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Comparison Tests ... They can be interesting, and here's a 're-test' I'm doing.

November 16, 2020 05:54AM avatar
FACT #1:: Any detector model, as well as any search coil, ought to be 'tested' in some way to learn what it can or can't do. An 'Air Test', also known as a 'Bench Test', can provide a lot of useful information to the consumer. Things like:

• Learning how to adjust a proper Threshold audio and hear how it sounds.

• Evaluate different search Modes to see what they offer in the way of Audio Tone Pitch, see if they have a Modulated or Saturated Audio and, if either, to what extent before you can discern any change. Learn the function of the Sensitivity or Gain control, keeping in mind that some makes and models (like the MXT Pro and M6 to name just two) also have a Volume Level and Modulation / Saturation Level incorporated in the same control adjustment.

• Get a rough idea of the potential depth-of-detection in an ideal environment.

• Learn more about Response-and-Recovery time.

• Get an understanding of other adjustment options, such as Notch Discrimination, Iron Audio Volume, etc.

• In general, become familiar with what adjustment features a detector offers, and how to access them BEFORE attempting to use it in any searches for Field testing.

FACT #2: Any detector and/or search coil should also be used in an operating fashion to better:

• Get a feel for the proper rod adjustment and check the balance, feel and comfort level.

• Use some actual 'Test Scenarios' that duplicate in-the-field encounters to better understand what a detector and/or coil can provide in the way of performance.

• Also learn the benefit of such testing with regard to search coil height or coil-to-target distance, and don't forget to learn the strengths and weaknesses of using too little or too much Discrimination.

FACT #3: Continued Learning starts once you have worked on FACT #1 and FACT #2 to become very comfortable with what any particular detector or coil might provide in the way of anticipated performance, then .... Go out detecting. I encourage anyone, especially when trying to learn a new-to-them detector or different search coil, to have a small note-pad and pen with them . If the detector/coil performance is unusual in some way that they can't figure out, jot down what the issue was, the site, the detector and settings used, and note anything unusual about the site conditions. Then get back to hunting and, if there is another point of concern or interest, jot it down.

When back home and able to relax, go back to FACT #1 and FACT #2 to take some time to make sure they fully understand the detector and settings. Use some of the found objects that caused the interest and better learn the detector and coil, in both 'Air Tests' and then using on-ground 'Test Scenarios.' If using a model that provides a Ground Phase or Ground Mineralization read-out, make note of that setting at the hunt site and compare it with the location they do an 'On-Ground Test Scenario.'

NOTE: There are more in-the-field good-target conditions than any of us could ever try to duplicate. No sooner than you think you've figured things out and have it understood, you are going to go hunting and encounter a bad target that sounds really good, and most certainly you'll sweep over numerous good, desired targets that might not give an audio or visual read-out at all due to good-target masking, or you'll get a terrible audio or visual response form a non-ferrous target you'd like to find. Ans sometimes they can be laying right on the surface in plain sight, or perhaps partially exposed, or maybe within only an inch or so of the surface.

Our mission is to get out and find good stuff, and along the way learn our detectors and coils better to know what to expect from them, and LEARN .... constantly be Learning .... why good things or bad things occur. Never be too quick to say a 'Test' is flawed, especially if it is based on an actual in-the-field encounter. It doesn't mean a test if flawed, it simply means the student (aka detector and/or coil) just couldn't pass that test.

Personally, I like to have at least two detectors, or more, that are 'different' in their talents. Kind of like having one that is really good at spelling and grammar and the other that excels at math. And if that doesn't work, consider detectors to be like horses. They all can work, but doing what? A Race Horse vs a Plow Horse vs a good working Cattle Horse. They can all be handy but they all have their own strengths and weaknesses It's up to us to be smart enough to know when to pick which one and then how to use it to its fullest potential..


