Garrett Electronics Grand Master Hunter Cx Iii

By Andy Sabisch
From page 14 of the September, 1992 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 1992 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved

Garrett Electronics has been in business for over 25 years, and since it was founded, metal detectors have grown from basic, one-knob units to models that can identify targets with a high degree of accuracy even before they are recovered. The engineers at Garrett have utilized the latest computer technology in designing many of the models they have introduced in recent years, and the latest addition to their line the Grand Master Hunter CX 111incorporates this state-of-the-art technology.


The Grand Master Hunter CX III is a fully automatic ground-canceling detector which features six programmable discriminate modes, a non-motion all-metal search mode, and a non-motion pinpoint mode. In addition to having combined the best features of both the GTA 1000 and the Grand Master Hunter CX III, it also includes features that have never been available on a single metal detector before such as a voice circuit that actually talks to help users setup and operate the detector.

The CX III weighs only 3 pounds 14 ounces with the 8-1/2 inch Crossfire searchcoil, and with the armrest installed, is both lightweight and extremely well balanced allowing for extended use without fatigue.

All of the CX III's functions are controlled with the nine touchpads located under the LCD meter at the end of the handgrip. The touch pads are:

Power which turns the detector on and off.

Select which is used to enter the program mode and choose the function to be adjusted.

Set Disc which is used to select or reject particular targets via Garrett's unique notch discrimination system.

Operate which exits the program mode

Pinpoint which activates the non-motion pinpoint and depth reading circuitry.

Non Motion which selects the non-motion All-Metal search mode

Motion (Last Mode) which returns the detector to the motion discriminate search mode, and if pressed while in the motion mode, allows the user to switch between two different motion search modes with a single touch and the <+> /<-> pads which are used to change discriminate settings or any of the functions available in the program mode.

The large LCD meter is highly visible providing a wealth of information to the operator. The lower half will indicate which functions have been selected along with the current battery strength. When the search coil passes over an extremely large target that the CX III can not accurately identify, an overload indicator will show up in the lower right comer of the meter alerting the operator. If this happens, the coil should be raised a few inches off the ground and swept over the target again allowing it to be accurately identified.

The top portion of the meter contains two rows of 24 individual LCD segments. The lower row indicates what type of targets will produce a response when the loop passes over them. If the segment is illuminated, the corresponding target will be accepted generating an audio signal. For example, in the coins mode, the segments underneath foil, bottle caps, and pull tabs are normally turned off indicating that these targets will be rejected while coins and most jewelry are detected. Any combination of the segments can be turned on or off allowing users to quickly select specific types of targets they might want to locate or ignore. The upper row, in conjunction with the labels printed above the meter, allows a target to be easily identified when the searchcoil passes over it. The target id feature works in both the motion discriminate and all-metal search modes.

When the pinpoint touchpad is pressed, the display changes to indicate relative signal strength and target depth in inches. The CX III incorporates Garrett's electronic pinpointing circuitry which greatly improves the users ability to accurately center the coil over a target.

One of the most unique features of the CX III is its voice circuitry. There are actually four different levels of voice that can be selected by the user in the program mode including off which disables the voice circuit; talk A which only provides voice prompting when adjustments are being made in the program mode; talk B which also provides target depth information when the pinpoint mode is activated; and talk C which adds voice target identification whenever the coil passes over an object.

There are six fully-programmable motion discriminate modes on the CX III. Three have been set at the factory and are identified as All Metal, Beach, and Coins. The other three modes which are identified as A, B, & C initially duplicate these factory preset modes. Any of the search modes can be modified through the use of the <+>, <-> and select touchpads; however, only the A, B, and C modes will retain the changes that were made once the power is turned off. 'tithe other three modes, the settings will return to those set at the factory. By pressing the select touchpad, the display changes to the program mode allowing the user to adjust any of the following features in each of the six motion discriminate modes:

Mode (selects one of the 6 modes for the detector to operate in).

Depth (regulates sensitivity).

Threshold (sets the background audio level).

Tone (varies the audio response from a low bass to a high treble signal).

