Technology has become a staple in virtually every part of our lives and it seems to be taking quantum leaps forward each time as the years pass with metal detection technology benefiting as well.
Metal detecting as a hobby was born in the US and as a result, the majority of metal detectors released over the past 50 years have been designed and built here. However, it has become a worldwide pastime and companies outside of the U.S. have begun building detectors that are unique in their own way.
In the 1990’s, veteran French detectorist Alain Loubert looked at what equipment was available and, seeing the limitations that existed for specific types of hunting, founded a company - XP Metal Detectors - to “build-a-better-mousetrap” and the rest is, as they say, “History.”
The first model was introduced in 1998 and the number of successful detectorists using the growing line of XP equipment outside the U.S. has grown exponentially.
XP’s flagship – the Deus – was born out of Alain’s “wish list” as well as feedback received from scores of experienced hunters that saw the need for specific features in real-world applications.
Under development since 2004, the Deus has raised the bar in many areas of metal detector design and performance and the results from detectorists worldwide using it since its release have proven to be a testament to the design abilities of Alain and his team at XP.
The beauty of the Deus is its totally-digital platform, which allowed the developers to program a wide range of functions and features into the detector, which provides the user with multiple detectors designed to excel in many applications that can be activated with a few touchpad selections and then fine-tuned to one’s preferences, or to address challenges at specific sites.
The 3-piece shaft is innovative in its design and allows the detector to be collapsed to an overall length of just over 22 inches (ideal to pack into even the remotest of sites), yet extends to nearly 52 inches (long enough for even the tallest of hunters). Removing it from the box, it was immediately clear that something was missing - WEIGHT!
The Deus is one of, if not the, lightest professional-grade detector on the market, weighing less than 2.2 pounds with the control unit attached and less than 2 pounds with it removed.
The control housing weighs about 3.5 ounces…yes, OUNCES, which is less that most cell phones! Other omissions in the Deus’ design are cables, as this is the world’s first completely wireless metal detector.
The electronics in the coil perform the signal processing, which transmits that information to either the control unit, the behind-the-ear headphones or both using a communication protocol developed by XP specifically for their metal detectors.
Another unique feature of the Deus is its power source. Each component (coil / control unit / headphones) has its own internal Lithium-Polymer battery, which has several advantages over typical rechargeable batteries, including 1) they don’t develop a memory, which allows one to recharge them after each outing, 2) they provide a good deal of power for their size which extends the operating life– 15+ hours for the coil and 27+ hours for the control-unit and headphones, and 3) they can be fully recharged in under 2 hours.
All three components can be recharged at the same time with XP’s unique charger system.
The strength of all of the batteries is displayed on the control unit screen with each one shown on a rotating basis – “very cool,” as my son commented.
While the full versatility of the Deus is accessed through the menus available on the control unit, the detector can be operated through the three touchpads on the wireless headphones.
Imagine swinging a professional-grade detector consisting of a shaft / coil assembly weighing under 2 pounds controlled by a set of wireless headphones – well, you’ve described the Deus!
One of the comments voiced by today’s hobbyists regarding high-end detectors is that in some cases, the options provided by menu layers tend to result in more frustration and less performance in the field. XP acknowledged that during the design phase and worked to keep the menu structure as simple as possible.
Based on my time in the field with the Deus and feedback from others that I shared it with, this goal was clearly met, as scrolling through the various options is simple and any desired adjustment easy to locate. The titles of the various functions are either self-explanatory or easily understood thanks to the well-written instruction manual that comes with the detector.
There are 6 touchpads on the control unit that allow one to make all the adjustments as well as turn the power on/off and switch from the selected search program to any of the 4 non-motion modes used for pinpointing targets or specific applications such as prospecting or where coil movement is difficult.
There are 3 selections on the bottom of the main LCD screen – “OPTION,” “MENU,” and “G.B.”
Under “OPTION” there are three main choices, which are “CONFIGURATION” (allows you to customize certain functions including the screen backlight & contrast and update the software), PROGRAMS (select from nine predefined programs which can be edited, saved and renamed, yet quickly restored if desired), and COILS.
