Hello folks, I must say that I am very impressed so far with this new pulse induction metal detector from Garrett. The Garrett ATX Extreme! It is very simple to use, just a few buttons and it has power in reserve. From the factory setting of 10 to a max of 13 on the sensitivity settings there is definitely a difference when cranking it up, as I demonstrated in this video I did of the ATX. This was the 3rd video in a series I’m doing.
How is the ATX on small gold nuggets?
I have done several videos now on the response the ATX has on small gold nuggets with the stock 12″ DD coil and one video with a comparison of the stocker to the 8″ mono coil. I will tell you that the big 12″ x 10″DD is impressive with it’s small gold response. It has a special designed DD coil with a hot spot round coil center. This coil easily picks up .1 gram nuggets as well as a .15 gram invisible nugget that my AT Gold did not respond to. This was demonstrated in this video here.
The 8″ mono coil also picked up the .1 gram nuggets with ease and had a very sharp and clear response right at 2.5 inches. These were all air test to get on video to show electronic prospectors the potential of this new pulse machine. I will do a buried nugget test soon with the ATX. I will bury up to a 1/4 oz nugget and smaller to get the response it has on deeper gold with the stock coil and the 8″ mono coil.
What about the Iron Check feature?
The iron check has a low tone grunt when encountering iron targets. This feature is not all-encompassing however. It will grunt well on a 3″ nail at moderate depth and will give the iron grunt on a small 1″ nail at about an inch. This same 1″ nail will not grunt at 3 + inches. The circuits are designed conservatively so the detectorist will not ignore good targets such as gold nuggets, valuable relics or jewelry. I dug that 1″ little nail at 3″ depth and did the iron check first. I did not get a response from the nail until I dug it out of its hole and it was in my dug pile. I then scanned the pile with the ATX and did the iron check and received a positive grunt that it was iron at about an inch depth. So it could have saved me time digging further, but I still dug the target as to see what it actually was as I’m wanting to learn this machine further. The iron check is a function that is very useful but in prospecting one must dig most targets. It is a nice feature that is good to have at your disposal even to use after you have dug the target, which is what I do a lot.
How does it feel detecting with the ATX?
The Garrett ATX is actually quite nice to detect with and feels very quality in my hands. I hiked to a gold mining area that was about a mile back in the woods. I carried the ATX in its collapsed position as it is small and portable in that fashion. It did not hang on bushes or get caught like my buddies detectors did. Detecting with it is comfortable with the arm strap in position over my forearm. The forearm rest is adjustable forward and backwards. Its like using a straight shaft made for the Infinium or the straight shaft Minelabs. It is defiantly heavier that the AT Gold or detectors in that class, but I did not mind because I felt as thought I was wielding a lot of power to punch down to ge those out of reach or tiny targets. If my arm did get a bit tired I just switched arms like I usually do with heavy PI detectors. I have not use the swing strap to help with weight distribution yet. I will give it a go sometime in the future.
The terrain I was detecting is very steep country. Scanning these steep hillsides that had pocket gold mines all over them was easy with the ATX more so than standard stems on most detectors. What I did was retract one of the stem sections to make it 2 stems sections being used instead of 3 stems. This made scanning the hillsides so much easier because the ground was so close to me going up. It just made the ATX basically a short wand detector which I can adjust in about 2 seconds. The coil cable is inside the stem which makes the adjustments so much easier that I found my self doing it very often throughout the hunts. When it was time to hike back to the truck, I just retracted all the stems and carried it with holding the detector normally or sometimes carried it by its arm strap.
What about the ground balance on the ATX?
The ground balancing is a snap with the Garrett ATX as I demonstrated many times in the ATX videos I have done. Basically you can hold the ground track button (fast track) and pump the coil till the detector is quiet, which takes a few seconds. Let go of the button and your all done. You can also engage the auto tracking circuits with low, medium or fast tracking capabilities. I have used this a few times when the ground kept changing really quick from hot to hotter or colder. But most of the time I just set it with the push button feature. Its just like the ground grab in other brand detectors have.
If you set it on auto tracking, it is possible to loose small gold in the .1-.2 gram range if the ground is extremely hot like in Australia. I have tested this and not had it track out small gold yet. So in the USA is probably wont be a problem on pieces of gold bigger than .1 gram. I will do further test on the auto tracking abilities and where its limits lie with tracking out targets. Most likely the first pass or two with the coil you will hit the small target, but in the subsequent passes that’s when the machine starts trying to track out a small piece of metal thinking it could be a pocket of mineral. Your own personal test in your area that you detect could only yield the best results for you.
