seals and even worse delicate pin connectors subject to damage if not carefully lined up. The headphone connector is similar to the coil connectors. All these are required to make the detector waterproof and not only unneeded for normal dry land use but an impediment as regards serviceability in the field. The coils are sold as a unit with the telescoping rod assembly adding needless expense and weight and making carrying an extra coil around something to be avoided. The rear mount enables the ability of the detector to fold up but is another weak point from a serviceability aspect and ergonomically the worst way to mount a coil. I always considered ergonomics to be the easy low hanging fruit for anyone considering manufacture of a detector to compete with the Minelab PI series, and I am frankly amazed anyone could make something even heavier I am less excited about handling. It is an absolute fact I would put the GPX aside for an alternative, even if that alternative was next best in overall gold ability, if it offered a big advantage ergonomically. I in fact often do decline to "harness up" and set the GPX aside in favor of a lightweight VLF at times because I am just too tired or not in the mood. More importantly, in steep terrain bedrock is often shallow and so when hunting hillsides and slopes there really is no advantage to using a GPX in ground only inches deep. I would very gladly use a properly designed Garrett ATX instead of a Minelab GPX in many situations that I currently encounter. In particular areas where bedrock is less than a foot deep or in areas where large nuggets have historically never been seen. The only reason right now that is not going to happen is I do not want the ATX on my arm. Yes, the ATX has an inherent advantage on small gold but nothing I can't negate by putting on a small mono coil and running the GPX hot. No, in my opinion Garrett missed a major opportunity to wow somebody like me by putting a fantastic prospecting circuit in a package very inappropriate for the target audience. Metal detectors are tools. Now the fact is that for the average person Craftsman tools do just fine and represent good value. But the guy making his living with his toolbox is probably going to be investing in Snap-on tools. It is an apt analogy accentuated by the real performance difference that exists between the Garrett ATX and Minelab GPX detectors on the kind of gold most pros are looking for. The vast number of accessory coils and other aftermarket options on top of a well proven platform makes it an easy decision for the serious prospector. Minelab makes a tool designed specifically for a certain job. The Garrett ATX unfortunately I feel is a duck out of water when employed for normal prospecting uses. I do have to say my hat is off to Garrett for producing a detector that is the first to really give Minelab a run for the money. I hope they do follow up and produce a model expressly designed from the ground up as a dry land prospecting machine. It may well become my primary prospecting detector if they do so. If you have read this review carefully you should understand the issues involved. For many people wanting maximum bang for the buck a Garrett ATX straight up and used properly is a real bargain in a PI prospecting machine. It can and will find gold and find it very well. The guys like me (you know who you are) that probably already have a Minelab PI plus extra coils, batteries and so forth can continue waiting for the next big thing in nugget detecting. You may also consider the Garrett for exactly the reason I did. It is waterproof, and currently is the closest thing you can get to a Minelab PI in a waterproof package. In closing I am curious to see how both detectors do for me this year. The ATX has the lead with about 2.5 ounces of gold and platinum jewelry found so far. I plan on using it often to hunt jewelry every chance I get in 2014. The GPX I will once again be taking to Alaska for a couple months of nugget detecting which may or may not pay off with a large nugget found. I will be hunting the right places but large gold is rare almost anywhere you go. Given the lead the ATX already has the GPX has its work cut out for it so it should make for an interesting year. For those of you trying to decide between these two very fine metal detectors I can only sympathize and count my blessings for not having to make such decisions. However, I hope this helps you with your decision because I have done my best to try and do just that. Good luck and good hunting! 2020 Note: Since this review was written in 2014 the price for the ATX was remained the same, while the price for the Minelab GPX 4500 and GPX 5000 have both come down considerably. This does change the value proposition offered by the Garrett ATX, especially as regards the Minelab GPX 4500, which can now be had for only a few hundred dollars more than an ATX. Detailed information on the Garrett ATX Detailed information on the Minelab GPX 5000 Great video by another party (a Garrett dealer) confirming the above results at another location with a different large nugget....
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