16/ Accuracy and Skill-Building with the Minelab Equinox
I can’t say enough about the importance and value of learning some theory and basic skills. These form a “template” upon which all later learning about accuracy and site-specific applications can be ordered. As well, this basic knowledge helps you to make sense of the large amount of information that the Equinox gathers and reports.
As touched upon in “…From Beginner to Advanced” what we have with the Equinox is a high gain detector. This simply means that there is a lot of amplification going on. This includes a “hopping up” of the ground’s signal. So that the signal is not raw noise–it’s heavily processed (or filtered if you prefer)–down to a manageable audio form. In-ground this means that there will be a lot of ground noise that still comes through in both audio and meter form. Random numbers will jump onto the screen and there will be sound offs that disappear when you change the coil sweep angle. Many who have read “…From Beginner to Advanced” saw the “Signal Quality” chart I sketched out. (Pg. “61)” When this was posted on a few “Facebook” forums there was always a few guys who responded by saying that: “I dig every signal.” The idea behind learning some theory and a variety of target testing methods is not to try and be “hair splitting” accurate with your target calls. The idea is to “know the tolerances”–to be able to spot obvious junk and be able to conduct a few tests if you need to do so. (And know which ones to apply). This way the good signals stand out more. Then, if you want to dig every signal you can. Armed with these basic skills–learning will be easier too. The general sense I have with the Equinox is that there is quite a bit of random information that comes in–especially at higher “Sensitivity” levels–some audio and some meter–call it “signal to noise.” Anything that will help you to make sense of it is a plus. The idea is to be able to gather and interpret more information–even if you don’t always use it.
There’s also the effect of running multiple frequencies–these cross-confirm–making for a higher standard at which signals are examined. Basically something has to be a very “clean” signal to produce a “clean” (unbroken, not “skewed” or “clipped)” tone. You could say that with the Equinox–you have a new, higher definition of what a “clean” signal is. This is a machine with rigid and exacting “ID” standards–and there are a number of things that follow from this. With an “old-school” analog type machine–any non-alloyed metal would make for a smooth sound. With the Equinox–to produce a smooth tone a response must be:
- -not corroded as would be tin or a rusted bottle cap (although these may sound pretty good at times).
- -round–or at least not elongated into the “too big” range.
- -more or less solid (depending on what you consider to be a good tone).
This is what sophisticated filtering and the cross-confirming effect of multiple frequencies does. In effect–much of the “ears” work is being done for you–in software. At the very least you have this tool to determine how each response relates to the surrounding ground–is it rusted or not?
This relates to “constancy” as discussed above. A “constant” response is one that is a closed loop–not necessarily a ring–but something that is electrically distinct from the ground. The Equinox can alert you to these. Let’s look at some methods which will let you use this sophisticated processing to learn more about what’s under the coil.
(From: “The Minelab Equinox” “An Advanced Guide)”
by Clive James Clynick