EMI

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11-10-2016, 10:30 PM
Post: #1
EMI
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Here's some long winded info regarding EMI by Dave Johnson

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Electrical Interference First Texas Products & Fisher Labs
August 2009



Because of the high sensitivity of modern metal detectors coupled with the proliferation of
sources of electromagnetic interference, you are likely to encounter electrical interference
at times during the use of your metal detector. It is important that you recognize electrical
interference when present, and take appropriate measures to deal with it. This will
prevent you from giving up on a worthwhile site unnecessarily, or from sending in for a
repair a machine which is working properly.
Symptoms of electrical interference
Electrical interference can cause a metal detector to “chatter” spontaneously, to lose
sensitivity for no apparent reason, or to cause periodic audio “wobble” or slow waves of
spontaneous sound. What you’ll hear will depend on what model of metal detector you’re
using, what operating mode you’re using it in, how you have the adjustments set, and what
the source of the electrical interference is. The most common manifestation is
spontaneous chatter.
All metal detectors are susceptible to electrical interference, but they vary in what kinds of
electrical interference affect them. In a given environment some metal detectors may be
affected by electrical interference whereas others may not.
Two metal detectors of the same model in the same environment may be affected
differently, because of minor differences in operating frequency or because the controls
have been adjusted differently.
Common sources of electrical interference
Common sources of electrical interference include: overhead electric power lines,
underground power lines, other metal detectors, telephone lines carrying electronic data,
computer systems, electric fences, old CRT-based televisions, cell phones, thunderstorms,
fluorescent lights, metal vapor lamps, military aircraft with electronic warfare
countermeasures turned on, electric motors, VLF military communications systems, and
automobile ignition systems. It will sometimes be the case at home, in the showroom, or
in an urban environment that there are several different sources of electrical interference
present simultaneously.All metal detectors generate a certain amount of electronic noise internally. On most metal
detectors, especially the higher performance models, the sensitivity can be adjusted high
enough to “work into the noise”. This is not a defect, but an intentional design feature.
Experienced users striving for maximum depth often adjust the machine to “work into the
noise”, and then they “listen through the noise” for the sound of real targets.
Is electrical interference a bigger problem than it used to be?
Stricter regulations have cut down on interference from electric light dimmers and auto
ignition systems. However there has recently been a proliferation of VLF-UHF wireless
communication systems (cell phones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.) which often affect metal
detectors. Overall, the potential for electrical interference is greater than it was a few
years ago.
Also, modern high-end metal detectors are a lot more sensitive than older units, which
increases their vulnerability to electrical interference. Engineers are working on ways to
reduce that vulnerability, but the battle will never be won because metal detectors are by
their nature designed to detect magnetic fields, and electric current always produces
magnetic fields.
Metal detectors which operate in the time domain (pulse induction, “BBS”) have gained
some popularity in the last few years, and these types tend to be more vulnerable to
electrical interference than the more traditional machines which operate in the frequency
domain. Pulse induction machines are mostly used for gold prospecting outside of urban
areas so their vulnerability to electrical interference is not usually regarded as a serious
liability.
What can a user do about electrical interference?
All metal detectors are equipped with a sensitivity control, or with other controls (for
instance gain or threshold) which have the effect of controlling sensitivity. The primary
reason metal detectors provide sensitivity control, is so the user can reduce
sensitivity in order to eliminate response to electrical interference. Some users are
reluctant to reduce sensitivity out of fear of “losing depth”. Well, you’re going to lose
some depth, but you can still search. If you give up and walk away, you lost 100% of your
“depth”. The sensitivity control (or its equivalent) is your first line of defense
against electrical interference.
Many midrange and high end metal detector models have a feature called “frequency
shifting”. This can be used to reduce or eliminate certain kinds of electrical interference,
especially from other metal detectors. It is usually (but not always) effective in dealing
with power line interference. It is not effective against electrical interference fromthunderstorms, electric fences, or auto ignition systems. For additional information,
consult the user’s manual for that particular model.
Many metal detector models have both a discrimination mode, and a motion all metals
mode (often called “autotune mode”) which has a slower, smoother response than the
discrimination mode. Electrical interference is often more controllable in the all metals
mode than in the discrimination mode.
In the discrimination mode, setting the discrimination level into the foil region will usually
reduce electrical interference problems: however there are many different discriminator
designs out there in beeperland, and this trick doesn’t work for all of them.
In the discrimination mode, you’ll often find that although the machine may be chattery if
the searchcoil is not in motion, once you start sweeping over the ground, the signal from