There were reasons why I chose the Test Samples I used in my Evaluation of 10 Brand New Detectors that sell for under $550, and in the end, a test is a test so all units were compared equally. However, I got thinking about the Test Scenarios and considered adjusting the results. Some character who lives the closest town over, he goes by OregonGregg, also gave the tests some thought because he felt some of his detectors should have 'scored' better. Well, I had been thinking about it and I agreed. So, yesterday, the 15th, we started some retesting of detectors and search coils, of which Gregg has several for his White's M6 and MXT Pro.

I started working with some of the other detectors late yesterday and into early this morning (until about 1:56 AM) and had to take a break. I figured I would provide a little heads-up of the Test Scenarios we are using;

Why we're are using them, such as for what hunt applications.

How and Why we determined the 'points' they might score.

And Selecting a common Discrimination adjustment for all models tested.


Nail Board Performance Test ... Yes, most of you know of this test that came about from an actual, in-the-field encounter on Memorial Day Weekend of '94. It was at the ghost town of Frisco, Utah and as I crested what we referred to as 'The School Hill' all you could see scattered everywhere were a lot of iron nails. I looked down to find a clear spot to GB the detector I was evaluating and right there in front of me, all in plain sight n top of the dirt were four Iron Nails surrounding a late 1800's Indian Head Cent. I used my note paper and made an exact impression of the four Iron nails, or different sizes and orientation about the Cent, then picked them all up and made an exact duplicate of that encounter. For over 26 years now I, and many others globally, have used the NBPT to help evaluate a detector or coil combination. Several detector manufacturers also have a copy of my NBPT which allows them to work it into their own detector design testing.

The primary benefit of using this 'test' would apply to many avid Relic Hunters who are dealing with a lot of dense Iron Nail contaminated sites, such as where buildings have been destroyed, torn down, or simply burned to the ground leaving a lot of this annoying Iron debris .... and very closely spaced at time, too. While it especially helps Relic Hunters, many avid urban Coin Hunter also venture into old vacant lots were structures once stood and there are a lot of Iron Nails, and we often run into similar conditions when working ton-up sidewalk repair from the Nails used or left scattered behind when framework was used for the cement pouring. I've also encountered similar conditions when searching behind older general stores and such in town where they often opened crates, leaving nails behind.

Due to the four different sizes of nails and their different orientations to the Cent, I made the board using 4 marked sweep routes just as I had market in the dirt when I first encountered this setting and had others check their detectors and coils by sweeping left and right across the four routes. They go, as example, East-and West, then North-and-South, and then the two Diagonal directions. They need to be swept across from the left-to-right and then right-to-left because the Iron Nails are at different orientations and distances from the coin, and , due to the different shapes and sizes and types of search coils, some might work from one direction, but not from the opposite direction. Therefore, there are 4 sweep route providing a possible '8' points or good hit responses.

'PUR' or Penny Under Rock: Some day I'll find another 'Homestead Rock' like I used to use that measured 6X9X2 inch measurements that came from a fallen-down stone wall of an old dwelling. I refer to these types of 'Tests' as using an 'IMB' or Intense Mineral Body. Quite often a detector will not handle such a dense, solid rock and respond to a coin. These 'Tests' are generally more for the Relic Hunter who is likely to encounter a fallen-down building or chimney or wall made of stacked stone. The tough part here is to be able to get a good audio response on a US Zinc Cent laying directly under the 'IMB'. In this case it is a little easier because the rock I am using is about palm-size and a larger-size rock would be much more difficult.

The biggest challenge for any detector is to give a good 'Beep!' on the coin. The challenge is due to the fact that the 'IMB' degrades the audio response with most detectors and that results in a non-ferrous coin producing a non-ferrous, Low-Tone Iron Audio in most cases. Thus, some detectors will not respond to a 1¢ coin underneath 'IMB' if they have a limited low-end Discriminate adjustment range. Often, if the Discrimination is set at the Ferrous / Non-Ferrous break-point, they can't respond to the coin. In this case it is swept both Lengthwise and Crosswise for a possible 2-Points, one for each direction. It is a test to be aware of in case you are searching rock-covered fallen down locations, or a stone lined or decayed cellar hole with rocks relocated due to erosion or ?? You want to hear a good 'Beep!' from something under the 'IMB' and move that rock. Then, re-sweep and see if the target is ferrous or non-ferrous with the 'IMB' now out-of-the-way.

