Sit Back and We’ll Do the Work For You…

The Day We Stopped Listening….

I’m not good with dates and even worse remembering times and places but I think it started in the early 1980’s. A time when there was not a lot of competition and a time when a detectorist was only concerned about where he was going to detect, not whether he could.

It was a period when you didn’t need to spend hours reading the owner’s manual worrying about menus and programs.  It was a time when you found a lot of treasure and most of it good.  It was also the time we stopped listening and became co-dependent.

If I remember right the year was 1980 and Compass introduced the Coin Magnum, the first target ID detector. Nothing fancy, just a metered background that was split down the middle. Yellow on the left being bad and green on the right being good.  Seems like nothing now but at the time it was innovative. Imagine knowing ahead of time whether the target you were going to dig was worth the effort. I mean come on, how cool is that? I remember thinking it was only a matter of time before we would be seeing our finds on the screen.

What I and many didn’t realize was that the Coin Magnum was also the first detector to tell us to forget about analyzing the audio and it became a habit that hurt a lot of detectorists, me included.

Thanks to TreasureLinx

I remember the Coin Magnum era because I had just purchased a Judge II and was miffed that I hadn’t waited a while. Back then I didn’t have the luxury of owning two detectors though I must say I don’t ever remember having to send one back for repair.

MY first “target ID” detector was a White’s 6000di.  A detector that found a lot of coins for me but lulled me into a false sense of security. I was a victim of the “sit back and let us do the work for you” marketing ploy. Yup, I was dependent on that machine and if it didn’t say good or it didn’t tell me it was a coin I thanked it and moved on. I mean what the hell it was damn near a talking detector. but that’s a story for another time. I was a contented tekkie. I was finding lots of coins, lots of silver, but not finding much in the way of rings or jewelry. It took a few Indian Head pennies to wise me up.

Next big advancement? Computerized detecting!! Yeah baby!! An even bigger ‘let us do the work for you‘ plot. After seeing it at the Texas Council convention I had to have the new White’s Eagle. It was computerized, cool looking and I was ready to dig nothing but silver AND gold….or so I thought. 

The Eagle was a great machine and again I found a boat load of coins with it but it became a plaything. That LED screen was like a mini-TV. I pushed pads until I was blue in the face, waiting for Scooby-Doo to come on.

You can fast forward as much as you like and each year there was another new ‘let me do it for you’ detector on the market. There was the GTX series from Garrett that allowed you to see the size of the target and yes that very cool ‘talking’ detector that lied. There was the Teknetics 8500 Coin Computer (the space ship of detectors), the Fisher CZ  series, the White’s V3i, the Minelab CTX 3030 that doubled as a weed whacker and of course the XP Deus.  All new, all different, all exciting and all guaranteed to find you more, and I bet they did for at least the first three months. After that you became a robot, finding just enough to keep your spirits up waiting for the next new and exciting machine to hit the market.

I bring all this up because of the new Minelab models and the ‘orange thing’ that White’s is floating around in cyberspace. While I don’t have any idea what the orange thing is the Minelabs are intriguing, and not super expensive.  Add in the fact that they were introduced via a sky diver at Detectival and you have what must be the detector of the year or um, maybe not…..

Now I am not saying all of these advancements are bad or insignificant, nor am I saying you can compete today with your old 1970 BFO.  You cannot. Just that we should still be the decider when it comes to “do Idig or not”. You would think that with actual wording and VDI numbers you would never dig a bad target but what are the manufacturers STILL telling you…..“make sure you get a repeatable audio response each direction”.

Somethings never change….

_______________________

“The over-all point is that new technology will not necessarily replace old technology, but it will date it. By definition. Eventually, it will replace it. But it’s like people who had black-and-white TVs when color came out. They eventually decided whether or not the new technology was worth the investment”…. Steve Jobs

Please, if indeed the Coin Magnum was NOT the first ID detector on the market don’t shoot me. It was the first one I remember and I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning….

__________________

 


**************

21 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

21 responses to “Sit Back and We’ll Do the Work For You…

  1. Roy Rutledge

    My first detector was a Garrett BFO Master Hunter. This was in 1969. No meter, if you got a signal , you dug it. Found a ton of coins with that machine and of course the two tons of junk. Bobby pins, bb’s tin foil. It would dig you to death.

