Lately, there seems to be a lot of interest in handheld pinpointing metal detectors and a rapid increase in the number of companies that produce them!
Its easy to understand why a device that can make detectorists more skillful and prevent or reduce target damage is becoming so widely popular with scores of detectorists worldwide.
These small, electronic mini-detectors are designed mainly to help detectorists quickly, easily and precisely pinpoint and locate a target during retrieval. Not only are they claimed to speedup target recovery, but also to eliminate or reduce target damage due to inaccurate, off-center pinpointing which can sometimes occur when using a metal detector alone especially when large searchcoils are used.
We have all, at one time or another, experienced the pain of scratching, damaging or even destroying a prized or valuable find during retrieval and somehow, it always seems to happen on the best recoveries.
This field test is about a new and unique type of pinpointing probe, the Vibra-Probe 360. This is the first pinpointing detector that I have used or tested, so I do not have actual field experience with other brands currently available. I have however, read the specifications and claims of other advertised brands and can readily see that the Vibra-Probe 360 does indeed have some unique features and abilities in comparison.
I must point out that pinpoint probes do not have anywhere near the depth capability of a standard metal detector. They are not designed to be deep-seeking nor can they be. If you think of them as miniature metal detectors using a one-inch or smaller coil, you will immediately understand why they are so depth limited. In my estimation, a first-rate pinpoint probes main requirements are accuracy, repeatability and reliability.
The Vibra-Probe 360 is solidly constructed of one-piece heavy-gauge plastic and is completely waterproof to a depth of six feet. Overall, it measures about 15 inches in length with a slender 7 inches long front probe section used for the actual target pinpointing.
It can be used in rain, mud or water. Its only opening is where the battery is installed, which when in operation, is sealed by a unique watertight screw-in compression seal quite innovative. At the end of your detecting day, simply rinse or hose-off the Vibra-Probe with no worry of water damage or infiltration. and never worry about detecting in the rain with it.
One of the most impressive features of the Vibra-Probe 360 is that it is a pulse induction device and can be used effectively on land, in fresh or salt water, black sand or any type of soil. It is a microprocessor-controlled device, totally automatic and requires no adjustment or tuning of any kind. A single push and hold (waterproof) switch controls its entire operation.
By now, you may be wondering why it is named the Vibra-Probe 360? Well, unlike all other currently available pinpointing probes, which operate by producing an audio tone or illuminating an L.E.D. (light-emitting diode), the Vibra-Probe 360 indicates a target by mechanically vibrating.
Now hold on for a minute. I kind of quickly dismissed the idea of a vibrating probe too at first. However, when you really think about it, do you want your eyes wandering about, looking for a small light or L.E.D. to turn on? Or, your ears straining to hear a faint audio tone through padded headphone earcups? I dont think so you want them focused on the item that you are about to uncover and retrieve the vibrating concept does have a lot of merit and is practical.
The Vibra-Probe 360 has a black, ribbed, soft-padded handgrip that couples the internal mechanical vibration quite well to the users hand. Vibrations equivalent to those received from a personal pager indicate when the target is located. Other probes have lights that can fade-out in bright sunlight or buzzers that can, at times, be difficult to hear, especially when you are wearing headphones from your primary detector the Vibra-Probe 360 has neither lights nor buzzers.
When first turned on, using the push and hold switch, you will feel two pulses of vibration that verifies the probe is working properly. When the two pulses you feel when you first push the button are weak or nonexistent, or if the pulses continue beyond the two, it is an indication that the battery is low and needs replacement.
A pulse stream (series of vibrations) increases in quantity the closer the probe tip gets to the target. This tells you when you are approaching or touching the target. No other probe has this capability. Other probes detect targets along the sides of the probe shaft which can make determining the exact location of the target difficult. The Vibra-Probe 360 detects targets at its tip area only.
Operation and Field Use
Metal detecting pinpoint probes are specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a standard metal detector. Their sole purpose is to assist users in accurately locating a target during retrieval, thus preventing potential retrieval-tool damage to the item.
Because of its very narrow off-the-tip detection field, I found the Vibra-Probe 360 to be extremely accurate in its pinpointing function. I had to be right-on target every time to get an indication. Moving off center, even slightly, caused the Vibra-Probe to stop vibrating.
We have all at one time or another pinpointed a target only to find that upon excavation, there was nothing in the hole. This usually results from a target that is tilted slightly making normal metal detector pinpointing inaccurate. Locating tilted (angled) targets was easy for the Vibra-Probe as long as they were not too far into the sidewall of the excavation hole.
I found that most targets had to be within one inch or less of the probes tip to be detected and curiously, target size didnt seem to affect the pickup distance much. While this limited pickup distance initially slowed the recovery process for me, it did make locating the target very accurate. After a while, the pinpointing function became a little quicker and more automatic for me and I found myself totally trusting the probes unfailing accuracy.
Just like with a standard metal detector, I could tell if the item was small and round or elongated. By tracing the buried item with the Vibra-Probes tip, while feeling the vibrations in the hand grip, I could determine the size and length of the buried and hidden object before completely unearthing it.
The Vibra-Probe 360 is an all-metal detector and has no discrimination. It will respond to any type of metal although it would not pick up small gold chains that I sampled, most metal detectors cannot either. All other items tried were detected well (within its one-inch pickup range) including coins, gold rings, Civil War buttons and other artifacts. As an added bonus, the Vibra-Probe 360 also works great as a nail stud finder locating construction nails in drywall and plaster with precision accuracy.
The Vibra-Probe 360 is a high-quality, made-in-the-USA metal detecting accessory that is very unique. Its retail price is $119.95 and it is a solid, well-made product backed by a one- year parts and labor warranty it should hold up extremely well to repeated field use!
Included with each Vibra-Probe 360 purchased are a nine-volt Alkaline battery and a durable, well-made belt-mounted holster with a belt-loop wide enough to fit military-style webbed belts.
The Vibra-Probe 360 is no cheap garage-shop prototype, but is a well-designed and professionally manufactured product. You can immediately tell that its manufacturer, Bermnie Development, Inc. has years of experience in the electronics and manufacturing industry.
My only wish? It would have to be for a little more detection-distance capability I understand that all pinpoint probes are limited in detection distance because of their minuscule search head, but just like in metal detecting, more depth (distance) is always welcome.
If you are in need of a detecting pinpoint probe, be sure to take a look at the Vibra-Probe 360 I think you too will be impressed. Accuracy, repeatability and reliability all are found in the Vibra-Probe 360, making it a first-rate metal detecting pinpoint probe.
For additional information contact: Bermnie Product Development, Inc., 3525 Old Conejo Road #107, Newbury Park, CA 91320. Phone toll-free 1-877-304-7788 or (805) 499-7788. FAX (805) 375-7499. Visit their website at: http://www.vibraprobe.com