What’s the remedy for searchers suffering from a heavy detector? The cure is called the MicroMAX! Many people have had to give up metal detecting, or at least curtail it, due to the weight of the unit they were using. Whether it is from a chronic medical condition or an injury to the arm, shoulder, wrist, hand, back or neck, the result is the same—sitting at home, longing to get back into the swing of metal detecting. Well, there’s good news!
Tesoro Electronics is producing a line of lightweight metal detectors designated as MicroMAX, including the Silver Sabre MicroMAX that weighs in at a feathery 2.2 lbs. Featuring an ergonomic S-handle configuration, the detector gives the sensation of being an extension of one’s arm. Additionally, it has a three-piece pole assembly that connects with spring buttons and pole-lock collars to provide a no-wobble, sturdy feel. A padded handgrip and armrest enhance comfort and convenience, too.
People with strength or pain problems are not the only ones to benefit from this ultra-light design. The hale and hearty will enjoy many extra hours of fatigue-free hunting, and think of the ease of use for children as well. You can imagine my surprise during the first field trip when I realized I had hunted two full hours without switching detecting arms. Usually, with other machines, I am changing hands, back and forth, about every 20 minutes.
A QUICK LOOK
Although it is possible to use the Silver Sabre MicroMAX for other types of detecting such as relic hunting, I see it as an ideal coin hunter’s companion due to the features provided. All the controls are on the face of the miniature housing and are within finger reach for easy adjustment while hunting.
There is no ground balance control as it is factory preset to fit most soil conditions, a feature many coin hunters prefer. The quick and easy pinpoint mode is accessed through a red push-button within easy thumb reach. Sensitivity is adjustable to fit many types of mineralization and junk conditions, and the threshold (background hum) is adjustable for best results on target response. The Silver Sabre MicroMAX is also well-equipped for coin hunting with Tesoro’s famous discriminator circuitry to help eliminate responses from junk targets. Its tiny control box also contains a quarter-inch headphone jack, an easy drop-in (no wire, one 9 volt) battery compartment in the back, and a 1-1/2” speaker on the housing face.
Where you set three of the four fingertip controls (SENSITIVITY, DISC LEVEL, and THRESHOLD) will play a huge part in how successful you are in the field. The levels set depend upon a number of things: the items you are hunting, trash conditions, soil composition, etc. So, you should experiment with them to obtain the best performance from the detector. This combination of four controls gives the detector simple yet versatile and effective performance.
This rotary knob has three functions. First, it turns the detector off and on, and that is self-explanatory. Second, it sets off the automatic audio battery test, with a five-second tone indicating a good battery; a battery going bad provides a weaker tone, buzz, or no sound at all. The control’s third function, of course, is setting the sensitivity level. Many people would assume that the higher the sensitivity is set, the deeper the machine will detect. While this is generally true, there are exceptions. The main one is hunting in highly mineralized soil. The old example of thinking of sensitivity as you would think of headlights in fog still applies, in that you can see better in fog with low beams than with high beams’ light reflected back into your eyes. Think of it as having more light (sensitivity). If it’s too bright, you can’t see any better (deeper), and in fact you may be able to see better (deeper) with less light (sensitivity).
Too high a sensitivity level produces instability and false signals, and that is why detectorists set their sensitivity to just shy of the point where it begins to “chirp.”
Tesoro’s MicroMAX low-noise circuitry and Silent Search discriminate allow you to get more gain with less ground chatter. Again, do a little experimenting to see which settings get the best results for your soil and other hunting circumstances.
At the limit of the Sensitivity control is an orange colored area call MAXBoost. Basically, this is a high gain level that can be used in lightly mineralized areas, resulting in deeper responses. False signals (chopped sounds) are an indication that too much sensitivity is being used for existing conditions. Before getting into the MAXBoost area, the sensitivity control setting must be increased from 1 through 10 to find the best depth possible, depending on the hunting situations. While I was not able to get to a salt beach during field tests for this report, it is reasonable to expect that you may have to reduce sensitivity to between 2 to 5 to handle the effects of wet salt. However, in many soils you will be able to set the knob at 8 to 10. I was surprised at the number of times I was able to push beyond 10 into the MAXBoost area with smooth performance.
This control does one thing, and it does it well—it helps you dig less trash and more treasure. As you rotate the knob further clockwise, the audio response from more unwanted targets is rejected. As with all discriminating detectors, you need to be aware that you can miss good as well as bad targets as the discriminator is turned higher. Gold rings can show up anywhere in the conductivity scale, with nickels having a lower conductivity than pulltabs. Always try to use the least amount of discrimination possible, depending upon the amount of ground trash present and your level of patience in dealing with it.
Tesoro discrimination circuits are famous for separating trash from treasure, and long-time Tesoro users already know this. But for those of you new to detecting, allow me to explain that the Silver Sabre MicroMAX’s lowest level of discrimination is “MIN” (minimum), which will reject most small iron but still beep on foil, bottle caps, pulltabs, coins, etc. If the trash is not too bad, MIN is a good setting to use and will help you find those very small gold rings while avoiding rusty nails.
Discrimination can also be used as a tool to help identify a target by adjusting the DISC LEVEL knob, since it is within easy reach of your fingertips. For example, if you get a beep at #4-1/2 on the knob but lose the signal by #7, it could be a round pulltab since higher conductivity coins and screwcaps would not yet be rejected. If the signal is still there after #8, it could well be a coin as square pulltabs and most screwcaps would be rejected at #8. As you gain more experience and learn your detector, thoughts like this will come automatically when you hunt.
