SUN RAY INVADER GI-1 TARGET PROBE FIELD TEST REPORT
SunRay's new Invader GI-1 Inline Probe on a 2500
Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity of meeting and hunting with
Minelab buddies. And while we've always played up the detector brand rivalry,
the truth of the matter is that under some conditions the Garrett shines and
does more than hold it's own, and on other occasions, they've whooped my butt.
All in good fun.
If there was one thing I was always envious about, it was the Sun Ray inline
probes they always sported on their machines. As Nimrod from Michigan once
told me as he demonstrated the probe one afternoon, "This probe is one of
the best things about a Minelab... it's worth getting a Minelab if only to be
able to use this probe."
Being familiar with it's use on the Minelabs, when Sunray first announced that
their Invader GI-1 inline probe was available for the Garrett GTI Series early
this summer, I jumped at the chance to get one on my machine and ordered one
immediately. I've had it on and have been using it all season. Yesterday, I
took a camera out with me to show you what Nimrod showed me a few years ago.
Come on, lets go detecting!
I've been eyeing this place for awhile. It is an old town hall built at the
turn of the last century. When I drove past last week, and saw the road
construction, that clinched it. We've had hot, hot weather this summer and the
ground has been powder dry. With a little bit of rain in the last couple days,
I'm hoping that the coins are gonna target a little better than they have in
the last several weeks
The first signal. Apologies for some of the pics as I am trying to juggle a
camera and the detector. I see I cut this one off, but it is a good read,
ringing high in the silver range, image locked on to coin size at 6"
Typically, I am looking for old coins. I hunt in ZERO DISCRIMINATION working
my way slowly from target to target, sweeping several times over each one and
listening closely. If I am getting an interesting signal, I'll often move
around 90° and listen again, toggling between DISCRIMINATION MODE, ALL-METAL
MODE, and PINPOINT.
This target is giving a very good sharp, repeatable signal, a little jumpy. I
cut three sides of the hole and flip the sod on the hinge, then scan the hole
and the sod with the coil again. The signal is still in the hole, still
ringing high and much stronger now with the sod flipped. I kneel, toggling the
switch on the control box of the Invader probe.
With a quick scan of the hole, I know immediately that it isn't likely I have
a coin. The target is at the side of the hole and the signal is breaking up
into an Iron tone. I dig into the side of the hole and sure enough--a piece of
As I mentioned, generally I'm out for old coins, and if I am not finding old
square nails, I'm not finding coins. As you all know, rusty iron can sound so
sweet at times, and though you can often tell that it is a nail by the
IRON-SILVER-IRON bounce, or that the target sounds good in only one direction
or PINPOINTS slightly off center--any of those can also mean it's a coin on
it's side or beside another target. The only way to tell for sure is to dig.
While a rusty old nail or bit of wire can sound pretty sweet in the ground,
when you break the rust halo and get it up top, rusty iron generally starts
sounding exactly as it is... the bong-bong-bong low tone of an Iron Signal.
And while that is always a little disappointing, there is nothing more
exciting or satisfying than swinging over recovered dirt and still hearing the
bing-bing-bing of a target that has not changed it's tune!
Because the Invader GI-1 probe is really a small coil, it allows you to get
right down there beside the target and hear it for what it is while it is
still in the ground.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here, let me show you the probe set up on the
Mounting the probe is a snap. The probe snaps securely into place in two nylon
brackets that are mounted on the stem. The lead from the coil is connected
into the control box of the Intruder, and the lead from the control box
connects back into the detector.
Because it is inline, the probe acts like a coil--and really, that is what it
is, a little 1" diameter coil with a range of 3" to 4". When
you toggle the switch on the control box to PROBE, all the signals it picks up
are fed directly into your machine, and you can see the results on the screen
and hear them through your headphones. When you are running in DISCRIMINATION
MODE, then the probe works in discrimination mode. When you run in ALL-METAL
or PINPOINT, then you are in ALL-METAL or in PINPOINT with the probe. Flip the
switch and you are back to running with your coil again.
The weight of the entire package, probe and control box, is about 11 oz, which
for some might add a little more weight than they want to tote on an already
weighty machine. As you can see, I've got a weed-whacker strap mounted, and
sling it over my shoulder, especially with a 12.5" coil, and haven't
noticed the extra weight. If anything, because I'm a stumpy sort of guy and my
detector stem is set rather short, I find the probe has actually balanced out
the machine better for me.
The probe is held securely in place on the stem with the nylon clips, yet
snaps in and out easily. The toggle switch is logically located. Removing the
probe, flicking the switch, and returning it to it's place is a natural action
that quickly becomes automatic. It's out of the way while hunting and right
there when you reach for it.
The probe is connected with a flexible 30" cable that is plenty to work
with, and loops up over the probe easily and without tangling when not in use.
If I had one suggestion for the manufacturer, it would be to provide 2 extra
clips that could be attached to the lower stem, so that in hunting really
trashy areas, the coil could be swung up out of the way and the probe snapped
into place at the bottom of the stem to be used as the ultimate small coil!
All in all, this is well thought out system and a perfect compliment to the
Say, how about getting back to hunting!
