FIELD TEST

Treasure Baron
By Reginald G. Sniff
From Page 38
August, 1993 issue of Lost Treasure

A bold new detector is entering the metal detector field, which should make serious treasure hunters scram­bling to see its capabilities.

This new detector, named the Treasure Baron, is produced by Dis­covery Electronics. In business since 1981, Discovery Electronics is the leading manufacturer of two box detectors. The Treasure Baron is their first detector to be directly intro­duced under their name to the con­sumer market.

As mentioned earlier, the new Treasure Baron is bold bold be­cause it is the first to be a truly modular type detector. Yes, modu­lar. A prospective buyer can pur­chase a base model detector or equip it with one or both of the optional modules designed to enhance the detectors features and depth capa­bilities. This detector is also bold in color, bright red, which had a great appeal to almost all people who saw it during my initial testing.

Last but not least, this detector is bold in capabilities. No, it is not equipped every fancy feature, but is bold in depth capabilities. The base unit by it itself is extremely sensi­tive, matching the depth capabilities of some of the best. With the op­tional Deep Hunter module there are two additional power settings to enhance the detectors depth capa­bilities.

DETECTOR FEATURES

Since Discovery wanted to incor­porate several different features, it was necessary to have some of the controls have multi-functions. The following explanation may seem a little confusing, so I recommend a hands on demonstration for a better idea of each controls operation. I will try to give a brief explanation of the controls so you can get the gen­eral idea.

As mentioned before, this detec­tor can be purchased as a base unit, or with one or both of the optional modules. The base unit of this detec­tor comes with the most basic of adjustments, an on/off/sensitivity control, a discrimination control, and a mode selection switch which al­lows the operator to switch between the all metal and discrimination modes. Although this seems like a very basic unit, the depth capabili­ties are equivalent to those of the enhanced model with the boost selec­tor off.

The discrimination control is a little different in the fact that it has a potential dual function plus a push-push built in switch. The switch al­lows the operator to set the motion mode to reject or detect most ferrous objects in the discrimination mode. With the switch selected off, ferrous objects are rejected and when on, most iron targets as well as good targets will be accepted.

As for the action of the discrimi­nation control, it is similar to a con­ventional discrimination level con­trol except that instead of the detec­tor ignoring targets with lower con­ductivity than the setting, these tar­gets will respond with a low audio tone and the accepted targets will respond with a higher tone.

The first optional module I will discuss is the Pro Hunter module. This module enhances the detector by adding an LED bar graph visual depth indicator, a ground balance control, a salt/and switch, and a notch width control.

The bar graph is active in the all-metal mode and indicates depths between 1 and 10 inches. The ground balance control and a corresponding salt/gnd switch allow for adjustments over a wide range of soil conditions. The ground balance control does have a direct effect on the discrimination performance.

Built into the ground balance con­trol is a push-push switch, which ac­tivates an autotune feature that can be used to keep the threshold con­stant. When this feature is first actu­ated, the 1 inch LED lights momen­tarily for indication.

The notch width control works in conjunction with the discrimination control. When off, it has no effect but when on, as the control is turned a notch is created and widened. This notch allows for an operator to ig­nore a limited range of targets such as pulltabs. The starting point or lower end of the notch setting is set by the discrimination control set­ting.

The second module discussed is called the Deep Hunter Module. This module contains an additional battery pack and a special search coil Boost switch. The switch, located on the back of the instrument, allows the operator to select either the stan­dard coil energy setting or one of two boosted energy levels. Factory speci­fications indicate that up to 45% increase in depth are possible with the higher settings. This module also has a built in plug for the use of optional ni-cad batteries and charger.

The Treasure Baron comes stan­dard with what the factory calls their 8 inch ES P coil. ESP, which stands for Extra Scanning Power, is so named because of particular design which allows for increasing the en­ergy to the coil.

The housing of this instrument is of aluminum construction and is ca­pable of readily converting to a hip mount configuration.

Factory options include a 10 inch, a pinpoint, and a zero buoyancy coil, a frequency shifter designed so two similar detectors can work near each other, and an auto charger that will allow the charging of the optional ni­cad batteries from an auto lighter plug.

The battery requirement for the base unit is an 8 pack of AAs. The optional Deep Hunter Module re­quires another 8 eight pack. Batter­ies are not included with the instru­ment.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I should mention that I felt quite privileged to be the first to get a hands on trial of the first prototype Treasure Baron sent out by the fac­tory for testing. Since it was a pre­liminary design, as to be expected, there were a couple of problems that have already been addressed in the production modules.

