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Guide for Beginners: How to Read Your Metal Detector Numbers Properly?


Just as you would equip yourself with reliable metal detectors before embarking on the exciting journey, it's equally crucial to arm yourself with the right tools and knowledge in the realm of metal detecting. One such essential is the ability to accurately read your metal detector. Like a reliable helmet safeguarding your journey, understanding your detector guides you through your treasure-hunting expedition.


You might have bought the cycling helmets at Suffla, equipped with the best features for safety and comfort during your rides. In a similar vein, purchasing a metal detector is just the first step; knowing how to use it effectively is what really unlocks its potential. In this blog, we will offer knowledge about the audible beeps and numerical readings your detector provides are like road signs pointing you towards potential treasure.


Why It Is Important to Read Your Metal Detector Properly?


Understanding how to properly read your metal detector is a critical skill for anyone interested in this hobby. This knowledge equips you with the ability to discern what lies beneath the surface without the need for unnecessary digging. It saves time and energy, allowing you to focus on valuable finds, while minimizing the collection of junk items. Recognizing the different audio tones and numerical indicators your detector produces when it locates various metals is a cornerstone of this understanding. Furthermore, interpreting these signals accurately can elevate your treasure hunting from a game of chance to a more predictable and rewarding pursuit.


An additional facet of correctly reading your metal detector involves gauging the target's depth and size. This is crucial in decision-making about whether a find is worth the effort to dig. For instance, a weak signal that indicates a small object at a considerable depth might be less appealing than a strong signal suggesting a larger object closer to the surface. With a proficient understanding of your detector's signals, you're able to make informed decisions and optimize your hunting strategy.


Finally, properly reading your metal detector enables you to adjust to different environments and conditions effectively. This is particularly important when dealing with areas of high mineralization or underwater environments, which may affect your detector's performance. By adjusting settings like sensitivity and ground balance based on the readings you're getting, you can continue detecting successfully even in challenging conditions. In essence, knowing how to read your detector properly empowers you to be more flexible, efficient, and successful in your metal detecting endeavors.


Understanding Your Metal Detector Display


As you embark on your metal detecting journey, one of the first things you'll want to become familiar with is the display of your metal detector. This display, also known as the control box or interface, is your direct line of communication with your detector and provides valuable information about what lies beneath the surface.


The screen display is where you'll find the most crucial data. This often includes:


Target ID Numbers: These numbers (usually ranging from 0-99) give you an indication of what type of metal the detector has found. Different metals correlate with different numbers. For example, iron might show low numbers while silver or copper might show higher numbers.


Depth Indicator: This feature provides an estimate of how deep the detected object is buried in the ground. It's typically represented by an arrow or a series of segments.


Battery Level Indicator: A very practical feature that shows how much battery life your metal detector has left.


Sensitivity Level: This shows the current sensitivity setting of your metal detector, which can be adjusted to either increase depth penetration or reduce false signals in high-mineralized soil.


Mode Indicator: This shows the current operating mode of your detector, such as all-metal, discrimination, pinpoint, or any other mode available on your particular model.


Ground Balance Indicator: This indicates the current ground balance setting, which is useful for dealing with mineralized soils.


What Do Numbers on a Metal Detector Mean?


When you're operating your metal detector, the numbers that appear on the display panel play a critical role in helping you identify what kind of metal you've detected. This system, often referred to as the Target ID, uses numbers (usually on a scale from 0 to 99, but this can vary between models) to indicate the conductivity of the detected metal.


Different metals have different conductivity levels, so they're assigned different numbers on this scale. The higher the number, the better the conductor the metal is. Here's a general guideline for understanding what these numbers might mean:


Low Numbers


If your display shows a low number, typically ranging from 0 to 20, this usually indicates a ferrous object. Ferrous metals are iron-containing metals like steel or iron itself. These metals are often considered less desirable as they're commonly associated with trash or junk items like nails, bottle caps, and rusted iron relics.


