Fisher Lab F44 Metal Detector User Manual
Congratulations on the purchase of your new Fisher F44™ Metal Detector. The F44 is the result of many years of software engineering and features the latest advancements in lightweight design and target accuracy. The F44 can be used with its default modes, or use the Custom mode to create your own setup. No longer will weather be a force that stops you from enjoying your sport, the F44 is completely weatherproof. Laugh at the rain. Treasure-hunting enthusiasts from around the world were involved in the development of this revolutionary new detector. This manual has been written to help you get optimal use of your detector so we hope you will read it thoroughly before your first outing.
The following terms are used throughout the manual and are standard terminology among detectorists.
A relic is an object of interest by reason of its age or its association with the past. Many relics are made of iron, but can also be made of bronze or precious metals.
Iron is a common, low-grade metal that is an undesirable target in certain metal-detecting applications. Examples of undesirable iron objects are old cans, pipes, bolts, and nails. Sometimes the desired target is made of iron. Property markers, for instance, contain iron. Valuable relics can also be composed of iron; cannon balls, old armaments, and parts of old structures and vehicles can also be composed of iron.
Reference to a metal being “eliminated” means the detector will not emit a tone, nor display a Target-ID when a metal object passes through the search coil’s detection field.
When the detector emits different tones for different types of metals, and when the detector “eliminates” certain metals, we refer to this as the detector “discriminating” among different types of metals. Discrimination is an important feature of professional metal detectors. Discrimination allows the user to ignore trash and otherwise undesirable objects.
CONTENTS OF BOX
The following detector components are in the box:
Tool Required: #1 Phillips Screwdriver
- Remove the Screw from the Armrest. Slide the Armrest over the end of the S-Rod. Attach with Screw and Lock-Nut.
- Attach the Control Housing with Screws; install the back screw first.
NOTE: The Handgrip fits under the Control Housing. Handgrip may partially cover one mounting hole. Peel back the Handgrip to expose the front hole. Ensure the headphone jack cover is properly seated before attaching the control housing.
- Position S-Rod upright.
- Rotate the LOCKING COLLAR fully in the counterclockwise direction.
- Insert your finger inside the tube and make sure the INTERNAL CAM LOCK is flush with the inside of the tube.
- Insert the MIDDLE STEM into the S-ROD, with the SILVER BUTTON pointed upward.
- Rotate the MIDDLE STEM until the SILVER BUTTON locates in the hole.
- Twist the LOCKING COLLAR fully in the clockwise direction until it locks.
- Repeat this process on the LOWER STEM.
- Using the BOLT and KNURLED KNOB, attach the search coil to the LOWER STEM.
The detector requires two AA batteries. We recommend ALKALINE batteries (not included). Do not use ordinary “Zinc Carbon” batteries. Do not use “Heavy Duty” batteries. Rechargeable batteries can also be used. If you use rechargeables, we recommend using a “Nickel Metal Hydride” rechargeable battery. The battery compartment is located on the right side of the Control Housing. Both batteries should be installed with the negative terminal down.
Remove the battery tube:
- Slide the battery door off.
- Extend the handle on the battery tube (with your finger or by using the tab on the battery door to pry the handle into the extended position)
- Pull on the handle to remove (do not use the battery door tab to pull the tube out of the control housing, as this may cause damage to the battery door)
To install battery tube:
- Position the handle on the battery tube in a lowered position.
- Firmly push down on the battery tube, until the battery tube handle is flushed with the housing. (The battery tube will only insert one way, with the brass contacts facing towards the display and the hinged side of the handle towards the back.)
Expect 25 to 30 hours of life from 2 AA Alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries provide about 15 hours of usage per charge. Backlight increases power consumption and decreases battery life, with significant power drain at maximum brightness.
