Nokta Velox One Metal Detector Field Test
Over the past few years, the list of metal detector manufacturers offering their products to hobbyists and professionals in North America has grown from what had been predominantly a group of U.S.-based companies to a truly global directory.
One of these international manufacturers is Nokta Engineering. Based in Turkey and founded in 2001, the company has built a solid reputation of designing and building high-quality metal detection equipment for the hobby, and military and security markets around the world. Through a partnership with Kellyco Metal Detectors, Nokta has introduced their hobby line of metal detectors to the American market.
The newest addition is the Velox One, which was designed to provide above average detection depth along with ease-of-use and is the focus of this field test.
There's an old saying that says "First impressions are often the truest," and my first impression of the Velox One upon opening the box it came in was an extremely positive one. A sturdy box protected the contents and, as I assembled the detector, the build quality was clearly evident. The shaft sections fit together with robust locking collars that could be twisted even when wearing gloves in colder weather. The plugs for both the search coil and battery pack were high-quality metal that fit securely into the front face of the control housing. Overall, it is definitely a solid, well-built, well-balanced piece of equipment.
One point I noted was that the length of the arm strap provided to hold one's arm in the cuff was a bit short when wearing a heavier jacket. An extension was easily fabricated from a strip of Velcro and the issue quickly became moot.
Before getting into the "nuts-andbolts" of the Velox One, an overview of its circuitry is warranted. Utilizing an Induction-Balance circuit operating at 17.5 kHz, the detector is optimized to locate targets that tend to register in the low to medium conductivity range, such as gold, brass, copper, thin silver and lead. However, it also does an above average job detecting silver or other high-conductive targets, as the reports from users clearly can attest to.
The Velox One does not have a fancy meter to identify specific denominations of coins; however, its circuitry offers three distinctly different audio tones, allowing one to separate targets into discrete groups and decide which are worth recovering based on the site being searched and targets sought. Iron will produce a low tone, with brass, lead, gold and other low-to-medium conductive targets producing a notably higher tone. Silver, copper and other highconductive targets will produce the third and highest tone. Certain targets that either consist of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, or have a conductivity value that falls near the low I mid or mid I high tone breakpoint, will give a response that is a combination of the tones. Testing the type of targets you typically find will quickly allow you to mentally group and identify signals based on their audio response.
The Velox One is controlled through five knobs (three on the side and one on each of the front and back panels) and two toggle switches. The knobs on the side panel control include GROUND BALANCE, SENSITIVITY and IRON DISC(RIMINATION). The function of the GROUND BALANCE and SENSITIVITY controls are self-explanatory and work in much the same way as they do on other detectors; i.e., compensate for ground mineralization and adjust the relative strength of a signal required to trigger an audio response. The IRON DISC(RIMINATION)control is somewhat unique and has two positions. Fully counterclockwise, it clicks into the FS (factory setting) position, which activates the low tone for ferrous targets. This is designed to be a "turn-on-and-go" setting that automatically provides audio iron identification with the IRON SWITCH in the OFF position.
If ground conditions dictate that an adjustment to this control is required, or more refined discrimination of ferrous targets is needed, this control can be turned in a clockwise direction to obtain the desired results. The two toggle switches are IRON SWITCH (on I off) and SIGNAL AUDIO (l , 2 or 3). When the IRON SWITCH is placed in the ON position, the low audio tone from ferrous ferrous targets will be heard with the IRON DISC(RIMINATION) knob in the FS position or turned past the "5" position. Placing it in the OFF position eliminates the low tone and is useful if you are not interested in hearing ferrous targets as the coil passes over them. The SIGNAL AUDIO switch provides amplification of target signals as higher settings, but the drawback is that it will also amplify ground noise and electrical interference, so hunting in "1" or at most "2" are the recommended settings. The audio response enables users to gauge the relative size and depth of targets with smaller, deeper targets producing fainter signals than larger or shallower targets will. The optimal use of the BOOST switch is to flip to "2" or "3" to check fainter signals that one might have second thoughts about. On the rear panel is a VOLUME control that controls the audio output from the built-in speaker and the l/4'' headphone jack. On the front, the 5-position knob turns the detector on and allows for the selection of one of four modes in which to operate in depending on the mineralization present.
