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Comparison - Manticore vs EQX 800 vs Explorer SE Pro

Yeah we hooked the Explorer up to scopes and figured out how it works long ago. What's important on the Explorer is understanding what it's Gain and Sensitivity setting truly are, and the order in which they are applied.
Charles.
I've dabbled in electronics most of my life.
Have owned a few nice oscilloscopes. Analog
Still learning this new digital scope.
Could you please guide me in testing detector's ?
I don't have a load to apply to the detector like a coil. Exposing wires to clip onto like my radios.
I've read where somebody placed a loop in front of the coil for testing like an RF field meter.
I would like to be able to test all my machine's.
Especially the Explorer, Legend and Manticore.
Could you explain how you did it please ?
 
Can you hear a coin that you DELETED from the signal with your settings? That's the GOTCHA of the Gain vs Sensitivity on the Explorer.

First, Explorers transmit at max power at all times, no matter what your settings are. So the received signal back from the coil is the full 100% max possible signal. <--- Stay tuned for a tip on that later.

So we get the signal back from the coil then settings then go to work on it.

Sensitivity DELETES targets and false signals. Thought I'd make that super clear. The lower the Sensitivity the more targets and false signals it deletes.

Gain amplifies the volume of deeper/smaller targets and tiny soil/EMI false signals. Wait for it, AFTER Sensitivity has FIRST finished deleting stuff. So Sensitivity is processed first, then Gain. I confirmed this with Minelab years ago.

The problem is, people were cranking the Gain to 10 in an effort to hear the deepest faintest targets. But since that also jacked up the volume on the tiny soil/EMI false signals to max, this made the machine seem like it was very unstable. In reality that noise always exists, but the volume was so low you didn't hear it. Until the gain was cranked to 10.

So they crank the Gain to 10, then back way off the Sensitivity trying to calm the machine down. Sensitivity starts deleting things, like the deep weak coins they were trying to amplify with a high Gain.

So find the best balance of Sensitivity vs Gain, but keep Sensitivity high as the priority between the two. Frequently I hunted with my Sensitivity at 26-28 and my gain at 7, sometimes 8 if I could get away with it. Stock coil, moderate soil. I have tested targets in the field before they were dug. Solid signal with Sensitivity 28, got choppy at 26 and completely vanished at 25. It's that dramatic a difference.

Tip - As mentioned above, we are getting the full 100% possible signal back from the coil. So FEED THE COIL. Over iffy targets shorten your swing to 2-3 inches wide over the target, swing more rapidly and feed improved received signal into the machine. This will frequently improve the target tone and Smartfind ID. It's almost like feeding it a constant stream of target signal vs a momentary beep with a normal swing. I feed the coil and feed it some more then stop suddenly to the side of the target and wait for the target ID to lock with that concentrated dose of signal.

And that ^^^ is 100% true for the Manticore. In testing it wasn't possible to swing that thing too fast. The faster the swing the deeper it went.

As always an excellent write up and explanation.
Thank You
I'm a little confused in that as I've experienced.
The more mineralized a beach the more feedback and loss of depth.
On a beach here in Fairport Ohio.
Just off the mouth of a river used for transporting iron ore for about 100 yrs.
The iron or black sands are so dense you'd think you were on a blacksands beach on the west coast or even Nome.
When the wind blows just right you see dense layer of black sands sitting on top.
My old MXT would run 92-98 on GB.
The only machine's to get any depth here were my old Explorer xs and my Sovereign gt.
What's confusing to me is since the machine is putting out 100% power. How is it not going Goofy or even overloading ?
And typically I could run 25-27 sensitivity.
The gt I could run almost wide open.
Even with large 13-15" coils.
The only time I've had issues here was when the coast guard across the bay ran a radar or something high power.
You now you have really peaked my curiosity.
And that's a fun thing to me.
 
I really enjoyed Charles's work with the Explorer series. I have the charger on my SE and might take it to the elementary school here and look for clad. I'm having my worst year ever coin hunting with my Equinox so I am gonna concentrate on clad..
Love to see what you find.
Hopefully an old lunchbox with some loot in it.
 
Charles.
I've dabbled in electronics most of my life.
Have owned a few nice oscilloscopes. Analog
Still learning this new digital scope.
Could you please guide me in testing detector's ?
I don't have a load to apply to the detector like a coil. Exposing wires to clip onto like my radios.
I've read where somebody placed a loop in front of the coil for testing like an RF field meter.
I would like to be able to test all my machine's.
Especially the Explorer, Legend and Manticore.
Could you explain how you did it please ?
This should be easy for you then. For scoping Explorers fabricate a test fixture. A short splice 2-3 inches between the coil's cord connector and the detectors coil connector, with open/bare wires for you to connect meter/scope leads to. Those are standard 5 pin microphone connectors you would buy for the splice.

