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Teknetics T2 Metal Detectoe

Dave Johnson has been designing leading-edge metal detectors for American companies for over 25 years. He has designed successful products in all three mainstream technologies—VLF. multi-frequency, and pulse induction. His platforms are the backbone of several company’s high-end product offerings today. If you own a high-performance metal detector made in the USA, there is a good chance it originated with Dave Johnson.

Eva Shea, First Texas Products Marketing Manager, recently interviewed Dave Johnson to get some perspective on his latest design, the Teknetics T2.

   EVA: Dave, when did you design your first metal detector?

DAVE: That was in 1972. I was working for the State of California doing traffic census for transportation planning purposes. The vehicle detectors we used worked on the eddy current loss principle and were powered by two hundred pounds of lead-acid batteries.

I got tired of hauling and maintaining those batteries. My solution was a vehicle metal detector that ran on a single 9-volt transistor battery, employing the phase shift principle. It was my first metal detector design. The prototype was not stable enough for practical use, but to my surprise it discriminated between cars and trucks. I was transferred to another department and the project was abandoned.

   EVA: So when did you get your start in consumer metal detectors?

DAVE: Back in 1981 Fisher was looking for a new lead design engineer and I took the job. About a year later we introduced the 1260-X, which was a revolutionary machine for its time. Since the mid-1990’s I have also worked for Tesoro, White’s, and Troy. I began doing consulting work for First Texas Products in 2002 and late that year they decided to put on the payroll on-premises in El Paso.

   EVA: So how do you like First Texas Products and El Paso?
  DAVE: I wanted to work for First Texas Products; the president actually listens to his employees and customers. When he bought the company several years ago the Bounty Hunter line was a real mess. He turned it around and now Bounty Hunter offers is quality products and great value for the price. I like the can do attitude at First Texas Products. As far as El Paso goes, it is my new home. Decent climate, friendly people, low crime rate, and good hiking trails. I have really enjoyed the multicultural environment.

   EVA: Tell me how the Teknetics T2 came about. Do you feel like you fulfilled a dream?

Teknetics Logo

DAVE: For many years, I have sought to improve metal detectors on all fronts-lighter weight, better ergonomics, lower power consumption, deeper detection, deeper discrimination and target ID, and maximum user-friendliness. Of course I did not always get what I wanted-that’s how life is most of the time, eh?

 When I came to First Texas three years ago, the company did not have any high-end detectors. That gave me a clean slate to work with-the whole product had to be designed from the ground up. For the first time in my career, I got to design the electronics enclosure. Years prior I had declared war on bad user interfaces; at First Texas I finally had permission to do it right. I convinced the president that whatever difficulties we might encounter striving for an open-frame DD coil, we had to bite the bullet and do it.
   EVA: So how about the performance?
  DAVE: A high-end metal detector absolutely must have major league performance. The really hot machines out there (many of which I had a hand in) air test well past 10-inches, but lose a lot of targets in the ground. So rather than go for broke on air test, we decided to make it merely ruthlessly competitive on air test, and concentrated our efforts on pushing the state of the art performance on things that matter in the ground like target separation, iron rejection, and stable target ID.
   EVA: I’ve been told that to detect gold nuggets, a metal detector has to be really sensitive, because most nuggets are tiny, and they’re usually found in highly mineralized ground. How is the Teknetics T2 on gold?

DAVE: Gold detection is my field of expertise. Most American gold machines are my designs. A machine designed for gold prospecting only, theoretically has an edge on a general purpose machine. But a well-done general-purpose machine designed with gold prospecting in mind, will beat a poorly done gold-prospecting-only machine. The Teknetics T2 is a general-purpose machine, but its 13-kHz operating frequency, highly engineered standard-size DD search coil, high sensitivity, excellent ground canceling, and quick-recovery motion all-metal mode add up to superb performance for gold prospecting.

   EVA:  And how about silver?

DAVE: When detectorists talk about silver, they’re talking about silver coinage. Silver coins are worth at least several times their face value in silver content alone, and many have collectible value far beyond that. Silver coins are typically found at greater depth than modern clad coins, so the detectorists who are looking for silver need a machine with really good sensitivity as well as superior ground penetrating ability and good discrimination. Ability to see a deep coin without its being masked by nearby iron trash is very important. Although some users and content to search strictly by ear, most insist on visual ID to minimize unnecessary digging. The Teknetics unit meets these requirements; according to most users it excels when it comes to unmasking coins in iron trash. Davids Picture
   EVA: Where did the name Teknetics come from?

DAVE: We decided to call our new high-end machine Teknetics in honor of the original Teknetics designed in the mid-1980’s by the legendary George Payne. The company that manufactured it went out of business, but the detector itself set the performance standard for its time. That’s a heckuva reputation to have to live up to.

Most people don’t know it, but the visual ID system in most Bounty Hunter products is based on George Payne’s circuit designs. So awareness of the Teknetics legacy runs high around here.

   EVA: You must be pretty proud of the Teknetics T2.

  DAVE: The basic vision was pretty much mine, but it took a lot of other people to make it happen. John Gardiner, another one of our engineers, wrote most of the software that runs it. For me this was just another step forward in the high end market, but for everyone else in the company the high end was a whole new world. I’m prouder of them than I am of me.

   EVA: If someone is thinking of buying a new high-end metal detector, how would you convince them to buy a Teknetics T2?

  DAVE: The best sales pitch for the T2 is what people who already own them are saying. Most of them also own other high-end units, so they are well-informed and do not have much brand loyalty. I could tell you what they are saying, but I might be biased. I would suggest that you do an Internet search on Teknetics T2, sort out what you find there, and make up your own mind.

   EVA: Thank you Dave and congratulations on seeing a dream come true
  DAVE: My pleasure.

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