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Author Topic:  Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?  (Read 6332 times)

Offline Bower bird

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Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« on: May 07, 2014, 17:06 »
Which is better and cheaper to get, a F3 standard and mod it a little( or get a F3Ci if available)or get and mod a f1A4 to have the extra features the F3Ci has?
Tonnes of info to follow on the different configurations of the F3's and difference's I've found between the f3 and the f1A4.

I've sent off those questions and the ones included as part of the below info off to the sales division of minelab and the countermine division, I'm putting the questions and info here for others to read and help me decide incase minelab don't get back to me.
 
Quoted at the bottom of this post is the most info I've been able to find on the differences between the two, it's from a military testing of the F3 in 2006.
Going off that info as far as I can understand is that the f3 has more digital logic curcuitry and processing power, can null out geologic noise in real time (so better ability on mineralized ground than the F1's??) and doesn't need to be swung at a fast pace like the F1's, can be slow or fast.

Does the difference in the pulses it does that makes it have no affect on magnetic mines affect it's ability to find small bits metal or would it be the same, if not better than the F1's?

Now info on the differences between the different f3 configurations:
Which configuration of the F3 would be best, the F3, F3L, F3s and Ls or the F3 compact.
You can adjust the sensitivity on the F3s and Ls by hooking it up to a computer and using minelab supplied software. The F3L is a F3 with a LED display and volume control.

The F3 compact, other than being lighter and smaller when packed away than the F3 Would the available choice of Variable sensitivity through the selection of seven uniquely combined audio and sensitivity configurations that it has over the F3 make a heap of differences for detecting (so essentially 7 different disc patters at different sentivity levels I think, not sure if pre-set or you set yourself through a computer)???

It sounds like the compact version allows you to change the disc pattern and sensivity with those 7 selectable modes and has the LED display as well, so sounds like the best out of the 4 different version of the F3.
The Compact f3 has 4 controls. On/off and sensitivity - located on the side, on the top are the GB/retune threshold button and a noise cancel button which scans frequencies to find the one with the lowest EMI levels.

And then theres the F3Ci, as far as I can tell it's a F3 compact with vibration based response as a option, to go through the detectors handle and a pinpointing mode, wouldn't have a clue how much more it costs than the normal F3 compact or the other types of F3.
If there isn't much difference in price the F3ci has the most extra features of the F3's, so I would go it if found for a good price and I had the cash.

Then there is the F3UXO which costs about $1000 more on any of those 5 types to gain a 17inch coil, I'm guessing it would be alot cheaper to mod the F3's coil plug so you can use already available coils?

Also  have news on that new one too that I figured out while looking around for info on the f3's, looking at its layout and features the SD2300 just looks like a civilian version of a f3Ci.

Source: https://www.minelab.com/aus/products/countermine/mine-detectors/f3-compact
and post #12 of this thread on the new SDC 2300 http://www.findmall.com/read.php?18,1995724
 
Quote:
The Minelab F3 metal detector (fig. 1) is the latest product to be developed by Minelab
for landmine detection; eventually, the F3 will supersede the F1A4. The F3 incorporates all of the features of Minelab's patented and well-known Multi Period Sensing technology that has been very successful at eliminating magnetic soil responses. The main difference is that the transmitted waveform in the F3 is bipolar.
This type of waveform was developed to produce an instrument that would not set off certain classes of landmines that respond to conventional unipolar electromagnetic induction.

Similar to the F1B2 and F1A4, the F3 provides a two-channel output, available through a
serial RS232 interface at the rate of 100 Hz, or alternatively can be used for detection using the audio tone. The most significant difference between these instruments is that the F3 incorporates more digital logic circuitry and microprocessing power.
The F3 also has a waveform consisting of a positive long pulse and a negative shorter pulse period with significantly higher amplitude that ensures both pulses have an equal area, resulting in a net zero effect on magnetic mines.
The two different pulse lengths are the specific innovations that provide the ability to null out the geologic noise in real time.
A significant improvement in the F3 over previous versions is that it operates in a direct
current (DC) mode all the time, and it does not suffer from drift in the same way as the Fl series.
Operators find this feature particularly useful if they are accustomed to the F1 series, which required them to repeatedly sweep the coil across the ground at a fast speed in order to detect targets.
The coil can be moved as fast or as slow as the operator requires since it does not have
an alternating current (AC) filter that can attenuate a response with a slow-moving coil as is the case of the F1 series of detectors.

Source: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a445900.pdf , is 21mb and long read, only read if you can understand military test results (I understood a tiny bit of it).

Linkback: http://forum.kimbucktwo.com/index.php?topic=23852.0
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885
If it's shiny or moves I'll notice it even if it's a well camouflaged critter.

Offline Bower bird

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 14:02 »
A tech from minelabs countermine devision got back to me fairly quickly and answered a few of my questions.
I didn't realise the parts for the f1A4 weren't available from Minelab anymore with all the mods and support available for that model by a few companies I thought they were still easy to obtain.
Mine detectors not having any of the usual control knobs etc was fine as that's what the mods are for.
Interestingly enough the f3Ci isn't a pulse induction machine like the other f3's.

You do have a chance of obtaining a f3, sales to civilians is done on a case by case basis, I'd say being a detector business would probably up the chances of getting a hold of one.

