These are my thoughts, you may agree/disagree with my comments but detecting like all hobbies is all about opinions!
I do not have favourite manufacturers, I am totally neutral. I choose to use whatever I think is the best detector for the type of detecting that I do.
The Minelab Equinox seems to have dominated the detecting scene for 6 months now. I received mine 2 weeks ago (thanks Craig). I have been trying to get my hands on one for months, mainly so that I could get covers made for it. At this time of writing they should be available week starting 22/4/18.
Not had much time to play with the Equinox yet - I have used it twice. I detect on permanent pasture mainly so all I am interested in is depth. After a quick go on my test bed I found that Park 2 was the deepest I could get it to detect, with the sensitivity on the maximum of 25. It was not as lightweight as I thought it would be but that doesn't bother me as I use a harness on all detectors I use anyway. The other Detectors I use are a Deus, Minelab CTX 3030 and a Minelab GPX 5000. I also have a Minelab E-Trac, however that will probably be going now and be replaced with the Equinox.
As I said, I have used the Equinox twice so far, on pasture (ridge and furrow), and I have also spent several hours on my test bed.
Like most of you out there I have heard all the hype for months now and spoken to a few people that now own one. Most people were positive, one or two negative.
Most people thought it was going to be better than the CTX/E-Trac etc; this would never happen surely! Minelab would never release a new detector at £879 that was better than a detector costing twice as much. This would no doubt kill the CTX and E-Trac sales and would change the entire market. It's already had an affect on the market since its release was announced. It's the detector most people want and the back orders are growing faster than the supply!
Because dealers are not currently taking part exchanges against the Equinox, I am getting twice as many phone calls than normal. I am having to pick and choose because I do not want to be stuck with a load of none selling detectors. If the Equinox is the best detector out there? and it sells at £879 new, everything else has to be less second-hand.
So how does it perform?. I took it up to my test bed within 10 mins of putting it together. I try dozens of detectors every week on my test bed so I know what to expect from every detector. The first target was a Bronze Age axe head at 18'', it just about got that. There is iron down the hole somewhere so nothing gets it except my GPX 5000. Iron tests went as expected no different than most detectors, the only difference being is that you can swing the Equinox faster. I am slow anyway so it is no particular benefit to me.
Then on to the cut quarters, I have one very low conductive cut quarter that's buried at 4''; the CTX gets it about 4'' above the ground, the Equinox gets it about 6'' above the ground, hmmm.
Onto the 5 pence pieces. My CTX gets 5 pence at 12'' with a dodgy but 'digable'; signal; the Equinox gets it at 15'' with a loud signal - very impressive, but this again is above the ground as my deepest 5 pence is buried at 12''
First impressions In the field it's awesome on small targets, deep on all targets. All the signals seem to be amplified so you don't seem to get ''dodgy signals'' - it's either a signal or not.
The downside is it loves big iron targets. So far I find it is a nightmare among iron if there are big objects involved. Big iron targets on their own with a bit of practice you can recognise.
I find among iron I can get my CTX or E-Trac to work better, but it is early days yet!
If you are the sort of detectorist that runs across ploughed fields on club outings, rallies etc, where it's all about covering as much ground as possible, then this is a very fast detector to use. It was originally being compared to, and in competition with, the Deus - no competition in terms of performance; the Equinox is far superior - it's deeper, Faster and the discrimination is better.
I've had my Deus for 6 years and I'll not part with it. It's great in the first few inches - it's lightweight, it's wireless, great on bank sides and ideal for taking on holiday (fitting into a rucksack really well). The downside for me is that the signals are mixed and dodgy (unless the target is shallow) and I'm sure there is some way of using it on wet sand but I haven't discovered the secret yet!
I can get my Deus to go as deep as my CTX but the trade off is the discrimination.
I find the 9'' round HF coil is the best and have now sold all my other coils.
Back to the Equinox, it's not going to replace the CTX but I think it will seriously devalue it, after all the Equinox is a replacement for the X Terra - simple menus, limited info on the screen.
I presume Minelab will eventually create a similar detector to replace the CTX with a similar performance to the Equinox or better, GPS, and more information on the screen. If so put me down for one!
