REVIEW – The hobbyist’s metal detector has to be one of the most unglamorous gadgets. Perhaps it is the notion that it usually finds discarded trash or loose change. Can I find more than just trash with the depth and alloy detection of a Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector? Read on to see what I think!
What is it?
The Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector is a hobby metal detector designed to be used for locating buried metal objects. The device can indicate conductive metals by moving the detector end over the ground. The detector alerts the user to the presence of a conductive metal with audible and visual signals. The Skycruiser TX-910 has several features which are beneficial for its intended use:
- The detector is lightweight and has adjustments to fit a wide range of statures.
- The detector coils are submersible and can safely be used on the beach
- The control system has sensitivity adjustments to compensate for power lines, mineralized soil, and conductive soil.
- The control system has phase-shift filtering to avoid detecting certain types of metals.
- The display has phase-shift value reporting, which can identify the type of metal being detected.
- The SkyCruiser TX-910 has a pinpoint mode to identify the precise location of a signal.
What’s in the box?
- Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector
- Control Panel
- Upper stem
- Lower stem
- 2 x 9V alkaline batteries
- Collapsable Pick/Shovel/Compass with belt holster
- Skycruiser travel/storage bag
- quick start guide
- owners manual
- Motion Mode: ALL-METAL, DISC, MEMORY, JEWELRY
- Non-motion Mode: PINPOINT
- Coins Depth Display: 2′′, 4′′, 6′′, 8′′ and +
- Sensitivity Control: 5 Grades
- Signal Strength: 5 Grades
- Sound Frequency: 3 Kinds of Frequency Indicating Different Metals
- Volume Indicator: 3 Grades
- LCD Backlight: optional, white
- Battery Indicator: 4 bars
- Turn-off Prompt: prompt tone sounds every 10 minutes
- Search Coil: Waterproof Search Coil
- Earphone Jack: 3.5mm Earphone Jack
- Power Supply: Two 9V Alkaline Batteries
- Target Metals Discrimination: 6 grades; phase-shift display scale: 0 – 99
Design and features
The Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector comes in a printed brown cardboard box with a foldable top and tab locks. The top has a picture of the detector and the sides describe the contents. The back lists the features and has a QR code to a website for product support. It could definitely serve as a long-term storage box.
Inside the product is held in place by cardboard inserts.
The Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector is very similar to some other metal detectors that are being sold on Amazon. The list of similar models includes PANCKY, Kyltoor, and DR.ÖTEK. This sometimes happens when a manufacturer sells identical components to multiple fabricators. The fact that this occurs does not mean that the model is a “rip-off” of another model or that the gadget is of lesser quality. Some packaging differences may differentiate the model and there may be pricing differences too. This is very similar to the Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus similarities. I’ll try to think of another comparison that isn’t 37 years old. For some reason, no matter which manufacturer you buy this from, it will sound like the fabricator is the name of a prog rock band.
There is some minimal assembly that needs to be done before using the Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector for the first time. The coils must be secured to the lower shaft using the supplied nut and bolt. The nut, bolt, coils, and lower shaft are all made from plastic to avoid causing interference with the detector. The middle and upper shafts are made from aluminum and the springs and buttons are made from steel. the unit adjusts from 39.5 to 51.1 inches and the top shaft should be inserted two holes deep into the middle shaft for all but the longest setting so that the metallic components are as far away from the detector as possible. The shaft should be as long as possible for the user to support the weight of the detector and for use in the field. Shorter users may require a shorter length and smaller users may have trouble supporting the unit at a more horizontal position. The middle shaft has locking nuts on each end to provide enhanced rigidity to the assembled shaft.
Once the shaft is assembled the control panel can be installed on the top shaft. The control panel is fixed in place by a screw to hold the unit in place. The coils are permanently wired at the base to ensure water fastness and connect to the control panel with a mini-DIN type connector. When connecting the coils to the control panel wrap the slack of the wire around the middle shaft so the cable does not get snagged on anything and the cable does not move and cause the coils to pick up the copper in the line. The control panel requires two 9 volt batteries. The Skycruiser comes with batteries which is a nice touch to permit this to be used right out of the box.
The control panel has a bit of a 1980s design motif, with a gradient of colors around the pinpoint button and along a decorative arc running behind the buttons to give the appearance of polished metal. The seven buttons on the control panel are blister buttons and give good feedback when they are pressed. From left to right the buttons are:
- power – push on and off
- sensitivity (SENS) – push to enter the mode then use the up and down buttons to adjust
- arrow up and down keys – increase and decrease for sensitivity
- pinpoint (PP) – push to enter and exit the pinpoint mode.
