Steel Phase SP01/Garrett Z-Lynk wireless

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I got the SP01 from Rob a few weeks back and been doing some bench testing. Also 1 day in the field. I'll not spend much time talking about performance with the Minelabs I own. Results with GPX4500 and SDC2300 are as expected. This post is mostly about compatibility with the Garrett Z-Lynk wireless and various detectors I own. My other than Minelab detectors are the GB2 and Goldbug SE, non pro version. The GBSE is the same as the pro version with the exception of manual ground balance. 

A quick, but important note about cabling. There are basically 2 types of 1/4 plugs for headphones and such, mono and stereo. Mono typically have a single plastic ring on the plug and stereo has 2 plastic rings. Another way they are known is as TS=mono and TRS=stereo. The SP01 system includes a cable with TS/mono plugs

Now to bench tests....the 1st crucial note is that the GB2 works fine with the TS/mono plug cable, however the GBSE requires the TRS/stereo plug for the SP01 to function properly. This is just going straight from detector to SP01 to headphones. I should note my headphone choice is Rattlers. Rattlers, just to clarify for those that may not know, are headphone with a single ear muff only. They do have a volume knob and stereo/mono switch. Only headphone I use for good reason. I want to hear what is happening around me while detecting. Personal choice for me, kept me from having a rattlesnake and a mouse from landing in my lap one day. 

Anyway, on to testing with Garrett Z-Lynk. I will remind you at this point that this part is based on bench tests at home with all the crazy EMI from TV and lights and every other possible electrical interference you will get inside an apartment or house. I'm going to try and condense my findings without losing content, so this post doesn't take up 3 pages, lol. 

The Garrett Z-Lynk comes with a 1/4 plug that is a TRS/stereo from detector to a small USB plug to the transmitter. So no matter which detector I used, if I put the Z-Lynk transmitter 1st in line from detector, a TRS/stereo plug is required from receiver to SP01 in order for it to work as expected. If you put the SP01 in 1st then the Z-Lynk  transmitter, the TS/mono cord works fine except with the GBSE. This isn't a huge problem as the cables are inexpensive. I found TRS/stereo and TS/mono patch cords on Amazon. I bought 2 each Monoprice TRS and TS short patch cables sold for use with guitar pedal boards. They are advertised as 8.75 inches but are closer to 10'' long, 16AWG, good heavy duty well made cables with gold plated ends. Cable is the same gage as comes with SP01. They were only a little over $5 each and free shipping with no tax if you order from Monoprice through Amazon. 

Now onto Z-Lynk specific issues. It seems to me that you lose some of the SP01 effectiveness when using the Z-Lynk. When testing I tried all possible configurations at home. When using SP01 direct from detector to headphone, no wireless, that to me is a baseline. With my Rattlers, I could switch modes on SP01 and headphone mono/stereo switch for apparently equal performance. Remember here only one ear muff on Rattlers. I set volume on SP01 at about 1/4 for tests as a baseline also, then switched between the different filter positions. I'm going to list specific results by detector now. There are some issues using this wireless system with SP01. 

Goldbug2: TS/mono to SP01 to Z-Lynk ; Filter seems good still, SP01 mode1 looses about 50% volume, SP01 mode 2 works fine.
                   Z-Lynk to TS/mono to SP01 ; Looses about 90% of volume, so no good.
                   Z-Lynk to TRS/stereo to SP01 ; Modes 1&2 seem equal with Rattlers, volume a little lower but still good, filter separation seems less noticeable.