From of what I have seen the auto tracking works well but is not needed in most circumstances and is dependant on the area you hunt and your own detecting preferences. I like the fact that is there if we need it, but the fast track pump and go feature is basically all you need.
If you want maximum sensitivity and don’t mind a little noise you can do a factory reset on the ATX by holding the pinpoint button and turning the machine on at the same time. This will reset the system and reset the ground balance to factory settings. Then you just start detecting like this and the ATX is a bit more sensitive on small gold as well as the ability at hitting below .1 gram flecks. Using the 8″ mono coil like this with out ground balancing can be a bit too noisy – just try it yourself and see what works for you.
How easy is pinpointing with the Garrett ATX?
Pinpointing seems easier on this ATX than my AT Gold as the target is directly in the absolute center of the small round center of the stock DD coil. Not much more to say about the pinpointing as it is impressive with the big 12″ DD coil. The 8″ mono is just like any other concentric coil. The target can be pinpointed in the very center or on the outer edge of the coil, up to you how you like to do it. I do not have the very big 20″ mono coil yet, so I cannot comment on pinpointing with it, but I can imagine it will be a bit more challenging – definitely use a pinpointer to help find the target with that big coil.
Motion mode vs Non-Motion mode on the ATX?
The motion mode is the most smooth and stable of the two modes and the one that I use most. It is just as sensitive to pick up those tiny .1 gram nuggets as the non-motion mode but the NMM might get them at an inch or so more. From my experience with the NMM, or as I call it, the cranky mode…it can be quite noisy as the threshold wavers because it is not automatically self adjusted by the circuits. but Garrett has made this mode easy to quiet down with just a push of the retune button, and that’s it! Garret simplicity as usual.
I used the NMM mode in a lake bed testing which was a bit closer to homes than out in the gold mine areas. The NMM needed retuning quite often. But way out in the woods I noticed it was much quieter and did not need retuning as much. And that is what mattered, being out in the gold fields using that mode for max depth and max sensitivity. Using the NMM around town is just not feasible in my area and really not needed as the motion mode is extremely capable doing what we need it to do – find small or deep targets with ease.
It the ATX noisy in hot ground?
No! This ATX purrs like a kitten so far in all the dirt I have tested. I do know of some crazy hot rapidly changing ground in 2 areas I will test it soon…this will be the ultimate test for stability that I know of. I can only speak of ground in my area (N. California and S. Oregon) but from those who know it, know it’s hot! More test on the crazy hot ground soon!
Oh Yea! The Garrett ATX likes rain even though you do not. Like in my short video I did here when it started raining while filming at a gold mine we found. Teh ATX also will do just fine at depths of up to 10 feet. Good for the rivers in California for sniping gold out of bedrock cracks or under water hard packed gravel.
How is the Garrett ATX for Relics?
Well; my Garrett Infinium was exceptional at punching down deep to get those out of reach Civil War relics, I can imagine the ATX will do that just a bit better. For example, it is more sensitive than the Infinium, so it could get percussion caps at deeper reaches than the Infinium. And since the ATX is exceptional on gold it will be equally exceptional on lead and can get those just even more out of reach big bullets that the Infinium possibly missed. Plus many of the Civil War battle sites are in or near big cities, the Garrett ATX will be superior in ignoring or cancelling out EMI or RFI with its Frequency Scan circuit than the Infinium or other pulse detectors.
What about using the Garrett ATX on the Beach?
Go for it is all I can say! I have not done this yet but I can’t wait to. Garrett says it is quite capable in this arena, so I imagine it will be. And again you have the frequency scan to pick the most stable frequency because many beaches are near power lines. It punches deeper than the Infinium and way deeper than any other PI surf detector out there. So what does that mean? It means it will get the deeper gold and jewelry that the previous detectors missed. Black sand beaches were already tested with the ATX by a fellow detector dealer I know here in this video.
Does the discrimination work well?
The discrimination works well and functions as advertised but when hunting for gold it is not recommended to use much, basically to quiet some really hot ground, but if you use too much you can lose sensitivity to small gold. The last thing to be discriminated out on a pulse induction detector is iron – all types of iron! So be careful.
Such PI discrimination/delay adjustments begin dropping off poor conductive items first (saltwater, nickel, small gold nuggets, bits of foil, thin coins, etc.). Some small iron might become weak or start to fall off, but you will lose all these other items in that process. Big chunks of iron will likely never go away even with full discrimination engaged. I think this will be more useful for those hunting beaches or in the surf to combat salt water. I will be doing more extensive testing on the discrimination functions in the future for how effective it is while electronic prospecting. Here is my first video of demonstrating the Discrimination Features of the ATX.
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