Minelab Explorer
metal detector review

Minelab Explorer
By Gary's detecting

Garys detecting home

Minelab Explorer re visited
While reading a club news letter I noticed a metal detectors for sale advert, there were 3 machines available an immaculate Goldmaxx and Fisher F75 and a tatty Explorer II, the machines were on sale due to the owner passing away suddenly and the family needing some money for funeral expenses.
When I called the 2 machines I really wanted were already sold to other club members, leaving the Explorer II with 12x10 SEF coil the only machine available.
The Explorer was quite tatty, it had a hard life and required some cosmetic work to make it a desirable machine again.
For me personally I didn't want another Explorer but I had someone in mind looking for one so I took a chance and got it thinking a new handgrip, some elbow grease and possibly a new middle and lower stem would make a small profit.

I have had several love-hate relationships with Explorers over the years 6 to be precise and I could never find a valid reason for keeping one in the armoury, I know they work well on certain sites...but I always felt I was missing targets and to be honest several experiments in the early days proved I was, the massive advertising campaigns combined with the multi frequency talk just got on my nerves.
Now the years have passed I realise there is not the ultimate metal detector out there, the best machine is the one you are comfortable with.

To cut a long story short I replaced the hand grip and gave it a clean before I offered it for sale, all was left was to take it out and make sure it worked ok, the programme I used was the one already installed from the previous owner which was basically the default coin settings with an open discrimination.
I really had a good day and found a good harvest of coins and interesting artefacts, the Explorer pin pointed perfectly on every target simply by "x"ing no need for the PP button, target location really frustrated me with the Explorers in the past, poor pin pointing was the issue that often convinced users they were going super deep, the SEF coil really made this machine very user friendly.

At home reflecting on the day I thought of a guy called Iain from the south coast who I occasionally detect with, he is unstoppable with the Explorer and always has plenty of finds on virtually every site, the other lads with Explorers have all tried Iain's programme but none of them could tolerate the noise and all reverted back to the soft settings.
The sensitivity is where you can get the Explorer to jump through hoops and really make it work for you...the trade off is your sanity.
While running an open discrimination and tone id you need to make a calculated choice...Do you want to find high conductivity targets ferrous mode or low conductivity targets conductive mode keeping in mind some mid to high conductivity targets will show up as low conductivity at depth !.

My patience has been rewarded on several occasions I was especially pleased with this early hammered coin, If anyone can identify it I would be grateful.

Early hammered coin early hammerd coin
I prefer to use the Explorer in Conductive mode with deep and fast filters off.
Why do I run an open discrimination ?...I have found the minute you use discrimination or the tiniest slither of iron mask it changes the whole machine's characteristics.

Here are 2 video's on how I run the Minelab Explorer to get maximum depth and performance.

Summary
I have been out several times using these settings and the Explorer II has given me hours of entertainment and found some very small targets at impressive depths, the aftermarket SEF and NEL coils really do make a difference and are a worthwhile investment.
 Yes this machine is now part of the armoury, I must admit it can only be used in this mode for short sessions.
With regards to a scruffy machine..... The other day it finally dawned on me why this machine was so scruffy and well used when the other machines for sale were so clean....is it because this was the previous owners machine of choice ?...was it the only one he ever used, according to some club members my Explorer II was responsible for some very nice club finds of the month. Perhaps this is a point worth considering when buying a used machine if it's well used it could be a good one !


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