Though subject to slight variances among machines and hunting conditions, the following will give you an idea of about where to expect some targets to be rejected: Iron, MIN; tin foil, (almost) #3; steel bottle caps, #2; very small gold rings, #2. Naturally, since the Silver Sabre MicroMAX employs a silent-search hunting mode with no threshold hum to hear, you will not hear any nulling by bad targets. The discrimination ability of this detector is a real time-saver in a junky area.
This is not a volume control. It simply sets the level of threshold hum (sound) for the pinpoint mode. Once it is set, you will only hear it when pinpointing. Just press and hold the pinpoint button while adjusting the Threshold knob until you have a barely audible hum. That’s it - you rarely have to adjust it again.
Tesoro calls this control the “QuickCheck Pinpoint Push-Button.” As you just read, it is used to set threshold level, but it is employed mostly to better locate the target. Once you have pinpointed the target with the usual “X-ing” (slowly sweeping the center of the coil over the target from two directions), you can determine its location even more precisely with the pinpoint mode. Hold the coil just to the side of the target, press and hold the PINPOINT push button, and then bring the center of the coil back over the target, and the signal will hold long enough for you to center it and make a neat retrieval. If you should miss it the first time, a very slight motion of the coil will bring back the all-metal signal.
READY TO HUNT
When you get ready to hunt, you will notice that the Silver Sabre MicroMAX is nearly a turn-on-and-go detector. All you need to do is check the threshold level and set the discrimination and sensitivity levels to hunt, which can be done in seconds. Once detecting, just swing the coil at a comfortable pace. Remember, this is a slow-motion detector. Whipping the coil too fast in heavier mineralization could actually cause some depth loss. Keep in mind, too, that you are hunting in silent-search discriminate, so most rejected targets will give no response at all except the occasional short, choppy sound or click that is likely to be a response from trash. Although you will quickly learn to listen for the repeatable sound of a good target, in the beginning you might want to dig every target until you feel confident about identifying targets by sound.
I wanted to use the Tesoro Silver Sabre MicroMAX in familiar surroundings so I could thoroughly put it through its paces in a reasonable amount of time. It accompanied me to several parks and playgrounds, plus a baseball diamond and the edge of a farmer’s field along a road.
Although the Silver Sabre MicroMAX is small, I learned to respect its ability. I first went to a very old park and set the threshold to a bare hum, with DISC LEVEL at 2 and SENSITIVITY at 8. I found the mineralization was not too bad and was eventually able to push the sensitivity up just into the edge of MAXBoost. Sweeping the coil slowly, I started getting hit after hit...some good, some not so good. It wasn’t long before this Tesoro’s handling of several targets really amazed me. I had found a good number of clad coins at up to 4-5”, along with a Wheat cent at about 6”.
I gradually raised the discriminator higher to eliminate more junk targets. At one point I received a good response, yet somehow different, at DISC LEVEL #5. When I increased it to #7, the signal suddenly dropped out. It was a good enough signal to investigate further. It was not an outstanding find, just a regular clad dime, but why had it discriminated out at #7 when it should have still been responding? The answer was the amazing part—there was a piece of aluminum foil in the same hole over the dime. The Silver Sabre MicroMAX had separated trash from treasure!
Another time this happened was a day in a different park and with a better find. I was getting a good signal in both directions east to west but not north to south. I had the DISC LEVEL at #3. To make a long story shorter, a 1942 silver Mercury dime was at 5” with a rusty iron nail practically on top of it. I learned a lot from these targets, as well as others. A signal that is repeatable should definitely be dug. The deeper targets are not as solid but they are repeatable. At least in these few field tests, the amount of discrimination did not seem to affect depth.
To condense the results of these evaluations, let me say that further finds at these sites included a 12” long piece of rusty iron that discriminated out with a crackle at level #3, three Wheat cents at 3-6”, another Mercury dime at 5”, a silver Roosevelt dime at 4-1/2”, and a small brass bell at 7”. The playgrounds and ballfields produced numerous clad coins. The farmer’s field at the edge of the road proved that people litter too much! At all these locations many clad coins were found at various depths, and I learned to keep the DISC LEVEL no higher than #8 to receive a response from zinc cents and possible Indian Head cents. I have no doubt that further testing would have produced even more good finds.
Ordinarily, I don’t spend too much time discussing searchcoils. However, Tesoro offers a great variety to fit various detection needs, and you should be aware of them. The standard one that comes with detector is the 8” concentric. You might want to add the 7” or even the 4” concentric to your bag for working trashy areas. I doubt that much depth would be lost due to the smaller coils, although I tested only the 8” for this report.
The concentric coils are better at separating trash and at discrimination. However, if your detecting takes you to areas with extreme ground, you might want to consider one of the widescan coils such as the 7” and 11”. Generally, smaller coils are more sensitive to smaller targets such as gold chains, while the larger coils cover more ground and go deeper. All the coils are waterproof. While no detector is perfect in every way, having various coils will definitely increase your detector’s versatility.
I believe this is the fourth generation of Tesoro’s Silver Sabre and the control box have certainly gotten small and lighter. The batteries have gone from packs of AA’s to two 9-volts to one 9-volt battery in a no-wire, drop-in compartment. The pole sections into three parts, but with the new friction collars there is absolutely no wobble, and the detector is light enough to backpack or carry anywhere. Added to these improvements is the circuitry to provide low noise with more gain and maximum boost sensitivity, along with Tesoro’s top performing discrimination. I think I was most amazed with the Silver Sabre MicroMAX’s ability to separate trash from treasure even when targets were in close proximity to each other. All the more amazing, considering these remarkable abilities, is the fact that the price is in the low to medium range and comes with a lifetime warranty!