Field Test: Anderson Carbon Fiber Straight Shaft Review for the AT Pro / AT Gold
Gene Knight, Director of Domestic and International Sales for Kellyco Metal Detectors, gave me the opportunity to try out and report on the Anderson Carbon Fiber Straight Shaft for the Garrett AT Pro and AT Gold.
My first impression when Gene handed it to me was that it is noticeably lighter than the Garrett factory shaft. I could tell that even with it still in the plastic bag! My second impression was the absence of a stand–it had no way to stand upright when laid on the ground. Gene fixed that by giving me the bi-pod attachment also manufactured by Anderson… more on that later.
The shaft itself comes with an upper and lower rod along with all the required hardware connections and simple instructions that even an old retired soldier like me could follow.
The installment process of the AT Pro / AT Gold control box onto the Anderson Shaft was a snap and very well engineered by the Anderson design staff. All I had to do was unscrew the control box from the Garrett shaft, undo the screws from the loud speaker cover and use those same screws to attach the Anderson shaft to the control box. The fit was perfect and very secure. In order to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the holes from the Garret mount or losing the original screws, I simply re-installed those screws into the now empty holes… potential problem averted!
The next step was to fix the issue of the control box laying in the dirt when the detector is placed on the ground. I have an aversion to my equipment laying in the dirt when it isn’t necessary. The solution was to install the Anderson bi-pod Gene gave me. That too was simple as it fit perfectly over the diameter of the shaft and utilizes a set of two screws to secure it to the shaft. However, I quickly saw that the screws themselves were unable to prevent the bi-pod from shifting / twisting on the slick surfaced shaft. In as much as the control box assembly makes the detector top heavy, it merely falls to the ground as if no bi-pod was used.
A simple fix was again applied. I drilled two holes in the carbon fiber shaft that aligned with the screws on the bi-pod. I now screwed the bi-pod onto the shaft ensuring the screws went into the newly drilled holes. The bi-pod was now secure and my AT Pro could stand upright on the ground!
The first characteristic I noticed after installing the shaft was how very well balanced the AT Pro / AT Gold was now! It felt as if I was swinging nothing but the shaft itself. The second attribute was how much more extension I had with the Anderson Shaft. When fully extended to the extreme length of the AT Pro cable, the whole unit is a full 56.5” long! I can cover a lot of ground in a single sweep with a reach like that!
I also saw that the viewing angle of the control box screen and control panel was improved than when mounted on the original shaft—at least it was for me. I could easily see all the controls and screen display without having to tilt the unit in any way.
Things to keep in mind:
~ The Anderson Shaft is still a full 47.5” long when the lower shaft is fully retracted into the upper shaft. It’s longer than the original Garrett shaft and thus not as easily transported when the detector is left fully assembled. Removing the cable from the control box and removing the lower rod is necessary to make the entire detector more compact for travel—not a big deal from my view point.
~ I suggest purchasing the bi-pod attachment along with the shaft and mounting it as described above if you want to enable the AT Pro / AT Gold to sit upright when placed on the ground. Providing pre-drilled holes for this purpose is something I would definitely recommend to Anderson and which could be an easy fix at the factory.
~ Only Anderson lower shafts can be used with the Anderson Upper shaft. If you have several coils for the AT Pro / AT Gold and like them pre-mounted on lower shafts for faster replacement, you’ll have to invest in the Anderson lower shafts as the Garrett shafts won’t fit the Anderson upper shaft.
All in all, I very much like the Anderson Carbon Fiber Shaft for the AT Pro / AT Gold; well balanced, lightweight, comfortable, extended reach, no wobble even when fully extended and swung at speed. It is a well-designed, very useful, after market accessory that could easily be made even better with the bi-pod modification mentioned above.