Volume (adjusts the volume of both the voice and target audio response level).

Frequency (selects one of 8 different operating frequencies which can help eliminate interference caused by electrical sources or nearby detectors).

Talk (selects off, Talk A, B, or C).

Battery Type (either standard or ni-cad).

Surface Elimination (rejects targets up to 4 inches deep while still detecting those buried deeper).

Audio Response (one of three different responses to targets can be selected) and

Audio Boost (amplifies weak signals to avoid missing small or deeply buried objects).

The Grand Master Hunter CX III also incorporates a true non-motion All-Metal search mode which provides extreme detection depth in virtually all ground conditions with fulltime voice and metered target identification. As with the motion discriminate modes, there are a number of features that can be adjusted by the user to optimize performance in the field. These include-Depth, Threshold, Tone, Volume, Frequency, Talk, Manual, Ground Balance (provides users with the ability to override the automatic ground balance circuit if needed for specific applications), VCO (helps users identify deeply buried or small targets and aids in pinpointing through changes in both the strength and pitch of the audio signal), ground track (allows the user to disable the automatic ground compensating circuit and "fix" the ground balance setting for applications such as searching for black sand deposits), and automatic threshold (maintains the audio threshold level constant despite changing ground conditions). The CX III is one of only a few detectors that actually senses the mineralization present and continually compensates for it to ensure maximum sensitivity is maintained at all times. This is done through the patented ground track circuitry. Ground balancing the CXIII is quite simple and is accomplished by holding the non-motion touchpad which activates the fast track function and sweeping the coil across the ground. After a few seconds two tones will be heard and from then on, the detector will automatically make any adjustments needed due to changes in ground conditions.

The detector is powered by 6 cell batteries which are accessed through a cover located on top of the control housing in front of the armrest. Standard batteries will provide between 38 and 35 hours of use. A kit containing ni-cad rechargeable batteries and a charger is available.


Since many of the features on the Grand Master Hunter CX Ill were new, I decided to see how the detector responded to various targets with different control settings. Placing it on my work bench, I pressed the POWER touchpad. I was a little surprised to hear a pleasant voice say - "ready, motion mode, coins," indicating that it was in the motion discriminate coins search mode, as I passed targets in front of the loop, I was able to obtain accurate meter and audio indications at fairly impressive depths. When I switched to the pinpoint mode, I found that centering the coil over the target was quite simple. The voice indicated what the target depth was by saying "coin depth is __ inches," as soon as the touchpad was released. Users should understand that the voice says "coin depth" for all targets since the detector has been calibrated to determine the depth for coin-sized objects. The depth reading will be extremely accurate for targets such as small relics, jewelry, keys, and coins; however, on larger objects such as cannonballs or other artifacts, the indication will normally be shallower than the target is actually buried.

The next feature I tried was surface elimination. It allows targets buried close to the surface to be rejected while still detecting those further down which are usually older and more valuable. One way this feature could be used is when visiting an old park with a limited amount of time to hunt. By blanking out the targets near the surface, a higher percentage of the coins found would be "keepers". The amount of rejection can be varied from 0 down to 4 inches in half inch increments.

The frequency function is also quite helpful in eliminating interference which would limit detection depth. Accessing this feature through the program mode allows users to select any one of 8 different operating frequencies. This feature would be useful if the detector is used at a competition hunt where others may be using the same model or even if you and your hunting partner are hunting close together to avoid any interference.


About a week after I received the Grand Master Hunter CX III, my wife and I flew to Pennsylvania on business and spent some time visiting her parents. After reassembling the detector, we went to visit Angela Fierro, an old friend of my wife's, who was working at her family's store. She had recently become interested in metal detecting and expressed an interest in trying the CX III, so we made plans to get together later that afternoon. After discussing various options, we finally decided that rather than driving all over in search of a site, we would try the yard of an older house across the street that her parents owned.

