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The one type of prospecting I would really like to try is what this forum is all about. I could run out and spend 5000+ on a detector, but for someone that hasnt spent any time swinging one I cant justify that much cash to start with. I have read a couple of reviews on the Whites TDI,It does work.

The question for you veterans is could a $1500 detector compete with a high end minelab? Im not talking about all the different qualities, depth, sensitivity etc., Im talking about the $3500 extra that I will spend on a winter of travel anyway.

If it turns out that nugget shooting is not for me I can always sell it for a $1500+- loss which is what the TDI would cost me in the first place! Any help on trying to relieve the pain in my tiny brain would be a big help!

Thanks in advance, SteveT

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Aloha Steve,

Got a couple of friends in Hawaii who spent the money just for a couple of trips out here to Vegas so I could take them out to Arizona and Nevada to go hunting for meteorites. Go figure!! They walked away very happy and have sent me numerous emails describing how they have gone over some of my old haunts ie: old hawaiian homesites, picnic grounds used by people back in the very early 1900's that are now covered by grass, weeds and trees. They are finding stuff I probably walked over many times.

They were out here in October and I took them out to Franconia and they walked away with several small pieces from an area I previously hunted but these pieces were deeper. Of course they are persistant creatures and are always practicing every chance they get.

My advice is if you decide to buy a TDI make sure you take the time to "learn your machine" and "tune your ears to it".

Good luck with your choice and be safe out there.


Stan aka Kaimi

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Steve T

The buying of a detector is something you should think about before you jump in with both feet. :coffeetime: Bill has Minelab that most people use in nugget hunting but it's the high end one GP4500 but others can be had at lower price he sales. :confused0013:

If you want to read more about the TDI you can go to http://tdi.invisionplus.net/index.php?mform=tdishowforum=3

I always say buy the best you can afford.There are some good buys to be had on the different forums classified you may want to take a look at that.

Just do what's best for Steve! :twocents:

Chuck Anders

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Thanks for the replies you guys,

The important thing ive learned is that minelabs really do work well!! Who knows if the TDI will even compete with any of the PI detectors out there. There has to be a reason why the TDI is so much less, weather its just marketing or whatever. They better start building a variety of coils for it though or it wont compete anyway!

Thanks Again, SteveT

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The TDI was designed and tested to work with many of the same coils available for the minelab sd/gp series detectors, athough the stock and accessory coils from White's seem to be doing well in the gold fields and elsewhere. The machine was never designed to compete with the minelabs, they are completely different animals, each has it's own advantages and limitations. I have a TDI but I haven't put enough hours behind it yet or enough experience with PI machines to make an educated evaluation. As far as overall detector reviews go You could put a $20.00 garage sale bounty hunter in the hands of Bill Southern, Jonn B. and the countless other "Highly Respected Nuggetshooters" on the forum and they will find the nugs, on the other hand, place the most expensive and "best" detector on the planet in the hands of someone who has never held a beeper before, place him in the middle of a salted nugget patch and the outcome would be very different. :icon_mrgreen:

Just my 2¢. Take care, Jeff.

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I certainly do not have the experience that these guys have...In fact I still have my virginity!

But I purchased a very nice Gold Bug on Ebay for about 300 bucks. It works great and I have made a minimal investment on a really good detector. Couple that with gleaning all the info and experience these guys can give me.......I am happy with my purchase.

The real investment is time. :icon_mrgreen:

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Guest bedrock bob

Unless you have a lot of hours detecting a Minelab will be no different than a Radio Shack detector. Once you are over that curve then you will realize that if you are not in a spot where there is detectable gold there is still no difference between a Minelab and a Radio Shack. Then comes the REAL lurning curve. Once you are over this you will begin to realize a big difference between detectors.

My advice is to start with a bare bones inexpensive machine specifically for gold and wear it out. You will find them if you are in the right spot. In some areas they work better than a PI. Then, once you have the learning curve behind you get yourself the best machine you can afford. You will know a lot more about it and be able to make a lot better decision about what you need and how much you should spend. You will find more gold with a top of the line machine though, and sooner or later you will want one. If you can part with the money and are willing to back it up with a LOT of time in the gold fields it will pay off in the long run to just buy it now and get it out of your system.

A Gold Bug II is a great place to start, and many prospectors would not use anything else.

