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Offline metal_inspectorTopic starter
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« on: June 27, 2009, 07:45:01 pm »
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I thought that this might kind of be a main topic for questions about metal detecting.  More so about what to do and how to do kind of questions.  Thought that this would kind of help people.  I'll see how this works.  I'll start with a question, since I have one.

What is the cause of a disappearance of a good signal when metal detecting?

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Offline GoldDigger1950
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2009, 09:33:49 pm »
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When sifting soil from a hole a metal target which seemed very sharp and loud could fall into the hole and go out of range of your coil. Sometimes, scooping the loose soil at the bottom with your hand can relocate it for you. Other times, it could be something like foil which can split into smaller pieces when you dig. You could also have turned the target edge on to your coil making it a smaller target. Lots of things can happen. I even had a ring pull lodge itself on my probe and when I lifted it out, I lost the signal. A few minutes later, after I had moved on, I found the ring pull stuck on my probe.

I have a large magnet on my sand scoop (underneath) and every now and again it will pick up an iron target. Then, I might find a hairpin or chunk of wire stuck on the bottom. Of course, the target seems to have vanished on me when I recheck the hole.

Yes. I dig every target. Even junk. I can't begin to tell you how many alleged "ring tabs" or "screw caps" (so says my detector) turned out to be large gold items being sensed as trash.

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Offline metal_inspectorTopic starter
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009, 10:02:13 pm »
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Ah, as I thought.  I used to dig everything that I detected.  You even dig up the items when it is positive that it is iron? Then again, I did just that today.  Actually, I found a brass rifle shell, it has an H on the primers end.  It seems like an older type of shell, so I don't know what caliber, mag. it belongs to.  Too big for an .22 rifle. 

I have an magnet that has the pulling capacity of 100 lbs, I just never think to bring it with me.  I also would like to go 'fishing' with it.  Or, so to speak, toss it out into a creek or such to see if I can hook onto something like an gun or something. 

Another type of disappearance of an good signal could be due to the Halo Effect.  If you are on the lowest level of discrimination, i.e. on rejection of iron and you are at a site containing iron junk, you will encounter a phenomenon-unexpected disappearance of a good solid signal.  The Halo Effect is a conductive increase in target size as seen by the metal detector's electromagnetic field.  Or, the detector reads an iron target as a nonferrous object of high conductivity, i.e. the object made of copper or silver.  This effect is caused by excessive target oxidation permeating the soil directly surrounding the target.  The Halo Effect is associated with long term burial items or highly acidic soils. 

The Halo Effects is always disappears upon digging up the iron object, and if the detector's discrimination level is set up on rejecting iron, the target's signal is not heard any more.  It disappears because the surrounding soil has been disturbed and disrupts the Halo Effect on the iron object.  It then does not "see" the iron object because it is of low conductivity because of discrimination.  In All Metal mode, when iron is accepted, the "silver" or high-pitch tone of a signal changes to a low-pitch tone or "iron" upon digging up the target. 

If you get a signal when you dug down deep, in most cases it is a object of high conductivity and of nonferrous nature.  These items could be aluminum cans, copper drain pipes, and old pots or buckets with galvanized plating.  Or it could be a money cache or coin hoard.  If you hunt on a site that does not contain modern junk, keeping investigating these signals!! Just remember about the Halo Effect and try to recover the targets with the least amount of ground disturbance possible.   

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Offline GoldDigger1950
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 01:22:01 am »
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The halo effect doesn't exist as far as metal detectors are concerned. It's a rumor that any engineer or electronics designer will tell you is an excuse for the imprecision of their detector. Look at it like this. If you could detect the oxide of metals in the soil, you'd be digging everywhere that any detector user before you dug a target. Everywhere. That's a silly notion.

The halo effect is not a verifiable cause for detecting a target. Never was and never will be. It's a molecular change in the soil that happens to anything that oxidizes or rusts but it is not something you can detect with a coil. Only with some serious lab testing or gas chromatography can you detect the oxide of a metal in soil.

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Offline metal_inspectorTopic starter
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 11:45:00 am »
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Hm, I got that from a site that talked about it.  It was

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that explained it. 

What would cause a silver pitch tone turn to a bad tone then?

