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Reno Chris

Beware Of Phony, Junk Metal Detectors

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Well, today (here in Africa) I got to see and play with my first phony Chinese knock off metal detector. I have heard of these things for years but never before had the chance to actually see and experience one. All of the more expensive detectors, and especially those which are targeted to find gold are the subject of thousands of Chinese phony detector stimulants.  If you are someone who owns or would like to own a metal detector, you should know about this. Let me tell you the story:

 

At the moment, I am in Africa and our group had just completed dinner at a restaurant across the street from the hotel we are staying at. I stayed at the restaurant for a few extra minutes transmitting an email because the internet at the restaurant café is notably better that the one at the hotel in which I am staying. There are some detector dealers from this
part of the world with us. As I was returning to my room, I saw one of the guys in our party putting together a GPX 5000 out by the Hotel pool, so I walked over to observe what was going on. He told me the customer complained his GPX was not working, so because I own one of these detectors, and know how to operate them, I tried to lend a hand figuring out what the problem was.  We first tried a nugget I estimate was about 3 to 4 pennyweight in size.  It should have screamed, but it gave no response. They waived a beer bottle cap which happened to be on the table and it no response. I finally waived my cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy note 2, perhaps the biggest cell phone currently in production, filled with lots of metal and I bet equivalent to at least a 3 ounce nugget. Nothing – no response whatsoever, even though it was almost touching the coil.  We didn’t try any larger targets like an engine block or anything because the settings were fine and something was clearly wrong.  I offered to go up and get my GPX 5000 control box because I knew it worked and we could figure out if the problem was in the coil or the control box. I returned with my box a couple minutes later, but they had already figured out the problem. The customer had not actually purchased the detector from the legitimate dealer he was asking to help him, but from some other supplier who promised he could get a GPX 5000 from him for a few hundred cheaper.  The customer had visited and spoken with the legitimate dealer, so the dealer actually remembered him, but in the end had purchased from another supplier, which is what they found out while I was up in my room. The bottom line is that the poor customer had paid nearly $5000 for a worthless piece of junk that looks exactly like a real detector but is not.  



There are many thousands of these phony detectors out there, and it’s not just Minelab – its other makers too. If you buy a new detector of any brand – buy it from a trustworthy company who will stand behind their products and even so, test it out in the store before you buy. If you buy used, make sure to test the unit first. If you get a story that its broken but the
manufacturer can fix it for you, decline and tell the seller to get it fixed himself and once its running right and you can test it to prove that, then you would be interested in buying. These junk detectors are selling all over the world and many are being burned, even in the US and Europe. Don’t let yourself be one of the folks who are stuck with an expensive piece of Chinese junk.



 

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This is a real bummer because I have always told people they can buy used detectors with a high level of confidence, and that is true of legit models. The whole idea of getting a good looking non-functional fake puts a real damper on buying used.

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The programming screen came up with all the normal options that I see on my own GPX, so they have it looking good and at least seeming to run, but the proof is in the pudding: if it cant detect metal objects, its not a metal detector.

 

Its a big problem in this part of the world, but I have heard of more and more of them being smuggled into the US, where they are sold to unsuspecting buyers. Always be sure your detector works before you purchase it. If your seller cant make it run right, you dont want to own it. If it can detect metal normally as one would expect a metal detector to do, then you are probably OK.

 

In fact, as I was going into the restaurant in which we had dinner, I was offered a very inexpensive Apple I-phone, Which I think was also 100% fake - although it too looked fine at least to my eye (of course I did not purchase the crazy thing).

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Very interesting article. Thank you for this information as a couple of friends and I have been looking at buying another gold detector. I will have them read your post. Marv

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I'm seeing more and more chinese knockoffs-especially Garrett Infiniumn and numerous whites units. Craigslist and swaps are the usual places,even saw a GBPRO but the guy high tailed it outta there before the swap owner appeared after I complained-bummer-I hate knockoffs-John

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Actually I finally found some on Alibaba the Amazon of the far east and looking on youtube a lot of users seem to think they work just as well as the brand names with the exception of some of the coils not functioning correctly , there were a lot of buyers and users in the UK .

Edited by Ricky D N
update old iformation

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Whether or not that particular unit was counterfeit the fact is they are a huge issue right now. And yes, the fakes generally do work to a degree. As you say, very easy to build a PI. Some of the VLF units work very well. Minelab has been going to extreme lengths with dealers in the form of special holographic id tools to help dealers know they are getting legit factory product from distributors. All the gold units are getting hit hard. If you want one, they are easy enough to find. Just shop around for deals too good to be true.

