FIELD TEST

Tesoro Electronics Cortes
By Joe Patrick
From Page 12
February, 2002 issue of Lost Treasure

If you want to get a bunch of detectorists excited, just mention that a new metal detector is about to be released!
Such was the case in recent months, with speculation raging high, that Tesoro had a new target identification metal detector under development.
This news brought many Tesoro fans out of the woodwork . . . each one speculating and putting their two cents in about what they thought the new detector would be like.
At long last, the waiting game is over. The new Corts has arrived and for the most part, it is getting a two-thumbs-up rating from most users.
Features
The Corts is a blend of analog, digital and microcontroller technology. This combination produces a detector that keeps Tesoros best analog characteristics, such as their excellent discrimination and sensitivity, but also enables the Corts to have visual target identification and other screen-viewable information and processing enhancements, such as the new SUM mode and the calculation of target depth based on both the targets phase response and signal strength
I was initially concerned that the small (2x16) LCD visual display would be difficult to read. However, in actual field use, I did not find its small size to be a problem. Others, depending on their vision, may.
The visibility of the LCD screen in most lighting situations is satisfactory and I found the contrast actually improves in stronger, brighter light. However, when held at certain angles in extremely bright sunlight, the sunlight can reflect off of the glass making it impossible to read this is typical though for any glass-faced display in bright sunlight.
The display shows a combination of alpha, numeric and bar graph information. A two-digit target identification number in the range of 0 - 95 (0 being iron and 95 being most copper and silver coins) is used to identify targets numerically. A block-shaped bar-graph segment indicates the probable target by illuminating and building in height directly above a printed target label. This ID block, in combination with the ID number gives an accurate indication of commonly-encountered targets.
Iron targets produce random, widely scattered segments that tend to smear a pattern all across the display, and the ID number is random and inconsistent, while other (nonferrous) targets stay in one location and show a strong, vertical bar and a consistent ID number.
Coin-depth readings are displayed at the bottom-left side of the display. Depth readings are calculated using both the targets phase response and signal strength . . . this makes coin-depth readings much more accurate.
Although the Corts is a microcontroller-based metal detector, no user programming or menu selection is required. Front panel controls and switches control the detectors entire operation. Thus, its operation is very easy to understand and accomplish.
The front panel consists of four control knobs and three toggle switches, plus a 2 (row) by 16 (column) Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). The LCD display is the visual information and control center for the Corts and it displays a variety of target and detector information. The LCD display features a front panel switch to control its backlighting (illumination).
The LIGHT switch has three positions: LOW; OFF; HIGH. I used the LIGHT function during late-evening searching and found it to be a very useful feature. The only down side to its use is an increased battery drain, especially at the HIGH setting. It should be used only when needed.
The Corts has the following controls and switches:
GROUND BALANCE, THRESHOLD, SENSITIVITY, DISCRIMINATE LEVEL, LIGHT, NOTCH Detect- orists who have difficulty understanding and adjusting variable or programmable notch, will have no difficulty at all using the notch function on the Corts. Simply set the Notch switch to either Narrow, Wide or Off . . . thats all there is to it!
MODE The mode toggle switch is used to set the operating mode. Three selections are possible: ALL METAL, DISC, SUM. The Sum Mode is a momentary mode. By activating the Sum Mode and then sweeping the target multiple (4-7) times, the internal microprocessor records each pass and averages those readings, displaying the most accurate data for that particular target. The Sum Mode can be very useful when trying to identify questionable targets that dont always produce the same response with each searchcoil sweep.
The Corts all-metal pinpoint mode is a 350 to 950 Hz VCO auto-tuned audio mode. I prefer Tesoros modulated audio over their VCO audio. A VCO turn-off option would be nice, especially for those users who own other Tesoros and have become accustomed to the single-tone modulated audio sound.
There are two camps on VCO audio . . . those that like it, and those that dont. I belong to the later. PLEASE, Tesoro, give us a choice by the simple flick of a switch of either VCO or standard modulated audio.
