MineLab Equinox 800

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MineLab Equinox 800


Metal detecting is one of the funnest hobbies I have ever tried. I am hooked and the Minelab Equinox 800 is the the right tool for the job whether you are a season detectorist or a novice. Here are my thoughts on this great detector!


Just the Facts:

 

MULTI-IQ

Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency

Low frequencies typically give more depth on large targets than high frequencies, which are usually more sensitive to small targets. With EQUINOX you can operate across the full spectrum of frequencies simultaneously for maximum results. 

The EQUINOX 600 offers a choice of 3 single frequencies and the EQUINOX 800 offers the choice of 5 single frequencies. Both models cover a much broader range of targets when operating in Multi than any one single frequency can, however, if excessive ground noise is present in a particular detecting location, switching into a single frequency can help to eliminate this.

EQUINOX 800 TECH SPECS

Detect Modes

Park | Beach | Field | Gold

Custom Search Profiles

8 (2 per Detect Mode)

User Profile Button

Yes

Operating Frequencies (kHz)

Multi, 5, 10, 15, 20, 40

Noise Cancel

Auto | Manual (-9 to 9)

Ground Balance

Auto | Manual

Sensitivity

1–25

Target Volume

0–25

Threshold Level

0–25

Threshold Pitch

0–25

Target Identification

50 segment notch discrimination | Ferrous: -9 – 0 | Non-ferrous: 1 – 40

Target Tones

1, 2, 5, 50

Tone Break

Ferrous | Non-ferrous

Tone Pitch

Ferrous | Non-ferrous

Tone Volume

Ferrous | Non-ferrous

Depth Indicator

5 levels

Length

1440 mm (56.7″)

Weight

1.34 kg (2.96 lbs)

Standard Coil

11-inch Double-D Smart coil with skidplate (waterproof to 3m/10′)

Audio Output

  • In-built loudspeaker • 3.5mm (1/8″) headphones (included) • Bluetooth compatible • WM 08 Wi-Stream compatible

Headphones (included)

Bluetooth and aptX™ Low Latency headphones (non waterproof)

WM 08 (included)

Yes

Display

Monochrome LCD with backlight

LCD Backlight

Low | Medium | High | Off

Battery

In-built rechargeable Lithium-ion battery

Battery Runtime

Approx. 12 hours

Waterproof

Waterproof to 3m/10-feet

Key Technologies

Multi-IQ | 5F×8 | Wi-Stream | Bluetooth | aptX™ Low Latency

Other Accessories

USB Charging cable (1.5A), Multi Language Screen protectors

Software Upgradeable

Yes, via USB connection (Windows and OSX)

Warranty

3 years control box and coil

 


My Story:

I am every bit the novice when it comes to metal detecting. I have no family history and no friends that are metal detectorists. I do however have a long history of deep curiosity about these cool gadgets and it is something that I have long desired to try. Luckily I find myself being afforded the opportunity to try all kinds of fun new things these days. So, when I saw the MineLab Eqinox 800 metal detector at the 2019 summer OR show I knew it was something that I wanted to try.

When the detector first arrived I felt as though I was in over my head. I had no idea what I was looking at and I am not a technology guru by any means. So, I went to the place that most of us do in times of need….YouTube. After watching a few videos I felt confident that I was going to head out and find every lost coin in my local parks! I was about to be a rich man! Alas, it was not that simple.

As with all things there is a learning curve. The Equinox 800 does it’s best to make detecting as simple as possible by way of it’s different modes- Park, Beach, Field and Gold. Each mode has two different options. It is really just as simple as selecting the appropriate mode and beginning your search. The trick is in the tone! From everything I have watched and read it takes time to learn what each sound means. A seasoned detectorist can tell what something is just by the tone of detector. Additionally, the detector has a numerical reading (VDI) that can be used to help identify items. Certain things like pop tops and coins typically read a certain way and that can give indication what you are looking at before you dig.

I have been trying to master the art of tone identification so as to limit my digging of trash. I am getting better but this does take time. The Equinox 800 does have a great cancellation feature that can be very valuable once you get an idea what you are looking for. For instance if you know that a certain (VDI) number range nearly always registers and turns out to be a pop top or bottle cap, well you can just eliminate that range so the detector no longer tones on those items. Careful about this though, a U.S. nickel and a pop top have almost the exact same (VDI). Could you miss things because of this? Sure I guess you could, but it beats spending all that time digging for trash.