Mid-Range Numbers


Mid-range numbers, which might be from 20 to 60, often represent metals such as nickel, gold, or pull-tabs from aluminum cans. Gold items, especially smaller pieces like gold rings or earrings, often fall within this range. However, be aware that this is also the range where many types of trash or foil can fall, so it can be a bit of a mixed bag.


High Numbers


If your metal detector is showing higher numbers, usually from 60 to 99, you're likely onto a non-ferrous metal like copper, brass, silver, or even large gold items. Old coins, relics, or jewelry are often associated with these higher readings.


Remember, though, these numbers are not definitive proof of what's under the ground. There are numerous factors, such as the object's size, shape, orientation, and depth, as well as the level of mineralization in the soil, that can influence these numbers.


These numbers should be used as a guide or a clue rather than an absolute answer. Over time, as you gain more experience with your specific metal detector, you'll start to understand the nuances of these Target ID numbers better, making it easier for you to determine whether a target is worth digging.


Understanding Depth Readings


The depth reading feature is a common attribute on many modern metal detectors. It provides an estimate of how deep a detected object is buried in the ground, aiding you in deciding whether or not to dig a particular signal.


Depth Readings


The capacity of a conventional metal detector often extends to detecting coin-sized metal objects approximately 6-10 inches beneath the surface. Although this measurement is more of an approximation, it's extremely useful in providing an indication of the potential depth of your digging. This estimation ensures your search duration aligns with the actual requirements, eliminating unnecessary extended digging.


In addition to the depth readings, the sensitivity or "gain" of your detector plays a crucial part in your treasure hunting success. By appropriately adjusting the sensitivity, your detector becomes more proficient in discovering smaller items even at significant depths.


Audio Tones


As you sweep your detector over an area, a familiar beeping sound is produced when the detector's magnetic field interacts with a conductive object. This audible alert is a signal that your detector has found a metallic item.


Additionally, you might observe a volume increase in the audio tone as the center of the search coil draws nearer to the detected metal. The amplification of the tone is contingent on your detector's tone level settings. However, it's essential to note that as you approach the detected object, the audio alerts generally become more pronounced, assisting you in pinpointing your find.


By understanding depth readings and tones, you can become more skilled at interpreting your detector's signals, saving you time and helping you focus on digging up the most promising targets. As always, practice is key. The more you use your metal detector, the better you'll become at interpreting its signals.


Discerning What Youve Found with Your Metal Detector


A metal detector is an incredibly resourceful instrument, capable of identifying an extensive array of metals. The precise assortment of detectable metals hinges on the specific model of your detector, its configuration, and the prevailing environmental conditions. Here's a more enriched look at the types of metals that a standard metal detector can uncover:


Iron: Iron is a ferrous metal, embodying iron and magnetism. Items such as age-old relics, nails, screws, and other iron debris can easily be detected. Iron usually gives a low-tone or low-number reading on most detectors due to its lower conductivity.


Steel: Steel, primarily an iron alloy, is also detectable. However, locating stainless steel, particularly high-grade variants, might prove a bit challenging because of its diminished magnetic permeability.


Aluminum: Aluminum targets exhibit a diverse range, spanning from highly desirable finds, such as historical coins or fragments of old aircraft, to less appealing items like pull-tabs or foil wrappers. Aluminum usually yields a mid-range signal on most detectors.


Copper: Renowned for its high conductivity, copper can be a delightful find for detectorists. Ancient coins, artifacts, and other relics made of copper typically generate a high-tone signal on most detectors.


Silver: Silver is another highly conductive metal. Silver coins, ornate jewelry, and precious artifacts are often coveted finds that produce high-tone signals on detectors.


Gold: Gold can give off a low to mid-tone signal, depending on its size and purity. Tiny gold items, like nuggets or thin gold rings, may register in the same range as aluminum. However, larger or purer gold items, such as chunky bracelets or necklaces, may yield a higher reading.


