Metal Detector Discrimination

Mastering Metal Detector Discrimination: Uncover Hidden Treasures with Precision and Efficiency
Written By: Marc McDermott
Last Updated:

Metal detector discrimination plays a pivotal role in ensuring a fruitful and enjoyable experience for hobbyists seeking hidden treasures like coins, jewelry, relics, and gold.

The ability to differentiate between valuable finds and unwanted objects is essential for efficient treasure hunting. In this article, we delve into the concept of discrimination in metal detecting, its significance, and how it can enhance your treasure hunting adventures.

What is Metal Detector Discrimination

Discrimination in metal detecting refers to the metal detector’s ability to differentiate between various types of metals, thereby helping the user to focus on valuable targets and ignore unwanted items like trash or scrap metal. This feature is particularly useful in areas with a high concentration of metal objects, where it can save time and increase the likelihood of finding valuable items.

Discrimination by Detector Type

Three common types of metal detectors used by hobbyists differ in their discrimination capabilities. 

  • Very Low Frequency (VLF) metal detectors are the most popular among hobbyists and provide excellent discrimination. They use a continuous waveform to detect changes in the ground’s mineralization and can identify specific metals based on their conductivity. 
  • Pulse Induction (PI) metal detectors, on the other hand, are less adept at discrimination due to their use of short, powerful bursts of energy. However, they offer superior depth and are more effective in highly mineralized soils. 
  • Multi-frequency detectors combine the best features of VLF and PI detectors and can operate at multiple frequencies simultaneously, offering improved discrimination and sensitivity.

Discrimination Features to Look for in a Metal Detector

When selecting a metal detector, there are several key discrimination features to consider.

  • Adjustable discrimination levels allow users to fine-tune their device to ignore specific types of metals or focus on a particular range of conductivity. 
  • Target identification and visual displays help the user determine the type of metal detected, while audio tones provide audible feedback to differentiate between targets.
  • Notch discrimination enables users to filter out specific unwanted metals, further enhancing the discrimination capabilities of the detector.

Tips to Improve Discrimination

To improve discrimination and target identification, it’s essential to practice certain techniques. 

  • Proper ground balancing ensures that the detector is tuned to the soil’s mineralization, preventing false signals. 
  • Understanding the conductivity ranges of different metals helps the user set the correct discrimination level. 
  • Mastering sweep speed and search coil positioning optimizes the detector’s performance and increases the chances of locating valuable targets. 
  • Additionally, using accessories like search coils with different sizes, types or shapes can improve discrimination in specific environments.

When NOT to Use Discrimination

There are situations when using discrimination may not be ideal, particularly in gold prospecting and sometimes in relic hunting.

One reason not to use discrimination for gold prospecting or relic hunting is that these valuable targets often fall on the lower end of the conductivity scale. Gold, iron, and lead have lower conductivity compared to other metals like silver or copper.

Using discrimination might inadvertently filter out these valuable finds, as it is designed to eliminate signals from objects with lower conductivity, often associated with trash or scrap metal.

In these cases, it is more effective to operate the metal detector in All Metal Mode, which detects all types of metals without discrimination. This approach ensures that gold prospectors and relic hunters do not miss out on valuable targets due to their conductivity levels.

Final Thoughts

Discrimination is a crucial aspect of metal detecting that can significantly enhance the treasure hunting experience. By understanding the concept of discrimination, selecting the right metal detector with the appropriate features, and practicing essential techniques, hobbyists can increase their chances of unearthing valuable treasures.

So, get out there and enjoy the thrill of treasure hunting with the enhanced capabilities provided by metal detector discrimination.