I recently gave a talk on the Equinox to a group of mostly amateur hunters–prospective buyers. Minelab’s National Sales Rep was in the audience. Amongst the first things I said was that (having read some of the online “Treasure Talk” tech rundowns on this machine), that it was “…the first detector that I’ve ever had to translate to English!” In that manufactures like to promote their machines as being “turn on and go,” I’m not sure if the Rep liked me saying this. Probably not. It’s true, though some of the language used in explaining “Multi IQ” and how it accomplishes enhanced noise reduction and target ID accuracy can only be called “eye-glazing.” This talk of “data points” “resolution” and “frequency weightings” is a lot to digest and I’m still weeding through some of it. My point here though is that the end result is a detector that’s pretty simple to operate and get great results from. One idea I tried to emphasise in “…From Beginner to Advanced” is that no matter how complex a detector is–the most important thing is to have a good grasp of some very basic ideas of theory (the different characteristics of ferrous versus non-ferrous signals for example), and some simple ways to apply these. A while ago I got a text from a hunter asking if I could give him a “quick rundown” on how to run the Equinox in a sentence or two. I guess this kind of thinking must come from being used to simpler detectors–hunters want specifics–“now.” Similarly when I first got the EQ I was also looking at “YouTube” videos for “tricks and tweaks” that would help to solve particular site and target problems. The idea was: “…if I collect enough of these…” Looking back I see that 99% of these “instructional” videos were of little or no real value.
I’ve also heard guys on the forums dismiss my first EQ book saying that more could be learned from “guys on this forum”–sharing quick tips. To me this represents going in the wrong direction. It’s general and basic knowledge that allows you to address specific challenges–not the other way round. If I had called this book: “The Minelab Equinox: Theory and Practice” it would probably still be on the shelf–but it is theory, basics and general machine skills and features knowledge that provide the background for learning. It’s this background learning that lets you adapt, tune, recognise “quality”’ responses and draw your own accurate conclusions in any hunt situation. These generalizable skills represent a huge advantage. One only needs to take a look at some of these “YouTube” videos to see this principle in action–people just plain “using the Equinox badly” –not bothering to engage in even the most simple target testing. This detector was not designed to help you find flyspecks of aluminum, “too big” objects or random misshapen targets. Any cheap “stick beeper” can do that.
The “theory” I’m talking about is not that involved–or stuffy. The starting point is the simple idea that the ground forms part of the signal. Rather than “punching” down though the ground to hear metal–what a detector actually does is to separate metal from ground. You could say that by way of processing–a detector separates the “order” of a clean metal target from the “chaos” (or “noise)” of the ground’s signal. That’s it. With a sophisticated detector like the Equinox, what you have is the machine responding to the relationship between ground and target with great precision. The last thing is that at a certain point–all detectors fail to accomplish this separation—and there is a lot of valuable target information to be gotten from this failure. The idea that’s served me well has been to learn to recognise the junk–and work backwards from there.
Let’s take a look at how the Equinox’s features combine to create its remarkable performance.