Setting the Velox One for optimal performance under a wide range of conditions is extremely simple and takes less than two minutes under even the most severe ground conditions.
The stock search coil utilizes the Double-D design and measures 11" in diameter. The coil is waterproof, which allows it to be used in shallow water such as the surf, creeks, streams or lakes. Two optional coils (9" and 1.5.3"xl 7") are available, with both being Double-D's.
The Velox One comes with a sealed Lithium-Polymer (Li-Po) battery pack that provides upwards of 30 hours on a charge. The beauty of Li-Po batteries is that they recharge faster than NiMH batteries, do not develop a memory, and provide extended operating life.
The only comment I had once getting the Velox One assembled was the design of the battery pack, which dictated that it be clipped to a belt and connected to the control housing with the coiled cord, as it was not integral with the detector. It did present some issues configured this way in overgrown locations; however, there is a leather holder that allows the battery pack to be attached to the side of the control housing. This accessory easily addressed the issue and became my preferred configuration, especially when relic hunting in wooded areas.
As I mentioned, assembling the Velox One was a snap. It felt extremely rigid when swinging it, even at the fully-extended position, which is a testament to its construction, considering the size of the stock search coil. I've used other detectors that creaked and flexed with smaller coils, but the Velox One's shaft felt like it was one solid piece when the collars were locked down.
To familiarize myself with the audio target ID system, I conducted an air test followed by a spin through my test garden. Almost all of the fenous items tested produced the tell-tale low tone, with the only exceptions being a few large, round, rusted washers and some jagged pieces of old iron that come through as good targets on virtually any detector I've tested them on.
Examples of the targets that fell into the other two tone groups included:
- Mid-Tone: Nickels, tin foil, pulltabs, smaller screw caps, Indian Head pennies, two-piece and smaller flat buttons, bullets, shotgun shells, and gold jewelry
- High Tone: Large screw caps, copper pennies, clad and silver coins, silver jewelry, and larger buttons and military insignia
- Mixed Tones: Zinc pennies, medium screw caps, and shredded ahuninum cans.
My house dates back to the early 1900's and the side yard - despite being fairly small - has produced a number of targets with various detectors I've tested in it; however, the last few searches have produced nothing other than ferrous targets. Selecting the FS position on the IRON DISC control and the first position on the POWER I MODE control, I ground balanced the Velox One and started across the yard leaving the IRON SWITCH in the ON position. From the number of low tones received, it was clear that the reason there might still be a few keepers left to find was that there was literally a carpet of ferrous targets throughout the area.
Moving slowly, I picked out a mid-tone from amongst the iron signals and, using the "Double-D Wiggle" to pinpoint the target, recovered a 2" high lead soldier dating back to WWI from just over 9 inches. It was interesting to note that as I recovered the target, my pinpointer picked up three rusted nails in the loose dirt and in the side of hole, yet the Velox One had produced a clear signal on the soldier even with an 11" coil.
The only other keeper was a clad quarter, which, for some reason, had been almost 8" deep near the street and was also surrounded by ferrous targets. Considering I have combed this small area a number of times, the fact that two deep targets amongst ferrous trash turned up made a positive statement about the Velox One's capabilities under these conditions.
The next site I visited was a 400+ acre farm field that had once held a group of houses, a store, and a small hotel to support barge traffic on the nearby canal dating back to the mid-1800's. Nothing remained to indicate the site had once been a bustling community, so I opted to simply zigzag across the field until signs ofhabitation appeared.
