With each passing year, I find I am becoming more impressed by quality, simplicity, utility and performance than I am with "bells, whistles and gimmicks."
Perhaps its due to a "been there/done that" viewpoint, but I think its mostly because I am now a much more experienced and confident detectorist and know precisely what equipment I need to get the job done . . . without "overkill."
Fishers new 1236-X2 metal detector is the type of "machine" that I feel very confident and comfortable using. It is quality built and it is extremely easy to operate, but has plenty of "punch," performance and versatility.
The new 1236-X2 is Fishers latest version of its long-popular 1235-X detector. Those who have used a 1235-X know that it is a no-frills detector that works well, and the new 1236-X2 does that and more.
At first glance, the 1236-X2 may look like the 1235-X, but it has several unique and valuable improvements. Of which, I believe, the most notable and beneficial, is the new Silencer circuit and switch.
The 1236-X2 is a silent-search discriminating metal detector operating at a relatively low 5.7 KHz transmit frequency. It is capable of operating in either of two distinct discrimination modes.
The normal, primary motion-mode, is the VLF 2nd Derivative Discrimination mode. The other, secondary, mode is the VLF 3rd Derivative Discrimination or Silencer mode.
Four rotary controls three of them are multifunctional and two switches, make up the control panel of the 1236-X2. A front-panel 1/4 inch stereo headphone jack is also provided.
Another nice feature of the 1236-X2 is that it can be used either pole or hipmounted. A built-in bracket beneath the detector control box makes it quite easy to use either configuration.
Two drop-in, 9-volt batteries supply power for the detector and there are no wires or contacts to connect, or break. The battery cover doors have unique, well-fitting, easy to open and close latches that are held captive when open, so they cannot accidentally fall off or become lost.
Starting from the upper left corner of the front panel the controls are:
Sensitivity This is a multifunction control. At its full counterclockwise position, a slight switch detent can be felt as the control enters the Battery test position. In this position, the 1236-X2 will produce an audio tone with its intensity indicating the strength of the batteries. A low or absent audio tone indicates a weak or dead battery.
Volume The volume control is also a dual-function control. It powers the unit on and off and also sets the audio volume level delivered to the internal speaker or headphones. It is marked with the numbers "1" to "10."
Frequency This is a valuable feature for those who participate in treasure hunts or who happen to search with other detectorists. This control sets the operating frequency of the 1236-X2 to eliminate interference from nearby detectors. Its "0" setting is used for normal operation and centers the transmit frequency to 5.7KHz. Adjusting the control higher or lower will usually reduce or eliminate the offending interference. The operating range of this control is from 5KHz to 5.9KHz.
DISC Another multifunction control. When the DISC(rimination) control is fully rotated counterclockwise to the IRON position, the 1236-X2 is set to reject common iron trash and small nails. The DISC control is labeled from "0" to "10." At its "0" setting, all metals are detected.
Silencer This, to me, is the best new feature of the 1236-X2 and it works well. Because of their high sensitivity, many Fisher detectors I have used in trashy and mineralized soil have produced noise and instability. Reducing the sensitivity helps, but it also decreases depth. The 1236-X2 now has a 3rd derivative Silencer discrimination mode which eliminates the "pops" and "clicks" heard when searching in extremely trashy areas or mineralized ground. More on this to follow.
Pinpoint When pushed and held, this activates the no-motion VCO pinpointing function. A located target responds with increasing volume and pitch. As mentioned in previous Fisher field tests, this is not a preferred or favored pinpoint audio sound for me, but it does work well. Many users actually like the intense volume and constantly changing VCO audio tones while pinpointing a target. Honestly, I find it to be annoying and distracting!
Field Use and Findings
One of the best features of the Fisher 1236-X2 is its operating simplicity. All Fisher detectors are easy to use. Within minutes, I was set up and ready to go! I started detecting using the factory "PRESET" settings.
I was searching an old park and selected an area near some large, old, Oak trees to begin. It was near this very location that I unearthed a 1794 half-cent several years earlier.
Within minutes, I had my first signal, a Wheat cent. I continued to search for about an hour and other than a handful of Wheat cents and clad, nothing worthwhile was found.
At that point, I decided to move up near an old picnic shelter to see how well the 1236-X2 would "work the trash." I immediately noticed a lot of pops and clicks as I made my way through the years of accumulated junk. I decided to switch on the Silencer to see if it would smooth out the audio signal. It was like a night and day difference. With the silencer on, the detector became very smooth and quiet with hardly any pops or clicks heard. I was impressed.
Next, I moved over to the edge of the gravel parking area. This area was filled with "gravel" obtained from the local steel mills. This type of gravel (slag) is full of small iron particles and mineralization a very difficult type of ground to detect. I switched the silencer off and took a few sweeps across the gravel. I was bombarded by pops and clicks all of them from the bad ground. I then switched the silencer back on and took a few more sweeps. The detector became very quiet with only a few ground signals heard now and then. What a difference.
I began slowly working my way through this normally undetectable area and soon heard a good, solid "hit" worth digging. It turned out to be a silver 1958 Roosevelt dime. It was less than two-inches deep, which told me that no one else had detected here before. Most likely, because their detector could not handle the severe ground and bombardment of iron and mineral signals.
Although the Silencer mode works well when searching trashy or mineralized areas, I do not recommend using it when searching clean areas or when searching for deep or small items. It could eliminate the tiny signal coming from a deep target or small item. Use it only as needed.
A week later, I visited the site of and old 1920's ballfield/picnic ground. Now wooded, I had previously uncovered some early-date Mercs there and thought it would be a good place to try the 1236-X2 "in-the-woods."
I decided to search in more of a "relic" mode and set the 1236-X2s DISC control at "2." I searched for about an hour with no success. I began to look around a bit, when I spotted an area about 100 yards away that had a few old Apple trees. I began to work a pattern in that direction and within 100 feet or so of the trees, I had a solid hit that turned out to be a mint 1939 Merc dime, recovered at a depth of about 6 inches. I must note that the 1236s audio hits quite solid and loud.
I spent the next two hours searching the "Apple orchard" and recovered another Mercury dime, a 1937, and three Wheat cents. Both dimes are in excellent condition and must have been lost in the 1930's. The 1236-X2 nailed the two Mercs and proved to be a good woods detector, being lightweight, easy to handle and effective.
With its compact, lightweight packaging, excellent mechanical design and very effective electronic circuit, the 1236-X2 is easy to recommend. I dont think you could go wrong with this choice of a metal detector. The retail price of the new 1236-X2 is $499.95 and additional information can be obtained at Fisher Research Laboratory, 200 W. Willmott Rd., Los Banos, CA 93635. TEL (209) 826-3292, FAX (209) 826-0416. Internet address http://www.fisherlab.com email: info@ fisherlab.com.
As mentioned above, the new Silencer mode works extremely well and is sure to open up many trashy and difficult search areas that were previously non-detectable. The preset iron discrimination setting makes the 1236-X2 a good choice for relic hunting too.
The 1236-X2 is very easy to use and makes for an effective detector at any skill or experience level or type of detecting desired. With its front-panel adjustable Frequency control, it is also an excellent choice for treasure and competition hunts.
If it had a normal, non VCO, pinpoint audio signal like on the 1266-X I would easily rate the new 1236-X2 as one of the best easy-to-use detectors that I have ever used. As currently available, I give it a solid "9" rating!