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The ShadowX2 is a two-pound, 10KHz, single-tone, easy-to-use detector with a street price of $425. The 7" closed concentric coil, surface-mount electronics and four user controls are powered by one easily accessible 9-volt battery with a real-life expectancy of ten hours when used with the 1.5" internal speaker. The Shadow's general appearance is identical to Tesoro's Bandido II, Silver Sabre and Cutlass II.
Troy's website plus an extensive ShadowX2 forum is accessible at http://www.troycustomdetectors.com/.
The Shadow's 7" closed-center, waterproof, concentric coil promotes its lightweight design at the expense of a narrow search path and easily-missed small, deep targets. A 9" optional Tesoro open-center coil (part # B38144; street price of $135 plus $15 scuff cover) helps alleviate these shortcomings, adds only two ounces, makes for even easier pinpointing, and enhances deep-coin detection by about one inch while retaining the 7" coil's ability to single out the keepers from the trash. In my opinion, Troy would be well advised to fit the 9" coil as standard equipment.
Two potentiometers--discrimination level and sensitivity--and two momentary pushbutton switches--coin check and pinpoint--share space with a 1.5" speaker on the 3x3" face of the tiny control box. These four controls are adequately spaced for easy manipulation, even with gloved fingers. Tesoro has incorporated water and dust resistance into the control box design although the manual cautions against exposing the electronics to rain or water. The controls are sealed and the 1.5" speaker employs a plastic cone, which is internally sealed to the face plate.
In the field target response feels quick and proves accurate. This detector responds best to small, deep targets at a pace of about two feet per second. Appreciably less or more impairs sensitivity. On large or relatively shallow targets the machine responds well at any reasonable pace I impose. Tin can lids and aluminum cans present the usual problem but sweeping target center with the coil edge clearly reveals size. The detector's single 630 hertz tone responds sharply and distinctively to coins, and pinpointing is easy and dead-on, especially with the optional open-center 9" coil. The few pull tabs, lead slugs and bottle caps that penetrate the coin check pushbutton function are distinguished by a softer edge to the tone. Quality headphones makes these differences even more discernable.
Iron and nugget hunting reveals the shortcomings imposed by the Shadow's simplified controls. The only way to defeat iron rejection or to circumvent the detector's appetite for coin-shaped targets is to constantly press the momentary pinpoint button. This toggles the detector from its default silent search to a threshold-based all-metal detection mode. After fifteen minutes iron or nugget hunting you'll be wishing as I did for an on/off switch to replace the momentary pushbutton. When digging a target located with threshold detection, the user must inconveniently reach over and press the pinpoint button each time a handful of dug earth is tested. This makes the two-handed "divide-and-test" virtually impossible for iron or nuggets.
The electronics are present in the control box but the simplified controls makes this an awkward iron and nugget detector. Twenty minutes spent replacing the pinpoint pushbutton with a SPST toggle rewarded me with a more versatile machine and an invalidated warranty.
Speaking of warranties, the ShadowX2 is covered by the limited lifetime variety. The small print reveals that the purchaser must mail the registration card (mysteriously not included with my unit) within ten days of purchase. In addition to the usual set of exclusions, the warranty does not cover cable breakage, "wear of the searchcoil housing", and subsequent owners.
When powered on, the Shadow emits an annoyingly loud, four-second tone that can be heard a football field away. The manual explains that this is a battery test and suggests you do it periodically while detecting. If you're wearing headphones with no volume control you're in for a painful experience. Addicted as I am to my Sony MDR-200 headphones, I chose to spend $2.00 and one hour installing a 100 ohm potentiometer on the control face. My warranty is (again) history but I'm a happy hunter and battery life has doubled.
The abysmal manual vindicates owners who will refuse to read it. Aside from a predictable collection of misspellings, confusing grammar and production layout errors, it is disappointing in its omissions, misguidance and the author's seeming lack of familiarity with the detector.
Nowhere does the manual explain that iron discrimination is defeated in Pinpoint Mode. The writer fails to disclose that an iron object within six inches of a weak target invariably attracts the detector off-target when pinpointing with the pinpoint button. Additionally, there is no mention of iron or nugget search, which, as I mentioned above, can only be accomplished by constantly pressing the pinpoint button.
When describing use of the sensitivity control, the manual briefly mentions that higher sensitivity settings may increase the detector's depth penetration. This casual observation understates one of the Shadow's most noteworthy features: its ability, under most soil and electrical conditions, to detect coins at remarkable depths. With sensitivity set at 6 (on the Shadow's scale of 0 to 9) a clad Roosevelt is audible to 5-1/2 inches; however, the same coin can be heard at 11 inches when sensitivity is advanced to 8-1/2. Worse still, the manual describes a "normal" sensitivity setting as being 4 to 6, which limits the Shadow to a five-inch coin range!
Speaking of sensitivity, this control seems improperly tapered in its upper range. For you non-electronic types, this is equivalent to the volume control on your stereo being too touchy when you adjust it in the loud region. When the Shadow's sensitivity is cranked all the way to 9, it properly emits a constant stream of clicks and pops (falses), no matter how electrically quiet or mineral-free the environment. That perfect setting between 8-1/2 and 9, where only the occasional false intrudes, is elusively difficult to achieve. I wish the potentiometer was more broadly proportioned in the upper range.