Bedrock Bob

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Greetings Steve and Happy 2009 to all,

The best advice any new nugget shooter can get is: get a used VLF and go for the gold. Buying the best and most expensive detector could be a financial bust (unless you are filty rich, so then why look for gold, just buy it). Anyway, you might decide that nugget shooting isn't for you and you have an expensive detector sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Why buy top of the line golf clubs just because you think it would be something to try and might like.

Gold nuggets are not easy to find no matter how good a detector you have. If it were, everyone and their brother would be out finding nuggets and gold would not be worth as much as it is.

Botton line, if the detector coil doesn't go over the gold, it won't be found by the hunter, no matter how great or expensive the detector. One of my detecting partners has only found 1 nugget over the past few years. Recently he had the oppertunity to buy a little used minelab 4000 and still hasn't found another nugget. This can be a very frustrating :grrr01: and rewarding hobby. It is called "Gold Fever."

The skunk can be very tenacious and won't let go very easily. In fact I have one on my back right now and can't shake him.

Soooooo, start slow, gain experience and you will know when to go all out and seriously tackle the gold.

Happy detecting,


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Gosh... what great replies... As for me, it is not so much the machine... they all can

find gold... But care is needed to match the chosen machine's strength with the

gold expected... With this said, I believe any sloppy habits and techniques I carelessly fall

into will limit my sucesses. So I strive to keep my sweep speed and coil height within

what I hope to be the best in the particular area I chose to hunt... And iff'n I do not go

out and detect there is no way I can find gold... so as it has been said by others in earlier

posts, ya' gotta be positive and persistant... and fully understand whatever detector

you are swinging... its strenghts and weakness's, and just "know" you will find a nice


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Thanks alot for the advice guys.

"RESEARCH TIME!!! The gold bug 2 might be a good start.There are a few detectors out there in the $1000 range, the problem is picking one in that range!

Thanks again everyone! Steve Totten

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The GB2 is definately a good detector and can be had used for half that price.

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Has anyone bought this type of sling shot before that holds the amo in the handle? http://www.liangdianup.com/sporting_1.htm

this company has free shipping to anywhere in the world and they guarantee delivery to Australia. I heard that sling shots

are ok to sell in Australia as long as you say they are being used to toss bait in the water when you go fishing, any truth

to thatone?



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Yeah I agree, I was wondering what a slingshot had to do with detectors...

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The person to talk to is Digger Bob,

He more than likely has more hours on the machine then any one.

√ out his posts on nuggethunter forum.

As for the Gold Bug 2, I don't conceder it a good starter machine. Since the change of ownership IMHO Fisher quality has dropped dramatically.

Buy the best you can afford. Conceder a used ML GP or SD. Strong resale value, proven capability.

Bedrock Bob, Ray Charles could see the difference between a Minlab and Radio Shack beeper :)


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Can't argue about the strong resale on the minelabs. If you take care of them u can usually sell them for close to what you payed.

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I dont know if I can do it!!

Wander through the desert like bedrock, wearin snake chaps with white stuff all over my nose. I dont know if I could walk around the desert for days, maybe weeks lookin for that one little picker. I have spent months at a time out in the cascades. I have been to Arizona and Nevada but I have never really spent any time camped in the desert before. Im really looking forward to it even if I dont hit a pocket. I know I will have a kick-ass time regardless!

Thanks for the repies, SteveT

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The person to talk to is Digger Bob,

He more than likely has more hours on the machine then any one.

√ out his posts on nuggethunter forum.

As for the Gold Bug 2, I don't conceder it a good starter machine. Since the change of ownership IMHO Fisher quality has dropped dramatically.

Buy the best you can afford. Conceder a used ML GP or SD. Strong resale value, proven capability.

Bedrock Bob, Ray Charles could see the difference between a Minlab and Radio Shack beeper :)


I'll get back to you soon on the TDI. I was out today with it and found a 2.2 dwt. nugget with it in a spot where I'd already found 3. This area is only about 50 by 20 ft. I'm taking Jimmy Sierra out tomorrow there and we'll see if there's any left.

Digger Bob

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Now everyone is saying how good the GB2 is.....I have the original GB.......can I get some love too? It works great!

