This page is dedicated to the Minelab CTX settings, I have called it the workshop, 3030 owners are welcome to send in their settings and tips
Minelab CTX 3030 Reverse GPS Originally this article was going to be my Minelab 3030 field test, sadly the day turned bad so I have put the article here in the CTX 3030 workshop. Thankfully the rain has stopped, it's time to get the CTX onto an interesting site in Hampshire, the land I am hoping to search has produced nice finds in the past, so I am looking forward to getting my head down and put the Minelab CTX through it's paces. Preparation
Not cleaning your boots or making sandwiches the night before, I mean preparing the 3030 for the site, I have a little secret I'm going to share with you regarding the CTX and the GPS feature, stay awake guys this is interesting !!!, use it wisely and you can hit the ground running with a massive advantage over your fellow detectorists, let me explain : Minelab CTX and the GPS software what's the point ?
Step 1 : Open up your Xchange 2 software, log in your Minelab account, the Google maps will appear on the right (see pic 1), now open a separate Google maps from your browser then find the aerial image of the site you are going to search.
Step 2 : Both maps will show the latest Google image of the field, it may show no interesting field markings at this point, lets assume not as in my case (pic 1)...Google earth has a nifty feature called "Historical Imagery" located on the top toolbar, now you can scroll back through the years and possibly see the field in a different stage of farming, hopefully giving you vital information, in my case this trick worked perfectly and I could see a possible ancient track running through the field and joining up with an existing hedge line (pic 2).
Stage 3 : With the CTX software I made a "new waypoint" in fact I made four and dragged them onto my Google map along the dark line using fixed points relating to both maps, then I plugged my machine into the computer via the USB port and sent all the info from PC to CTX in seconds, so the plan is, when in the field I just press "find waypoint 1" and the CTX will take me to the edge of the ancient track, then press find waypoint 2 and so on, it will literally walk me to every way point along the track (pic 3).
Picture 2 shows the early map with dark line. Picture 2 shows the modern map with GPS way points logged.
Note : Pictures 2 & 3 are not to exactly the same orientation
I guess the original doubts about GPS on a metal detector have been well and truly put to rest, remember where you read it first !
In the field with my Minelab CTX 3030
Having paid our dig money we walked into field only to be greeted with long grass over our knees so detecting was out of the question...the GPS plan worked to perfection, I had done my homework correctly, the machine took me to the four way points with ease, we tried detecting but it was pointless, so all in all it was another Sunday wasted.
Gary's "Coin Harvest" program for the CTX
Here is a little program I have made for general searching , some of you may think the discrimination band is way to heavy for the UK, trust me on this one, it works. Providing your soil is not heavily contaminated with iron this program will give you an easy life and still cherry pick the good stuff.
To make things easy load up the default Silver program and change the audio from Normal to Smooth, the change the filters from High trash to Ground coin...leave everything else.
All you need to do now is open up the Discrim Pattern 1 so you have a bigger range on the low conductivity targets, left is a picture of my screen, right is a picture of where the targets fall.
This program is for general searching and for those of you new to the CTX, it is a real pleasure to use, as you can see most good targets fall within a certain left to right band, high conductive targets scream, small targets have a low grunt and are really hard to miss, it's really easy on your ears with excellent results, for those of you who wish to run the programme a little hotter you can always open up the discrim patterns to the upper and lower left of the screen....This is still work in progress.....Give it a try and let me know how you get on ! email@example.com
I have recently revised the Coin Harvester program 20 / 3 / 2013 the discrimination has been chopped away more to suit my search style, here is a video showing it in action.
Gary's top 10 tips on how to get the best out of your CTX~
As always this is one of the keys to enhanced performance, with the CTX you need to get it exact...to low and you will loose targets...to high and the machine will give false signals combined with an unstable screen cursor. Sensitivity works in close harmony with discrimination pattern and the filters, sometimes you can run a higher setting by selecting "High Trash" rather than "Ground Coin". Auto sensitivity works well and may be a better option if you are not confident with the adjustments.
When working with maximum sensitivity levels try to rely more on the audio tone rather than the screen information as it will be more reliable.
I prefer to have my volume gain set at maximum to ensure the faintest of signals can be heard with ease, this really helps when searching for low conductivity targets.
Do not confuse Volume Gain with Volume Limit they are different, volume gain enhances faint signals.