Nickel: Nickel often falls within the mid-tone range. This can be associated with various types of finds, including older coins or particular types of jewelry.


Brass and Bronze: These metals are known for their high conductivity and usually provide a high-tone signal. These metals are often used in relics, coins, and jewelry, making them interesting finds for detectorists.


Lead: Lead often falls into the mid to high-tone range depending on the object's size. Lead-based items can vary widely, from fishing sinkers and old bullets to vintage toys and figurines.


Tin: Items made of tin, such as old cans or tin artifacts, usually give a high tone due to their high conductivity.


Here is a visual demonstration of what a numbers chart you can check:


  • 0- Iron, commonly found everywhere
  • 0-8- Foil as a regular metal
  • 28- Nickel worth five cents
  • 35- Gold coin worth $2.50
  • 45- Silver coin worth three cents
  • 50- Gold coin worth five dollars
  • 70- $20 dollar gold coin
  • 82- Silver quarter
  • 90- Silver dollar coin


Despite this general guidance, bear in mind that a metal detector's signal can be influenced by numerous factors. These include the target object's size, shape, and orientation in the ground, soil mineralization, and the detector's settings. Developing familiarity with your specific detector and gaining experience in various environments will ultimately enhance your skills in distinguishing between different types of metals.



Good Target Sounds Vs. Junk Target Sounds


Understanding the different audio signals produced by your metal detector can significantly enhance your detecting efficiency, enabling you to distinguish between potentially valuable finds and worthless junk. While the exact tones can vary between different models of detectors, here's a general guide to good target sounds versus junk target sounds:


Good Target Sounds


Solid, Consistent Tones: Good targets will typically produce a solid, consistent tone each time you sweep your detector over them. The sound does not waver or break up.


High-Tone Sounds: Many detectors produce a high-tone sound for targets with high conductivity, such as silver, copper, or large gold objects.


Repeatable Signals: If you get the same signal each time you pass over a spot from different angles, it's usually a sign of a good target.


Junk Target Sounds


Broken Tones: If the tone breaks up or changes as you sweep over the target, it's often a sign of an irregularly shaped object or junk.


Low-Tone Sounds: Many detectors produce a low-tone sound for less conductive targets. While this can sometimes indicate gold, it's often associated with iron and other ferrous junk.


Inconsistent Signals: If the signal changes as you sweep over the target from different angles, it might be a sign of a junk target.


It's important to note that this is a general guide and the actual sounds can depend on your specific detector, its settings, and the ground conditions. Always refer to your detector's manual for more specific information, and remember that practice is key to understanding the different signals produced by your detector.


Practical Tips for Beginners


Metal detecting can be a rewarding hobby, whether you're seeking to uncover historical artifacts, coins, or simply enjoy the thrill of the treasure hunt. As a beginner, here are some practical tips to help you get started:


  1. Practice Makes Perfect: Spend time practicing in different environments - your backyard, a local park, or a beach. Try burying different objects at varying depths to see how your detector reacts. This will help you get a feel for your detector and improve your ability to interpret its signals.


  1. Dig Everything:When starting, it's a good idea to dig every signal you get. This helps you understand the different tones and numbers associated with various objects and materials. With time, you'll be able to more accurately discern valuable finds from trash.


  1. Invest in Proper Tools: Having a good metal detector is just the start. You'll also need a pinpointer for narrowing down the exact location of your find, a digging tool to extract it, and a bag or pouch to keep your finds safe.


  1. Take Care of Your Finds: Learn how to clean and preserve your finds properly. Different materials require different care, and improper cleaning can damage or devalue your find.


  1. Patience is Key: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something valuable on your first few hunts. Metal detecting is as much about enjoying the search as it is about what you find.


Remember, every metal detecting experience provides a learning opportunity, and the more you practice, the better you'll become. Happy hunting!


