Learning the basics of metal detecting will help you understand the various features and settings of your metal detector.

This includes the ‘Motion’ mode, ‘Sensitivity’, ‘GB’ (receive electromagnetic field) setting and ‘Detection modes.’

These settings can help you identify buried targets.

Basics of metal detecting: ‘Motion’ metal detectors

‘Motion’ metal detectors generate an electromagnetic field that can detect metal targets.

Compared to ‘non-motion’ metal detectors, motion metal detectors can be positioned closer to a target.

These machines also have preset detection modes.

These modes will allow you to filter out unwanted objects and prioritize the more interesting ones.

Before you begin metal detecting, you should get to know the basics.

You should also check out some of these Metal detecting explorer gear reviews before purchasing anything.

First, wear sturdy gloves. Next, put on headphones.

You can also use headphones with volume control.

A metal detector’s sensitivity is limited to a range of 20-50cm (8-20in).

‘Motion’ metal detectors are best for beginners.

A basic unit uses two coils – the sender coil and the receiver coil.

The sender coil generates a magnetic field that reacts to metal objects.

This magnetic field is then amplified by the receiver coil, which receives the signals and sends them to the control box.

The control box then interprets these signals to determine the target’s depth and type of metal.

The basic device is easy to use and inexpensive to buy.

Its radio direction-finding capability allows it to be used in remote locations and is also highly effective in mining areas.

It can also be used for treasure hunting.

Basics of metal detecting: ‘Sensitivity’

While metal detectors are designed to find large metal objects, they are not all equal in their sensitivity.

It is important to understand that different metal detectors work differently in their ability to detect small objects.

The sensitivity of your metal detector is dependent on a variety of factors, including its threshold and gain controls.

One important factor to consider when adjusting your sensitivity is the type of ground that you are searching in.

Heavy mineralization in the ground can affect the sensitivity of your detector.

If you’re detecting in an area that has a lot of metal, you can increase your sensitivity by setting your metal detector to a higher frequency.

Metal detector sensitivity is often measured in terms of the diameter of a sphere.

A highly sensitive detector may be able to detect an iron ball of 0.6 mm in diameter.

Metal pollutants are typically much larger and a small change in ball size can change the volume of the metallic contaminants detected by the detector.

Another factor that affects the sensitivity of your metal detector is the type of metals that it is sensitive to.

Different metals have different sensitivity levels, and your detector will reject objects that are too small for it to detect.

Basics of metal detecting: ‘Receive electromagnetic field’

A metal detector works by sending and receiving a pulse of electromagnetic energy.

The length of the reflected pulse is measured and compared to the expected length to determine if there is metal in the area.

Longer pulse duration indicates the presence of metal.

A metal detector’s pulse sensitivity depends on how sensitive it is to the frequency of the electromagnetic field. 

Different metal detectors produce varying frequencies, so even the same equipment may produce different results.

Even minor differences in frequency or control settings will alter a metal detector’s response.

Some sources of interference include overhead and underground power lines, other metal detectors, and telephone lines that carry electronic data.

Electric fences, thunderstorms, fluorescent lights, automobile ignition systems, and military aircraft with electronic warfare countermeasures turned on can also cause unwanted electrical interference.

The electromagnetic field produced by a metal detector increases with depth and surface area.

The overall mass of the target is generally unimportant, as the response is proportional to the cube of the surface area.

Depths of detection usually range from ten to fifteen meters.

Although these are low-level measurements, the signal response from non-ferrous objects is significantly higher.

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Basics of metal detecting: ‘GB’

Ground balance (GB) is a critical feature in metal detectors.

It cancels out false mineralization in the ground.

GB settings are either automatic or manual, and are adjusted as needed.


GB is important for detecting good targets, which are difficult to find today.

It can help you avoid false signals when metal detecting in sandy or saline soil.

Many metal detectors are equipped with pre-configured detection modes.


These preset modes enable you to use your metal detector efficiently for different purposes.

For example, one mode may be best for searching for gold, while another might be better for detecting iron.

To get a good grounding in metal detecting, you should start with a small area.


A child’s sandbox is a great place to practice.

The sand is soft and easy to dig in, and beginner metal detectorists will find a variety of pennies and toys.

Similarly, you can start detecting in your own backyard – just be careful not to disturb the lawn and garden landscaping.


A multi-tone detector makes a “thunk” sound when you locate a good target masked by iron.

This sound is also used to identify buried coins.

A detector that uses multiple tones indicates a high conductivity target and a low conductivity target.

To make the most of this feature, you must familiarize yourself with the sounds that a tone machine makes.


While this feature may reduce the amount of noise generated by mineralized soil, it isn’t ideal for beginners.

Even with this feature, you must be familiar with what you’re looking for to maximize your chances of finding valuable treasure.


In highly mineralized soil, your detector may give false signals because of mineralized salt and iron oxides.

In metal detecting, this article posits that it’s essential to balance the sensitivity of your detector and the depth of your search.


If you have a ‘clear’ spot and you’re detecting a mineralized area, ‘ground balancing’ will be more difficult.

In these areas, it’s best to reduce the sensitivity level and focus on ‘detectable’ targets.


Read alsoWhat are the best places to metal detect over the world?

Belayet Hossain

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