The menu is found by holding the volume button down.
The Detect Button
Once you have made your program adjustments in the edit screen do not pull the trigger to start searching, press the DETECT button to start searching, by doing this you are holding the edit settings on a hot key, if you wish to make further adjustments all you need to do is simply press the MENU button and you are instantly into the edit features. This saves time as you don't need to go into the program menu first. Press and hold the Detect Button to access the Target trace and pin point trace features, I have them both un ticked as I like a simple screen at all times.
So far I have not found a valid reason to manual ground balance, every time I have tried it the CTX becomes more erratic than in auto, I would suggest using auto as much as possible, even on badly mineralised sites auto works best for me, so I would suggest make sure the box is un ticked.
I prefer to use the noise cancel in the manual setting, once you make an adjustment the menu will be on a hot key, pressing the noise cancel button will quickly show the frequency number you are using, from here you can quickly nudge it up or down if you experience EMI, auto noise cancel takes to long and may need to be repeated several times during a search especially if other machines are present.
I choose my ideal channel by turning the sensitivity to maximum with the coil in the air, then scroll through the numbers until I find the most stable setting...finally set the sensitivity to suit the site conditions.
You can use this button to quickly access some of your favourite features, it is a hot key, by pressing and holding you can select one feature only, I prefer to use the Previous Mode which quickly selects the last program you were using, so at the beginning of my search I select and load a program...then I select and load another program, now I can toggle between the two using the return button with the option of 4 discrimination patterns (2 from each program).
FAST OR DEEP
Fast or Deep
Once you get familiar with the machine you will learn when to use these settings to your advantage, I use Fast when there is a lot of iron present, when using fast you must use a very slow sweep speed as the signals can be much shorter especially using the normal audio setting, Deep enhances small targets and holds on to the signal longer Deep is better suited for uncontaminated pasture, for general searching I use Fast and Deep off, many people ask what is the advantage of using both Fast and Deep on...to be honest I have found no advantage but open to suggestions.
I use 2 profiles for my searching, for site work I search for low conductivity targets such as Roman and Hammered coins my most commonly used pattern is the 50 tone Co which omits a high tone for ferrous and a low tone for non ferrous this is on a sliding scale from right (high) to left (low), however it has it's draw backs when using an open discrimination pattern because high conductive targets such as silver, copper, bronze etc will also give a high tone the same as iron. Did you know you can change the tone in 50 tone Co to suit your hearing by adjusting the right and left hand frequency response. Simply select Audio profile - Change pitch - and choose your own custom maximum and minimum audio frequency, you can even reverse the tones so Iron has a low tone and low conductors have a high tone.
(75 is the lowest tone available)
If I was searching for all sized targets I would use the Combined mode and slightly lower the iron range depending on site conditions, making sure the sensitivity was set to ensure a smooth operation with limited false signals.
I would advise you to take your time and try as many different headphones as possible on your CTX, some popular makes really do not work on this machine, they won't allow the full range or harmonics to come through, resulting in poor target identification...after all the CTX is a true tone ID machine and your hearing range is individual. So I would suggest if someone suggests a particular set of headphones, try them first they may not suit your requirements.
What program to use Based on what I have found so far, the CTX needs a little tweak here and there to suit different fields even the same fields on different days, I use 3 programs : for cold searching I use the Coin harvester program I have allocated disc pattern 2 a much lower discrimination, my second program is called Fast Site which is designed to find low conductive targets amongst iron, my third program is a copy of Fast Site called EXP, the only difference is the tone profile uses Combined rather than 50 tone Co. For people new to the CTX
I think it can be very counter productive downloading lots of different programs, after all how do you know if theses settings suit your soil, hearing, target preference etc. You will be much wiser taking your time and mastering the machines individual features, so when in the field you will instantly know what needs tweaking by the reaction of the machine and have the confidence to carry out the adjustments yourself.
I have used several machines over the years and can honestly say the CTX is as easy and as hard as you want to make it, so far I have found the CTX has been easy to adapt and works well on every site I have thrown at it. Most impressive is the way it finds low conductive targets with ease.
Minelab CTX Top Tip.....Keep your Minelab CTX 3030 stem clean
Available from E Bay are shotgun barrel covers made by a company called Jack Pyke, if you buy the double barrel size it snugly will slip onto the stem.
Remember where you heard this tip first
More CTX information
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