FIELD TEST

Fisher 1225-x
By Jack Reid
From Page 24
July, 1988 issue of Lost Treasure

Fisher's new 1225-X is the company's middle-of-the-line addition to its X series. In price and features, it comes in between the entry level 1210-X and the top-of-the-line 1235-X (Lost Treasure, Dec. 1987) and at first glance is similar in appearance to both.
The detector I field tested was' sent directly from the factory in the impact resistant packaging that I've come to expect from Fisher. It arrived just about ready to go.
Assembly was very fast and no tools were required. The 20-page instruction book which accompanied the 1225-X gave easy-to-follow assembly instructions. In a matter of minutes, the 1225-X was ready to go, but one thing is worth mentioning. In common with all modem sensitive detectors, a dangling coil cable on the 1225-X could well produce false signals.
Fisher suggests loosening the slip nut slightly after the stem has been adjusted to a comfortable searching length and simply turning the lower part of the stem until the cable is wrapped around the stem neatly, but with a little slack at both ends. No wire clips are required. This method turned out to be easy and effective. Two of us field tested the 1225-X and there was enough difference in our arm lengths to require readjustment of stem length to suit each of us.
The 1225-X is one of the now familiar S-type lightweight detectors with a combined armrest and detector stand at the upper end of the stem. A comfortable-to-hold shaped plastic grip is installed around the S, forming the handle.
The control box is attached to the stem just forward of the S.
Simplicity is the name of the game. There are only three controls. These, together with the speaker and the earphone jack, are located on a panel at the top end of the control case. They consist of a combined off/on switch and DISCriminator setting knob, a SENSitivity control that doubles as a battery test and a PINPOINT button.
The PINPOINT button is the most frequently used and the easiest to reach. I found that I was using DISC just about as often, and I had no difficulty making adjustments with my thumb. SENS was more difficult, particularly when I was holding the 1225-X with my left hand, but this was no big thing because once I had SENS set for any location, I rarely had to make any further adjustment. So for practical purposes the 1225-X offers one-hand operation. The shafts of both knobs were sufficiently stiff to prevent accidental movement, while at the same time being easy to turn.
When the DISC knob is fully counterclockwise the detector is off.
Turning it clockwise to a 0 Position puts the 1255-X in minimum discrimination, in effect ALL METALS. Advancing it further clockwise toward the maximum
10 Position Progressively eliminates various commonly found ferrous and non-ferrous objects. The instruction book has a complete discrimination chart which I found to be remarkably accurate, although the Precise settings will, of course, vary a bit from detector to detector.
The other knob controls sensitivity, and thus depth. It is calibrated from 0 (least) to 10 (maximum). Turning the knob clockwise advances the sensitivity. Ideally, it should be set at 10, but in reality, this isn't always Possible. Excessive ground mineralization, lots of big pieces of trash, nearby power lines and radio and television stations or microwave transmitters alone, or in combination, may create false signals. Fisher suggests starting at 8 and advancing it to 10 where possible.
Just to see how well this would work, I tried it out under the worst Possible conditions. I took it to a saltwater beach which is noted for black magnetic sand and searched near the water on an outgoing tide. We" d had a really sunny day so much of the sea water had been' evaporated, leaving behind the dissolved minerals.
With DISC at 0 and SENS at 8 1 immediately started getting beeps, particularly at the end of each swing. I was excited, but the signals weren't repeatable, so I deduced that what I was really getting was ground mineralization. I kept turning down SENS until at about 3 1 no longer had signals at the end of each swing.
I continued searching, hoping to turn up something, although the beach season was long since over. Ultimately I came up with a key ring without any keys. It was fairly deep - it took two whacks with my beach SCOOP to bring it up. Not much of a find, but it at least showed that the 1225-X retained considerable capability with SENS turned down quite far.
SENS doubles as an effective battery check. When the detector is turned on, moving the knob fully counter clockwise (index points down) puts it on BATT TEST. A loud tone indicates good batteries, a faint tone tells that they're weakening but still useable and no sound lets the operator know that they must be replaced. Both the nine volt batteries should be replaced; not just one, although in an emergency one will keep the 1225 X going temporarily.