Obviously because of the poten­tial depth capabilities I was anxious to give the instrument a try. I had been in communications with Roy Van Epps of Discovery Electronics for some time and had some idea of the features incorporated in this de­tector, but didnt have the faintest idea what it would look like or how it would really respond in the field.

The assembly of the prototype was quick and easy. Since the fac­tory had installed batteries I didnt bother to check them, which turned out to be a minor mistake on my part. During shipment one of the batteries had popped out of the pack making the unit inoperable. With a little ef­fort, I had the instruments battery assembly problem corrected and I was ready to go.

This battery problem I experi­enced in the prototype unit was one of a tight housing could cause a battery to come dislodged if the instrument was jarred sufficiently. I am told has been corrected on the production modules.

Upon turning on the instrument, setting the sensitivity to maximum, adjusting the ground balance, and making a few passes over different objects with the 8 inch coil, I could quickly sense the capabilities of the instrument. The detector was ex­tremely sensitive in both modes, and, was exceptionally stable.

One thing I immediately noticed was the extra weight of the machine, primarily because of the 16 batter­ies. However, even with this weight, the instrument was reasonably com­fortable to use over level ground for short periods of time. Later testing over varying terrain displayed the immediate need to hip mount the unit.

The extreme sensitivity of the all-metal mode did display another mi­nor problem the proper adjustment of the ground balance control was somewhat difficult. Several attempts were necessary to get it properly adjusted. Also, I found the autotune circuitry on this prototype was very slow and, therefore, difficult to tell any difference when it was on or off. My recommendation was to increase the auto tune speed.

The rest of the controls were eas­ily adjusted and took only a few seconds to set the discrimination to accept typical silver and copper coins as a high tone and other targets as a low tone. During the testing the notch feature was left off.

A quick pass over my usual test targets made me think that my usual test targets were too easy. Even the 6-1/2 inch dime responded with a solid strong response. All targets from 2 to the 6-1/2 inch dime were strong responses in both modes, and in the all-metal mode, the depth indi­cation was also accurate to within a half inch.

My next test was to check my 9-inch deep nickel I normally use to check the sensitivity of gold ma­chines. In the all-metal mode, the detector responded with a solid sig­nal and the depth indication verified the depth to be 9 inches.

The discrimination mode gave repeatable but inconsistent response to this 9-inch deep nickel. Knowing that this detector uses a technique to offset the discrimination circuitry a little to eliminate responses from hot rocks, I decided to cheat a bit by deliberately mis-adjusting the ground balance control. The reason for my adjustment is I know that this offset can effect depth in extremely miner­alized ground.

With a slight adjustment counter­clockwise of the ground balance con­trol, the detector was able to easily detect the 9-inch deep nickel with consistency in the discrimination mode. I should mention that with this adjustment, negative respond­ing hot rocks would probably have given a response.

I should also add that all of the preliminary tests were done with the ESP boost circuitry off. This meant there were still two higher energy settings available to increase the depth capabilities. Considering the location where I make my tests is extremely mineralized and, at the time, very dry, I could see that this detector displayed a real potential for detecting extremely deep targets in less severe conditions.

Kicking the ESP boost on the two different settings I noticed an increase in the all-metal sensitivity, but since I was already detecting the targets including the 9 inch deep nickel in the discrimination mode, there wasnt any way to notice any increase in that mode.

On the lighter side, one neat fea­ture of this instrument was the LED bar graph for depth indication. When scanning over the ground, miscella­neous targets would cause the red LED to appear to zip back and forth across the graph at times like some­thing out of a science fiction movie.

GHOST TOWN CONDITION

The next test was to see how this detector responded in really trashy conditions that can be found around a ghost town environment. Fortu­nately, there was such a place nearby.

At this site, I didnt find anything spectacular, but did learn more about the detector. First of all, since most non-ferrous targets will give an au­dio response, I elected to set the discrimination level to accept typi­cal targets screwcap and greater for the high tone and targets having lesser conductivity sounding off with a low tone.

The wide variety of pieces of brass and other junk quickly had the detec­tor talking up a storm, especially with the boost on. In fact even some visible targets off to the side of the searchcoil would, occasionally, cause some type of intermittent response.

As a result of this I elected to com­plete my testing with the boost off.

