Post By Tom_in_CA
Aug 29, 2012, 10:43 AM
True comparisons: power, sensitivity, etc
Hello I'm new to the site, but I have "lurked" for awhile. I'm interested in the true technical nature of metal detectors, which seems to be a very elusive quantity. What I mean is: the actual field power differences, sensitivity, etc. There is a tech section but no real data on this for the various brands. Fisher is the only company out there which actually publishes this info, but it doesn't do any good since the other companies don't.
I'm not intersted in the subjective reports such as "found a dime at 8 inches" since this is really totally dependent on a multiple of variables. None of the test reports anywhere mention the actual capabilities, objectively, of any metal detector.
And finally, I'm used to technical jumps in electronic technology occurring at a rapid rate. Cameras, computers, phones etc. Who would by a phone today with 12 year old technology? Yet that seems to be the norm with metal detectors. Tesoro, Whites, Garrett, etc.....more of the same re-packaged but with no improvement in actual capability for the last 10 years at least. Maybe I'm asking too much? Is it possible that the extra power needed to get that extra inch of depth puts this type of advance beyond amateur devices? Maybe the capability peaked out 10 years ago. Fisher seems to have a few new products and I'm not sure they are superior in actual performance to what came out a decade ago. Maybe.
But since I can't find actual performance data on the other brands I'll keep searching. For what its worth, I"m interested in gold prospecting in California desert, and meteorite / relic hunting elsewhere. My budget is $1000. I like knobs and dials, I strongly dislike menus and drill-downs to change parameters. As an example, I think the interfaces of the Fisher F5 , or Tesoro Cortez, or White MXT, is about perfect.
I can't find good info on multi-frequency detectors in this range (Safari, VX3) vs single frequency other than subjective hunting reports. Do you really lose depth? How can a detector with one 9 volt battery compete with another using 8 AA batteries? Wouldn't the field strength vary tremendously?
Someone please steer me in the right direction!
Aug 29, 2012 10:43 AM
Aug 29, 2012, 01:50 PM
The reason why you don't see the same type of technical spec's for detector performance, as you would for cars, cameras, computers, etc.... is there's too many other variables. You can't simply to say "such & such one is the deepest". Because there's too much more involved.
Let me give you an example: If such a graph chart comparison COULD be done, and if (for depth for instance), well then gee..... I can tell you of a machine that can find a quarter to nearly 2 ft. deep! Woohoo! But when you find out it's a nugget machine, and that could can not get this actual field performance in anywhere but the white sahara desert sand, and that you will absolutly not ability to tell a birdshot, from a staple, from a nail, from a speck, from a coin, then ask yourself: what good does that "2 ft." do for coin/relic hunting conditions? Or a certain coin/relic machine for example, may admittedly get a quarter to an easy foot. Yet the machine only does this in non-mineralized soils? Or that the TID falters at anything over 6", beyond which, everything sounds the same? Then same thing: perhaps you're better off with a machine that only gets the quarter to 10", yet retains TID to those depths, and handles minerals better.
So you see, it's not as easy as the side-by-side consumer reviews you see for other types consumer products.
Last edited by Tom_in_CA; Aug 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM.
Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!
Aug 29, 2012, 02:59 PM
Detecting fever comes and goes.
Metal detectors haven't progressed in the last 10 years? Well they have but it's not like a BIG technology gap since most detectors out there still use a vlf technology or a pulse induction technology. But there are newer and most advanced detectors now days, called penetrating radar detectors. This not only tell you what's down there but they are able to show you a physical image of it on a screen. Only problem for now is the price, from $10.000 to $50.000 depending on the features.
So in a reasonable price range there are none.
As for technical info on each detector it is not really published since it means very little on how good a detector really is.
You can see vlf detectors behave completely differently depending on the soil.
So now to the fact that you stated you want a detector with knobs and not complicated. My personal suggestion is go for the mxt.
Sent from my iPhone using TreasureNet
Aug 30, 2012, 12:02 AM
norbyx, those penetrating radar detectors will not aid the typical coin/relic/jewelry guy one bit. The "shape showing" feature has a major drawback: The size of the pixels. Each pixel is something like 1" across, even on the highest/finest resolution. So therefore all coin-sized things (nails, coins, tabs, foil wads, rings, etc...) are all simply: 1 pixel! Doh. And even something you would *think* would have a tell-tale shape to be seen by those (like a horseshoe) are still nothing but a messy blotch of pixels.
