Testing Sun Rays' Ultra Depth S-12 & S-5 Intruder Searchcoils
By Joe Patrick
From Page 43
January, 1997 issue of Treasure Facts
Several years ago, a revolutionary new type of metal detector was introduced on the U.S. market. Up to that point in time, metal detectors operated on a single operating frequency, which was usually in the VLF (very low frequency) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In the late 1980s, Minelab Electronics Limited Pty., of Australia invented a new type of metal detector that operated with multiple transmit frequencies 17, to be exact. This multi-frequency metal detector, named the Sovereign, was, and still is, the only detector incorporating Broad Band Spectrum (BBS) multi-frequency technology.
Within a short while, other detector companies were offering multi-(dual)frequency detectors of their own design. The pros and cons of multi-frequency operation are often debated by detectorists, but three attributes seem to be common to all multi-frequency detectors. 1. They seem to provide above average detection depth. 2. They seem to work well in mineralized ground. 3. Their ID capability is above average.
Minelabs Sovereign is factory-equipped with an 8-inch double-D (widescan) coil. While this factory coil is excellent for most detecting situations, some detectorists wanted larger coils for deeper items and increased ground coverage and others wanted a smaller coil for detecting trashy sites... enter Sun Ray.
Sun Ray Detector Electronics1 of Hazelton Iowa listened to those requests for additional searchcoils and has recently introduced two new accessory coils for exclusive use with the Minelab Sovereign detector both the original and the new XS model. These two coils, the Ultra-Depth S-12 and S-5 Intruder are designed to maximize the Sovereigns already excellent capability to find deep items and to enhance its performance while detecting in high-trash areas.
Ultra-Depth S-12 Searchcoil Features And Test
Before I begin to explain the features and merits of Sun Rays products, I want to state that I am impressed by Sun Rays attention to detail. Nothing had to be forced, rigged or modified. Everything fit accurately and correctly! The coil mounting holes are sized correctly and the mounting hardware did not have to be forced through conversely, it had no slop either. The coil mounting ears are likewise heavy-duty and should last a lifetime. Commercial-grade quality, first-rate construction heavy-duty cable and flexible strain reliefs all contribute to an excellent product. It is readily apparent that Sun Ray puts a lot of thought and attention to detail into their product design, development and manufacturing!
The Ultra-Depth S-12 searchcoil is a solid, 12-inch widescan coil designed for greater ground coverage and depth. Like the original Sovereign 8-inch searchcoil, it is a double-D design to enhance its ground coverage and operation over mineralized ground. It comes factory-equipped with a heavy-duty 8-foot connecting cable, a rugged flexible strain-relief at the coil entry point and a high-quality, heat-shrunk coil connector at its end.
The use of the S-12 coil does increase the overall operating weight somewhat, but not to a painful level. The extra weight is definitely noticeable, but because the Sovereigns coil is held close to (or on) the ground during normal operation, in many detecting situations it is possible to rest the coil directly on the ground, which takes most of the strain of the extra weight off of the users arm.
I found the S-12 searchcoil to be most effective at providing increased ground coverage (as compared to the standard 8-inch Sovereign coil). Many of the finds that I made while using the S-12 coil were a direct result of increased ground coverage. I did find 5 targets that were deep and I dont think I could have found them without the S-12 coil. If you relic hunt, I have no doubt that this coil will enhance the Sovereigns deep-searching ability and the extra ground coverage is a big plus, provided you do not detect areas that have a lot of targets close together.
The site selected for my field test of the Ultra-Depth S-12 coil has been heavily detected by a small group of detectorists for almost four years now. Many thousands of items have been recovered, but for about the last year, targets have become noticeably scarcer, especially coins, which were never found in great abundance, even when we first discovered and began detecting the site four years ago. In approximately five hours of detecting using the Ultra-Depth S-12 searchcoil I recovered 40 desirable items, including a 1946 dime, two old religious medals, a numbered lead freight-seal and 20 old coat and cuff-size military-type buttons many dating to the turn of the century.
I noticed that as claimed and stated in Sun Rays literature, the S-12 coil did in fact have very good sensitivity to small items, as witnessed by the recovery of several very small brass shoe eyelets about the diameter of a pencil eraser.