Selecting coins, boost, bell tone audio, talk B, and setting the depth at 8,I handed the detector to Angela and she started hunting the yard near the street. The first signal that she received produced a repeatable bell tone response, and by holding the pinpoint touchpad, she easily centered the searchcoil over the target. Releasing the touchpad, the voice of the CX III said "Coin depth is 4 inches". Cutting a small plug and folding it back I saw a penny laying in the bottom of the hole. Wiping away some of the loose dirt, the date of 1944 was clearly visible. A short distance away this was repeated with a 1942 wheat penny being recovered.

Shortly after we started searching, Angela's roommate Debbie came by to see what we were doing. She is also interested in metal detecting so the two of them took turns locating targets. In the center of the side lawn, Angela received a signal that produced a bell-tone but only in one direction. However, she noted that the meter had locked on in the penny area and decided to see what the target was. Switching to the pinpoint mode indicated that the target was about 7 inches deep. After removing the plug, the signal repeated in both directions and a 1924 wheat penny was soon recovered. Re-checking the hole after the coin was removed indicated that there was a large piece of iron in the side of the hole - the CX III had been able to detect the deeply-buried coin at almost 7 inches despite the trash target nearby.

The final count from the yard after 2 1/2 hours of searching was 21 coins including 14 wheat cents dating back to 1912, two silver dimes dated 1917 and 1956, and an old medallion from the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Considering neither Angela nor Debbie were experienced treasure hunters and the ground was highly mineralized from the nearby coal mines, their "haul" was quite impressive. They had quickly learned how to interpret what the CX III was telling them and had been able to ignore most of the trash or over-sized targets that they had encountered. Angela said that the combination of the meter and voice features had made it extremely easy to use and she felt certain that they had not missed any good targets in the areas they had searched.

Early the next morning I decided to try hunting my in-laws yard. Over the last 18 years, I have searched the yard with virtually every detector I have owned so I thought it would provide a good test of the CX III's capabilities. Hunting conditions are far from ideal due to the trash from an old garage and house that previously stood on the property. In addition, the mineralization is quite high due to the coal furnace cinders her family had dumped in the back of the yard for more than 20 years. Selecting boost, hell tone audio, beach, and setting the depth at 9, I started searching a few feet from the back door. I decided to check the accuracy of the CX III.

The first few signals failed to produce a consistent meter indication or a repeatable audio signal but I dug them anyway - they all turned out to be trash targets. Near the hedge I received a signal that locked on at penny; however, when I checked it pinpoint, it seemed to be two separate targets. Cutting a plug, I found a 1956 wheat penny at about 4 inches with a large rusted nail nearby.

The next two signals were recently lost coins just under the surface. As I searched across the yard, I received a signal less than 18 feet from the back door that did not repeat on each pass, yet the meter indication was steady on penny. Removing a deep plug, I saw a coin partially exposed in the side of the hole almost on edge at about 5 inches. Taking it in the house and washing it off revealed a wheat cent dated 1913.

I continued to search the front half of the yard for almost two hours and in addition to four new coins laying on the surface, I found five more wheat pennies and a gold-plated bolo tie clasp with the Eiffel Tower embossed on it at depths ranging from 3 to 7 inches.

The next day we had a family picnic, and as the food was being prepared, I took the CXIII and tried hunting the back half of the yard which had proven to be virtually impossible to hunt in the past due to the cinders, hot rocks, and trash targets present. In order to eliminate some chattering caused by the ground conditions, I decreased the depth setting to 7 and began searching. Almost immediately I received a repeatable signal that registered quarter on the meter. Cutting a plug in the dark soil, I found the ornate back to a ladies compact stamped with a patent date of April 7, 1923. The next two good signals produced early-date wheat pennies.

Near one side of the yard the driveway that leads to the old garage was still faintly visible so I worked my way towards it. As I approached the driveway, I received a solid signal that registered on the meter as a half. After removing about 4 inches of dirt, I saw a silver coin sticking out from the side of the hole, and pulling it free revealed a 1944 Walking Liberty Half. After the initial surprise of the find wore off, I continued hunting along the driveway. The next few signals produced a pair of wheat cents dated 1927 and 1944, and a small unidentifiable piece of brass.

