Tesoro Electronics Micro Max Bandido
By Joe Patrick
From Page 32
July, 1997 issue of Lost Treasure

There is a common, familiar saying that basically says "bigger is better." While this adage may be appropriate for many things, we detector users disagree and want our detectors to be as small and lightweight as possible.

In pursuit of that desire, Tesoro Electronics has recently released a new line of extremely compact, lightweight metal detectors that they have named their MicroMAX series. These streamlined, featherweight units are surprising many users with their "big detector" performance. Although the control housings are miniature in size, compared to most detectors available today, the MicroMax series performance is noteworthy. Performance that is delivered and maintained by high tolerance state-of-the-art thick film surface-mount electronic circuitry. I know this is a mouthful of high-tech jargon, but just remember that all it really means is small size, lightweight and high-performance.

With the release of the new MicroMAX (pMAX) Bandido, the Bandido model now enters its third rendition. Always a very popular model with Tesoro users, the Bandido provides the right combination of basic features and high performance to satisfy the most demanding user it has gained a universal reputation as a super relic, coin and gold nugget/prospecting detector.


The MicroMAX (uMAX) Bandido features Tesoro's new three piece S-pole assembly that can be disassembled into three, short sections for easy portability - an optional carrybag is available. The upper pole assembly features both a knurled nut and a spring button to insure a solid mating of the assembled pole sections.

The most impressive and perhaps significant feature of the uMAX Bandido is its extremely compact size and ultra lightweight. With its new three-piece S-pole configuration, the detector is extremely comfortable to use and can easily be used all day with minimal fatigue. Overall weight is less than 2.5 pounds.

Operating at a frequency of 12 kHz, the MicroMAX Bandido maintains a vital combination of excellent sensitivity, depth and discrimination. It is a motion based silent search detector in its discrimination mode and threshold dependent in its all-metal mode. The all metal mode's sensitivity is always at maximum (internally set) while the discriminate mode's sensitivity is controlled by the detector's front panel "sensitivity" control.

Three front panel controls are utilized. They are: power "On/off 'and "sensitivity" control; "Disc Level" and "Ground" (balance). Two toggle switches are provided. One, to select the search "mode" and "retune" function and the other to select the auto (fast) or normal "tune" when operating in the "all metal" mode.

A new, 3 -turn ground balance control is provided to ease the ground balance procedure - previous Bandido models used a 10-turn control. All controls and switches are located within easy "fingertip" reach while operating the detector.

Powered by a single 9-volt alkaline battery (included), the MicroMAX Bandido can provide up to 20 hours of operation before replacement of the battery is required. A built-in audio-tone (760 Hz) battery test is performed each time the unit is powered on that can be heard through either the internal speaker or headphones.

Tesoro's popular 8-inch open-center concentric searchcoil is standard on the MicroMAX Bandido, but several optional coils are available from 4-inches up to 11-inches in diameter - Tesoro's 10 -inch coil is extremely comfortable and easy to use due to its open center, very thin profile and light weight. The 4-inch and 7-inch coils work great in trashy areas!

A new feature called "MAXBoost" sensitivity allows for increased depth in areas of low ground mineralization. The "MAXBoost" setting is obtained by rotating the sensitivity control to its maximum clock-wise position (beyond number 10).

Located at the rear of the control housing is a full-size -inch stereo phone jack and a sliding access door to the battery compartment. A threaded 5-pin coil connector is also located here to enable the use of optional searchcoils.


Unfortunately, my field test of the MicroMAX Bandido was conducted during February, which, due to weather conditions, only allowed two partial days of detecting.

The first site detected was with a friend who happened to call me one Sunday afternoon to see if I wanted to detect an old foundation deep in the woods. Now, who could turn that offer down?

Thirty minutes later, we were on our way. After a short drive, we turned onto a remote gravel road leading to the site. Fording a small stream in his four- wheel-drive vehicle and driving another half-mile down an old dirt (mud) road, we finally arrived at our final destination.

Surveying the site, we immediately recognized that we had a problem. The foundation was across the stream from where we were and the stream was much too fast, cold and high to wade. This obstacle was soon surmounted however when my detecting partner, Lynd, discovered a downed tree (upstream) that had fallen directly across the stream. We hesitated for a brief reflective moment and then each of us slowly inched our way across, just a slip away from what could have been instant misery!

Having reached the site, it was time for some serious detecting. Lynd had informed me that he had detected here before and had only recovered a single coin a "V" nickle. The hillside site consisted of remnants of an old cut-stone foundation and a stone-lined well out back.

Using the 3 -turn ground balance control, I quickly and accurately ground balanced the Bandido and began my search. Targets were few and far between and large heavily rusted iron items and fragments were everywhere. My discrimination was set at "Y - high enough to eliminate small pieces of iron - but the big stuff was still coming through.

After digging a few of these, I altered my technique and began to both measure the target's width and increase my sweep speed when evaluating each positive response. This method worked well and from that point on, I dug very few iron targets. Note: Iron (ferrous) targets would give a wide response (in all metal) and break up (discrimination mode) at fast sweep speeds.

The MicroMAX Bandido operated smoothly, discriminated well and had surprising depth and sensitivity. Although neither of us recovered a coin at this site, I did recover a World War I vintage U.S. Army "Great Seal" coat button from a depth of 6-inches. Also recovered were a round brass tag with the number " 126" imprinted on it and a small brass harness buckle. Of course, shotgun shell brass and 22 caliber casings were to be found in abundance.


A week later, found me detecting another old home site. This time however, I was within walking distance of my home and had no streams to cross. I had detected this site a few times before and had always found a few items, but like the previous site, coins were never found in abundance.

As a young child, I faintly remember the old house that stood there and how its poor (literally) inhabitants would sometimes walk to our house to borrow needed food and household items - my mother was always more than willing to help those in need and I am sure they knew this. Anyway, the now decimated home site, dating to the late 1800s, was worth another shot this time, armed with the MicroMAX Bandido.

I concentrated my search in two areas that had produced for me before. One was a south-facing apple orchard hillside and the other was the area between the house and the spring. When detecting these types of sites, I like to set my detector at minimal discrimination and high sensitivity - unless conditions do not allow. I was able to "run" the Bandido at "9-10" on "sensitivity" and kept my "discrimination" at "2." 1 was digging every repeatable target that "beeped" and found a variety of interesting and worthwhile items. The MicroMAX Bandido did an excellent job at this site and I was impressed!

In about four hours of detecting, I recovered three Indian head cents (1893; 1903; 1907), a 1902 "V" nickel, two Buffalo nickels, five Wheat cents and a no-date Standing Liberty quarter. After doing so well at this location, I concluded that the first site detected just didn't have much to find. For if it did, I am certain that the MicroMAX Bandido would have found it!


I find the MicroMAX Bandido to be a very effective metal detector. Considering its small size, lightweight and single battery requirement, its performance is quite impressive! It is well-constructed, easy and comfortable to use - even after many hours of detecting.

I have no problem recommending this versatile detector to anyone who desires a first-rate easy-to-use lightweight detector with lots of no frills performance. It certainly made a believer out of me... good things can come in small packages!

For additional information contact: Tesoro Electronics, Inc., 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303, 1-800-528-3352. 

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