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BetterThanFishin 04-17-2012 09:05 AM

Harbor-Freight 9-function detector
PLEASE do not post any comments back to purchase a different machine. This post is for direct answers to the following, not opinions of any other make/brand.

:roll:I know there are Harbor Freight 9-function metal detector pro's hiding out there. :roll:

Should you not want to expose this please PM :secret: about the following ;

1. The analog meter, does anyone actually use it?

2. What is the coolest thing you have found with this "toy"?

3. What are the best tips for utilizing this machine?


Mozhoven 04-17-2012 10:27 PM

This was my first detector and introduced me to the hobby. So, in this respect I can't knock it. It finds metal, and for $30, it isn't a huge investment.

I never mastered the variety of knobs to isolate/discriminate various metals, (i.e. had the patience) but it did excel at finding large iron objects in my backyard. I found an old jackstand, parts of a 100 yr old Weather vane (North and East), old motor or transmission gear, and a bottle key at an old 100 year old site. All were deeper than 8". No coins, but I never took it anywhere with any to speak of (loose change that is). I'm sure it would find them no problem if they were 2"-3" deep.

After taking it into a promising site, I discovered simultaneously that 1) I liked the hobby and 2) this detector wasn't going to cut it for sustained interest. Complexity of the knobs aside, the shaft is super-cheap and won't stay locked at a given length and the coil constantly falls off of it. (compression fitting, not screwed on with hardware. I never had enough patience to bother with learning the meter. It just served to reiterate what I was hearing. (which was mostly 3" sections of old rusty barbed wire littered everywhere). After 30 pieces of Tetanus sticks, I decided then to get a detector with clear discrimination controls. If I ever figure out the knobs enough to discriminate iron completely, I might mount the coil close the control box and make it a hand-held scanner to use inside abandoned houses. It is very light weight and could be handy in that capacity. At any rate, keep your receipt and try it out before the 30 days is up. Don't wait 6 months like me to try it for the first time. :roll:

BTW, I noticed Harbor Freight now sells a pinpointer and a wand. Could be useful as backup...

ScubaSteveXdm 04-17-2012 10:54 PM

You are really close to a used Bounty Hunter territory and gives you room to grow.

But add the 20 percent coupon in store and it will provide you with a starter detector for dirt cheap.

BetterThanFishin 04-17-2012 11:00 PM


Originally Posted by Mozhoven (Post 1224379)
After taking it into a promising site, I discovered simultaneously that 1) I liked the hobby and 2) this detector wasn't going to cut it for sustained interest.

This is exactly the point I am at here. A new detector will not be purchased for at least a few months so this one has to do. Yes, it is not the most effective machine but it's better than searching for items without one completely.

Still open for tips/ tricks.

Thank you,

badgerd 04-18-2012 07:47 AM

My brother started with one and found all kinds of cool stuff... mostly iron and coins. That machine loves iron.

I helped a kid and his dad on the beach with one but just enough to get it stable. He wasn't finding much there, but after the adjustments (which took about 20 mins or so to get right) he wasn't listening to false signals all the time.

The meter seems to be worthless unless you see the needle move but don't hear the tone (deeper object maybe?) but it will "detect metal".

My brother used it for 6 months or so before he decided that gold prospecting was his passion and got a G2. The HF machine found him about $10 in clad and a bunch of old stuff.

I'd say go for it, see if you like detecting and upgrade later when you're sure you'll like it. No sense spending $150+ and not liking the hobby.

Good luck and HH!

BrownBeer 04-18-2012 08:27 AM

I started with one.
The meter is useless.
After a little practice I could disc out small iron.
I found almost enough clad to pay for it before I bought an F2.
It was fun.

BetterThanFishin 04-29-2012 09:07 AM

This has only happened once
Best I can explain;

Using headphones, swing detector over an item from right to left and the left speaker beeps.
As the detector passes over the item still going left, the right speaker beeps.
Seemed kind of like stereo surround.
The headphones since then beep either the right or left speaker.

Has anyone had this experience before? It seems too much of a good feature for the HB 9-function to have but if it is a feature, this machine is definitely non(9) (function)ing.

MetalheadHorror 04-30-2012 04:07 AM

I amnot ashamed nor afraid to admit the 9 function HF tols detector was my first. Although I never could get the disc to work and the meter always jumped to max no matter what was under the coil it can find stuff. The day I got mine I went into a patch of land beside the rr tracks and found some rr spikes probably a foot down. Next time I used it I took my dogs to a local fenced in field to run around and while they were playing I pulled the detector out of the car to scan the lot. After a couple minutes I got a signal and started scraping the rocks away and low and behold my first coin! T was a penny and as was picking it up saw a nickle laying there. After picking the nickle up scanned the spot again and another signal. Turned out to be a pocket spill! Total was only about 50 cents but that was the turning point where I found out I love this hobby and wanted to upgrade to a major manufacturer immediately! So in short it will find things but if you dont want to dig every signal its not for you. It only has one tone and the disc doesnt work but it will find metal!

MetalheadHorror 04-30-2012 04:17 AM

tips and tricks

Originally Posted by BetterThanFishin (Post 1224437)
This is exactly the point I am at here. A new detector will not be purchased for at least a few months so this one has to do. Yes, it is not the most effective machine but it's better than searching for items without one completely.

Still open for tips/ tricks.

