Garretts Ultra Gta 500
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 12
July, 1992 issue of Lost Treasure
Ive been eagerly anticipating us-ing the new Ultra GTA 500. This new detector from Garrett Electron-ics is the little brother of the wildly popular GTA 1000 and incorporates many of its features.
The GTA 500 is a fully-automatic motion discriminator that features two programmable discrimination modes and anon-motion pinpointing mode. It is mounted on a modified S-shape rod which helps decrease arm fatigue. The detector weights 3 pounds, 4 ounces, making it one of the lightest detectors on the market. By converting the GTA 500 to the hip-mount configuration, the weight is reduced to only 2 pounds, 10 ounces.
The arm rest assembly is well-padded and quite comfortable. It also functions as a stand to keep the de-tector off the ground when recover-ing a target. The speaker and battery pack are both built into the armrest. This portion of the armrest can be removed by simply sliding it to the rear. With the built-in belt clip, the GTA 500 quickly converts into a hip-mount unit. The cable is coiled, ensuring that it will not be pinched or damaged when re-installing the battery packs after using it in the hip-mount configuration.
The GTA 500 is powered by eight AA penlight batteries, which are held in two plastic holders within the battery pack. The battery holders are removed through two small doors located on the back of the packs. As
with the GTA 1000, there are no wires connecting the battery hold-ers, thereby eliminating the prob-lems normally experienced with the wires breaking. Since the battery holders go in only one way, the cir-cuit cant be damaged by installing them improperly. Battery life is ap-proximately 30 hours with alkaline batteries, 20 hours with standard carbon batteries and 10 hours with ni-cad rechargeable batteries (a kit containing rechargeable batteries and a charger is available).
It is important to note that any programing changes you have made to the GTA will be lost if the batteries are removed for more than four minutes.
The GTA 500 comes equipped with an 8.5-inch Crossfire search coil. The coil is waterproof and the detector can be submerged in the water up to the connection on the control housing.
All of the GTA 500s functions are controlled by the eight touchpad controls located on the face of the housing. The touchpad controls are:
Power, which turns the detector on and off.
Pinpoint, which activates the non-motion all-metal mode and depth reading circuitry.
Last Mode, which switches be-tween the two motion discriminate modes.
Set Depth and Set Audio, which allows the sensitivity and audio threshold to be adjusted.
Set Disc, which is used to accept or reject specific targets.
Plus and Minus, which are used to actually change either the sensi-tivity, threshold or discrimination settings.
The GTA 500 has two motion discriminate modes which have been pre-programmed by the factory. The A mode has been set to respond to all types of metal targets, while the B mode has been designed for coin-hunting and will ignore most trash items, while still locating coins and jewelry. Both modes can be easily modified with the use of the touchpad controls.
The LCD meter, which is located above the control panel, provides a greatdeal of useful information. The operating mode currently selected is displayed in the lower left portion of the meter. In the right-hand corner, battery strength is indicated with four squares visible when new batteries have been installed. When only one square remains lit, fewer than two hours of life remains and the batter-ies should be replaced.
Directly above the operating
mode/battery condition indicators are 24 individual segments that represent specific types of targets the GTA 500 will respond to or reject. If the segment is dark, the detector will respond to the corresponding target when the coil passes over it.
In the B operating mode, you will notice that the segments under-neath foil, bottle caps, and pull tabs have been turned off, which means that the GTA 500 will not respond to these targets. By using the Plus and Minus controls, the user can accept or reject any notch by pressing the Set Disc control as the cursor moves over each segment.
For instance, if you are looking for a specific target, such as a gold ring or tokens in a competition hunt, you can program the GTA 500 to respond only to those targets. When the searchcoil passes over a target, the upper segment corresponding to
the probable target ID will light up and remain lit for 5 seconds or until another target is detected. By press-ing the Pinpoint control, the display will change and the target depth will be indicated on the meter, along with the relative signal strength, which aids in precisely centering the coil over the target.
Another feature of the GTA 500 is the loop recognition circuitry. Whenever a different search coil is connected to the detector, the cir-cuitry automatically senses what particular coil has been installed and compensates for it to ensure that the depth and target ID readings remain accurate.
A headphone jack is located on the rear of the battery pack and ac-cepts any standard 1/4-inch head-phone plug. Headphones help in-crease battery life and ensure that weak signals are not overlooked.
After assembling the GTA 500 and reading through the pocket-sized manual, I went outside to see how it responded to the targets buried in my test garden. Pressing the Power con-trol, which turned the detector on in the B operating mode, I received a solid signal on the coins, which ranged in depth from 2 to 7 inches. A small 10K gold ring at 3 inches also was detected and registered in the nickel range. I found the target ID
and depth reading indications to be accurate on all of the items.
The electronic pinpointing cir-cuitry is operated by simply pressing the Pinpoint control. Once a target is detected, the coil should be moved away from the target and the Pinpoint control pressed and held. As the coil is swept across the target, the lower baron the meter will indicate target depth and the upper bar will indicate the relative signal strength. When the upper signal strength bar reaches its left-most position, the target will be directly below the X embossed into the top of loop.
A few days after I received the GTA 500, I flew to Texas for busi-ness and brought the detector along hoping to try a few sites after work.
The small town that I was staying in dated back to the late 1 800s and
many of the original homes were still standing. When I mentioned my interest in metal detecting to one of the people I was working with, he said that he knew the owners of sev-eral older homes in town and would get me permission to search their yards.
One house was a short walk. from the hotel and had been converted to a shop that sold local crafts and an-tiques. After spending a few minutes talking with the owner, I went outside and decided to start in the side yard. Before beginning, I pressed the Au-dio control and, by using the Minus control, reduced the threshold until it was just noticeable through the headphones. Pressing Audio again, I began hunting in the B mode.
