FIELD TEST

Garrett Electronics Freedom Two Plus
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 8
October, 1990 issue of Lost Treasure

The Freedom Two Plus is one of the new metal detectors introduced by Garrett Electronics in their 1990 line. All of the detectors in the Garrett line, including the Freedom Two Plus, have incorporated surface-mount circuit-board technology into their design, resulting in more depth and smoother operation. Having used various Garrett metal detectors over the years, with a great deal of success, I was looking forward to seeing how this newly-designed model performed in the field.

FEATURES

The Freedom Two Plus is an automatic-ground-canceling discriminator featuring two independent motion-discriminate modes and a non-motion all-metal pinpoint mode. It is mounted on a modified S-shape handle and, at 3 pounds 5 ounces with the standard 8-1/2 inch Crossfire searchcoil, is extremely well balanced and lightweight. Both the armrest and the hand grip are padded which makes extended use of the Freedom Two Plus quite comfortable. The armrest doubles as a detector stand and keeps the detector upright when recovering a target, even on hilly terrain.

The Freedom Two Plus has a three-position rocker switch on the hand grip and four knobs on the front face plate that control the detectors functions. The two knobs on the left side of the face plate marked TRASH ELIMINATION are used to set the level of trash rejection for each of the two independent discrimination circuits.

The knob in the middle, below the speaker, marked AUDIO is used to adjust the threshold level heard through either the internal speaker or headphones.

The fourth knob in the upper right corner marked DEPTH is used to both turn the detector on, and adjust the detection depth or sensitivity.

Both the TRASH ELIMINATION and DEPTH knobs have initial settings printed on them to allow the Freedom Two Plus to be used immediately after removing it from the box. The rocker switch located on the front of the handgrip is covered with the padding to keep dirt out, and enables the operator to switch between any of the three operating position modes.

The center position, which is the normal operating position, places the Freedom Two Plus into a motion-discriminate mode using the TRASH I ELIMINATION (upper discriminate control) circuit. By pressing and holding the switch in the downward position, the TRASH 2 ELIMINATION circuit is activated. By pressing and holding the switch in the upward position, the all-metal pinpoint circuit is activated.

The two independent discriminate circuits are an extremely useful feature, yet one that is not easily understood by many treasure hunters. There are a number of ways to utilize this feature to the fullest, some of which include the following.

If you are using the detector for electronic prospecting, set the ELIMINATION #1 knob fully counterclockwise so that the detector will respond to all metals, and the #2 knob to the 3 position to reject small pieces of iron. When you receive a signal, switch to mode #2 to check if the target is ferrous and not worth recovering. For coin-hunting, the two knobs should be set at the preset marks which will allow the Freedom Two Plus to ignore tin foil, nails, and bottle caps while still accepting nickels and gold rings when searching in mode #1.

When a target is detected, the second discriminate circuit can be activated and if the signal does not repeat, you will know that the item is a nickel, a small gold ring, or a pull tab. You would not hunt with the #1 circuit set at PULLTAB or higher, unless the area is extremely trashy, due to the loss of detection depth experienced as the level of discrimination is increased.

By hunting at a lower discrimination setting, and checking each signal, you will be able to find deeper coins in areas that most other hunters have given up as worked out or too trashy to search.

There is a standard 1/4-inch headphone jack on the front of the Freedom Two Plus, and a plastic plug is attached to the jack to keep dirt and moisture out when headphones are being used.

The Freedom Two Plus uses three 9-volt batteries, which are located inside the control housing. The set that came with the detector provided me with approximately 25 hours of use, and alkaline batteries should provide approximately 5 to 10 hours more. Rechargeable NiCad batteries can be used with no adverse affect on the performance of the detector, however, at the present time, they are not offered as an option by the factory.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Freedom Two Plus arrived securely packed in the customary Garrett box with a pocket-sized operating manual designed to be taken into the field with the detector. Assembling the Freedom Two Plus was quite simple and required less than two minutes. As on most detectors today, the searchcoil cable needs to be wrapped securely around the shaft to prevent false signals or chattering due to the detectors high sensitivity.

