In the late 1970s, a new company emerged on the metal detecting scene that introduced technology still being used successfully today--almost 20 years after its short existence ended due to mismanagement. That company, with its legendary performance, was Teknetics. When the company was sold off, First Texas Products purchased the name along with the assets and after a long dormant period has brought the Teknetics name back to life.
Their 1st model, the T2, designed by a team led by industry experts David Johnson and John Gardiner, was intended to follow the pedigree of the old Teknetics by offering exceptional performance and innovative features. Having used all of the original Teknetics models with a great deal of success, I was anxious to see how well they met this goal.
Features The Teknetics T2 has been designed as a truly all-purpose detector meeting the needs of coin hunters, beach hunters, relic hunters and even serious gold prospectors. This is accomplished by providing two independent search modes; a true all metal and a full-range silent search discriminate mode.
The first thing one notices after unpacking the T2 is its unique appearance, followed by its apparent weight (or lack thereof). While the entire detector with batteries weighs around 3.5 pounds, the ergonomics make it almost perfectly balanced which makes it feel even lighter.
The T2 is a VLF-detector operating at 13 kHz which provides good sensitivity to a wide range of the type of targets treasure hunters are searching for. Surprisingly, it is controlled through just one knob, a pushbutton and a toggle switch--not what a detectorist would expect on a high-end detector, but the engineers set out to provide performance without complexity. To adjust any of the T2 features, simply press the MENU pushbutton and then turn the SETTINGS knob to select the function being changed. Then press the MENU pushbutton again and make the actual adjustment with the SETTINGS knob. The functions available in either mode and the adjustment range on each are: (ALL-METAL) Sensitivity (1-99); Hum Level (-9 to +9) and Manual Ground Balance and (DISCRIMINATION) Sensitivity, Discrimination Level (0-80) and Audio Option (7 options). Pushing the toggle switch forward activates the automatic ground balance circuit while pulling it backward switches the search circuitry to a non-motion all-metal pinpoint mode with depth indication on the LCD screen.
Proper ground balance is essential on any detector in order to achieve maximum detection depth and target ID accuracy; however, on many detectors, finding the proper setting can be somewhat of a challenge. The T2 offers two modes of ground balance--fully automatic (called FASTGRAB) and if needed, a full-range manual mode in the All-metal mode. Another key aspect of the unit is that the ground balance adjustments apply to both the All-Metal and Discriminate search modes so maximum performance is obtained in virtually any ground and in either search mode.
The LCD screen provides a wealth of information. In the center is a large numerical value that corresponds to specific targets--ranging from 0 (iron) to 100 (silver). An arrow-shaped icon of three different sizes appears along the top of the screen that also indicates probable target ID as well as relative signal strength. A valuable feature of the T2 is that it provides target ID information in both the Discriminate and All-Metal search modes--something that relic hunters and prospectors will find especially useful in the field. The degree of magnetic mineralization present is displayed to the right of the target ID value and is useful information when interpreting responses from very small or deeply buried targets when combined with the GC Phase value displayed when ground balancing. The Message Area in the lower right portion alerts one to conditions that adversely affect the operation. When the pinpoint mode is activated, target depth is provided down to 16 inches.
Target ID is provided through audio and visual indications. Targets tend to produce consistent visual readings within plus or minus one number--down to depths around 8 inches. Beyond that, they tend to vary a bit more with each sweep; however, in areas where targets are that deep, its worth spending the time to recover them rather than relying on a detector to make the decision. The visual and audio signals are derived differently so it is essential to use both pieces of information to determine if a target is worth recovering. Extremely deep targets tend to produce an audio signal without a visual indication--a little practice on deeper targets will teach an operator how to get maximum detection depth from the T2. The selected audio response can also help identify targets.
The Single tone provides the same tone for all targets; however, the remaining six options allow the detector to be fine-tuned based on ones personal preferences. The two-tone option differentiates between ferrous and nonferrous targets. The three-tone identifies coins (including nickels) with a high tone, the four tone provides further discernment by identifying targets such as Indian Head pennies with a separate tone and the final option--called Delta Pitch--produces a different tone for each number displayed on the LCD screen.
Two other features worth mentioning are the frequency shifter and variable sensitivity in the Pinpoint mode. If electrical interference from power lines or other detectors causes erratic operation, one of seven slightly different frequencies ranging from 12.821kHz to 13.158kHz can be selected through the use of the trigger and Menu touchpad. If the preset sensitivity in Pinpoint makes it difficult to zero-in on shallow targets or hard to find the very deep ones, pull the trigger backward and use the Settings knob to increase or decrease it. Note that this is not the same as adjusting the sensitivity in either search mode.
The search coil, an 11 x 7 Double-D, is quite unique in appearance; however, it is an excellent all-purpose coil. Being a Double-D, it covers a full 11 swath with each sweep, yet is sensitive enough to detect even tiny targets such as gold nuggets, earring backs or percussion caps at impressive depths.
The T2 is powered by only 4 AA batteries and considering the performance and features it offers, its battery life is quite surprising--40 hours on alkaline and 20 hours on re-chargeable. Battery strength is always displayed on the LCD screen. A half-inch stereo headphone jack is conveniently located at the rear of the armrest.