I highly recommend using an actual Explorer stock coil for the testing. The specs are very tightly interdependent. Resistance, Capacitance, Inductance, Impedance, and Q. If you measure these across a batch of different coils you will be surprised how closely they measure. Also, Explorer coils use Litz wire for the transmit winding, there's some magic there. Some aftermarket coils don't, they use solid wire. Remember the old Joey coil, it used solid magnet wire. One thing I like about testing coils is, some are OUT OF BALANCE from the factory, some are spot on. Balancing the windings (the overlap between the receive/transmit windings) is quite touchy.
 
As always an excellent write up and explanation.
Thank You
I'm a little confused in that as I've experienced.
The more mineralized a beach the more feedback and loss of depth.
On a beach here in Fairport Ohio.
Just off the mouth of a river used for transporting iron ore for about 100 yrs.
The iron or black sands are so dense you'd think you were on a blacksands beach on the west coast or even Nome.
When the wind blows just right you see dense layer of black sands sitting on top.
My old MXT would run 92-98 on GB.
The only machine's to get any depth here were my old Explorer xs and my Sovereign gt.
What's confusing to me is since the machine is putting out 100% power. How is it not going Goofy or even overloading ?
And typically I could run 25-27 sensitivity.
The gt I could run almost wide open.
Even with large 13-15" coils.
The only time I've had issues here was when the coast guard across the bay ran a radar or something high power.
You now you have really peaked my curiosity.
And that's a fun thing to me.
Explorers don't overload on black sand, but the black sand kills the depth. They may seem to run reasonably stable (I run my hot and chatty) but they are not getting depth. Explorer merge the black sand with the coin just as they will merge gold/silver, silver/bronze, silver/iron when they are very close or touching each other. So through a bit of black sand you hear a coin pretty good with some black sand/soil low tones mixed together. The more black sand the more the black sand becomes the dominate tone, until at some point the black sand drowns out the coin altogether and you just hear black sand low tones. The Manticore completely destroys the Explorer in black sand by the way, not even a contest.
 
The only time I've had issues here was when the coast guard across the bay ran a radar or something high power.
I was hunting a park over near Boston once. Far off in the distance was a radio tower. I had to set my coil flat to the ground when digging otherwise it went nuts from whatever was coming off that tower.
 
Explorers don't overload on black sand, but the black sand kills the depth. They may seem to run reasonably stable (I run my hot and chatty) but they are not getting depth. Explorer merge the black sand with the coin just as they will merge gold/silver, silver/bronze, silver/iron when they are very close or touching each other. So through a bit of black sand you hear a coin pretty good with some black sand/soil low tones mixed together. The more black sand the more the black sand becomes the dominate tone, until at some point the black sand drowns out the coin altogether and you just hear black sand low tones. The Manticore completely destroys the Explorer in black sand by the way, not even a contest.
That must be why Explorer's weren't any good looking for gold nuggets.
Because of all frequencies I actually thought it would.
 
This should be easy for you then. For scoping Explorers fabricate a test fixture. A short splice 2-3 inches between the coil's cord connector and the detectors coil connector, with open/bare wires for you to connect meter/scope leads to. Those are standard 5 pin microphone connectors you would buy for the splice.

I highly recommend using an actual Explorer stock coil for the testing. The specs are very tightly interdependent. Resistance, Capacitance, Inductance, Impedance, and Q. If you measure these across a batch of different coils you will be surprised how closely they measure. Also, Explorer coils use Litz wire for the transmit winding, there's some magic there. Some aftermarket coils don't, they use solid wire. Remember the old Joey coil, it used solid magnet wire. One thing I like about testing coils is, some are OUT OF BALANCE from the factory, some are spot on. Balancing the windings (the overlap between the receive/transmit windings) is quite touchy.
Thank You.
Though have you ever tried like an RF field test meter ?
A single loop of wire near the coil to clip onto.
I'm curious how that will work.
I've read someone did that. Though never got an explanation.
Many of the new machines have proprietary connections. I don't want to take any waterproof coil connections apart. Or buy coils to do so.
I'm hoping you've done that.
 
This should be easy for you then. For scoping Explorers fabricate a test fixture. A short splice 2-3 inches between the coil's cord connector and the detectors coil connector, with open/bare wires for you to connect meter/scope leads to. Those are standard 5 pin microphone connectors you would buy for the splice.