'SS' or Short-Stack of Silver Coins: This is a simple 'Test' to simulate a small 'stash' of hidden silver coins and I am using 5 Walking Liberty 50¢ pieces stacked on top of a 1922 Peace $1 ... all bar metal contact as if stashed away in an old structure in case needed. I have found such 'stashes' working in and around hold homes that date from the latter 1800's on through the Depression Era ...when many people didn't live close to a bank, and even more people didn't trust them.. Because such a 'sash' can be located in a wall or some other location withing or close to a structure, it is swept from 90° positions for a total of 2-Points.

'N5N' is an Iron Square Nail on each side of a US 5¢ piece: They are not touching the coin but are reasonably close. Perhaps more of a 'Test' for a Relic Hunter, but I encountered a similar condition working a vacant city lot where an 1883 home had been demolished about 8 years before. It's not uncommon to consider any old-use site that might have a scattering of Iron Nails to present such and encounter. It is swept both crosswise and lengthwise for a possible 2-Points.

'NBF' for Nail on Button Front: Since I have spent several decades concentrating on ghost towns, homesteads, stage stops, and all manner of old-use sites, especially where Iron Nails are the #1 challenge, I have encountered a lot of interesting examples, and this is one. I always keep an eye open for anything I might see while detecting. In addition to old coin and trade tokens, I also like to find interesting artifacts such as unusual or ornate buttons. In this case, it is a thin metal button front, missing the back-piece, and is almost exactly the diameter of a US small 1¢ coin. It has a RR engine on the front, and while it looked to be made of brass, it actually is a lower-conductive metal target, close to the conductivity level of a US 5¢ piece. It was a Nail infested area and when I picked this surface find up I also picked up the 3½" Iron Nail with it just to use as another interesting in-the-field test piece.

It is interesting to note that with the 3½" Nail laying dead-center on the Button Front, some detectors will not respond to it due to the Iron Nail. Some might give one hit if swept Crosswise while another make or model might only respond with a good beep if swept Lengthwise. Only a few detector & coil combinations will produce a possible 2-Point score for hitting it both directions.

'Sep-Stk' or Separation Sticks: I guess you could consider this 'Test' to be more suited to the typical urban Coin & Jewelry Hunter because it is a way to check on a detector & coil 's ability to respond, recover, and respond again on a series of closely spaced, coin-sized targets that are very close together. I know I have encountered a lot of coins in a very close association where kids have jumped and rolled or tumbled,, especially in and around play equipment like a merry-go-round or swing-set or monkey bars. Or enjoying a hill they can run, roll or tumble down, or use it in the wintry season do some sledding or tubing.

Using two 12" paint stir-sticks I used 7 Trade Tokens. All about the size of a US 5¢ piece, and most of them are a higher-conductive Brass or Copper similar to a us 1¢ or 10¢ piece, but one of them, possibly two, are of a lower-conductive metal close to that of a 5¢ piece. They are arranged so that Token #1 and #7 are positioned so ½ of them hangs over the end of the 1 foot sticks, and the other 5 Trade Tokens are positioned so their centers are at 2", 4", 6", 8" and 10", thus it is a challenging test because the 7 Tokens are 2" apart center-to-center.

Before I used '14' as points as a combined left-to-right and right-to-left sweep total, but that's a lot of points. So, I am only reporting the 'best' results they can provide with 7 possible Points. Some detectors have to have the coil at tit's best height to get the best score possible, and some coils, due to their size and configuration, or due to the detector's circuitry design, might only give a smaller number n a controlled sweep to find the best sweep speed for the better result. It simply gives us an idea of what might be possible in a similar in-the-field encounter.