The first two signals both read between six and seven on the meter and turned out to be large screw caps just under the surface. In order to avoid recovering any more of these pesky targets, I used the Plus and Minus controls to move the upper cursor over each of the three lower bar segments.
Then by pressing the Set Disc control, I was able to reject them. I checked the adjustment by passing
My partner jokingly said, Heres another ring When I cut the plug and bent it back, I couldnt believe what I saw
the searchcoil over the two screw caps and no longer received any au-dio response.
Near a large tree in the center of the yard, the GTA 500 produced a clear signal and the meter indicated Penny. I pressed the Pinpoint control and centered the coil over the target which, according to the meter, was 5 inches deep. Cutting a plug and re-moving the loose dirt from the hole, I saw a coin partially exposed in the bottom. After checking the date, I placed the 1936 wheat penny in my pouch and contained searching. Per-haps people used to sit under that tree to escape the hot summer sun, because I recovered 18 coins there, including five more wheat pennies, a 1939 nickel and a 1944 Mercury dime.
I wanted to check the GTA 500s discrimination capabilities, so I pressed the Last Mode control, which switched it to the A or all-metal mode, and rechecked the area I had just been over. I received 31 signals, all of which registered as ferrous trash, tin foil or pull-tabs in the same area under that tree. I was not able to find any good target that I had overlooked and was impressed that the GTA 500 had not even indicated that the trash targets were present while locating the coins now in my pouch.
I continued searching the yard and just before I was ready to leave, an older woman who was walking by on the sidewalk stopped and began to watch me. After several minutes she came over and asked if I could answer a question for her. I removed my headphones and ex-pected her to ask the typical question, What have you found?
Instead, she said that she was al-ways working around her yard and wanted to know where she could buy a weed-whacker similar to the one I was using. She was impressed that the motor was so quiet. After re-covering from my initial surprise, I told her that it was metal detector an showed her some of my find. This seemed to peak her interest and she invited me to try her yard around her house, which dated back to 1892. Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to search it, but I plan on looking her up the next time I am in the area.
One of my co-workers, Dan Phillips, was with me in Texas and had expressed an interest in using a metal detector. The evening before we were to leave, the two of us decided to take the GTA 500 to the local high school athletic field. After briefly explaining the controls to Dan and showing him what type of re-sponse a target would give, he began searching in front of the bleachers with all settings at the factory-reset level. Halfway through his third sweep, the detector produced a solid signal and Dan called out that the meter was telling him it was a quar-ter.
Switching to the Pinpoint mode, he was able to center the coil over the target and read the depth, which in-dicated three inches. I walked over to help him recover his first target, and after cutting a small plug, handed Dan a blackened 1967 quarter. De-spite holding the coin in his hand, Dan said he could not believe that treasure hunting could be this easy. Covering up the hole, he continued searching near the bleachers. Less than three feet away, he received another signal and recovered a clad dime two inches deep.
Apparently this site had not re-ceived much pressure from other
treasure hunters, as Dan found 23 coins and a house key over the next hour. What is even more impressive is that, despite his inexperience, he had recovered only three trash targets, in spite of the pull-tabs and screw caps that were lying on the
The following day, all Dan could talk about was how simple the de-tector had been to use, how many sites he knew of that would be worth searching and wondering how he could tell his wife that he was going to buy a metal detector.
A few days after returning home, a friend of mine and I took the GTA 500 to a small neighborhood park near the office during our lunch hour.
I had searched this park several times before and, while most of the coins found were only recently lost, I had recovered a few older coins and in-teresting trinkets.
Since we had only one detector, I told Jim that he could search and I would dig for him. Selecting the B mode, he began near the swing set and almost immediately received a signal that indicated Dime on the meter. Pinpointing the target, I used the probe to extract a clad dime from the sandy soil. Over the next 15 minutes we found two quarters, three pennies, a nickel and a dime, all underneath the swings at depths ranging from just under the surface to nearly 5 inches.
As Jim started to head toward the picnic pavilion, he received a sharp signal. After moving the coil to the side and brushing away some grass, he picked up a sterling pinky ring. He smiled, put the ring into his pocket and continued searching.
Less than two feet away he re-ceived another signal that read in the Nickel range and said, jokingly, Heres another ring. I cut a plug, and when I bent it back I couldnt believe what I saw another ring!
This one had been about three inches deep and was a combination of sterling silver and 10K gold. The GTA 500 had made him a believer in only 20 minutes.
While the GTA 500 is the GTA 1000s little brother, it has features and performance not found on de-tectors costing considerably more. I used it in many areas that bad been heavy searched before and was surprised what it was able to locate. The GTA 500 can be mastered quickly.
Garrett offers several optional search coils, including the 4.5-inch and 12.5-inch round coils, as well as the new 3- by 7-inch and 5- by 10-inch elliptical coils, which allow the GTA 500 to be used for virtually any potential treasure hunting applica-tion. Another accessory that novices might consider purchasing is a 25-minute video tape that shows how to set and operate the detector.
The GTA 500 sells for $479.95 and comes with a two-year factory warranty. If you are looking for a new detector that incorporates state-of-the-art technology at a reasonable price, stop by your local dealer for a demonstration of the Garrett Ultra
For the name of your nearest au-thorized dealer and a copy of the new 1992 Buyers Guide, contact Garrett
Electronics, 2814 National Drive,
Garland, TX 75041-2397 or phone
(800) 527-4011. Be sure to men-tion that you read about it in Lost Treasure.