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View Full Version : I did a search but found very little info about the minelab safari.

02-27-2012, 06:15 AM
If you own one of these please let us know if it's any good for nugget hunting.

For the price it sounds like a steal considering:

"Advanced, digital filtering will automatically eliminate and influence the ground signals for seamless detecting no matter what your field conditions may be!"

"Enter the world of Full Band Spectrum (FBS) technology with Safari. 28 frequencies bombarding the ground with signals ranging from 1.5kHz to 100kHz!"

To me, on paper, with all those different frequencies, it looks like a winner. But what do I know? lol! That's why i'm asking. TY!

02-27-2012, 07:33 AM
Sorry. I tried to delete this post because I found someone saying it's not a good choice for nugget hunting. And also after reading reviews, there was no mention of nugget hunting at kcd.

I wonder why there is no delete post button. Or did I miss something? TKS!

Steve Herschbach
02-27-2012, 09:48 AM
You already got the answer but to repeat, any good detector can find a gold nugget if it is large enough and shallow enough. In general however machines built with nuggets in mind have the edge and are the preferred choice.

Multi-frequency has it's place but nugget hunting so far is not one of them.

02-27-2012, 11:16 AM
You already got the answer but to repeat, any good detector can find a gold nugget if it is large enough and shallow enough. In general however machines built with nuggets in mind have the edge and are the preferred choice.

Multi-frequency has it's place but nugget hunting so far is not one of them.


I think what attracted me to the Safari was one of your past post about what you wanted in a detector.

"Detector companies bug me. I can spec out a perfect detector I know I would buy so I know others would buy, and I know the technology exists. My perfect VLF gold machine would be similar to the White's DFX. Dual frequency with the ability to run both at once or either only. Usually that means a harmonic like 15 kHz and 60 kHz but I am going to get greedy and ask for 15 kHz and 90 kHz. Run both together or either one separately. The unit should also have a DFX like ability to notch out not only any target types but also multiple ground types. I want to be able to notch out the ground and also notch out a certain hot rock. In other words, more than one ground balance setting."

I'm not sure what the difference is between VLF vs. FBS technology. Could you please explain the difference? The 28 different frequencies were really what caught my eye.


Steve Herschbach
02-27-2012, 05:40 PM
VLF just means Very Low Frequency. It is a misnomer but these days can be taken to mean single frequency metal detectors. A single frequency unit is often best for very specific tasks like nugget detecting, but suffer in high ground mineralization, with hot rocks, and on salt water beaches. Multi-frequency units transmit on multiple frequencies and in the case of the Minelabs select several of those frequencies to actually process depending on various factors. Multi frequency units excel at many tasks in particular in dealing with salt water beach conditions. But they are not a magic bullet for all situations.

My post was about wanting a unit that could offer BOTH multi frequency operation and single frequency operation. I would normally use the single frequency modes but fall back on multi-frequency for odd situations, like a salt flat.

I tend to ignore the whiz bang terminology and acronyms. Just research what it is you want to do and what people who are doing that thing are using. Cruise the prospecting forums, and nobody is using the Safari. That is all you really need to know. The majority of people using the Safari are coin hunters.

02-27-2012, 07:14 PM
Hello Steve,

After doing some research and digging around on another forum I did find one dude that said it does pretty good on detecting 1/8 inch and on up to the big nuggets.

Then I seen another dude say the reason the FBS handles the ground so good is it actually drops the frequency way down when the ground is hot so you have very little chatter. Which really contradicts the technology IMO. So i'm not really sure if he knew what he was talking about or not.

Then I went to minelabs web page which explains about the FBS technology and I guess there is a whiz bang factor going on. I think the last sentence in the 2nd paragraph went something like this.

(you only need to cover the ground once and can be confident youíre not leaving ANY valuable treasure behind.)

I think it's a great unit for me but I'm not too sure if I would like lugging 4 lbs. around. I think i'll look at some more fishers and the other brand they are pushing.

