INTERNATIONAL: GARRETT AT PRO – a True All-Around Metal Detector!

I’m really happy to publish here on the AMDTT blog the excellent review of the Garrett AT PRO International (First Edition) made by our friend and affiliate member Luigi “Supergigi73” after a long period of constant use on the field.

Have a nice reading!

Leonardo/Bodhi3

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INTERNATIONAL: Garrett AT PRO – an all-around detector to go hunting everywhere!

By Luigi “Supergigi73”

 1.     Unboxing and assembly

I’ve bought my GARRETT AT PRO (first series, without camlocks) from my forum’s friend Ruggero/”Dino Conta”. It was used just a few times and it was in perfect conditions. This detector has been built on 3 pieces: the upper rod is a “S” one, where you can find the arm-rest (with velcro strip), a soft spongy handle and the black controlbox. Other straight rods can be connected and length-adjusted by using the traditional slide-in method and spring-clips locks(Bodhi3: In the the second series, Garrett added cam-locks to provide a more stable connection).   Mounting the rod is easy, just a matter of seconds. The handle grip is, in my opinion, not enough thick, I could have preferred if just a cm thicker to have a better ergonomics but obviously is a personal preference. Arm rest cups are OK but it would be better if it was just a little bigger toward the elbow.

The mounted stock coil is a Garrett’s exclusive design DD type (Bodhi3: its special design is called “Smudged” by Garrett engineers), its size fits almost any hunt condition and it can be protected by using a coil-cover (sold as a spare part). This protection, after over 20 detecting session where I’ve hit and rubbed it, was almost still intact. The fiber nut and bolt to fix the coil to the lower rod seem to be made of good quality material and they should be long lasting. The cable can be attached to the control box by screwing the water-resistant connector. Included headphones are, in my opinion, very well built and have a very good sound quality. They can be adjusted to fit everyone’s head size and also have separate volume control (left and right) and a Stereo-Mono switch. Earpads can block environment noise very well and they are comfortable too even for a prolonged use. The spiral chord is long enough and has a proprietary waterproof connector. Obviosly this “land use” headphones are not submersible but you can buy the underwater version as an accessory from your local dealer. On the bottom of the controlbox you can find a plastic waterproof plug that closes the battery compartment. (Bodhi3: To state this clear…As you may know, the AT PRO works underwater too (up to 2.5 meters). The unit can be fully submerged without any problem. Only the stock headphones cannot  be completely submerged. If you want to go diving with your AT PRO you will need to buy the WaterProof Headphone set).

Detector overall construction quality is very good but I feel it lacks of a little stiffness in its junctions (B3: As I stated before, Garrett fixed this issue by adding camlocks in the second series).

2. Technical Features

Here’s a short resume of the AT PRO technical specification (source: www.garrett.com)

ID Notches 12
Iron discrimination resolution 40
Accept/Reject discrimination Yes
Search Modes 6 (3 Standard Modes, 3 Pro Modes)
Sensitivity Levels 8
Embedded Pinpoint Yes
Operating Frequency 15 kHz
ID Tones 3
Stock coil 8.5″ x 11″ DD PROformance
Lenght (adjustable) 1.06m – 1.29m
Total weight 1.4 kgs.
Batteries 4 AA (included)

3. Manual and documentation

The included manual is well written and easy to understand but only in English language (NdB3: Still no multilanguage!), with easy to comprehend graphics and images that could help novices and not-English-speaking users. Anyway the learning curve for this detector is really short and beginners won’t have any difficulties in learning how to properly use it. The manual format is pretty small and can be placed in a pocket for a quick consultation on the field.

4. Control Box

(This is the AT PRO INTERNATIONAL control box view)

With the lower left button we could turn on the machine and also (by quickly pressing it) change the operating mode and the related presets. Users can choose between two operating modes: Standard (STD) or Professional (PRO), each one with 3 selectable presets. On the right side of the screen we can read the estimated target depth (in centimetres)  and the battery level. In the upper middle area, we will see the VDI Scale, the numerical Target ID value and, on the lower side of the screen, the sensitivity settings.

When in Standard Mode, the AT PRO will produce 3 different type of sounds: low tone for iron, medium for aluminum/gold and an high pitch for bronze, copper, silver and other high conductivity alloys. In PRO MODE, sound is also modulated by the target depth and dimensions.