- Nail (made of iron)
- U.S. Quarter (or silver coin)
- U.S. Nickel
- Gold Ring
- U.S. Dime
- U.S. Penny, dated after 1982 (post-1982 pennies are made of Zinc) (Most newer non-U.S. coinage also contains mostly Zinc)
Position the Detector
a. Place the detector on a table with the search coil hanging over the edge (or have a friend hold the detector with the search coil off the ground).
b. Keep the search coil away from walls, floors, and metal objects.
c. Remove watches, rings, and jewelry.
d. Turn off lights or appliances whose electromagnetic emissions may cause interference.
e. Pivot the search coil back.
f. Press to power on. A series of 10 numbers will sequence across the screen, this is the serial number.
Demonstrate DEPTH Indicator:
a. Pass the Nickel close to the search coil (about 1” away).
b. Notice the depth bar graph indicating a shallow target.
c. Wave the Nickel farther away from the search coil and notice additional bar graph segments illuminating, indicating a deeper target.
THE BASICS OF METAL DETECTING
BASICS OF METAL DETECTING This metal detector is intended for locating buried metal objects. When searching for metals, underground or on the surface, you have the following challenges and objectives:
- Ignoring signals caused by ground minerals.
- Ignoring signals caused by metal objects you do not want to find, like nails.
- Identifying a buried metal object before you dig it up.
- Estimating the size and depth of objects, to facilitate digging them up.
- Eliminating the effects of electromagnetic interference from other electronic devices. Your metal detector is designed with these things in mind.
All soils contain minerals. Signals from ground minerals can interfere with the signals from metal objects you want to find. All soils differ and can differ greatly, in the type and amount of ground minerals present. This detector has proprietary circuitry to automatically eliminate interfering signals from minerals that occur naturally in the ground. NOTE: This detector will not completely eliminate interference from all types of minerals. For example, the detector IS NOT designed for use on wet sand saltwater beaches. Another example of soil this detector will not eliminate is any soil containing large concentrations of iron oxides, which are usually red in color.
If searching for coins, you want to ignore items like aluminum foil and nails. You can see the Target-ID of the buried objects, listen to the sounds, and then decide what you want to dig up. Or, you can eliminate unwanted metals from detection by using the different Modes or NOTCH feature or use the Custom mode to create your own discrimination settings.
EMI (Electromagnetic Interference)
The search coil produces a magnetic field and then detects changes in that magnetic field caused by the presence of metal objects. This magnetic field the detector creates is also susceptible to the electromagnetic energy produced by other electronic devices. Electric fences, cell phones, cell phone towers, power lines, microwave ovens, lighting fixtures, TVs, computers, motors, etc., all produce EMI which can interfere with the detector and cause it to beep erratically. The SENSITIVITY control lets you reduce the strength of this magnetic field and therefore lessen its susceptibility to EMI. You may want to operate at maximum strength, but the presence of EMI may make this impossible. If you experience erratic behavior or “false” signals, reduce the sensitivity.
USING THE DETECTOR
Method Sweep the detector side-to-side over the ground. Keep the search coil parallel to the ground as you sweep; do not lift the search coil at the ends of your sweeps. Search coil motion is required for target detection.
WATERPROOF SEARCH COIL
This detector is equipped with an 11” triangulated elliptical concentric waterproof search coil. This lightweight, ruggedly constructed search coil can be fully submerged in water. The bottom portion of the pole assembly can also be submerged, but the control housing and the search coil cable plug connection into the housing must not be submerged. The weatherproofing on the F44 was designed to allow hunting in inclement weather but it was not designed to withstand submersion in water. Accessory search coils are also available for purchase; see the back cover or visit www.fisherlab.com. A smaller search coil offers more precision and fits into tight spaces. Larger search coils provide more ground coverage on each sweep and penetrate deeper into the ground. Biaxial search coils provide better penetration in mineralized soils.
