Teknetics Condor Professional
By Greg Moscini
From Page 55
February, 1988 issue of Lost Treasure
Teknetics 9000B and 8500B have now evolved into the Condor and U.S. Eagle professional, a metal detector with all around better performance. A redesign of the board to a new three-filter system incorporated in it approximately four dozen circuit design changes.
New Three-Filter Design
New Loud Target Alert
New Rapid Response Target ID
New Pinpoint depth meter
Improved Sensitivity in GB, GB Disc., GB MAX (15-20%)
Improved Sensitivity in TR Disc (50%)
Dual LCD Metering: Identifies Target, 0-iron through 100-Silver Doll', Target Depth from one to six-plus inches. Functions as a battery meter (see Operate Control).
Tuner Control: Adjusts threshold level
Tone Control: Adjusts audio pitch from low to high
Power Control: Adjusts charge mode from trickle to normal and turns detector on
Mode Control: Adjusts primary mode Of Operation including:
1. GB Disc--Ground balance minerals while discriminating with motion; recommended for more highly mineralized ground
2. GB-Ground Balance - All-metal mode
3. GB MAX-Ground Balance - all metal mode with approximately 30% gain
4. TR Disc, Non-Ground Balance discriminates without motion; recommended for less mineralized ground and where there is not enough room to sweep the coil
Display Control - adjusts LCD meter to display A&B battery pack condition or Target ID and depth mode
Target ID Control, adjusts unit to follow target audio ID position including:
1. OFF: Target tone identification disengaged, high sensitivity
2. LOW: Target tone identification, low sensitivity for highly mineralized interference areas
3. MED: Target tone identification, medium sensitivity. Recommended for all-around ground/environment conditions
4. HIGH: Target tone identification, high sensitivity for low mineralization interference areas Ground Balance Control: Electronically balances out effects of the average ground mineral matrix
Operate Control, 3 positions, checks condition of battery strength; Pos # 1 Upper LCD bar [A] battery section, Pos # 2 Lower LCD bar [B] battery section, Pos # 3 Upper LCD bar identifies target, lower LCD bar indicates target depth.
Discriminator Control: Adjusts audio discrimination from nails through screw cap.
I decided to compare the Condor PRO Teknetics' replacement for the 9000B, against the 8500B. The 8500B has been replaced by the Eagle PRO. The Eagle PRO and 8500B lack the dual-bar LCD meter, sporting an analog meter instead. The test was conducted with both the Condor PRO and 8500B set in the GEB discrimination mode and the Target ID control set to HIGH which is maximum sensitivity with target tone identification.
The difference was like night and day. Let me say that in spite of regular watering of the test ground, my front lawn was fairly dry, and targets are more responsive in moist soil. Where I live, all the power lines are under the ground and 60-cycle power line interference is a definite challenge for any detector.
The 8500B had no problem with the buried quarter target at 3- to 4-inches deep. At six inches, the 8500B audio response was on the weak side and took from three to five sweeps (depending on the angle/speed of the coil) to properly identify. On the seven-inch deep quarter, the 8500B would respond only with an extremely fast sweep speed and was unable to lock on the target; no response on the eight-inch deep quarter.
The Condor PRO was a different story. Right off the bat I noticed that the circuit was much more stable at high sensitivity. With a sweep speed rivaling that of the more familiar ultra-slow sweep detectors, the Condor's response to the six-and seven-inch deep quarter, the 8500B was weak and broken and the coil had to be swept extremely fast, well beyond the capabilities of most treasure hunters.
The Condor's Audio Response was solid and repeatable though not nearly as strong as on the six- and seven-inch deep coins and the coil had to be swept faster. Response on the white- and yellow-gold rings was comparable. On the target mask test two-inch deep iron nail approximately six inches deep, the Condor again was a clear winner and could pick up the dime both ways while the 8500B resounded with a less than definite audio-target ID response.
On my I 0-inch deep quarter, I didn't expect any response from the Condor PRO especially in my soil with hampering electrical interference. I was pleasantly surprised when, with a slow to moderate sweep, the Condor delivered a fairly repeatable but softer audio response. The upper LCD ID bar and concurrent target tone would not lock on to any definite target range and varied from the nickel to penny/dime range. The lower LCD bar remained blank a tip-off that the target is a deep one and worth taking the time to investigate.