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Offline GoldDigger1950
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 12:42:10 pm »
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Your detector is not infallible and that tone could be anything from a silver item to a small ball of aluminum foil rolled up and discarded. When something like that is close to the surface and gets tossed onto the surface ground under your removed soil, it can vanish from the sensing range of your detector. Sometimes small objects slip through your fingers and go deeper into the ground right in the hole you just cleared. When that happens, your find may be out of range of your detector.

The halo effect is the myth of treasure hunters and an advertising boon to detector manufacturers. The more that treasure hunters believe it the more that the detector manufacturers can capitalize on the fear of missing an item because of this alleged halo effect.

As I said earlier, if the halo effect were a fact, every item you dig would leave behind a halo that would be detectable for decades after you removed it. You'd be digging for ghosts more often than finds. What good would a metal detector be if that were the case? You would be using an oxide detector. The halo effect is one of the biggest scams in metal detecting history.

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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2009, 12:59:41 pm »
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Yes, sometimes I dig up a piece of a nail that says that it was silver.  As well, I have dug up some type of aluminum all over the yard.  I keep everything I dug and discard any bad things that are not worth.  Perhaps digging about everything that I detect might help, seeing that sometimes valuables are called junk. 

I just don't like digging coins, I also enjoy digging relics.  I do usually/always have the sensitivity on about 10 or 11, which is high.  I don't know if that effects much.  I thought that it would help detect rings and such.  I'm not sure if finding certain items are associated with certain sensitivity levels or not.  When I put it on low sensitivity, it does not detect a coin unless it is almost on top of it and that is why I don't mess with the sensitivity.

I do have a Garrett Pro-Pointer which has helped me find the smallest of iron objects in a hole and recover them easily.  I am glad I bought it. 

Hm, wonder if the site knew that or was trying to promote that to help the manufacturers.  I now know that, thank you. 

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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2009, 01:13:14 pm »
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The way threshold works is not easily understood. If you are looking for targets near the surface that will blow your ears off as you pass over them, turn up your threshold and only the larger, closer to the surface objects will be able to punch through the level.

For deeper, harder to sense objects, threshold should be set to a barely audible tone. Adjust it until it goes away and then slowly advance it until you have the faintest steady tone. Then, the whispers will be your deepest, oldest targets.

Threshold in one brand of metal detector is akin to the sensitivity in other machines. If you set it high, it takes more energy to get a faint signal through so you will miss targets that are deep. The people who use that most are beach hunters who are seeking recently lost items and don't want to dig 200 rusty beer bottle caps a day.

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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2009, 01:21:06 pm »
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I have come across signals that were a short and small little whisper.  I usually cut the plug and dug as deep as I can.  Then, I use my Pro-Pointer to try and locate it.  Sometimes I get a reaction, but most of the time I seem to not be able to find this small whisper signal.  I run my detector back over the spot, it catches the whisper again.  In mind, these whispers are not solid but might take a couple of swings to get it back on.  If I can't find the item, I usually give up and fill it back up and leave.  There is such a spot in the yard.  I had recovered a Lincoln wheat there and a gold charm bracelet as well.  I got back to it and I would hear a faint signal that would appear every so sweeps.  I use a shovel so I can dig deep but I still can't find it, even with the pinpointer.  I give up. 

I'm not sure if those are the deep and old objects you were mentioning above, but that does happen sometimes.  Where I am detecting is in a neighbors yard, out in-the-middle of nowhere rural area.  I don't really know the type of the soil I detect in, detecting the the Midwest of the US. 

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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2009, 01:28:39 pm »
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For whispers that you can't pinpoint, try this. Put your coil directly on the ground where you think the item is centered under your coil. Then draw a circle either mentally or with spray paint around the coil. Now, detect along the line and see if you get another whisper or perhaps even a better signal. Sometimes a whisper is your coil detecting something at the edge rather than the middle. It happens with some metals like bronze and brass.

Sometimes people ask me to trace their phone line under the ground so they can safely dig in their yards. When you trace a long wire like that you sometimes get three signals in parallel. One loud signal along the wire and two lesser signals where the wire crosses the coil edges. That's due to the 90 volt level that the phone line has more than the metal but it can still cause a false whisper. Phone lines use high brass content copper which is softer and more flexible than ordinary wire.

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