How Do Metal Detectors Work

How Do Metal Detectors Work

Lots of people wonder how metal detectors work. Of course, there are as many different types of metal detectors as there are kinds of metal. Some use loops, while others use coils. Some use very simple components, while others have lots of knobs and switches on their control boxes. However, the basic principles remain the same: a coil or loop picks up electromagnetic pulses from various sources (like the ones around us all day), and these pulses get sent to a control box that uses them to determine whether something is probably metal or not. Then you dig it up!

What’s the Point of a Metal Detector?

A metal detector is a tool that helps you find metal objects in large spaces. They’re used by archaeologists, treasure hunters, and beach walkers alike. In the military, they’re also used to detect bombs and other explosives.

As you may have guessed from their name alone (metal detectors), these tools are helpful for detecting metals within your surroundings. Most models can be adjusted so that they will only pick up on specific types of metals like gold or silver (and some even have settings for various types of iron). This allows users to find what they’re looking for more quickly than if they had to scan every inch of soil with them.

How Does a Metal Detector Work?

Metal detectors work by sending an electrical current through a coil that’s attached to the detector, and then detecting changes in current. This change is caused by any metal objects present in the ground or water.

The coil detects all types of metal because all metals have different electrical properties. Each type of metal has its own unique way of interacting with an electric field, so it produces a different signal when it’s passed over the coil. Because each type of metal interacts differently with electricity, it will produce a unique pattern on your display screen when you sweep over objects buried below ground level.

A non-metal object such as glass will not produce these signals because glass does not conduct electricity like metals do; instead it is a resistor (does not allow electrons to flow).

What are the Different Components of a Metal Detector?

Each metal detector is made up of several different components, including:

  • The coil, which detects the magnetic field of targets and sends an electric signal to the control box. Coils are usually made of copper wire wrapped around a ferrous rod or pipe. Some coils use permanent magnets instead of ferrous rods; these types of coils tend to be more sensitive and should be used when searching for small objects such as buttons and pins.
  • The control box, which amplifies signals from the coil so that they can be heard through an audio output (such as an earphone).
  • An audio output, such as an earphone or speaker.
  • A power source—usually batteries—that powers both the control box and any lights on your detector’s faceplate.

What is the Coil?

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The metal detector’s coil is a loop of wire that creates an electromagnetic field. When metal objects are nearby, they disrupt this electromagnetic field and produce changes in the magnetic field. This change can be detected by the metal detector, resulting in a detection sound or LED light.

The coil is a primary component of all metal detectors and can be made from many different types of metals, including copper and nickel.

What types of Coils are there?

There are a few different types of coils that can be used in metal detectors. The shape, size, and materials used in their construction all contribute to how well they perform in the field.

  • Concentric Cylinder Coil: These are typical round or oval coils with two concentric windings (one on top of another) that run parallel to each other and form a figure eight when viewed from above. They’re typically made from either PVC plastic or stainless steel. Concentric cylinder coils tend to be quite affordable because they’re simple and easy to make, but they don’t have as much sensitivity as some other designs do. They’re also less prone than more complicated types of coils at picking up false signals caused by nearby electrical sources like power lines or cell phone towers—a benefit for those who prefer using their detector in urban areas where there’s lots of manmade interference!

How Does the Coil Help you Detect Metal?

How does the coil help you detect metal?

The coil is a part of the detector that moves back and forth to detect metal. The coil sends a signal to the control box when it detects metal.

What is the Control Box?

The control box is the part of the metal detector that you hold in your hand. It has several knobs and switches that you use to control how your metal detector works. The control box is connected to the coil by a cable, which carries electricity from a battery in order to power it up and detect metals with it. The control box is also connected via another cable to headphones, which let you listen for any sounds produced by metals or other objects as they pass through this electromagnetic field.

What Kinds of Knobs and Switches do most Control Boxes Have?

Most control boxes have knobs and switches that you can use to control the metal detector’s sensitivity. Turning the knob on your metal detector clockwise will increase its sensitivity, meaning it will be more likely to find small pieces of metal. However, turning this knob too far in one direction can lead to false positives (when your machine detects something when there isn’t actually anything there). The opposite is true as well—turning this knob counterclockwise will decrease its sensitivity, making it less likely but not impossible for small bits of metal to get picked up by your machine.

How do these Controls Influence What’s found by the Metal Detector?

The controls on your metal detector will determine how sensitive it is and where it detects. Some controls also affect what kinds of metals are detected, as well as how fast they’re detected (a lower-speed setting will allow you to be more thorough).

  • Sensitivity: This refers to how easily the detector can pick up a signal from any metal in its path. A higher sensitivity setting means that the detector will be able to pick up smaller pieces of metal at greater distances than one set at a lower sensitivity level would; however, this can also mean more false positives, so be sure not to set it too high if you’re trying to avoid unnecessary digging!
  • Depth: Adjusting this control allows you too dig deeper into the ground than usual before hitting bedrock or other hard surfaces that won’t produce useful results when searched with a metal detector; however, increasing your depth also increases how long each search will take because more time needs spent digging through dirt before reaching any valuable finds below ground level!
  • Detection Area: This setting dictates just how wide an area around yourself gets scanned while searching—different areas might require different settings depending on whether they’re dense forests full of trees blocking visibility or open fields where there’s little risk involved since anyone could see what’s happening anyway–just keep in mind though that placing yourself too far away from potential targets might make detecting them difficult unless using headphones connected via wireless technology instead

Metal Detectors Help you find Small Pieces of Metal in Large Spaces.

Now that you know what a metal detector can do, let’s dive into how one works. A metal detector works by sending an electric current through the ground, and when it hits a piece of metal underground, it causes that piece of metal to generate an electromagnetic field. The metal detector picks up on this electromagnetic field and then sounds an alarm so you can dig up whatever is causing it!

The first step in using your metal detector is to set up its sensitivity level so that it will only detect things within a certain size range. You may also want to tweak other settings depending on where or what kind of object you’re looking for—for example, if you’re searching for coins at the beach then low-frequency signals will be better than high ones because sand tends to absorb higher frequencies better than lower ones.

How Deep Can a Metal Detector Detect?

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The depth a metal detector can detect depends on the type of metal detector you are using. But most metal detectors can detect objects that are 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) deep.


Metal detectors are a great tool for finding small pieces of metal in large spaces. They use electromagnetic induction to detect objects that are made from a conductive material, such as gold or silver. The coil is the most important part of any metal detector because it’s what detects signals from buried objects and sends them back up through your headphones so you can hear them!

By Metal Hunting Team

Your premier resource for all things metal detecting and treasure hunting, created by avid hobbyists for fellow enthusiasts. Dive into a trove of insights, tips, and discoveries with us!

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