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Whites V3i vs. Minelab E-Trac on Small Gold

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM

I know there have been many recent forum posts on the topic of which is the best VLF metal detector for finding gold, the Minelab E-trac or the White's V3i.  The different opinions posted are often conflicting, confusing the potential buyer, so I thought a simple comparison of the two can be helpful to someone who is considering buying either detector.

 

First of all I want to state that they are both great detectors, but each does have its advantages.  My detecting buddy uses the E-trac, and I use a V3i.  We are constantly comparing questionable signals.  On deep coins, there is little difference on the depth capabilities on each of these detectors when it comes to deeply buried copper and silver coins. In some instances, especially in more difficult soils, I have seen the E-Trac pick up an extremely deep signal that the V3i barely gets a whisper.  An experienced V3i user would certainly investigate such a signal further, however a novice may not.  For this reason, I would say the two are nearly equal, however the Etrac may have an ever so slight advantage on deep silver and copper


When it comes to small targets like gold and tiny pewter buttons, however, the V3i has a distinct advantage.  


A few weeks back I was testing different targets in my yard with my newly purchased Minelab Excalibur 1000.  I was very surprised that the Excalibur could not detect a tiny, hollow 14K gold charm unless the coil was within a half inch of the charm, while the V3i sounded off nicely at more than 4 inches.  The All Metal setting picked it up at an additional half inch on the Excal, while the V3i did at greater than 6 inches.  When the V3i was switched from Multi-Frequency- Best Data mode to 22.5 KHz, the signal strengthened even more.

 

Now I was curious to see how the Etrac fared on the gold charm, so I made sure I brought it along on my next hunt with two of my buddies  It turned out that both were ETrac users, so this would insure that the results were accurate from unit to unit.

 

I carefully placed the tiny target on the ground and stood back so my detector did not interfere and waited for his Etrac to go through the Noise Cancel process.  As my friend passed the coil over the target there was only a faint blip sound within an inch of the target.  The other Etrac had the same result.

 

Here is what you should consider before you buy. The V3i is more sensitive to small targets such as tiny gold charms, earrings, etc.  If gold jewelry and relics (such as small pewter buttons) are your focus, the White's V3i may be the best metal detector for you, while if your focus is on coins and higher conductive metals such as copper and silver, the Etrac may be a better choice.  


Categories: Metal Detector Reviews and Field Tests

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2 Comments

Reply dktucson62
11:35 AM on August 2, 2011 
dktucson asks Neil, with your v3i what settings are you using to find gold items and chains? Are ground here is had all the time mostly shallow items, highly mineralized, but workable. Any thing will help on this subject, Thanks and good hunting Don
Reply Neil Schwartz
11:51 PM on August 2, 2011 
dktucson62 says...
dktucson asks Neil, with your v3i what settings are you using to find gold items and chains? Are ground here is had all the time mostly shallow items, highly mineralized, but workable. Any thing will help on this subject, Thanks and good hunting Don


Hi, Don. I usually use 22.5KHz along with Mixed Mode to find gold. I also accept all targets from -40 to +94 because many small gold chains can read on the ferrous side of the scale (negative numbers). Our ground in mild here, so I cannot recommend a good program for bad soil. I guess AutoTrac may help if the ground changes a lot, but I prefer Lock Track and manually ground the unit periodically.

One more trick that may help you is keeping your Ground Balance slightly positive. (Go to Ground TrackingTrack Offset+1).

Make sure you check out the White's metal detecting forum (forum.whiteselectronics,com) and The Find's Forum (Findmall.com). You will get more answers there!