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Three-plus days with my X-Terra 70, X-Terra 50, w/both available coils. Gained some experience in the field, and gathered "opinions" from family and friends. (Lengthy)
Posted by: Monte
Date: March 20, 2006 11:11AM
Well, it's 6:03 AM Monday here in NW Oregon as I sit down to put to print some experiences and thoughts I'd like to share. I am a long-winded, slow typist so this lengthy post is going to take my two working fingers a while to get finished. I trust you'll bear with me and that something I have to say might be of benefit to at least a few fellow hobbyists.

When my X-Terra 70 was delivered shortly after noon on Thursday it was quiet in the office because our computer had gone down ... again. I took advantage of the quiet time to do what I always do with any new detector. Un-box it, check it out physically, and then put it together and check it out. See what does and doesn't make any sense and determine how simple or complex it seems to be, to me, before I open the Operator's Manual.

Since I regularly use my X-Terra 50 most of the 'feel' was familiar, and with this month commencing the start of my 42nd year in the hobby as a very avid detectorist I have had a good deal of hands-on with competitive makes and models. I knew I was going to be impressed with what Minelab might do, and I figured that I would most likely find the X-Terra 70 appealing. By late Thursday evening I was pretty satisfied with their efforts and with the well thought out Operator's Manual.

Most of Friday & Saturday we were out of town so I wasn't distracted by my computer and could concentrate on detecting and analyzing field performance. Late Saturday I did some toying with the Prospecting mode as well as Sunday. Most of Friday & Saturday was spent simply comparing the X-Terra 70's different features with the X-Terra 50 and some other units.

I was especially interested in the benefits of the expanded discrimination segments, the available audio tone ID selections, the settable threshold, the Ground Balance performance (fine-tuning ability) and the three methods to establish a Ground Balance. Because I hunt a lot in an All Metal accept motion or conventional All Metal mode, I was equally interested in both the Prospecting mode and the Coin & Treasure mode.

Friday & Saturday resulted in less than $1.85 in coinage being found, but I wasn't looking for money as much as looking for answers to my questions about feature function. Sunday, however, I found $8.32 in modern money. So, from my initial 3-day field time with my X-Terra 70 I have determined that I have a new "primary-use" detector that isn't going to get bumped for a long time to come. I don't see how it can! I also gained a little more appreciation for my X-Terra 50, too, and can't wait for a smaller coil to 'assign' it regular-duty on my X-Terra 50.

As a matter of fact, I think a good way for me to express my thoughts and findings about the X-Terra 70 is to start with my X-Terra 50. Now, I know that many who want an easy-to-use, turn-on-and-go model might settle for the X-Terra 30, and it has a lot to offer, but where I live and hunt, the mineralization is just too nasty for it's factory engineered ground balance setting. The X-Terra 30's performance in the deep woodchip playgrounds was fine, and the 3-tone audio ID was quite functional for what most would want when simply hunting for most modern coins. However, when I walked from the woodchips onto most park or school lawns or dirt ballfields, the mineralization was too severe for the GB to handle and falsing occurred.

I had been using my X-Terra 50 before I got the X-T 30 and I figured it was going to be a challenge. The Operator's Manual stated the X-T 30's GB was similar to a setting of #6 on the X-T 50's GB range, and most of the land sites I hunt around here required a setting of #3 or #4 on my X-T 50, with some being workable at #5, and a few of the more challenging locations calling for a setting of #2.

So, for me, it was necessary to have operator control over the Ground Balance adjustment, if I wanted to be able to hunt w/o falsing. In addition, I really preferred the broader 18-segment discrimination and 4-tone audio ID of the X-T 50. Almost a half year with the X-T 50 has confirmed to me that, for most hunting activities that I engage in, the 4-Tone audio works rather well at providing ample audio information about target potential, and the 18-segment discrimination provides enough notching ability while retaining reasonably good target lock-on w/o much in the way of jumpy numbers.

A comment about Target ID in general, "jumpy" read-outs, and off-reading responses: Even though we have had Target ID with us for a quarter of a century now, it is far from perfect. Yes, we can sing praises about how well it performs, sometimes, but it can't always be perfect because all of the variables involved make it an imperfect condition quite often for us to deal with.

Some TID designs do work better than others. Some will only function fairly well to very shallow depths while a different make or model, evaluated at the same time and location, provides a more accurate ID, and can produce accurate TID's a little deeper than others. Not that they actually
detect deeper, they just are capable of classifying or identifying a target a little better at depth.

A "jumpy" or inconsistent TID can be caused by the metal alloy or mixture of the target. It can be caused by two or more good targets together or in close proximity as well as a good and bad target that are close together. Non lock-on readings can also be caused by the targets size (or lack of), shape, and position to the coil. Ground conditions are also a major contributor to erratic TID readings. Then, too, let's not forget the possibility of outside electrical interference and even operator error. Operator error could be the use of too much or not enough sensitivity and/or sweep speeds that are too fast or two slow and/or not center-sweeping the coil across the target and/or not maintaining a uniform coil-to-ground relationship .... to name a few.

Visual and audio Target IDentification can be both FUN to use and USEFUL as long as we have a good understanding of what it is, what can affect it, and how we should interpret the responses we get. It is very possible for a known target, such as a coin, to "off-read" if it is located in some ground environments, even if it is relatively shallow and you would anticipate a 'proper' TID reading.

I have hunted sites with moderate mineralization but where the dirt was very dry and hardened and Buffalo nickels at 2


Interesting report Monte
Posted by: Mike Hillis
Date: March 20, 2006 11:52AM
Looking forward to my own experiences :thumbup:

HH

Excellent, Excellent, Post Monte ... :thumbup:N/T
Posted by: Mike Bearden
Date: March 20, 2006 12:25PM

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Re: Three-plus days with my X-Terra 70, X-Terra 50, w/both available coils. Gained some experience in the field, and gathered "opinions" from family and friends. (Lengthy)
Posted by: Captain Kirk
Date: March 20, 2006 04:21PM
Monte,

I read and enjoyed every word. I am getting "pumped".

Glenn

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Superb post, Monte - Thank you!N/T
Posted by: steve herschbach
Date: March 20, 2006 06:34PM

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Nice analysis / evaluation Monte.....
Posted by: Digger
Date: March 20, 2006 06:58PM
I sent you an email regarding the preset GB of the X-30, and would appreciate a response at your convenience. Thanks. HH Randy

As always, excellent reporting Monte!N/T
Posted by: UFO
Date: March 20, 2006 10:17PM

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Thanks, Randy, and you got my reply.N/T
Posted by: Monte
Date: March 21, 2006 12:31AM

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I'll tell you what, .... I am "pumped" :) and "phrustrated" ! :(
Posted by: Monte
Date: March 21, 2006 12:39AM
The X-Terra 70 is a great detector. Not to pooh-pooh the X-T 50 or others, because I definitly like my '50' as well, but the for me and my desires for a detector with versatility, the X-Terra 70 has me pumped and pleased. We had a nice day with a temp of 60

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