The higher tone targets were few in number and, unfortunately, turned out to be miscellaneous junk items. The deepest target dug at this site was a short piece of copper pipe buried a little over 6 inches deep. A few deeper targets were detected but the ground was extremely hard and the targets were too large when checked in the all-metal mode to logically be a coin or token.

At this site I found that the Trea­sure Baron seemed to reject most of the iron trash extremely well, but some did give an occasional inter­mittent false response. My reference to the number of false signals might be concerning to a reader, but I men­tioned it, not because I think there are an abnormal number of them, but rather because one should be aware that with an extremely sensitive de­tector in the worst of conditions, false signals are going to happen. Reducing the sensitivity somewhat drastically reduced the number of these false indications.

At this trashy site, I also found reducing the sweep speed to a nice slow smooth pace also reduced the number of false signals, and I seem to get a better response from deeper targets. Furthermore, increasing the height of the search coil above the ground assisted in cutting down on spurious responses without any ap­preciable depth loss.

Since this site was also extremely mineralized, I suspected that under very mild ground conditions, I could have changed techniques with few negative affects. Fortunately this in­strument seemed to have enough re­serve ability that I didnt feel I was missing anything by my preference in operations. This does need further testing when possible.

PARK HUNTING

Since parks are a common place to hunt, I decided to take the Trea­sure Baron to one of the more hunted locations. Unfortunately, like the area at my house the ground was mineralized and extremely dry in most places, making it difficult to dig many of the really deep targets.

At this site, I found I could again get the best and most accurate re­sponse by using a nice slow sweep technique while keeping the coil sev­eral inches above the ground. A good example was the nice find of as cent token good for mints I retrieved from about 7 inches in depth.

Like all other detectors I have tried, I did retrieve a few targets that indicated good such as a piece of foil, the type that used to be inside bottle caps. This target indicated to be a coin about 7 inches deep but was really about 5 inches down. Another target that impressed me was a posi­tive response from a 22 short casing. This target was recovered from a depth of about 5 inches.

I did check several other targets for depth and found this feature to be very accurate on coin size objects. This made me wonder what a few of the deep targets indicating depths of 8 and 9 inches were that I didnt dig due to the dry soil conditions.

Fortunately, like the ghost town testing, most junk targets were not repeatable signals and with a quick check using the all-metal mode to center over that target and passing the target again in the discrimination mode, I could quickly determine they were trash.

During my park testing, I tried all power settings and decided that the boost did seem to enhance depth was noticeable by being able to raise the detector higher and still detect the same target. Because the normal power setting seemed to be as sensitive or more as anything I had used before, I settled back to using the normal setup for the re­maining time.

RETESTING WITH THE 10 INCH COIL

Because Discovery was nice enough to send the 10 inch coil, I retraced my testing this time with the larger coil installed. What I found was surprising. Instead of the increased problems due to a larger coil in really bad ground, this detector was really quite smooth. However, as I suspected, the larger coil did seem to reduce the accuracy of the depth indications somewhat.

My test targets were a breeze to detect with the larger coil with no more noticeable ground effects. However, I quickly decided that it was unadvisable to have any type of metal in my shoes since in the boost modes I should get all metal re­sponses as the coil approached my feet, especially with the boost on.

In fact, when I was comparing the different coils using an air test, I had to take things out of my pockets to assure the test target was the only one giving me a response.

As for the other locations, the trashy conditions at the ghost town site were enhanced using the larger coil and I quickly decided that the 8-inch was a better choice when trash was excessive.

The park was an even split. In areas where trash wasnt severe, the 10-inch seemed to be the logical choice. However, as a matter of per­sonal choice, I preferred the 8-inch.

Since the instrument is extremely smooth with this coil, I do suspect this coil would excel in areas not overwhelmed with trash and the tar­gets are really deep.

CONCLUSION:

This metal detector from Discov­ery Electronics gives what most people want, depth, depth, and more depth, and, considering its extreme sensitivity, the instrument is surpris­ingly stable. It is heavier than many detectors on the market, but hip mounting helps alleviates this con­dition. The depth indication is as accurate as any I have seen.

The price of the Treasure Baron base unit is $399.95 and the optional modules are $149.95 Each.

For more information about the Treasure Baron, you can contact: Dis­covery Electronics, Inc., 1115 Long Street, Sweet Home, Oregon 97386. Phone: (503) 367-2585.



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