New to Metal Detecting... is my AT Max working correctly?
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Thread: New to Metal Detecting... is my AT Max working correctly?

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  1. #1
    Mar 2021
    NW Indiana
    AT Max
    5 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Unhappy New to Metal Detecting... is my AT Max working correctly?

    Hello everyone, new to the forum and new to the metal detecting community!
    I have loved history as far back as I can remember, and always dreamed of owning a nice metal detector. Recently, I found a deal on an AT Max bundle that I couldn't pass up.

    So far I have taken the detector our two times and have left feeling a little frustrated. As a little background, behind my house I have a partially wooded easement then a large corn field. Thus far, I have detected on the edge on my easement and the cornfield.

    My inclination is that something is not working right with the detector. However, being so new to this, I am probably overlooking something. If someone could give me some guidance on my issue (described below), it would be greatly appreciated.

    Here is how I start everything up...

    1. Turn on the detector
    2. Turn on wireless headphones
    3. Set mode to 'ZERO'
    4. Hold SHIFT to auto ground balance (bouncing 5-6 times), then release shift
    5. Set sensitivity (I have mainly been on max sensitivity, but have also tried -1 / -2)
    6. Manually set Iron Disc to 35

    My issues:
    1. As soon as I start out, as I swing the coil, the numbers seem to jump around (not crazy, but the readings go from low single digits, all the way of to 80-90, rapidly).
    2. When I do get a nice tone, I quickly look at the machine and there is a noticeable delay in the reading. What I mean by that is, I will hear the tone in my headphones before I see the corresponding reading on the machine. I was expecting to hear the tone and instant have the reading show on the device.
    3. When I can isolate a nice high tone, and go to swing back over it, the reading is not as quick as what I read online (and there is still some jumping occurring at this point).
    4. There has also been a few 'ghost tones', where I am thinking 'awesome, this one is showing 60-70 and 2" down. I go to dig it... and nothing.

    Any help, tips, or instructions on this would be greatly appreciated! Even if I am doing something completely incorrect, just tell me!

    Thank you in advnace!
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    Feb 2005
    MI USA
    Ace 400, AT Pro, equinox 800, Simplex,Vanquish 540
    4115 times
    Metal Detecting
    Can't help you much specifically with the AT, though I have had one for years I use it only in the water, have had very few problems.
    Had to replace the coil 2 times, when it would literally signal in the air, made it useless. Also came a time when the coil change didn't fix it so I sent it in and Garrett basically replaced it.
    Being new, likely not the issue for you but possible.

    Any detector run with high sensitivity will be prone to chatter, so obviously try backing off a bit.
    Also, some areas are ruined with EMI due to power lines, towers ect. Being on the edge of a corn field, not likely but possible. Try another location and see if the problems persist.

    Garrett is renowned for customer service, so you could also call in or email a request to chat with a tech and they could offer some specific guidance.
    xr7ator and PetesPockets55 like this.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    Jun 2016
    943 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    welcome to Tnet .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
    PetesPockets55 likes this.
    Cat-like reflexes with a sloth-like brain

  4. #4
    Jul 2020
    An old radio shack, simplex
    421 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Maybe try turning down the sensaitivity. It can cause issues. Believe me!

  5. #5
    Mar 2021
    NW Indiana
    AT Max
    5 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thank you all for your responses! Very much appreciated.
    After thinking about it, there are some phone/coax lines running in that general area. We made sure to stay away from the lines while digging. However, we were finding really old pieces of thick cabling. There were even pieces lying on the ground in places.
    Next time I go out I will:
    1. Go to a diff location
    2. Verify no power/communication lines are anywhere close
    3. Make sure my sensitivity stays at -2ish

    I will report back!

    Thanks everyone!
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  6. #6
    Feb 2021
    Muhlenberg County, KY
    Garrett Ace Apex, Nokta Makro Simplex+
    11 times
    Metal Detecting
    Could be you just got really unlucky and chose a super trashy spot to try it out the first time? I know I have a spot in my yard where a tool shed used to be ~60 years ago that's just full of trash and sounds like that.
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    Coin Rescue Tech

    Jun 2014
    Northern O-H-I-O
    F75 LTD, 1280X Aquanaut, & an F2 (loaner)
    17574 times
    Metal Detecting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Be sure to sweep the area and find a quiet spot to ground balance. l]Like other have stated you might want to turn down the sensitivity especially on curb strips right under power lines. Good luck and happy hunting.
    Rescuing Coins 1 Beep at a time

  8. #8
    Mar 2021
    NW Indiana
    AT Max
    5 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Update! 04/02

    Thank you to everyone for your suggestions. I took it out today, this time in my backyard. I performed all the tips that were given. The craziness on the detector seemed 10x worse in my backyard. I took a few videos. I will see if I can upload them. The machine was acting like it was on speed. Even when I held it still, the numbers were flying across the screen. I do have buried power in my yard, but on the opposite side of the yard.
    Anyways, I decided to take it to my front yard. After balancing, it FINALLY worked the way I thought it should. Found some nice signals and was stable overall. Maybe I was picking bad spots?
    I am still not at the point where I want to call customer support. I will keep trying it in different locations.