The next target I get is ringing a couple notches higher than NICKEL. The 2500
isn't giving me a straight answer on depth or size, but it sounds nice and
reasonably deep. I've found that IH cents will often ring in this range, and
so do crusty big coppers sometimes. So I cut the hole, flip the sod, and swing
the coil over both to check where my target is. Nothing... the target has
As you can see by the digger, my hole is about 6" deep. Though I am not
getting a peep out of DISCRIMINATION, I pinpoint with the machine and hear the
target still in the hole. The imaging is bouncing between 6" and 8",
coin size and bigger.
Around the sides and along the bottom with my old hand-held probe, I don't get
Snapping the inline probe out of it's brackets and flicking the switch, I
sweep the sides and the bottom of the hole. The probe extends my range another
3-4 inches beyond the bottom of the hole in DISCRIMINATION MODE and in
ALL-METAL or PINPOINT, more than that. In DISCRIMINATION MODE, I'm getting
intermittent NICKEL tones. Flipping into PINPOINT I get a strong clear signal
also IDing around NICKEL.
Digging down to 8" or 10", I recover a handfull of bits and pieces
of foil. With only a hand-held, if you aren't lucky enough to get within an
inch of the target, then you're digging blind, and with targets like this one
that disappear when you flip the sod, you find yourself pin-pointing and
digging until you do find it or giving up on it completely without ever
knowing what it was. In instances like this one, the GI-1 probe really shines.
Back to hunting, I take to cherry picking, ignoring lots of iffy signals to
see if I can find a good coin signal here. It don't get much better than this
one, solid signal in every direction, good ID, IMAGING locked into COIN SIZE
at 6" and not budging.
Pinpointing, gives me a good tight target, great ID, coin at 8". Nice!
Flipping the sod, I get a good solid signal still in the hole. And now
wiggling the probe in the bottom of the hole, I hear the sound I am looking
for... BING-BING-BING, coming loud and clear though the earphones and dead
center in the hole. Sweet! The signal from the probe as it appears on the
I'm pretty sure I've got a coin, so I take extra care now working between the
probe and the digger to pry loose soil. And sure enough, there it is.
It's a Canadian small cent from the 50's, and as you can see on the digger,
about 6" down. Before getting up and filling the hole, I sweep the bottom
again with the probe and BING-BING-BING. Ha! Another one.
And another one!
And another one!
By the time I'm finished, I've got 4 coins out of the hole. The really nice
thing about the GI-1 is that extended range at the bottom of the hole, knowing
that there is or isn't another coin just a couple inches farther down and of
course, the ease of working through multiple targets and scanning a hole one
more time after retrieving a target.
I'm finding that the ability to get this "little coil" down into the
hole and get a good ID on a target is one of the biggest time savers--and
frustration savers--while hunting, especially when digging around big tree
roots. If you get down there with the probe and the signal doesn't hold, then
you can cover the hole without wasting alot of time and walk away feeling
pretty confident that it was junk. On the other hand, if you keep getting a
clean coin signal all the way down, it's an encouragement to keep digging and
working the soil around under the roots to get that coin.
I continue on...
...a fairly new quarter from 70's. No mussing around through the sod and in
the grass roots with a hand-held, it's right there.
...a large brass harness bell. Every find like this one more than makes up for
all the LARGER THAN COIN targets that turn out to be hunks of tin and soda
cans. Something like this almost knocks you over with the Invader probe in
DISCRIMINATION, and in ALL-METAL or PINPOINT you can trace the shape of the
item like you were using a pencil.
...finally, sounds like silver at the bottom of the hole, and now it looks
like it too! A '52 Washington Quarter
While it wasn't a fantastic day of finds, I hope it helps show the
possibilities of the Invader GI-1 probe. I'm not sure if it is for everybody,
but it sure suits the style of hunting that I do and has become an integral
part of the way I hunt.
As far as I can see, every machine, even the fabled Minelab, gets fooled by
rusty iron. With this inline probe you know almost immediately when you get
down into the hole. If you are looking for coins among rusty square nails,
you're gonna like this probe.
If you have ever spent 10 minutes digging down, down, down looking for a sweet
sounding coin only to eventually find a rusty piece of iron you missed 5"
down, and 2" off to the side of the hole, then you're gonna like this
If you ever dug a hole and only to have the target disappear, or dug around
until you finally gave up in frustration and moved on with that nagging
feeling that you may have left a nice find that was just a couple inches
deeper or off to the side, then you're gonna like this probe.
If you find it awkward to reach for your machine to re-sweep a hole when you
are down on one knee, or find yourself standing back up frequently to
pinpoint, you're really gonna like this probe.
Me, I love it. As well as for regular hunting, the Invader is the cat's meow
for setting down and making yourself comfortable and working by hand through
dozer piles that are littered with junk and around foundations and such.
The Minelab boys have been keeping this probe a secret and if you talk to
any of them, they won't hunt without it. In my opinion, this probe in
conjunction with the versaitility, and the precision pinpoint and ID of a
Garrett makes a killer combination.
I would have liked to find an old coin or two to show off in my little field
test, but even so, this is a fantastic tool and I think you'll agree that its
benefits become self-evident to anyone who sees it in action.
Bottom line, will you find more coins using this probe? Absolutely.
And as you can see, there is far less frustration trying to find a target, far
less time recovering it, far less chance of leaving a target in the bottom of
a hole. Most importantly, being 99% certain that you are within inches of a
good target, makes it far less likely you're gonna gash and ruin the find of a
lifetime when it is finally in the bottom of your hole.
Steve Gaebel - London, Canada