Dec 26 2010

Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector Tip – How To Pinpoint

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Garrett Ace 250 Metal DetectorThe Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector is a great entry level detector for the enthusiast metal detectorist out there. Over the years, I’ve been asked many times about pinpointing tips. I’ve said that pinpointing is EXTREMELY important to be good at. The faster you retrieve a target, the faster you can continue to metal detect again. If you’re not swinging a coil.. you’re not finding anything. Limit your time in the hole, to maximize your time on the hunt.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Garrett Ace 250, here is the description of the unit:

Introducing the ALL-NEW Garrett ACE series – not just a new line of detectors, but a new way of thinking. We’ve taken a lot of the leading edge technology and well thought-out features from our GTI and GTAx lines and packaged them into the most aggressive, rugged outdoor design in the business. These attention-stealing detectors are turning heads and sending the competition back to the drawing board. But put aside their aggressive very good looks and you’ll see just how significantly remarkable technology we’ve packed into these NEW machines. From custom notch discrimination, pinpointing, adjustable sensitivity and depth settings to the newest addition of the Performance coils series, the 6.5×9″ ACE coil, these detectors will never stop impressing you – or discovering treasure!

Here is a great video I found that goes into how to pinpoint with the Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector by mowerdog:

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Mar 3 2007

Guest Post: Backup your metal detecting and research data!

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Some of you are like me and like to keep metal detecting logs recording finds, including coin tallies, and places to hunt. I also like to record my thoughts on the day/hunt, keeping track of a useful tip I may have learned or noticed interesting behaviour on a target. Sometimes I like to review these during the ‘off’ season to get excited about my new Spring hunts.

Along with logging my hunts, I take many trips to the library with my laptop for research. Many libraries now offer microfilm transfers to flash drives. This is great for storing scans of newspaper clippings, and using a flash drive makes it nice and easy to transfer those files to my laptop. Besides microfilm scans I write my research notes and save Google Map documents for future or current hunt sites. Don’t forget those old maps files off of the internet too.

Metal detecting data is extremely useful for my success in the field, and greatly organizes my thoughts for upcoming hunts. With that said, I treat my data very seriously. Six years ago, I had a complete harddrive failure and lost all of my early hunting logs and valuable research data. I was able to recover some of that from old print-outs that I had and email correspondence, but I lost a large portion of it.

The lesson I learned was to backup my data. Since then, I have been backing up to CD. This alternative was fine until, I became lazy and would forget to backup to disc, not to mention the stacks of CDs and the cost of purchasing the discs. I then opted to go with an external harddrive. This was better. It would back up nightly. I did run across a problem.. after deciding to take a look at the contents of the external harddrive, I realized it had died, and I was not backing my data at all from that point of it’s failure!!!

I wanted to explore other options, and finally decided to go with Mozy Backups (http://www.mozy.com). This backup system is a ‘off-site’ backup, meaning that the backed up files are stored on a server on the internet. Why is this good? If my house burns down, I’m okay. If someone breaks into my house and steals my computer, I’m okay. Ever watch “It takes a thief” on Discovery, the thief always steals the computer in the house. Along with the fact that the data is stored on a remote server, the files are backed up securely and incrementally. This means that if I saved a file yesterday, but realized I deleted an entry from two days ago, I can recover the file from that day!

Did I mention that Mozy is FREE??? Well, it is. You can have a 2GB remote backup account for $0. If you want more storage you can purchase an unlimited storage account for only $4.95/month.

Once you’ve created a Mozy Account and downloaded/installed the backup program you can begin to configure your backups. After installing the program, log into the application on your computer, and select the encryption mechanism.

[x] encrypt my data with Mozy’s own 448-bit key

You can use pre-existing backup set, or create custom backup set. After selecting a backup set (ie: C:\Research) to run, you can configure the schedule. One feature that I thought was nice, was to set it to backup when the computer is not in use. This means that backs will only happen when you are away. You won’t notice any performance issues or slowness of your internet bandwidth while your working on your computer. Your computer must be on and connected to the internet though.

Restoring files is extremely simple. Clicking on the restore option will open up a web browser to Mozy’s site. Log in and go to

Restore Files. There is representation of your directory tree structure that you created. Drill down to your file(s), add a check and click ‘Restore Files’. An email will be sent after restoration has been completed.

