Peek inside the upcoming Minelab Vanquish metal detector
So, a teaser has been released for the new Minelab Vanquish metal detector and half of the detecting world is in a tizzy. The company recently released only the name, and the speculation began to fly, and the rumor-mill began churning. I always find these periods of limited information for any item to be fun. You really get a glimpse into people’s minds. You see their hopes and fears as well as their creativity. Fears of replacing the “latest and greatest” they just bought last month. Hopes for all the changes they have ever wanted to see in a metal detector.
Reading between the lines
A couple days ago, Minelab dropped a teaser video to this newest detector. Of course, it doesn’t come straight out and say anything, but if you can watch it with the eye of the treasure hunter, then you can find a ton of information hidden in that 45 second clip. Begin combining those clues with a few tidbits slipped by dealers after the Minelab Global Conference and we can determine quite a lot!
Let’s start with what we have officially from the Minelab YouTube video.
So, what do we see? We see a man out metal detecting. He digs up a piece of trash, gets frustrated, throws down his detector and walk away. Then we see all sorts of cool “finds” rising from the ground, and almost UFO-esq detector hyper-close shots and ending with the detector’s name, “VANQUISH” and that it’s supposed to be available in 2019. (Nothing like a nice, clear deadline, right?) Now let’s dig deeper.
Look at our star’s appearance. Notice that he is wearing black and yellow gloves and a black and yellow cap. These are the traditional company logo colors for the Garrett metal detector company. Coincidence? No such thing! Look at the detector laying on the ground as he recovers the target. It’s very clearly a Garrett detector. Comparing it to ads for the Garrett Ace series (see the coil cover?) we can see it is in fact an Ace, painted black for legal reasons I’m sure. Why does this matter? This tells us what level of detector (and even the main company) the Vanquish is targeted at in the world of metal detector sales.
Next, we see lots of cool items rising out of the ground. We see military items from a forest. We see jewelry from a beach. We see ancient relics and gold and silver coins from fields. So, we can see this detector is for relic hunting, water hunting and treasure hunting. We don’t see gold prospecting items or nuggets so we can assume that this is not a prospecting machine.
Then the video begins showing us bits of the detector. First up is the search coil. It’s not the same round coil we’ve gotten on the CTX and Equinox. It is a DD design but this one is oval shaped. Without breaking out micrometers and making assumptions and calculations, I’ll just say that it LOOKS as if it’s about an 9×11 (unless this is actually a monster 12×15 coil ). My thoughts here is that it makes sense to use the same tooling, perhaps even the exact same coils as the Equinox series? Produce more of them production costs go down or stay the same depending upon demand. Either way it would be a very cost-effective approach to take. Especially if “Multi IQ” software is being re-utilized (see below comments). Why re-design a coil platform if it can be used across several detector models?
Looking closer at the top edge of the stem is looks as if there’s a friction lever style of locking mechanism. So it would be a throwback to the CTX style and not like the twist-lock of the Equinox. It also has an externally wrapped coil cable, so its not an internal connection like the CTX, E-Trac or Explorer models.
Next we see a partial shot of the handle. Obviously the red furniture jumps out at us. This makes sense to go along with the big red Q in the name in some of the advertising seen previously. But there’s more. This isn’t a straight shaft detector. Looking at the base of the handle AND the shadow on the beach we see a “DEUS” profile and the handle is adjustable via a friction latch underneath.
Now we know that this is a lightweight, adjustable detector designed for multipurpose hunting. It’s going to be priced for middle to lower (beginner) end of the market. It MAY be waterproof (water resistant) and it MAY be multi-frequency.
Will it be a multi frequency detector?
Now the next part gets a little more “creative” and speculative, but all within reason and with explanation. First, at the time of the release of the Minelab Equinox, company personnel have reportedly stated that the multi-frequency “IQ” technology was going to be the basis of future detectors, and that single frequency technology was “dead”. Minelab would not make another single-frequency detector. Combine that with a Facebook page shot from a dealer in attendance at the conference who posted the new detector was going to be another Multi-IQ machine. He also called it a “Victory” but this could have been a “code name” or early name that changed. Lastly, here’s a snippet from Codan’s (the parent company of Minelab) Investor presentation from March;” Expanding multi-frequency technology across product range.” This seems to reinforce the idea that this would be another multi-frequency detector.