the ground will suppress the electrical interference chatter except for an occasional pop or
click.
When you’re doing “air testing” (demo’ing the unit indoors), you may find that changing
the orientation of the searchcoil makes a big difference in electrical interference pickup.
If you carry a cellphone or other “high-tech’ electronic equipment with you while metal
detecting and run into problems with electrical interference, try turning off the electronic
equipment (all the way off, not just standby) and see if that solves the problem.
When working near overhead power lines, you’ll often find that you get the best results
right under the power line, and the worst results at about a 30 to 45 degree angle away
from the power lines. When you read reports of people bragging that their metal detector
worked great right under power lines, this is often the situation. The person doing the
bragging often couldn’t get out from under the power lines because of weeds, right-of-way
fences, etc. and so may have been unaware they didn’t have a magic metal detector in
their hands.
Many sources of electrical interference are intermittent. You may find that an area which
is difficult to search at one time of day may be easier after 5 PM or on weekends. Power
lines are usually quietest late at night, and early weekend mornings.
Small searchcoils usually pick up less electrical interference than larger searchcoils. For a
given size searchcoil, concentrics usually pick up less electrical interference than does a
DD. However, the differences are not great. .......On a site with really bad electrical
interference, a small concentric searchcoil may be the best choice.Distinctive characteristics of certain Bounty Hunter, Teknetics, and Fisher models
In general, it can be said that the “hottest” models experience the most frequent problems
with electrical interference, and that the least sensitive low end models have the fewest
problems.
The T2 and the F75, when used in discrimination mode, usually provide better electrical
interference rejection at low discrimination settings, than at high discrimination settings.
This contrary to the pattern of most discriminators.
The JE discrimination process (often called “jewelry mode”) in the F75 and F70 is more
vulnerable to electrical interference than the other discrimination processes. However if
you are searching for small jewelry on a site where you’re experiencing electrical
interference, you may choose to search using the JE process anyway, and to control
electrical interference by other means (or just listen through the noise).
Among our medium to high performance metal detectors (as of August 09), the ones which
are overall probably the easiest to use in environments with electrical interference, are the
F5 and the Tek Omega.
The Gold Bug II discrimination system was designed specifically for gold prospecting away
from sources of electrical interference, and to be used for checking a target, not for
searching. It is not like a conventional discriminator. By design, it tends to run noisy, and
the user interface provides no convenient means for cutting chatter from electrical
interference. If you are experiencing electrical interference with it, just sweep it over the
ground, and the signal from the ground will usually suppress most of the chatter unless the
source of electrical interference is unusually strong.
A few years ago before Bounty Hunter came under present ownership, one Time Ranger
version had some sort of antenna mounted on the control box which was supposed to
suppress electrical interference. We don’t believe it was ever useful, and it was eliminated
from all later revisions of the Time Ranger.
Distinguishing electrical interference from other problems
The loudness of electrical interference will usually vary as you walk around holding the
machine, and also it will usually vary with changes in the orientation of the searchcoil.
This is almost never the case if the problem is in the metal detector itself.
The most common cause of a “noisy metal detector” where the problem is not electricalinterference, is a defective searchcoil (including cable and connector). Searchcoil
manufacturing is as much art as science, and although we wish we could say that
searchcoils never go bad, sometimes they do. In many cases a defective searchcoil is
intermittent which can be determined by giving the coil a whack with your hand (not with a
hammer!). If whacking the searchcoil with your hand fixes the problem at least briefly, the
problem isn’t electrical interference. Also, it is often the case with a noisy searchcoil that
the noise has a sporadic character, and is almost as bad with sensitivity adjusted to a low
level as it is with sensitivity adjusted high. Electrical interference sometimes exhibits this
characteristic, but is usually more continuous and exhibits a greater sense of
proportionality with respect to control settings.
The second most common cause of a “noisy metal detector” is an internal calibration which
has drifted over time. This is rarely seen with the most modern designs which have few
calibration adjustments because nowadays so much of the function is in software. However
some of the most popular machines are ones which have been around a long time with a
proven track record, and some of these older mostly circuit-based designs have a number of
internal calibration adjustments to maximize performance.
The third most common cause of a “noisy metal detector” is dirt or water in the searchcoil
cover (“scuff plate”). If you use a searchcoil cover to protect the searchcoil from abrasion,
it should be periodically removed and cleaned. Dirt or water in the searchcoil cover can
move around while you’re sweeping, causing false signals.
If your complaint is “noisy metal detector”, before you decide it needs to be repaired,
please first make sure that the problem is not electrical interference, and verify that you
are using the machine properly. The factory can fix the machine only if there’s something
actually wrong with it.