After assembling the Freedom Two Plus and reading over the instruction manual, I prepared to check the response of the detector to various items by performing an air test. By turning the DETECTION DEPTH knob clockwise, the detector is turned on and the battery strength is tested. A new set of batteries will produce five sharp beeps; when only one is heard, the batteries need to be replaced.

With both the TRASH 1 ELIMINATION and DEPTH controls set at the preset marks, the Freedom Two Plus produced solid, repeatable signals at impressive depths on all of the targets tested including several pieces of jewelry, Civil War artifacts, and various denominations of coins.

After completing the air test, I took the Freedom Two Plus outside to see how it would respond to the targets buried in my test garden. The soil in most of northern Georgia consists of highly mineralized red clay, and I was interested in seeing how the automatic ground-canceling circuitry functioned under these conditions. I set both discriminate controls to the preset marks, and the DEPTH control to maximum.

As I started to sweep the loop over the ground, the mineralization caused some chattering, so I decreased the DEPTH control to the 3:00 oclock position and the chattering stopped. In the Trash Elimination #1 mode, the Freedom Two Plus responded positively to most of the targets, rejecting only the nail and tin foil.

Sweeping the targets again while in the Trash Elimination #2 mode produced signals on the military artifacts, one large gold ring, the silver ring, and all of the coins with the exception of the nickel. The pull tab was rejected, but the nickel and most of the gold rings were as well.

I put on the 12-1/2 inch Crossfire loop to see how sensitive the large coil was on smaller targets, and also how much of an increase in detection depth it produced. In the #1 discriminate mode the Freedom Two Plus responded to all of the targets that the 8-1/2 inch loop had, and the coil could even be raised two to three inches off the ground while still detecting the targets. Unlike older loops, the new large Crossfire retains the sensitivity of the standard coil while resulting in a considerable increase in overall depth.

FIELD TEST

Shortly after I received the Freedom Two Plus, my brother, Chris, came down from New York to visit. The first thing he wanted to do was to try relic hunting, so we loaded the detectors in the truck and headed for a small wooded site near Kennesaw Mountain that had produced well in the past. Relic hunting has been popular in this area for nearly forty years, and most of the local sites have been hunted time and time again. Several members of the club I belong to had mentioned hunting this site recently, so I cautioned him about getting his hopes up.

After briefly explaining the controls and showing Chris what a good signal sounded like, he put his headphones on and headed into the underbrush. He set the ELIMINATION #1 control to the preset mark to reject small pieces of iron, yet still respond to larger ferrous items such as gun parts, shell fragments, and tools.

The ELIMINATION #2 control was set just slightly below the preset mark, to allow him to check a signal and determine if it was ferrous or non-ferrous simply by switching between the two discriminate circuits. Less than five minutes after he had started searching, he yelled that he had a repeatable signal that sounded promising. He switched to the #2 circuit and the detector still produced a solid signal indicating that the target was a non-ferrous item.

I walked over, and as he began to dig through the roots and leaves, he commented that recovering coins from the local park was quite a bit easier than relic hunting appeared to be. After digging down about eight inches, he checked the hole and the detector indicated that the target was out. Carefully sifting through the dirt produced a fired .58 caliber pistol cleaner bullet with its characteristic white patina. After admiring his first relic from the Civil War, Chris began to search again in earnest.

Less than 10 feet from the spot where he made his first find, he received a signal that was solid but did not repeat on each sweep. Kicking some of the leaves away and rechecking the area, the signal was much clearer and repeatable. Digging carefully to see how deep the target was, another cleaner bullet was found at almost 10 inches.

After 1-1/2hours, we headed back to the truck to look over our finds. Chris had found nine minnie balls, including a round ball and several more cleaner bullets, and some small lead fragments. Considering that this area had been heavily hunted and Chris was not familiar with the operation of the Freedom Two Plus, the detector had performed quite well.

