Garrett Electronics Gtax 1250

By Joe Patrick
From page 28 of the September, 1999 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 1999 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


In the brief history of electronic metal detectors, few detectors have been introduced that were truly innovative. Usually, a new concept, design and/or electronic circuit is set in motion by some technically innovative individual or company and then, in time, they might license the technology to other companies. Likewise, some designs are reverse engineered to be similar but different enough that a company may produce their own version of the original design at liberty.

About once every five to ten years, someone produces a totally new, innovative metal detector that takes the detecting world by storm! Garrett Metal Detectors has done this many times and several years ago, they did it with the release of their GTA series detectors ... most notably, the GTA 1000 model.

This was a radically different detector. Compact, lightweight, ergonomic, technically advanced and yet very user-friendly and easy to operate. It looked different and it was different. I remember looking at the ads for the GTA 1000 with much interest ... I had to try one. It wasnt until my detecting partner Rick mentioned the same thing to me several weeks later that we both looked at each other and said Lets order a couple.

For well over one year, we used those GTAs and made many outstanding finds and had a ball using them. We both agreed that it was one of the best all-around, easy-to-use detectors that we had ever searched with. To this day, it is still one of our favorite grab-and-go metal detectors.

As much as we liked our GTA 1000s, we just couldnt seem to find coins any deeper than about 6-7 inches. We eventually gave in to the deeper detectors then available, selling our GTAs.

Just recently, Garrett has further refined the GTA circuit design and has introduced a new model the GTAx 1250 it has the best of the original GTA 1000 features, plus some additional new features and circuit enhancements that improve performance and depth. Garrett, once again, has my attention!

Features

In keeping current with the most recent electronic technology, the GTAx 1250 uses Surface-mount printed circuit board construction and mircoprocessor-controlled Digital Signal Processing (DSP). The patented Digital Signal Processing technology provides extremely accurate multiple channel filtering, continuous adaptivity to hunting speeds and automatic ground tracking to provide superior depth, discrimination and pinpointing performance. The GTAx 1250 is a 7 kHz, notch-type metal detector, with 24 individual, user-programmable ID notches (target categories) and features Garretts Power Master Circuitry for extra depth. All menus, functions and target ID readings are displayed on a large, easy-to-read LCD graphic display.

While air-testing the GTAx 1250, I immediately noticed that its target identification seemed to be much faster and more accurate than I remember with the GTA 1000. Its not that the 1000 isnt good, but this seemed noticeably improved. I particularly observed this on deep marginal targets.

Garretts Ramrod S stem pole assembly with handle-mounted control/display box makes up the hardware portion of the detector and it weighs a light 3 pounds 4 ounces. The detector has excellent balance and is quite easy to use all day with little fatigue.

The battery pack is removable and hip-mountable if desired, further reducing the detector weight by approximately 1 pound. Two drop-in battery packs are supplied, each holding four AA batteries. Expect up to 35 hours of battery life ... less if the Backlight option is used. Rechargeable batteries are available as an option.

Controls/Functions: The GTAx 1250s control panel is very functional, well detailed and logical. Eight touchpads control its entire programming and operation. The touchpads are labeled: Menu/Scroll controls menu selection. Power/Hold to Reset powers the detector on and off. Holding for 10 seconds returns the detector to its original factory settings. Accept/Reject turns the selected discrimination notch on or off to accept or reject a target. Pinpoint/Coin Depth press and hold to pinpoint targets and to measure coin depth. Operate returns the detector to the operate mode. Last Mode switches between the current and last mode used.

There is also a - and a + touchpad which controls cursor movement and the ability to enable or disable some functions. Once in the programming and options display mode, a variety of features can be selected. The GTAx 1250 has five search modes: Coins; Jewelry; Relics; Zero; and Custom. Any of these modes can be modified as needed while detecting, but they automatically return to their preset program once the detector is powered off, then back on again. Only the Custom mode retains its settings through power off. In addition to these five search modes, several other options are available. The Sensitivity, Audio Threshold and Volume can be adjusted up or down as needed. The audio Tone can be adjusted from 275 to 710 Hz. If you detect at the beach, Salt Elimination can be activated to eliminate interference caused by wetted salt. Salt Elimination allows the system to change digital filters to work in a mode especially designed for this highly conductive environment.

