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Discrimination is the ability of the detector to ignore or reject unwanted targets, generally though with a high ferrous (Iron) content. Nails, wire, foil, nut, bolts, etc, are generally considered to be junk targets. Caution must be used when setting the discriminator to ignore certain targets, because using too much discrimination may cause you to miss some valuable targets. To successfully recover gold nuggets, it is best to search with no discrimination at all.

Ferrous is a term used to describe metals composed of or containing iron. A ferrous item is one which is attracted to a magnet and is predominantly or completely made of iron or steel.

Ground Balance is the ability of the metal detector to compensate for the effects of ground mineralisation. Some detectors have a factory pre-set ground balance level, while those with an adjustable ground balance can either be manuall or automatically controlled.

Halo Effect can occur after a metal object has remained undisturbed in the soil for a considerable period, where a diffusion occurs around the object. This causes the target to appear larger to the detector than it actually is.

Hip-mount is a method of operating a detector, with the control box placed in a special bag, and suspended on one’s belt. Some operators (in particular shallow water and beach hunters) prefer to chest mount the control box as this gives the maximum distance from the water. Apart from protecting the control box from soil, sand and water, hip or chest mounting also reduces the weight of your detector.

Hot Rocks have a high degree of mineralisation compared to the average ground around them and may cause a false signal from your detector. Newer detector technologies such as MPS and DVT have resulted in a significant reduction in the signal received from hot rocks, resulting in significant nugget finds in areas that were only superficially worked with previous detectors.

Interference may prevent your detector working correctly. Common sources of interference are telephone lines, underground power cables, radio towers, other detectors, or climatic conditions such as thunderstorms. The effects of such interference on you detector may be an intermittent threshold or false signals, but may be compensated for in a variety of ways. Generally a drop in Sensitivity is all it takes, but some detectors are fitted with an interference cancelling function, either by auto scanning, manual tuning, or a choice of two frequency bands. Cancelling the interference by these means is preferable, as it allows you to run at normal sensitivity settings.

Mineralisation is the presence of various minerals in the soil, such as iron, magnetite, hematite, aluminium oxide etc. These minerals can cause false signals in your detector. Hot ground is a common term used to describe areas of soil that have a very high degree of mineralisation.

NiMH stands for Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. This is the new generation of rechargeable battery, and has several advantages over Ni-Cad batteries. NiHM batteries are environmentally friendly, have a very consistent voltage output, and can safely be recharged even after only a partial discharge. However, their use for detectors is limited to those that have a low power drain.

Non-Ferrous metals are those that have very little iron content. Non – ferrous metals are non-magnetic such as gold, silver, copper, brass, lead or aluminium.

Pinpoint is the method of accurately determining the locating of a target prior to digging. Pinpointing uses the design of the search coil windings to determine the exact position of the detected target. Some detectors are equipped with a dedicated pinpoint mode, which aids in accurate recovery.

Sensitivity is often used to describe a particular detector’s ability to find small targets. It is also a term used to describe the output power of a detector. Some operators make the wrong assumption that more sensitivity means more depth. In hot ground, reducing the sensitivity will provide you with a smoother background threshold, allowing you to hear a deep target response.

SLA stands for Sealed Lead Acid battery. Only a NiMH battery provides a more consistent voltage, however their capacity is not sufficient for detectors with a high power drain.

Threshold is the audible hum that is heard from most detectors. It is the reference point of the detector, which is used to interpret target signals. When passing over a target a sharp change in the volume and pitch of the threshold will result. It is possible to search with a silent threshold, however small target signals from tiny or deeply buried targets may not be heard.

Tracking is the function of Automatic Ground Balance, where the detector makes continuous adjustments to the ground balance to compensate for changes in ground mineralisation.

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