Sun Ray Detector Electron-ics has been producing innovative metal detector accessories for more than a decade and has developed the reputation of building quality products and backing them with service after the sale. Ralph Degrew, founder of Sun Ray, is an avid detectoristcombining that experience with the input received from hundreds of treasure hunters worldwide, he has developed an extensive line of search coils, pinpointing probes, headphones and other items designed to help detectorists find more when they head out into the field.
One of the most popular items marketed by Sun Ray has been an in-line pinpointing probe for the Minelab Sovereign and Explorer models. With the flip of a switch, users had a one-inch probe that worked like a small coil and helped them accurately pinpoint buried targets.
After years of listening to the requests for similar probes from non-Minelab owners, Sun Ray developed probes for some other brands including the extremely popular Whites DFX and MXT models. This product report covers the new Sun Ray Invader DX-1 Target Probe intended for these two models.
Features The DX-1 Target Probe has been designed for Whites DFX and MXT users that are looking for a tool that will help them quickly pinpoint detected targets, recover them and move on to the next one in order to maximize their recovery rate in the field.
The DX-1 consists of a waterproof 9x1 PVC probe, a cable connecting the probe to a switch box and the switch box which is connected in-line between the search coil and the control housing. The switch box snaps onto the shaft of the DFX/MXT and the toggle that switches between the stock coil and the probe is easily accessible for right or left handed users.
When a target is detected, the target's location is approximated, as one would normally do, i.e. pulling in the trigger and criss-crossing the area. Once the location has been determined, simply set the detector down, flip the toggle switch to probe and use the probe to accurately locate the target. It has a range of about 3, so if the target is deeper than that, you will need to remove a plug and insert the probe into the hole to find the target.
An advantage the DX-1 has over other hand-held pinpointing probes is that since it is actuality a small search coil, the detector's visual and audio target ID capabilities are retained; i.e., the probe will distinguish between multiple targets in the hole in the same way the stock coil would. Another advantage is that you never have to worry about finding the batteries in the pinpointer dead since the DX-1 is powered from the detector's batteries.
The entire assembly weighs 11 ounces with the probe and cable making up 6 ounces of the total weight. The standard location to mount the probe is on the shaft forward of the meter; however, if you feel that this location adversely affects the weight & balance of the machine, Sun Ray sells an optional mounting bracket that attaches to the side of the control housing and moves the additional weight under the forearm.
Field Test One of the most common complaints heard from detectorists is, I can't seem to find the target once I've detected it. This can be caused by several factors including unfamiliarity with the detector's pinpoint circuit, multiple targets in close proximity to one another, a small target that blends into the soil or a target that is inadvertently pushed on edge when trying to recover it to name just a few. The in-line probes from Sun Ray have been designed to address that comment.
Installing the DX-1 on a DFX borrowed from fellow detectorist Rick Baker was a snap and took less than three minutes even with the optional box mount that had come with the test unit. Checking several test items before heading out confirmed that the DX-1 would accurately identify targets both visually and audibly at depths ranging from 2 to 3. As stated in the instructions however, while the non-motion pinpoint mode did work when the DX-1 was selected, the depth indications displayed on the LCD were not correct (this is expected due to the small diameter of the probe).
I took the DFX/DX-1 combination to several nearby schools and found the probe did help me recover targets, especially those that were just under the surface. Using the DX-1 I could quickly zero-in on those shallow targets and easily pop them out with a brass probe I carry. On deeper targets I found that the DFX's coil could be accurately centered over the target and the depth reading allowed me to remove a plug with the target visible in the bottom of the plug or in the hole without assistance from the probe. In high-trash situations, the probe may have proved to be more useful.
I returned the DFX to Rick Baker who took it out several times with the DX-1 attached in both the shaft and box mounted configurations. The first outing was in search of a Confederate campsite in central South Carolina. He said that the probe had helped him find several small percussion caps that were the same color as the soil they lain in for more than 140 years. Rick said that the target ID readings were dead-on and the DX-1 did help him sniff out targets in less time than it might have normally taken. With the probe mounted on the shaft, he said that the cable would occasionally get snagged on underbrush in the wooded area they were searching; however, snapping it into the box mount eliminated that concern. He took it to Myrtle Beach for some extended hunting; however, the extra weight, albeit slight, was clearly evident after several hours of swinging the DFX along the beach and he removed it for the remainder of his stay there.
Just before finishing this report, I took the DFX / DX-1 to a local park that had some age to it as well as several sections that were quite trashy. As before, I found that signals detected in areas free from multiple targets were readily pinpointed simply by the use of the DFX's pinpoint mode.
When I ventured into some of the trashy sections, I was able to distinguish the good target from the bad targets once I opened up the hole. Several coins including a silver dime and some wheat cents wound up in my pouch in short order from these areas. I did find the weight of the probe mounted on the shaft noticeable after an hour or so and was glad I had the optional box mount location to switch over to.
Summary The Sun Ray Invader DX-1 Target Probe does exactly what it claims to doenables users to quickly switch between the shaft-mounted coil and the one-inch probe to zero in on targets once they have been detected. The fact that it does not require batteries, provides full audio & visual target ID information and fits into even the smallest of holes are definite pluses. Conversely, it does add some weight to the detector (which may be a factor to some users) and it only works on the DFX or MXT (so if you have several detectors, you will need to look at probes for each of them).
The DX-1 Target Probe retails for $179.95 and the optional box-mount bracket lists for $19.95. The probe comes with a one-year warranty.
For additional information on the Sun Ray line of accessories or the name of your nearest dealer, contact them 106 North Main, Hazelton, Iowa 50641, call them at (319) 636-2244 or visit their website at http://www.sunraydetector.com and be sure to mention you read about the new DX-1 probe in Lost Treasure.