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  #1  
Old 11-05-2008, 09:23 PM
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Default Modified Harbor Freight Pinpointer w/ pics

I added a small vibrating motor to the pinpointer. I also removed the white LED and added a toggle switch in its place so that I could switch between the buzzer and motor. The motor was hot glued in place with a piece of soda straw covering the spinning weight at the end. I took measurements and for my setup I used a 51Ohm resistor to get the current of a little over 50mA. My motor was a random one I collected in my 'box-o-parts' but here is one from Radio Shack that appears to be similar but keep in mind your resistance value may need to change if using this one.


I got lucky and the switch barely fit in the casing. I had to drill the hole where the LED was slightly larger. Also I broke off a spare peg near the speaker to allow room for the switch.

Results:

Before modifying, it was pulling ~22mA idle (no metal detected). Since I took off the white LED it now it pulls a little more than 4mA idle.

When detecting metal it pulls about the following:
30mA - buzzer
60mA - motor

Overall I am happy with the results and it seems to work pretty well. Also I saw on another forum (I can't remember where) where they added a plastic 5/8" plastic chair tip to the end. This was to protect the tip from wear and tear and to prevent leaks. Lowe's has a 4-pack for $0.96. Wiring the switch is pretty straightforward but if a quick diagram is wanted I can draw one up.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

maddog
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2008, 07:57 AM
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My Whites ballcap is off to you,very creative engineering on your part.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2008, 08:18 AM
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Thumbs up Mods

Nice Mod I actually dipped the end of mine in liquid plastic used for tool handles Not sure if I will do any other mods it is just a cheap back up pin pointer Very nice work. CNR

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  #4  
Old 11-06-2008, 11:10 AM
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Thumbs up Excellent Post!!!

Very impressive modification and post. There are several HPPP users on the forum who'll benefit from this post.

I made your post a "Sticky" to keep it at the top of the "Fix It" directory all the time.

Thank You on behalf of the forum members.

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  #5  
Old 11-06-2008, 04:02 PM
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Looks good. How much depth do you get with yours?

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  #6  
Old 11-06-2008, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tony48 View post
Looks good. How much depth do you get with yours?
I get about 1" on a penny(zinc). Though depth does increase with larger objects.

A few months ago I met with some fellow club members and we compared different pinpointers. Its performance was equal to that of a Vibraprobe when testing with a gold ring. The White's Bullseye did slightly better.

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  #7  
Old 03-09-2009, 01:58 AM
BountyHunter BountyHunter is offline
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Originally Posted by Lowjiber View post
Very impressive modification and post. There are several HPPP users on the forum who'll benefit from this post.

I made your post a "Sticky" to keep it at the top of the "Fix It" directory all the time.

Thank You on behalf of the forum members.
Absolutely!

And my Minelab ballcap is off to you Mr Super Moderator for having made the post a "sticky", very Friendly

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  #8  
Old 03-10-2009, 09:55 PM
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Thanks for the positive feedback guys!

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  #9  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cnr_dogs View post
Nice Mod I actually dipped the end of mine in liquid plastic used for tool handles Not sure if I will do any other mods it is just a cheap back up pin pointer Very nice work. CNR
Hmm wonder if that would work with my bullseye PP?
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2010, 08:03 PM
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Outstanding!

Thanks much.

Badger
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2009, 12:17 PM
Mi$$ouri Jim Mi$$ouri Jim is offline
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Thanks for posting pics. I have been dying to see the inside of this new pinpointer to compare it to the old boxy style whites bullseye pinpointer. I suspected that they were basically one & the same.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2009, 12:31 PM
Mi$$ouri Jim Mi$$ouri Jim is offline
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Thanks for posting pics. I have been dying to see pics of the inside of this new pinpointer. The pinpointer itself looks very similar to the old boxy white's electronics bullseye pinpointer & I wondered if it was the same. Having seen the inside of this new pinpointer... it is not the same.
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2009, 04:09 PM
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Default Great mod

Sir you just turned an inexpensive pin pointer into one that I will mod myself and carry in the future. Thanks for the lesson.
Doug in OR

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  #14  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:28 PM
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Default Harbor Freight ain't no pinpointer !!!!!

Been there, done that. Bought the HF body pointer, made for finding guns, knives etc on someones body. Modify'd it, added vibrators, and all to it! I was impressed.......till I got my hands on a Garrett Propointer, thats when I learned just what a pinpointer was. Now you can yell B.S. and enjoy your little toy, but if you ever get your hands on the Garrett (equelled by no-one) you'll toss the HF in the round can! It's like going from a Whites 1960 BFO detector to a Minelab. No joke.......! Naw, I don't work for them. They make an Exceptional pinpointer, that's all. When you get a penny about 2 inches away from it it starts making a slow ticking noise. The closer you get the penny the faster the ticking gets. Then theres the penny trick. By preloading with a penny, you can find a .177 cal BB or a small nugget about an inch away. I kid you not. That's my 2 cents worth. For what it's worth.
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  #15  
Old 01-30-2010, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Clodhopper View post
Been there, done that. Bought the HF body pointer, made for finding guns, knives etc on someones body. Modify'd it, added vibrators, and all to it! I was impressed.......till I got my hands on a Garrett Propointer, thats when I learned just what a pinpointer was. Now you can yell B.S. and enjoy your little toy, but if you ever get your hands on the Garrett (equelled by no-one) you'll toss the HF in the round can! It's like going from a Whites 1960 BFO detector to a Minelab. No joke.......! Naw, I don't work for them. They make an Exceptional pinpointer, that's all. When you get a penny about 2 inches away from it it starts making a slow ticking noise. The closer you get the penny the faster the ticking gets. Then theres the penny trick. By preloading with a penny, you can find a .177 cal BB or a small nugget about an inch away. I kid you not. That's my 2 cents worth. For what it's worth.
I agree the Garrett Propointer is a better pinpointer however it is hard to beat the cost of the HF pinpointer. I actually own a Garrett now and prefer it but it is nice to have a backup that I can loan out if needed as well.

