Since its inception in 1992, the Garrett Grand Master Hunter CX III has been one of the most popular detectors in the companys history. Used with great success in various facets of treasure hunting including coinshooting, relic hunting, beach combing and even electronic prospecting, the CX III has developed quite a loyal following over the past few years.
Despite the success enjoyed by users worldwide, Charles Garrett pushed his engineers to further improve the overall performance of the detector in two specific areas discrimination and detection depth. After almost two years of research and development, their efforts were rewarded with circuit enhancements which have been dubbed Power Master circuitry.
Having used the original version of the CX III since mid-1992, I was anxious to see how this new circuitry improved the detectors actual performance in the field.
The CX III has been designed to be simple enough that even a complete novice can quickly become proficient with it yet versatile enough for seasoned treasure hunters to have a top-of-the-line unit that works well under a wide variety of applications. The CX III includes a non-motion all-metal search mode, six independent programmable motion discriminate search modes and a non-motion pinpointing mode. Despite the fact that the CX III has seven different operating modes plus a pinpoint mode, selecting the desired mode for a given application is as simple as pressing one of the touch pads beneath the LCD meter.
All of the CX IIIs features are controlled through the nine touch pads located on the meter housing at the end of the hand grip. In addition to the various operating modes, some of the other adjustments available to the user include the following:
Depth varies the power output of the detector. Dont let the name fool you, operating at higher settings may actually result in a loss of detection depth due to false signals and erratic operation.
Volume for maximum detection depth, one should always set this function at the maximum value and then use the volume controls on the headphones to set the audio response to a comfortable level.
Frequency users can select one of eight different operating frequencies with the push of a button to eliminate interference caused by electrical lines, lights or even other metal detectors.
Audio Boost activates a separate circuit that actually boosts the signal from weak, deeply buried targets making them easier to detect.
Surface Elimination rejects all targets up to four inches deep, while concentrating on deeper (and usually older) targets.
The discrimination circuit features Garretts unique Graphic Target Analyzer to make accurate target identification a snap. Rather than relying on a conventional discriminate knob or complicated programs, the CX IIIs meter has 24 LCD segments which can be turned on or off to accept or reject the respective target. Since the entire process of selecting specific targets can be done with the use of two touch pads, even a novice can quickly develop a custom program for any area he might be searching.
Another useful feature is the instruction manual that comes with the detector. Small enough to fit in your pocket for easy reference in the field, it is well-written and thoroughly explains all the CX IIIs features and how they should be used in various applications.
I took the CX III to a site that fellow treasure hunter Jerry Solomon had found. Several old homes dating back to the 1930s had been torn down to make way for a new highway. In addition to the old homes, the area had been heavily used by both Union and Confederate troop movements during the Civil War. Not wanting to miss any military artifacts such as bullets or buttons (which often register as a pull tab or screw cap), I selected the Beach mode.
Leaving the sensitivity at the preset position and selecting both Audio Boost and Belltone Audio, I began searching near the tree line behind where the homes had stood. After several sweeps, I noticed that I was receiving a number of false signals. Recognizing this problem was caused by having the sensitivity set too high, I decreased it to about the 60 percent position and continued hunting.
If you are familiar with the older CX III, remember that these units have more sensitivity than the old ones and that a lower setting will actually provide you with more detection depth. A simple rule is to set the sensitivity at a point where false signals are minimized and not worry what the actual value is.
My first solid, repeatable signal came as I approached the base of an old oak tree. Switching to Pinpoint, the depth registered as just more than six inches. Unfortunately, recovering the target from amongst the gnarled tree roots and hard-packed red clay took almost 10 minutes. Finally freeing it from its resting place, I placed a dropped .58 caliber minnie ball in my pouch.
The open area contained a high concentration of trash from the houses that had been bulldozed. However, by digging only those targets that produced repeatable audio signals and a single LCD bar on the meter, I was able to visually discriminate virtually all of the trash while not losing any sensitivity often experienced when using high levels of discrimination.
We spent almost four hours at this site, and when it was time to leave, we all dumped our finds out to compare what we had found. In addition to the minnie ball, I had several 20th century coins, a key, three more Civil War bullets, a play token and a dog tag from the 1930s. My two partners had found a total of four good targets among them. The results showed that the CX III had been able to find good targets in an area where two other top-of-the-line detectors had not been able to.
