Subtle Changes Make a Difference in the Field!
By Andy Sabisch
The long-awaited DEUS V4.0 software update was released in March 2017 and while some might have expected more features thanks to rumors that were rampant on the Internet, it truly takes the DEUS to the next level in terms of cutting-edge performance. If you think about it, how many detector manufacturers, or manufacturers of any electronic equipment for that matter, offer updates that improve functionality at no cost! Rather than simply releasing a DEUS II and forcing people to buy the newest detector in the series, XP provides the upgrade through a simple download that takes minutes to perform.
XP has released a spec sheet showing what was added to V4.0, so rather than repeating all of them here, I wanted to touch on the key features that will interest U.S. hunters. Obviously the one thing that V4.0 offers users is the ability to connect with the new wireless waterproof pinpointer (the MI-6) as well as the two new High Frequency (HF) search coils. I will touch on the HF coil in this review but the MI-6 will receive a separate review due to the myriad of features it offers. Other features added to V4.0 include a new Reactivity setting of 2.5, improved ground tracking, expanded audio tone range, a much more usable X-Y screen to help identify iron before you dig it and improved non-motion modes which can be used for searching as well as pinpointing. Other features such as the 2 new preset modes, the Smartphone app integration, an increased discrimination span which drops into the negative range and faster “touch-pad response” on the remote control will be of use to some but are not features that really put more in one’s pouch at the end of the day for most U.S. hunters.
Well what about the new HF coils? Like most, I felt that they were primarily designed for prospecting applications and since there are not a lot of gold nuggets being found in the Eastern U.S., I was not overly excited when I looked at them as possible additions to my DEUS arsenal. Fortunately – if you can say that – I had a severe allergic reaction to some prescribed medication that landed me in the hospital and kept me out of the field for a few weeks. During that time, I contacted several people that I knew in Europe and the U.K. that were trying out the new HF coil and they were quite excited about how it performed on coins and smaller relics. After getting some pointers from them, I had the opportunity to get one and start putting it through its paces.
The backyard of our house is the perfect testing ground for detectors. The house was built in 1843 and the relatively small grassy area is littered with 100’s of square nails along with rusted junk that has collected in the ground over the past 175 years. My wife and I have hunted it countless times but are usually able to find something of note. Rather than taking a new detector to a new site and then touting coins and other items recovered without checking to see if other detectors would have found them provides little truly objective evidence as to how it actually performs. Taking the DEUS with V4.0 loaded onto it and switching out the stock coil for the 9” HF coil, I headed out into the backyard. I wanted to hear the iron so I set the DISCRIMINATION at “10” and the IRON VOLUME at “2”. Opting for 4-Tones, I had to test targets to get the breakpoints dialed in but that took less than 10 minutes. I changed the REACTIVITY to “2.5” to see if this would help pick out good targets from the iron and after making a few more tweaks, saved two programs – one using 14.4 kHz and the other using 28.8 kHz. I worked one small section which I knew was infested with iron and marked 5 potential targets. I had the advantage of having another DEUS with V3.2 to check the targets before digging them – which is the only true way to see if the new features really make a difference in the field… comparing targets BEFORE recovering them.
The first one turned out to be an old ball of tinfoil at 7” which the HF coil / V4.0 combo hit with a solid target ID (although a low #) ; however, the V3.2 / LF coil struggled to get a consistent response. The next signal was so clear and consistent with the V4.0 / HF coil in both frequencies that I questioned how we could have missed it previously. Well, the V3.2 / LF coil would produce a response occasionally and even then, with audio and visual indication bouncing all over. Not a target I would have recovered unless time was not an issue. From a solid 8” I recovered a crusty coin and a large rusted spike. Cleaning revealed the coin was an 1885 Indian Head that had been holed years ago to wear as a necklace. The next two targets turned out to be foil and as I found with the first target, the response from the V4.0 / HF coil DEUS was much sharper and repeatable than the V3.2 / LF coil DEUS with similar settings (Reactivity was set at “2” on the V3.2 DEUS). The last one was iffy but clearly there was a high tone amongst the low iron tones on the V4.0 / HF coil unit. The V3.2 / LF coil unit as well as another high-end detector considered to be on-par with the DEUS did not see anything but iron in the area. There was iron and I pulled out three rusted nails yet the pinpointer kept saying there was more in the hole. The next item recovered was a rusted piece of pipe about 1” long and finally I found a brass 1800’s suspender clip in the edge of the hole at better than 8”! I was quite surprised at the target separation afforded by V4.0 and the detection depth provided by the HF coil in a non-prospecting application. As they say a picture says a 1,000 words and the two keepers shown here along with the trash that was in the same hole is a testament to how well the new V4.0 DEUS performs in the field and when coupled with the HF coil, offers flexibility that is unmatched.
In summary, I was pleasantly surprised at how the HF coil performed in a challenging environment. It does like low-conductive targets such as tin foil but beach hunters will love its sensitivity to small gold jewelry. Coin and relic hunters will find that having the option to switch between the LF and HF coils combined with V4.0 will allow finds to be made in areas that are un-huntable with other detectors due to the amount of ferrous trash present. The software (4.0) is available as a no-cost download from XP Metal Detectors and the HF coils, while not cheap, will help you find more in sites you and others have written off. Don’t forget, you can mount the HF coil on a spare shaft and in essence have two detectors for the price of the coil alone. XP continues to raise the bar with their flagship detector and they are not content… more features and functionality will be developed that all of us can benefit for in the field.