If you’re like me, your eyes practically bulge out of their sockets when you hear Minelab actually suggest that you shouldn’t ground balance the Equinox 800.
I mean, seriously?
But, it’s Minelab. So I should trust it, right?
Well, in this article, you and I are going to go over the facts together and I’ll share what I think with you.
So buckle up! We’re going to dig deep on this one.
Do You Need to Ground Balance the Equinox 800?
No, you don’t need to ground balance the Equinox 800 but you absolutely should!
Most likely, both you and I have been ingrained since the start that ground balancing your metal detector is basically numero uno on the checklist.
God forbid you missed out on a shiny new piece for your collection because you forgot to calibrate your equipment.
And here we have Minelab telling us, “Hey guys, don’t worry about it. We got it covered.”
Well, not that I don’t trust them (cause I do), but this is one habit I don’t recommend you change anytime soon.
What Does Ground Balancing Do?
Let’s start with the basics before we get into the mud.
Ground balancing. What is it? And what does it do?
Ground balancing is the process of adjusting your metal detector settings to increase the detection depth and detect more accurately no matter the terrain.
Simply put, it’s like changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles. If you’re consistent, you’ll get the most you can from it.
I’m sure you’ve been told by someone in the past, just like me, how wonky things can get if you don’t ground balance your metal detector.
You get all sorts of craziness like false signals, shallower depths, and more.
Essentially, it’s a way to ensure that your metal detector is fine-tuned and working at its best so you don’t miss anything.
I don’t care if it’s just a trash piece of tin foil. You don’t want your Nox to miss it.
Minelab Equinox 800 Ground Balance Settings
Now that everyone is on the same page, let’s talk some Equinox.
Man, I love this machine, don’t you?
If you’re new to dirt fishing or just bought yourself the upgrade you’ve been eyeing, I sympathize with you.
This beauty packs a punch with all the extra power and controllable settings. You might feel overwhelmed.
Don’t. You’ve got this.
But I’m guessing if you found your way here, you probably read the Equinox 800 manual and fell off your chair.
According to Minelab, the recommended setting for gold is the tracking ground balance. For all other modes, just leave the GB level on 0.
Look, I’ve heard other detectorists say it’s been smooth sailing for them. That the tracking or auto ground balance is perfect.
Maybe you ran your own tests. In mine, the results were a little mixed.
But mostly all good, to be fair.
I just think it’s best practice for all of us to ground balance regularly, ourselves.
How about we look at each setting the Equinox 800 gives us? See what the pros and cons are.
Then maybe you’ll trust me on this.
How Do You Ground Balance the Equinox?
For those who don’t know, the Minealb Equinox 800 has three ground balance settings.
Manual, auto, and tracking.
To ground balance the Equinox, you must select one of the 3 ground balance options enabled in the settings. You can do this by hitting the little center cog icon button under the display. Then, lock in the GB feature. More steps may be needed depending on the option you choose.
Now, I know that is kind of a fast and loose walkthrough of ground balancing an Equinox.
For more details, keep reading. I’ll break it down by the setting for you.
You can follow along with each, or jump to your preferred method.
Equinox Manual Ground Balance
The manual ground balance on the Nox is easy but requires more help from you.
To start, turn on the metal detector.
When your display is on, hit the center button just below the screen. It looks like a little cog wheel.
You need to hit this button twice to highlight the ground balance function.
You’ll know you’re on it when you see a little blinking search coil above on the display.
** By hitting the cog button only once, you’ll end up on noise cancel. This would be a good idea to do first. **
While the little display search coil is flashing, you should have your actual search coil flat on the ground.
Your display should read a setting of 0.
To manually ground balance your Equinox 800, start pumping the detector a few inches off the ground and back down again. While you’re doing that, continually hit (or hold) the plus (+) button to the right of the settings button.
The number 0 will begin to rise. The tones coming from your detector will change as it goes up and down.
The goal is to increase the setting level until the metal detector stops changing tones when it moves.
If you go too high, and the change in tone returns, you can go back. You just have to use the minus (-) button.
Once you reach that constant, where no change in tone exists while pumping, you’ve successfully ground-balanced your Equinox.
To lock the Equinox in that setting, press the pinpoint/detect button below the cog wheel button.
And that’s it!
You might think that’s a lot if you’re new to this. But it’s not.
It takes less than 30 seconds at most.
- Most familiar way
- Settings are easy to use
- Requires the most effort and time
Equinox Auto Ground Balance
The auto ground balance function on the Equinox works just about the same as the manual setting.
To set the auto ground balance for the Equinox, you will use the setting button to highlight the ground balance label on the display. Next, you’ll hold down the accept/ reject button. It has a checkmark and ‘x’ on it.
While it’s held down, you will want to pump the Nox up and down a few inches. You’ll notice the number on the display change. You’ll also hear some low tones come from the speaker.
