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XT 18000 Minelab


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#1 galaxy51

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 04:36 PM

Is this older Minelab detector more suitable as a large and deep nugget finding machine than a small nugget locator? I have not owned a nugget machine but would like to add nugget hunting to my detecting hobby. I live in area that has small nuggets and occasionally some pretty big ones found by detectors. In researching detectors for nuggets there seems to be 2 very differently designed gold detector types. One type is much more suited to finding very small shallow nuggets weighed in grains, while the other is much better at finding larger and deeper gold nuggets that are weighed in grams or in ounces. I cannot justify the expense of new machines to learn on and was wondering about the 18000 or 17000 Minelabs. I haven't been able to locate ratings of these models. All I could find is that the 18000 has three operating frequencies and the 17000 has only two. Also the older White's Goldmasters, such as the VSAT machines come to mind for searching for smaller nuggets and are often found on e-bay. If I were to buy older models maybe I could afford to get one of both types of machines! Have I failed to give proper credit to detectors that might do both jobs well? If so what models might be recomended? All time and effort given by you nugget hunters to reply to this wannabe will be appreciated!

#2 garimpo

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 05:31 PM

galaxy51, a good idea asking your kind of questions here.

If you added up all the hours that members here have used the machines that you mentioned it would be in the 1,000's of hours.

I think you pretty well answered your own question when you said an older machine to learn on with your limited budget.

Personally I've spent a lot of hours and days using the Minelab machines mentioned. A XT17000 should be quite a bit cheaper than a XT18000. Doc at Coiltek has a good variety of coils for both of these machines that are just short of fantastic performance.

When I buy a used machine the first thing I do is send it to Minelab in Vegas for a good "checkup". Their a great bunch of folks there and they will treat you right.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

If it beeps--dig it!! Garimpo

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#3 bigrex

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 06:12 PM

You can pick up a used xt18000 for around $600 if you can find one, that's about what I paid for mine. As you "alluded" to, the vlf's such as the xt18000 are good for small shallow gold. You could probably pick up a used sd2100 for a little below $1000 if you can find one. They do best at finding the bigger stuff at depth. Other models such as the White's Goldmasters can also do the trick (of finding the more shallow gold) as far as vlf's are concerned, there also can be good discrimination on some of those models from what I hear.
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#4 azdigger

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 06:20 PM

I have a white's GMT and love it, it is good for small shalloow stuff.
I was shown an erlier modle GoldMaster this weekend and founf one on ebay that would be good to learn on and would fins small shallow gold...so check this out if ya like
Item number: 120046574377
on Ebay.....I am in no way connected to this sale, I wish I could get it for the
kid next door to hunt with me.
Rick in Kingman AZ
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#5 galaxy51

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:06 AM

So the big difference between the small shallow nugget detectors and the large deep nugget machines would be seperated more by type (VLF/PI) than model# and manufacturer? The Minelab 17 and 18000 machines are VLF and Minelabs 21000 and newer models are PI?

#6 garimpo

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:54 AM

Yep, you got it.

If it beeps--dig it!! Garimpo

IN GOD WE TRUST

Never squat while wearing your spurs

Never leave the house naked....always carry!!!

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

A GUN is LIKE a PARACHUTE. IF YOU NEED ONE AND DON'T HAVE ONE YOU'LL PROBABLY NEVER NEED ONE AGAIN !


#7 daza

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

I've had the 18000 and dumped it after a year. Sure it found gold amongst some very hot areas, but it was not an easy machine to use and the audio tone drove me nuts.

My sweetheart VLF would be either Gold Bug with the small coil as a bonus option. My reasons are, simplicity, high sensitivity, excellent ground balance and good discrimination of iron targets. It's a real grab and go detector that will pickup fly specks and is reasonable on 9v dry-cell batteries.

I would prefer the GB 1 (australian conditions), but it may be hard to get one that isn't showing wear on the dial face, particularly around the GB pot. Also they need a good inspection around the battery carrier to make sure corrosion hasn't been at work. same is true for most of these type of machine 18000 too.

daza

#8 galaxy51

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:48 AM

I have seen quite a few Goldmaster II VSAT detectors for sale on e-bay. The few reports that I have read would indicate these detectors do their job quite well. On the other hand many have claimed that seeing many of a certain make and model for sale on e-bay indicates they were not very good detectors. I have noted a price of around $150 to be common. I have been tempted to purchase one of these. Would anyone like to offer their experiences with these machines? I have also read many good reviews of the Gold Bug II. These seem to command a much higher price, maybe because the model is still being sold new by Fishers?