The bulk of the adjustments are made through the MENU option. Each function can be easily adjusted with the <-> and <+> touchpads.
Most will have an “EXPERT” option that brings up a sub-menu for additional customization if desired.
The main menu level provides seven options that can be selected. They include “DISCRIMINATION”, “SENSITIVITY,” “FREQUENCY” (four possible choices ranging from 4kHz to 18kHz designed to cover a wide range of applications), “IRON VOLUME” (adjusts the sound produced by iron), “REACTIVITY” (adjusts the speed at which detected targets are analyzed – sort of a “Recovery Speed” control on steroids based on how short the dead time between targets can be made), “AUDIO RESPONSE” (equivalent to Gain on other detectors), and “NOTCH” (allows specific ranges of targets to be eliminated with the Expert option providing multiple notches).
The final option is “G.B.” There are four possible Ground Balance options and before a fear of ground-balancing causes you give up on the Deus, STOP!
The four choices displayed are “Manual,” “Pumping,” “Tracking,” and “Beach (On/Off).”
The Manual mode is intended for seasoned hunters that want to tweak the setting for a specific application or an extremely challenging site. The Pumping mode allows the Deus to sample the ground under the coil and determine the optimal ground balance setting, which becomes the fixed ground balance value.
The Tracking mode allows the Deus to continuously sample the ground as the coil is swept across it and adjust the ground balance value as needed if conditions change. The Beach (On/Off) mode is not a mode, but rather a selection between two different ranges of ground balance. Saltwater beaches require a different range to be able to compensate for the salt/black-sand, which is why many VLF detectors struggle in this environment.
If you find yourself on a salt beach, selecting “YES” will produce excellent performance in the wet sand area.
Sub-menu options include selection of the # of audio tones heard based on the detected target’s ID value, as well as specific break points and audio frequencies - unique to the Deus, coil output power level, tweaks to the selected operating frequency to eliminate interference, and additional iron rejection to eliminate false signals often produced by deep rusted iron especially nails or bottle caps.
The display on the main screen provides a wealth of information in a well-laid out format. Along the top of the screen is battery strength, the name of the active program and the time...yes, the TIME! Have you ever been out in the field and wondered what time it was? Well, the XP engineers even added a digital clock.
Below this area is a bar that serves a dual function showing the level of discrimination in-use (black is rejected) and when a target is detected, a bar will appear that corresponds to the target ID value. In the center of the screen is an image that depicts either the relative strength of detected targets (depth) and their composition (ferrous / non-ferrous) or a static indication of the Deus’ response and sensitivity settings – most users will opt for the former display.
The center of the screen is where the target ID value is displayed with the operating frequency beneath it. Ground balance values and actual ground mineralization strength are displayed on the right side of the screen.
After unpacking the Deus and reading through the manual, I conducted my typical air tests on targets – both good and bad – to see how they responded before heading out. One thing that quickly stood out was the speed of the Deus’ processor and the clarity of the signal from both the control unit’s speaker and the headphones.
The first site I visited was a small, 100+-year-old meeting hall in town with a 50’ x 50’ grassy area on one side.
Visible by anyone driving by, it’s been hunted by countless detectorists for decades and the last few times I’ve been there have netted just a few recently lost coins. Opting for the BASIC 1 program, I made a few adjustments based on the nails I knew littered this site. Going into the menu, I dropped the frequency to 8 KHz and bumped the Discrimination up to “40,” as I was looking for copper or silver coins.
Using the “PUMPING” G.B. option, I followed the on-screen prompts and was ready to go in seconds. Searching around the base of an old oak tree, it was clear that I was sweeping across nails and other ferrous trash I knew was present by the sputtering audio response, questionable target ID values, and signals would not repeat even in the same direction.
Mentally referring back to the instruction manual, I went to the Expert option under the Reactivity option and bumped the “Silencer” value up to “3.” The unit was notably more stable and most of the ferrous chatter was eliminated.
