Search Programs for Minelab E-Trac & CTX 3030 Metal Detectors

Program Settings for Detecting Coins, Relics, and Smallest Hammered Silver Coins

Minelab CTX 3030 & E-Trac Search Program Settings


The following metal detecting programs - combinations of settings, have resulted from the "trial and error" process of fine-tuning the Minelab FBS detectors - E-Trac and CTX 3030, according to certain metal detecting conditions and tasks. As I do not read books on this and other subjects concerning detector's performance (their authors do not hunt in my search areas!), all my knowledge comes from practical experience and analysis of the process. My search programs are just the basis for your own experimentation and building up the knowledge of your metal detector.

Normally the search program adjustments are made every time you encounter changes in metal detecting conditions, such as soil's natural magnetic mineralization (iron oxide, hot rocks and magnetite) and sporadic magnetic mineralization at sites of former human settlement (hearths, pottery, brick, slag and coke), ground wetness, level of iron and non-ferrous junk, electromagnetic interference, types of targets sought, height of surface vegetation and grass, etc. Thus each search program described here, especially its Discrimination and QuickMask patterns, can be used for further modifications to be made according to your goals.

To Minelab CTX 3030 Users:

The Minelab CTX 3030 is just a nicely upgraded E-Trac (and nothing more, no matter what they say) disguised in a new waterproof and well-balanced body, though a little heavier - 5.2 Lbs (2.36 kg), in weight.

However, it is "spiced" with incredible extra features such as GPS (GPSi), and wireless (Wi-Stream), new advanced technologies such as FBS 2 (it combines Minelab's FBS technology with wireless coil-to-detector communications) and Smartfind 2, and truly amazing functions such as Target Trace, Target Trace Pinpoint, Combined Tone ID Profile, Resize the Tone ID Profile, Ferrous-Coin Separation, Ground-Coin Separation, and Enable Ground Balance in addition to the color graphics on the display.

Most of the CTX-3030's program settings as well as the configuration of the Smartfind Discrimination patterns with editing options are the same as in the Minelab E-Trac detector or similar to E-Trac's. This is why the E-Trac's search programs and Discrimination/QuickMask patterns can be used in CTX-3030 with the same effect. And the above-mentioned additional features of CTX 3030 can help you bring the following search programs to the next level of efficiency.

However, two key-settings of E-Trac were not carried over to the CTX 3030. One of them is VARIABILITY (in E-Trac's Audio menu), and the former E-Trac users/coin shooters miss this feature for it would allow them to increase the maximum upper pitch range of the CTX-3030's Audio and make a silver coin sing out with the "warble" sound. Some guys get upset about not being able to get this classic "warble" tone with their CTX-3030s, no matter how they set up the Audio.

Another key-setting is TONE ID LIMITS which, in conjunction with VARIABILITY, makes the E-Trac's MULTI-Tone Audio in CONDUCT mode a powerful and quite effective tool. In fact, these three audio features have made the Minelab E-Trac a true "Tone Monster". Although the CTX-3030 detects 10% deeper than E-Trac, and finds more "goodies", it did not inherit the E-Trac's famous title. :(

But one should not be worried about it because the CTX 3030's excellent graphic representation of detected target information not only compensates the missing E-Trac's key-features, but also makes the CTX-3030 a "visual detector" and superior to the E-Trac. And this is how the CTX 3030 fundamentally differs from the E-Trac - a "tone detector".

As for the Discrimination patterns, the CTX 3030 has two of them for each of its 10 Search Modes, and both patterns can be edited or created "from scratch" by the user. Just like with the E-Trac's QuickMask, one of these Discrimination patterns can be edited for minimum Discrimination, and then used to confirm the rejected target's FE-CO properties by pressing the Detect button. However, the CTX 3030 takes another step further in helping you correctly identify questionable targets by allowing you to quickly toggle back and forth from one Search Mode to another by pressing the programmable User Button. This way, you have an incredible opportunity to fast-access four different Discrimination patterns by pressing just two buttons! So you can utilize the E-Trac's QuickMask and Discrimination patterns shown below and create two more patterns according to your needs and preferences.

Whether or not you had used the E-Trac before you bought the Minelab CTX 3030, you may find my search programs useful. If any of the E-Trac's program settings in the following search programs corresponds to the same feature/function/mode that is listed under a different name in the CTX-3030's menu, that name will be given.

NOTE: Any comments or explanations regarding the CTX 3030 features, settings and modes, and references to their description pages in the CTX-3030's Instruction Manual will be given in this pink font color. But do not just read the pink text if you are a CTX-3030 user! A lot of useful information is contained in the black ink paragraphs as well, not to mention that, when it comes to detecting, the E-Trac and CTX-3030 are acting like "twins" (to the extent permitted by E-Trac's potential).

List of Search Programs & Useful Articles:

1) 3-Level Search Program #1 for Detecting Coins at Former Settlement Sites

• 1-1. Level 1 - Beginner's Level: "High Discrimination/Low Noise" Program Settings for Detecting Shallow Coins - ALL SETTINGS AND MODES ARE EXPLAINED

• 1-2. Level 2: "Medium Discrimination/Moderate Noise" Program Settings for Detecting Coins at Intermediate Depths

• 1-3. Level 3: "Minimum Discrimination" Program Settings for Detecting Deepest Coins and Coins Partially Masked by Iron Nails at "Hunted Out" Sites

2) How To use Minelab XChange 2 for EDITING - Illustrated Tutorial

3) How To Decipher Questionable Target Signals with FBS Metal Detectors

4) Search Program #2 for Detecting Coins & Non-Ferrous Artifacts in Farm Fields

5) Search Program #3 for Relic Hunting

6) Search Programs for Detecting Smallest Hammered Wire Coins and Bronze-Alloyed Artifacts

Minelab FBS Metal Detecting Technology & Ladybugs

Please let me know your opinion on my search programs after you use any of them. You are welcome to submit some pictures of your finds recovered with any of my programs. I would appreciate any suggestions, tips, and constructive criticism. If you have a search program that you believe is more effective than mine, and you would like to share it with the community, please e-mail me your program! I would be happy to post it here. Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

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XChange 2 for Editing - Tutorial | Minelab E-Trac Field-Test | Metal Detector Reviews Worldwide | Useful Articles page