#9 Rattlesnake Jim

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:07 PM

QUOTE (galaxy51 @ Oct 31 2006, 11:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have seen quite a few Goldmaster II VSAT detectors for sale on e-bay. The few reports that I have read would indicate these detectors do their job quite well. On the other hand many have claimed that seeing many of a certain make and model for sale on e-bay indicates they were not very good detectors. I have noted a price of around $150 to be common. I have been tempted to purchase one of these. Would anyone like to offer their experiences with these machines? I have also read many good reviews of the Gold Bug II. These seem to command a much higher price, maybe because the model is still being sold new by Fishers?


The reason the Gold Bug2 commands a higher price is that it will find the smallest pieces of gold with the small coil on it over any detector made other than a Falcon (which is more of a probe than a detector to use nugget hunting). The White's Goldmasters aren't that far behind the Bug 2. All are manual ground balance as the Gold Bug2 is, with the exception of the whites GMT(Goldmaster Tracker). If you can learn ground balancing then they will work great for you. Stay away from the old antique Goldmasters with the big control boxes. Only the GM II, GM vSat, GM3, GM4b, and GMT are ok.
There are a lot of the goldmasters for sale because a lot were sold and people have upgraded to the GMT or a Minelab pulse detector.
Hope this helps!
RSJ

#10 BigDan

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:32 PM

Had a 17000 and loved it . Here is a little more info on an 18000. It is now a 10 year old machine however and technology changes fast. Any older machine may not be ecconomicly repairable or repairable at all if it breaks.

MINELAB ELECTRONICS XT 18000
By Reg Sniff

From page 15 of the August 1997 issue of Lost Treasure magazine.
Copyright 1997, 2000 Lost Treasure, Inc.

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The Minelab XT 18000 old detector is a perfect example of the improvements that have occurred in metal detectors over the last few years. This new turn on and go detector is both sophisticated, easy to operate, and most importantly very sensitive to the elusive gold nuggets while doing an excellentjob of compensating for the wide variations in ground conditions that normally occur in gold hunting areas.

What I found that really makes the XT 18000 stand out is its excellent automatic ground balance capabilities. This feature has been significantly improved over previous models to the point that tackling extremely tough ground ladened with a wide variety of hotrocks is a relatively simple task.

THE CONTROLS

Before going into the field test portion, I need to mention the features of this instrument. The Minelab XT18000 has 9 different controls that may look complex to a new user. Fortunately, this is not the case. Also Minelab has included a "Quick Start Instructions" page in the owner's manual that makes setup a snap for the most novice of users. More importantly, once set most controls can be forgotten about in most cases.

Some of the controls are easily recognizable to a casual detector operator such as the TONE control (sets the initial tone of the threshold signal), the THRESHOLD control (low level audio level heard with no target present), and the Sensitivity control (how deep it will go). A control called SIGNAL VOLUME is a little different than a typical volume control. Instead of reducing the volume of all signals heard, this control only limits the maximum volume allowed, a feature that allows a wide range of earphones to be used without worry of too loud of a signal.

The remaining controls are toggle switches that allow the user to refine the settings of the detector by simply making a choice between two or three options. A recognizable toggle is the discriminating control marked SELECT. This control allows the owner to select between All Metals and Iron Reject. When in iron reject, large or easily identifiable iron targets still respond but give a staccato (stuttering) sound.

One toggle labeled SOIL allows the operator to select between normal and difficult ground conditions while another toggle labeled SIGNAL effects a target's response. This latter mentioned switch is one of two toggles that will likely be changed on a more frequent basis between three settings, Normal, Fine and Boost. The difference between normal and boost is the target signal is further amplified in the boost mode. The Fine setting does something a little different. In this mode a target responds with a "double beep" making it easier to distinguish a target from a ground change.

The second most likely toggle to be adjusted is labeled FREQ. This toggle allows the operator to select between 3 distinct operating frequencies, 6.4KHZ, 20KHZ, and 60KHZ. The three settings allow an operator to select a lower frequency for larger deeper metal targets or select one of the higher frequencies for nuggets.

Finally, the last selector switch to be discussed is the GROUND ADJUST toggle. This toggle has two settings, Auto and Fix. In almost all cases this toggle will be left in the Auto mode.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

When you purchase a Minelab XT18000, it comes'with extras not normally accompanying a detector. For example, Minelab provides a nicad battery pack, a corresponding charger, a coil cover for the standard I 0-inch elliptical coil, and a blue hipmount bag that allows an operator to either hip or chest mount the control housing. Minelab also provided a set of basic earphones, as well as a belt mountable pouch to place retrieved trash items. Finally, included is an excellent instruction booklet, which takes a new user through a systematic explanation of the XT18000, its assembly, setup, and discussion of each control, plus some brief but valuable prospecting tips.