    Moved up to a Whites with a big red meter. Let it tell you to dig or not to dig. Found less trash but also less interesting items. Not a coin, don’t dig it, no telling what I passed over in my haste to move on to the next coin.

    I was into competition hunts pretty heavy in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The big hunt in Houston was put on by THAP (Treasure Hunters of Pasadena) and the first place prize was a 9000 Coin Computer. At that time it was a very expensive detector. I was lucky enough to win the competition hunt and received the 9000. It was a very good detector for hunting coins. It did take 16 batteries to run. It was a little hard on batteries.

    Now I have used just about all of the Fisher detectors. Settled on the F-75 for times I need a meter. I also use the Tesoro Tejon for all other hunting. No meter, just listen to the signal and dig.
    And still surprised sometimes at what I find.

    • Hi Roy. Geez you “that old”? When mentioning the 9000 you said “It did take 16 batteries to run. It was a little hard on batteries.” Well I used one for a day and I’ here to tell you it was hard as hell on the arm!

  2. BigTony

    Dick, you might not remember what you had for breakfast but you do know what you are talking about.

    My first detector had three nine volt batteries and it went deep, it was an ACE but I saw an ad and wanted a meter to tell me how deep to dig. Plus I was tired of digging screw caps that sounded like quarters. Bought a new Garrett with a meter and that didn’t help but I stopped digging screw caps.

    Nowadays I realize there might be coins hidden under or very close to screw caps…so you know what your talking about —- you need to utilize your current detector and stop worrying about bigger, better and faster – just go out and enjoy the hobby —- it’s supposed to be fun!

    • Tony I understand the need to get the latest and the best. Did it for years… It’s human nature. There just comes a time when you realize that you are being manipulated by advertising hype and you need to read between the lines. There also comes a time when you don’t have the money to buy another detector and that’s the best teacher.

  3. njfella007

    A detector is simply a tool, nothing more, nothing less.

    Having the best tools are a nice luxury, but one still has to know how to use them properly. I can go out tomorrow and buy a $100,000 Strativarius, and still not know how to play the violin. On the other hand, a learned musician can pick up a $50 instrument and make magic out of it. It’s what you DO with the tools, not how much they cost or how sophisticated they are. That being said…

    My philosophy has always been to buy the best I can afford, and use it to the best of my ability. As a deep coin hunter, nothing has even come close to matching the depth performance AND i.d. capabilities as the Minelabs. Doesn’t mean it’s the best brand out there, it just means it’s the right tool for the job I need it to do.

    The mistake I see many make in this hobby is (and I’m guilty of this from time to time, myself), they look for the ONE magic tool that will do it all. Everything. But it doesn’t work that in that fashion. Same way a builder doesn’t
    rely on just one tool to build a house. It’s not possible.

    To put it simply…buy the best tool you can afford, that is correct for the application at hand, and that you enjoy using, and then learn the heck out of it. That coupled with perseverance and a knack for finding good hunting spots will pay handsome dividends. Everything else is puffery and hocus pocus, in my humble opinion.

  4. Renowned US angler Charles Ritz once said, “It’s not the rod that matters but the hand that uses it.”

    Absolutely, the detector is a tool and nothing else. As soon as people realise detectors won’t find what ain’t there, the more successful they’ll be. It’s all down to research, research, and more research; then let the detector do its work.

    I’m starting wonder if there’s a species of Tekkie out there who have no interest whatsoever in finding anything, but like to be seen waving the latest bit of kit….talking the talk.

    To end on an angling note, there’s a lot of truth the saying that many flashy lures, plugs, flies, and spinners are designed not to catch fish, but anglers.

    Time for a Talisker.

    • “I’m starting wonder if there’s a species of Tekkie out there who have no interest whatsoever in finding anything, but like to be seen waving the latest bit of kit….talking the talk…” Ya think, LOL?

      The times have changed Bubba. Most of those whose mugs you see all the time are waving the latest and most expensive because they are paid to do so. In fact I’m thinking of becoming an tekkie’s agent and represent them in contract talks with the manufacturers. Kind of like the sports stars….

      I would have a Talisker too if I could afford it.

  5. DougF

    Wow! $454 was a lot of money in 1980. Adjusted for inflation, it would be $1352 today. I was single in 1980, so maybe I could have bought one, but I didn’t get into the hobby until 2006. I haven’t paid more than $1000 for a detector, and probably won’t at this point (Medicare age). i agree with John, that in most hobbies there are some who just like having the latest gear whether they need it or not.