New to the GTAx 1250 is a Backlight feature. The backlight is activated automatically each time the detector is placed in the Menu mode and turned off upon exiting, unless the user has selected to keep it on.

One of my favorite features of the GTAx 1250 is its Tri-Level Audio system. It is an excellent, valuable feature that greatly contributes to more productive and successful detecting. With Tri-Level audio on, targets in the iron range produce a low tone, targets in the mid-range produce a medium tone and targets in the coin range produce a Belltone audio signal.

On large or too-close-to-the-coil surface targets, the 1250 produces a staccato audio signal to indicate detector overload. Raising the searchcoil and rescanning will then produce the correct audio and ID reading.

For those who like to attend club or competition hunts, it has a selectable Frequency option with one of four different frequencies being selectable. This feature helps to reduce or eliminate interference from other detectors operating at or near the same frequency.

Rounding out the GTAx 1250s list of features and options is a real-time Battery Gauge which clearly shows the status of the batteries at a glance.

Field Use/Findings

With five search modes available, hunting with a metal detector couldnt be easier. All a user needs to do is select the most appropriate search mode and press the Operate touchpad. Thats it! All settings are automatically made. The preset search modes will get you started and will work very well for most sites detected. Some detectorists may choose to search only this way and it will work well most of the time.

My first time out with the GTAx 1250 was like being with an old friend. This detector works well. It is smooth operating, it discriminates well and its audio and metered ID is accurate. It is so easy to use and program that it makes detecting a real pleasure.

Having only a few hours to detect, I visited a local park one of my testing grounds and began searching using the Coins mode. Within minutes, I had my first target ... a wheat cent from about five inches depth. Continuing to search, I encountered a loud, shallow target that read 7 on the ID display. Looking down at the ground, I saw the white top of an aluminum screwcap glaring back at me. Taking another careful sweep, I reconfirmed the 7 reading and then pushed the reject touchpad ... screwcaps were now totally rejected!

After digging a few more wheaties and some newer coins, I finally heard a solid but weaker Belltone signal that IDd at 8+/10. Pressing the pinpoint touchpad, the coin depth indicated 7 inches. What a pleasant surprise. A 1917 Mercury dime emerged from about seven inches deep in pristine condition. This was to be the only silver recovered on this outing.

The following weekend I visited an old home site close to where I live. The weeds were beginning to thicken, so I hit the old apple orchard, which was still weed free. I set the GTAx 1250 in its Zero mode, then rejected the first three notches, to eliminate small iron targets.

I searched this way for about four hours, recovering a variety of items including; two old flat buttons, an ornate suspender buckle, a Chinese cash coin, an 1866 Italian 10 Centesimi, two wheat cents and a 1964 Roosevelt dime.

Conclusion

Garrett has done it again! The GTAx 1250 is an extremely versatile, quality-built, easy-to-operate detector with enhanced performance. Because of its extreme versatility, it is definitely an if I could only own one detector detector.

If you take some time to use and analyze the GTAx 1250, you will discover the genius and thought that went into its mechanical and electrical design. As someone who has been involved in electronics and the electronics industry for over 30 years, I can tell you that it impresses me.

It is a fun detector to use ... capable of locating a lot of treasure for its user. It is an excellent choice for someone just starting in the hobby who wants easy, turn-on-and-go detecting now, and expanded options once they become more proficient. It is also a good choice for anyone with years of experience who wants simplistic operation coupled with very good performance.

At a retail price of $749.95, you get a lot of detector for your money! Each GTAx 1250 comes complete with an 8.5 inch Crossfire searchcoil, instructional video and a 24-month parts and labor warranty.

For additional information contact: Garrett Metal Detectors, 1881 W. State Street, Garland, TX 75042. Phone (972) 494-6151. FAX (972) 494-1881. Emailatgmdi [dot] com. Website: www.garrett.com.