So, we changed up the tests used, abbreviated some of the Point scoring to have a 'possible' perfect score of '23', and started the testing. I will finish up all of the detector tests today or tomorrow and will be using ALL of the search coils I have on-hand for EACH detector, and will also be using different operating Frequencies of any make or model that provides that option.

Discrimination: Finally, the Discrimination will be set to just barely reject the worst Iron Nail being used. Why? Because some makes and models, like the Tesoro Bandido II µMAX, do not allow the Disc. to be adjusted down into the Iron range. Also, in the case of the White's M6 or MXT Pro in Coin & Jewelry mode, your options are two: Hear a Single Tone audio response from both ferrous and non-ferrous targets, or use the 7-Tone Audio ID which is annoying. The original MXT doesn't have the Tone ID so it would be a Single-Tone, only. Thus, to not hear all the Iron Nails, were are audibly Rejecting Iron Nails as the minimum Discriminate setting to help even the field.

It's now 3:48 AM and I'm going to take a nap then get back to detector evaluations. More to come later today.


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

Stinkwater Wells Trading Post
Metal Detector Evaluations and Product Reviews
I'm now located in Clyde, Texas
monte@ahrps.org ... or ... monte@stinkwaterwells.com
Detector Outfit: A selection of my favorite makes and models, with the best coils mounted for the tasks I'll take on.
Apex .. FORS CoRe .. FORS Relic .. Impact .. Inca .. Bandido II µMAX .. Silver Sabre µMAX .. MX-5
Pinpointers: Pulse-Dive Pointer and AT Pro-Pointer .. Headphones: 'Hornet' & 'Wasp' .. MS-3 Z-Lynk
*** All working well today to make memories for tomorrow. ***
Subject Author Views Posted

Comparison Tests ... They can be interesting, and here's a 're-test' I'm doing.

Monte 375 November 16, 2020 05:54AM

A report of a lot of detectors using their 'standard' search coil.

Monte 333 November 19, 2020 07:46AM

Any Thoughts of tossing some Rusty Tin in the Mix ?

UtahRich 202 November 19, 2020 04:34PM

Rusty Tin? Yes, it's on the agenda.

Monte 415 November 19, 2020 05:15PM

Rusty Tin - the bane of the ghost towns.

UtahRich 179 November 20, 2020 01:48AM

Rich, my thoughts regarding your thoughts.thinking

Monte 196 November 20, 2020 05:40AM

Re: Rusty Tin? Yes, it's on the agenda. Attachments

Kickindirt 198 November 19, 2020 11:00PM

No, I'm not kidding, if you read what I said or implied.

Monte 201 November 20, 2020 04:08AM

Re: No, I'm not kidding <--- lol where's your sense of humor

OregonGregg 180 November 20, 2020 12:57PM

Where's your sense of individuality ?

UtahRich 177 November 20, 2020 04:15PM

Re: Where's your sense of individuality ?

OregonGregg 191 November 20, 2020 04:53PM

Exactly! Confront it, learn it and YOUR detectors, and the future will be brighter. N/T

Monte 183 November 20, 2020 08:08PM

Sending you a PM - winking smiley N/T

UtahRich 159 November 20, 2020 06:25PM

Well Thank ya....sent you one to. N/T

OregonGregg 175 November 20, 2020 07:00PM

Still busy testing, but will have two upcoming comparisons.

Monte 225 November 17, 2020 02:02PM

Re: Still busy testing, but will have two upcoming comparisons.

D&P-OR 245 November 17, 2020 03:22PM

OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

OregonGregg 479 November 16, 2020 08:09AM

Gregg, I think you forgot .....

Monte 289 November 16, 2020 01:31PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

EL NINO 256 November 16, 2020 12:46PM

What's going to happen with the M6 ?

