Saturday, November 13, 2004

Chapter 2: Charles Rock Solid Set Up (Updated 3-1-2005) by CharlesNY

I believe that setting the sensitivity correctly is the most important tweak on the Explorer. After you have mastered setting the sensitivity on the Explorer, I suggest you try the following set-up. Thus far I have not seen a better program to learn the Explorer than that of CharlesNY. I repeat, the exception to the following set-up is where you actually set the sensistivity. It is always different depending where you are. Charles has a lot of succes with sensitivity at 28, but in my case I find myself at 22 to 26 in Los Angeles. At the California beaches, I find myself setting the Explorer between 12 and 18. The following is the unaltered text of his email to me, I have not changed it as I respect the work that has already been done before. Thanks Charles!


I had never used a detector before when I purchased my Explorer so I started from ground zero with this gadget. It took me about 2 months to figure it out but it was like flipping on a light switch, one day I was fumbling around not finding much, the next day I was finding silver and Indian head cents all over the place. This is good news for you because I'm going to give you some tips to help you over the learning curve; it won't take you more than 1-3 weeks depending on the sites you hunt. There has to be some coins there to find obviously. Note I was able to get a former Whites user up to speed on the Explorer in just a couple of weeks, even at that he was finding silver and wheat’s right off the bat.
My approach is different from the popular view, I will give you a setup which will let the Explorer flex its muscles right from the start. Trust me this approach works, I hunted today for 5 hours and found 10 wheat’s, 12 Indian heads, 2 mercs, and 3 barber dimes (including a nice 1892-o) in a patch that’s been detected already by the other top brand. Using these settings and this approach over the past 2 seasons I have found over 400 silvers, getting close to 400 Indian heads, a pile of silver quarters, about a dozen large cents, 2 barber half’s, a WL half, and gobs of other stuff and jewelry. All from parks that have been hunted hard for many years.
The advice below assumes that there are coins in your area in the 6-10 inch range like there are in my area; this approach is for hunting deep coins and coins on edge.
Ok let’s get to it...first if you want to go deep for the older coins forget the factory settings they won't get the job done. The factory sensitivity setting of 16 is 50% of possible, semi-auto mode can drop it further so you might as well use your old detector as far as depth goes. Plus WAY too much of the screen is blacked out, the deeper the coin, the less accurate the ID on the screen though the tone will be accurate for the most part. Worn silver will not hit in the textbook area of the screen. I found a worn reale that hit way over to the top left in the iron area, I found IH's that hit from upper left to upper right to lower right, again we are talking deep targets. Then you have to understand that a lot of the good coins that are left, especially silver quarters, half’s, and large cents are near other trash items. I have found many silver quarters up near and even under trash, most often a big rusty nail or a rusty crown cap. These trash items will pull the signal off the textbook location on the screen BUT you can still here them (the tone ID is highly accurate) if you have not discriminated that area of the screen out which the factory startup screen does.
Don't worry about programming the detector this thing is easy, once setup I rarely change anything other than bumping the sensitivity a few points up or down usually due to nearby power lines.
Here are my settings, just stay out of my town with them as I have enough competition from Ed the Explorer monster I helped create.
Sensitivity = Manual mode as high as it will go and be reasonable stable, I rarely will hunt at less than 25 and I'll put up with a bit of instability in exchange for the depth a higher Sens gives you. I almost always run 26-28 (refer to previous article "setting sensitivity" for my take on this matter) with the stock coil, 30 if the conditions are very good. I NEVER hunt in semi-auto, that’s a feel good setting. Semi-auto will give you a nice stable machine but it too often over compensates for the condition and you lose a lot of depth. Adjust the Sens manually.
Threshold = personal choice, I like it just barely audible.
Volume = 10 max
Gain = 7, I have found this to be the best all around setting. Deep targets still sound deep (different) from shallow targets yet they are not so faint that you have to strain to hear them. Be on the lookout for those fainter signals that repeat though, I found many a silver dime on edge with this machine and they don't give the more robust signal you get from a coin lying flat. Some guys hunt with the gain at 10, I get too many false signals that high. One quite successful hunter uses 6 but I nearly missed some on edge coins at 7 so 6 aren’t for me. 5 is much too low.
Variability = 10 Max, this gives you the widest variation which I like, like having 100 possible tones verses 80, or 50 at lower settings. You can actually hear the difference between a merc verses a barber/seated dime, even the difference between a worn silver and one in good shape.
Limits = Max which is the recommended Minelab setting. I like the high pitch scream of silver!!!
Sounds = Ferrous, (gasp!) yes this is an excellent advantage the Explorer has over other models. Silver still sounds high but iron sounds low. We have tons of iron around here so this makes it quite easy to hear silver mixed in with the iron. The down side is that rusty bottle caps will sound high like silver but I have some tricks for that below.
Noise = if you have the XS just hit the Noise Cancel button after you startup the machine, if you have the S adjust manually.
Response = Normal, a few have experimented with the other options but most find this to be the best overall. I would not experiment until you have this machine down pat.
Recovery = Fast Off, Deep On, this is very important. This combination gives deep coins a nice wide, robust signal which sticks out like a sore thumb compared with trash signals. But if you turn Fast on it will chop the signal off short and the coins will sound more like the short chopped off trash signals making learning the detector much more difficult. It should only be turned on in heavy trash conditions and my advice is avoid those areas until you are confident with the machine in medium to light trash conditions and you have learned what the coins sound like.