Thank you,

I f you want some tips here is what I have learned in the short time I had mine. 1. Do not pay any mind to the needle meter. It always jumps to the right no matter what your scanning so its pretty much useless. 2. the discrimination will not disc out iron with this detector no matter where you place the knob this detector loves iron. 3. when you get a signal hold down the pinpoint button and scan around the beep . If it is a larger object it will continue to sound off over a bigger area. if its something small like maybe a coin it will only sound off over a small spot. You can actually trace over a large object with the PP and predict how big the target is. I will give it that-the PP works well. Hope this helps. Happy detecting!

firefighter42 06-01-2012 07:46 PM

I'm not ashamed to say this is my detector as of now. I bought it a few weeks ago after I was at the park with my kids and a guy came by detecting. My boys though that it was the coolest thing in the world that he found a quarter. So the big kid inside of me decided to get one for them and me. Being a firefighter I don't make much and having a wife and 3 boys. That being said my budget is next to nothing, hence the harbor freight detector. Now getting to the point about the detector I have found over $4 in clad a silver braclet and a scottich highland 16 button (still waiting to be identified in these forum) I've found you can discriminate to find coins if you flip the switch to discrim mode and set the knob just to the right of the double line mark on top or a little over half way. I place the sensitivity knob at 3/4 full. You will find pennies, dimes and quarters with these settings and filter out some trash. The down side to these settings is it will not pick up on nickels or gold from my test. As mentioned earlier in this post I use the pinpoint button over a signal and then move it around to judge the size of the object. If it stays within the center of the circle it most likely a coin or bottle cap or foil. If it keeps going its probably a can. But being new at this I dig it anyways. I have found one pocket spill that acted like a buried can.

Anyway I hope this helps and sorry for the long reply. I'm looking to upgrade to a fisher f2 but that will probably have to wait till Christmas unless someone would like to donate one to me

Joshua1979 08-04-2013 08:55 PM

my first time was today
I bought the 9 function harbor freight detector. my wife son and myself used it today within 5 minutes I had 2 cents including a 1950 wheat cent. hunted for 1 and a half hours found 43 cents total a bunch of nails and old cans. we are hooked I will be saving to upgrade the machine but I have to say we had a great experience and spent very little getting started

turtlefoot 08-06-2013 10:20 PM

This doesn't give any tips, but I thought it was interesting.


coin whisperer 01-11-2014 09:47 AM

A friend at work bought one lastnight to go hunting with me. What is the best way to set it up?

BeepZilla 01-13-2014 12:07 PM

Frankly that machine beats almost anything else on Monte's nail board test
IMHO its one of the better budget detectors out there. Very good audio for sifting through iron at old homesites.

I set the unit to tone, disc out a medium size nail (aprox 10 o clock on the disc). It still likes relic type iron but you won't miss small gold or sub nickel targets. Depth is surprising if the ground balance is properly set. 6" on a dime is max but 4" more realistic.

If you find a iffy target increase swing speed directly over the target. If it gets more "solid" dig. If it breaks up pass. Also the all metal mode works well once you learn to detune for shallower targets. On some targets if you get a sound like a dying duck its at maximum depth. I love that sound:laughing:

I even made a custom straight rod for mine & I keep it in my vehicle because its "cheap".

The GB pot location has changed recently & I forget which it is-but there are only 2 so if your brave you can figure which one. Set it so its all metal mode does not sound off when a local hot rock is waved directly in front of the coil. Then get a silver dollar & adjust GB to max depth in disc. If the GB is way off from the factory it won't even pick up a silver dollar. Mine was like that but is a great little machine now & I still use it. And yes I have an AT pro & a lot of competent machines.

GroundSweeper 01-13-2014 01:08 PM

I know this is an older thread revived but I recall seeing another thread on this detector, where the poster changed it out - put the electronics into a project box etc., made it look cool :)

Found it! :

papaharley03 01-14-2014 04:54 PM

There are a few little tricks with this detector that I have discovered.

1. When you engage the pinpoint button, move over your target until you find the edges. Now, you can detune to pinpoint even better by moving to the edge of where you hear tone while pressing the pp button. Release, the pp button for 2 seconds. Press and hold while moving over your target and the audible tone area will be reduced. You can repeat this procedure again and really get it to just briefly sound as you sweep over the target. This is in the manual, but I had to read a couple of times before I caught on to this trick.

2. It's basic detector theory, but if you run the Sensitivity on max, it will make discriminating more difficult. This is akin to a very strong RF signal overloading the front end of a radio receiver, such that the receiver can't tune it out easily.

The build quality isn't great, but the good thing is that it can find stuff. The bad thing is, it can find stuff... as in, aluminum cans over a foot deep in this nasty north Texas clay.

Someday I will upgrade, but for now, I'm de-trashing my own yard and I want to dig everything that beeps. That way, if something of value does get lost in the future, I'll have an easier time of detecting it.

As I mentioned in my introductory thread, I used a coupon and only paid about 35 dollars for this thing and have already gotten my money's worth of enjoyment by digging what's been under my feet for all these years.


Scooter22 01-17-2014 12:02 PM

HF 9 function finds
2 Attachment(s)
Purple Heart medal found in my front yard

93civEJ1 01-22-2019 09:47 PM

Digging up this old thread. I hope to learn more about the harbor freight detector. I just got one today for 0 dollars. 👍

Coin Operated 01-22-2019 10:33 PM

Scooterjim 01-23-2019 05:57 AM


Originally Posted by 93civEJ1 (Post 3059811)
Digging up this old thread. I hope to learn more about the harbor freight detector. I just got one today for 0 dollars. 👍

If you find out you enjoy metal detecting, that 0 dollar detector could end up costing you plenty.
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