I highly recommend using an actual Explorer stock coil for the testing. The specs are very tightly interdependent. Resistance, Capacitance, Inductance, Impedance, and Q. If you measure these across a batch of different coils you will be surprised how closely they measure. Also, Explorer coils use Litz wire for the transmit winding, there's some magic there. Some aftermarket coils don't, they use solid wire. Remember the old Joey coil, it used solid magnet wire. One thing I like about testing coils is, some are OUT OF BALANCE from the factory, some are spot on. Balancing the windings (the overlap between the receive/transmit windings) is quite touchy.
Flitz wire is interesting. Got my mind racing again.
Wonder if they got a little of that Bendini magic going on ??
Always wanted to build one.
Maybe combine it with the Adams and Alexander designs.
Ever read the article how the girl won the science fair for a motor running a couple weeks on a 9 volt battery.
 

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Explorers don't overload on black sand, but the black sand kills the depth. They may seem to run reasonably stable (I run my hot and chatty) but they are not getting depth. Explorer merge the black sand with the coin just as they will merge gold/silver, silver/bronze, silver/iron when they are very close or touching each other. So through a bit of black sand you hear a coin pretty good with some black sand/soil low tones mixed together. The more black sand the more the black sand becomes the dominate tone, until at some point the black sand drowns out the coin altogether and you just hear black sand low tones. The Manticore completely destroys the Explorer in black sand by the way, not even a contest.
Again Thank You.
Obviously you know that Explorers so much more than I do. First I couldn't hear all the times. Went one tone. That helped. Then I ripped my shoulders.
I never got enough time to really click with it.
I recently found that little 5" puck coil. Maybe I can swing it again.
Though for now I'll learn the Manticore and Legend I purchased this year. At least their light enough.
 
Again Thank You.
Obviously you know that Explorers so much more than I do. First I couldn't hear all the times. Went one tone. That helped. Then I ripped my shoulders.
I never got enough time to really click with it.
I recently found that little 5" puck coil. Maybe I can swing it again.
Though for now I'll learn the Manticore and Legend I purchased this year. At least their light enough.
The Explorers major issue has always been it's ridiculous 5+ pound weight and that's with the stock coil. A smaller coil helps a little but not much, the copper coil windings still use the same amount of wire regardless of size. The Minelab 8 inch coil for example is quite thick for that reason relative to the stock coil. Also the Explorer is nose heavy and poorly balanced. It's a deadly machine but when your arm and shoulder are wiped after 90 minutes that takes the shine off. Hence my attempt to reduce the Explorer's weight to less than the Manticore. Obviously this requires hip/chest mounting the control box and battery.

If your local sites have been pounded by Explorers then the Manticore is the way to go 100%. For hunting inland sites in the dirt (not beaches) on my to-do list is configuring the Manticore tones to differentiate between deep targets and shallow targets just as the Explorer does. From what I read in the manual this is possible. I want them to sound distinctly different. I can then wade into modern trash heaps and discriminate out by tone, all the shallow trash and just concentrate on deeper (hence older) targets.
 
Flitz wire is interesting. Got my mind racing again.
Wonder if they got a little of that Bendini magic going on ??
Always wanted to build one.
Maybe combine it with the Adams and Alexander designs.
Ever read the article how the girl won the science fair for a motor running a couple weeks on a 9 volt battery.
I have built a number of coils for the Explorer. Since there are no electronic chips in the coil, it's just 2 magnet wire windings they are simple. Construction is challenging, a topic for another time. With the abundance of coils that came out for it there's no reason to build a coil today. I might have built another concentric/coplanar coil. I built a prototype of that coil years ago, wow!! Think of the X1 probe only it goes 9-10 inches deep. Got this idea from watching the Whites DFX guys. The detection pattern is a cone vs the DD coil's blade type detection field. That cone shape was amazing for picking off deeper targets among a heap of nearby trash. I dug an Indian cent with it on the first field trial, there were multiple trash targets in that plug.

Of course the NOX and Manticore have made even that coil obsolete with their super fast recovery speed. They can slice through the trash even better.
 
Thank You.
Though have you ever tried like an RF field test meter ?
A single loop of wire near the coil to clip onto.
I'm curious how that will work.
I've read someone did that. Though never got an explanation.
Many of the new machines have proprietary connections. I don't want to take any waterproof coil connections apart. Or buy coils to do so.
I'm hoping you've done that.
So 'marketing' vs actual. The 28 frequencies Minelab advertised for the Explorer was ahem, a bit of marketing. It actually only transmitted 2 frequencies not 28. It detected 28 frequencies on the receive side of things. Unlike other detectors of the time, the Explorer transmitted a square wave. Square waves also create odd order harmonic frequencies hence the 28 total. On the receive side processing both the 2 main frequencies and 26 odd order harmonic frequencies (even though weaker) was quite the step up from other 2 frequency machines. Improved target ID, depth, ability to detect small targets.