    • It was a lot of money Doug. I bought both my first Coinmaster and the Judge II on time. Think I sent $100 a month or something like that. Incidentally my latest gear is a new pill box.

  6. Agree, agree and…agree. The much-maligned Minelab machines actually do mention that anything under 8″ (Minelab depth, they call it) audio wins out over the VDI most every time in the decision to dig department. I am also guilty of using VDI a lot, rather than the tone, but on many occasions, I will swing back to the audio for the final decision to excavate the target.

    I DO notice time and again, people will buy the complex technical marvels, and will rip it from the box and run…factory settings all the way. I’ve been run over several times by the “…far too technical for me!” bus, and have got to say, learning the machine itself, using audio or VDI or both, is paramount to having a tool customized for almost any situation if you got the smarts to take advantage of it.

    The Minelab E-Trac and CTX3030 are heavy hitters (and expensive) if you know how to swing them to your best advantage. I use a function on the E-Trac called “pitch hold,” which to me, is the best thing since notch discrimination, but the majority of users of either machine have no idea what I am talking about…but most are all online, talking excitedly, for the newer, lower priced, Equinox, which is mostly a marriage between a CTX3030 and a Go-Find 60…with a lower price tag, I’ll grant you, but a dubious advantage, if any, in my opinion, over currently available machines. The much touted AT-Pro Max, same deal.

    Finally coming into the 21st Century with a lighted screen, and adding some 20-year old wireless (read “Bluetooth”) technology in the cheap headphones department, when other machines and types have had that instituted into their machines for quite some time, does not an advancement make. Maybe a catch-up, but not much of an advancement. Plus I’m old and crabby, which does not help anyone in the sales department anywhere. But, I agree, audio is king, once you learn it’s wayward ways!

    • Hi Jim, I often wonder if the manufacturers offered a non-metered machine with all the depth capabilities of say the E-Trac or AT-Pro would anyone buy it? I suspect not. We are all gawkers now. Take YouTube for example…..

  7. Bob Sickler

    I would say the detector that first spoiled me was the 1985 Teknetics Mark I. Incredible analog metered resolution in the upper conductive region of the meter and not-to-shabby at the low end either. Point meaning that visual ID is not as evil as everyone might think. If you get yourself into the right hunt area where trash is incredibly dense, I personally today would not want to be without some kind of visual ID or a high speed digital processor. It’s just so much more efficient with the time you have to be outdoors!

    I remember being at a great site with a former beloved hunt partner one day who enjoyed being competitive with me on finding silver. He was using his trusted old non-motion Compass and he had a great experienced ear at hearing deep silver. That same day I was field testing my new Teknetics Mark I. A detector I wanted and purchased that was not sent for me to test from the magazines. I quickly learned I could tell the difference between copper cents and silver dimes with great accuracy. We wandered into a coin field loaded with silver! The outbuildings in this old forgotten camp still had the folding card tables leaning against the rotten siding where no doubt everyone gathered to play cards in the evening long ago. In the true spirit of competition, I started to use my new “tool” to my advantage… I was leaving behind all the “68’s” and digging the “72’s” and beyond… Only a few meter divisions away from each other, but this Mark I was nailing the silver coins dead-on and I was purposely leaving behind the “Wheat” pennies for this special trial! Fact is clad dimes were locking in at “70” and I recklessly left those for my partner as well. Long story shortened, at the end of the day I had 14 silver dimes, 4 silver quarters, 1 silver half, and a large men’s gold ring by paying acute attention to the features of my new “tool”. My friend had a large handful of copper and clad with a few grumbled remarks that reduced down to, “Not fair!” George [Payne], if you are still reading out there, I’m still a big fan!

    My personal unpaid commentary on the new detectors… The Equinox appears to have bundled it’s V-Flex technology with its FBS platform into a new GO-Find cell phone “control tower”. My guess, even though they “borrowed” Garrett’s blunted 2D coil design, the upper center of gravity torque of the control tower will render the detector sideways on the ground often. Will this detector obsolete their own former FBS entries? I seriously doubt it. I think the Equinox release is purposely trying to unseat XP’s Deus. Will it obsolete the Deus and the new AT-Max? I don’t think so… Too many people already making great finds with the Deus and the AT-Pro!

