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Monday, April 20, 2015

Modifying the Minelab Excalibur

I must have rattled a few cages with my previous blog about the Excalibur, judging from the responses from people who contacted me this weekend about their modified Excalibur's.
Like I mentioned in that previous blog, I like my Minelab Excalibur just the way it is but mounted differently.

The overwhelming response by the people who contacted me was that they preferred their Excalibur's modified with pinpoint switches and extra large search coils.
The majority of people told me they liked to search in the Pinpoint (all metals) search mode and the target depth of the extra large search coil. 
I did not get one person contacting me saying they put a smaller search coil on the Excalibur, which would probably be the way I would go if I was to modify an Excalibur with a 10-inch search coil.  
After trying several different things on my Excaliburs in the past, I bought a Minelab Sovereign that allowed me to change search coils or headphones at will. 
The Sovereign was not waterproof, but I chest mounted it in a bag and did quite well shallow water hunting in such different places as the Bahamas and the Great Lakes. 
Of course the Minelab CTX 3030 is now my go to swiss army knife of beach and water hunting units.
I found one of the drawbacks of only having an extra large search coil on my Excalibur all the time was poor target separation on trashy tourist beaches.
This was caused by multiple targets under the search coil, I was also not impressed with the extra large search coils lack of sensitivity to small targets. 
The previous common big search coil drawback can be overcome by using an ultra slow sweep speed. 
Another problem was chatter, or metal detector noise caused by using an extra large search coil in the water or on the lower beach in the splash zone.
An Excalibur with an extra large search coil was especially noisy during choppy surf conditions. 
I found myself having to turn the Sensitivity down to a point where the trade off in detection depth was not worth the hassle of using the much larger and heavier search coil around in the water and on the wet sand with waves breaking or rushing over the coil. 
Apart from adding extra large search coils,  many beach and water hunters like adding a pinpoint switch. 
Last I checked the Excalibur had a perfectly good Pinpoint / Disc knob, granted you had to stop and turn the knob but it does have one. 
The general consensus is that adding a pinpoint knob / button on or around a hand grip / handle allows you to change search modes faster and double check targets between the two search modes to help identify iron. 
I never found enough of a real difference in depth between the two search modes to warrant hunting in all metal with the Excal all the time, then stopping and rechecking targets.
Like I stated in the previous blog, why would you not want to use iron mask and target tones, two of the Excalibur's best features in the Discrimination search mode. 
I am not one of those beach or water hunters who assume every good target is deep and just out of range, so I do not need to hunt in all metal on every beach with a cartwheel size search coil. 
The opposite, I know the easiest targets to miss are the ones missed by spending all your time rechecking targets or digging junk your Excalibur identified correctly. 
Another mod that was popular in responses to the previous blog was installing custom headphones.
With the "I can now hear deep targets" being the common theme, I hear you on that one, pun intended. 
Again I have never been blown away by other headphones installed on the Excalibur, not enough to make me want to shell out for new headphones and pay to have them installed. 
I wonder how much the extra padding on custom headphones has to do with better audio?
Or even the combination of extra large search coil and custom headphones, as most people have several mods to their Excalibur done at the same time, dang my mail box is going to be full after that last though lol!
 In closing, I do see why people would want to modify their Excalibur's and it is for the very best reason, setting the Excalibur the way they like to have it and use it. 
I suppose that is why the Minelab Excalibur is such a popular waterproof metal detector for beach and water hunters, it can be modified to suit your hunting style or personal beach or water hunting preferences. 

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