A metal detector is great for finding hidden treasures in the ground. Although they are enjoyed by children and adults alike, they are also used by professionals. Archeologist’s use metal detectors for scanning ancient archeological sites searching for metallic type items. They are also used by surveyors to detect various grades of subsurface metal ores that are unseen with the human eye.
Metal detectors are designed on the principle of electromagnetism, which basically uses electromagnetic fields to detect the presence of metal objects.
There are several different models available to accomplish locating metals, such as the induction balance detector, the pulse induction detector and the frequency oscillator detector.
The induction balance system was the biggest technical change in metal detectors. Here is where two coils are set up in an electrical equilibrium to create a ‘zero’ balance. When varying forms of metal are introduced into the vicinity of the coil, it will cause an unbalance, which in turn, will produce a different type of tone into the detectors’ speaker.
The pulse induction detector infiltrates the deepest, but because it detects every piece of metal in the ground, it cannot distinguish the difference between the targeted object and bogus materials.
Using a beat frequency oscillator detector, a coil is used as an inductor within an oscillator, which will cause the frequency to change whenever metal causes it’s inductance (the ratio of change in electrical current) to change.
The basic parts of all detectors are a control box, a shaft and a search coil. These will include the battery, coil and the electronic unit itself. For the most part, the coil, acting as a transmitter, is the most important part of the metal detector.
Most, but not all metal detectors have the ability to only detect metals within a foot or so below the surface, although the majority of modern detectors have the ability to adjust automatically to the different ground minerals (mineralization) and uneven terrain which give off false signals. This mineralization is known as ‘ground effect’. Another great development of the earlier detectors was the ability for the user to easily switch between the ‘discriminate’ mode and the ‘non-discriminate’ mode, which would cancel out the conflict between mineralization and a targeted piece of metal substance.
The detector search head must maintain a constant movement in order to detect metals. In doing so, the signal sound will fluctuate between high and low sounds. It is by this back and forth, sweeping motion, that the user can target in on the loudest sound and by making shorter back and forth motions, can zero in on the particular area and easily find their prize hidden below.
For most people, metal detecting is an extremely fun hobby and depending on equipment, can sometimes become pricey. Depending on the type of model and sensitivity, metal detectors can range from around $65 to upwards of over $8000. On the other hand, if you don’t use the right equipment, it can become frustrating and costly in the way of both time and money. There are many books available both on and off line that can be of a great assistance in helping you to select the right equipment and to also guide you in the right direction in your metal detecting and treasure hunting adventures.
People have many different interests and uses for their metal detectors. Some are history buffs and like to visit old historical sites and search for old Civil War artifacts. Others like to go to places after a major public event has taken place and search for coins and other miscellaneous metals.
I have a friend who likes older coins and once, after doing some research, he found an old military base that was active during WWII. After concentrating around the barracks and officers quarters, he found handfuls of the older wheathead pennies and buffalo nickels. Others, such as gold prospectors, use specialized PI (pulse induction) detectors, which are known for their deep searching capabilities, to search for gold coins, jewelry, nuggets and gold bars, etc.
Some searches will lead you to private owner properties. If at all possible, you may want to contact the owner prior to setting out and honestly tell them of your intentions. By doing so, they may be more receptive to your request than if you didn’t ask them at all.
The many different places and items that you can search for using a metal detector are endless. You just never know what treasures the next search will bring. You may be pleasantly surprised of the many items that you may find in areas where you would least expect. Some of them could be in your own backyard!