Tesoro's Toltec Ii
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 36
June, 1995 issue of Lost Treasure

Tesoros original target-id detectors known, as the Toltec 80 and 100 were field-proven designs and literally hundreds of customers have provided the factory with their success stories. Building on the performance of these two earlier units, Tesoros engineers, under the guidance of owner Jack Gifford, developed the Toltec II which incorporates many of the technological advances pioneered by his company.


The Toltec II is a silent search VLF-motion discriminator featuring target-identification and depth reading capabilities. It also offers a true non-motion all metal search mode. Mounted on an S-shaped shaft, the Toltecs balance and lightweight of only 3 pounds, 12 ounces allows for extended use without fatigue. The control housing slips off the shaft and includes a built-in clip allowing it to be hip mounted for those who prefer this configuration or to reduce the overall weight of the detector when using a larger search coil.

Both the 8-inch concentric open center search coil and control housing are constructed of a special type of plastic designed by Tesoro which not only reduces the weight of the detector but provides improved shielding from outside electrical interference.

The Toltec II is controlled via three knobs (Sensitivity, Threshold and Discrimination) and two toggle switches (Mode and Retune) on the face of the control housing and a small potentiometer (Ground Adjust) located inside the rear of the housing.

The Sensitivity knob serves a dual purpose. It turns the detector on and varies the strength of the signal being transmitted from the coil. The Toltec II uses Tesoros proprietary High Gain Sensitivity circuitry which improves its sensitivity to low conductivity targets such as gold jewelry and small brass artifacts. This control also activates the battery check circuit each time the unit is turned on.

Tesoros Expanded Discrimination circuitry has also been incorporated into the Toltecs design. When the discriminate control is turned fully counterclockwise, the detector operates almost in an all-metal motion search mode allowing very small or low conductive targets to be detected, which are often, missed by detectors with conventional discrimination circuits.

While the Toltec is capable of being used as a turn-on-and-go detector, the capability to manually adjust the ground balance setting has been provided. The Ground Adjust trimmer control is located beneath a small plug on the rear of the control housing. While the factory setting is satisfactory for most areas, a slight adjustment of this control in highly mineralized sites will provide the increased detection depth needed to find targets previous hunters may have missed.

The target-id meter, mounted permanently on the shaft, is easy to read and well laid-out. The color-coded sections combined with probable target-id labels make it easy to decide whether or not to recover a target. Target depth is provided beneath the target-id section and the depth-reading circuitry is activated when the All-Metal mode is selected. It also features a light which allows the meter to be read even in total darkness useful when searching areas such as a popular beach after the crowds have left for the day. The light is controlled through the toggle switch on the meter housing.

The headphone jack in the lower right is designed to accept any standard 1/4-inch plug. Tesoro strongly recommends the use of headphones to extend battery life and ensure faint, deeply buried targets are not missed due to outside noise.

The Toltec II requires eight AA batteries to operate the detectors circuitry and a 9-volt battery for the backlight feature on the meter. Alkaline batteries will provide between 20 and 30 hours of use. The factory does not recommend using ni-cad rechargeable batteries for either application, due to their lower voltage and rapid drop-off characteristics. Based on the long battery life afforded by the Toltecs circuitry, the expense of ni-cads is not really warranted.


The first spot I tried was my in-laws backyard in upstate Pennsylvania. Considering that it was fairly small and I had hunted it literally dozens of times over the years, I was not really expecting to find much. Starting near the back of the property, I turned on the detector and checked the ground balance setting. A problem I frequently experience when hunting yards in this part of Pennsylvania is concentrated pockets of coal ash and cinders from home furnaces, resulting in highly mineralized ground. I selected this part of the yard to see how the Toltec handled these extreme conditions. A quick adjustment of the ground balance control allowed me to compensate for the mineralization.

Setting the sensitivity at 5 and the discriminate control at 3, I began searching. I had made only a few sweeps when I received my first signal, which registered in the upper green section of the meter. Cutting a 6-inch plug, I was somewhat surprised to find a 1947-dime.

Placing the coin in my pouch, I continued hunting. Less than five feet away, my next good signal produced a 1952 wheat penny at 5 inches. Hoping my luck would continue, I headed toward another large tree. Receiving a signal that registered in the upper Coin section of the meter, I switched to the All-Metal mode to pinpoint the target. Due to the number of targets in the area, I was forced to pinpoint the good target in the motion discriminate mode, which I actually found to be quite easy.

Removing a plug, I saw several rusted nails and bolts from an old garage that had been on the property sticking out of the sides of the hole as well as another silver dime in the bottom. The Toltec II had been able to accurately identify the coin from among the trash targets that surrounded it.

Returning home to Georgia, I called my neighbor, Wayne Dennis, and asked him if he wanted to try hunting a site on a nearby lake which was partially drained for the winter. He had previously expressed an interest in treasure hunting and immediately accepted my offer. The site we chose was an informal swimming area heavily used by local teenagers during the summer.

Arriving at the site we were somewhat disappointed by the amount of trash in the form of pull tabs, beer cans and lawn chairs that littered the area. Opting to use a low discrimination setting to avoid missing any jewelry that might be present, we began searching the area that would have been 6-8 feet deep during the summer. Although signals seemed to be everywhere, the Toltec II was doing an excellent job differentiating trash targets from the good ones.

After checking a few of the Pull Tab readings, Wayne was able to ignore almost all of the trash signals by using the meter. The first 45 minutes produced almost $4 worth of coins and a set of car keys, as well as trash, which included melted aluminum and large pieces of cans. As Wayne headed farther away from the shore, the trash targets became less common and the number of coins he found increased.

Suddenly, as he swept the coil over a flat rock, he received a solid signal that registered right at the edge of the Nickel/Pull Tab area on the meter. Moving the rock aside and scraping some dirt away, the glint of gold was unmistakable. Reaching down, Wayne carefully freed a beautiful 14 KT gold necklace that later weighed in at just under a quarter of an ounce.

One of the last sites that I tried was a heavily wooded area near Atlanta that had been the scene of a Civil War skirmish during June 1864. Although it had been heavily hunted, finds are still being made if you are willing to spend the time listening for the signals that most treasure hunters tend to miss. After making a slight adjustment to the ground balance setting, I was able to hunt with no falsing while achieving excellent penetration in the mineralized red clay.

An hour of hunting produced three minie balls and a piece of lead that had been carved by a soldier some 130 years ago. These targets had come from depths of up to 8 inches deep, and all had produced clear, solid signals. As a side-note, most relic hunters using Tesoro detectors opt for the 10.5 inch coil which provides better ground coverage and increased depth as compared to the standard coil.


The Toltec II has been designed to provide treasure hunters with a metal detector that offers dependable, above-average performance at a price that wont break the family budget. Even a beginner should be able to make worthwhile finds in a short period of time in the right location.

With optional search coils ranging in size from 4 to 10 1/2 inches, the Toltec II can be used effectively in a wide variety of treasure hunting applications. The ability to manually adjust the ground balance setting further enhances the Toltecs capabilities to search virtually any area regardless of how severe the mineralization might be.

The Toltec II sells for $599 and comes with Tesoros lifetime warranty. For more information on the Toltec II or any of the other metal detectors and accessories in the Tesoro line, as well as the name of your nearest full-service dealer, call the factory at (602) 771-2646 or write them at 715 White Spar Road, Prescott, Ariz. 86303. Be sure to mention you read about the versatile new Toltec II in Lost Treasure.
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