During my field test of the S-12, I used Sun Rays optional coil support bracket which is designed to prevent possible coil slippage in wet conditions. I used this accessory-item during my entire test and I highly recommend it. It sells for $9.95.
When using the support bracket (12-inch coil), the angularity-adjustment hole-placement precisely matched the angle needed for my somewhat short 5 foot 6 inch stature. I do not believe this to be accidental, but, again, is a reflection of Sun Rays attention to detail. With ten adjustment positions available, it is almost certain to match a detectorists coil angularity preference.
A optional 12-inch coil cover is also available and it is an item that all detectorists should have on their searchcoils. The optional S-12 coil cover is available for $9.95.
One improvement that I would like to see is the inclusion of a pinpointing bulls eye added to the 12-inch searchcoil, which would visually aid in pinpointing.
One additional item worth mentioning is that the Sun Ray S-12 searchcoil is water resistant but is not designed for water hunting. Minelabs Sea Search coil is designed for this application. The Ultra-Depth S-12 searchcoils suggested retail price is $219.95 and is backed by a six-month warranty.
S-5 Intruder Searchcoil Features & Test
Sunrays S-5 Intruder searchcoil is a miniature version of its S-12. The Intruder coil features the same type heavy-duty connecting cable, flexible strain relief and connector. The S-5 is actually 5.5-inches in diameter and uses the same widescan (Double-D) design as the S-12, but due to its small size, it is optimized for maximum target separation in high trash areas. It is lightweight, weighing only 16 ounces and it is covered by a six month warranty. The S-5 Intruder searchcoils suggested list price is $189.95 and an optional coil cover is available for an additional $6.95.
It is important to note that if you are planning to use either the S-12 or S-5 coils with Minelabs optional Sovereign target ID meter, you may find that it may read targets inaccurately. Since re calibration of the meter to the coil used is not possible without sending it to Minelabs repair center, it is recommended that you purchase Sun Rays DTI II target ID meter if you wish to use a meter while detecting with either Sun Ray coil. The Sun Ray DTI II meter can be quickly and easily calibrated to either coil regardless of whether you are using the original Sovereign or the new Sovereign XS. It takes less than a minute and you can do it yourself.
For my field test of the S-5 Intruder searchcoil, I chose an old county fairground, because it has an abundance of high-trash sites, it seemed to be the ideal spot to test the S-5. This particular location has been in continuous use since the late 1920s and has plenty of coins left, but due to the heavy concentration of intermixed trash, they are difficult to isolate and find especially with standard-size or large searchcoils. Because of the high-trash and to obtain maximum effectiveness, I opted to use Sun Rays S-5 Intruder searchcoil in combination with their new DTI II meter.
It was a joy using the S-5 here! Its small size and lightweight contributed to easy target isolation and fast, accurate pinpointing. Even at high discrimination settings, I noticed very little target masking and the depth capability of the S-5 was excellent for such a small coil. I had no quick or easy way to compare its depth capability with the standard 8-inch Minelab coil, but based on my approximately four years of experience with a Sovereign, it seemed to almost equal its depth. This surprised me, as I had expected to loose at least two or three inches of detection depth. Dime-sized targets up to about seven inches in depth were strong in the discriminate mode and had a small, smooth audio sound in the all-metal (pinpointing) mode.
During my field test of both the S-12 and S-5 coils, I was using Sun Rays DTI II meter. Most targets identified accurately and at a couple of locations, I operated at the Sovereigns preset discrimination level and used the meter to ID all targets. This worked fairly well except when too many targets were under or near the coil, at which point ID become impossible this is a typical problem with all ID units.
I used the S-5 for about six hours and recovered four desirable items a 1944 Mercury; a 1918-S Mercury; a 1954 Roosevelt dime and a 1943 Washington quarter.
Sun Rays S-5 and S-12 accessory coils performed well for me. They made my Sovereign even more versatile and its reassuring to know that I am now prepared for any detecting situation.
For referral to a dealer in your area or for additional information about Sun Ray searchcoils or other Sun Ray products,contact: Sun Ray Detector Electronics, 106 North Main, Hazelton, IA 50641. Phone (319) 636-2244.
1 The Sun Ray S-12 and S-5 searchcoils are not Minelab Products.