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Nail & Trash Masking on the R5 T2

by Ed Gerken, Feb, 2006

A guy could do permutations on that test till the cow comes home. I panned some mine samples after work, nothing. After dinner, it was getting dark so I did some quick foolin' around in front of the garage under outdoor light. Surprisingly, I actually found a metal free spot.

To keep it sorta simple I used only a silver dime but substituted a variety of things for the companion target. Depending on what you call "detect" the T2 did pretty well.

Starting with a 2oz rusty busted pick tip and discing it just out, the ID with the dime placed beside it was higher than iron but lower than a dime. It did make a reading with the dime added, but was silent on just the tool tip.

Next was a 10.5", 4oz rusty spike with a bent end. Again, beside the nail, the dime would read scanned side to side, but not too well when scanned along the length of the nail. Dialing disc back down, the bent nail had two signals along its length.

Now, a large worn, deformed and rusty washer was more competition and it was hard to read the dime. Same for a squished aluminum bottlecap, which would not disc out by itself even at 80. But, with disc down low, you could usually pick up two distinct signals, depending on direction of sweep. 60's IDs on the dime it seemed.

A rusty 10-penny nail with dime beneath would read the dime side to side, but not when swept by length. It was slightly better beside it than under it. Putting the dime at the nail's tip and scanning lengthwise made two beeps. Jumpy ID, sometimes a dime, but not too often, still got a signal with nail disced out, but ID was often too low or jumpy. Low disc seemed to work better and note the separate high and low IDs.

A rusty sheetrock nail was not much trouble and the dime read well, even better with the nail above the dime as to the side. Many Dime IDs.

I had a large staple but didn't test this time with it. Nor did I try the clad dime I brought along.

In tests with the 10p and sheetrock nails, it read close to correct ID more often. With larger items, it was best to play with the disc and sweep directions to try to pick up the little "good" bleep tucked in there.

Removing the dime put the trash ID at a stable point. Adding the dime made ID jump depending on which object hit the coil first.

Lots of experience would probably allow one to make an educated guess on multiple targets or even split apart the various signals. The audio tone modes added more nuance to this, but I did nothing more than change it around a bit while scanning. I didn't try to find a magic setting or anything, since there's so many variables in real life, there would be no single setting that would work in all cases. Checking for the multiple beeps and swift-moving ID, changing your scan position and coil height, while trying disc settings and tones, plus experience in what to expect, the results could be very interesting!

Hope this helps!

-Ed


T2 Two-Cent Review

by Ed Gerken, March, 2006

NOTE: I wrote this brief article for the Teknetics forum on www.findmall.com shortly after receiving an R5 T2 back in March of 2006. The original post is still there in the back pages.

I just received my new T2 a couple weeks ago. So far, I've got lots of ground and air tests, but not being able to recover targets really restricts what you can learn about a machine. I'm only now able to hunt, due to a recent thaw and actually dig what the T2 detects, so I'm far from experienced on it. I'm quick to form an opinion, though! I've already posted a few first impressions, and now have some further experience, but I'm sort of waiting to have an actual worthwhile find to present before reporting on what I've been up to lately. So, take these impressions with a grain of salt, as I do need more hours with it in a greater variety of sites.

With maybe a dozen or so hours on it, I've dug some deep and/or small trash, mostly iron and bullets/casings, and I'm getting a feel for how it IDs them. I'm hunting with very low disc as we do have relics and collectible bullets in these parts. I'm specifically choosing trash-laden 1880's gold mining sites hoping for a nugget or relics, so I'm digging most all targets till I get a feel for the machine. Found a few worthless relic iron bits, broken tools left by the miners; an interesting specimen of arsinopyrite; some brass nothings, one might be a used blasting cap. I've learned new things about the soil and minerals and heavy iron content on my own property that's helping elsewhere, too.

Picked some nails and dangerous trash out of the playground, a few coins and a cheap ring, but it's still frozen 4" beneath the surface there. I've gotten good ID's on the coins and foil. It goes to 99 on the sensitivity, I've found even set way down at 60 it goes deeper than my Time Ranger and the T2 gave a better ID on foil. The FE reading is a big help on some otherwise hard to ID rusty iron targets.

I've picked a "good" target out from the bottlecaps and nails. Well, it was just a brass whatzit this time, but it came in as a separate target in the middle of junk. Tossing a nugget in the middle of native iron, it rejected the iron and read the nugget, though with some upsampling of ID. I can find metal bits with it that are so small, even my Falcon MD-10 pinpointer has a battle finding them! I have to use the T2 to pinpoint them for my pinpointer, is that a laugh?