The control keys are pretty easy to reach even with not-so-long fingers and give a good feeling of precision when pressed. Reading the display is always easy and clear but with direct sunlight (N.d.B3: A quick add…This model doesn’t have a backlight feature)

5. Testing the Unit

Turn on the unit in STANDARD MODE and you’re ready to detect (as with ACE 250), while in PRO MODE you’ll have to ground balance first by keeping the GND BAL key pressed and “bobbing” the coil above the ground until the threashold stabilize. GND BAL could be fine tuned by pushing the Notch Disc keys if EMI disturbs the signal or in very mineralized soils. You can also eliminate the iron sound and set the discrimination at will. Obviously you can also set the sensitivity level according to ground conditions. AT PRO features a VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator) no-motion pinpointer and a pretty reliable bar depth meter.

5.1 Beach Tests

On the beach, on dry sand, AT PRO is a sniper! It doesn’t miss anything in the first 25 cm (approx 10”) and target ID is precise and without any “jumpy” behaviour. After being balanced the unit doesn’t make almost any false signal.

On wet sand it continues to work good but some falsing comes up on the surf. It’s useful to balance each time it starts falsing (due to condition changes) but the machine will anyway work well and good targets will be correctly detected.

When submerged its performances tend to get weaker. More false signals will come up and you’ll have to frequently re balance. It won’t be a “clean hunt” but the AT PRO will still be useful. You just will need a little parience and experience to screen false from good signals.

(Note by Bodhi3: Garrett USA Marketing Manager Steve Moore, suggested us a technique to improve AT PRO’s stability and performances in salt water. Before starting to detect, switch the unit to manual ground balance and raise the GND until it reaches the maximum value (99). Then turn to Automatic Balance and bob the coil up and down above the ground until the threshold stabilize. This will lead to a more stable and performing condition. Check this video, made by AMDTT Vice Director Mauro Tolomei, where it’s illustrated: http://www.amdtt.it/2012/12/11/videotest-garrett-at-pro-prove-di-bilanciamento-in-acqua-salata/)

5.2 Ground Tests

After setting the search mode and having done the ground balance procedure, the AT PRO will easily work in every kind of natural environment. The “classic” grass-rubbing-falses are just made when it’s wet. It’s easy to get rid of this problem by just lowering the sensitivity one notch down. Hitting the coil can sometimes cause a false signal and be careful not to leave the connecting cable too slack.

5.2 Ground Tests

After setting the search mode and having done the ground balance procedure, the AT PRO will easily work in every kind of natural environment. The “classic” grass-rubbing-falses are just made when it’s wet. It’s easy to get rid of this problem by just lowering the sensitivity one notch down. Hitting the coil can sometimes cause a false signal and be careful not to leave the connecting cable too slack.

6. Performance: Depth

Maximum depth are obviously correlated to soil’s condition, anyway the AT PRO has no problem in detecting in the first (al least) 20 cm (approx 8”) even thin or tiny metal objects. This statement can also be extended in fresh water hunting.

Gigi6.1 Performance: Discrimination and Target separation

Target separation is always good in any kind of ground condition. It’s easy to detect two close high conductivity targets, while the performance with a good target near an iron object is a little less good. This late combination it’s usually signalled with a mix of high and low tones and with a “jumpy” ID, especially if the iron object is not so small or it’s very deep. Usually you can sort this situation out with several more sweeps that will help you to decide to dig or not.

7. Conclusions

AT PRO is a well balanced and light metal detector. It does’t fatigue your arm and its coil will cover a lot of ground thanks to its generous dimensions. Sweeping in water could be somehow hard if the box is submerged. It is not designed to be hydrodinamic so you will need to apply a consistent sweep force.

PRO: Turn on and go, easy to set, easy to understand, globally resistant, tough and light, high level performances, perfect for people who loved the ACE 250 or EuroACE.

CONS: Rod’s assembly is not very precise (Note: fixed in the second generation using camlocks), handle and armrest could be improved, not outstanding salt water performances

3 pensieri riguardo “INTERNATIONAL: GARRETT AT PRO – a True All-Around Metal Detector!

  • 23 Gennaio 2013 in 21:53
    Permalink

    Due applausi all’autore e uno al traduttore !!!

    Rispondi
  • 24 Febbraio 2013 in 17:49
    Permalink

    bought myself an AT Pro International, this review is 100% OK
    only the International mid tone starts at 50
    asked Garrett on next models posibility to adjust switching point
    between mid tone and high tone (and also asked for wireless headphones, now i am working with the TDK WR700 wireless headphones, works fine !)
    regards
    Dirk from DVVL Belgium

    Rispondi

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