OPERATION and CONTROLS
Target Category Icons
Icons will turn from outlined to solid indicating a detected target
Coin-sized objects will be detected up to 10” deep. The 6-segment graphic indicator is calibrated to coin-sized objects
Objects other than coins will still register on the 6-segment depth scale, but the depth indication will be relative. For example, all 6 segments illuminated could indicate a coin buried 10” deep, but could also be a very large object several feet deep. Use the Depth Indicator in conjunction with the Target Category Icons and the aid of Pinpoint to gain more information about the buried target.
If a metal object or highly magnetic soil is too close to the search coil, the detector will overload and a “–” will appear on the screen. The detector will make a rapid, repeating mid-tone warning sound. Overload will not harm the detector, but the detector will not function under these conditions. If overload occurs, raise the search coil to detect the target from a greater distance, or move to a different location.
The Menu is located on the left side of the screen. During normal operation the Menu is inactive and the text icons are faded. Press the button to cycle through the menu options. When active, the icon will be bold. Each press of the moves to the next Menu item. Use within each menu item to make adjustments up or down. Here is a description of the Menu options:
Adjust speaker volume from 0 to 20. The default setting is 7. With a setting of “0”, the detector will function as normal but it will not emit any sound when targets are detected. The F44 has FeTone™, adjustable Iron audio, and a feature to reduce the volume of iron targets to minimize user fatigue. Volume settings of 10 – 20 are available to control the volume level of the iron targets. As you increase volume from 10 to 20, iron-volume changes from silent to maximum. At each of the 10 – 20 volume settings, nonferrous target response remains at maximum volume. At volume settings 0 – 9 both ferrous and nonferrous targets have equal volume. Example: at a volume setting 15, nonferrous target volume is maximum, ferrous target volume is at “5”, or half volume.
The table describes ferrous and nonferrous volumes at each setting
Volume settings will be saved when the detector is turned off.
Adjust the sensitivity from 1 to 20. The default setting is 12. The higher the number, the more sensitive the detector. If the detector beeps erratically or beeps when there are no metal objects being detected, reduce the sensitivity. The search coil produces a magnetic field and then detects changes in that magnetic field caused by the presence of metal objects. This magnetic field the detector creates is also susceptible to electromagnetic energy (EMI) produced by other electronic devices. Electric fences, cell phones, cell phone towers, etc., all produce EMI which can interfere with the detector and cause it to beep when no metal is present and sometimes to beep erratically. Sensitivity settings will be saved when the detector is turned off.
The Notch control allows you to accept or reject different types of metals per each target category group. All categories are eligible for NOTCH. Each mode, Jewelry, Coin, Artifact, and Custom, has its own set of notches. With the Notch menu active, press “+” or “-” to program the Notch feature. Each press of the “+” or “-” cycles to a new category and the active position is indicated by a flashing icon. Select desired category and wait 5 seconds or press the menu button for immediate notch setting.
That category will reverse status. If the icon had previously been illuminated it will now disappear indicating the category has been eliminated from detection. Likewise, an icon that is not visible on the display will re-illuminate, indicating that category is now notched in and targets will be detected. All of the 9 target categories can be notched, but only one category can be notched at a time. All Notch settings are saved when the detector is turned off.
There are four discrimination modes: JEWELRY, COIN, ARTIFACT and CUSTOM, and ALL METAL (A/M) mode. JEWELRY and COIN modes have preset notch settings. You can change all 9 target category notch settings in all four discrimination modes and these changes will be saved on shutdown. Pressing the MODE button will cycle through the modes. The active Mode will have bold text. Use NOTCH to change discrimination settings in each mode. The NOTCH function does not work in All Metal mode.
This is a motion detector. The coil must be moving for the detector to sense metal except when in Pinpoint. If you stop the coil over a metal object it will null out and go silent. When metal objects are detected, the detector will emit a sound, a Target ID Category icon will illuminate and a 2-digit Target-ID number will appear on the screen. Possible Target-ID numbers range from 1 to 99. This number represents the electrical conductivity of the target; higher numbers indicate more highly conductive targets.