So no, if someone is thinking they're going to get those penetrating radar detectors, and magically see a cartoon image of rings, vs square tabs, vs elongated nails, etc.... they are sorely mistaken.
Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!
Aug 30, 2012, 01:50 AM
Bill, at one time almost every detector manufacturer supplied the information you require in the paper literature. As the internet took over much information went online and it was quite handy because you could test a new detector was functioning correctly by just setting it to its preset setting marks and using the same coin as a test item that the company did. If you couldn't match the "in air" results you knew you had a lemon and could exchange it without wasting months thinking it was something you were doing wrong.
The one thing it didn't do was indicate the results you might expect in your ground because they have no way of knowing if your working bad ground or not.
We did have field test reports that were of some use but as you will notice there's shall we call them "professional detector testers" who don't seem to be able to write anything bad about any machine. The reason is if they don't give good reports then they won't be asked to do another test.
Though I like and still use some of the older classic detectors they have three main drawbacks. Repairs and keeping on spec., Often tending to be heavier with more battery power needed and have one thing they still excel at but are not as good at other tasks.
The latest detectors have several advantages. Weight/balance tends to be better. Lots of third party coils that in some cases are better than the manufacturers own. Lighter battery packs that allow detecting for far longer than before. The development/improvement of things that really help successful searching such as ground tracking with track inhibit, the ability to run more than one frequency at a time and see the results on screen, improvements in discrimination for the traditionally deeper pulse induction detectors the better of which allow low delay settings to really improve sensitivity. Coil technology has also moved forward....at one time if you went to a larger size for more depth sensitivity to smaller items went out the window. This is no longer has to be true. Another big plus is that at one time you needed a low frequency for depth (but at the price of discrimination performance) or high frequency for sensitivity to small items but depth wasn't great. Improved coil and circuit design means you can have better results all round from one machine.
Note I say no longer "has" to be true and "can have better results". If a detector manufacturer has dropped the ball and stood still as a few have you won't have the improvements that other brands have brought to the table (I don't mean gimmicks like GPS that is now included on one of the more expensive detectors on the market and also on a $160 detector or wireless coils, as it doesn't add anything to depth or discrimination performance). Tesoro is one make that has stood still or even gone backwards with some models. A few tweaks to filtering but not much else. So try as many detectors as you can and decide what features will really help you to detect better.
Re voltage as all detectors are voltage regulated it doesn't matter to much performance wise if you have one nine volt or twelve 1.5's as in both cases the current may be regulated down to six or seven volts. The only difference would be to running time. As always with metal detectors there's a few exceptions such as some pulse designs that really need high power or those VLF detectors that can put 40 to 120 volts through the coil rather than six or seven.
I'll dig up and PM you a link to one of the sites that tests detectors against each other on a range of targets. Hope it will be of help !
Aug 30, 2012, 05:20 AM
Hello from White Plains, New York Bill! I run a gold prospecting and meteorite hunting school in Arizona, called Arizona Gold Adventures (ArizonaGoldAdventures.com), and I can tell you that there are very few VLF detectors that are capable in the gold fields. The three we use are the Tesoro Lobo Super Traq; Fisher Goldbug II; and the Whites GMT. The Only Pulse Induction machines we use are Minelab GPX 4000, 4500, and 5000 machines.
Originally Posted by Biker Bill
Look to see what the pro's use, and ask them why. You'll get all the technical data you need! Good Luck!
Aug 30, 2012, 09:59 AM
Thanks to everyone for their replys. Especially UK Brian with his honest assessment. I might be trying to overanalyze things here, but it seems to me that there should be some real data on these machines which, all things being equal, would correlate to performance. When you buy a car, you can read about skid pad "g"s, 0 - 60 mph times, times to quarter mile, etc. Of course roads vary, but these objective numbers give you an idea of performance out of the box. None of this seems to be available for metal detectors (Fisher and Technetics aside). I guess I'm just a "tech geek" and want to know as much as possible ahead of time. I'm getting the impression that it doesn't matter too much in actual use, as most of the amateur-priced detectors seem to perform within a standard deviation of each other anyways.
But with experience gained, will I be looking for more performance, and not sure how / where to get it? Perhaps that's why so many members of this forum seem to own a lot of detectors! As an example, the White's MXT seems to be recognized by everyone as a decently capable machine. OK, I buy one, and several years later I'm wishing for the next step up.......now what? A flashy new Fisher? A GPS-enabled Minelab? How can I be sure of anything? Where's the 0 - 60 time? see what I'm saying?
OK I'm probably over-analyzing this. I appreciate the experts on this forum setting me straight!
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