Field Test After assembling the T2, I conducted some testing to see what responses various targets would produce in terms of ID values and audio signals in both search modes and the seven audio options. A spin through the test garden confirmed these results and showed that the Ground Balance circuitry handled challenging ground conditions to produce consistent ID information.
Since the T2 was designed as professional level detector, I skipped the usual parks and schools with recently lost coins and headed to a few older sites in town that might have some keepers worth ferreting out.
A few vacant lots that had once held large Victorian homes were my destination and thankfully there had not been much rain recently which kept the undergrowth at a manageable height. Realizing that the yards would be quite trashy with the old homes having been razed, I opted to run with the discrimination set just below nickels (55) to eliminate ferrous trash and foil and the 4-tone audio option to aid in identifying the remaining targets detected. Ground balancing using the FASTGRAB option took seconds to complete and with the sensitivity at preset (60), I started searching the first of three adjacent lots. Some of the larger trash, particularly iron, produced broken chirps, but good targets were clearly discernible when the coil passed over them. After recovering several clad coins from depths up to six inches, I realized that the area had been graded and filled so I moved further in from the street hoping to find undisturbed ground. Three consecutive 82-83 readings produced wheat cents from the seven inch range--prospects were looking up!
While I did receive a number of additional signals, based on the combination of their IDs and relative depth (four inches or less), I was able to ignore most of the trash that littered the site and focused on the older targets I was finding were still present. The second lot was near a transformer on an electrical pole and as I approached it, the T2 started to chatter. Switching frequencies helped somewhat but reducing the sensitivity to 50 did a good job eliminating most of the interference. The sensitivity to outside electrical interference is recognized in the manual, and is a price worth paying for the increased performance Teknetics was able to extract from the detector--just be aware of it and make the necessary adjustments to produce stable operation.
Not having a notch-discrimination system initially seemed like a step backwards in terms of technology but after a few hours in the field, including some trash-filled sites, I found that the consistency which the T2 identified most targets allows one to use the most effective discriminator available--your brain--to determine what to recover and what not to. By choosing what to dig or leave, its less likely to miss a keeper that additional discrimination levels may have rejected before you even heard the signal--but I will admit having a notch discrimination system would definitely help when time was limited or at sites littered with trash. Two hours at this site netted me 22 older coins including a well-worn Standing Liberty quarter, four Mercury dimes, a 1904 Indian Head penny and several wheat cents.
I took the T2 with me when I went to in Atlanta on business and spent a few hours hunting one of my old Civil War sites in the south end of the city. Heavily hunted for decades and extremely mineralized ground kept my hopes grounded but it would be a good test of the units capabilities. Using FASTGRAB to adjust for the ground, it indicated a value of 92 which is very high.
The T2 chattered a fair amount as the coil was swept across the ground yet became quiet when the coil was held stationary indicating that the noise was related to the mineralization rather than electrical interference. Lowering the sensitivity to 55 and using a tip picked up from the Findmall.com Internet forum of lowering the GB value a few numbers, using the Manual Ground Cancel function, I noticed a substantial improvement in the stability of the T2. It still chattered a bit more than two of the other brands I had with me but not too much so as to be unusable.
In my book a good day is anytime you find a piece of the past and this hunt would go down as a good one--three Confederate Civil War bullets and part of a cavalry spur had me smiling as I drove back to the hotel. While they had only been between five and eight inches deep; the bad ground here typically limited most detectors to five inches or less, so the T2 had done well at this site.
To test out the units prospecting capabilities, I checked out the response received from some gold nuggets as well as targets such as small lead shot and earring backs. Surprisingly, the T2 produced easily discernible responses to these targets in All-Metal despite having a large search coil. While I live in an area which was mined for gold in the 1800s, most of what is still found is fine flake or flour, making it virtually impossible to find gold directly with any detector. The T2 was able to locate concentrated pockets of black sand by listening to a drop in the All-Metal threshold (hum) and subsequent panning of these sites did produce a smattering of color in the pan.
Summary While the new Teknetics T2 doesnt push the technology envelope they way the original models did 20-plus years ago, it does do what its designers set out to do in terms of developing an easy-to-use, high-performance detector. With more and more detectorists looking for a detector that offers above average performance without the weight, the T2 meets that demand in spades.
Anyone will be able to use it for extended periods in the field without fatigue. Complexity is another complaint of those that simply want to hunt rather than tweak the detector and again, with one knob and one pushbutton, the T2 couldnt be simpler to adjust for any application. The two distinct search modes allow the unit to be used for many different types of hunting which in the past required the purchase of multiple detectors.
At this time (and foreseeable future) there are no optional search coils available and any adjustments made are not retained once the unit is turned off (which in the big picture is not that much of a problem since it is quite easy to setup). Its enhanced sensitivity does result in more chatter in areas containing ferrous trash or high mineralization than found on some other models.
The T2 lists for $999 and comes with a 5-year warranty. For more information about the detector, the company behind the product, or to find a dealer, contact the factory at (800) 413-4131 or visit their website at http://www.TekneticsT2.com and be sure to mention you read about it in Lost Treasure magazine.