Whites Electronics has worldwide name recognition when it comes to a company that has been producing quality metal detection equipment for more than 50 years!
The latest addition to their extensive line is the Prism 6T which, while sharing the Prism name with other models, offers a number of features not found on its siblings and was deigned to offer above-average performance at a mid-range price.
The first thing that is quickly apparent when unpacking the Prism 6T is that it does not share the same design as the other Prism models. Due to the additional circuitry found on the 6T, and the switch to AA batteries, the battery pack is now mounted under the armrest which, while a tad heavier, provides perfect balance across the entire adjustment range of the shaft.
The 6T weighs just 3 pounds with the stock 9 spider coil and battery pack containing 8 AA batteries, allowing it to be used for hours without fatigue.
Two comments on the overall construction and assembly are 1) the area around the connector where the coil cable pugs in is a bit tight to get ones fingers into, but once the connection is made, it is really a non-issue and, 2) the case is made of plastic rather than the legendary metal Whites housings, but from what Ive heard and seen, it is as rugged as metal with less weightso nothing wrong, just different.
The 6T offers two distinctive search modes a motion mode with full discrimination (ranging from all metal to full rejection) and a non-motion all metal mode.
An important point to note is that the visual target ID system both the coarse grouping provided by the arrow beneath each of the 9 groups along the top of the screen and the larger VDI number (ranging from -95 to +95 similar to that found on the XLT & DFX), providing highly accurate target differentiation is active in both search modes, which expands the 6Ts versatility.
All adjustments are made using the seven touchpads located beneath the LCD display on the face of the control housing.
Showing thought for the end-user in the design phase, all of the touchpads can be accessed using the thumb of the hand holding the detector many detectors require two-hand adjustments which can be cumbersome at times and its nice to see that the 6T is an exception to this. The touchpads include ON/OFF, TONE ID, SENS(itivity), TRAC LOCK, BEACH, PP/ALLMETAL, and DISC(riminate) that provide the following functions:
ON/OFF: This serves a dual function it turns the detector on and, if held, it activates a very useful backlight ideal for hunting in low or no light conditions such as beaches after the crowds leave.
TONE ID: If you are in the motion discriminate mode, this touchpad allows you to activate an additional target ID circuit where each of the nine distinct groups of targets shown above the LCD produce a different tone enabling you to identify targets based on their audio response. If you prefer a single tone from all accepted targets, simply toggle this off. In the All Metal mode, selecting the Tone ID activates or deactivates a Voltage Controller Oscillator (VCO) audio circuit.
When active, the pitch and volume increase as the coil gets closer to the target which helps pinpoint and separate targets in close proximity to one another.
SENS(itivity): As the name implies, this adjusts the sensitivity to metal objects as well as outside electrical interference and ground mineralization. Setting it as high as possible without the 6T becoming unstable will result in maximum detection depth. There are eight distinct settings which are shown on the right side of the screen.
TRAC LOCK: The 6T features a fully automatic ground balancing system which will continually monitor ground conditions and make any adjustments that might be called for. If you find yourself in ground where mineralization changes frequently, or contains traces of rusted iron, activating the TRAC LOCK function will prevent the 6T from trying to continually adjust to match the ground can improve overall stability.
BEACH: If you hunt saltwater beaches or areas with high alkali content, such as the deserts of the southwest, activating the BEACH circuit changes the range of the ground balance and tracking circuits to better handle these conditions. Simply press the touchpad, allow the 6T to track the ground and start huntingwhat could be easier!
PP/ALL METAL: Pressing and releasing the touchpad will toggle from the motion discriminate to the non-motion All Metal search modes. Pressing and holding it will activate the pinpoint mode and, in this mode, the display will change to indicate the target depth in 1 increments from 0 to 12.
NOTE: the 6T actually has two depth indications the small one on the left side of the screen reads out continuously when a target is detected and indicates in 2 increments from 0 to 10+. In pinpoint, you get the larger indication in the center of the screen.
DISC(riminate): The 6T has nine separate groups of targets which are shown as icons above the screen. Incorporating the notch discrimination concept, users decide how to handle any of the groups simply by pressing the upper half of this touchpad to scroll through the groups and then accept or reject them using the lower part of the touchpad.
Operating the Prism 6T couldnt be easier - simply turn it on, select the preferred search mode, adjust the desired level of discrimination and sensitivity, sweep the coil across the ground to set the ground balance for conditions present (or bob the coil up and down a few times), and start searching for a good target.
Another useful feature is the short-term memory which retains all the settings (except for the ground balance setting), making it simple to move from site to site and not having to readjust things that you have tweaked based on personal preferences.
The 6Ts eight AA batteries should provide 25 hours of operation. Whites recommends alkaline cells for optimum performance, however rechargeable batteries will work with just a slight reduction in usable life.