As I got near the area where most of the cinders from the furnace had been dumped over the years, I had to decrease the depth setting slightly to eliminate the chattering caused by the bad ground. After a few sweeps, I received a clear signal that registered in the dime/quarter area on the meter. Switching to the pinpoint mode, I centered the coil over the target. Releasing the touchpad, the voice indicated that the depth was 5 inches. After several minutes of digging in the packed cinders and a tangled mass of tree roots, I felt something in the bottom of the hole. Removing a disk the size of a 5O piece, I took it inside and washed it off. It had P.B. & Co. Inc. stamped on it along with the number "1846".

After asking several friends and relatives, we found out that it was a miners identification tag from the Pardee Brothers Coal Mining Company which had started the mines that surrounded the town back in the mid- 1850s. Each miner received one of these tags which was used to charge purchases in the company store. They were also hung on mine cars loaded with coal to ensure they received credit for their day's work.

Since many of my wife's relatives either still work or had worked in the mines over the years, this find had a special meaning. A few feet away I received another signal that registered penny; however, the audio signal would not repeat consistently.

Careful probing revealed a corroded 1883 Indian Head penny that had been at the bottom of the cinder layer.

Just before the food was ready, we walked around a large tree in the comer of the yard and the Grand Master Hunter CX III produced a bell-tone signal that registered on the high end of the meter. I switched to the Pinpoint mode; however, due to the large amount of metal that appeared to be present, I was forced to pinpoint the target in the Motion Discriminate mode. Cutting a fairly deep plug and folding it back, my wife suddenly pointed to the hole. I looked down and saw a large silver coin laying there. Carefully brushing some of the dirt from the coin revealed an 1899 Morgan silver dollar in well circulated condition.

I know that some people may seem a little skeptical about the finds described above; however, the area I searched had been in constant use since the late 1840's and the adverse ground conditions had prevented me from finding most of the targets in my previous searches. The old adage of no place ever being worked out was proven to me again as new technology reopened an area l had thought was long-since cleaned out.

Over the next few weeks, I took the Grand Master Hunter CXIII to a number of areas that had been heavily searched by myself and other treasure hunters over the years to see what they still held. In each case, I was able to find good targets in those areas containing high trash and/or mineralized ground. An old ball field near where l used to live in New Jersey was a good example. Despite being heavily hunted for many years, I was able to find a 1919 silver dime, several wheat cents, and a sterling silver ring in a section of the field that had been virtually impossible to work with most other detectors due to the high concentration of cinders and hot rocks.

One tip that I picked up after several hours in the field is that both the audio and meter responses should be used to determine if a target is worth recovering. Some deeply buried objects or coins on edge would only produce an intermittent audio response; however, the meter would lock on. If the meter indication bounced around as the coil was swept over target it was usually trash and not worth recovering.


The Grand Master Hunter CX III may just be the only metal detector a treasure hunter ever needs to purchase. It can be used by a novice right from the box by simply pressing one touchpad, yet experienced treasure hunters will find that it can be adjusted to handle virtually any situation they might encounter. The voice capability is an extremely useful feature that can provide target depth and ID information In such applications as searching a beach at night after the crowds leave or during inclement weather when the control housing and meter may be wrapped with plastic.

A wide selection of optional search coils is available including a 4-1/2 inch circular and a 3-inch by 7-inch elliptical coil designed for electronic prospecting or searching in areas of high trash; a 5-inch by l8-inch elliptical coil which provides good target separation in trash-filled areas; a 12-1/2 inch coil for added depth and ground coverage; and the Depth Multiplier attachment which converts the Grand Master Hunter CX III into a two-box detector capable of locating larger targets up to 15 feet deep.

The Grand Master Hunter CX III sells for $849.95 and includes an arm rest, a deluxe foam-lined carrying case, and a 25 minute instructional video. For the name of your nearest authorized Garrett dealer and a copy of the informative 1992 Buyers Guide, contact Garrett Electronics at 2814 National Drive, Garland, TX75841-2397; or call them at (800)5274011. Be sure to mention that you read about their exciting new detector in Lost Treasure.