The next site we went to was an area near Atlanta where a number of older houses were being demolished. After the success Chris had had earlier in the day, he wanted to continue using the Freedom Two Plus. Due to the amount of trash present, he increased the Trash Elimination #1 knob to PULL TAB and set the DEPTH control to preset.

He started searching one of the front yards and almost immediately began to recover coins from depths of two to five inches. Some of the larger trash targets produced short, clipped signals that were not repeatable, but with a little experience, they were easily recognized and ignored.

After 30 minutes, we went to another yard and Chris hunted near the old swing set and sand box. I hunted the front yard with little success, and decided to see how Chris was doing. In one small area, he had recovered 16 coins among a number of trash targets both in the ground and on the surface.

As we stood there talking, two other treasure hunters came by and stated that they had already hunted the area where we were and we would be wasting our time to search it again. I guess the Freedom Two Plus had proven the old adage no place is ever worked out!

After another hour at this site, I nearly had to drag Chris away, but as the sun began to set, we made plans to return the following day. The Freedom Two Plus had done an excellent job detecting coins and other good items near trash targets, and after a brief learning period, even larger trash targets that produced an audio response were easily recognized and ignored.

After my brother returned home, I decided to try the Civil War site we had hunted earlier with the 12-1/2 inch Crossfire loop to see if we had missed anything. I set the ELIMINATION #1 and #2 controls to the same settings we had used previously and the DETECFION DEPTH control to MAX. As I started to sweep the area, I noticed that the larger coil was less affected by the ground mineralization than the standard-size coil, and I didnt have to reduce the sensitivity control to avoid chattering.

After several minutes, I received a solid signal and, checking it in the #2 discriminate mode and hearing only silence, determined that it was a ferrous target. Digging down several inches, I rechecked the hole and saw that the target was still deeper. At slightly more than 15 inches, I found a period horse shoe in fairly good condition considering it had been in the ground for over 125 years.

As I continued to search the wooded area, I received a number of other signals that produced a good response in both discriminate modes that resulted in fired minnie balls from both the Confederate and Union forces at depths ranging from 8 to 11 inches. After two hours I decided to head home, but with 12 minnie balls and the horse shoe in my pouch, I realized that the Freedom Two Plus, combined with the 12-1/2 inch Crossfire coil, is an extremely proficient relic hunting detector.

I tried the Freedom Two Plus in several other areas around Atlanta and in all cases, I found it to perform extremely well and was able to recover a number of valuable targets from areas that were either highly mineralized, high in trash content, or heavily hunted in the past.

SUMMARY

While the Freedom Two Plus was designed primarily as a coin-hunting detector, it also worked extremely well in both relic hunting and general treasure hunting situations. It did an excellent job rejecting unwanted targets and did not chatter or false when the loop passed over iron objects as seen on many other detectors.

With the ease of operation and the detection depth achieved under various conditions, combined with the versatility provided by the independent discrimination circuits, the Freedom Two Plus is an excellent detector for the novice and experienced treasure hunter alike.

The addition of the 12-1/2 inch Crossfire searchcoil provides a considerable increase in both depth of detection and the area covered with each sweep, and is a highly recommended accessory for relic hunting, cache hunting, and coin hunting in areas where targets are deeply buried.

The 4-1/2 inch coil allows for much greater target separation when hunting trashy areas and is recommended to compliment the standard coil for coin-hunting applications.

If you are looking for a new detector that is simple to use and provides top-of-the-line performance at an economical price, you need to stop at your nearest Garrett dealer and test the Freedom Two Plus. It sells for $349.95 and comes with the standard two-year factory warranty.

For the name of your nearest dealer and a copy of the informative 1990 Buyers Guide write the factory at Garrett Electronics, 2814 National Drive, Garland, TX 75041, or call them at (214)278-6151 and mention that you read about the new Freedom Two Plus in Lost Treasure.



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