Target indicators on the screen only represent the last object detected. This detector has a fast target response and is able to detect different objects in very close proximity. Therefore, the Target ID displayed may change rapidly as you sweep the search coil. Three seconds after a target is detected, the ID numbers will time out and disappear and the Target Category Icon will change to the non-illuminated state. Solid illumination of a singular target category indicates the detector is confident of the target identification. If target-ID confidence is low, the detector will assign several possible categories with the most likely target category solid black and less likely target categories shaded gray.
Iron, Gold, and Silver Indicators The group border momentarily flashes when an object in that group is present. The border flashes independently of the notch settings. Relic hunters will frequently seek out iron-laden sites as good prospective treasure-hunting sites. The iron indicator alerts the user to the presence of iron, even if the iron has been discriminated out. Relic hunters can search free of iron-target audio, yet still be alerted to the presence of ferrous objects or search with no discrimination and use the FeTone™ feature to decrease the Audio Volume of ferrous targets
Tone Target Identification
The detector will provide 1 of 4 sounds for any metal object detected: a bass, low, medium, or high tone. This audio feedback system is useful in conjunction with the visual Category Icon system described above.
See the chart below for a description of tones induced by different metals in different modes:
Ferrous, gold, and silver targets will generally register within their corresponding category icon ranges. Targets that are not gold or silver register within the same range according to their electrical conductivity. Note the electrical conductivity of a target depends on both its composition and size. Silver is more conductive than gold so it registers farther to the right; and the larger the silver object, the farther it registers to the right. There are a wide variety of metals and no target can be identified for certain until unearthed. See the coin reference table below.
Jewelry, Coin, and Artifact modes have predefined audio tones for the various Target Category groupings. The All Metal mode has a single proportional tone (V.C.O.) for all categories. The Custom mode is programmable and users can assign any tone to any of the Target Category groups. The Custom modes default tone for all categories is a single proportional tone (V.C.O.). V.C.O. varies in pitch and volume depending on the depth and size of the target. The custom tones are automatically saved when the unit is turned off.
WHAT IS GROUND CANCELATION? Why do I need to cancel out the ground?
All soils contain minerals. Signals from ground minerals are often tens or hundreds of times as strong as the signal from a buried metal object. The magnetism of iron minerals, found in nearly all soils, causes one type of interfering signal. Dissolved mineral salts, found in some soils, are electrically conductive, causing another type of interfering signal.
Ground Cancelation is the process by which the metal detector cancels the unwanted signals coming from the ground minerals while still detecting the signals from buried metal objects. This is accomplished by matching the detector’s Ground setting to the Phase of the ground signal. When the detector is calibrated to the soil, the result will be deeper target detection, quieter operation, and more accurate target identification. The most accurate GROUND value is the value displayed when “pumping” the search coil over the ground in an area free of metal.
Ground Balance Error Indicator
When using a metal detector the Ground Phase conditions can change from location to location and even within smaller areas only yards apart. Performance can suffer if the detector is not ground balanced properly so it is important to know when the conditions have changed. The Ground Balance Error arrows will show the user when to rebalance the detector; the downward pointing arrow icon will illuminate and blink when the ground phase condition is lower than the ground balance setting, and the upward pointing arrow icon will illuminate and blink when the ground phase condition is higher than the ground balance setting. When these conditions occur you should rebalance the detector.
MANUAL GROUND ADJUSTMENT
Refer to the GROUND section, (page 14), on how to manually adjust the detector’s internal Ground setting. After selecting Ground in the Menu selections, perform the coil pumping described above, and listen to the audio sounds. If the Ground setting is incorrect, there will be a difference in the sound as the search coil is either moving toward or away from the ground. It sounds like you are either pulling the sound out of the ground or pushing the sound into the ground.
NOTE: Experienced users often prefer to adjust the Ground setting to get a weak but audible response when lowering the search coil. This is called “adjusting for positive response”.
