Monday, February 2, 2015

2/2/15 Report - Finding More With Your Detector: Balancing Noise & Sensitivity. Important Caution For Cleaning With Acid.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

That was an exciting Super Bowl!  The winner of the whole thing was determined by a few inches.  First there was that pass that was caught after the guy laying on his back bobbled the ball and finally caught it.  Then it looked like the Seahawks would definitely score and win.  But then there was the decision to pass instead of run it in and the interception right at the goal line that won it for the Patriots.  That could have gone the other way very easily.  Just a matter of inches.

I'm temped to get into how a silly game of ball played on a chalk marked field has been elevated to one of the biggest events in the world, but I'll try to avoid that.  What I will talk about is winning and losing and how small things can make a big difference.

Have you ever wondered if you just missed that dream find by an inch, or maybe less?  Maybe you just missed it with your coil by a fraction of an inch.  Or it was just an inch too deep.  Or worse yet, you heard that faint signal but thought it was nothing good and passed it by.  It can happen.

Small things can make a big difference.  Through much experimentation I've been proving to myself how a small turn of a knob or small difference in a setting can make a big and critical difference.

Many detectorists think that a detector's response should be binary and they try to get their detector to repspond that way. (What I mean by binary is a something in which there are only two states, for example Yes/No or On/Off.)  They want to hear a good unmistakable signal if there is a good target no signal or noise at all if there is no target.  That would be the ideal, but things are seldom that simple. The world is noisy and information most often is transmitted in a background or context of noise. 

Noise is not always noise though.  Sometimes it is actually information that is not perceived, interpreted or appreciated.

One day I was using an Excalibur in the wet sand and in and out of shallow moving water, and there was another fellow up the beach a ways also using an Excalibur.  The other fellow was up away from the wet sand.  When I was putting my detector in the car after leaving the beach, the fellow came up  wanted to see what settings I was using.  He saw me detecting in the wet sand and moving water and didn't know how to do that without getting a lot of false signals.

The main difference was that he was working in discrimination mode while I was using pinpoint mode.  He was getting a lot of what we call "falsing."   I wasn't getting falsing - at least none that was bothering me.   I'm not saying that I wasn't hearing salt mineralization and other things.  I was.  But I knew what it was, and I could still hear the good signals caused by actual targets.  I can often tell the difference. 

I'm not just talking about the Excalibur here.  That is just one of many examples.  Many other detectors act very similarly.   You get something very similar, for example, between the motion and non-motion modes when using an ATX.  Yes you can ground balance etc. in motion mode, but in non-motion mode you hear more, both what you might consider noise and good targets.  That is not for beginners, but when you are ready, you might want to try learning to really use non-motion mode.

My primary message today is that if you try to get your detector operating in a binary state, giving only good signals and eliminating all noise, you're bound to loose some good targets along with the noise.  Don't be afraid of noise.  Learn to identify the sources of noise.  And, of course, learn the difference between real noise and good but marginal signals.

There are many techniques that people use to eliminate noise.  They include ground balancing, reducing sensitivity, discrimination, etc, but remember that not all noise needs to be eliminated, especially when you learn to identify the differences and what your detector is trying to tell you.

Many people do not think their detector works well in black sand.  They think they can't detect in black sand and avoid it.   Methods such as ground balancing or discriminating black sand can work o some extent but can also dramatically reduce detection of good targets.

For me, the objective is not to eliminate all noise, the objective is to hear more good signals that indicate a good target.  Yes noise will hide good signals, but many methods of reducing noise will eliminate good signals too.  My approach is to try to reduce the noise to signal ratio, but only so much.  There is a fine line between reducing noise and working with noise.  In my opinion, many people make the mistake of trying to eliminate too much noise rather than learning what the noise might be saying and learning how different sources of noise sound different. 

To some extent it is a personal matter.  Different people like to do things differently.  I'm not saying one way is right and the others wrong, but for me I prefer to work with noise rather than eliminate it along with many good signals.

That is all I'll say about that today.  Maybe I'll get more specific some other day.


I mentioned Bill P's method of cleaning silver coins the other day.  Since I lost the original post on that, I gave you a link to a similar procedure.  Thanks to Bill's original instructions, I often use his method rather many of the other common methods.

Bill was kind enough to write in with an important reminder for using Muriatic acid.  Here it is

The method you just blogged is accurate. The most important thing to remember when diluting ANY acid is: ALWAYS ADD ACID to the water or diluting agent NEVER add the water or diluting agent to the acid. A violent reaction could occur splashing acid everywhere. Remember it this way: AAA (always add acid). Hope this helps. -Bill P.

Thanks much Bill for our continued help!


On the Treasure Coast today I'm seeing a stiff South wind and small surf.  That is supposed to change later this week.

Happy hunting,