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  #1  
Old 01-20-2013, 03:10 PM
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Stunmi Stunmi is offline
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Wink Xterra settings and the beach?

First post, although I have lurked and learned for several weeks.

No previous MD experience but it was finally 'time,' and bought a Minelab Xterra 305. Took it out of the box, was anxious to try it, just set everything from what I could learn from the manual in 30 seconds.

Couldn't have been too far off as I had an exciting first time finding a small handful of clad and various trash at the neighborhood park in the dark. Took it outside the next day to look at something, and ended up digging half a dozen clad 3 steps outside the house.

Now I am feeling more confident, and spent a couple hours in the manual, understanding it and taking notes. Now I am REALLY confident, and ready to hit the beach today and find jewelry.

Perfect weather for it today on East coast of Florida, as it was a bit chilly and windy for sunbathers. Other than walkers and bikes, we had the beach to ourselves. Beach is normally completely covered with towels. Arrived and tide was high and retreating. Water had been very high last night, as the sand was flattened out all the way to the break walls. So the half of the sand near the water was hard packed and wet, the half up to the break wall was semi dry, the kind that appears dry but if you sat down would gradually soak your shorts.

So after 2 hours, our take was.......... a small washer.

Thats it. In the break, googled settings advice and adjusted to- Sensitivity at 5 and the threshhold at 17, ran AM and program 1 both. Found the washer and maybe 2 pieces of trash all the way up against the wall.

Absolutely no hits from the packed sand, either wet or almost dry. Searched around stairs and trash cans looking for dropped items. Repeatedly tested my own coins fine, although a couple times when buried the signal was very tight, I mean I had to be exactly on it.

Good news- it appears to be a very clean beach! Bad news- either too clean, or I am doing something wrong. Another observation- after over 2 hours on the beach, I never saw another MD working. Hmmm?

Any comments or suggestions? Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2013, 03:27 PM
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I hope that you mis-typed that your threshold was 17 and sensitivity at 5. It should have been the other way around.

If you haven't already, go to the Minelab wbsite and sign up. Then go to the "Members" area and download Randy Horton's free e-book "Understanding Your Xterra" and read it....twice. It's an easy read, packed with usable info, and will help you to know what and why your machine is telling you what it does.

Welcome to the Xterra!

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Old 01-20-2013, 06:56 PM
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Like Longhair said,download this:http://www.minelab.com/usa/treasure-...-x-terra-ebook

Read it.Read it again then when you get done.....read it one more time,then go practice. That e-book is the Xterra Bible in my opinion.

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:16 PM
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You usually won't find many hunters on the beach at high tide, that's probably why you didn't see anyone else hunting. There are PLENTY of beach hunting days where you find yourself scanning your scoop to make sure everything is working ok because you haven't gotten a signal for so long.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Longhair View post
I hope that you mis-typed that your threshold was 17 and sensitivity at 5. It should have been the other way around.

If you haven't already, go to the Minelab wbsite and sign up. Then go to the "Members" area and download Randy Horton's free e-book "Understanding Your Xterra" and read it....twice. It's an easy read, packed with usable info, and will help you to know what and why your machine is telling you what it does.

Welcome to the Xterra!
Longhair- Thank you for the reply. Yes I have read the e-book and currently have a window open with it. However the sensitivity on the 305 ranges from 1-10, so not only is 17 not possible but 5 or below is what I see recommended.

Threshold- This is the setting that I am having some difficulty understanding. Even the e-book doesn't seem to address it as well as the other functions. In fact it almost seems to contradict itself-

"Setting it too low can result in small or deep targets not making enough audio tone" and "a high threshold can mask small targets"

And from the manual-

A threshold also improves the quality of target signals, and lets you know you have passed over junk or rejected targets by momentarily blanking the audio. Experienced operators will all tell you that the presence of junk is very important, wherever people have been, they unfortunately always leave junk behind, but amongst that junk are the good targets!

However I ran in all metal and ferrous discrimination, so therefore it seems that the above doesn't apply..?

