Log in

View Full Version : Mistakes, Fumblings, and Learnings of a New Guy

07-22-2011, 09:01 PM

As I stated in my previous post, I was looking for a new detector and, with everyone’s help, finally decided on the ML 705. Since receiving it from AMDS a week or two ago I've had the chance to test it, play with it, and learn quite a bit from it. Most of my activities have been around the outside of our house, and it has been really interesting how much I've picked up (no pun intended…).

My First Important Learning To Share: My recommendation for a new person in the hobby that notices that targets move around while pinpointing as the TID readings swing wildly, and who notices that the detector gives a very strong "false signal" every so often: its not the detector. Look at your feet and remember if you have your steel-toe boots on! It took me a while to figure that one out!.

There are about a billion nails around my house, perhaps more than used to build the house itself! I dug many of them before I started to zero in on helpful discrimination settings (thanks to TheSeeker who posted a good starting point and to ML’s preset discrimination modes). I really liked discrimination mode #1 that blanks only ferrous targets (negative TID numbers). I've learned, though, that ferrous rejection isn't fool-proof. I dug many targets "just to see" and found a couple interesting bits that waivered between -2 and +2 on the TID scale that weren't nails.

After digging in to AMDS web site, the 705 manual, and Minelab’s free 705 eBook, I tried using the unit (still in coin/treasure mode) in all-metal, no discrimination, multi-tone. Rather than 2, 3, or 4, tones, multi tone gives 28 different tones for each of the 28 different notched ID sections. THAT was a learning experience. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but soon I was able to hear different types of targets without constantly referencing the TID display (even though it surely can be tiring to listen to the cacophony of low ferrous-tones around so many nails). I am really enjoying using the detector in this mode for many different reasons, not the least of which is climbing the steep learning curve.

I found that was learning to use the multi-tone zero-disc mode to better determine if a target was worth digging. I got steadily better at figuring out which targets were worth more investigation (think coins, not nuggets here) by sweeping from all directions to see how much the TID and tones differed and jumped around the scale. I dug lots of targets with drifting ID's just to be sure and learn, and did indeed find various nails, screws, and ferrous junk. There are many who advise to dig everything, but around my place it sure gets tiring digging holes in very hard, compacted, rocky soil with my short-handled pick. I can see there is a fine line here that stick-time and conditions will help clarify.

Per some info that I read on this site, I decided to run a test that turned out to be quite a revelation: if I discriminate in the first three segments in coin/treasure mode (disc mode #1 blanked negative TID numbers for ferrous target rejection) rather than run all-metal I might miss things! I buried a quarter among a bunch of un-dug ferrous targets (among the other half-billion nails) and observed that in discriminate mode, while the threshold blanked over close ferrous targets, the quarter didn't show up unless I swept very slowly. Conversely, in all-metal zero-disc multi-tone the 44-TID and associated clad-quarter tone jumped right out of the mess. Both tests were with the same sweep speed that I didn't feel was especially fast (its hard for me to quantify how fast is fast, but I certainly wasn’t swinging at pole-bending speeds). Even though the quarter was sometimes lost in mode #1 disc mode, I as new-guy was still impressed with how fast the unit recovered is such a high-density trashy area.

At this stage of the game my pinpointing skills stink, but are getting better. I'm still digging great big holes for little stuff. Practice, practice...

Generally speaking the target-depth indincation is fairly accurate. However, I’ve learned that when the TID indicates target depth it should be treated only as a guideline, not gospel. Often it's dead-on, but a couple of times an indication of moderate depth should have read "keep digging until you feel heat from the earth’s core”. That usually happened with a piece of deeply buried “can slaw”.

While trying prospector-mode against weak, "iffy" targets found in coin/treasure-mode, prospector-mode's threshold indication hit these weak targets hard, loud and clear. The two times I tried it, the targets turned out to be little pieces of flat metal about 1/8" round at about four inches. I was very glad to see it. This weekend I’ll take a shot a combing some of the local hills in prospecting mode.

