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How a metal detectors work

     Metal detectors run from the $200 basic models to the very sophisticated $7000 price range and up.

Search coil     No matter the price, all metal detectors work on the same principle: they transmit an electromagnetic signal into the ground via the antenna and receive information about the conductivity of objects buried via the receiver. A circuit board analyzes the signal and relays information about the target to the user through headphones and/or visual readout.

     The coil, or loop, is swept from side to side close to the ground as the user advances. A signal is heard in the headphones and/or visual readout which can indicate a "good" or a "junk" target.

     Once a good target is located, the coil is also used to pinpoint the exact center of the target and its depth.

     The target is dug by use of a digging tool or trowel in a manner that does not leave any visual evidence or damage to the soil. A cloth is used for excavated soil and an optional manual pinpointer finds the target in the matrix. Once the target is recovered, the cloth is used to dump the excavated dirt back into the hole, and the original "plug" is replaced and packed down with the foot.

     Some junk targets, such as pull tabs, crushed soda cans and aluminum foil, emulate good targets and are uncovered. Commonly referred to as "canslaw," it is the duty of every detectorist to dispose of such trash properly.

     Once you learn your detector's "personality" you will find less junk and more good targets such as old coins, recent coins, Civil War relics, valuable artifacts, gold and silver rings and jewelry.

     Equipment often used by detectorists include the detector, knee pads, gloves, digging tool, collection bag, manual pinpointer, a piece of cloth, snacks and water.


Happy Hunting!