The 6T features a battery monitoring system which checks battery strength when the unit is turned on. Good batteries will produce a high-pitched tone, while batteries nearing the end of their life produce a low tone. When they are almost exhausted, a LOW BATT icon appears on the screen along with a distinctive 3-beep alarm.
With a number of good sites nearby to test detectors, I loaded the Prism and my gear into the truck and headed over to a few private yards I had searched before, certain there were still more keepers to find. Rejecting the first two target groups (iron), I was off hunting in under a minute after unpacking the 6T.
Based on the falsing the clay produced, I opted to drop the sensitivity to 5 which immediately settled things down considerably.
The first few signals produced clad coins at depths from 2 to 4 and each produced a consistent VDI indication that allowed me to accurately identify the targets before recovering them.
In the front yard of one home, I received a repeatable VDI reading of +75 accompanied by the arrow pointing to 1c/10c and an indicated depth of 6. Hopeful, I removed a deep plug and saw the glint of silver near the bottom of the plug. Pulling it free, I could read the date 1902 on a nice Barber dime.
Near the house itself, the amount of trash in the ground from past construction increased significantly.
With the low level of discrimination I was using, I could hear most of the targets and it quickly became apparent the 6T had a fairly short recovery time, which is needed when hunting trashy sites. This keeps a trash target from masking a good one when the two are very close to one another.
Slowing my sweep speed down to ensure I did not miss anything, I pulled out five Wheat cents, another silver dime (1944) and a metal cereal box premium, while only recovering a minimal amount of trash through the use of the target ID capabilities audio and visual - of the 6T. A smaller coil would be a perfect addition for hunting these types of sites and word is that Whites is working on just such a coil for release in the near future.
Personally, I am not one to hunt in All Metal that often, simply based on the type of sites I frequent which are usually very trashy.
I had a few old foundations in the woods that would allow me to test the 6Ts All Metal search mode with its target ID capabilities, so, thanks to the cooler weather (and no critters out), I hiked in to a pair of them.
Starting outside of the foundation itself, I switched to All Metal, pumped the coil to set the ground balance, engaged the VCO audio via the TONE ID touchpad and started searching.
The red clay in the area again forced me to drop sensitivity, but that value eliminated virtually all falsing or chatter. Signals were fairly plentiful with most being easily identified as being iron based on the VDI indications they produced.
As with the yard I hunted earlier, as I approached the foundation I needed to slow down to pick out non-ferrous signals from the nails and other pieces of iron. A smaller coil or a Double-D would make the 6T excel in these areas.
A few hours at this site and another nearby turned up three flat buttons circa the late-1700s, a brass thimble and a pair of musket balls. The Prism had detected these items at depths up to 8 and each had produced clear, easily discernible signals.
Luckily, I was able to get down to Charleston within the schedule constraints of the field test to see how it handled the saltwater beaches in the area. Heavily layered with black sand, they tend to give most VLF detectors fits in the wet sand / surf line area.
Picking Folly Beach, simply due to the limited time I had due to other commitments, I walked down to the wet sand and got setup. Trying the standard discriminate mode first, the 6T did false a good deal on each sweep. Pressing the BEACH touchpad and allowing the detector to rebalance changed things considerably for the better.
A trick I have used when hunting ocean beaches with a VLF detector in the past is to not hunt parallel to the water, since the moisture content and often black sand concentrations change from one end of the sweep to the other. Walking down to the surf and then back up again keeps conditions pretty consistent under the coil, allowing the detector to operate more stably and the 6T was no exception.
To eliminate most of the falsing, I dropped the sensitivity down to 4 and lifted the coil off the surface of the wet sand, which worked well even as the surf lapped against the bottom of the coil.
On the north side of the pier signals were fairly plentiful and, over the three hours I had available, I recovered 32 coins, one set of car keys, some aluminum tras,h which you really cant ignore when looking for gold, and my first gold ring in the last few trips herea thin, 10KT ladies ring with a dolphin on it. Target ID had been accurate even on the deeper targets (down to 8 or so), as had both depth indications.
Some people have posted on Internet forums that the audio ID accuracy dropped off on deeper targets, but I did not see this except on targets at the edge of the 6Ts detection depth.
Being able to use the audio target ID is a plus when beach hunting, as you can protect your control housing and not have to check the display each time to identify a target.
If you are looking for a lightweight, fully featured detector that can handle a wide range of site conditions without any complicated adjustments, the Prism 6T is definitely worth a close look.
To check out the new Prism 6T, contact your local Whites dealer and see if it has what youve been looking for. The Whites website has some basic videos that cover many of the 6Ts features that can be viewed at no charge.
The detector comes with the standard 2-year transferable warranty, instructional DVD and retails for $699.95. Accessories are available and an additional coil is expected soon.
Contact the factory at 1011 Pleasant Valley Road, Sweet Home, OR 97386, call (800) 547-6911 or visit their website at whiteselectronics.com and be sure to mention you read about the latest addition to the Whites line in Lost Treasure Magazine.