Gold Search Modes on the Minelab Equinox 900 & MANTICORE detectors
If you are not keen on spending several thousand dollars on a Pulse-Induction “gold-specific” metal detector, and would prefer to get an “All-Rounder” (coin/relic/gold) detector, at a fraction of the cost, that is lightweight, with discrimination & pinpointing capabilities - that you can use on beaches, and/or in parks, and/or in the bush including in gold-bearing terrain, or underwater – then Minelab have several great new options for your consideration.
Both these 'VLF' detectors feature Simultaneous Multi-Frequency technology, including operating frequencies of between about 5 and 40 kHz, as well as the options of selectable single frequencies.
These two new Minelab detectors have a significant number of segments of Discrimination Scale. The Equinox 900 has 119 Target ID numbers (from -19 to 99), and the Manticore has 100 Target ID's numbers (from 0 to 99). By comparison the older Equinox 800 only has 50 Target ID numbers.
Interestingly, the Equinox 900 detector kit also includes two Double-D coils (the 11 inch, and 6 inch coils), whereas the Manticore currently only has an 11 inch Double-D coil available. Having the Equinox 6 inch Double-D coil is an advantage in terms of hunting small (sub-gram) gold nuggets, particularly in trashy areas (e.g. on old goldfields and nearby bush camps), and also in confined spaces to swing (e.g. in narrow gullies, including those highly vegetated, and areas covered in boulders or fallen timber etc.).
Both these new detectors also include excellent, low latency, wireless (Bluetooth) headphones. They also both feature a built-in Lithium-ion battery (within the handle), a built-in speaker, and LED flashlight (for nighttime use). They both only weigh about 1.3kg (The Minelab GPZ 7000 detector weighs about 3.3kg).
All new Minelab detectors have a 3 Year Warranty.
Both these detectors also have Search Modes suited for gold nugget prospecting.
The Equinox 900 has two gold search modes – designated as ‘Gold Profile 1’ (for “Normal Ground”) and ‘Gold Profile 2’ (for “Difficult Ground”), whereas the Manticore only has one gold search mode – designated as ‘Goldfield - General’ (suitable for benign to moderately mineralised ground).
Minelab explain these different Search Modes for the respective new detector as follows:
“Gold Profile 1* — Normal Ground Gold 1 is suitable for searching for small gold nuggets in ‘mild’ ground. Most goldfield locations have a variable level of iron mineralisation that will require an ongoing Ground Balance adjustment, therefore Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. The audio Threshold Level and Threshold Pitch is optimised for hunting gold nuggets. Gold 1 Multi-IQ processes a high frequency weighted multi-frequency signal, while ground balancing for mineralised soil.
Gold Profile 2* — Difficult Ground Gold 2 is best for searching for deeper gold nuggets in ‘difficult’ ground conditions. Gold 2 has a lower Recovery Speed, which will increase detection depth. However, more ground noise in more heavily mineralised grounds may result. Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. The audio Threshold Level and Threshold Pitch is optimised for hunting gold nuggets. Gold 2 Multi-IQ processes a high frequency weighted multi-frequency signal, while ground balancing for mineralised soil.”
Minelab also state that when using the Equinox 900 in either of the two gold search modes, the user could typically expect the detection of gold nuggets to have a positive Target ID number, with a low number.
“Difficult Gold Areas — Hot Rocks ‘Hot’ rocks are commonly found in gold prospecting locations. These are rocks that are mineralised differently to the surrounding ground. A highly mineralised rock buried in mildly mineralised ground would be considered to be a hot rock. Hot rocks can easily be mistaken for gold nuggets. The Target ID can assist here, with hot rocks typically having a negative Target ID number and gold having a positive ID in the very low conductive range.”
“Goldfield – General: suitable for small nuggets in benign to moderate soil mineralisation conditions.
Goldfield General Mode is for gold prospecting. Generally, gold nuggets are found in remote goldfields where the ground is often mineralised and targets are more sparsely distributed. For Goldfield General Mode, the default Audio Theme is set to Prospecting, providing a 'true' threshold tone which maximises sensitivity to weak target signals. When a target is detected, the signal volume and pitch vary proportionally to the strength of the target signal. Most goldfield locations have a variable level of iron mineralisation that requires constant Ground Balance adjustment, therefore Tracking Ground Balance is the default setting. Goldfield Mode is suited to finding smaller surface gold nuggets (and some larger deeper ones) in mineralised ground.”
Typical Target ID Numbers/Air-Depths for Gold Nuggets Recent air-depth testing (non-buried target) using both detectors (set on only medium Sensitivity), and with both coils used on the Equinox 900 - upon a very flat (5mm diameter) 0.27gram (sub-gram) nugget indicated air-depths of about 2 to 3 inches, with Target ID numbers in the range of about 15 to 20.
A sub-gram nugget detected using the Equinox 900 + Minelab Equinox 6-inch Double-D coil.
Equinox/Manticore Target ID numbers for gold nuggets can vary depending on several factors, including the size & shape of the nugget, and also gold purity, including the amount of any other metals present like silver & copper. Larger nuggets (more than a few grams) can indicate Target ID numbers of up to within the range of about 30 to 50.
It makes me wonder …..
(i) Will there be a future upgrade for the Manticore? to provide an additional gold search mode? i.e. similar to the ‘Gold Profile 2’ search mode on the Equinox 900 – that “is best for searching for deeper gold nuggets in difficult ground conditions”.
(ii) Will the proposed Minelab M8 elliptical Double-D coil (8’ x 5.5” size) on the Manticore detector provide increased depth capability in terms of detecting sub-gram gold? - compared to the Equinox 6 inch (‘EQX06’) DD coil on the Equinox 900 detector.