When swept over an iron target several times and then over a good target such as a zing or coin, the Condor PRO recovered much faster than the 8500B. This becomes a significant factor when trying to locate lower conductive desirable targets such as nickels and fine jewelry. In the case of my white gold ring which reads about 10 to 12 on the meter (both units), I first swept over an iron object in my laws, then immediately swept the coil across the ring; the first three sweeps over the target registered iron. After making a fourth pass over the ring, the Target ID meter started to move up to ten. In the field, under similar conditions with the 8500B, I would have probably swept over it and dismissed it as an iron object. The Condor PRO on the other hand recovered quickly with the LCD Target ID bar jumping from Iron "0" to "10" with only one sweep.
My Condor PRO had been sent to me from the factory in the optional hip mount case configuration. The Condor sports a lightweight 7-1/4" low profile loop. Its overall weight is approximately five pounds. The standard hand-held version is well balanced and avoids the common hassles of having to hang the control box on your side and kneeling on the cord. If you prefer the hip-mount version, which adds more to the price of e unit, I prefer the Tuning/Mode button on the case as you can avoid "'reaching" back to press the button when you attempting to pinpoint the target a second time while kneeling on the ground. It also avoids that extra tuning cord found in the hip-mount rod version.
The rod assembly is a unique rectangular shape with an extra long lower rod to satisfy the tallest of people. No jumper cable is needed as the hip-mount version comes with an extra length of cable. Two thin straps are provided for vertical and horizontal support. I much prefer the past encounters hip-hugger platform support available at most professional dealers.
My first time out with the Condor in the field took me to a local park. The ground mineral level was. low and consistent. The targets averaged two to three inches in depth. I felt it would be a good park for getting acquainted with the Condor PRO, and since I had almost an hour-and-a-half to hunt, I had to limit my travel time.
Ground balancing the Condor PRO is relatively simple. Turn the unit on, adjust threshold so it's barely audible, and set the ground balance control to 12 o'clock. The coil is then lowered to the ground while in the GB NORM Mode (all-metal normal sensitivity) and I found no further adjustment on the GROUND BALANCE control was necessary. Set DISC control to reject Iron/Lt. Foil.
I began sweeping the coil where it was just brushing the tops of the grass. I set the Condor PRO's sensitivity to medium. Teknetics recommends the medium setting for most hunting areas due to the extra sensitivity.
The first couple of targets were iron junk. The upper-target ID LCD bar remained absent as is the case with iron. The lower-target depth LCD bar indicated two inches. The first good positive response target came about 30 seconds later as the Condor PRO's audible target tone/upper LCD bar jumped up to the quarter reading without any hesitation and locked on - in one sweep no less!
A quick look at the lower-target depth LCD bar indicated a depth of what was to be the deepest target on the day, five inches.
Unlike the 8500B and 9000B which have a lock-on depth reading which has to be regularly reset (as it would lock on to the shallowest target), the new PRO series automatically resets itself to zero reset and you can use it to pinpoint your target without having to change into the GEB Norm mode. Since I use the Teknetics GEB Norm Mode to listen to the target response characteristics for the purpose of evaluating its desirability, I prefer to pinpoint the target in the GEB norm mode while detuning it down to a small blip and at the same time cross sweeping. I then extracted the quarter using my favorite target retrieval device, the Hole Hog. The quarter was virtually dead center in the plug.
Several of the good targets were located right next to bad ones. The Condor deserves high marks for isolating the targets by virtue of its very slow speed capabilities and exceptionally quick recovery response. These features paid off the first time out as I swept over what I knew from experience was a bottle cap. The bottle cap was not being eliminated cleanly which led me to suspect a good target. very close to the bottle cap. By carefully cross sweeping, I isolated what appeared to be a second target just to the left of the bottle cap. I then popped the bottle cap out of the grass and rechecked the area. The Condor PRO locked-on below nickel between 10 and 12 on the meter. I carefully extracted a gold-plated pendant with a white stone about two inches down.