Fisher lists some known sellers of questionable product at http://www.fisherlab.com/hobby/dealers.htm

Check these out:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/674493889/Gold_king_metal_detector_deep_detection.html

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/803571074/Metal_Detector_GXP5000_High_Sensitivity_and.html

Sadly, the problem is very real. Buyer beware!

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Ricky D  N -

 

Seriously! What you are saying is like saying I've never seen a bank robbery in person, so I don't believe they happen. You are not aware of the market in Africa, and counterfeit detectors really are a problem here.

 

The counterfeit detectors are a major problem in this part of the world. Here is some additional info:

1) the authorized Minelab dealer here puts a special anti-fraud indicator on all the GPX units he sells. The one we were looking at did not have that indicator.

2) After talking to the buyer, he admitted he purchased the unit from a seller who is known to Minelab and the authorized African distributor as a seller of fraudulent units.

3) Are you saying you believe Minelab has no quality assurance and ships bad units regularly? You do know they have an analysis port and check the status of each unit before they ship it, right?

 

Since seeing this fraudulent unit on the first day of my trip, I have now seen several more, including phony Teknetics T2 units. Because the GPX and T2 are the most popular units here, they are ones that are sold as counterfeits.

 

I never said anything like all Chinese products are bad. I buy some Chinese items myself - no problem. However there are some folks in that country who are thieves. If you are a thief, why would you be motivated to give your victim a good, functional product? If you are a thief, its an extra effort that makes no sense. Most Africans who buy detectors are poor, and buying a $5000 detector is to them like a $50,000 purchase is to us. if they are told they can get the same thing cheaper, they will do it. Many don't know how test one when they purchase it. Like many American buyers of gold detectors, a large percentage are never successful in finding any gold with it. So the thieves look to take advantage of that.

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My new GPX 4500 (bought from a legitimate dealer) did not work right. Sent it in lto Minelab Chicago and they found something inside was loose. Fixed it free of charge and shipping.

I have also heard of the fake detectors so would not buy from anyone but a dealer.

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I bought a 3 month old GPX 5000 for $4000 from a private party before I heard about all the fraud.

Based on the pictures on Minelab's website mine looked real but I called them and the serial# checked out good !

I currently do see fakes on EBay quite often. So if you buy used or new ...check the unit out first!

I was lucky it all was legit!

Cheers,

The

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In this brave new world of international trade, you need to be careful if you are not buying from an established, legitimate, authorized dealers. Yup, sometimes good used detectors come available, but you need to be a little skeptical and be sure your used unit works properly before you put your money down to buy.

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REALLY!!! You are still not a Technician and would not know a ziener diode form an induction coil, after talking to a number of other repair techs that I have worked with over the decades none of us have EVER worked on any counterfeit electronics of any kind, and we worked in Europe and Canada all of the 50 states Australia and New Zeland as Field Service Electronics Technicians and ran our own Electronics repair buss, so if you come across one or two take some pictures and post them  internal and external pictures I would like to see one of there counterfeit boards if you are going to make up a story why don't you try to prove it instead of just  talking about it!! Just like BIGFOOT I don't have to see one to know it does not exist!!! I went to the Tektronics site and Minelab and there is no mention of counterfeit products,  Why let the truth get in the way of a good story!!

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I went to the Tektronics site and Minelab and there is no mention of counterfeit products,

 

Right, for some support or proof to my story, here it is.

I am not sure how you checked for verification on the existence of counterfeit detectors, but let me help. Check out these links from the minelab website for more info:

 

http://www.minelab.com/usa/consumer/where-to-buy/buyer-beware

 

http://www.minelab.com/usa/consumer/knowledge-base/news?article=173040

 

http://www.minelab.com/usa/consumer/where-to-buy/counterfeit-update

 

Minelab is even getting involved with the police and other legal authorities internationally - check this out:

 

http://www.godubai.com/citylife/press_release_page.asp?PR=77660#mdnesds

 

The phony GPX 5000 I saw in Africa was from Dubai, though I don't know if it was supplied by the particular operators who were raided in the article noted above. However a quick check of the numbers in the article, shows that the Dubai police seized roughly about 300 fake GPX 5000 units.

