Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Use a Metal Detector

It is very important to know how to use a metal detector to get the best use out of it.

When you get a metal detector it is in pieces. Usually it will be a simple assembly job to screw or fit the pieces together and all metal detectors come with an instruction manual that includes this information.

Once you have your metal detector assembled the instruction booklet will tell you how to use it. The controls will vary with each make and model but there are some basics to using the metal detector it is useful to know and which will help you understand how to make the best use of it when prospecting for gold.

Getting used to the controls and how the information is displayed and indicated is the first step. It is very tempting, when you have assembled your first gold metal detector, to zoom out into the garden and give it a whirl. But this can be confusing as the detector is highly sensitive and you can end up confused by what you see and even hear.

A metal detector detects objects through the magnetic field generated by the coil at the bottom of the detector. In fact there are usually two coils, one for generating the field and the other for detecting any changes in that field caused by objects that enter that field.

The controls are used to filter out unwanted objects or to change what you want to detect or give information about what is being detected. How this information is given to you will depend on what settings you apply to the detector.

It is a good idea to practice using the metal detector at home before you take it out to do some gold prospecting. You can use a benchmark at home to start with. This is a simple way of understanding how your metal detector works.

Using a wooden table place your metal detector on the table.

Place in a row a number of metal objects that you might find when out prospecting for gold.
Bottle Top
Can Tab
Coin (US coin)
Foreign coin
Something gold, like a gold ring.
Some copper
Something silver
Take each object in turn and pass it under the coil. You will find there is a different sound for each object. Note these sounds down as they will help you to determine later when you are prospecting, what you have found when that sound is heard.

Try the same thing at different settings on your detector. You will notice sometimes the sound changes. You can apply filters also so that you can filter out the sounds created by such objects as nails, bottle tops etc. This makes it much easier as you then will not have to waste time digging out something of no value.

How you use the detector will make a difference also. Slow sweeps close to and along the ground usually produce the best results. Some objects can be buried quite deeply. Many modern metal detectors will display the depth of the object depending on the quality and sophistication of the detector.

Also there is such a thing as ground balance. Sometimes the ground, such as sand, is mineralized, which is to say, there are minute Specks of metal or metals mixed with the sand and this can interfere with the results obtained by the metal detector. So a ground balance filter should be incorporated in the detector to filter this out.

Lastly really following the manual supplied with the detector and practicing so that it is second nature will really help you to understand how to use a metal detector so that you get the best possible use and the best bang for your buck.

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