The discrimination level control, also calibrated 0 to 9, smoothly rejects increasingly massive trash as the setting is advanced. The coin check pushbutton is a handy feature that momentarily overrides any discrimination setting. Unfortunately, noticeable interaction is evident between the discrimination and sensitivity controls, i.e., increasing discrimination causes significant reduction of sensitivity to non-rejected objects.
I prefer 9-volt Ultralife lithium batteries (RadioShack part # 23-665) in my Shadow because they deliver four times the life of alkaline at only twice the price. However, the Ultralife's greater size makes for a nearly impossible fit in the battery compartment.
Finally, my Shadow's pole persists in emitting a conspicuous creak with each sweep despite application of lubricants and sound deadening material. It's inaudible with headphones but competes with the internal speaker.
Even though I harshly critique my ShadowX2, I truly cherish it. It is a powerful, ultra-light, easy-to-use detector best suited for coin, button and token hunters who eschew gadgetry. For people comfortable with simple modifications and an invalid warranty, the Shadow is easily extendable to a fine, all-purpose detector. For best results, burn the manual and sprinkle its ashes on your favorite house plant.
I have been involved in many phases of metal detecting since the 70's. I have been in a position that enables me to have access to all metal detector brands and models for almost the past ten years. I have been reading some of the post made about different metal detectors and some I agree with and others I feel are single opinions and far off base.
My main love of metal detecting happens to be relic detecting for civil war relics. I do however attend many competition hunts each year over several locations involving several states., I have also logged many, many hours hunting old house sites and such for the older coins and goodies. I started out with an old model whites , years ago. Since then I have tried almost all machines available on the market.
Now, let me say first of all, just because you use a detector for a couple of hours, this does not mean that you have given it sufficient work out to do any evaluation on the detector. A detector must be used in many different aspects of metal detecting and under many different conditions before it can be truely evaluated. There were many days that I would go in the woods relic hunting with my friends and I was using what I considered one of the deepest detecting units on the market, and may still be, However at the end of the day I would have equal to their finds or sometimes less. Sounds ok doesn't it? Well, what I did not tell you was that I was probably digging two to three times the amount of targets to get the equal to or less than amount of targets that my friends were finding.In short, I would be worn out and they would be as fresh as new. Something is wrong, I thought and so I started performing tests with my friends on all metal detectors.
What I found out thru my test was that some detectors could not even cancel out a rusty nail! Don't believe this? try it and you will see. Yes you can get them to cancel out the rusty nail to the point of receiving a click instead of a solid response, but also the nickles, foil, rings chains etc sound as the canceled rusty nail. Some detectors that will discriminate out a rusty nail , will not detect a good target which is laying beside, over, or under a rusty nail. The rusty nail actually overrides the good target to the point it can not be detected.
As a result of years of trying different detectors , I have ended up with my choice being the Shadow and Tesoro. Why, Well I will tell why I chose these. First, remember the rusty nail I talked about above? Get a rusty nail and set a Shadow or Tesoro at zero discrimination and see if it picks up the rusty nail. It probably will not, however there are a few out there that will be detected, though not many. Now, lay a penny beside the rusty nail and check for response with the detector. HuH!! What about that,,,picks up the penny and ignors the nail laying beside it. Now put the nail over the penny and try it...Still picks up the penny and ignors the nail doesn't it? Try a small gold ring...not the nail,,,but the ring right? By using the Shadow and Tesoro detectors I have been able to have much better results relic hunting and finding small civil War buttons because they eliminate the rusty targets better. As far as response time and using the Shadow and Tesoro in competition hunts, Well the response time is excellent, the pinpionting is quick, the detectors are light and easy to use. Shadow and Tesoro are not know to talk to each other on a crowded competiion field. Now , don't rely on my opinion to steer you into buying a certain detector, and surely don't take a few others that I have read here which I know are bias, and not reality, but try one yourself then you will know what is right and what is wrong.Snake & Pam Grills S&P Treasure Finders Ph. 1-423-349-4474 fax 1-423-349-584 http://www.treasurefinders.net email- email@example.com
I have been detecting for about 6 years. Living in Colorado's gold country and after reading articles that said people were Still finding gold, I thought I'm gonna try to get in on this too. I Bought a White's GoldMaster VSat. It is a very good detector and I was Going to go out and find gold nuggets. Well, I looked for about four Years off and on and never did find a gold nugget! However, what I did find out was that the GoldMaster is a great detector for locating just about anything that is metal. Yes, you do have to ground balance it but I consider that an insignificant part of detecting. The GoldMaster turned out to be a great coin machine and also a great relic machine. I found lots of coins and other interesting things but because it only operates in all metal mode, there is no discrimination at all. I know many of the Shadow users hunt with no disc. anyway so this worked out fine for finding any metal object.
My switch to the Shadow came after I went to the Leadville Hunt and was going to use my GoldMaster in the competition. I did OK but at that hunt, a good friend of mine had a ShadowX2 and I got to see how it performed against some of the really big name detectors first hand. I was impressed! I bought one shortly thereafter and have been using it ever since. Needless to say, I love the Shadow. I don't get out as often as some of the real hunters but when I do, I never fail to find my share. All that is said about the Shadow is true. It is so much lighter in weight that you can literally hunt all day long if you care to. Plus it is as good, if not better, at locating the treasures, as any of the most popular brands from what I've seen. I will still keep my GoldMaster for nugget hunting because I know the Shadow isn't made for this but when I want to look for coins or relics the Shadow is my choice for sure. These are my two detectors and I am entirely satisfied.