Metal Detector Functions Explained

No manual for your metal detector? No problem! If you just bought a used metal detector and a manual was not included, don't panic! The good news is that most metal detectors have the same basic functions, and we will explain what is what on this page. All you need to know is what those knobs are for, and which way to turn them in order to get the most out of your detector.

ON-OFF, Volume

Let's start with the simplest function (knob) which would be the on / off. Most detectors would also have the volume controlled by the same knob. Turn it all the way up clockwise, and your detector is on - with a max volume. Turn it down some, if it gets to loud.


Sensitivity is exactly what it sounds like. It makes your detector sensitive to metal objects. What this means is that if you turn this knob all the way clockwise, it will detect deeper, and will be more sensitive to real small objects. However, if there are many minerals in the ground it may become unstable and give you false signals.

So you have to turn it down some until it becomes stable. If you are not sure, just set it midways and you will be good to go. For example, beaches would have more minerals, like salt, in the sand, so you have to turn it down. If you are in the woods, or fields, you can crank it up more. Don't be afraid to experiment. If you're new to the hobby, just set it halfway to start out.

Discrimination / Rejection

This is also commonly called DISC. The detector can determine what kind of metal is in the ground. Discrimination is when you set your detector to accept or reject certain types of metals. The scale usually starts at:
ground minerals - iron - aluminum - nickel - copper - silver. But sometimes they use numbers instead.

Most gold items would be identified as aluminum - nickel, so you have to be careful that you do not discriminate too much against these two metals if you want to find gold jewelry. A good way to start would be to keep it on a "nickel" setting. This means, that your detector will not make a sound or may make a broken sound when you run across nails, bottlecaps, and other iron junk. But it will give a solid signal for coins and other precious metals. If you get too frustrated digging junk, then crank it up as high as you wish.

The rule is, if your are not digging much, and signals are far and few between, then turn the discrimination down. If you are encountering too much trash, then turn the discrimination all the way up.

We'll add more functions to this page as we go.