Troubles That You May Encounter in Metal Detecting


Every hobby comes with its own set of challenges, and metal detecting is no different. However, many common issues can be resolved with a little troubleshooting. Here are some common problems and solutions:


False Signals: If your detector is giving false signals or behaving erratically, check the battery level first. A low battery can cause unstable operation. Also, ensure that your sensitivity isn't set too high, which can make the detector overly responsive to minor disturbances.


Difficulty Pinpointing Targets: If you're having trouble pinpointing targets, try using a smaller coil or a pinpointer. Practice your sweeping technique, moving your detector slowly and methodically over the ground.


Not Finding Anything: If your detector isn't finding anything at all, make sure it's properly tuned and the settings are correct for the conditions. Try testing it on a known target to ensure it's working properly. If the problem persists, you might be in an area with little to no metal targets.


Interference from Electrical Sources: If you're detecting near power lines, cell towers, or other sources of electrical interference, your detector may behave erratically. Try reducing the sensitivity or moving to a different location.


Detector Sounds Constantly: If your detector is making sounds constantly, check for nearby metal objects, including your own gear. Jewelry, watches, or even digging tools can set off your detector. If your equipment isn't the issue, reduce the sensitivity and ensure the ground balance is correctly set.


Recommended Metal Detectors at Suffla


At Suffla, we take pride in offering high-quality metal detectors that cater to the needs of both beginner and experienced treasure hunters. Our range of metal detectors is designed to provide exceptional performance, durability, and user-friendly features.


1.  High Accuracy & Waterproof for Adults Juniors Elders SMD02B


The SMD02B metal detector is a versatile and powerful tool that will enhance your treasure-hunting experience. Equipped with its 11-inch IP68 waterproof search coil, this detector offers more stability and easier treasure detection. The upgraded DSP chip provides higher sensitivity, while the adjustable stem and blacklight LCD design enhance user comfort and visibility. Unleash the potential of the SMD02B and uncover hidden treasures with confidence. Visit our Suffla website for our full range of metal detectors and their unique features.


For a closer look at the SMD02B metal detector, you can check the video:




2.  Waterproof & Lightweight High Accuracy Gold Metal Detector SMD01


With 5 distinct operation modes, the SUFFLA SMD01 gold metal detector is the ultimate tool for treasure hunting. Its high sensitivity, customizable operation modes, and ergonomic design make it the perfect choice for both adults and children. Its intuitive LCD display and intelligent memory function make it easy to use for beginners, while its unique camouflage design and included prospecting kit make it an ideal gift for anyone who loves exploration and adventure.


For a closer look at the SMD01 metal detector, you can check the video:




3.  High Accuracy & Waterproof for Adults Juniors Elders SMD02A


Equipped with a professional 11-inch IP68 waterproof search coil, which is 30% larger than most ordinary metal detectors and has more stable performance, which greatly helps digging and easier to find treasures. In addition, it embraces these features: upgrated DSP chip higher sensitivity; adjustable stem & humanity design; larger coil makes more accurate and stable; blacklight LAC design.


For a closer look at the SMD02B metal detector, check the video:



In addition to these products, we offer a variety of other metal detectors, each with unique features and specialized functionalities, designed to cater to different needs and preferences. We also carry a wide array of accessories and complementary tools to enrich your treasure hunting experience.


Lets Go for Successful Metal Detecting!


As we conclude this comprehensive guide, let's remember that learning to interpret metal detector numbers effectively is both a science and an art, intertwined with your understanding of the device and your ability to decipher its signals. The successful operation of a metal detector requires patience and practice. But with the essential knowledge under your belt, you're well on your way to becoming a seasoned treasure hunter.


You might not nail it on the first try, or even the tenth, but don't be discouraged. Part of the joy of metal detecting is the thrill of the hunt, the unexpected surprises, and the potential for making significant finds. Keep honing your skills, keep refining your understanding, and soon enough, you will be interpreting those metal detector numbers like a pro!

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