My finds so far: the aforementioned 500,000,000 nails, a lead tire weight, .22 shell, 9mm blank (the house's previous owner used them to scare away black bears in the yard), "can slaw" and pop tops, little bits of metal about 1/8" around, a 1980 penny next to an original-style pop top, and a piece of aluminum window flashing. My wife and I shared a funny: I came in the house covered in dirt yelled to my wife "I found silver and gold!!" – she laughed pretty hard when I showed her a shredded silver Oly can and the piece of gold anodized window flashing...

As I said in my post about asking for advice on a new unit, I must say again that everyone's advice was invaluable. My new ML 705 is a real peach and I am extremely impressed, especially as I use it more and begin to learn the subtleties of what it’s trying to tell me. It has a lot of capability, much more than I ever expected.

Valdez, AK

Reno Chris
07-22-2011, 10:12 PM
Try taking it out one of these times to a school or park where you may get a lot more coins, and maybe some real gold or silver (jewelry). This will also be an education.

07-23-2011, 09:38 AM
Thanks Chris. My wife and I are headed to the school yard and an old cemetary today, which will be only our second foray past the front gate. We had house guests all last week, so it was hard to get away while simultaneously trying to explain the gold-fever drool down the front of my shirt. There is also a rock slide I want to hit tomorrow.

By the way Chris, your site is absolutely fantastic. Great job. At this point I can't do much more than identify quartz and granite rock pieces on the ground, but its amazing what I've begun to see now that I've really started to look closely.

Valdez, AK

little man
07-24-2011, 06:51 AM
sound like you having fun with it that what count good luck and keep us post on your finds to hot here to get out heat index in the 100'S

Steve Herschbach
07-26-2011, 06:03 AM
Real nice write up John. Thanks!

07-26-2011, 11:04 AM
Thank you Steve. I'm quite sure this stuff is old-hat to you and the very experienced members of this forum, but I thought it might be interesting for folks to track the progression of a rank beginner up the learning curve in the hobby with a new machine. I'm glad to keep posting if it's helpful, or even the slightest bit interesting.

07-27-2011, 09:08 AM
Sounds like your doing everything right John. Great write up and descriptions on your progress. You really have some patience to practice and learn the machine. You should do really well. Keep us posted with your opinions of the 705.

I'm pretty sure that machine will be next on my list. We have loads of old mining camps in my area that are just begging to be detected for treasures. My GPX5000 and GMT just aren't an option for that work.

Thanks for sharing.


07-28-2011, 10:14 AM
Thanks ddmk6. I think for a new person its important to read everything available and develop some sort of a realistic expectation of performance, and, realize that they perform better with practice!

Which brings me to my next point: You want a 705, and I see a picture of a Jeep in your profile... :D

07-31-2011, 08:55 AM
Which brings me to my next point: You want a 705, and I see a picture of a Jeep in your profile... :D

JEEP....That's blasphemy! It's my 64 landcruiser ;) Actually we call it the Chevota because it's 1/2 Chevy. It has a 327 followed by a turbo 350 tranny. Even has a Chevy steering column :cool:

Although I'm not sure how this influences my choice for a 705?? I have a friend who just purchased a 705 for some trashy area that the minelab GPX is not an option. He has been detecting for many years and has found pounds of gold with his PI machines.

His review of the machine was this....Looks very chintzy and cheap construction. The screen has icons so small that they are borderline useless. But....he feels it is one of the best VLF machines he has used performance wise.

The last part is what matters to me, performance.

Keep us posted on your finds.


07-31-2011, 10:58 AM
Sorry ddmk6 to blaspheme your fine rig! Actually, I was just trying to make a joke, hinting at an extremely lopsided trade...

