Bought a new pin-pointer

Although I thought I’d fixed my Garrett pro-pointer a while ago, it has never in practice really behaved properly since then. Gradually the falsing problem reasserted itself and it was obvious it had to go.

So off I went to Regton this morning to buy a new one. The shop was quiet and there was plenty of time for a good yammer with Nigel, during the course of which we discussed everything from the local clubs to the new Minelab plastic detectors. Nigel showed the latter to me.

Apparently they perform pretty well and may have the edge over Garrett’s Ace machines from a performance point of view, but ye Gods they are flimsy! I can’t see them lasting very long in the field. Indeed, they look like something you would give the kiddies to play with on the beach and I’d be surprised if any serious beginner would choose them over the Ace series.

I was also pleased to see that Nigel is now stocking a range of those pocket-sized compartmentalised plastic boxes which are ideal for keeping small, high value finds safe. When I first saw them being used I spent hours trying to track them down before discovering that they were commonly used by anglers and therefore readily available in fishing tackle shops. I’ve had a few more off fleabay since then. You can never have too many of them.

Anyway, I treated myself to the new Garrett Pro-Pointer AT and threw in a couple of magazines and a book on lead tokens and tallies for good measure.

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Pro-Pointer woes

Like many detectorists, I bought a Garrett Pro-Pointer when I bought my first detector. They’re invaluable for finding stuff down holes. Unfortunately Garrett’s gadget has long had a poor reputation for falsing, or suddenly starting to bleep like buggery in the absence of any known metal. I’m told Garrett fixed the problem some time ago but that’s no help to those who bought the older version. Once they start the manic bleeping the only solution is to switch them off and then back on again, rather like computers, and see if that solves the problem.

Sometimes, especially in the early days of them going wrong, this does indeed work, but as the fault develops it stops working and the damned thing has a nervous breakdown as soon as switched on and ends up driving you bonkers – as well as becoming completely unusable.

This very problem has been creeping up on me for a couple of years. It starts almost imperceptibly, with the odd and brief outbreak of random bleeping which convinces you there is something where there isn’t and you spend 5 minutes hunting for a non-existent find. It ends with you ditching the pro-pointer and passing handfuls of soil in front of the detector coil, gradually narrowing down the location of the find. During my two sessions this week it’s been driving me mental, going bezerk as soon as switched on.

Unfortunately it’s out of warranty but I phoned Regton and spoke to Craig in the repairs department. Repairs are possible but not necessarily economically viable in most cases since the most common problems cost £50 to repair but a new unit with full warranty is about £90.

“Check the battery,” quoth Craig. “It might be a duff one. That can cause falsing.”

“By the way, do you use the tip for digging? That can crack the ferrite core and lead to falsing.”

As it happens, I have never used mine for digging though I’ve seen plenty of others doing precisely that. Clearly an expensive mistake.

I agreed to check the battery and if necessary try the pro-pointer with a different one. I took the battery out, inspected it and the terminals in the battery compartment for corrosion. Nowt. Battery good for another 2 years. Put the battery back, screwed the cap on and switched the pro-pointer on.

Silence.

The minutes passed.

Still silence.

Pointed it at metal just to check it was still working. It was.

More silence.

Well bugger me sideways.

Eventually, after at least 5 minutes, it did give a few bleeps but then shut up again.

After 10 minutes it started bleeping again and had to be switched off and back on again. I can live with that.

By Jove! I think it’s sorted. Not entirely but as much as makes no odds.

I can’t explain it, unless somehow the battery had been slightly dislodged in use and had not been making full contact with the contacts inside, so that taking the battery out and putting it back in again aligned it better with the contacts. One way or another the problem is well under control, if not completely resolved.

I am a happy bunny again.

New finds pouch and a trip to Regton

Took myself off to Regton this morning to buy a new finds pouch, my third since I started detecting in October 2011. For some reason I seem to do a Jack the Ripper on them and tear them apart at the seams. Oh, the expense!

I talked to Marcus about my continuing lack of finds on my permission. Marcus’s view was that if the Deus isn’t getting a signal there really is nothing there, which is what I have been concluding myself over recent weeks. Buggeration.

A cheque from George Osborne

George Osborne sent me a cheque yesterday. I tried not to get too excited, considering it was my own money he gave me back. Yep, it’s a substantial tax refund. Substantial enough, in fact, to allow me to upgrade my detector to exactly what I want – the XP Deus.

Since beginning metal detecting 18 months ago I have been using the XP ADX 150, an essentially simple, nay – idiot-proof, machine with no visual display and only two knobs. One is the sensitivity control and the other the on-off switch and discrimination control. Even I couldn’t be confused by that. The machine was recommended by Regton when I went into the shop as a raw beginner not really sure what I wanted or needed. This may surprise many people since if there are beginner’s machines par excellence, that everyone else seems to start on, it’s the Garrett Ace 150 and 250. Somehow I didn’t go down that route.

18 months down the line I’m vaguely dissatisfied. Despite putting in as much time on my permission as the weather has allowed, I have disappointingly little to show for the effort which amounts to well over 100 hours of detecting. Even more than that, I have attended club digs and found virtually nothing when other people with other machines have been finding actual finds.

And so the cheque from Georgy-Boy was only going to end up in one place – Regton’s bank account.

I took myself off to Regton today, whipped out the credit card and became the proud owner of an XP Deus minus, for the time being, the WS5 headphones for which there is a waiting list of about 4 weeks. I can somehow manage to detect for a month without headphones, can’t I? Course I can.

The coil and control unit are currently on charge. All I need now is some decent weather to go out and play.