The 2GB free account is nice for backing up spreadsheets and word docs, but you’ll probably use it up quickly if you’re backing up scans of your finds or microfilm captures. If you’re planning on backing up images, it might be best to upgrade your account. Either way, it’s nice to give it a try for free.

Remember, once you lose your data.. you can’t get it back, so back it up!

Author: Hank D.


Feb 18 2007

Guest Post: Show off your finds! Simple tips for better pictures.

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Well there is nothing better than finding that elusive ring, old coin, civil war bullet or roman coin. Whatever you are after it’s almost as fun to share what you have found! As the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s true but mostly when we try to get that picture out in the real world it just doesn’t come out as you would like.

There are several ways to capture your finds; one is by using a scanner (which is a great way but usually only coins or other flat objects can be displayed). This method is great but you tend to want to enlarge and sharpen your images so people will see a little bit better what your subject is really all about and for that you need some imaging software to help you out. Adobe Photoshop or Elements are two common programs to help with this Endeavour. The second method is the camera. This method is probably by far the best for grabbing images of any kind giving you the ability to show in a simple way what you have found. The third method is the video camera. This is fun because you can develop the story behind the object and also give many assorted views. Each method has its place and its strengths and weaknesses. On this subject I will focus on the camera.

Most of us have either a digital or a film camera at our disposal. They come in 1000′s of flavors if you are in the market for one, simply go to www.dcviews.com for the latest in digital photography. With film cameras although I truly believe they are far superior in reproduction of the moment (there are huge debates on this just Google film vs. digital) you’ll need to wait for your photos to come back from the lab in order to see your results. Therefore I can attest that digital cameras are superior for ease of use, and true to the moment reproductions.

In most cases, just taking a picture of your object and placing it on a forum or an online photo album is simple and enough. But there are times that if you want to identify an object that you have found, and need detail this simple method just doesn’t work. Let’s take for instance a penny I have here.

This penny is under normal magnification of my camera. But with simple low cost lenses you can get from any camera store or online store, you can magnify these images even further. And the nice thing about these simple lenses is that they screw into the front of the lens of you camera (fitting virtually all cameras from simple digital cameras all the way to the digital SLR’s). They also screw into each other magnifying even further.

Below you will see the differences these lenses can achieve.

This is +2 magnifications from the first photo

This is +4 magnifications from the first photo

This is the +4 and the +2 lenses together.

This method achieves two purposes. The resolution of the picture is a lot better than just using Photoshop to increase the pixel images (you can only increase this so far in Photoshop) and if digitally enhancing is something you want to do (using Photoshop) this increases your ability 10 fold!

The ability to bring into view a date much clearer is enhanced by the initial magnification.

Several manufacturers have theses lenses on hand.
Tiffen
Promaster

So show off your finds! Get that great relic ready to show what it’s really made of! Let people see what you have! A nice photo will make it all that much better!

Author: J.J. Antonetti


Feb 3 2007

Guest Post: The Super Booster Metal Detector Amplifying Headset

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The headphones usually supplied for use with metal detectors are dinosaurs. Heavy, expensive, and flimsy of make, the sound quality of these burdensome and ridiculous things is a joke, and thats not a good thing at all, because sound quality in metal detecting is really what its all about!

Until I figured this little contraption out, I never made much money detecting because I was replacing headphones yearly to the tune of 50-100$ per. Now I carry three of four extra headphone sets with me everywhere I go, and these cost me about 2 dollars each, or less.

I studied many varieties of metal detector sound amplifiers before coming up with this idea, and it sure works well, and is easy to accomplish. While reading over this article, and building your own super booster sound amplifier, remember that many other good things can be made by modifying equipment and machinery to fit your needs.

This project will give you super sound quality, and adjustability. I have had many people tell me that by being able to adjust their metal detectors closer to threshold frequencies, they actually gain an inch or more in depth, and that is a BIG advantage. I myself have experienced this, and more. Those hunted out areas become huntable again, and remember this: a lot of the best stuff at any site is the deepest stuff.

You will need to obtain a walkman-type cassette player, which will then be altered to serve as your metal detectors SOUND AMPLIFIER, and it will also allow you to use the lightweight and REAL POWERFUL ceramic-speaker headphones that can be replaced for a dollar or two. Usually these run on two AA batteries.

Other than this belt-mountable cassette player, you will also need this short list of supplies:

Soldering Iron, soldering flux, and rosin core solder — do not use acid core solder, because it will not work, or it will not work for long.