Thanks for your help.

03-04-2012, 06:06 AM
Well guys I decided to e-mail minelab about FBS.

My question:

Why is the Safari not noted as being a good gold nugget detector? I'm having a very hard time understanding why 28 frequencies can't be good for nugget hunting. Please explain. And thank you for your time!

Their response:

Thank you for your email and excellent question. I wish the answer were simple. Minelab has always built our detectors in categories meaning that we place special attention into creating the best machine for each of the three series that we build for. Treasure machines such as the Safari are designed to have the ultimate performance for coin, relic and treasure hunting (CRT) and have a certain level of built in discrimination and ground balance. The FBS units use the technology to perform these task hand in hand making it an excellent CRT machine but when it comes to the highly mineralized soils known for nugget hunting there are better options.

Ground balance is the key to successful nugget hunting and we build our gold series to accomplish this with little to no discrimination. The only discrimination you will find on any Minelab gold machine if for ferrous iron junk. And on Minelab gold series detectors the ability to ground balance and the iron discrimination are two completely separate functions.

Now with that said there have been a number of people that have used the FBS machine in all metal with lowered sensitivity to prospect. You will have to match the sensitivity to the ground you are detecting and slow down your coil speed to allow all of the process to take p[lace allowing the best return from the ground that is possible. Here is a video link that will help you in understanding setting sensitivity to the ground you are hunting. Sorry, but it is a long video on the Eureka Gold but there are a number of things I talk about that are universal to all detectors. . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfWnlngWxYI

I hope this helps.


Kevin D Hoagland
Director of Partner Development

Minelab Americas Inc .

I enjoyed watching the video very much. Great stuff for a wanabe rookie like myself.

Reno Chris
03-04-2012, 02:33 PM
Why is the Safari not noted as being a good gold nugget detector?

Kevin a a good guy whom I consider as a friend, and I think he did answer your question but I'll offer my comments. The simple summary is that in general coin and jewelry machines like the Safari do not have the sensitivity or ability to handle ground mineralization that is required to make a good gold machine. There are reasons for this.
I think for searching parks and schools for coins and jewelry (and similar applications) any of the various coin detectors will be just fine and work very well -that what they are designed for. However, I think that for prospecting, they are a poor choice because they are just not designed for that. People who do coin and jewelry work like a quiet detector - the no audible threshold mode on so many coin and jewelry detectors is testimony of this. They don't want to hear hot rocks, little bits of foil and soil mineralization. The targets they do want to hear, like coins and jewelry are comparatively large. So the easiest way to make a detector quiet is to limit its gain and make sure it wonít be bothered by those faint targets. But that also makes those detectors (and this includes nearly all coin and jewelry type detectors) unsuitable for prospecting (except on real large nuggets). You see by comparison to most gold nuggets, coins and jewelry are 10 to 100 times larger than the nuggets you will want to hear (maybe even more in some cases). To hear those smaller nuggets, you need a detector that has a lot of gain - one that by necessity will be powerful enough to hear those hot rocks, little bits of foil and soil mineralization I mentioned before. That's why most coin and jewelry detectors (including the Safari) are simply unsuitable for nugget detecting - they've been limited in what they can hear to meet the demands of the folks who buy them. I'd expect most coin machines, with the standard large coil would have a problem hearing nuggets much smaller than 8 grains (about half a gram), even if they were fairly close to the surface. Since a good percentage of the nuggets found with a detector in many places are smaller than 8 grains, do you want to handicap yourself in such a way as to own a detector that will ignore the majority of the gold nuggets which are normally detected? I wouldn't.
Second, the point mentioned by Kevin in his email to you. Most ground in gold bearing areas is moderately to highly mineralized, so the ability to ground balance in strongly mineralized soil is critical for a gold machine. Most coin detectors are not made to hunt in strongly mineralized locations because that's not where the coins and jewelry generally are found. My guess is that coin hunting in Texas, you may never have seen ground as wild as is common in many goldfields. Itís fairly normal that goldfields have ground full of noises that sound like targets or thousands of hot rocks lying all over the place - if your machine cant deal with those, you are just out of luck. Extreme mineralization and all the beeps, clicks and other noises it creates can hide even large nuggets lying fairly close to the surface.
If you use a coin machine, you will find yourself limited to areas with mild mineralization and large, near surface gold. That makes for a heck of a handicap as much gold is small and located in places with moderate to high mineralization. Most places with mild mineralization and big near surface gold were hunted out decades ago Ė these were the targets of the first detectors developed because the detector operators back then had no option to buy a machine with higher sensitivity and the ability to handle mineralized ground.
Many new detector operators choose their detector with price as a major point (if not the only point) - and are often disappointed in what they find it will do. You are by no means the first guy who would prefer to spend a lot less and still hunt nuggets. I always suggest buy the best detector you can afford - even if you need to spend a year saving up. If you see yourself using your detector 90% of the time searching for coins and jewelry at parks, schools, houses, etc. Then a multi-purpose detector will be fine. On the other hand, if you really are intending to be serious about nugget detecting, you will want to go with a detector that is DESIGNED to find nuggets and actually has the capability to do so. The ML 705, MXT and GB Pro are all good choices for multi purpose units that were designed to find gold in addition to other things. It is worth the money even if they are a little more expensive than a coin machine.