UtahRich 253 November 16, 2020 06:59PM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

OregonGregg 237 November 16, 2020 07:09PM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

EL NINO 223 November 17, 2020 06:13AM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

OregonGregg 448 November 17, 2020 07:49AM

Handle angle

SvenS 199 November 17, 2020 05:56PM

Re: Handle angle

OregonGregg 183 November 17, 2020 06:33PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

Kickindirt 194 November 17, 2020 01:39PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

OregonGregg 174 November 17, 2020 02:33PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

Kickindirt 207 November 17, 2020 04:19PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

D&P-OR 218 November 17, 2020 05:29PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

Kickindirt 185 November 17, 2020 06:05PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

D&P-OR 177 November 17, 2020 07:18PM

Re: ya Del

Kickindirt 185 November 17, 2020 09:00PM

I just checked NOAA, and 32° at 12:56 in the afternoon it isn't likely Gregg will head your way.

Monte 219 November 17, 2020 02:15PM

Re: I just checked NOAA, and 32° at 12:56 in the afternoon it isn't likely Gregg will head your way.

OregonGregg 184 November 17, 2020 02:37PM

Re: I just checked NOAA, and 32° at 12:56 in the afternoon it isn't likely Gregg will head your way.

D&P-OR 218 November 17, 2020 03:08PM

Did I read this correctly? Meet at Del & Patsy's for a winter long hunt ?

UtahRich 170 November 18, 2020 09:42PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

D&P-OR 207 November 17, 2020 01:45PM

Re: Come on down Gregg!!

OregonGregg 217 November 17, 2020 02:34PM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

Kickindirt 249 November 16, 2020 08:53PM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

OregonGregg 234 November 16, 2020 09:23PM

Re: What's going to happen with the M6 ?

Kickindirt 192 November 16, 2020 10:23PM

Here ya go

OregonGregg 246 November 16, 2020 10:42PM

That's not the response I expected . . . . . thinking

UtahRich 225 November 16, 2020 09:10PM

Re: That's not the response I expected . . . . . thinking

D&P-OR 227 November 16, 2020 09:25PM

So is Patsy there too ?

UtahRich 209 November 16, 2020 09:30PM

Re: So is Patsy there too ?

D&P-OR 459 November 16, 2020 09:42PM

Dinner Bell

UtahRich 259 November 16, 2020 09:44PM

confused smiley

UtahRich 262 November 16, 2020 08:32PM

The M6 - We need some clarification with your results.

UtahRich 305 November 16, 2020 07:14PM

Re: The M6 - We need some clarification with your results.

OregonGregg 249 November 16, 2020 08:11PM

OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

UtahRich 245 November 16, 2020 10:38AM

Rich, a few comments back to you.

Monte 239 November 16, 2020 01:21PM

What's Your Detector IQ ?

UtahRich 190 November 16, 2020 07:40PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

EL NINO 189 November 16, 2020 12:17PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

Druid 191 November 16, 2020 11:28PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

EL NINO 210 November 17, 2020 05:46AM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

Druid 170 November 18, 2020 12:00PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

EL NINO 177 November 18, 2020 02:54PM

Re: OregonGregg being a pain in the behind again sad smiley

EL NINO 185 November 18, 2020 01:39PM

This machine looks familiar

zincoln 166 November 18, 2020 04:05PM

Re: This machine looks familiar

EL NINO 179 November 18, 2020 08:45PM

Thx for sharing

zincoln 171 November 18, 2020 10:44PM

Re: Thx for sharing

EL NINO 172 November 19, 2020 03:35AM

Setting Up Tests for your own detectors -

UtahRich 225 November 16, 2020 07:30PM

Agree 100%

OregonGregg 186 November 16, 2020 11:08AM

Customizing a Test -

UtahRich 223 November 16, 2020 06:52PM

Re: Agree 100%

Kickindirt 326 November 16, 2020 05:57PM

Joel, just some responses to your thoughts.

Monte 190 November 17, 2020 09:26PM

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