- Small phillips head screwdrivers.
- Wire stripping tool/knife.
- Propane torch or bic lighter
- Small diameter heat shrinkable tubing = 1/8″ . Henceforth called HST.
- Electrical Tape
- A hot glue stick
- A 1/4″ Stereo headphone plug — Its very important to get a STEREO plug vs. a MONO plug. A MONO plug will not work.

A two foot long piece of wire-wrapped two-strand electronic cable with about a 1/8″ inner diameter, and an outer diameter of around 1/4″. Co-axial cable with a braided wire mesh on the outside, and two separate wire strands on the inside, is what you are after. Strip an inch of this wires insulation totally off both ends, twisting the outer wire braid into a third wire. Tin all of these wire ends with solder (See page on soldering).

OK.

A lot of the above can be salvaged, and the total cost of the supplies should not exceed ten dollars. I have consistently bought walkman cassette players used and still working for 50 cents or a dollar at thrift stores. I have 5 or 6 here right now, I picked up just because they were there and practically free. Almost every one of the type of stores selling used items has a special section for used electronics, and many times they will have a box FULL of the radio/cassette players. Make sure you obtain a machine with a cassette player, do not get one that is just a radio. This is because the amplifier we are after requires the amplifying circuit of the cassette player, and also because the cassette player mechanism allows easy access to that circuit.

When you buy these, get them cheap, or free, but before doing any work put batteries in and see if you get at least a loud hum from the headphones, when the volume is turned up. If they work perfectly, thats better, but sometimes the little rubber bands running the mechanics of the tape-turner go to heaven, and the machine is then good for our purposes but its wheels will not turn.

If none of the above happens, then toss the thing, and get another. You can even buy new hipmount cassette players for about 5 dollars, but the older meatier machines are actually better, and, as stated, still plentiful.

The players are usually encased in two pieces, and it all comes apart after 6 little screws are located and undone around the outer edge of the back of the player. Save the screws and remember its all going to have to go back together when this is done.

Once you get the cassette player apart, find the motor on the circuit board and cut its power wire, otherwise it will cause interference during operations. Cutting the rubber bands does not accomplish the same thing, you must remove power to the motor. One or both wires running into the motor are clipped, and that is that. Make sure they cannot short out later. Hot glue any loose ends and fasten with a dab of hot glue somewhere out of the way. Do not make trouble for yourself when its time to put the machine back together though, and keep hot glue well away from the circuit board.

Now look for the shiny metal cube, which is called the cassette head. The wire we need to hook up to, runs right up to that shiny metal cube, the cassette head. Find it and cut it up as close to the shiny cube as possible. You need as much slack as you can get, and there will not be much. This is the same type of wire-wrapped 2 strand cable that you have obtained already, except that it is smaller in diameter. Strip the ends of this wire carefully, and tin each bare wire (see the page on soldering).

IMPORTANT******* Remember to place your HST (heat shrinkable tubing) on wires BEFORE joining any two wires. Cut the pieces small enough so they can be slid out of the way, and be unaffected by the soldering irons heat, but then can be pulled up over the join, to be shrunk in place permanently. Any heat will shrink that stuff so be careful. Double or triple applications of HST is a good trick for waterproofing and strengthening joined wires.

On either end of the two-strand wire wrapped cable goes the 1/4″ Stereo Plug. 1/4″ denotes the diameter of the plugs shaft, by the way. Inside this plug are three prongs, one being higher and usually larger in size than the other two. The outer wire wrapping of the cable, which has been already twisted and solder-tinned, gets attached to that largest of prongs. The other two wires you just solder where they fit best, at this stage, because correct polarities will be checked when it gets hooked up to the amplifying circuit in the cassette player.

Lets go over what we have done so far: You have taken the player apart. You have soldered the 1/4″ Stereo plug on one end of the wire-wrapped 2 strand cable from your supplies list. You have also stripped and tinned the wire wrapped 2 strand cable inside the player, which runs from the cassette head (Shiny Cube) to the printed circuit board/amplifier circuit.

Now we need to test this set up, and its tricky, but the end product is very well worth all this trouble, believe it.