I've also noticed the T2 has a few annoying traits, the worst to me is its sensitivity to external electrical interferance. Near heavy powerlines and too close to my Time Ranger, it could go beserk and be hard to tame back down. I'm still trying to gather more perspective on this. The big coil is great and very sensitive to small flakes of gold, but too darn big to fit between rocks and close-growing trees to get a decent pinpoint. The knob and mode button can be accidentally shifted in the excitement of the hunt or while maneuvering through rough terrain. Once or twice, I found it mysteriously turned off/on and thus recycled back to default settings, so the battery springs can be deemed weak. My particular unit also seems sensitive to coil bumping causing a beep. The volume's awkward to reach for a lefty and the rear-firing speaker is hard to hear, but announces you to the neighborhood.

About all the bottlecaps I came across were visible on the surface so I can't report much on that till I hit this certain ballfield I know of. My Time Ranger has similar difficulties with bottle caps of several types at certain depths or amounts of crushing, aluminum, rusty, etc. But the typical response is learnable and they can be avoided wih practice. It appears in quick checks the T2's FE reading will help make a difference.

The range of tone options is amazing, a lot of audio info there. The all-metal mode is very reminiscent of the Gold Bug, but then Dave Johnson designed both the GB and the T2, so that's not a big surprise. Still, I find I miss the "more normal" low-nickel tone of my Time Ranger.

The T2 will hit on targets my TR will not find or has a much harder time of. On the Time Ranger, depth can be about the same in either all-metal or disc, with typically a slight edge to AM. The T2 is much more sensitive in AM and in pinpoint will pick up stuff a couple feet away. I was always having to toss my digger and pick farther away in order to use pinpoint mode. It will pay to study the manual closely and practice with this mode, especially in how it seems tied to ground balance.

At the hunted-out schoolyard, pinpoint would pick out an individual coin or other target over a foot away from the coil, either below or to the side. This is unlike the Time Ranger, which basically sounds only while directly over an object or quite nearby. I got to liking doing a quick, fast sweep while holding it in pinpoint, or flicking it off and back on to keep threshold in check, follow the increasing volume, then do a more typical sweep for ID. I can see that in a busy, trashy site, using pinpoint wide open like this may appear to be fruitless. But in a sparse signal area, it'll get you to a target sooner than following the conventional half-coil-width pattern search.

The T2 is as fast as they say and it may cause you to change certain hunting techniques to make best advantage of that fact. The Time Ranger seems more forgiving of sweep speed and works equally well fast or slow. The T2 seems to like a faster swing, even if it's in a very narrow sweep to help nail a crowded target.

The Time Ranger holds its target ID, which is nice for checking a target then reading ID after scanning. But it's nice to have a clear display when the signal is sporadic, so you can check for the nearest occurance of it. The T2 clears in a few seconds. It might be nice for that to linger just a bit longer. On the other hand, while changing frequencies, the wait-time for the display to clear so you can step again is now far too long. In the presence of a target, the TR "locks" onto the signal and you'll find buttons won't work till you "clear" it by moving the coil away. The T2, on the other hand, will let you adjust as you receive signals. Some of these are just machine idiosyncracies that you either enjoy, hate to death or get used to and work around.

Overall, I call it a high-strung thoroughbred. For most people, it can probably fuction as a turn on and go machine with a lot of reserve. For others with difficult areas to search, it may be more of a handful that will take a little practice in the saddle to become more familiar with it. Can it be equally a stump-puller, a derby winner and a precise, high-stepping Lipizzan? Should we expect it to be? So far, to me, it's close to a do-all machine, but it's gotta be able to handle interference better first and have a smaller coil second. Third would be move the nickle ID back where it belongs and other items might go back down with it. Small nuggets still read low in ID, btw.

I don't have Explorers, XLT's or other high-end machines for hands-on comparison, just a Gold Bug and my Time Ranger. To me, it easily replaces my Gold Bug (it seems similar, almost familiar, in many ways) but it probably won't obsolete the Time Ranger in my arsenal, if for no other reason than the TR isn't affected much by interference and is a quieter machine to hunt with when you choose to disc out the trash. But, the TR's not as deep or as good in separating targets or reading targets next to disced out trash, so for those reasons alone, the T2 is a keeper.

Overall, I'm pretty much agreeing with everyone in their assessments. I'm one of the apparent few with an interference issue to report, we'll have to see how that's worked around or resolved somehow. It may be that in my area, like with my Gold Bug, the T2 has its places where it excels and other spots where it's persnickety.

Hope this two-cent review helps!

-Ed


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