Minelab Explorer metal detector review and field test
Minelab Explorer XS Field test
My thoughts and progress 10/10/03
 I had my original minelab Explorer in 2001 and had some really bad experiences with it, why I decided to get another Minelab Explorer ? I have no idea, perhaps it's having seen some of the really nice finds made by other users made me think, was I doing something wrong last time ? did I have another faulty machine? did I take enough time to learn it?...last of all I dont like to be beaten.

I agreed with Barry to stick with this new machine for a month and use it between us for a couple of hours each then swap, if it wasn't up to our expectations it was be sold on, so a month it was, the first 4 or 5 outings I used the machine but the long silences between signals left me picking the Lobo up and handing the Explorer to Baz (who owned an Explorer for quite some time).

2 weeks had past and the Lobo thrashed it every time of a finds rate of 10 /1, what could I be doing wrong, I am not stupid and always willing to take advice from other Minelab Explorer users. I tried several programs including all metal with the tones, nail reject, ferrous, constant, conductive. Audio 1, 2 & 3 sounded crazy. "Normal" appeared to be the cleanest sound (which the manual advises you not to use or you may loose small targets)
 The best program for me was the stock coin & jewellery program, it was very stable and my finds rate started to improve. However this set up was going to miss so many targets because of the discrim pattern, something had to be done, time and patience was running out fast.

On Tuesday we decided to go to a field we have not visited for quite some time, it was pasture and very dry, digging was a nightmare, our other fields had been stubble and easy to dig.
 Barry was using  his DFX unbelievably his second signal was a Sceat, which
really put me in the mood for using the Lobo. However I stuck with the Explorer, Iron mask 15,ferrous, audio normal, I cranked it up on the sensitivity to 25.

 The threshold was constantly blanking out, so I turned it down to silent. I could hear the iron spitting in the background, eventually I got  a lovely"whoop whoop" sound, I tried pin pointing, but it just gave an occasional click.

 I called Baz over to locate the signal for me..."nothing not even in pin point" he said, I unplugged my headphones and passed over the signal again,"yep that's a guddun" he I started to dig in the location of the signal, the hole became bigger, in fact so big the DFX 10' search coil could fit into it allowing us to pin point.

 In the bottom of the hole the probe sounded off at 10-11 inches, it was a farthing, all that for a farthing I said, Barry was laughing commenting on the size of the hole and was I planning on burying a cow in it. We covered up our excavation and moved on.

 The Explorer was performing very well finding some real deep targets. I said to Barry I've cracked it, no more messing around, this is the program to use. One thing worried me, with holes that size I we would soon loose our detecting permission.

Week 4  I went to the wanderers dig with Steve in Oxfordshire a stubble field which has been good in the past, this was like a blank canvass to me with my new found program, off we went, alas 1 hour for 2 targets, it was up to its old tricks again, I got the Lobo out and started finding odds and ends but I did notice there was a lot of iron contamination. So how could I make the Explorer work on a site like this, could the iron content be the reason why my finds rate is so poor on my other sites?.

Over the next 2 days I worked on every setting one at a time to see exactly what differences were made, and why was the default coin and jewellery better for me on stubble?
This is getting a little long winded now so I will cut to the chase, I did possibly find an answer but may possibly be wrong...I think the stock search coil is not a good match for the machine this may answer the poor pin point problems.
Programme wise : I started with the coin & jewellery program, then I selected nail reject and that's it, if the Explorer don't like the soil conditions you are wasting your time, if it suits then be prepared to dig.

A lovely background sound
Target ID quite accurate (when sensitivity is low)
Screen information good
Some good set up features
Battery pod good
After sales service, (Minelab Ireland) not to be confused with other Minelab distributors

Pinpoint not good
do not attempt to use this machine without a pin point probe
Heavy with 10 inch coil
I know I am missing good targets next to Iron.
On 10 fields the Explorer worked  very well on 2 pasture sites

Summing up
The Explorer works well if the ground is not to contaminated with Iron, I found it struggled on most of my sites.
Unlike the Minelab Sovereign the Explorer has not enough settings that actually enhance performance, One would have hoped by the time the Minelab Explorer 11 was released it would have undergone some much needed improvements such as a vco pin point, but sadly not.
 Perhaps when the Minelab Explorer SE or x terra 90 is released we will be in for a treat, rest assured when that day arrives it will be very popular and if it's good I will be the first to shout it from the roof tops.
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