Jan 7 2007

Guest Post: DFX vs Explorer SE – Part I


The title of this article is a bit misleading. I don’t necessarily consider one machine to be better than the other. Each machine does outperform the other in certain situations, however. As I am new to the SE, this is not an in-depth comparison. Basically, this is a first impressions report on the SE using the DFX as a known reference. I am not going into details, just the most notable differences. When I am more proficient with the SE I can provide a more informed perspective.

Look and Feel
The DFX is a good looking machine – it looks like a detector should look. The SE is a sleek looking unit. The SE has no visible cables and the shiny black upper shaft, the carbon fiber lower rod, the locking cams, control box and black labelled battery compartment make for a sophisticated looking machine. Both are sturdy and do not wobble. I consider the DFX, with the DX-1 probe and standard coil, to be a fairly heavy machine, but not too heavy. I can swing it for long periods of time without a problem. The weight can become an issue when hunting in rough terrain, or when a lot of hiking is involved. The SE (3 lb 7 oz without batteries) is comparable in weight to the DFX (4 lb with batteries). The balance of both machines is excellent.

When using the DFX I tend to rely on Tone ID more than the display, but I always check the display before digging a target. The DFX has a one-dimensional display with 190 possible VDI values. It ranges from -95 (ferrous) to 95 (conductive). The DFX display is two-dimensional if you take the signal strength bars into account, but we will disregard this feature for the sake of clarity. The SE has a two-dimensional display with 1024 possible values. The horizontal axis (0 to 31) represents the ferrous content of the target and the vertical axis (0 to 31) represents the conductivity of the target. With the DFX I can pretty much tell what is in the ground. The SE, for a newbie, is difficult because there are so many places a target can show up on the display. A one-dimensional representation is easier for the mind to interpret than a two-dimensional representation. I think this is the source of the Explorer learning curve people talk about…the rest of the machine is easy to master. I do believe the SE’s two-dimensional display offers tremendous potential for an experienced user. I just cannot deduce the target as easily as I can with the DFX…yet.

According to the manuals, the DFX sweep speed is about two seconds and the SE’s is about four seconds. This is a big difference. As a dual frequency detector the DFX doesn’t have as much data to process compared to the 28 frequency SE. For me, this is an important factor to consider when choosing a machine to use for a certain environment. If you want to cover a lot of ground and cherry pick targets the DFX will be a better choice. If you have a site you really want to concentrate on and take your time, the SE is the better choice. More on this below.

Depth and Stability
I think these two topics are related because they are dependent upon a machine’s ability to send, receive and process clean signals. The DFX, in general, is very stable and has great depth, but it is susceptible to EMI and struggles in salt water. Don’t get me wrong, the DFX can hunt the wet sand as well or better than most land detectors, but falsing in the waves and reduction in depth are things I have experienced first hand. The SE has no problems with EMI. I hunted directly under the main lines by the RR tracks in Memorial and had absolutely no interference. I have never used a machine that goes as deep as the SE in wet salt sand, or normal ground for that matter. I assume the same could be said of highly mineralized ground, but I haven’t used either machine in such an environment.

Which One?
I would hate to have to make that choice. Luckily, I have both machines and can use the best one for the job at hand. I really love the DFX and would not want to be without it. I have a lot to learn about the SE but it has already proven its worth at the beach and elsewhere. Here is a sample list of environments and the machine I would choose for each:

  • Large Area – DFX
  • EMI – SE
  • Wet Salt Sand – SE

    I do not want to get any more specific than that at the moment. Since each machine can use specialized coils, there is a lot of overlap concerning their respective capabilities. I have often thought that if I wanted to really clean out a place I may hunt it with the DFX, then take the SE and hunt it again…slowly.

    Other Considerations
    There are many other worthy topics for discussion concerning these two units, but I’ll save them for another time. Discrimination, programming, detailed display characteristics, tones, etc. are important things to consider when choosing a machine. I will close with a thought we should all keep in mind: There are many detectorists out there with low-end machines that can out-hunt other detectorists with high-end machines. It is crucial that, whichever machine you have, you learn it and dig, dig, dig. The machine is important but not nearly as important as the user, their knowledge, their experience and their unhesitating willingness to dig.

    Happy Hunting!
    The Beeps Goes On

    Editor Note:
    This article was originally posted at:
    This article has been approved for re-publication by the author.

    Author: Chris Burroughs (TBGO)
    My name is Chris, although I go by The Beep Goes On (TBGO) when posting on the various metal detecting forums. I started detecting in 2002, mainly in Galveston. Life got a little hectic and I stopped detecting at the end of 2004. I took a couple of years off. I got a new DFX and started up again in February 2006. I decided to concentrate on local parks and, surprisingly, my finds increased dramatically. I do not think anyone had hunted the grass parks and sports fields in my area. Since then I have become a fairly avid detectorist and have really enjoyed getting out and hunting. I also enjoy participating in the growing online detecting community.

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  • Jan 7 2007

    Guest Post: VibraProbe 560 Pinpoint Metal Detector Review


    For the last ten years of metal detecting I did not use a hand held pinpointer of any kind. For this season, I decided to give one a try. After posting various queries on forums and reading what others had to say, I continually saw this unit mentioned. Originally, I was going to purchase the Sun Ray inline probe, usually mentioned the best pinpointer you can buy, but along with a pinpointer, I might be buying a new machine, and the Sun Ray is machine specific, so I decided to stick with the hand held unit.

    After receiving the VibraProbe, I first noticed that the size was larger than what I was expecting. It’s 14″ long, which isn’t a problem, but thought I would mention that. The second thing I noticed is that there is no on/off switch. I myself thought this was a great design. To turn the machine on you point it up for one second. You’ll feel two quick pulse vibrations letting you know it’s on. It will turn off automatically after receiving no signal for one minute. You’ll feel two long pulse vibrations letting you know it’s off.

    The unit is also water proof! There is a water tight seal at the heal of the handle. Unscrewing this will allow you to access the battery compartment. It takes a single 9v battery. Overall, this pinpointer is obviously durable. It looks and feels tough in your hand which is an important prerequisite for me. I usually relic hunt, so being out in the woods and rocks things tend to fall and break, and all I want to worry about is my detector, not my accessories.

    The depth is shallow, but if you use this as intended (as a pinpointer) you should be fine. This is assuming that you’re an inch or two away from your target before you bring it out. The tip is the only thing that picks up signals. The shaft is not sensitive at all. It also appears to react best with movement. A gentle stirring or tapping motion in your debris pile or hole seems to work the best.

    The VibraProbe comes with a sheath and a one year warranty though the manufacturer.

    The VibraProbe was created and designed by Treasure Products, Inc. Along with the VibraProbe, they offer the VibraTector 720, VibraPhone 280 and E-Z Swing.

    I’m extremely happy with this purchase. I think it’s going to be a great addition to anyone’s detecting tool kit.

    Author: Bill J

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