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I sold my GTI2500 and then purchased a ATGold and also a 4.5" Super Sniper coil. I also have a Infinium LS. For the first time I was finding bird shot using the ATGold. I know if I'm finding target that small, a gold nugget is close. I like to hunt in the Randsburg and Dale areas. Is it better to manually ground balance the detector or leave it in auto? In the hot ground is it safe to use Disc1? We are headed to the El Paso range on Sunday and I will try any recommendations.

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I have minimal time on my AT Gold for nuggets but I manually GB and set a range for it to operate within. As to Disc 1 it defeats the all metal mode that you want to really stay in. It's designed for gold by using the all metal mode. Play with the threshold settings too, it really helps but also can be noisy if set too high.

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I used it yesterday in auto ground balance. I tried to manually ground balance with the 4.5" coil but it doesn't seem to change. All I had wa silence while trying to balance manually. When I do it with the 5x8 coil it changes. The 4.5" coil does hit on very small targets. What do you think?

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I glued 4 small nuggets on poker chips to test. The smallest is .011g, .018g, 06g and a .08g. I tested them in the field next to the house in very mild DG soil. The 2 small ones are so faint of a signal that they may not even show in hot ground. The .06g rings a nice signal 1" to 1.5" in the ground and 3" above ground. I also tried a manual ground balance VS auto ground balance. I get a stronger signal on the targets with auto ground balance. Anyone have other out there with small targets?

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It drives me nuts when metal detector manufacturers of all people use confused terminology.

Automatic ground balance has almost always meant automatic ground tracking. The detector automatically adjusts the ground balance as it goes.

Or we have had manual ground balance, where the operator manipulates a control up or down to set the ground balance.

Most detectors with automatic ground balance allow the tracking system to be "locked" leaving the ground balance wherever the automatic tracking last had it. It stays there until being "unlocked" back into tracking mode.

So then came "Grab" buttons where detectors are locked but the tracking system is working in the background. Hitting the grab button updates the locked ground balance setting without having to switch to automatic and back again.

The AT does not have a true automatic or ground tracking ground balance. You can manually set the ground balance, or you can enable a temporary automatic system and pump the coil at the ground. The system sets the ground balance for you, but it is then locked and stays there after you release the button. It does not track the ground as you go so is not what most people think of when referring to automatic ground balance.

The main difference from a user standpoint is that automatic ground tracking can tune out very tiny or very deep targets since the circuit is constantly trying to eliminate ground signals. Manual, locked, or the AT so-called automatic all are adjusted momentarily but fixed wherever set until adjusted again, and you chose when that is.

What this means is there is no difference with the AT between manual or the so-called automatic ground balance settings except where they end up. If the machine appears more sensitive after doing the auto ground balance routine it just means it is picking better settings then you are manually. Some auto systems do allow the detector to set a finer balance then manual controls. For instance a manual push button may adjust the GB number up or down one increment with each push. So you set it at 86 or 87 for instance. The auto may internally be setting at 86.5 which cannot be done manually. But it is unlikely that would make a difference discernable in the field.

Ground balance not changing means the system is happy where it is at. The ground balance changes with different coils, so one coil may not need an adjustment while another might. From the manual "Note: If the AT Gold's Ground Balance setting does not change during the auto ground balancing process, the detector is either sufficiently ground balanced already or the current ground exhibits such neutral mineralization that the settings will not change."

I am pointing this out just so you know you have a fixed ground balance setting that can be set two ways. You can set it yourself, or let the machine set it for you, but once set, it is not doing anything different. It locks at that chosen point and the only difference is how you get there.

I guess now that Garrett is messing with us I will have to differentiate manual from automatic from tracking. The AT does not have automatic ground tracking.

Steve Herschbach DetectorProspector.com

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Very good response. I've read it a few times. After using the machine today it became apparent that I still needed to ground balance when conditions changed. I do really like the ATGold machine. It is very simple to use and I can adjust it to pick up very small targets, even the .018g test nugget I put on a poker chip. The 4.5" coil does change GB with no problem and it is true it will not change if the ground condition remains the same. I had allot of fun using the detector today and found my first nugget with it. Thank you for advice and guidance.

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