    Thanks for all of your responses!
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  9. #9
    Wood Butcher

    Apr 2013
    Indian River Co., Fl
    AT MAX & Carrot, Nokta Pulse Dice (:
    2031 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by TIE543 View Post
    Could be you just got really unlucky and chose a super trashy spot to try it out the first time? I know I have a spot in my yard where a tool shed used to be ~60 years ago that's just full of trash and sounds like that.
    I agree to be mindful of high trash areas.
    I have a Max and I brought it with me to Nashville while visiting relatives. As soon as I went outside and tried it I thought I had broken it because it wouldn't stop with the chatter. I finally had to block out the sounds mentally and found lots of trash. This last time back I went to another area of the yard and the chatter was not there. Turns out it was just the location where I started the first time causing all the chatter.

    Thanks to everyone else for the info on Garrett's customer service.

    EDIT: I was getting lots of distracting chatter in that one open area, even with the coil in the air over my head.
    Last edited by PetesPockets55; Apr 04, 2021 at 04:43 AM.
    TIE543 likes this.

  10. #10

    Nov 2010
    SouthWestern USA
    Nox 800, Etrac, F75, AT Pro. Last two for sale.
    2159 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Practice your coil swing. Slow down and keep it close to ground. When you lift or lower you coil at the end of you swing it may be reading the difference and reporting a false signal.
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  11. #11
    Nov 2016
    217 times
    Relic Hunting
    I have an AT Pro...and have been swinging it for a year. I have no other experience with any other type/model of detector but many of your issues I have had as well. What I would recommend is go to an area of your yard that you are pretty certain is clean of targets and make yourself a test garden. Put some coins and items in at specific depths to see how they read on your machine. That way you will know that is a clad quarter at 4 inches and that is what it sounds like. Put a variety of items in several holes and vary the depth...get to know your machine. When you go over the the target and listen to it from all angles. That will help as well. In the "wild" it will be rare when you have a Barber quarter at 5 inches with nothing else around it. More often than not you will have other items in the general area that will mask that quarter or any desirable target. Most of my best coin finds thus far have been dug with other items in the hole...nails...aluminum...random iron. That is also why as other people have directed you will need to slow down and isolate the signal...pinpoint it and then pop the plug accordingly. Sometimes a target will only sound good one way...that could mean its a coin on edge or it is something that is roundish but non a washer. That will be the part where you need to learn your machine. I can not speak for other brands but the Garrets tend to work their connections loose so always check your connections to make sure they are tight. And remember this no how long or good you become with this hobby you will still dig a lot of trash...that's just the way it is...but the nice coin/relic in between will keep you going...good luck!
    PetesPockets55 likes this.
    Running Totals-

    Silver Coins Total-18
    Buffalo Nickels-2
    V Nickels-2
    Large Coppers-0
    Gold Items-3
    Silver Items-2
    Skeleton Keys-2

  12. #12
    Dec 2018
    Garrett AT Pro, Garrett AT Max
    6 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Mine would randomly freak out and then work properly for a while. It took a while to figure out but there was a short in the wire to the coil, close to the thread on connector to the control box. When I took it to the Garrett dealer they sent the coil in for replacement. Worked perfect ever since.

    If you know anyone with an AT coil, try it out and see if it works proper for you.
    Last edited by Travel240z; Apr 03, 2021 at 10:45 PM.
    PetesPockets55 likes this.

  13. #13

    Jul 2014
    Minelab CTX 3030
    376 times
    Metal Detecting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Being an AT Max owner I have had my machine freak out on me a few times before, just randomly starts going crazy and beeping even in the air. Usually a power down and restart and a ground balance will fix it.

    Speaking of ground balancing you have to ensure the ground under the coil is free of any metal before you ground balance or it will send the machine way out of whack and you’ll never find anything. Make sure you have iron audio turned off, if it is turned on it will give you grunts and tones without showing any numbers on your screen so that might be something to check for. Iron audio is a very useful tool but only once you’ve gotten the basics down. Make sure the coil wire is wrapped pretty tightly along the shaft or it can cause false signals, and make sure the connection at the control box is secure and the thumb screw is tight. If it’s still finicky and chattery try changing the frequency to one of the other settings. Turn your cell phone off or leave it far away because my iPhone would interfere with my AT Max all the time. Hopefully some of these will help!



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