BEGINNERS GUIDE: The Metal Detector Glossary-What Does All This Stuff Mean?

Started by gash, November 16, 2018, 05:50:04 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


All those metal detector terms have you confused? Fret not! We're here to help. The breakdown below lists some common phrases you'll hear bandied about by detecting enthusiasts. Use this metal detector glossary to understand what all this stuff means as you pick the best metal detector for you.

Many hunters will use a detectors' discrimination and target ID functions to filter out trash (and the gold that gets confused for trash) in order to concentrate on collecting coins, which they'll then clean, keep, sell or use to buy a drink after a long day of coinshooting.

Detection Depth: You would think detection depth would be the most important factor to consider when picking a metal detector, but it's not. The truth is that it's always an estimate and there's no good test manufacturers can run to pin it down.
A slew of factors contribute to a detector's depth range, from the size and shape of its coil to the composition of the ground you happen to be scanning. You can air test a detector by passing coins in front of it at various distances   something enthusiasts do all the time   but it's not a true reflection of real-world use. A device might detect coins beneath 11 inches of soil in one region, and not find the same coin under just 7 inches of soil in another.

In general, don't expect to reliably find treasures more than 10 inches deep with any detector, unless they're particularly large pieces of metal. Even then, they tend to confuse detectors and give spotty readings. If you're lucky enough to find a treasure chest filled with Spanish doubloons buried 3 feet down, it will probably read as anything but gold on your target ID until you excavate it.

Discrimination and Notching: Discrimination is a detector's ability to exclude certain objects   usually trash   to make it easier to find other metals. Since metal detectors spot objects based on their conductivity, and trashy objects tend to be lower on that scale, you can increase your discrimination setting on a detector to ignore everything below a given threshold.
Discrimination tends to go hand-in-hand with notching, which isolates and filters out specific parts of the scale instead of disregarding everything below the discrimination line. You might, for example, notch out pull-tabs while leaving everything that can be found both above and below those pull-tabs on the scale.

Frequency: A detector's operating frequency reflects the number of times per second that its coil pulses out a search field. It's measured in kilohertz (kHz), with 1kHz equal to 1,000 transmissions of the magnetic field per second. It's not something you really need to worry about, other than knowing that, in general, lower-frequency detectors are better at discriminating between trash and treasure, while higher-frequency metal detectors are better at gold prospecting.

Ground Balance: Different kinds of soil are packed with different levels of natural mineralization, and mineralization can throw off a detector, causing it to beep and stutter erratically. To combat this, some detectors feature either automatic or manual ground balancing, which takes into account the level of mineralization in the soil you're scanning and filters it out. Detectors with automatic ground balancing do this constantly, though often not particularly well. Manual ground balancing requires you to change certain settings every so often, but it gives you a lot more control over your device. Detectors with fixed ground balancing are factory-preset to certain levels of mineralization; if you want to deal with difficult soil, you'll need to rely on the sensitivity knob.

XP Deus 9" coil & 13x11 coil
XP Goldmaxx Power
Whites DFX
Garrett Ace250
Nokta Simplex+

Powered by EzPortal