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  #16  
Old 01-30-2010, 06:56 PM
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Dr Madog,
Good to see you back here on your thread.

I have been doing a little modification and experimentation on a couple of HF pointers myself. I have already purchased the RS 3 VDC Vibration motor and was going to connect it in parallel with the buzzer. I would probably put the motor before the current limiting resistor because it will draw a max of 95mA

I was looking closely at the Printed circuit board when I saw that it has to pads marked "Motor" and a space for component placement marked on the board. I don't have my VTVM at home now so I can't test the voltage or polarity right now but I was wondering if Cen-Tech made another model with the vibration option and the correct voltages and switching are already present on the board?

Addendum: I took another look at the circuit board and I see that there is a circuit and six pads for a DPDT switch (SW2). the two poles are marked BZ and VB which I take to represent buzzer and Vibrate. I am going to take a look at my mouser catalog and see if they have a six pin pc mount DPDT switch in that format. If they do you could simply mount the LED/Vibrate toggle. to the board and drill a hole in the front of the unit right below the sensitivity potentiometer for access.

Note: two pads are jumpered to close the circuit on the BZ side of the switch location. They are open on the VB side.

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Old 01-31-2010, 12:20 PM
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Billvert,

Yeah, I noticed the motor markings on the PCB as well. I don't know of another Centech pointer. My guess is that maybe there is another model and they get rebranded with these features added.

Good idea with adding the DPDT switch! As you know, there is limited space in the case however I am sure Mouser will have something that fits, maybe check Digikey or Jameco as well.

My next project was to work on increasing the range of the pointer but I just haven't had any time to work on it. I was going to try and wire a new coil however the coil in the wand is currently firmly in place with epoxy. The wires are so small I am not sure how to remove it without damaging it or melting the coating on the wires. Even if I got it apart, it would be hard to make a better coil then the one already in place. Takes alot of skill, practice and patience to make a coil. Maybe someone else has tried this or has experience in this area?

Good luck with the mods!

maddog

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Last edited by dr_maddog; 01-31-2010 at 12:20 PM. Reason: grammer error
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:23 PM
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Mr Maddog,

Thanks for the reply, Your thread is very informative and has saved me a lot of time with my mods, no sense reinventing the wheel.
I was curious why you used a current limiting resister to reduce the current to 50mA, I am using the Radio Shack Vibrating motor. It is rated at 85mA. I was wondering if it were connected directly would it steal to much current from the piezo speaker or do you feel it is spinning too fast.

I noticed a mounting spot for the motor on the PC board. but I feel that this is poor design. I would be wary of hot gluing the motor to the board for fear of damaging the traces or shaking some of the components loose. I am using you idea of mounting it on the back cover with the straw fitted.

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  #19  
Old 11-23-2011, 05:53 PM
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There is actually a spot on the board for a DPDT switch marked BZ and MOT - the BZ is soldered closed so it is always in this mode.

I haven't reverse-engineered the schematic yet (but will eventually) but I suspect this diverts power from the Buzzer to the MOT pinout. Simple enough to test with a VOM/Multi Meter.

Originally Posted by dr_maddog View post
Billvert,

Yeah, I noticed the motor markings on the PCB as well. I don't know of another Centech pointer. My guess is that maybe there is another model and they get rebranded with these features added.

Good idea with adding the DPDT switch! As you know, there is limited space in the case however I am sure Mouser will have something that fits, maybe check Digikey or Jameco as well.

My next project was to work on increasing the range of the pointer but I just haven't had any time to work on it. I was going to try and wire a new coil however the coil in the wand is currently firmly in place with epoxy. The wires are so small I am not sure how to remove it without damaging it or melting the coating on the wires. Even if I got it apart, it would be hard to make a better coil then the one already in place. Takes alot of skill, practice and patience to make a coil. Maybe someone else has tried this or has experience in this area?

Good luck with the mods!

maddog

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  #20  
Old 02-11-2010, 10:16 PM
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Thumbs up good deal!

i did a different mod to mine---- had many problems with the terminals getting dirty inside the switch- so i installed a different reasure type switch and put a automotive rubber vacum cap over the sensitivity dial so no dirt wouldnt get in it and have had no problems at all since- works good now im thinkin about the vib motor !!! soundin' pretty good

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