In any event, changing batteries is a snap. Both battery compartments are at the lower end of the control box. The doors open easily and are secured to the detector body by high-text fish line to prevent their loss. The batteries slide in and out easily and proper polarity is clearly marked. The new batteries are simply dropped in and the doors latched closed. There are no wires to become damaged or lost, as is all too often the case with conventional dangling nine-volt battery terminals. I'm glad to find that Fisher and other detector manufacturers are finding 'ways to eliminate these nuisances.
I had some difficulty getting out my Duracell (R) batteries in the 1235-X battery compartments, which appear to be identical to those of the 1225-X. I told the Fisher factory about this, and they tried it with some Duracell (R) batteries they had on hand without any problems. After I exhausted the original carbon batteries supplied with the 1225-X, I replaced them with new Duracell (R) batteries and had no difficulty. I concluded that I had gotten into a batch of slightly oversized batteries.
Carbon batteries are good for 20-30 hours in the 1225-X and alkaline batteries 40-50 hours. Actual life in use depends on how long the battery has been in someone's warehouse. They all have a "shelf' life, after which they begin to lose power, although they may never have been used.
It's a good idea to check the batteries as soon as the detector is turned on and then again after about 10 minutes of opera on. Weak batteries will, often regenerate themselves somewhat when the detector is turned off, but it's a short-lived effect. Turning SENS to the BATT TEST position is a quick and positive way of doing this.
The 1225-X offers two operating modes. The search mode is motion discriminating with self-adjusting ground balancing. Pinpointing is ALL METALS non-motion. The mode change is accomplished by simply Pressing and holding in the PINPOINT button.
Both modes operate silently, so that there's no threshold tone to mask a weak signal. All of the detectors I'd used in Years Past operated with a threshold hum, but now, having field tested the 1225-X, the 1235-X and a couple of others, I'm beginning to think that this is they way to go.
One way to effect silent search is to turn down the volume control, which the 1225-X doesn't have, until the threshold hum just begins to disappear. There are two disadvantages, the most important tone being that weak beeps from deep targets may also be lost.
Secondly, if the control knob is accidentally moved while searching, almost all other signals may well be lost without the operator ever knowing it. Fisher effectively gets around this with what it calls "Pulsegate Unipolar Audio Processing." This is a circuit that holds back the threshold hum, but lets even the weakest beep go through to the audio. There's nothing to adjust, either intentionally or accidentally; the feature's built in.
The first thing I did with 1225-X was to search for the gas pipe leading into my home. Slightly more than one-inch in diameter, the black iron pipe is buried a measured 18 inches down and capped by a two-inch layer of common bricks. I'd done this test before with the 1235X, and the response was about equal. The comparison was valid as I did this just before the winter rains set in. I was able to get a good but noticeably weaker response with SENS turned all the way down to 0. The signal began to break up with DISC at 2 and was entirely wiped out at 4.
My gas pipe is a formidable target and I don't mean to imply that the 1225X is good for 18 inches on coin-size objects. However, I do have a number of coins as well as other commonly found targets in my test bed, buried four to eight inches down, and the 1225-X sounded off on all of them. Finding unknown targets is the true test of any metal detector, but trying it out on known ones is very helpful in learning where to set the discriminator for junk, elimination and in determining - by practicing - the best rate of swing for maximum sensitivity. In this case, a comfortably slow swing was best.
It also enabled me to make "side-by-side" comparison of targets with similar responses, pulltabs and nickels for example, which would be a matter of pure luck, and probably a lot of wasted time, finding in the field. Fisher suggests spreading often encountered items at least two feet apart on an area of ground that is known to be target free and experimenting with these. Bench testing is another effective way of getting acquainted with DISC.
Since this was a field test, I began by searching with DISC set at 0, in effect ALL METALS and once the detector beeped, turning the control up toward 10 to try to identify the target and then digging it to find out what it actually was. After a time, I discovered that, while the lowest setting seemed to give the best depth, in a very trashy area I could search with DISC set about 5 without missing anything worth digging. Through trial and error, I was able to identify a great many targets and even to distinguish between a nickel and a pulltab, by their sound just at the point where the response began to break up.