 

The Teknetics website has a lot less news and other detail, but I guarantee that if you contact them they will tell you that yes, the counterfeit detectors, especially the T2 model are a real problem for them in places like Africa, Asia and South America. Teknetics is made by First Texas, who also produces Fisher and Bounty Hunter. When I was in Africa seeing these fake detectors, the guy in charge of marketing for First Texas was with me seeing the same thing - but it was nothing new to him. This is from the Fisher website: "Chinese manufacturers have produced counterfeits of Fisher Metal Detectors. These counterfeit detectors have the appearance of our authentic products, but not the quality or performance. "

You can see the info on the link for Fisher that Steve posted above: http://www.fisherlab.com/hobby/dealers.htm

 

So yes, Minelab and First Texas are very concerned about fake metal detectors - they are not making it up for public sympathy. Sales of these phony detectors costs them money in lost sales and damages their brand name as people see equipment that looks exactly like theirs but does not function properly. I agree with you that in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, they have been rare in the past. That is slowly changing. One point I will make is that people who take their detectors to shop technicians generally have minor things wrong - a switch that does not work any longer, etc. While you may see some major problems, when people purchase a new detector and it is a total failure right out of the box, the majority would be way more likely to contact the manufacturer than a local electronics technician.  Normally one pays for a technician, but if its totally junk right out of the box, you expect the manufacturer to make it right for free. The fact that these fake detectors are far, far more common in the undeveloped world than they are in the developed countries, and that you don't mention that any of the peers you talked to actually worked recently directly for Minelab or First Texas, probably explains why none of you have ever seen one.

 

One last point - I have had university classes in Electrical Engineering, so please don't assume I know nothing of electronics.

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"Why let the truth get in the way of a good story!!"

 

Such hutzpah..? Great job on putting this character in his place Reno..!

 

The Chinese are actually making fake gold coins in authentic looking PCGS holders and most everyone has seen the 60 minutes program of the painter that faked all those "Master" paintings... Why not fake a desirable metal detector..?

 

Couldn't understand this person's desire to prove there was no such thing possible and with such "strength of opinion"...? (a detector "dealer"..?)

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Some things are cloned fairly well, but my experience with metal detectors is that the "cloned" products look exactly like the original, but are nearly or totally nonfunctional as far as detecting metal objects. I have heard of Minelab GPX style clones that have a cheap VLF circuit stuffed in them. The problem is that many folks who purchase detectors never actually find any gold with their detector. So if you sell one of these folks a copy that looks good, but is non-functional, they may never know. Here in the US, such fake detectors are not common, but in the developing world they are much more common.

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Chris, I bought one of the first T2's off the line in 2006. As you mention in an earlier

post in this thread the T2 was cloned; but here is the rest of the story.

 

The clones worked great in Africa and it was an understatement about how many

clones were made... The T2's did not have a serial number! The T2's worked great

in the African gold fields and FT was playing it cool and needed to get a handle

on the problem so they offered a bottlecap revision for those that were using the

T2 in coinhunting. I was using mine for nugget hunting as it had bargraph and

phase readings... It lacked tracking and had a grab which back then was not

understood. However I asked a lot of questions and finally understood a little about

it as it was digital and different than the analogs.

 

Since I was also using the T2 in seeded coinhunts I sent it in for the bottlecap revisions

as well some other hardware problems... This plus my warranty protects me from

the ubiquitous clones... Teknetics soon stopped making the original T2.

 

However, time has marched on, I understand FT has a bunch of T2 stuff

gathering dust and are now assembling the T2's again. Price $499 which is a

WOW...  The T2 is a David Johnson and Ol' Dave is years ahead of the

completion and a good guy too. I have known Dave since the 1980's when

he first went to work for Fisher Los Bano's.

 

Now for the rest of the story I introduced Mr. Scott Harn and Dave at a Federation

event at Laughlin. Mr Harn had one of those newfangled cameras with a card

holding hundeds of photos; he took several of Dave and I... Dave has been, and

still able to beat Lou Gehrig's disease known as ALS since the early 1990's and

has written a published book about it... It would be nice if Scott has saved the photo

card. As I remember he was on one of the basketball teams and was in a game

while at Laughlin,,, It was with a Police dept and Scott was one of the best players

on the team. Jim

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Jim - I have been twice to Africa and seen a number of these T2 clones. I don't know who told you they worked, but my experience was that the Chinese T2 clones did NOT work. They looked just like the genuine thing, but did not work worth a hoot. Many of the Africans buy based on what they have heard from others. The T2 worked well in a number of places, so the word got out that the T2 was a great product. A very large number were sold. However, in time the problem of clones that did not work became a problem as the Africans had a hard time knowing if they were buying the genuine thing or junk clones and were fearful to waste so much money on a junk clone. Plus, after the passage of some time, the Africans have been able to see lots of other detectors in action and are now buying lots of other types like the new Gold Bug in addition to the T2 detectors. So I am guessing that there are some T2 detectors in the warehouse and the $499 price is quite the bargain for a powerful detector.

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Chris... All I know, and remember : the original 2006 T2 (Texas) manufactured

ones were suddenly bought out by dealers who were getting orders to fill and even

those such as me and others who were posting on open forums... (you should

remember finds-forum (not findmall) and I was offered $2000 USA for mine if

in operating condition... but naturally I did nor sell it.... So, I guess there were

a mix of both good and non-good.

 

But it was such a problem FT decided to discontinue the non serial # 2006 Teknetic

T2 and replaced it with a later serial # T2 "'deluxe-named' edition" 

 

I'm truly glad you have been to Africa; this makes you AAA (Alaska-Africa-Arizona)

For me it has always been a big trip to drive of fly stateside.     

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Chris the main problem about the T2: No serial number and if a fake was sent in

for repair it was difficult for Fisher Repair to handle the volume and separate the

legal from the clones w/o a registration card on file... So the original green T2 was

quickly revised to a later T2 and no longer manufactured,,,,

 

Now time has passed and the green T2 is back and First Texas is getting

rid of its backlog of inventory... Although it was in 2006; today it is not outdated as

it has Grab, Barograph and phase numbers and the standard open spoke 2D 11-inch

and five in sniper coil...

 

So in many ways I'm happy to have one of the first off the line even though mine has

not a serial number but has been authentised and updated as I have

sent it twice over the years; once for the bottle cap revision and again when the 

control-stem broke off the handle... 

 

Even tho I paid more for my T2 in 2006 then the current $499; I'm one happy camper to have

been able to use mine in seeded TH hunts as it is fast recovery; but alas I'm now just slow and

use a walker.... But positive and happy with memories of getting out and swinging my 

original non-serial numbered green T2... Hey, I just got my California driver's license renewed

for 5-years and I do not need to wear glasses and the license expires on my 91th birthday. jim    

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I finally found the counterfeit detectors they do look exactly the same and actually work very well , I watched some tests from the UK , on a T2 , the ALIBABA  corp out of China is selling them for a very cheap price !!!

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On ‎5‎/‎22‎/‎2013 at 4:00 AM, Reno Chris said:

Ricky D  N -

 

Seriously! What you are saying is like saying I've never seen a bank robbery in person, so I don't believe they happen. You are not aware of the market in Africa, and counterfeit detectors really are a problem here.

 

The counterfeit detectors are a major problem in this part of the world. Here is some additional info:

1) the authorized Minelab dealer here puts a special anti-fraud indicator on all the GPX units he sells. The one we were looking at did not have that indicator.

2) After talking to the buyer, he admitted he purchased the unit from a seller who is known to Minelab and the authorized African distributor as a seller of fraudulent units.

3) Are you saying you believe Minelab has no quality assurance and ships bad units regularly? You do know they have an analysis port and check the status of each unit before they ship it, right?

 

Since seeing this fraudulent unit on the first day of my trip, I have now seen several more, including phony Teknetics T2 units. Because the GPX and T2 are the most popular units here, they are ones that are sold as counterfeits.

 

I never said anything like all Chinese products are bad. I buy some Chinese items myself - no problem. However there are some folks in that country who are thieves. If you are a thief, why would you be motivated to give your victim a good, functional product? If you are a thief, its an extra effort that makes no sense. Most Africans who buy detectors are poor, and buying a $5000 detector is to them like a $50,000 purchase is to us. if they are told they can get the same thing cheaper, they will do it. Many don't know how test one when they purchase it. Like many American buyers of gold detectors, a large percentage are never successful in finding any gold with it. So the thieves look to take advantage of that.

Actually they are finally copying most of the major manufacturers detectors and Alibaba.com is selling them , including the Garrett GTI 2500 for about $120 , the Fisher and Teknetics , the Bliss Tool all of MineLabs detectors , a lot of the UK guys seem to like them a lot and generally have only had problems with the coils , I talked to a few manufacturers and they said they really cannot do much of anything about it because once one company is caught a few more pop up to take it's place. Education is the key to prevent it but lots of users just want a bargain on a detector and that is what is fueling  the counterfeit units ..You probably shouldn't get you panties in a bunch , it is bad for your health..

Edited by Ricky D N
new info

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