To be continued ....
There are a lot of very good detectors out there at the moment at good prices so whatever you choose you should get some success.
I used my Equinox last Sunday all day and although I dug more than I would normally dig, none of it was very exciting. I would sooner use my CTX but I have seen the results on my test bed, so will continue to use the Equinox. I just need to get to get used to it.
The silly season is here again, loads of people buying covers off us thinking they are getting a Deus or whatever for £9.95. It's all done on e-bay, people see a picture and buy what they see without reading the description. It normally happens at this time of year (Summer hols) and Christmas, these people do exist!
So, if you see a cover for sale with the words 'detector not included' you know why!
Back from hols in Scotland to a load of orders and plenty of phone calls!
I took 3 detectors on holiday with me - the Deus, Minelab GPX 5000 and Equinox. I did a couple of hours a day on several local beaches but as normal on Scottish beaches I found nothing of interest. Best find being 2 pence, but I did dig a lot of targets. I only used the Equinox and it worked very well on the wet and dry sand.
Out all day on Sunday again using the Equinox on a rolled and seeded field, dug the most targets I have ever dug in one outing - 116 non ferrous items. I have recorded every detecting session for the last 20 years so have all the stats available.
1st signal was half a Denarius, went on to dig 14 buttons, an 1889 silver 3d, a 1949 shilling and a 1806 halfpenny, best find by far being a Bronze Age knife at 15''. Not used anything else since I got the Equinox.
Back out again yesterday with the Equinox. We (myself and Lee) chose to have a go on a very worked out DMV, a load of people have detected on there in the past including clubs etc. It's full of very large pieces of iron most of which were giving a very good signal. I was getting a few other non ferrous finds as well and found a Cartwheel penny (how had that been missed?), a George V penny and a few more bits - all high conductive targets. I was finding it a nightmare to use among the iron and at dinner time changed to my Minelab GPX 5000, this of course is a pulse detector which most people would think was an iron magnet, but I can work it very well amongst the iron and I started to find a few of bits of lead etc. Gave it an hour then back to the Equinox. I had to make it work amongst the iron and I also wanted to see if I could get a bit more depth out of it by learning what a 'dodgy' signal sounded like. Up to now it had either been a definite signal or not, so I asked Lee to give me a shout when he got a signal and I would go over it and see if I could get it or not before he dug it up. This is the best way to see what a detector can do. Natural targets in permanent pasture can never be reproduced on a test bed.
Lee is using a Minelab GPX 5000 - not a standard one. It's had £1000 worth of tweaking done to it to make it better and it's fitted with a 15'' Detech coil which is awesome so I would expect him to get signals I couldn't get with the Equinox.
So the first signal I tried with the Equinox was a very loud signal on the GPX, all I got on the Equinox was an iron grunt. I have set it up on Multitone with -9 to +2 rejected. The target was dug out and there sitting at 10'' was a very nice Henry 111 Penny. The Equinox should have got that but there was iron down the hole so it took the hammered out. This happens a lot on my test bed - if I have a nail on the surface and a non ferrous target at say 8'', then no detector will pick it up except a GPX (this is the only detector I have tried that will do it). The amount of finds we are all walking over every time we go out is frightening!
I will be doing a lot of tests on this in the future and it will be featured soon on my new test bed results graph. How many times have you planted a find in a field then cannot pick it up again?
Lee shouted me over for the next signal. It gave me a mixed signal - ferrous/non ferrous and that's exactly what it was, a piece of iron down the hole and a lead pot mend at 15'' ... hmm, more experiments needed. I tried a number of other signals and I got them, some hardly gave a signal but that taught me what a deep dodgy signal sounded like. First mission completed. May need a lot of experience to perfect!
Now i needed to find a way of sorting the signals out amongst the vast amount of large pieces of iron on the field, that was quickly done although it was more luck than judgment. I changed from Multitone to 2 tone, slowed down and bingo! The field suddenly became alive with signals. I was easily able to identify the iron and pick loads of non ferrous signals out amongst them and did not dig another piece of iron all day.
Having spent several hours on my test bed I can easily see how some detectorists out here may think the Equinox is not that great and resell it. Unless you get the correct settings it's very average.