Pinpointing was easily done by pressing in and holding the PINPOINT button, thus shifting the 1225-X to the non-motion ALL METALS mode, and then X-ing the target area. When the response was at its loudest, the target, was approximately under the bulls-eye marked on the top of the coil.
"De-tuning" provided even more accuracy. Once I'd located the approximate target position, I laid the coil on the ground as close to it as possible and pressed in and held the PINPOINT button again. Raising the coil slightly and moving it around at one point would produce a sharp and loud signal. This placed the target directly under the bulls-eye, I found.
My friend, Bruce Thompson, and I were also impressed with the response of the 1225-X to deep targets in damp soil. One day we searched some paths in a gassy area between a parking lot and a popular ocean beach. Summer was long over and we were well ' into the rainy season. The whole area has long been a favorite with coinshooters and we'd searched those same paths before, but always in dry weather.
That day, however, the ground was saturated to the point where it was almost mud. The paths are sandy and we were able to use a beach scoop for retrieval and then to refill our dig holes without damaging the landscape. Most of the trash, we hoped, had been cleaned out by others, thus making it practical to search with DISC at 0 for maximum depth. We didn't know what to expect, but it certainly was worth a try.
Of the four coins found, three quarters and a penny, two were significant. A weak but definite beep that Bruce got proved to be a 1965 quarter, one of the first clads. A year older and it would have been silver. It was very nearly a foot down, and from its condition it must have been dropped within a year of minting. Almost a foot of depth with a middle-of-the line detector? And how had it been there in a well-searched path undetected for 20 years or more? Moisture in the soil will always help any metal detector's depth, and this ground was really wet, which was the whole point in going there that day.
At the time the coin must have been dropped there was much less interest in metal detecting than there is today, and the modem VLF detector, with its greatly improved depth, didn't make its appearance until the quarter had been in the ground for at least 10 years, and so had ample time to work its way down. Even the first VLF's didn't have the depth capability that today's instruments do. Beyond that, we did our searching at just the right time.
There'd been several weeks of heavy rains and consequently topsoil erosion, which had the effect of bringing the quarter closer to the surface. Conversely, during the summer the brisk afternoon winds blowing in from the Pacific, tend to fill up the path with sand from the nearby beach.
Much the same thing was true of the penny - a 1971, which cleaned up to uncirculated condition - although it wasn't as deep as the quarter. The other quarters were recent clads, possibly dropped by bird watchers during lulls in the rains. Nonetheless, we were both very happy with the performance of the 1225-X that day and only sorry that a fresh batch of rain clouds wheeling out at sea put an end to our hunting.
One of the features we both like is Fisher's patented "Double Derivative Motion Circuitry," which is also used on the company's more expensive detectors. It provides a response as the coil passes over the target, rather than shortly afterward. It had already proven itself to us on the 1235-X, when we used it in competitive shootouts, where it's necessary to whip the coil back and forth rapidly to cover as much ground quickly as possible.
During our test of the 1225A, we thought that it provided more positive responses to deep targets and was a real help in distinguishing between the sounds of various often-encountered items when DISC had been advanced to the point where their signals began breaking up. It also was a great help in pinpointing and often made it possible to accurately pinpoint in the motion discriminate search mode without even using PINPOINT.
The fact that the 1225-X isn't convertible to a hip mount proved to be of no consequence. It's so well-balanced to the standard eight-inch coil that its 3.1 pounds weight seemed feather light.
To summarize, I think that the 1225 X is a good, solid value at $299.95, particularly because it incorporates many of the features and, as far as I could tell, all of the manufacturing integrity of Fisher's more expensive instruments. Its effective simplicity makes it ideal for the beginning detector user; once the novice has advanced to the point where a more elaborate instrument would be a real advantage, it would still be useful as a second detector.
For more information, contact Fisher Research Laboratory, 1005 I Street, Los Banos, CA 93635-4398.
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