Garrett Electronics has been a mainstay in the metal detection industry for more than 50 years having been founded in 1964 by the late Charles Garrett and his wife Eleanor who has assumed the reigns and is currently the company’s President and CEO. Starting from a humble beginning building detectors by hand in their garage, the company’s growth has been constant throughout the years due to the reputation all of their equipment earned based on the performance it provided. The current line includes a full line of metal detectors and accessories for not only the hobbyist but the military and security customers as well.
So with a solid foundation of ACE detectors already in place, Garrett has just introduced three more metal detectors to the ACE lineup… The new ACE 200, 300 and 400. This field test report is about the ACE 400.
Several years ago Garrett Electronics recognized the need for a high-quality, low cost model that would allow families to get into the hobby without having to make the choice between buying a detector and paying the mortgage. With the introduction of the original Ace models nearly a decade ago – the 150 and 250 – it was quickly apparent that detectors with the performance they offered at a price tag that everyone could afford was what people had been waiting for . . . sales went through the roof and the Ace line has remained extremely popular ever since.
I have been a fan of the Ace models from Day 1 and have used my Ace 250 as a machine that I would lend to people wanting to give treasure hunting a try knowing they could make some great finds if they got the coil over them. Recently I had the opportunity to do a field test on the new Ace 300 and found it to take a solid performing detector – the Ace 250 – and make it even more potent in the field. When I found out I was going to get the opportunity to test out the new Ace 200, I was anxious to see how the Ace 150 had been improved.
The Ace 200 builds on the Ace 150’s lineage as one of Garrett’s entry-level detectors for those that are looking at giving treasure hunting a try without the need to invest a large amount to do so. At first glance, it looks almost identical to the Ace 150; however, on closer examination the new camlock system is readily apparent. The shaft assembly now sports a pair of camlocks which lock the shaft in position and make the entire unit feel more stable than its predecessor – another feature typically not seen on detectors in the Ace 200’s price range.
Powering up the Ace 200 reveals another enhancement that the engineers included in its design. While the 5 probable target ID segments still appear along the top of the meter as they did on the Ace 150, there is now a two-digit target ID value shown in the center of the LCD screen that will help identify targets with much greater accuracy. This feature, typically found only on higher-priced detectors is one that will help users dig more treasure and less trash once they learn what Target ID numbers correspond to specific targets they are searching for.
The Ace 200 has three independent discriminate search modes that have been preset by the factory which makes getting started a snap! The three modes are COINS, JEWELRY and ALL-METAL. The discrimination points; i.e., what items are accepted or rejected, have been preset at the factory based on factory field tests and input from active treasure hunters making setup a snap especially for those just getting started in the hobby.
All of the available adjustments on the Ace 200 can quickly be made via the three touchpads located on the face of the control housing. These are (1) Mode; (2) Sensitivity and (3) Power. The LCD screen provides the user with helpful information including:
Target ID: One of 5 segments identifies what has been detected; i.e., Iron, Nickel, Pull Tab, Rings or Coins along with the new 2-digit target ID value
Target Depth: Displays the approximate target depth of coin-sized objects; i.e., 2”, 4” or 6”+
Selected Search Mode: The active search mode will have a dark circle surrounding it
Sensitivity: The selected sensitivity level is shown in the lower right area of the screen
Low Battery Warning: Once the Ace 200’s batteries reach a point where replacement is imminent the Low Battery Indicator will appear
Another feature that was added to the Ace 200 (and Ace 300) is what Garrett’s engineers call Pulse-Width Modulation Audio: Despite its technical connotation, what it means to the user is that the Ace 200 produces a sharper response to targets making them easier to distinguish in the field which can mean more “keepers” at the end of the day.
Weighing in at a mere 2.75 pounds with the batteries, the Ace 200 can be used for hours without tiring by hunters aged 5 to 95. With the entire Ace line, Garrett has shown that performance and weight are not synonymous with one another.
Speaking of batteries, the Ace 200 is powered by four (4) AA batteries which will provide between 20 and 40 hours of use depending on the number of targets detected and if headphones are used. Rechargeable batteries can be used with no loss of performance; however, with the life obtained from the 4 inexpensive AA batteries, you may not want to bother with NiMH batteries. There is a standard ¼” headphone jack located at the rear of the control housing and their use is highly recommended so that you don’t miss those smaller or deeper targets that tend to produce fainter audio signals
The first part of any field test is to perform and air test followed by a spin through the test garden to see how the detector responds to known good and bad targets. The Ace 200 was quite impressive in its detection depth and target ID accuracy – especially considering its price tag.
Unfortunately southeast Michigan – like most areas of the country – was in the midst of a record-setting drought when the Ace 200 arrived for testing which had the ground either too hard to dig or so dry that any target recovery would leave signs that could result in the area being closed to detecting. This left few sites available to test the Ace 200 at within the time frame allotted for this report.
As with most public sites today, it was quickly evident that searching in the JEWELRY mode would result in spending a lot of time recovering pull-tabs and tinfoil that seemed to litter each of the sites we stopped at. Switching to COINS, the detector quieted right down and it wasn’t long before coins were turning up on a regular basis. While none were old, it was fun to glance at the new two-digit target ID value and see if one could predict what the target was before recovering it. My wife and I took turns seeing who was more accurate based on 5 targets before switching off and enjoyed the time we spent testing the Ace 200
The new Ace 200 offers performance and features one would not expect to find on a detector at its price point. Simple to operate and sensitive enough to ensure that treasure will be found if you pass over it, the Ace 200 is an ideal starter or a backup unit. Two points I made when I tested the Ace 150 that carry through to the Ace 200 are that one can’t adjust the discrimination in the three search modes and it doesn’t have a non-motion pinpoint mode. Without a pinpoint mode, one has to be careful when trying to zero in on a target so as not to damage the area and inadvertently cause restrictions to be enacted. Remember, the goal should be to leave the site in better condition than when you arrived and proper target recovery is essential in meeting that goal. If these features are those you feel are “must-haves”, stepping up to the Ace 300 is an option to consider.
The Ace 200 lists for $199.95 and comes with a 2-year factory warranty. A number of optional search coils – both concentric and Double-D - are available for the Ace series in addition to the stock 6.5"x9" PROformance concentric coil.
For more information on the new Ace 200 or to request a copy of Garrett’s Product Catalog & Company History Profile, contact the factory at (972) 494-6151 or 1881 West State Street, Garland, TX 75042 or http://www.garrett.com. Be sure to mention you read about the new Ace 200 in Lost Treasure Magazine.