A metal detector is an electronic instrument that detects the presence of metal nearby. Metal detectors are useful for finding metal inclusions hidden within objects, or metal objects buried underground. They often consist of a handheld unit with a sensor probe that can be swept over the ground or other objects. Different metal detectors operate in various ways. But here’s the science behind one of the simplest kinds. It comprises a coil of wire, known as the transmitter coil, It is wrapped around the circular head at the end of the handle.
Metal detectors all work in broadly the same way. By converting electricity into magnetism and back again, they come in three main types. The simplest ones are suitable for all kinds of general-purpose metal-detecting and treasure hunting. They’re called VLF (very low frequency) detectors. Because they use a single, fixed detecting frequency typically around 6–20 kHz (generally less than 30kHz). You’ll also come across PI (pulse induction) detectors. Which uses higher-frequencies and pulsed signals. They can generally pick things up deeper in the ground than VLF detectors. But they’re not as discriminating and nothing like as commonly used. A third type is known as the FBS (full-band spectrum) detector. Which uses multiple frequencies simultaneously—so, in effect, it’s a bit like using several slightly differently tuned detectors at the same time.
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