There's a good solid program, again I rarely change anything other than the Sens a few points up/down so this machine once setup is pretty much a turn on and go machine.
Now lets setup the screens, you basically have two machines (screens) which you can switch between quite easily. The Smart find screen and the Iron Mask screen. I recommend that you set up the Smart find screen with Nails and crown caps discriminated out. This will leave 95% of the screen open and yes you will here a lot of trash signals but remember you are listening for that distinctive coin/round target ring and the wide signals. If this is too difficult at first then you might disc out a few more trash objects but nothing like the factory setup.
Next go into the iron mask screen and back off the iron mask to -16, this is wide open allowing in all target signals, there will be no black on the screen i.e. all metal. Now here's the trick, hunt using your smart find screen and when you think you found a good target, switch to your iron mask screen and sweep it again. Notice how much more robust and clear the signal is, notice how you can kind of see (hear) where everything is around your target, there might be a nail to the left or a pull-tab. In your smart find screen the items blacked (discriminated) out cloud the signal, it distorts it and makes it more difficult to pinpoint when iron or trash is nearby. I especially use this trick when I'm working an iffy signal.
Now some tips...
1. Coins and round objects in general give a nice wide, robust signal as you sweep across them, often they sound fluty like several notes playing on a flute as you sweep across. This is very much different from trash items. Trash tends to give you a short, chopped off signal compared to a coin and the tone is generally a flat, mono-tone signal verses the fluty sounds. If you picture sweeping the coin, it may give a signal 6 inches wide across the ground where shallow trash might only be 2-3 inches wide. Once you learn this distinctive characteristic of coins and round objects you can wade right through the worst trash heaps and pick out the coins without much effort. Trash items are like my threshold now, I just mosey along until I hear that rinnnngggg fluty bicycle bell like ring go off, then I dig. Once this clicks you will start hammering coins left and right.
2. Slow down, don't fan the Explorer back and forth like a DFX for example, not too slow mind you, I'd say medium slow. Also slow down your pace, overlap your swings 50% pick at the ground and around trash objects, expect to find some coins and you will. There are many good coins left near and under trash that the older detectors could not lock on, the Explorer will get them but not if you are moving too fast. Every time I get to racing across the park I stop finding coins. I found a barber half directly under a rusty crown cap, I found another barber half right up next to a big chunk of iron, I could only get a signal from one very narrow angle, and if I turned a few degrees either way it vanished. I found a barber quarter, barber dime, and a V nickel in a single plug in a spot that’s been detected 50 times including a couple times by me with the Explorer...only this time I was overlapping my swings and guess what, you could only get a signal with the front 3 inches of the coil, any further forward and it vanished amongst the pile of nails that surrounded it. Turn left or right, it vanished.
3. Starting out you should only dig signals which repeat from two directions, if you get a good signal turn 90 degrees and sweep it again...did it sound low like iron? Did it move from where you thought it was? It’s probably iron. If it repeats good from both directions dig it! But you are probably wondering about those single direction signals I just spoke about, yes sometimes the single direction signals should be dug, my rule is if they hit real good from a single direction, near textbook, I'll dig them but you will dig some iron too as a rusty nail can give a pretty good signal especially this time of year when the ground is so wet. I'd save the single direction signals for later after you have some time on the machine so you don't ware yourself out digging nails at first.
4. Scrub the ground with the coil, the Explorer does not like air spaced between the coil and the ground, you lose depth. This thing goes deep but it likes ground between the coil and the target, air seems to be a problem. I see a lot of guys who are used to other detectors holding the coil off the ground, this is a mistake.
5. Pick a day, as I did one day where you will set a minimum depth and dig every single target of that depth or greater with the exception of rusty iron of course. For my area that was 6 inches or deeper, try this exercise and you will be very surprised at what you dig up and how far off the textbook screen areas a coin can hit. I have dug many a nickel for example that hit mostly bottom right of the screen verses the textbook. If you pick a depth of 6 inches and you are finding too much modern trash go to 8 inches. If older coins are found in the 5 in range in your area pick 5.
6. Lastly beware of the fainter very deep high pitch signals which are often a small rusty nail, stick with the more robust signals for now or if you get a fainter signal know that it will repeat generally from more than one direction and even though its fainter, its generally solid verses iron which always sounds a bit mushy and foggy to me.
I use many coils, the Minelab 8 inch coil rocks around sidewalks where the snowplows have launched trash for years. Nabbed a nice barber half and some barber quarters with it last season.
I hated the stock coil at first, I just could not pinpoint with that thing but later I found it was me not the coil, I just needed to learn how to pinpoint. Now I use the stock coil most of the time, good depth and not to bad in trash if you go slowly.
I also use the WOT which is an awesome coil. It goes deeper than the stock coil yet it’s quite sensitive to small targets, its great on coins on edge and I find most of my very deep relics in the 10-14 inch range with it.
I'm currently building a 6 inch coil and a 22 inch coil as well, stay tuned on those.

Hope this helps.