Fisher Research Laboratory is today's oldest metal detector manufacturer, founded by Dr. Gerhard Fisher in 1931. Things have come a long way since his company built its first detector, the Metallscope, nicknamed the "M-Scope" (that name has remained a part of every detector Fisher produces) with Fisher's detectors taking advantage of continuously improving technology and in-house engineering expertise.
Features such as silent-search and the now-common S-handle are just a few of Fisher's innovations. A few years ago, Fisher introduced the ID Excel which offered users a light-weight, simple-to-use target-ID detector.
Listening to feedback from users worldwide, Fisher built on the ID Excel platform and developed the ID Edge which offered additional performance and features. Having used Fisher detectors for more than 3 decades, I was looking forward to giving the new ID Edge a try.
Features The ID Edge is a single-frequency VLF detector operating at 6.25 kHz with multiple search modes, a non-motion pinpoint mode, audio and visual target ID and a drop-in battery system. Features added to the ID Edge include notch discrimination, three factory preset search modes designed to help users easily find specific types of targets, continuous visual target ID and enhanced in-field performance.
The ID Edge features seven touch pads and an LCD meter on face of the control panel. The on/off touch pad is self-explanatory (and also activates the battery strength indication which displays when the unit powers up).
Pressing the menu touchpad activates the menu mode and allows adjustment of the discrimination, volume or sensitivity levels through the use of the up/down arrow touch pads. The discrimination circuit can be adjusted from -36 (no targets rejected) to +22 (all targets except for copper and silver rejected). The target ID LCD display reads out from -36 (ferrous items) to +36 (silver items). This information is provided in both the discrimination and all-metal search modes which is extremely useful for relic or beach hunters that may want to hunt in all-metal looking for maximum detection depth while still obtaining target ID information. In addition to the target ID values, the ID Edge offers four different audio tones when in the discriminate search modes to help identify targets prior to recovering them. Ferrous (iron) items produce a low tone with foil, nickels and small gold items producing a low-medium tone, pull tabs, screw caps and zinc/Indian Head pennies a medium tone and copper or silver items a high tone.
The sensitivity can be adjusted from 1-10 and Volume from 1-9. The discrimination and sensitivity settings are depicted via icons that look like conventional knobs while the volume setting appears as digital value when the adjustment is being made in the center of the LCD screen. All adjustments are made though the use of up and down arrow touch pads.
A useful addition to the ID Edge are the three factory preset discrimination settings which were developed based on extensive testing on specific targets. The abbreviations in parentheses below show what is displayed on the LCD screen when selecting the specific option. The factory presets include Old Coins (oC), Gold Jewelry (JL) and New Coin (nC). For those hunters that want a little more control over what is accepted or rejected, the ID Edge incorporates a notch circuit which works in conjunction with the conventional discriminate circuit. Remember that the discriminate control starts rejecting targets at -36 and as the amount of discrimination is increased, everything below that point is rejected. The notch mode is a second, independent segment which can be placed over a specific type of target to reject it. This allows a lower level of discrimination to be used; i.e. set to foil, while using notch to eliminate bothersome trash such as pull tabs while still detecting nickels and most gold jewelry. The pre-defined notches include Foil (FL), Nickels (5c), Pull Tabs (Pt) and Zinc Pennies (1c).
For optimum performance, the ID Edge requires that it be ground-balanced at each location; however, unlike some manual ground balance detectors that require a complex and often confusing procedure to function properly, ground balancing the ID Edge couldn't be easier. Simply lower the coil to the ground, press and hold the auto touch pad for two seconds, raise the coil six inches off the ground and release the touch pad. If you get a single tone, the unit is ground balanced. If you hear three tones, the coil was over a piece of metal in the ground or the process was not successful--simply move a few feet away and repeat the procedure.
The mode touch pad switches between the ID Edge's two search modes; i.e. non-motion all metal and motion discrimination (the selected search mode is indicated on right-hand side of the LCD display).
The pinpoint circuitry is activated by pressing and holding the pinpoint touch pad. The meter indication takes a little time to get used to in that the display ranges from 99 (meaning the target is very close to the coil) to 0; i.e. the deeper the target, the lower the number. A good thumb-rule is that 80 equals two inches deep; 50 equals five inches deep--an increment of 10 is approximately one inch on a coin-sized target. A little practice in a test garden will pay off in the field when it comes to pinpointing and recovering targets.
The ID Edge is powered by two nine-volt batteries that drop into the rear of the control housing and offer 20+ hours of use. While rechargeable batteries can be used, Fisher recommends only using alkaline batteries for optimum performance. New batteries display [9U] on the LCD while batteries at their end of life will indicate [6U] which shows battery voltage. When the batteries need to be replaced, the LCD will flash "LO" and a wavering tone will be heard through the speaker or headphones. A standard 1/4" headphone jack is located on the rear of the control housing. Based on its location, a 90-degree angle plug on the headphone cable is preferable.