During the course of my Corts field test I became aware of a couple of problems.
My first and biggest concern is that the all-metal audio signal is not strong enough on deep targets and the tuning speed is too fast. The gain/volume of the all-metal signal channel needs to be increased, to more closely match the discriminate audio signal strength, which is extremely good.
Targets respond loud and solid in the discriminate mode, even deep ones, but once the all-metal mode is entered to pinpoint the target, the volume declines considerably and the tuning speed is fast enough to start tuning-out the target if not pinpointed very quickly.
You must also be careful as to how you set your threshold level. If set too low, you might not hear extremely deep or weak signals when pinpointing in the all metal mode.
My second concern is that the armcup needs additional depth and/or an adjustable arm strap. I think this may be a particular problem when searching in cooler weather while wearing heavy clothing. There just is not enough depth and forearm side-support to suit me.
New to the Corts is a rear-mounted, drop-in battery system which uses eight AA cells. This was a wise choice, as AA cells provide increased operating time and the slight additional weight contributes to better counterbalance of the detector.
The battery compartment lids latch firmly and the plastic living hinge design should provide years of useful life. This design uses a captive lid, so there is no chance of losing it should it accidentally open while detecting.
Battery status is constantly monitored on the LCD display. Battery life is a conservative 10 to 20 hours, depending on what setting and how long the meter backlighting is used.
Field Use
I have intentionally kept my field-use section of this report brief to allow more space for discussing the features and performance of the Corts.
Being curious, I conducted a random sampling of various pulltabs and gold rings (air test) to see what ID numbers they would produce.
Ten pulltabs were sampled. The average reading was 40 and the overall range was from 30 to 46.
The ten gold rings, all small to medium size and 10K to 14K, produced an average ID reading of 16, with an overall range from 4 to 35.
During my field test, I found two rings. One, is an extremely small, thin, sterling silver ring that produced a surprisingly strong audio response. It was recovered from about six-inches depth.
I recovered many coins and relics including a badly worn 1907 Indian Head cent and an old, solid brass harness buckle at about ten-inches depth.
The bottom line is . . . I have found the Corts to be extremely easy to operate and use; To be very good at identifying targets; To have excellent depth and discrimination and to produce a strong, target audio-response when used in the discrimination mode.
Conclusion
As a previous owner of both a Toltec 100 and Toltec II, I feel very qualified to assess the new Corts.
I like the Toltec 100 and did well with it, but I have mixed emotions about the Toltec II. While its performance is good, I dislike its tiny, low-resolution ID meter.
I found the Corts to be a substantial improvement over both Toltecs. With about five-weeks of use now under my belt, I would not want to go back to either the Toltec 100 or the Toltec II.
The compact size and three-pound weight of the Corts will quickly spoil you! At a retail price of $849 it is more expensive than either the Toltec 100 or Toltec II, but you are getting more features and performance, plus its compact, lightweight design is surely worth a few more bucks to most users!
The Corts target identification performs very well and setting up the notch rejection couldnt be easier! Its detection depth is excellent and the discrimination mode audio is very strong, even on deep and small targets.
Disregarding its few minor problems, The Corts is a high-performance metal detector that provides ample target information, has a good combination of user-selectable features, is very easy to operate and just plain fun to use!
I might add that the ease of control of all functions is a big plus for the Corts. To have this amount of fingertip control available, coupled with a very informative graphic display, is unprecedented in a metal detector this small and lightweight.
Thats the beauty of the Corts . . . so much capability in such a compact, easy-to-use, powerhouse design! Its easy to see that the Corts is going to be extremely popular with detectorists and a very big seller for Tesoro!
For additional information contact: Tesoro Electronics, Inc. 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303 Phone: 1-800-528-3352 or visit their website at: www.tesoro. com
Note: The Corts used for this field test was a prototype modes. Additional software and hardware modifications have been incorporated into current production models. These units may perform differently than the test unit.



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