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

Mar 25, 2021
4
6
NW Indiana
Detector(s) used
AT Max
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
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!
 
Upvote 0

Xraywolf

Silver Member
Feb 28, 2005
3,576
4,358
MI USA
Detector(s) used
Ace 400, AT Pro, equinox 800, Simplex,Vanquish 540
Primary Interest:
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.
 
OP
L
Mar 25, 2021
4
6
NW Indiana
Detector(s) used
AT Max
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
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!
 

TIE543

Greenie
Feb 13, 2021
19
34
Muhlenberg County, KY
Detector(s) used
Nokta Makro Legend, Nokta Makro Simplex+
Primary Interest:
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.
 

Loco-Digger

Gold Member
Jun 16, 2014
11,789
17,648
Northern O-H-I-O
🥇 Banner finds
1
Detector(s) used
F75 LTD, 1280X Aquanaut, & an F2 (loaner)
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
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.
 
OP
L
Mar 25, 2021
4
6
NW Indiana
Detector(s) used
AT Max
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
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

Bronze Member
Apr 18, 2013
1,469
2,520
Indian River Co., Fl
Detector(s) used
AT MAX & Carrot, Nokta Pulse Dice (:
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
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:

Rawhide

Silver Member
Nov 17, 2010
3,589
2,174
SouthWestern USA
Detector(s) used
Nox 800, Etrac, F75, AT Pro. Last two for sale.
Primary Interest:
All 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.
 

40 Rounds

Jr. Member
Nov 26, 2016
76
461
Iowa
Detector(s) used
GARRETT AT PRO, EQUINOX 800
Primary Interest:
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 target...circle 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 desirable...like 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!
 

Travel240z

Greenie
Dec 16, 2018
16
13
Alberta
Detector(s) used
Equinox 800, Equinox 600, Previous detectors were the Garrett AT series
Primary Interest:
All 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:

Hendo0601

Sr. Member
Jul 30, 2014
257
455
California
🥇 Banner finds
1
Detector(s) used
Minelab CTX 3030
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
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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