How can you make your metal detector better at sensing metal?
Changing your settings to suit your specific needs is the best way to increase the power of your metal detector. To do this you need to understand how your detector works.
Some people buy a metal detector hoping to find that buried treasure in the middle of a muddy field. And many do! However, most do not.
This is not to say that your metal detector is rubbish, in fact, quite the opposite if you have purchased an intermediate detector which are often some of the best on the market. You just need to make it more powerful so that you are able to detect more targets.
Do not worry, you do not have to spend a ton of money on new equipment. Actually, you may not need to spend any money at all. Here is our advice on how to make your metal detector more powerful.
Types of detecting frequencies
The first thing you need to do when you are trying to figure out ways to increase your metal detector’s power is to understand what type of frequency your specific detector uses.
There are two types of frequency detectors: pulse induction (PI) and very low frequency (VLF).
Manufacturers will choose one to use for their machine depending on what the purpose of the specific detector is.
The pulse indication detectors will be equipped with one or more coils that produce currents of electricity from your detector into the ground.
Once the electrical currents have found a metal object, they will bounce off of it and send the current back to the detector. That is when you know that you have found a metal object.
As for the very low frequency type of metal detectors, they will use normally two coils that complete different tasks in order to detect metal.
The first coil will send a magnetic field into the ground and once a metal object hits that field, magnetic currents are sent back to the second receiver coil.
It is the receiver coil that sends an audible signal through your machine so that you know that a metal object has been detected.
Very low frequency detectors, especially the pricier ones, are smart enough to tell you how far away or how deep into the ground the object detected is.
They do this by figuring out how far the current has travelled to reach your receiving coil and then generates a number depending on how far away that object is.
In terms of power, the pulse induction detectors are far better and finding objects buried deeper into the ground. On the other hand, very low frequency detectors can be customised to scan a larger radius of land at one time.
It really does depend on your intended use for the detector and which ability you prefer – a larger detection radius or deeper detection – as to how you increase its power.
That being said, there are several methods listed below that can be used generally to make sure you are getting the best performance out of your metal detector.
Know how to use a metal detector
What may seem like the obvious method to a powerful, useful metal detector is one that many hobbyists miss out on.
The most sure-fire way to make sure that you are using your detector properly is to read the user’s manual.
If you are a beginner then the manual will be your greatest help at understanding how your detector works. However, even if you have been detecting for years, if you have a new metal detector then you still need to read the manual.
Your user’s manual may explicitly tell you how to make your machine more powerful as well as how to solve any common issues that may limit the capability of your detector.
Do not fret if you are still unhappy with the level of power even after following the manual’s instructions. There are still plenty of ways to increase your chances of a great find.
For a more in-depth guide on how to properly use a metal detector, check out our how to guide here.
Have the right settings
Following your users manual, you will realize that there are a lot of settings available on your metal detector that can be customised. Take advantage of this if you want to increase the power.
When you buy your detector, it will automatically be programmed to have the default settings activated.
These settings are completely fine and can be preferred by some hobbyists when you are just using your detector for fun. Likewise, if you are a beginner then it is probably best to stick to these settings.
However, if you want to take your detecting that one step further and cover more ground in one sweep then you will need to change the search settings.
To do this, you can follow your user manual’s instructions but you may find that you are not satisfied with the change. In which case the best thing to do it play around with the machine’s setting yourself.
This can seem like a daunting task but really you can not go wrong.
All you need to do is tweak each setting one at a time until you are happy with the metal detectors response. Then you will know the optimal settings that work best for you.
Keep in mind that different types of terrain and different detecting sites will require a change to the settings you are used to in order to keep your machines’ power at the level that you need.
Experiment with your sensitivity.
Sometimes when talking about making a metal detector more powerful, hobbyists are actually referring to how to make their machine more sensitive.
Luckily, sensitivity is an adjustable setting on many metal detectors and is a key setting to experiment with.
Turning up the sensitivity of your metal detector will allow your machine to be more alert and aware of metals that may be harder to detect with low sensitivity.
That being said, you do have to be careful with having your sensitivity settings turned up too high as you could accidentally eliminate the frequency range of your target.
Likewise, you should be prepared for a significant increase in false finds or detecting a lot of scrap metal.
It is best to experiment with your sensitivity setting to figure out the best balance for your targets and your needs.
Keep your setting software up to date
Much like any type of product that uses software, there will be times when you need to update the software that your metal detector uses.
Once more, how to do this should be explained in your users manual but it is a fact that many hobbyists overlook when they are trying to increase their power on their metal detector.
If you fail to update your machines’ software then your settings will no longer be correct for the software and thus the machine will perform poorly. This could result in a loss of power.
You may need to readjust your settings in accordance with the new software but if the manufactures have done their job correctly then your machine will be better off with the new software.
Of course, not ever metal detector will be able to be updated. Many stop receiving updates after a certain amount of years.
If this is the case and you find that your machine is becoming weaker then it may be time to buy a new metal detector.
Keep your battery charged
This is the simpliest exlainaiton for why your metal detecor may have lost its power.
If your battery is running out then you will not have as strong a detection due to the machine not having enough power to do so.
As such, if you are planning on using your metal detector for a specific purpose or plan to have it out in the field for an extended amount of time and need it working to its full capacity, make sure that you have charged the battery.
Typically every metal detector should come with a means to charge its battery upon purchase but it does not hurt to buy an additional battery as a spare.
Non-machine based tips
All of the methods for increasing your metal detectors power listed above very much depending on changing the settings on your machine.
However, there are a few tips to increase your metal detectors capacity that does not rely on tweaking your settings too much.
Know what you are hunting for
There may be some instances where you are able to tune your machine to hunt for a specific type of target.
Some specific metals will require a particular type of machine. For instance, to get the best results while hunting for gold, you are going to want a gold metal detector.
Although, if you are hunting for objects that use less conductive metals then you may need to increase the sensitivity of your metal detector.
The best thing to do is research the type of object that you want to hunt for and how powerful your metal detector needs to be to find the said object.
The more you know about what you want to find, the easier it will be to fine tune your detector and increase its specific finding power.
Find wet ground
A method that requires no alteration of your machine’s settings is to use your metal detector on a wet day or on wet ground.
When the ground is wet, the currents that your machine sends into the ground are more likely to reach deeper as therefore automatically increases the depth power of your machine.
Of course, be careful not to get your detector too wet as this could far more harm than good. Always dry your metal detector off after use.