So my question is, would the way I had the MD set really cause me to miss so many targets, or is it possible that the beach was just very clean from the high/rough tide that was departing?
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Franz View post
You usually won't find many hunters on the beach at high tide, that's probably why you didn't see anyone else hunting. There are PLENTY of beach hunting days where you find yourself scanning your scoop to make sure everything is working ok because you haven't gotten a signal for so long.
Note that by the time I was finished, the tide had retreated so that there was plenty of beach, although wet hard packed sand. I am guessing that this is not an optimal condition compared to dry fluffy sand with new treasures?
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:09 PM
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I just threw that post up there because using a threshold setting of 17 is unheard of, so I'd hoped that you had mis-typed something. A threshold setting of 7 is probably too high unless you're hunting w/o headphones. Most hunt with the threshold "barely audible", so that it is just loud enough that you can hear when it nulls or signals a target.
And headphones are recommended. Not only will you hear more, but it will dramaticlly increase battery life.

On dry sand you can run much higher sensitivity than on wet. And an 18.75kHz DD coil will be able to run hotter than the stock 9" MF CC, and would be what I would choose for the beach. Aside from being more stable in that scenerio, it's response to gold is sufficently better enough to warrant it.
It is possible that either the beach was clean, or enough new sand had been deposited by the high rough tide to cover what may have been there. Serious beach hunting is a science. You might want to see if there's a local club or other detectorists nearby to learn from what they pay attention to.

Also, Randy wrote a four part blog on "Which Xterra Coil Is Best For Me?" that is in the "TreasureTalk" section on the Minelab site. If you haven't already, you might want to check it out.

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Longhair View post
I just threw that post up there because using a threshold setting of 17 is unheard of, so I'd hoped that you had mis-typed something. A threshold setting of 7 is probably too high unless you're hunting w/o headphones. Most hunt with the threshold "barely audible", so that it is just loud enough that you can hear when it nulls or signals a target.
I understand sensitivity and ground balance... could you please explain threshold as if you were attempting to teach it to a 5 year old (haha) and how it reacts at low and high settings, and the difference between the regular headphone volume and it? Appreciated!

I also glanced at the different coils, but as a newb don't know if it's right to crutch my inexperience by jumping to more gear so soon... If I had known that -may- be necessary it might have influenced my original purchase decision...
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2013, 10:15 PM
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OK. For starters, depending on the headphones and their impedence, headphone volume settings can vary. Mine have their own volume adjustment, so I run the machine at max volume and control it with the phones. The output to the phones at max is still far less power consuming than the amplifier to run the speaker. On Xterras. the headphone and speaker volume circuits are separate, and the machine will remember each setting individually.

Running my volume at max, my threshold level is usually at 1 or two. It depends on ambient noise. In a clean area, it is a quiet background hum. Loud enough to hear any variation in, but not so loud that a minor variation which might be a potential deep target might go un-noticed.

As far as coils go, the stock 7.5kHz coil is a fine dry land coil. It has the most honest TID's of any coil avaiable for any Xterra, and is supplied as a stock coil because it is a good general purpose coil.
Coil changes are the beauty of the Xterra. You can change frequency, which will affect target response to various target materials. You can change size, which is benificial when hunting in trashy areas. And you can change search pattern configuration, as in going to a DD coil which will further separate better in trash as well as providing superior performance in more mineralized conditions, but size being equal will not have the depth of the CC in mild soils.

What it boils down to, is that the machine can be tailored for it's task. Beach hunting is one task that it can handle, but to be optimized a different coil would be better. However, off the beach that coil might not be optimal, and your 7.5kHz might be the hot ticket. It's not that one coil can work and nothing else will. It's more that one coil will work better than the others at certain tasks, at certain sites, looking for certain targets.

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  #10  
Old 01-21-2013, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Stunmi View post
I understand sensitivity and ground balance... could you please explain threshold as if you were attempting to teach it to a 5 year old (haha) and how it reacts at low and high settings, and the difference between the regular headphone volume and it? Appreciated!

I also glanced at the different coils, but as a newb don't know if it's right to crutch my inexperience by jumping to more gear so soon... If I had known that -may- be necessary it might have influenced my original purchase decision...
Maybe in simpler words, adjusting the threshold level up, allows you too still here a target that is disc. out. Otherwise, you will be MD'ing in whats called silent mode and won't here any discr. targets.
The reason for this is, that sometimes MD'ers still want too here trash 'cause maybe there is, something good with it!
I don't know if this matters when using the all metal mode though?

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  #11  
Old 01-24-2013, 08:48 AM
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This post explains threshold a little better. http://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=15979
hope it helps

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