I really don't mind the little icons on my 705, but my eyesight is such that I can focus at about two feet without my glasses. I could see where someone else might have bit of a problem. If I flip back and forth between modes it isn't really an issue for me. The unit is definitely light, and the control box packs a lot of processing power into a tiny package. It doesn't feel all that chincy, but I also tend to baby my equipment so its not an issue for me. The only thing that really bugs me about it is that the control box unit is not waterproof. So, like this morning, if its raining I have to put a baggie or freezer bag over it to protect it until I get off my arse and order the protective Minelab box cover - its cheap at about $15. I knew this when I got it, but like you say, I was looking more at the performance. I guess all modern electronics feel light and cheap without batteries installed in them, perhaps a testament to Moore's Law and plastic vs. metal cases.

I went out to a little campspot yesterday morning and dug two nickels and three pennies. While I'm sure that this doesn't quite qualify as a paystreak, it was nevertheless interesting to note the differing TID readings from different depths and interfering trash. I found something really odd too: a 1986 Canadian quarter hit pretty hard in the mid-thirties when scanned flat, but on edge it gave a low-ferrous reading of -6, almost at the bottom of the scale. It didn't make sense until I found that Canadian quarters were made of nickel-plated steel at that time... learn something everyday I suppose.


07-31-2011, 06:26 PM
No insult taken John...I was just ribbing you with the Jeep vs Toyota thing. It's a pretty big rivalry in the 4x4 circles. I must throw in though that the FJ40 is the best...He he he:p

Congrats on your finds. Might not be a pay streak but it's a good start. I look forward to hearing of your progress.


Jim Hemmingway
07-31-2011, 08:55 PM

Our nickels were .99 nickel content up to and including 1981. Our dimes and quarters were .99 nickel content up to and including 1999. These coins are highly magnetic. As of the year 2000 all these coins comprise mostly iron mixed with a bit of copper….and plated with nickel. These too are magnetic.

Nickel is a member of a small group of elements that are magnetic at room temperature, the other three being iron, cobalt and gadolinium. All of these attract a magnet. Nickel loses its magnetism at about 355 degrees Centigrade.

Below is a chart detailing the Canadian quarter metal content history… just in case you happen on to other dates. Good luck....Jim.


07-31-2011, 10:20 PM
This is great information Jim. Thank you. I suppose intuitively I understand why the Canadian quarter would behave as it did, but if asked to explain it I would have difficulty.

08-03-2011, 11:40 AM
Stoppped at a stream along Highway 97 in Washington yesterday. North of Ellensberg, detecting with 705. Could not believe all the nails along side the water. Switched over to treasure and discriminate and dug up empty brass shells. No hits on gold. :)

08-31-2011, 10:15 PM
Since my last post here, I've been in the field quite a few times. All kidding aside, it is interesting how much I enjoy getting out and digging holes just to uncover a penny. I like the exercise and the focus on a task. It is also interesting how educated my ear is becoming - in all metal, multi tone mode I am able to identify types of non-ferrous trash and when a coin is buried among lots of scrap iron or steel bits, nails, foil, and bottle caps. I've been having a great time.

Thus far I've only come up with about 80 cents, mostly in pennies and a few nickels and two dimes, but with the finds came literally pounds of trash. I really don't mind digging all the trash since once in a while there's a keeper hiding out. Camp fire areas are have been a special "joy":mad:, since I've found enough aluminum foil bits to build my own bush plane. I got a little excited when I was working a pile of dug-up river gravel in prospecting mode and got a nice little signal that turned out to be a tire weight. Oh well, it was fun to dream if only for a moment. I picked up a Garrett pinpointer from AMDS last week and I can't believe how much faster things go now.

Here are some of my more "entertaining" finds that many of you may have found yourselves:
1. The amazing moving target - until I saw the oxidized red area in the dirt
2. The tiny sneaky bit that comes out of the hole, then back in, then out again
3. The giant piece of buried steel
4. The buried power cable that makes the detector false like a loud concert piano
5. The buried barbecue leg
6. Pull tabs from every era of modern society
7. And last but not least, digging an almost shoulder-deep hole that gave up a shredded aluminum beer can

What silly finds have you come up with?