Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/20/15 Report - Reveiw Of The Garrett ATX Extreme Part II. Gold Markings and Possible Confusion.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

ATX In Folded Position.
This is a continuation of the review of the Garrett ATX that I began yesterday.

As I said, the ATX does have discrimination.  It is simple linear discrimination with 25 incremental positions.   Low conductivity targets are the first to be discriminated.

There are 13 sensitivity settings.

For maximum detection of small and deep targets, use maximum sensitivity and zero discrimination when you can.  If there is electrical interference in the area, you can do a frequency scan to select the best operating frequency.

I mentioned yesterday that pinpointing is not easy with the ATX unless you use the pinpoint mode.   That is true of the motion mode, which is what a lot of people will use.  In non-motion mode you can sweep slowly and will not need to use the pinpoint button.

There is another pinpointing trick that I might describe some other time.

I find the visual signal strength indicator most helpful for pinpointing. I can see the peak signal strength much better than I can hear it from the auditory signal.

The ATX is a heavy detector.  That will be a problem for many people, but I find it surprisingly easy to swing considering its weight.  It comes with a harness, so that might be a solution for some.

The controls and settings are easily accessed, for the most part with one finger while you detect.

You will dig deep targets with the ATX, both good and junk.  It can get a bit tiring.

It is good on gold.  It responds to small gold very well as compared to clad coins.  It can detect small gold and chains that would be missed by many detectors, however you must use it well to get maximum performance.

I use a test target to determine how well I have the detector tuned.  I talked about that before.

For some situations, such as dry sand, the default settings might be all you need.  Just turn it on and go.  If you don't want to miss a thing, turn up the sensitivity to the max.

However if you are in the wet sand or salt water, or highly mineralized soil, you might want to make some adjustments.   If using motion mode you might want to ground balance as you move from one area to another.  That is not necessary in dry Treasure Coast beach sand.  Again, I like using a test target to make sure I am getting near peak performance.

Once you learn to use non-motion mode in salt water, that will give you the best performance.  It takes practice though, and the threshold setting is very important.  Also expect to retune frequently when using non-motion is salt water.   You may encounter audio drift.

There are some cases when you might not want to detect everything, such as on a beach cluttered with small pieces of iron.  In that case you can decrease sensitivity.

To sum it up, the ATX is a very good detector that will detect small and deep targets and is very good on gold.  It is a bit heavy and requires some practice and skill for optimal peformance.  It can beat most of the detectors being used on the beach if used well.  Like I said yesterday, if you are a person that likes to use discrimination, I'd select another detector.  You can discriminate with the ATX, but then you are minimizing the power that you paid extra money to get.

In many ways the ATX is just the opposite of the Ace 250 that I once reviewed.  I would use the Ace when I don't need maximum depth and want a detector that is easy to use.   The ATX costs nearly ten times as much as the Ace.  Of course the ATX is more rugged than the Ace.

I've heard of problems with the ATX rod freezing but I have not had that problem.  The ATX eats up batteries, but comes with rechargable batteries and a recharger.


Often wedding rings will be inscribed with a date.  Did you know that 8-10-11 does not always indicate August 10, 2011?   It sometimes indicates the 8th day of October.  Some countries put the day before the month.

So if you see something like 20-10-2011 and are wondering how the month can be the twentieth month, it is probably the day rather than the month and your ring is from another country.

Gold purity is often given in either K (karat) or as a three digit decimal.

Karat purity is measured as 24 times the purity by mass, or in other words 24 times the mass of gold divided by the total mass of the item.   24-Karat gold is fine (99.9% Au w/w), 18-Karat gold is 18 parts gold 6 parts another metal (forming an alloy), 12-Karat gold is 12 parts gold (12 parts another metal), etc.

14k is approximately .5833% gold, but jewelers increase it to .585% for easier mixing.

Back in the old days there was a time when I used to see KP stamped on an item and thought it meant the object was gold plated.  That was a big mistake.  KP stands for Karat Plumb, where "plumb" indicates "exact."   So the KP mark is a good thing instead of a bad thing.

Look for and make good use of any markings but don't blindly accept them.  There are times when they are wrong.  Sometimes intentionally.

A lot of rings these days are 9K.   That might lead to some confusion if you do an acid test.  Normally the first container of test acid will be for 10K.


Expect more days of calm surf on the Treasure Coast.  This is getting old.  We do still have a good negative tide.

Happy hunting,