Nokta Impact, Deteknix Quest Pro,Teknetics Mark 1
Self built Mirage PI's --- they work great!!
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11-11-2016, 09:54 AM
Post: #2
RE: EMI
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Thanks for a great post , the info is much appreciated.
Pat

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11-11-2016, 08:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: EMI
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In my haste this morning I missed this item from Sven. Another good essay on detector operation. These types of comments are found here and there on the internet, taken from interviews, product announcements, q&a,  etc. by the designers themselves. It's always good to get it straight from the horse's mouth. If anybody should know what's what, it's these guys.

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11-12-2016, 12:45 AM
Post: #4
RE: EMI
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Good article, Sven. I read something a while ago which had me scratching my head, but I'll try to find and post it. The author basically said...

That the sun is responsible for much of the EMI we encounter in the field. There are a ton of other sources too, but the sun is one of the biggest culprits. He explained it pretty darned well. Ever notice how you seem to get more depth on a cloudy day? Even if it's not raining, or hasn't rained? I know I have, on many an occasion.

I really need to find that article...

Joe

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11-12-2016, 08:20 AM
Post: #5
RE: EMI
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Good information, I often have EMI. I have heard the lighting crackle in my headset while hunting on beach. The thunderstorm was coming and I heard it several miles away. Also I have to deal with the sand in the coil cover often. Also if the sea is stirred up and cloudy. It causes my machine to false in the water more than when it is clear. Thanks for sharing.

updownup, proud to be a member of Treasure Classifieds Forum since Oct 2015.
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11-12-2016, 08:48 PM
Post: #6
RE: EMI
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I couldn't find this in my sent emails, as I forwarded a copy to someone a while ago, and I didn't have the original in my files, so, after about putting a thousand search terms into Google, I lucked into finding the original website, containing the article...

http://www.prostockdetectors.com/afterdark.html

I know I've spoken with a few individuals who don't believe this, and are of the opinion that sun spot activity may cause EMI interference, but it would be so minute that it wouldn't be noticeable. But I do see the science in this guy's theory, and it makes a lot of sense.

Joe

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11-13-2016, 10:37 AM
Post: #7
RE: EMI
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(11-12-2016 08:48 PM)NjNyDigger Wrote:  I couldn't find this in my sent emails, as I forwarded a copy to someone a while ago, and I didn't have the original in my files, so, after about putting a thousand search terms into Google, I lucked into finding the original website, containing the article...

http://www.prostockdetectors.com/afterdark.html

I know I've spoken with a few individuals who don't believe this, and are of the opinion that sun spot activity may cause EMI interference, but it would be so minute that it wouldn't be noticeable. But I do see the science in this guy's theory, and it makes a lot of sense.

Joe

Thanks for providing this information too. Interesting.

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11-14-2016, 09:42 PM
Post: #8
RE: EMI
(This post was last modified: 11-14-2016 09:43 PM by Ohio Dirt Fisher.)
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Great article Sven. And here's what I've experienced. I work a great deal of area around the airport. When I work in either landing pattern or take off pattern, don't make no difference what machine I'm using, I have to wait for the planes to pass overhead. I discovered this by repeatedly targeting a target when in fact there was nothing there. As soon as the planes passed over, poof, signal gone! Now it didn't happen with all the planes, just some where I was directly underneath. And I mean these suckers are 500 feet overhead. Gotta be radar interference. And I agree with the pure blue sky, sunny theory. I'd rather be hunting in overcast and rainy conditions by far instead of early in the a.m. (NOT, good luck with that), or later in the evening on very sunny days!

Ed

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11-14-2016, 09:43 PM
Post: #9
RE: EMI
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This is what I felt on my last post about detecting after sunset and under the lights - coins were popping out all over the place.
Thanks guys for posting this information - I like it

Bigtony, member of Treasure Classifieds Forum since Jan 2015.
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