The next site I went to was one where a number of old homes were being moved to make way for a commercial development. It was an older middle-class neighborhood, so I was hoping to find at least a few pieces of silver and other items before the area was leveled. Selecting a promising yard, I was somewhat disappointed to see signs of previous detector users having been there. Starting near the sidewalk leading up to the front door, I received a few non-repeatable signals from large pieces of trash just under the surface they were easily discernible as trash and I quickly ignored them.
As I approached the driveway, I received a solid signal that registered as a penny. At a depth of almost six inches, I pulled out five wheat cents ranging in date from 1919 to 1934. It was interesting to note that a large, rusted hinge was sticking out of the edge of the hole. Even so, the CX III had still identified the coins buried next to it.
As I headed out into the front yard, I received a signal that registered near the screw cap area, yet when I checked the depth, the meter indicated five inches. Cutting a plug and folding it back, I removed the loose dirt from the bottom of the hole. As I sifted it through my fingers, I felt a coin, which turned out to be an 1892 Indian Head penny. Over the next few hours I checked out several of the yards in the area and recovered a pocketful of targets ranging from clad coins to early-date wheat cents, silver dimes and personal artifacts such as keys and buttons. Considering the area had been hunted before I arrived, the CX III had found targets others had overlooked.
In addition to the testing that I conducted with the new Grand Master Hunter, I thought Id pass along some information I received in a newsletter from Outdoor Outfitters, the largest independent multi-line treasure hunting distributor in the country. Owners Gary and Arlynn Bischke have been involved in this sport for years and are both seasoned treasure hunters in their own right.
In order to validate the claims of increased detection depth and improved discrimination made by the factory, Gary set up a comparative field test in an old Wisconsin picnic grove. Gathering 12 fellow treasure hunters who were currently Garrett users, Gary outfitted half of them with either a CX III or a GTA-1000 with the Power Master circuitry. For the next 45 minutes everyone hunted and marked each signal that they felt was a good target. Each target was then cross-checked using the comparable detector either with or without the new circuitry.
The results of the test indicated that of the 137 targets marked by the treasure hunters, the Power Master circuitry was 15 percent more accurate in terms of target identification, 25 percent of the targets had a stronger audio response and five percent of the targets could not be detected by the older models due to their depth or size.
The newer models produced smoother, sharper hits even at higher sensitivity settings than the original models. To quote Garys newsletter, All of the hunters involved felt that Garretts claim of depth increases up to 20 percent was fair and some even felt that the claim was an understatement.
Since many of the basic controls on the CX III are identical to the original model that I field-tested in the September 1992 issue of Lost Treasure, the details on how these controls function are not included in this report. See the earlier field test report in Lost Treasure or ask the factory for a reprint.
The original Grand Master Hunter has provided me with a number of exceptional finds over the years and I can see that the new Power Master circuitry will produce even more in areas most treasure hunters have long since given up on. The increased sensitivity, detection depth and discrimination capabilities make the CX III a whole new detector. So even if you currently own one, stop by your local dealer and see what the engineers at Garrett have come up with.
One option that I would highly recommend for those of you who are more than 6-feet tall is the extended upper rod which sells for $14.95. Adding approximately two inches to the detectors overall length, it makes it much easier to swing for extended periods of time. Garrett offers a large selection of optional search coils designed to let treasure hunters use the CX III for virtually any type of application. In addition to conventional coils ranging from 41/2- to 121/2-inch round coils and several elliptical models, the Depth Multiplier will quickly convert the CX III into a two-box type detector ideally suited for cache hunting, relic hunting or even construction work where buried pipes and cables need to be located.
The base CX III sells for $779.95. The complete kit that includes the armrest and deluxe padded carrying case is priced at $849.95. For the name of your nearest authorized Garrett dealer or to obtain a copy of the latest buyers guide, call the company toll-free at (800) 527-4011 or write them at 1881 W. State St., Garland, Texas 75841 and be sure to mention you read about their improved top-of-the-line unit in Lost Treasure.