These new machines like the Manticore seem to be transmitting more frequencies than an Explorer. Clearly low and high frequencies plus the ability to choose, low, high, mixed. This is why the Manticore can get a signal on small low conductive targets and coins on edge that are invisible to an Explorer. Yeah I counted the pins on the Manticore the other day, it has like 8 pins.
 
The Explorers major issue has always been it's ridiculous 5+ pound weight and that's with the stock coil. A smaller coil helps a little but not much, the copper coil windings still use the same amount of wire regardless of size. The Minelab 8 inch coil for example is quite thick for that reason relative to the stock coil. Also the Explorer is nose heavy and poorly balanced. It's a deadly machine but when your arm and shoulder are wiped after 90 minutes that takes the shine off. Hence my attempt to reduce the Explorer's weight to less than the Manticore. Obviously this requires hip/chest mounting the control box and battery.

If your local sites have been pounded by Explorers then the Manticore is the way to go 100%. For hunting inland sites in the dirt (not beaches) on my to-do list is configuring the Manticore tones to differentiate between deep targets and shallow targets just as the Explorer does. From what I read in the manual this is possible. I want them to sound distinctly different. I can then wade into modern trash heaps and discriminate out by tone, all the shallow trash and just concentrate on deeper (hence older) targets.
Hopefully I can get enough time on my Manticore to learn that.
I'll greatly appreciate any tips you develope along the way.
Maybe a Manticore tips an tricks thread.
 
Nox 900 carbon fiber shaft. 3D printed handle, same oval profile as the Manticore. That oval hand rest on top of the handle is printed in Polyurethane rubber, a key component of avoiding hand/arm fatigue the weight can rest on this vs 100% of the weight supported by grip.

el01.jpg


Front/rear housing with battery holder and rubber cover. New membrane switch panel.

el02.jpg


This was a bit of work as the original Explorer housing is curved in 3 dimensions so designing the board standoffs was a challenge. Two sets were needed, one for the LCD screen board a 2nd for the two rear circuit boards. Different depths and locations. All three boards have to align perfectly there's 20 pins sticking up from the LCD screen circuit board that have to plug into the main board.

el03.jpg
 
Can you hear a coin that you DELETED from the signal with your settings? That's the GOTCHA of the Gain vs Sensitivity on the Explorer.

First, Explorers transmit at max power at all times, no matter what your settings are. So the received signal back from the coil is the full 100% max possible signal. <--- Stay tuned for a tip on that later.

So we get the signal back from the coil then settings then go to work on it.

Sensitivity DELETES targets and false signals. Thought I'd make that super clear. The lower the Sensitivity the more targets and false signals it deletes.

Gain amplifies the volume of deeper/smaller targets and tiny soil/EMI false signals. Wait for it, AFTER Sensitivity has FIRST finished deleting stuff. So Sensitivity is processed first, then Gain. I confirmed this with Minelab years ago.

The problem is, people were cranking the Gain to 10 in an effort to hear the deepest faintest targets. But since that also jacked up the volume on the tiny soil/EMI false signals to max, this made the machine seem like it was very unstable. In reality that noise always exists, but the volume was so low you didn't hear it. Until the gain was cranked to 10.

So they crank the Gain to 10, then back way off the Sensitivity trying to calm the machine down. Sensitivity starts deleting things, like the deep weak coins they were trying to amplify with a high Gain.

So find the best balance of Sensitivity vs Gain, but keep Sensitivity high as the priority between the two. Frequently I hunted with my Sensitivity at 26-28 and my gain at 7, sometimes 8 if I could get away with it. Stock coil, moderate soil. I have tested targets in the field before they were dug. Solid signal with Sensitivity 28, got choppy at 26 and completely vanished at 25. It's that dramatic a difference.

Tip - As mentioned above, we are getting the full 100% possible signal back from the coil. So FEED THE COIL. Over iffy targets shorten your swing to 2-3 inches wide over the target, swing more rapidly and feed improved received signal into the machine. This will frequently improve the target tone and Smartfind ID. It's almost like feeding it a constant stream of target signal vs a momentary beep with a normal swing. I feed the coil and feed it some more then stop suddenly to the side of the target and wait for the target ID to lock with that concentrated dose of signal.

And that ^^^ is 100% true for the Manticore. In testing it wasn't possible to swing that thing too fast. The faster the swing the deeper it went.
A friend of mine did go real slow with his Explorer 2, but added in the wobble sound the machine gave off on deep silver. He understood what you have posted but didn’t explain it in your terms. Thanks for the memories of those days we hunted together.
I still don’t believe that Minelab even knew about the wobble sound or how important the two screens helped folks.
Tony
 
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