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Drew, 'Thank You' for the information.

October 25, 2018 02:01AM avatar
from Druid
Hi Monte,

The three Compass detectors I sent to Sven were a working 77 Auto Legend, Relic Magnum 6, and Relic Mag 7.

An attempt to recreate a Competition Hunt favorite, and the last progression of the original Relic Magnum series which were some of my favorite VLF/TR-Disc. models of that era.

Although I had used Compass TR's since their earliest start in the industry, it was working with the almost ready Relic Magnum prototype that got me involved with Compass Electronics more indirectly. I compared the sample unit I worked with against offerings from Garrett and White's, who my dealer friends also handled in their shop, and I was so impressed I told Dino & Kay to let me know as soon as the unit came out of production as it performed better than the competition on the test area I help plan outside their shop, and the 'original' Relic Magnum was my favorite VLF/TR-Disc. model at the time.

As for the 77 Auto Legend, I was working at Compass Electronics at the time, '87 to '89, as was Allan Cannon, and we both felt there were some former models that we wished they still would make as there was a market for them, at least back then. Times back then, 30 years ago, were very different from today, at least here in the USA. There was still a lot to be found at city parks and schools and other public access areas, although we could note the starting decline in production from what was 'findable' back in the latter '60s to the early/mid '80s.

And a couple of things that helped add to the interest in the metal detecting hobby were the vast number of metal detecting clubs that arose all across the US from coast-to-coast. Hundreds, and I mean hundreds of very active and growing clubs, and one of the more popular activities of most of them were the seeded Competition Hunts they hosted annually. Many smaller-scale hunt to modest events, and then there were the popular bigger and more notable Competitions with so many prized to be won, and the volume of coins, modern but especially a lot of silver, was astonishing!

You had to be good with a detector and quick with your target recoveries to keep moving along and finding stuff at a very fast-paced hunt. That called for being healthy enough, and it also meant you needed to have a detector that was very responsive and quick to recover in a very heavily planted site. Some of the better units I used back then were good TR's from Compass and Garrett, but what some avid participants considered to be the best-of-the-best back then was Compass 77-Auto.

I considered myself to be a pretty avid competitor and I could hold my own in most events. I was fortunate, however, because I never happened to enter more than one Competition Hunt where I had to contend with the mastery of Allan Cannon. Yes, there were several more notable figures back then and I took note of both their search techniques to be quick and efficient, but also the detectors they used. Allan's top choice was the Compass 77-Auto.

Based on Compass' legendary' Yukon 77B, the 77-Auto had a two-position pushbutton for fast and slow Auto-Tune (something more often referred to today as SAT or Self-Adjusting Threshold). If you had a good working specimen you were holding a unit that very few detectors back then could rival in a traditional Competition Hunt, and Allan was a great example on how well that Compass Electronics product could perform.

As I stated, thirty years ago there were so many clubs and a lot of those hunts going on that we both agreed they should consider making a rebirth of the 77-Auto in a newer 'S' curved rod and better-balanced configuration than those old-style U-shaped handles we had to contend with, similar to the two Relic Magnum models you sent Sven to check out. They asked us to think of a name for the new detector model, and as Allan mentioned the 77-Auto was already a well known name. My contribution to that was that I felt the 77-Auto was truly a legend in the Competition Hunt circuit (and for other applications like Relic Hunting in a dense iron nail contaminated site) and suggested we simply name it the 77-Auto Legend.

Unfortunately, just like the original green 77-Auto's, they didn't all come out working as consistently and Allan had to hand-pick or have Compass service take care of correcting his early 77-Autos because the auto-tune wasn't always performing as well as it should. Too slow perhaps or there could be too much over-shoot on the retuning. I left Compass a while after they had been bought out and you could easily see the company wasn't destined to last for long as the industry was quickly changing at the time. So I didn't get to play with a lot of the 77-Auto Legends, but the few I handled after they were in production also seemed to be a hit-and-miss pick so far as performance.

I never found one I was comfortable with, both due to the top-heavy design they used for a speed hunt, nor the performance I got from them. I even let an old 77-Auto I had go because it didn't work as well as I had hoped and the service was not very good in their latter days. I did happen across a beautiful condition Yukon 94-Auto that was their simpler design with fewer adjustment features and a little less Sensitivity, but it worked better than any early 77-Auto I owned.

Sometimes I have wondered if the engineers were too interested in modern digital circuitry concepts and just not as interested as they could have been trying to re-engineer the older conventional TR detector. One of the founders and an engineer, Henry Gorgas, did make a smaller, lighter weight and handier model he presented me that he felt was a better concept than Scanner series or even the 77-Auto Legend concept for Competition Hunts, and designed it with the 6" Concentric coil which was, and is, a favorite size for my wants and needs.

It needed some attention to a few functions, but he was part of the early TR and TR-Disc. and VLF/TR-Disc. designing and didn't seem to be as keen on the micro-size electronics and slightly digital circuitry trend that was going on. It had a few extra toggles and knobs, and was a custom design he worked up and gave me so there was no 'owner manual' to explain the control concepts. It was more of a blend of what switching the Challenger X-100 offered as well as performance like the 'vari-filter' Scanner series. Most of the time it worked OK and I used it a lot after I left Compass, but that unique design also had a few little glitches that even their former repair tech couldn't figure out when I gave it to him to try and fix.

I still enjoy taking my simple but functioning old TR and TR-Disc. detectors out from time to time, if even for a short hunt, just to enjoy what they can do well, and it makes me appreciate both what we had before in the way of performance and also admire where some of the progress has brought us.

Sorry to ramble but I can sometime get caught up when memories take me back to the good old days. If you have a good-functioning 77-Auto Legend, that would be the model I like best out of the three old Compass units you sent him. Here is a video of a guy demonstrating a Compass Judge, most likely in a standard, non-Discriminating TR function, and what it can do quite well. He just didn't seem to know how to adjust for a proper, slight-audio Threshold hum. It was adjusted way too loud.

Compass TR w/coin and ring when rejecting iron targets.


"Your EYES ... the only 100% accurate form of Discrimination!"

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
Fisher: F-44, Nokta-Makro: FORS CoRe and FORS Relic,
Tesoro: Bandido II ┬ÁMAX and Silver Sabre ┬ÁMAX, White's: XLT, XP: ORX
Killer B's 'Hornet' and White's 'Pro Star'
Note: Detectors are listed alphabetically by Brand. Models are chosen based on search site conditions.
*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***
Subject Author Views Posted

SvenS, regarding your Nokta-Makro Forum post, and detector repair questions..

Monte 378 October 24, 2018 07:06AM

Re: SvenS, regarding your Nokta-Makro Forum post, and detector repair questions..

Druid 263 October 24, 2018 09:43AM

Drew, 'Thank You' for the information.

Monte 277 October 25, 2018 02:01AM

Re: Drew, 'Thank You' for the information.

Druid 226 October 28, 2018 02:36PM

Drew, sometimes it's just memories with the older models.

Monte 253 October 29, 2018 06:56AM

Re: Drew, sometimes it's just memories with the older models.

jmaryt 204 October 29, 2018 03:21PM

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