Field Test Timing never seems to be ideal when field testing new equipment and the ID Edge would be no exception. Having only a short window of opportunity in which to test the detector due to publishing deadlines, I was looking forward to doing some serious hunting in central Pennsylvania during our visit for the Thanksgiving holiday. Mother Nature wanted to make sure I put the ID Edge to the acid test and threw me 20F temperatures, snow squalls and freezing rain during the week.
This area is always a good test of a detector since being located in the heart of coal mining area of Pennsylvania, the ground contains mineralized coal cinders. The yards in the small town we stay in have turned up some great finds over the years, but the ground challenges even many of the top-of-the-line units I've used.
Opting to give one of the Factory Preset modes a try, I selected the Old Coins setting, set the sensitivity to 7 and ground balanced the detector in my mother-in-law's backyard. It was obvious after just a few sweeps that the sensitivity was too high based on the falsing and chattering that I received, so I dropped it to 5 and finally to 4 in order to quiet the ID Edge down. The ID Excel had demonstrated the same characteristic which required a low sensitivity setting in hot ground; however, I'd found that even at a setting below 5, decent detection depth was still obtained. The first repeatable signal in the backyard produced a high tone and a 30 on the LCD. Switching to pinpoint, the target registered 42 or about 6" deep. Removing a deep plug, I could tell that the ID Edge was still detecting deep targets at low settings. I picked a 1954 silver dime from the bottom of the hole--not a bad first find from a well-hunted site!
A few signals that produced target ID's that jumped around turned out to be burnt metallic trash, and as I validated during the rest of my field testing, targets that varied by more than one or two numbers were overwhelmingly not worth recovering (When beach or relic hunting, it's best to dig any target that registers in the range of what you are looking for even if it jumps due to the wide range of target shapes and compositions you might come across).
Despite the cold weather and snow, I did manage to hunt a few local spots and found that the ID Edge did a decent job handling the highly mineralized ground. I located close to 30 coins at sites I and others had hunted extensively in the past before the ground froze. At some sites the ID Edge falsed even at lower sensitivity settings due to the ground conditions; however, by raising the coil an inch or so, it did run much quieter and deep targets (6" to 7") were still detectable.
Returning to the warmer climate in South Carolina, I spent some time at local schools and parks trying out both the New Coins (nC) factory preset as well as a combination of discrimination and notch settings. The weight and balance of the ID Edge let me quickly cover large areas without tiring and close to $7 in clad coins found their way into my pouch with very little trash. The pull tab notch eliminated virtually all tabs in one park while still allowing me to recover 11 nickels in short order.
The last site I took the ID Edge to was an abandoned farmhouse about 10 miles from home that dated back to the late 1800's. Thankfully temperatures had already dipped down into the 30's which had killed off some of the underbrush and gotten rid of the "critters" which had kept me from hunting this site all summer. Opting for the all-metal search mode, I setup the ID Edge and started hunting between the house and the barn. As would be expected in a farm setting, signals were plentiful; however, since the ID Edge offers visual target ID even in all-metal, the ferrous trash was easily discernible. The numbers jumped around a bit more than in discriminate; however, good signals could be picked out from amongst the trash. I could see that relic or beach hunters will find this search mode useful in that good targets aren't masked by rejected trash. Several 'keepers' were recovered including six coins dating back to 1926, a silver-plated spoon and a brass key.
Summary The new ID Edge offers surprising performance in a small package weighing in at 2 3/4 pounds. The one-touch ground balance system eliminates any potential maladjustment which ensures even novices can obtain the advantages the detector offers. The factory preset modes do exactly what they were designed for allowing the ID Edge to be used right out of the box with no complicated programming or adjustments. Over-adjusting the sensitivity or scrubbing the coil on the ground in areas of high mineralization does result in some chatter; however, as described in this report, this condition is easily addressed. The only other comment would be related to the touch pads in that they are a little stiff and at times, require "just the right touch" to get the desired function or adjustment to take place.
The ID Edge retails for $799.95 and comes with an 8" open coil and the standard Fisher Limited Lifetime warranty. Optional accessories from Fisher include a 10.5" concentric coil, hard or soft carrying cases, coil covers and headphones. A smaller coil is currently not available.
For more information on the ID Edge or any of the detectors in the Fisher line, contact the factory at 200 W. Willmott Road, Los Banos, CA 93635; call them at (800) 672-6731 or visit their website at www.FisherLab.com and be sure to say you read about the new ID Edge in Lost Treasure magazine!