Once you locate an item the Equinox has a great zeroing feature that can be activated at just the push of a button. This helps narrow the search area down which translates into less digging! This feature is very valuable but I would highly suggest you purchase a smaller handheld wand style pinpointing detector for checking the hole or tailings/plug. Use of this will speed up your recovery time exponentially.

Some of the other great features the Equinox 800 are the include Bluetooth wireless headphones, it’s light weight frame and design, backlight LED display, the ability to build custom search profiles, and its waterproof to 3M/10ft!

During one river trip I was tasked to find a pair of expensive sunglasses that were lost in the murky water. I was really excited to test the Equinox in the water and I went right to work. I located the glasses within about 10 minutes of hunting and returned them to the owner! Sadly I forgot to get a picture but I promise, scouts honor, that it happened. 

After a cumulative duration of nearly 200 hours of use I have to say that the MineLab Equinox machine is very straight forward. Setup is very simple and without any prior knowledge I was able to find items buried in the depths of my yard by simply turning on the detector and selecting the park profile. I was off and running, or should I say digging, so much digging. As I mentioned I am about as novice as they come an though I had played with some detectors in the past I had no clue how to efficiently use them which in-turn meant that I would be digging up every beep I heard. This is not conducive to great treasure hunting but it is a great way to clean up trash. Here is one of my earlier NOX hunts in which I had about a 1:1 trash to treasure ratio. 

My last testing area was the beach at the Oregon coast. I was so excited to get out there and find some treasure. Sadly, cold water, high winds and rough seas are not exactly the place people like to lay around and lose their valuables. I did not find anything of real value but I had a great time searching. Back at camp I looked over my loot and was successful in finding some clad coins, a junk ring, fishing weights, surf tumbled aluminum nuggets and tons of bottle caps or other rubbish. Not what I was hoping for but it was a great trip.

The highlight of my Oregon Coast trip came when a nice lady was distraught over losing her one and only car key. She was visiting all the way from Utah and she had left her husband at the hotel so she could go dig some agates. After we talked about where she had been I went to work scanning the sand just at the edge of the surf. To my surprise I located the key in about 5 minutes and it was under about 6’’ of sand!

After watching how much fun I was having my father decided that he would like to try his hand at playing with the detector and he went to hunt around an abandoned farm house. He found all manner of little metal items but nothing of value. He was very happy to show off his can of treasure though and he had a fantastic time searching. He ordered his own machine soon after and has become completely obsessed with the hobby. He is retired and goes detecting nearly every day. Sadly I had some life events that prohibited me from getting into the field for most of the early fall and spring. When COVID-19 hit it was the perfect time for me to get out into my yard and some the neighboring parks for some solo hunting.

After a small learning period the hits started to come and I was having more success than my early learning the summer before. This time I was able to clearly identify targets that were worth digging up. I soon had a pile of clad coins, tools, toy cars and so much more. I have also done about a bazillion squats which is not a bad thing either. Overall I have really had a great time with this machine and it has sparked a love for a hobby I was always curious about but never knew how much I would love. The best part is that the hobby can take you from the slopes to the beach and every patch of dirt in-between. 

I have tested the MineLab Equinox 800 for just under a year now. I have used it in just about every type of soil or sand and have found it to be fantastic. The preset modes are simple to use and the detector is very user friendly. My children have even had a great time with it. I added the aftermarket 6’’ coil to the arsenal to assist in heavy trash areas and I have also found it to be a fantastic product that only enriches the great experience the NOX will provide.  

Before I end this review I want to be clear about something that I think you should know. While I was instantly able to start finding things with this great detector it was not without challenge. There is a learning curve and many techniques that must be learned before you are going to feel comfortable with this or any other detector. Be patient, do research, put in your time, never put garbage back into a hole and be respectful of the land you dig. If you follow that advice you will have a great time with your NOX and you will be rewarded!    


Find It Here:

https://www.minelab.com/usa/where-to-buy


What can be done better?

To be honest I don’t feel like I would change anything at this point. I am not an expert detectorist and thus cannot put this against years of experience. What I can say is that if you are a curious novice or a person that knows good metal detectors you cannot search without finding MineLab and inevitably you will read about the Equinox series detectors. They are not priced for those that want to be cheap so be prepared to spend some money. The way I see it though, if you buy a cheap one it will only make you want a better one. So why not do it right the first time? I love this thing and it has just been an absolute blast! 

 

 

 

 

      

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About Cory McLaughlin

Cory McLaughlin is an avid outdoors enthusiast, writer, father, and coach. He spends nearly all his free time in the outdoors. He values family, friendship, and adventure above all else. If you enjoyed his review please leave a comment below.

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