What is Ground Balancing in Metal Detectors?
A detectorist’s must-know term and also, an essential part of your device
Hello, detectorists and adventure fans! We are back with more juicy bits and info from the world of metal detectors! This time around, we’re gonna touch on a subject that we’ve found to be most essential and foundational for detectors of all levels, which refers to the term Ground Balancing.
There are many aspects of metal detectors to consider when you intend to buy one of your own, especially when your goal is to hunt for very specific kinds of metal. Ground balancing is also related to the type of ground areas you’re gonna be looking for treasure.
If you want to become a pro detectorist, you have to be able to adjust to the different kinds of environments there are: detecting metals on beach sand will be much different from doing it on forest soil and so on.
You must have googled the words “ground balance” or “ground balancing” several times before having come here and for that, we salute you. But honestly, maybe those other blogs couldn’t put it simple enough so you won’t forget what the deal is all about.
Ground balance is a setting found on metal detectors that allows you to receive signals from the specific minerals or metals you’re looking for. It revolves around the notion of ground and soils being drenched in all kinds of minerals and metallic particles and the idea of being able to put them aside and read the object that you’re really interested in.
Specialized metal detectors have various settings for Ground balance, such as: manual, automatic and tracking, which affect the detector’s behavior towards the targets you're trying to find.
Signals from the detection coils can be heard by hunters with complimentary headphones and these signals are picked up by the device on various intensities, so when driving your metal detector in manual, you’ll be able to customize the amount of signal heard from the target.
With the automatic setting, the ground balancing mechanic of your detector will set itself to the proper intensity with which you will be able to hear signals from the object you’re trying to locate, while driving with the tracking setting will make your detector continuously look for the proper signal intensity without you having to intervene.
What other things affect Ground Balancing?
Detectors can differ between one another for things such as their type of signal (VLF or PI) and these will directly affect their ground balancing. Other than that, there are several factors in the environment that play a part in determining a treasure item’s location, such as mineralization levels in the soil of the search area and mineralization consistency.
All metal detectors have the ability to discriminate between the minerals found in the soil you’re doing your search for treasure, with 4 known types of discrimination found throughout brands and detectors:
- Variable discrimination, most basic setting that can be adjusted with a knob on the detector.
- Iron Mask/Reject discrim., which is a function mostly found in detectors used for gold hunting, that prioritizes signals coming from gold nuggets.
- Notch discrim., which allows hunters to select the type of target’s signal they specifically want to hear or ignore.
- Smartfind discrim., an advanced setting that allows hunters to identify targets based on ferrous and conductive properties previously screened, loaded on a detector’s memory and displayed in 2D format on their devices.
Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Pulse Induction (PI) detectors also differ in the amount of coils they use, the former uses only two while the latter may be equipped with one or several in order for it to be able to better discriminate its targets.
Be mindful of the kind of detector you want to buy, as some of those designed for beginners come factory configured so their ground balancing can’t be manipulated.
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