Still don't know the prices on the different f3's, they couldn't provide that without me providing more personal details and the proposed use of the f3, I'll send them the details they wanted.

Here's the reply from the technician:

Hi,

I’ll try to answer your questions.

First up the F3Ci is not a pulse induction detector and any direct comparison between it and F1A4 and F3 is going to be confusing and misleading. Secondly I’m not going to comment on the SDC2300 as it is not yet released the exact features and performance aren’t confirmed or defined.

The F1A4 is still one of the five best landmine detectors ever made and is a reasonable gold detector. The F1A4 production ended in 2008 and all the spare parts Minelab held have been donated to CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre) who are still using the F1A4 to rid their country of landmines. So the F1A4 is no longer supported by Minelab and no parts are available. The main issue you will face with the F1A4 or any countermine detector for that matter is that they are locked into a default state with none of the common controls and adjustments available.

The F3 superseded the F1A4 and is an improvement in every aspect. Decisions as to sales of the F3 detectors to civilians are made on a case by case basis. Minelab would need to know your name address and contact details as well as the proposed use of the detector before we could give you a quote, this is because in some jurisdictions the F3 may be considered to be military weapon (wrongly) there is a certain amount of due diligence we need to do before entering into any sale of F3 detectors.

I’m not sure I’ve answered all you questions so please let me know what points you need more information about.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 12:12 by Bower bird »
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885

Offline Bower bird

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 12:16 »
Have got a little bit more info about the f3's now, will add more if I get any.
The LED display is only signal strength (target proximity and size) it is not a target ID.
I'd say the LED display is part of it's pinpointing abilities that it mentions in the info on the detectors in the countermine part of the minelab site.
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885

LazyTrommel

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 15:47 »
F1A4 availability is great currently, not sure about the other units.. 

The old man and i went out for a swing this afternoon, his Stock standard F1A4 scored a couple nice .40g and .79g bits..  while my modded unit scored 11 bullets and a million year old 1c coin..

I would recommend going with what you can get, F1 or F3, I'd say the performance difference is slight to nil.. 

anyway GL.


Offline Bower bird

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 11:58 »
Thanks, so far the f1A4 is looking cheaper, even if I got someone to do some basic mods to one, sounds like a good cheap PI gold machine to start into gold hunting with.
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885

LazyTrommel

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2014, 15:52 »
That's for sure, better buy than the Whites TDI or TDI SL, better performance than the SD 2000 2100, so really, for what you pay, even unmodified its a good deal... 

just stick in the coil connect **make sure you re-attach the ground wire!** add the quick track button, 6.5mm or 3.5mm headphont jack and its pretty much good to go.. 

Oh also, I ordered some AA to D cell caddie things from Ebay, turns 2x AA into a single D, with a little more in the mAh.. chuck some rechargeable batteries in them and save yourself buying D's
also tried out the single A to D, and they work great too, you only get about 5-6 hours swing time, but again, its cheaper than buying D's.

Offline Bower bird

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2014, 20:25 »
5-6 hours is most I'd likely detect in a day anyway, especially in clay and hard rock, so that's fine.  I'd probably get you to the do the modding if I got one as you seem to know what ya doing.
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885

LazyTrommel

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2014, 22:26 »
5-6 hours is most I'd likely detect in a day anyway, especially in clay and hard rock, so that's fine. I'd probably get you to the do the modding if I got one as you seem to know what ya doing.

I seem to get at least 20 hours out of a set of D's.. 

While I'm happy to modify my own units, and have done a couple to resell, I'd rather not modify something someone else has money invested in, only takes a little ESD in the wrong place to bork an IC.

detectormods.com will do the mods, far more extensive, headphone jack, gb button, coil plug, 3 timings, 3 frequency mods, tone, volume, and threshold mod, and variable gain)
All of which make quite a powerful machine, $1250 still cheaper than a used GP 3000 or 3500..

Not sure if i would make that investment, I've seen enough with a stock standard machine to know they do a fine job as they are, aside from the Milspec headphone and coil connectors which will drive you nuts.

LazyTrommel

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 12:49 »
I seem to get at least 20 hours out of a set of D's.. While I'm happy to modify my own units, and have done a couple to resell, I'd rather not modify something someone else has money invested in, only takes a little ESD in the wrong place to bork an IC. detectormods.com will do the mods, far more extensive, headphone jack, gb button, coil plug, 3 timings, 3 frequency mods, tone, volume, and threshold mod, and variable gain) All of which make quite a powerful machine, $1250 still cheaper than a used GP 3000 or 3500.. Not sure if i would make that investment, I've seen enough with a stock standard machine to know they do a fine job as they are, aside from the Milspec headphone and coil connectors which will drive you nuts.

did you end up buying an F1? my bad memory lol.


PS, got my hands on an F3 today, its a nice bit of gear, basically a garrett recon, anyway the owner wants $2500 for it, i said no thank you.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 13:51 by LazyTrommel »


Offline Bower bird

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Re: Which to go,a type of the F3 or a modded F1A4?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 16:13 »
No, was just doing my research ages ahead of considering buying something like I usually do, will definately keep the f1A4 in mind when I do got to get a good small gold machine.
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Began with a Goldsnoop, Bounty Hunter Sharp Shooter II, Garrett A2B Groundhog. Tried a Excal, now using XS2-pro Sovereign and a XT1700
  • Oldest find: A english military button from about 1885


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