The detector itself is equipped with a 3-piece breakdown shaft assembly for compact portability. The control housing is high-impact plastic; equipped with Minelab's quick wedge fit shaft mount design, which makes attaching the control unit to the shaft, a breeze.

IN THE FIELD

I received the XT 18000 while I was vacationing in Arizona on one of my nugget hunting ventures. Unfortunately, the detector arrived midway through my week's vacation, and because of the late arrival plus the battery required a 12-hour charge, I was severely limited in time.

Although I had enough time to evaluate the detector and its many features in some really tough ground conditions, as any serious nugget hunter knows, you don'tjust run out the door and find gold nuggets. Such was the case with me. I was able 0 get a good feel for all the contro s, how the detector responded to the typical conditions that plague a gold hunting site, but I personally didn't find any gold with it.

Fortunately, because my brotherin-law was staying in the area for a while, I left the detector with him and, wouldn't you know it, he found 2 small nuggets the first day he used it. Such is the luck of nugget hunters. His success also indicated how easy the XT 18000 was to use since I didn't give him any specific instructions.

Because of my personal time limits, I started out at daybreak with the detector assembled as recommended with the control housing mounted on the shaft. Because I had been accustomed to body mounting detectors, the detector seemed somewhat heavy in the uneven terrain. After about I hour of hunting, I returned to my vehicle and converted to a chest mount using the provided hipmount bag. To make it more comfortable, I installed a second strap to the bag that went around my back. This second strap kept the control unit from falling forward when bending over With this combination, the XT 18006 was extremely comfortable over a full day of hunting. I also abandon the basic earphone set provided and began using one of my favorite pairs.

In the field the XT 18000 was a pleasure to use. The automatic ground tracking worked excellent, tackling the worst of conditions including hotrocks. The normally highly reactive pieces of magnetite that normally would knock your earphones off responded with little signal. In fact, with the exception of one small type of reddish rock, which has fooled every detector I have used, I could easily distinguish a rock from a very weak target.

Although I tried all of the different settings, I settled on the following settings as the best for the area; Sensitivity at maximum, Signal on Boost, Freq on 60KHZ, Soil on Normal, ground tracking on, and Iron Reject on. In essence I had the detector set at maximum sensitivity and was able to hunt comfortably.

The first location I picked, I hoped I would at least find a small nugget, but that was not to be. Instead, I managed to pick up several pieces of small lead shot (about a #6 to 7Y, size), among other things that had been left behind by other hunters. Because I was finding targets that small I knew I could easily find a very small nugget if I passed over it.

One feature not mentioned earlier I liked was the pitch variation that occurs when a target is encountered. In other words, as the signal volume goes up so does the pitch of the audio. I felt this feature made distinguishing some small targets an easier task such as pieces of tinfoil or little piece of iron. When I encountered a very small target that caused the detector to squeal, I was relatively sure it was foil or a small piece of wire.

The iron reject feature worked about as expected. In most cases, small iron objects responded as good targets and only larger iron objects produced the staccato sound. I know how easily it is to reject a small gold nugget with typical discrimination and I realized Minelab doesn't want to reject a piece of gold.

CONCLUSION:

All in all, I really enjoyed using the XT18000 and look forward to more outings with this detector. I had extreme confidence in the automatic ground tracking and its ability to positively distinguish between the ground, a rock and a deep target, which are the most common problems. Except for the above mentioned type of hotrock which I could readily see in most cases, everything that indicated a metal target was just that, some type of metal.

The detector also displayed exceptional stability even when in use for long hours. Depth capabilities were also excellent. Although I didn't personally find gold during my brief field test, retrieving non-ferrous items such as lead bullets indicated the depth abilities matched or exceeded any other comparable detector I had used before. One controlled test of burying a 3 8 slug about 8 -inch deep indicated all frequencies could easily detect a similar size gold target well beyond that depth. Also, controlled testing indicated an exceptional response to gold nuggets, including to extremely small ones.

It is easy to recommend the XT 18000 to both recreational hunters and professionals for all types of gold hunting whether it be for extremely small nuggets or large deep ones. This detector seems to do it all and do it extremely well in all types of ground conditions.

For more information about Minelab's XT 18000 or any other Minelab instrument one can contact: Minelab Electronics Pty Limited,toll free at 1-888-959-9599 for the nearest dealer or 1-800-327-9697 for Catalog Sales.













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