The Velox One ground balanced at the "6" position and, even with the higher Sensitivity setting of "9", it ran virtually silent as I swept the coil across the furrowed ground. Many detectors struggle in plowed fields due to the varying surface conditions and the disturbed soil, but the Velox One seemed to be at home as I walked across the field. The first few mid-tone signals turned out to be modern trash;·such as pull-tabs, a soda can, and tin foil from the road, but all had produced solid signals despite being 6"+ deep. As I approached the center of the field, several low tones produced old square nails, which were a good sign that I was in the right area. Before recovering the targets, I flicked the IRON SWITCH to the OFF position and the low tone disappeared.
Out of curiosity, I tossed a dime on the ground next to one of the ferrous targets and received a high tone when I swept the coil across the area, showing again that the Velox One was able to separate targets even with the IRON SWITCH in the OFF position. Leaving the switch in the ON position so that I would hear the iron targets, which would help define the search area, I received a solid midtone. Checking the signal with the SIGNAL AUDIO switch first in the "2" and then the "3" boost positions made a difference in the audio volume, and the benefit of checking signals in these positions became evident.
From a tad over 10" a period round musket ball turned-up. Over the next two hours, a number of targets dating back to the time the settlement had been in use turned up and, while no coins were recovered, the non-ferrous artifacts would make welcome additions to my collection. They included several musket balls, flat buttons, a small brass buckle and, of course, a handful of cut square nails recovered mainly in support of the field test (all of which had produced a low tone even at depths approaching 12"). Some of the more surprising finds included .22 caliber bullets and casings, along with small pieces of period lead that all produced clear signals at depths not expected.
It was clear that if the Velox One passed over a target it would produce a signal even on the smallest of targets, as a number of those I detected required use of my pinpointer to locate in the loose dirt.
While not designed to be used primarily for coin hunting in modern sites, I took the Velox One to a large, older park in a nearby town to see how it fared. Referring back to my air tests, I saw that, with the exception of Indian Head pennies and nickels, the coins I was hoping to find all produced the highest audio tone. Thankfully zinc pennies would produce a mixed tone that would help me avoid recovering them.
Ground balancing the detector and flipping the IRON SWITCH to the OFF position to eliminate the low tone, I started searching along the edge of one of the grassy fields. Mid-tones were plentiful; however, based on the strength of the audio (indicating they were shallow), and knowing that trash targets such as pull-tabs, screw caps, tin foil and the like would fall in this region, I opted to ignore them and focus on listening for a high tone. The first several signals that met my criteria turned out to be clad coins and a few copper Memorial pennies at depths from just under the surface to 5 or 6 inches deep. Approaching a large tree that had obviously been there for decades, a softer high tone came through. Checking it in the two audio boost settings, the volume increased at the higher settings, I laid the detector down to recover the target. From around 9" (using the pinpointer as a gauge), I pulled an 1897 Barber dime free from the edge of the hole.
I spent the better part of an afternoon searching several areas of this park and, while I may have passed up some interesting finds that produced mid-tone signals, I was impressed at the coins that turned up in the high tone region. Excluding the clad, I recovered nine Wheats, four silver dimes (the Barber, two Mercurys and one Roosevelt), a 1944 Washington quarter, an old Chicago Surface Lines street car token, and a man's silver and turquoise ring - pretty impressive when you consider it was a well-hunted site and the detector was not sporting a target ID meter. I had pulled out a few large, oddly-shaped, rusted pieces of iron, but after digging a few, the audio response was clearly different from that produced by a good non-ferrous target, which would allow me to ignore these targets in future hunts not part of a field test.
Bells and whistles do not always equate to more success in the field and this is clearly the case when it comes to the Nokta Velox One.
With the number of beach and relic hunters growing due to the increased popularity of metal detecting, a simple-to-use, powerful detector is a piece of equipment that will be of interest to a large number of hobbyists.
The Velox One is easily adjustable for different ground conditions, requires minimal field time to master the controls, and provides above average performance, as evidenced by the size and depth of the targets recovered during the field test. If you are looking for a simple-to-use, deep seeking detector that doesn't require one to take out a second mortgage, the N okta Velox One deserves a closer look. The Nokta Velox One and the optional accessories are distributed in North America by Kellyco Metal Detectors.