Some people strongly suspect the basic “Multi IQ” software platform is being utilized since it’s been a huge success for Minelab. However, perhaps with locked multi-frequency operation. No option to change to a single frequency use. Software tweaked specifically to “Vanquish” the lower cost, single frequency competitors models. Due to the expense of software development, use the existing software to limit or provide access to only specific options or menus based on the detector model number. Exactly like they did with the Equinox 600 and 800 models as an example of this method being utilized.
To get even further down the rabbit-hole, we have the website MD-hunter which LOVES to scoop the official detector company outlet channels and post information gathered from “outside” sources. Don’t take everything they post about upcoming detectors as gospel. They always get some things wrong, but in the past they also have gotten many things right. So, what does that site say about the Vanquish? It’s apparently been translated from Russian, so there COULD be some translation error.
They say there are going to be 3 models, the V-340 with a 9-inch coil. A V-440, and a V-540, both with 11-inch coils. It says they will all be “underwater” detectors so at least waterproof (resistant) for wading depths. The most interesting thing is that it says they use a technology called “VFLEX-IQ” with choice of 7Khz or 18.75Khz. I think the 18.75 may be mistranslated and could be saying it uses 7, 18 AND 75 Khz. This would make sense if this was a form of multi-frequency detection.
Will it be a single frequency detector?
There are people looking deep in the weeds who give some solid basis for why this could still be a single frequency detector, but far advanced from every other single-freq on the market. We start by looking at the significance in the naming. The Q in the name is highlighted in red as if it has special meaning. The “IQ” of the Equinox “multi-IQ technology” also had specific meaning. It could be a breakthrough in single frequency detector design, using the I/Q technology developed for the Equinox. Here’s a bit from Minelab about the IQ part of Multi IQ, “Simultaneous Multi-Frequency In-phase and Quadrature Synchronous Demodulation.”
We can go to a statement from Dr Philip Wahrlich, principal technology physicist, about a key difference of Multi-IQ compared to the demodulation taking place in conventional single frequency VLF detectors: “Within the Multi-IQ engine, the receiver is both phase-locked and amplitude-normalized to the transmitted magnetic field – rather than the electrical voltage driving the transmitted field. This field can be altered by the mineralization in the soil (in both phase and amplitude), so if the receiver was only phased-locked to the driving voltage, this would result in inaccurate target IDs and a higher audible noise level. Locking the receiver to the actual transmitted field, across all frequencies simultaneously (by measuring the current through the coil) solves these issues, creating a very sensitive AND stable detector.”
So, maybe that bit of the new technology has been transferred over to single frequency use, or maybe its just another form of multi-freq. I would venture a guess that MD-Hunter’s post is right and the dealer on facebook is wrong. I think that its “VFLEX IQ” and not “Multi IQ”. Why? Because this new machine (or series) is likely intended to fill the big hole left in the under $600 range by the near disappearance of the X-Terra line. The sales of these must be languishing and the GoFind isn’t an adequate substitute. The VFLEX Technology of the X-Terras was highly touted for having 3 frequencies but needing separate coils for each frequency confused and frustrated many would be buyers.
On the other hand, Minelab preached so hard about multi now “obsoleting” single frequency detectors that it might be hard to go back. Think about it for a minute; a low cost, multi-frequency unit, proven performance (via higher up models), priced right where most of the market’s single frequency units sales typically occurs. Basically, driving the final nail in the coffins of the single frequency machines on the market today in that cost range.
Regardless of what “IT” is as far as a new or an updated technology goes, one thing is for sure; their advertising team knows how to get us talking! “Give them just enough information to get the hype rolling and let the hype sell the product.” It was a formula that worked for sales of the CTX and the Equinox, why should they change a winning game plan?