Fe3O4 BAR GRAPH
The Fe3 O4 4-segment bar graph indicates the amount of ground mineralization, independent of type, expressed as an equivalent volume concentration of magnetite (Fe3 O4 ). It updates every second. It is sensitive to motion and will give the most accurate readings if you “pump” the search coil up and down several times over the ground. The presence of metal or “hot rocks” will cause the readings to be inaccurate. If you stop moving the search coil, the bar graph will go blank.
Magnetic susceptibility is expressed in micro-cgs units. In a saltwater environment in the absence of iron minerals, the bar graph indicates relative electrical conductivity. In soils with greater than 4,000 micro-cgs units magnetic susceptibility, the signal from the soil may saturate (“overload”) the circuits. This will not harm the detector but the machine will not be usable in that condition. The solution is to hold the search coil several inches above the soil surface so it isn’t “seeing as much dirt”.
This detector has a 1/4” headphone jack. It works with any stereo headphone (not included) that has a 1/4” plug. When the headphone jack is connected, the speaker volume is disabled. Using headphones extends battery life and prevents the sounds from bothering bystanders. Headphone use also facilitates the detection of the weakest signals. For safety reasons, do not use headphones near traffic or where other dangers are present. This device is to be used with interconnecting cables shorter than three meters. The headphone jack has a rubber plug that will help keep foreign material from entering the control box. To insure it remains weatherproof, do not use headphones during rain or very wet conditions.
CHARACTERISTICS & LIMITATION
- This detector comes with a waterproof search coil. The search coil can be completely submerged in water. The control housing is weatherproof but cannot be submerged in water.
- BURIED UTILITY LINES. This hobby metal detector is not designed to locate buried pipes or cables. First Texas Products manufactures a complete line of pipe and cable locators for this application. These are sophisticated instruments with functionality different from your hobby metal detector.
- SEVERE SOIL CONDITIONS. While this detector has proprietary circuitry to cancel out minerals naturally occurring in most soil types, it cannot penetrate the most severe soils and it is not intended for use on wet sand saltwater beaches. However, it is well-suited for detecting dry sand. Saltwater is highly conductive and requires a more sophisticated type of detector. First Texas Products offers such types of detectors. Other highly mineralized soils, such as those found in some gold prospecting sites, may also limit this detector’s capability. If the detector tends to overload, it could indicate you are in an area containing such severe soils.
- TARGET-ID. The detector’s Target-ID system calculates and displays the most probable identification. Target-ID is affected by soil conditions, the search coil’s distance from the target, the length of time the target has been buried, and the target’s proximity to other dissimilar targets. Very large metal objects can overload the detector and may be classified inaccurately.
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses, and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:
- Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
- Increase the separation between the equipment and the receiver.
- Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
TREASURE HUNTER’S CODE OF ETHICS:
- Always check Federal, State, County, and local laws before searching.
- Respect private property and do not enter private property without the owner’s permission.
- Take care to refill all holes and leave no damage.
- Remove and dispose of any and all trash and litter found.
- Appreciate and protect our inheritance of natural resources, wildlife, and private property.
- Act as an ambassador for all treasure hunters; use thoughtfulness, consideration, and courtesy at all times.
- Never destroy historical or archaeological treasures.
- All treasure hunters may be judged by the example they set; always conduct yourself with courtesy and consideration of others.
5-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY
The F44 metal detector is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for five years from the date of purchase to the original owner. Damage due to neglect, accidental damage or misuse of this product is not covered under this warranty. Decisions regarding abuse or misuse of the F44 metal detector are made solely at the discretion of the manufacturer. Proof of Purchase is required to make a claim under this warranty. Liability under this Warranty is limited to replacing or repairing, at our option, the metal detector returned, shipping cost prepaid, to First Texas Products. Shipping cost to First Texas Products is the responsibility of the consumer. To return your detector for service, please first contact First Texas Products for a Return Authorization (RA) Number. Reference the RA number on your package and return the detector within 15 days of calling to: