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.