03-04-2012, 11:46 PM

Thank you for making it a little more easier to understand.

That was one of the best videos I ever watched before. Almost felt like I was there.

Your web site is very informative also.

I'll keep an eye out for a good detector.

03-12-2012, 11:12 AM
This past weekend, I was involved in a comparison of the Safari versus a GMT for gold and general purpose detecting. In air tests, the Safari would not detect a .7 gram nugget (the GMT will find gold 1/10 that size with few problems). While air tests are not very useful, they do reflect the types of things a detector is able to check for.

I drop a bunch of targets on the ground (in zip-lock plastic bags with a card to indicate what it is) and use this to help people learn how to use their detectors (without needing any digging). The Safari found gold rings, coins and all manner of common iron trash) the display indicated conductivity quite well, but as is always the case with a conductivity meter/display, all it tells you is a best guess - one gold ring read very low (under 5) in the iron/foil range and the other read around 35 (as a copper coin). With the targets on the ground, the Safari missed all of the small gold samples (these are things I recovered using the GMT and a GM VSat in the past) including the .7 gram nugget.

When compared to the GMT, which found all of the gold samples easily, we turned to the coins, foil and iron samples. It proved why you would not want to use a GMT as a general purpose coin shooter metal detector (everything that is not low conductivity reads about the same - ie. loud blasts).

I think if you are looking for 1 gram or larger nuggets, or using it to follow black sands, the Safari will work as well as any other general purpose metal detector. Most of the gold I find is much smaller than that (using the GMT).

The Safari is a very nice machine, its just not a gold prospecting detector.

The Lobo ST I tried a similar test (against the GMT) only had problems on really small gold (it found almost everything) - the Lobo ST is nice general purpose machine that is also very good with gold. I need to try this against someones MXT (I suspect it will also do as well as the Lobo).

03-12-2012, 04:05 PM
Thank you Steve, Chris, and Jmoller for your advice!

I have since ditched the idea of FBS and have been looking at the minelab 705 and the tesoro valquerez. But did not have any luck buying either one. The 705 was hardly used for $500. But the guy never returned my call. And the Val I got out bidded on. Oh well, still plenty of time to make decision so no hurry I guess.

Really I should know better anyway, as I use to own a ace 150. One day I decided to throw a small baggie on the ground with 5.6 grams of alaska placers in it and it would barely give a beep with the coil on top of it. LMAO!

Wishful thinking on my part. haha!

I'm just gona keep on soaking in all the good post here and continue dreaming as i usually do.

But seriously guys, thanks a bunch for the info!

And best of luck to ya!