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Guest bedrock bob

Bedrock Bob, Ray Charles could see the difference between a Minlab and Radio Shack beeper :)


I didnt mean there was no difference in the machines, there would be no difference in the amount of gold you would bring home until you learned how and where to search. I suppose that was the point I was trying to make. I was definitely not comparing a Minelab to a Radio Shack detector.

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Guys I have noticed some things in all the advice that can be a little

misleading for a beginner .

Most gold patches have been hammered hard with some pretty good

operators,with top of the line machines. Also most ground with decent

gold is hot and nasty.

It takes a person that totally understands his machine,and a heck of a

working knowledge of prospecting to go out with a VLF detector and find

gold in most areas. Its true that a guy can stumble on to a spot,but not

that probable. If you rake your dirt in a known area and feed the gold to

the detector ,you can find crumbs. Or you can crumb on mine dumps for

species. Just picking up a new VLF machine and going in search of nuggets

in a strange area is pretty tough in hot ground or deeper gold.

Detectors are tools,and each has its own use,and does well for a purpose.

I have a Eureka,and a GM3 that I use for crumbing or checking my drywasher

piles. They work well for checking quartz in a vein too. But in heavy black sand,

hot ground,or deeper gold ,you can walk over gold and never hear it.

On the other hand a PI machine will handle most of the hot ground,deeper

gold and are easier for a beginner to run. Your chance of actually finding a

nugget is greatly improved,because the machine is designed to take out some

of the dummy factor. :laught16:

A beginner doesn't need the top of the line model PI machine. A 1600 or 2200

Minelab will handle tough ground,and deep gold. Both are easy to run and tune.

We use everything from a GM3 to a 4500,each has a specific job. It will probably

shock a lot of the guys,but if we really want to check for deep gold ,the 2200D is

the weapon of choice. The 4500 is the best all around machine if you can justify

the expense,and plan to do some serious detecting. The 4500 will find specks at

serious depths,big gold,deeper gold,and laughs at bad ground. But is expensive

for a guy that just wants to see if he really wants to dabble at prospecting.

I feel that a Whites TDI would make a great beginner machine. I also suggest

either a new or used 1600 or 2200 Minelab and either a GMT,GM3,or Goldbug II

combination would get you finding gold quicker and more often than trying to

start off with just a VLF. Just as an example a good used 2200 can be bought at

a decent price,it will go deep and handle bad ground. One of the GM's or a Goldbug

can find the little stuff and crumb,plus they are cheap to buy used.

Starting anything with a handicap just makes it tougher to enjoy. A VLF does have

its limits if that is all you have. Picking the right machine,or combination's of machines

can make the difference of being a happy camper at the start,or a disgruntled gold

virgin later.

The big question to ask yourself is,just what kind of detecting that you want to do.

If you are into chasing mine dumps,crumbing,chasing color in a vein,then a VLF is

great. If you want to chase tiny little specks,or a dink now and then for a hobby get

a VLF.

If you think that you may want to hunt for new patches,deep gold,and nuggets in

all types of ground and don't want to break the bank,go with a combination or just

a good used PI or new TDI machine.

Most newbies either start too cheap, or too expensive ,with their equipment. They

are either trying to push too fast trying to justify a bunch of high priced gear and

running circles. Or they are trying to make a cheap limited use machine do what it

was not intended to do. Most get disgruntled ,before learning how to find gold and

you see their gear for sale later. It doesn't matter what machine you get unless you

learn how to get it over gold. Luck can be a good thing too. :laught16:

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OK .. let me see how I can word this.

This is in response to all the good posts and sawmills response to most of them. I started out less than a year ago so I am no pro. As a matter of fact, I can see my own failures in the fact that I don't fully understand, due to lack of experience, where I should look for new placer areas. I have the GB2. I did what sawmill said. I made the purchase of a lower cost but decent GB2 instead of a PI. I did this fully aware of the limitations. I have since then experienced them though. I feel the fact that I went with a VLF is sort of holding me back. By that I mean, I have a good detector for tailing piles and shallow work, and I'm finding some gold. However I cannot (through detecting) gain the placer experience I need to become more succesfull due to the fact that I am limited in where my detector can be succesfull. Having that limitation in my mind alone is a handicap as sawmill put it. I am now starting to get into drywashing and so hopefully that will help me learn the placer world better. This post was an attempt to explain how I have experienced the point sawmill was trying to make firsthand, while at the same time having some success finding gold.