- Mode – push to cycle through the operating modes
- Light – push to change the volume from low, medium, high, and then back to low. Push and hold for 2 seconds to turn on or turn off the backlight.
The arm bracket and hand grip on the shaft are nicely padded. An adjustable strap across the top of the armrest helps secure the detector to the user’s arm. Below the armrest is a stand so that the detector can be put down without rolling.
The Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector control panel has a speaker but the detector can be used with headphones. The Skycruiser TX-910 comes with a set of headphones that are nicely padded and adjustable. The headphones have really muddy sound and will not be your new go-to pair of headphones, but the lack of precise sound probably makes these the perfect set to wear when listening to one of three tones over a long period.
The Skycruiser TX-910 also comes with a collapsible shovel/pick and a small pouch to keep it in with a belt loop. It is a very helpful tool to have for removing buried items from the ground and the fact that it is small means that you don’t have to carry too many things when searching a remote area. The handle screws on and it even has a compass at the base of the hilt.
In addition to the shovel, the Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector comes with a storage bag. The bag is large enough to hold the coil and the fully extended middle shaft without disassembly. All that is required to store the detector is the disconnection of the control panel and the removal of the topmost shaft. The storage bag has a shoulder strap and also has a large external pocket for keeping other things that may want to be segregated from the main compartment, like headphones, maps, etc.
The user manual for the Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector gives a seven step test and familiarity lesson to introduce the user to the operation of the metal detector. The testing includes turning on the detector and testing the effectiveness of locating different metals. Each metal type has a specific way of interacting with the electromagnetic signals generated by the metal detector. The interactions are most broadly interpreted by a tone, more specifically identified by an identification indicator, and most granularly identified by a 0 – 99 unit score. The size and shape and position in the ground affect this number but for similarly sized objects the interaction of metals with the coils is related to the type of magnetic interaction it has (diamagnetic, paramagnetic, or ferromagnetic) and the conductivity of the material. The score and identification indicator are categorized on this metal detector in the following way:
|Number Range||Possible Metal|
|55-65||Aluminum (pull tab)|
The identification indicators relate to the score and tones in the following way:
The all metal mode (A-M) will alert the user if any metal is detected and will provide the tones and response based on the table above. To identify the type of metal detected the identification indicator blinks.
The discrimination mode (DISC) will allow the user to ignore one or several categories and only alert the operator if a detection is made in a permitted category. After pressing the mode button to enable the DISC mode, press the increase and decrease buttons to select or unselect the identification indicator. The detector will respond to the selection by either displaying or not displaying the icon. After pausing on the selection the detector will begin working, however, it will only indicate metal if the metallic interaction is within one of the selected indication ranges. Note that the detector does not come with a notch filter. The Discrimination mode works more like a high pass filter, enabling all of the identification indicators above a cut-off value. Having a true notch filter would provide more flexibility in the searching process.
The Memory mode (MEMORY) will tune the Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector only to signal when the response is similar to a sample metal that the detector is tuned to. For instance, setting this mode when the detector signals a penny will cause it to only respond in the field when a signal similar to the penny is found. In the picture below I selected a nail for demonstration purposes.
The jewelry mode (JEWELRY) will cause the detector to not respond to an interaction that is scored below 40 and to indicate this the first identification indicator will not be displayed.
Under controlled conditions, all of these settings performed as they should have. In field conditions, it is very difficult to tell if ignoring a signal will cause a user to pass over a valuable hidden object.
There is one more mode that is different than the others and this is the pinpoint mode (PP). This mode causes the Skycruiser TX-910 to become very sensitive to the proximity of metal. The detector emits a constant tone and the sound gets louder and higher pitched as the center of the coils approaches the target. By tracing an X on the ground above the estimated location of the target a user can find the maximum response in tone and this is the estimated location of the target.
Using the Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector is easy because, thanks to the very adjustable length, the user is able to use it in a comfortable standing position, and thanks to the lightweight, swiping from side to side is easy too.
I did have the detector find some chain link fence segments that were buried in our yard, but no major finds.
What I like
- Great accessories
What I’d change
- More details about the electronics (to compare with other models)
Metal detecting is a hobby that requires patience and persistence. It has a lot in common with fishing, except with metal detecting, good sites don’t always have good finds waiting, and more often than not a catch will not be something that you don’t want to keep. The chance to uncover a lost treasure or a bit of history should be an enjoyable pastime. The Skycruiser TX-910 metal detector is a good tool to use if you are just starting out on the adventure of metal detecting or you are a long-time advocate.
Price: $79.99 to $89.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Skycruiser.