Over the past few years, the metal detector industry has lost several manufactures, however, a new company recently opened its doors and has introduced the first model in their line. Search-Scan Electronics is the name of the company and several long-time treasure hunters were involved in the companys creation.
Currently they are only producing one model, the Leprechaun, but there are several other detectors under development for release in the near future.
The Leprechaun is a silent-search motion discriminator which has been designed for both novice and experienced treasure hunters alike. It does not have a non-motion pinpoint mode; however, the sweep speed required for detecting a target is so slow, that pinpointing in the motion mode is quite easy.
The control housing is mounted above the S-shaped handle and is easily removed for either shallow water hunting or hipmounting by depressing the spring clips located beneath the housing. The shaft extends from 44 to 50 " making it ideal for both younger hunters as well as adults.
The arm rest and hand grip are comfortable and allow for extended use without discomfort. The control housing measures 4 1/2" by 1 3/4" by 6", and the entire detector only weighs 3 pounds and 7 ounces.
The searchcoil that comes with the Leprechaun is an 8" concentric open-web loop filled with urethane. This serves a dual function in that it keeps the coil from floating if it is submerged underwater and eliminates false signals if the loop is bumped against a rock or used in heavy underbrush. The searchcoil is hard-wired into the control housing, and while this prevents other coils from being used interchangeably, the 8" coil that comes with the detector has been proven to work well for a wide variety of treasure hunting applications.
There is only one knob on the face of the Leprechaun which controls its operation. The knob turns the detector on and also adjusts the level of discrimination to be used while searching. By turning the knob in a clockwise direction the level of discrimination is increased and can be adjusted from the counterclockwise position where all metal objects will be detected up through pulltab/screw cap rejection.
In the center of the control housing is a small red LED indicator which will provide a secondary indication of a target being detected by the Leprechaun. The intensity of the light will indicate the relative strength of the signal which helps in accurately pinpointing the target before recovery.
Next to the LED light is a headphone jack that accepts any standard 1/4" plug. Headphones will increase battery life and ensure that some of the weaker signals are not missed due to high background noise.
The Leprechaun is powered by a single 9 volt battery which is accessed through a small door on the face of the control housing. Battery life is between 25 to 35 hours, and a ni-cad rechargeable cell can be used with no loss of performance.
A unique feature of the Leprechaun is the spare battery holder mounted on the battery tray. It allows an extra battery to be carried along in the field, and if the primary battery goes dead, the spare can be connected ensuring the user will not lose any productive hunting time. Its features such as this clearly show that experienced treasure hunters were involved in the Leprechauns design.
As with all new detectors, the first thing I did after reading over the concise instruction manual was to perform an air test to see how the Leprechaun responded to targets normally encountered in the field.
Setting the Power/Discrimination control to the 9 oclock position, I found that the detector would respond to all of the targets including coins, relics, and small gold rings at depths ranging up to 6 inches.
A small nail was completely rejected and a wad of tin foil gave a broken response that was easily discernable from the type of signal produced when a coin was detected.
As I increased the discrimination level at the 2 oclock position, pulltabs were rejected; however, nickels and smaller gold rings were as well. Most experienced treasure hunters know that in order to avoid missing any valuable targets, the least amount of discrimination should be used at all times.
Taking it outside, I immediately noticed that the Leprechaun did not false or chatter as the coil was swept across the mineralized red clay. I was able to obtain a clear, repeatable signal on most of the targets in the test garden including a silver dime at 5 inches and a Civil War era musket ball at almost 6 inches.
One week after I received the Leprechaun, my in-laws, from Pennsylvania came for a visit. One evening we took our 2-1/2 year old son to a local playground and at the last minute I decided to take the Leprechaun along and try it out. Since my father-in-law has only used a metal detector a few times, I asked him if he would use it to see how simple it really was to operate.
Turning the power on and setting the Discrimination level to 11 oclock (iron & tin foil reject), he began to search the large sandbox in the front of the playground. Almost immediately he received a loud signal and slowing down his sweep speed, pinpointed the target. From just over 4 inches down came a clad quarter that had obviously been buried from some time.
As he continued across the sand he recovered several more coins at depths ranging from just under the surface to almost 6 inches. Neil said that pinpointing targets was quite simple by using the LED indicator in conjunction with the audio response from the speaker. The discrimination capabilities were evident as the detector did not produce any signal as the coil was passed over tin foil, hair berets, and some broken pencils that were laying on the surface of the sand.
On the final pass through the sandbox the Leprechaun gave a repeatable, but noticeably weaker signal near the corner. Digging down a good 7 inches, we ran into the clay below the sandbox and, after digging down another inch, pulled out a Matchbox jeep. As the sun dropped below the trees, we decided to head home; however, the Leprechaun had found a number of targets at depths that indicated that they had probably been missed by previous treasure hunters.
A few days later, I took the detector to a nearby school and began searching around some trailers that had been set up as temporary classrooms. Grayish pea-gravel had been spread on the ground between the trailers and this was where I started hunting. I was surprised to see that the Leprechaun did not chatter as I swept the coil across the gravel. Many of the other detectors I have used there in the past either lost a significant amount of detection depth or falsed due to the mineral content of the gravel.
The first two signals produced recently lost quarters and the potential for the area was looking good. The next few signals turned out to be pulltabs and I was tempted to increase the discrimination level to reject the bothersome targets. Working near the steps of one of the trailers I received a good signal, brushed some of the gravel away and saw something flash.
Reaching down, I picked up a petite 14KT gold nugget ring that had been buried about 1 to 2 inches in the gravel. I walked over to my wife to show her the ring and from the look in her eyes, I could see that her jewelry box was about to get a new addition.
I returned to the gravel walkway thankful that I had not increased the discrimination to reject pulltabs and continued searching. Near one of the landings that had recently been built, I received a good signal from some large 10d nails that were laying on the surface; however, most detectors have trouble rejecting larger ferrous targets such as these close to the search coil.
I spent about one hour covering the entire area surrounding the six trailers, and while I didnt find any more jewelry, I was able to recover about $3 in coins along with a key and an empty money clip.
Other than a handful of pulltabs and large nails, the Leprechaun had rejected trash targets such as tin foil, paper clips, and small nails that littered the area.
I used the Leprechaun in a number of sites by my house that had been hunted by myself and other local treasure hunters, and was able to locate coins and artifacts that we had missed. Many of the items had obviously been there for some time so the Leprechauns performance was an important factor in recovering them.
The Leprechaun combines ease of operation with performance resulting in a metal detector that will fit the needs of both beginning and experienced treasure hunters. It handles adverse ground conditions and trash-filled sites as well as some detectors costing considerably more as shown by the finds made while testing it.
Its light weight and small size makes the Leprechaun an ideal choice for a backup unit or as a starter unit for younger members of the family.
The Leprechaun sells for $189.95 and comes with a 5 year limited warranty. A belt mount adapter kit is available and is highly recommended if you plan on using the detector in the hipmount configuration for extended periods of time.
For more information on the Leprechaun or a copy of Search-Scans catalog that contains other treasure hunting related products, write to the regional distributor, Search-Scan Electronics, 107 Section Street South, Fair Hope, AL 36532; or call them at (205) 928-9040, and mention that you read about the new Leprechaun in Lost Treasure.