    I had the chance to hang onto my money this year pending the new releases of Garrett’s AT-Max and the Minelab Equinox. Both are waterproof, wireless, and priced competitively. One look and listen to the Equinox and I put my money down on the Garrett. Just not a fan of VCO audio. I’ve owned several heavy Minelabs and I just feel more at home with a user interface that is up front, lightweight and instantly accessible in the field. Garrett has really done their homework on this interface and it shows. The whole interface is well thought out… No screen menus with infinite adjustments to impress the “gadget mentality”. Just real world adjustments right at your fingertips with buttons you can easily feel through gloves. Their high resolution Iron Audio in all modes is subtle intelligence. The wireless headphone system works flawlessly with initial pairing. Once paired, it accepts the headphones quickly and effortlessly each time. Talk about audio lag, amazingly there virtually is none to my ears! The sheer freedom this creates is worth the price of admission alone and it’s comfortable too! The backlight feature is going to be fabulous for those dark Winter days in the deep woods I encounter so often. I really like the high resolution Automated Ground Balance Window feature kicking in on variable extreme ground conditions, another subtle well thought out attribute! I’m also seeing extra sensitivity and transmitter gain in air tests on gold and silver? I’m a bit anxious to play in the dirt this Fall and Winter folks!

    • “Garrett has really done their homework on this interface and it shows. The whole interface is well thought out… No screen menus with infinite adjustments to impress the “gadget mentality”. Just real world adjustments right at your fingertips with buttons you can easily feel through gloves. Their high resolution Iron Audio in all modes is subtle intelligence. The wireless headphone system works flawlessly with initial pairing. Once paired, it accepts the headphones quickly and effortlessly each time. Talk about audio lag, amazingly there virtually is none to my ears! The sheer freedom this creates is worth the price of admission alone and it’s comfortable too! The backlight feature is going to be fabulous for those dark Winter days in the deep woods I encounter so often. I really like the high resolution Automated Ground Balance Window feature kicking in on variable extreme ground conditions, another subtle well thought out attribute! I’m also seeing extra sensitivity and transmitter gain in air tests on gold and silver? I’m a bit anxious to play in the dirt this Fall and Winter folks!”

      Bob you sure you aren’t getting paid?

  8. Bob Sickler

    Have you seen me in any of Garrett’s advertisements? I’m too gray! :-)… But I still do have an opinion and the same skills I had as a magazine field tester long ago. Fact is I wouldn’t want to be an endorser. It goes against the grain of everything I ever stood for in my books. I just hope my words on the AT-Max helps someone decide who is already headed in that direction. The reality of it is like everyone else, I purchased my AT-Max with my own money and I happen to think it is worthy of some praise. I have to admit though I don’t like hearing things like what Minelab is saying in their ads about obsoleting detectors and that is how I react.

  9. Bob Sickler

    Thanks, I’ll take that as a nice compliment. Fact is I was offered a job by Charles Garrett and Jim Lewellen of FRL in California back in the early 1980’s and I turned them both down. I didn’t want to lose my hobby to a job. Am I speaking to the choir Dick? 😉

    One more thing… Your old Eagle and the multi-layer touchpad menuing… I remember being out hunting with a friend one day who was using a little Fisher 1220-X. I was testing the new Eagle that day. While I was fiddling with touchpads and menu’s getting setup to start hunting, my friend had already located several silver dimes with his “two-knobber”! Now you know why I can offer praise about straightforward well-designed interfaces!

  10. njfella007

    Dick, what with all of the charades going on lately to introduce new metal detectors, wondering if you’ll be parachuting in somewhere to announce your next blog post? Then again…

    Since it’s already been done at Detectival, would you be open to being shot out of a cannon?

    How about walking a tightrope over Mount Rushmore?

    I can picture the headline now…

    “Oenophile Detectorist Risks Life to Plug New Blog Post About Semi-Key Wheat Cents, which will Sink the Entire Print Industry.”

    Gotta sell the sizzle baby, not the steak!

    • Nah, don’t think so. I’m too simple a guy for that. Much like Bob’s AT-Max description above. All I need to know is….(1) is it easy to understand and use? (2) is it lightweight? (3) is it affordable and (4) does it come in camo (camo detectors go deeper)!

      Words like interface, audio lag and transmitter gain are greek to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s