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I was trying to think about two things at once,and meant 2100 instead

of 1600. Don't think anyone wants to detect with the farmer neighbors

IH 1600 Loadstar truck. :laught16: :laught16:

Glad you got something useful from my rambling. I am not a hotshot

detectorist ,but have worked real close with some pretty good operators.

I am more into drywashing and digging. But have found gold from the

get go with several detectors. If I hadn't of had the experience of being

around guys that knew detectors,I would have probably done just like I

pointed out too. :grrr01:

You can learn a lot by watching from the sideline. You can see what really

works before blowing money on an experiment. :ROFL:

I have spent years training equipment operators and truck drivers.

If you want to see a guy struggle ,give him an outdated piece of equipment

to learn with. Some will catch on and make it,but lots will lose interest and

move on. Give them a good updated machine ,that,s easy to use ,and doesn't

have lots of limitations,they catch on quick,actually produce,and stick with it.

Once they see ,that, hey I can do this,then they start learning. :ROFL:

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Sawmill, Jag and all the rest of you,

I'm going to throw in my :twocents: :twocents: worth here. As most of you know I started out hard rock mining till I got hurt in 1999. In 2003, I moved to placer mining, drywashing that is, and in 2005 I decided to try metal detecting. Now Sawmill talks about out outdated equipment and people losing interest and moving on. Well I had my fathers' 2 metal detectors, a Whites TR-63 and a Whites 4900-D Prospector. After about a month of trying to figure out how to keep them ground balanced I gave up. Found way move gold digging dirt and drywashing.

Well I got lucky and got GB-2 and started finding gold. Next I met a gentleman who gave me a good deal on a Minelab Extreme. These 2 make a good combination for me. All that being said, I believe from what I've been able to read from those who have used the Whites TDI, its probably as good as the Extreme and is priced right for most people. Question is would I buy one if I was just starting out? Yes I would mainly because of the price and its ability to use after market coils. Would I buy one today as a third machine? No, I'd buy another drywasher, one a lighter then the Keene's. I'm sorry but, IMHO, day in and day out I will find more gold drywashing than detecting. PLEASE, I'm not trying to start a war here, this is just how I feel about it. Besides I like digging, reminds me sonewhat of mucking which in turn reminds me of hard rocking which I truly miss.

OL'29er :banged: :banged: OLD :miner:

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Sawmaill and Jagdoctor 1 both make good points, I can,t tell you how many top line Vlf & PI machines I have picked up cheap as "Closet Queens" from disgruntled newbies mostly snowbirds. Every spring in Yuma the White Sheet and newspaper start having ads as they sell them and go back north. I depended on them to keep my eBay business going! As an aside to that I sold more of them to Russia , Australia & Europe than the USA.


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29 Prospector

I agree with every thing you said. :laught16:

Other than checking drywasher piles,the only time I use the GM3 is

just to chase a few pickers while letting my dirt dry. Or to check a

rock or vein. The drywasher will get it all and a lot faster.

Its fun to play with the GM3 and dig pickers ,but you would have a heck

of a time trying to compete with a drywasher or highbanker. :twocents:

I haven't found any gold in my drywasher piles except for a flake or two

from panning the tails. So most of the time the GM3 is just along to play

with,not for serious detecting. I am kinda partial to getting my placer gold

in grams and ounces,not random specks. :Huh_anim]:

If I had to depend on a detector for actually getting my gold ,and was

hunting patches ,I would go with a PI or TDI. Nugget hunting and placer

mining are two separate ball games.

For hardrock prospecting,a good PI machine is real handy for locating

gold that is concealed behind the host rock in quartz veins or pockets.

Darn good for locating a vein from the top too,if it has enough gold for

a signal. The VLF comes in real handy for checking rocks,and ore as you

are digging. Works great for picking up the crumbs that get scattered from

breaking into a pocket. A lot of times small species will shatter and get

mixed with the waste on the floor.

I like the VLF if you are working in a hole. It will sniff out tiny gold in exposed

veins,or clinging to the host rock. Plus you are not tied to it ,or messing around

with battery packs ,cords,and harness. If you hit a spot that looks like it needs

some serious checking bring in the trusty PI.

A combination of a VLF and a good PI machine is worth their weight in gold

for pocket hunting. Both have a place and purpose. By having both you can

pretty well handle anything. :twocents:

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