When the display settles on a single number, release the accept/reject button. Then hit the pinpoint/detect button to lock in the setting.
You have now auto ground balanced your Equinox.
It’s almost exactly how a manual ground balance works. The difference is the manual selection of the GB level.
I actually like this function. It’s handy to have on a metal detector. Although I don’t know about you, I still prefer to go with a manual ground balance.
There’s just something about knowing for sure it’s been set right. <— (pretending human error isn’t a thing).
- Pretty reliable (used on many detectors)
- Not hard to set up
- Saves a little effort
- You don't control the balance
Equinox 800 Tracking Ground Balance
Now for my least favorite ground balance method.
Tracking sounds good in theory.
To set up the tracking ground balance on an Equinox 800, turn on the metal detector. Hit the settings button with the cog until the ground balance label is highlighted on the display.
Tap the accept/reject button once. You’ll see a little squiggly line on the upper right of the display.
This means you are in tracking mode. Your Equinox will auto ground balance as you move. Always adjusting to the terrain you are in.
If you guys can’t tell yet, I don’t use the tracking feature much…or at all.
Depending on where you’re hunting, I doubt it’s often that the mineralization below you will change so drastically with every few steps.
Now, I didn’t have a ton of issues when testing out the tracking. But it did take a heck of a lot longer to adjust than auto or manual.
I’m talking like 5 minutes of my Nox acting crazy before it settled.
Minelab does suggest using this just for gold mode. If that’s what you’re doing or if you do actually have some drastic change in soil conditions, you might be ok with tracking ground balance.
From everyone I’ve talked to, it’s a hit-or-miss feature.
You can decide for yourself.
- You don't need to do much to set it
- Saves time when detecting if functioning properly
- Great for gold detecting
- You don't control the balance
- Can take a while to balance to new conditions
FAQs About Ground Balancing and The Equinox 800
Got more questions on ground balancing or ground balancing just the Equinox?
Below, I’ve answered a few popular questions you may want answers to.
And if you don’t get the answers you need here, check out this video. You’ll see just how easy it can be to ground balance your Equinox 800.
What Is Auto Ground Balance?
Auto ground balance is a function on some metal detectors that will automatically adjust to the current terrain.
It’s common with newer models and makes it easier for those who are just learning how to ground balance.
Each model is a little different, but for the Equinox, just follow these steps.
- Turn on the metal detector.
- Tap the settings button twice to select ground balance.
- Hold down the accept/reject button
- Pump the coil up and down a few inches
- Watch the number on the display change
- Once the number stops changing, let go of accept/reject
- Tap the pinpoint/detect button once to lock in ground balance
When Should You Ground Balance the Equinox 800?
You’ll want to ground balance your Equinox whenever you start detecting in a new area or just turning it on, at a minimum.
It’s also not a bad idea to do a quick check if you’ve been hunting in the same spot for a while and notice your metal detector acting up.
You may or may not know about the way soil can interfere with a metal detector. I know I didn’t when I started.
Basically, there are certain minerals in the ground that can throw off your metal detector.
In some areas, the mineralization is so high, that your metal detector won’t stop yapping. You’ll think you found someone’s underground silo. But it’ll just be the salt and other junk minerals pulling you into a trap.
It never hurts to recalibrate your Equinox 800 or any detector.
Remember what I said about changing the oil of your car? It’s better to be safe and sure.
Otherwise, you might miss some big targets.
How Important Is Ground Balance on A Metal Detector?
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that ground balancing is the most important thing when metal detecting.
But I will say, it’s pretty darn close.
If your Equinox isn’t properly ground-balanced, you risk missing out on targets or getting a lot of false readings.
Imagine if your car didn’t have oil. It would eventually overheat and die.
** Sorry, the whole oil in the car thing just fits. **
Not ground balancing is kind of like that for your Equinox 800 (or any metal detector).
You might be able to get away with it for a little while. But eventually, it will start acting up on you and cause problems.
Do yourself a favor. Make it a consistent habit to ground balance before you start hunting (if not more).
You stuck it out with me! I hope you got some value out of it.
What do you think? Do you have to ground balance the Minelab Equinox 800?
I hate to say it, but technically no. Instead, I’ll say you definitely should.
Not ground balancing your metal detector is downright neglect. To your craft. To your success.
To the entire point of using a metal detector.
What’s great about the Equinox 800 is it has three different ways for you to ground balance. Each one is made to be easy for you.
I don’t recommend just leaving it on 0 and hitting the dirt. And even if I’m not the biggest fan of the tracking feature, it’s better than nothing.
So, are you feeling more comfortable about ground balancing? Do you see the need, even if it isn’t required?
You’re smart. I can tell.
Before you leave, if you love your Minelab Equinox 800, be sure to check out my comparison review.
I match up the Equinox with the Nokta Simplex+.
In my opinion, it makes a heck of a backup, if not a low-cost equal!
Until next time…