Plug the stereo plug into your metal detector. The wires on the other end of it now need to be tested with the wires running to the circuit board of the cassette player. The outer wire wrapping will connect to the outer wire wrapping of the cable inside the cassette player. The two other wires must be tested with the cassette player on and hooked up to the metal detector. You can turn it on by hitting the players PLAY button, and you have to have the headphones on to hear all this.

Turn the volume to about 1/4 or 1/2 but don’t blast your ear drums. Turn the metal detector on, with tuner at #1 preset level, and turn the detectors volume all the way up. Again, the cassette player is also on. Make sure the batteries are hooked up and there is power. Put the headphones on and attach the outer wrapped wires from both cables together. Now test the two wires out of the center of this wirewrapped cable with the two corresponding wires running into the player.

When you get it right you will know, as long as everything is hooked up with power. If you can’t get any sound either way, you have a bad solder join/connection somewhere, or a switch is off. Go back over this until you get it right. Once you have tone and variability coming through the headphones, solder the wires as is, shrink their HST, wrap with electrical tape, and re-assemble the cassette player.

Before doing any soldering remember to correctly place the stereo plugs cap, and any HST, in their correct spots before joining.

You can make an egress point for this outbound wire going to the detector, wherever it is needed, by melting the plastic casing of the cassette player with a lighter or even the soldering iron. Attach this wire inside the cassette player with hot glue, so that any pull on it is not on the soldered join. Do remember to keep hot glue away from the circuit board too.

This finished super booster now gets strapped to your metal detector with rubber banding or whatever you can deduce for your own particular set up. Mount it on the detector so there is not a lot of trauma replacing the batteries.

Practice getting just the right amount of volume that will let you adjust your threshold frequency as low as it will go. This increases field size of the coil and you will gain many advantages, including increased depth. The differences between round targets and not is more easily discernible too. Ferrous and nonferrous have much more clear signatures when listening with the increased sound quality. You will love it. Be careful with the sound though, you have much more than your ears need, or can even handle. Do not make yourself deaf by trying to get more from the machine than it can give. If you use this to its best utility, you will increase your finds exponentially over time, and will save a lot of money.

——————————————-

Soldering.

The ability to solder is important in all electronics work, and for other work too, like plumbing, or jewelry.

The correct way to solder is to clean all the metal to be soldered first, then coat the metal well with rosin soldering flux. Different work requires different soldering fluxes, but all electronic work uses ONLY rosin flux, and most of the solder comes in wire and is called rosin core solder, because it has this type of flux running right through the middle of it.

Apply the soldering gun or soldering pencil to ONLY one cleaned and fluxed wire or terminal at a time, simultaneously applying the solder itself to each area being heated. As soon as high enough temperature is reached, the solder will melt and flow across the entirety of the heated wire or terminal. This is called Tinning. You will see the solder coat the wire or terminal entirely. It should be bright with no dull spots. If there are dull spots apply heat until shininess is achieved. Do not confuse burnt flux with areas of dull cloudiness. Dull cloudiness is the result of insufficient heat. Burned flux may appear dull but when scratched off the solder will probably be bright underneath. If there is excess solder on the part it can be shaken off carefully at this stage of treatment.

Two tinned pieces of metal only require a minimum of flux and heat to join together when the soldering iron is applied to them. This is how the professionals do it, and the minimum heat at this stage allows for the use of heat shrinkable tubing, and protects delicate components.

In electronics only rosin core solder is used. Do not use acid core solder unless your job specifically calls for it. Acid core solder will never be used to make electronic connections.

A necessity in soldering is to expose only the amount of metal necessary for a good soldered joint. Any excess exposed metals just crate greater possibilities for short circuiting down the road.

Good soldering skills are usually the difference between good work, and only so-so. practice on scraps until you get good, and perfect soldering is not hard once you get the hang of it.

Editor’s Note: Bill Gallagher originally sold this report, but has decided to make it public domain through DetectorBase. The original article was written in 1991. We would also like to emphasize that the opinions expressed in this article are of the author and no way reflect the opinions of DetectorBase.

Author: Bill Gallagher
Bill Gallagher sold his first treasure hunting article when he was 19, to Western and Eastern Treasures magazine then of Arcata California (Coral Fever). He then proceeded to publish magazine articles with them on a steady basis through the mid 90′s, as well as with several other magazines. Subjects included metal detecting, rock hounding, numismatics, bottle collecting and much more. Bill turned 48 in 2007, and is still treasure hunting strong.

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