Less than 15 feet from where I had started I received a clear, repeatable signal that produced a target ID value of “87 -92” and the target graphic on the screen indicated it was deep. Cutting a plug, I used my probe and noted several signals were present in the sides as well as in the bottom of the hole.
After removing three rusted nails from the sides, I was wondering if this had been what the Deus had responded to, but took some additional dirt from the bottom and dumped it on my cloth.
The probe indicated the target was in a clump of dirt and, breaking it apart, I found a 1936 Wheat cent that had been about 8” deep surrounded by three nails – pretty impressive in my book and not a bad “first find.” Over the next week I visited this site twice more and hunted for just under 3 hours in total, recovering six more Wheats, two silver dimes (one completely vertical at 7” in a plug) and an old Ford key.
While not a huge haul, it was more than I had found on previous visits and most targets came from holes, which also contained trash.
A few hours at the remains of an early 1800’s home in the woods near the Georgia border put the Deus to the test in terms of handling a site containing bits of iron and deeply buried targets.
Opting for the “DEUS FAST” program based on the site conditions, I selected 4-tone audio, reduced the sensitivity to “85” to minimize back-reading from the iron amount, dropped the frequency to 12kHz, and ground balanced over a clear section of ground.
Signals were more plentiful than expected and, while many were from decades of local hunters passing through, I did turn up three flat buttons, a brass thimble, a musket ball and a pair of mule shoes.
As the sun began to drop below the hill, I hiked back to the truck and carrying the featherweight Deus made the mile-long hike less tiring than it might otherwise have been.
A 4-day road trip into Virginia and Maryland provided the opportunity to try the Deus at a number of different sites. Each signal’s ID value was recorded in the ground as well as its actual ID. It became easy to accurately identify targets even at depth.
I was quite impressed at the sensitivity of the Deus, even at lower sensitivity, with targets such as pencil erasers, tiny brass gears, a small lapel pin, slivers of aluminum cans, and very small buttons turning up at impressive depths.
Trash items such as the aluminum “can-slaw” would have been identifiable and ignored; however, when conducting a field test I try to recover everything and record the results to aid in providing an assessment of the detector’s overall performance.
A solid, repeatable signal produced a scalloped-edged trade token from almost 9” from amongst several trash signals at a heavily-hunted site - a nice find that demonstrated the ability of the Deus to locate and identify good targets in trash-filled sites.
More details of my “Northern Road Trip” will be provided in the online report, but one point that stood out was that I recovered more nickels in that period than I had in a long time with other detectors – the consistent “53” target ID had allowed me to distinguish nickels from most aluminum trash.
With the flexibility provided by a true digital platform, XP’s staff was able to assemble features not previously found on a single detector and present them using a menu structure that is well laid out and intuitive in nature.
The stock programs provide superior performance for most applications, yet the specific functions are easily adjustable to address virtually any condition you might come across, and these modified programs can then be saved for optimal performance in your specific area.
The choice of multiple frequencies at the touch of a button greatly expands the Deus’ versatility and ability to excel in a wide range of applications.
The overall weight, balance, lack of any cords and performance where it counts – in the field – make the Deus a detector that can meet the demands of even the most serious treasure hunters, regardless of the target they are searching for or the environment they are searching in.
Combine this with the ability to upgrade the software through downloads from the XP website, and the Deus is a detector that will remain at the cutting edge of metal detection technology into the future.
The XP Deus, distributed in the U.S. by Detector Electronics Corp., lists for $2,299 and has an introductory price of $1,899, complete with the innovative XP wireless headphones and a 2-year warranty, with the service performed in the U.S.
There is an optional 11”x13” DD coil available, which increases the Deus’ versatility and performance, and additional accessories are in the works which will be backward compatible to existing units.
For more information about the XP Deus or the name of your nearest XP dealer, contact Detector Electronics at 23 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772, call them at (800) 446-0244 / (508) 460-6244, or visit their website at http://www.metaldetector.com/xp-deus-metal-detector
Be sure to mention you read about the XP Deus in Lost Treasure Magazine.