Goldbug SE: Only works with TRS/stereo cable!!!!
                      TRS/stereo to SP01 to Z-Lynk ; noticeable drop in volume, maybe as much as 50%, of course my baseline is only about 1/4 volume on SP01 so this can be compensated for and full volume will be way louder than you will ever need. Also filter separation seems less noticeable. Only works proper in SP01 mode 2 with Rattlers. Mode 1 volume drops to near 0 in either mono or stereo switched on headphone. 
                      Z-Lynk to TRS/stereo to SP01 ; Volume still drops about the same, easily overcome, works in either SP01 mode equally when switching mono/stereo on headphone, filter separation again is not as noticeable as baseline. (see above)

GPX4500 and SDC2300: TS/mono to SP01 to Z-Lynk ; Filter separation still good, SP01 mode 2 best as mode 1 looses volume. Rattlers switch up only. Not sure if that is mono or stereo position on Rattlers as only one ear muff and not marked on headphone. 
                      Z-Lynk to TS/mono to SP01 ; Looses 90% or so volume so not good. Note: I forgot to mention above that SP01 doesn't work proper wired direct to Minelabs with TRS/stereo plug wiring. 
                     Z-Lynk to TRS/stereo to SP01 ; This configuration works in either mode equally with Rattlers, however it still looses volume which can be overcome, and filter separation seems to be much less noticeable, which is more of a concern. 

On to field tests. So far have only been out 1 day last week and made an error to start with. I also recently bought a Nuggetfinder Evo 9x14 from Rob. This coil seems to be rather sensitive and I am sure I will find lots of gold with it. However, not being familiar with this coil yet and testing the SP01 in hot rock hell was not a pleasant experience. So my result with GPX4500 I will call null and void at this point. This particular wash has a particular bedrock that makes any and all detectors, even GPZ and even DD coils on GPX just go nuts. Not sure what this stuff is, but it has so far proven to be very difficult in those areas of this wash to detect anything. That day I was detecting broken off pieces of that type bedrock much deeper than normal for hot rocks and most targets consisted of that nasty stuff.....frustrating !!!! Just a side note here, I am also running Docs Gold Screamer on my GPX4500. Don't think that had anything to do with my result though. 

So ran GPX in am starting at about 4am that morning till noon or so in hot bedrock hell. Came home, had lunch and a nap and went back out from about 5pm till about midnight with SDC2300 to a different spot that I recently got a total of 12 little pickers in 2 trips. About 3 grams total, and sorry I didn't attach pics. This spot just so happens to have been torn apart by monsoons this summer and I beat you all to it, lol. Lots of overburden that was as much as 3 feet deep stripped right to bedrock. Well it took some effort as I already worked the newly exposed areas rather thoroughly, but I did manage to recover 2 small pickers. One was wedged into a calcite seem on the downside of some bedrock up 3 foot or so above the gut. So this piece has been there awhile, but I have missed it previously. I will say the SP01 enhanced the SDC volume greatly which probably helped me hear this target. The other piece was also above the gut, but only 1-2 feet or so and neither location was recently exposed so I have likely had my coil over both targets previously. This piece was an obvious target, but not loud. It was in a crack so narrow I could not expose it with a small metal picking tool also using a brush and blow tube. Both of these targets had to be forced out of hiding by prying and breaking into the bedrock to release them. The second smaller target would have certainly had to be on edge and is maybe 3/16'' at it's widest cross section and maybe a little thicker than a single edge razor blade. So it is really just a flake of a picker. I have no idea how deep it was in that bedrock seem, but I had to remove the whole corner section to retrieve it. A chunk about the size of a bowling ball that took some prying from multiple angles to get it out of there. After bedrock removed, the little picker was right down in the corner. 

Well, that book report should keep some of you busy for awhile. Sure took me a couple hours to put it together here. Hope you all appreciate my effort and as I get more time out in the field I'll try to post more results from my efforts. Maybe one or more of you guys might get out there and test the SP01 with the Minelab wireless system on some Fisher or other units and let us know your findings as well. Enjoy, Dennis


Edited by IMPDLN
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Good stuffs bro. Looking forward to seeing how the SP01 performs in the field in a few weeks when we camp out with Las. Lots of gold left in the area you mentioned, no doubt  default_music-smiley-001%5B1%5D.gif :ph34r:

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