The next target locked-on around five which is in the foil range. The instruction booklet of the Condor Pro advises to investigate those lock-on readings and, by experience, I definitely agree. Listening to it in the all-metal mode confirmed in my mind this was a target I couldn't pass off as foil. Between the blades of grass, I located a beautiful 22-carat, gold-plated bracelet.
During the course of the field test, I visited several parks and ball fields. In several, of these areas, I located some pretty deep coins seven-plus deep inches. The dry ground conditions were frustrating. Although I would detect over the greener areas several times, I had deep coins well over six inches down and I just couldn't get to them because of the hardness of the ground.
One of the fields, however, was an exception to the general ground conditions. The groundskeeper had kept it well watered. It also had a lower-than average trash content in spite of it being next to a grammar school. I located one silver dime (Rosey) at five inches and twelve cents. One of the wheaties, dated 1928, was down approximately seven. inches.
Another park was a test for any detector due to its age and abundance of trash. The Condor PRO was hitting two or more targets with every sweep. I had. to take it very slow to separate the good target responses from. the bad ones. I know of only one other park that has' worse trash conditions and I'll save that one for next time. In spite of the over abundance of trash, especially, bottle caps, in two hours of hunting I located six quarters, four dimes, two nickels and 18 memorial pennies. The deepest target located was an old amber back pulltab at seven inches. The deepest coin was a dime at five inches.
I took the Condor PRO twice to the beach. Both beaches had adverse mineralization. The Condor PRO worked best at the water's edge on low sensitivity. Even so, I pulled up a quarter right in the wet surf about six inches deep. Up higher on the beaches, I was able to work with the sensitivity set at medium. At this setting the Condor PRO would respond to positive hot rocks by pegging the meter to the right. You can compensate by slowing the sweep down a bit to minimize the hot rock response. I favored the minimum setting for very good stability.
The second time I went to the beach, I had about 1-1/2 hours of daylight left. I continued to detect as the tide was approaching the low mark - about 8:30 p.m. By this time the sun had gone down and it was fairly dark. Although the Condor PRO doesn't have a night-light system as some of its competitors, it does have target tone identification. Iron will either null out or give a deep tone. Foil-nickel tabs through the silver dollar give different tones; the higher the conductivity, the higher the tone. The lift tab was easily identifiable by tone identification as were coins. At any rate, my beach hunting philosophy is that anything that breaks the audio discrimination threshold is worth retrieval with a sand scoop.
I did encounter numerous positive hot rocks which read up above the silver dollar. They were easily identified because as I swept across the area, the lower depth reading LCD remained void. I could have minimized the hot rock effect by over balancing positive (to the right of null) but I didn't want to chance losing any desirable deep targets.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Condor/Eagle PRO series represents several significant enhancement changes for increased performance over its predecessors: slower sweep speed capability, increased sensitivity as well as stability against co-cycle noise problems, a refined target depth reading system and a much quicker target response and identification circuit.
Since the metal detecting industry is down-sizing its instruments for comfort and balance, I would like to see future models of the Condor and Eagle PRO follow suit.
The battery system consists of 14 AA Nicads which are accessed from the bottom of the unit. I always carry an extra set of batteries, carbon zinc, to back up the Nicads. It is a bit time consuming to remove and replace 14 cells, fewer cells required would ease the hassle of replacement time and lighten the unit.
Finally, although the target depth meter was extremely accurate, it only reads down to six-plus inches. I would love to see the meter expanded to 10 plus inches thereby doing justice to the overall performance of this new detector.
Is the Condor/Eagle PRO series a better detector than its predecessors? No doubt about it!
1. Past encounters hip hugger, hot dipped galvanized medium-handle sand scoop (I lb.), Collins Treasure Products, (415) 728-9146.
2. Cal Rad 15-135 (local dealer).
3. Ultra Quiets by Treasure Tronics, (305) 987-2888.
Note: Greg Moscini, the author, is the owner of Trans-Bay Metal Detectors, a Multi-Line Detector Dealer located at 321 Sea Horse Ct., Foster City, CA 94404, (415) 574-2012. If you have any questions regarding this article, please drop Greg a line along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.