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Blackdog Max Coil for the Quest Q30/Q60 field test

If you have ever watched or read any of my reviews about the Quest Q30 and Q60, you will know that I made no secret about how impressive I think they both are. So, with that said you will understand my excitement when the opportunity arose to potentially make these amazing machines even better, is that possible?

This opportunity arrived in the form of a new coil, the coil in question was the latest creation from Spanish manufacturers BlackDog, provided by their UK distributer Detectortek Ltd.

For those of you who are not familiar with the brand BlackDog, they produce aftermarket coils for almost all of the leading brands of metal detectors and to top it off they also offer their own deep searching metal detector too. This metal detector is worthy of its own future review, this ultra-deep searching machine offers the unique ability of being able operate not only as a Very Low Frequency (VLF) detector, but it can also operate as a Pulse Induction (PI) detector too! Impressive in anyone’s book and certainly worth taking a closer look at some time soon.

BlackDog coils are known for their build quality, performance and extra depth. The performance comes from their use of 99% pure copper windings and high-performance resin all contained within a light but rugged moulded housing. This quality of copper and resin ensures that the metal detector’s signal is not distorted in any way, but the resin plays a much bigger part in a coil’s performance than we perhaps think.

The resin that sets the copper windings in place plays a major role in the performance of a coil. This resin ensures that the copper windings do not expand or contract during temperature changes. It ensures that the windings do not move around when the resin heats up in hot weather or contract in the cold causing the detector to false when the coil is knocked against the ground.

BlackDog have not stopped there either, their coils are shrouded with a graphite shielding that helps to eliminate any EMI interference, meaning that the user can run a higher-than-normal sensitivity setting on their metal detector.

All this tech talk sounds impressive on paper, but if you have followed my reviews in the past you will know that my reviews are based on real time field testing over a period of weeks and months.

So, how does the BlackDog Max stack up in the great outdoors?

From the moment I attached the 13x13 Max coil to my Quest Q60 I had an early indication that this coil had great potential. The balance of this large coil is exactly how I hoped it would be, even for a large coil it felt nimble and easy to swing, but most importantly it felt light!

The BlackDog Max weighs in at 550 grams, that is some 30 grams lighter than the stock Quest BeastX Super Sport that it was replacing! This lighter weight is enhanced by its neutral balance resulting in a perfectly comfortable feel as I swept the coil across the ground.

The little things matter!

If you have ever treated yourself to a new coil, then like me you may have been a little disappointed to see your new investment arrive in nothing more than a plastic bag for packaging. Some of you may be shouting out loud right now “who cares? Its just packaging” and you are probably right. But for me seeing the BlackDog Max arrive in a box shows that they the manufacturer care too, after all when we save up our hard-earned cash, we want things to arrive well packaged.

One of the first things I did was to remove the coil cover and inspect the resin, I was not disappointed with what I saw. I then did the standard inspection of the mounting lugs, they too felt strong and rugged and looked like they will not cause any problems in the future.

Out in the field.

I have used the BlackDog Max for several weeks now, on different terrain and in different environments. The first thing that really stood out to me is how stable this coil is. The Quest Q60 can suffer at times with a chatter problem, after various test and the use of an oscilloscope we narrowed it down to a possible resonance being created by the coil. This chatter was completely eliminated when using the Max coil.

I have also recently been testing out several other aftermarket coils from a different manufacturer, these too were large coils, but they had a sharpness and precision that often is lost with large coils. I hoped that the BlackDog Max would also have that same sharpness and combined with the super-fast recovery speed of the Q60. The Max was every bit as sharp, working in complete harmony with the Quest Q60.

Is it deeper than the stock coils?

The answer is not that cut and dry, there are several factors that play a part in this.

Firstly, the superior quality of the Max coil and its stability means that the user can run their machine much hotter. The ability to use higher sensitivity settings combined with reduced EMI interference means that the machine can utilise its own full performance. As a result of this the Max allows the machine to work to its full potential and therefore gain depth increases. Added to this the coil itself does punch noticeably deeper than the stock coil. It changes what might have been a faint or scratchy signal at depth into strong positive signals, this means that the user gains more consistency in hitting those deep targets.

The round 13x13” coil is a perfect happy medium with regards to size, it is large enough to cover ground effectively, but not so large that it becomes cumbersome when working through undergrowth or stubble.

So, what are the cons?

There were a few aspects to the BlackDog Max coil that if changed would result in it being a perfectly polished product. Firstly, it arrived without the bolt to attach it to the metal detector, not a showstopper by any means but as I mentioned before it is the little things that count!

While we are talking about bolts, I want to mention that due to the way the coil fits to the detector, it is virtually impossible to tighten it enough to stop it from freely pivoting. It is tight enough to allow it to be used without any problems, but my preference is to have a coil just tight enough so that it will not move out of position when laid on the ground as I dig out my next exciting find.

Lastly, the cable plug. The plug has a screw fix that allows it to be attached to the coil cable. I can only assume that this is a result of the coil being used for many different brands of machine and it eliminates the need for BlackDog to change the entire cable. A simple neat and tidy heat shrink to hide the join would once again result in a more refined finish.

What about the Quest Q30?

All the points I have talked about with regards to performance with the Q60 apply to the Q30, it has transformed an already impressive metal detector into what I consider to be one of the best machines on the market today.

In summary.

I see the BlackDog Max coil as being in direct competition with the Quest BeastX Super Sport coil. If you lock me in a room and threaten to take away all my metals detectors unless I chose between them, I would have to say the BlackDog Max would be an easy choice to make.

The BlackDog Max 13x13” coil is a great addition to your Quest metal detector, it without doubt enhances all round performance, stability depth and more importantly sharpness. It is large enough to cover plenty of ground but light and small enough to allow you to use it as an all-purpose coil for all terrains. With a RRP of just £169 (only £9 more than the Quest BeastX coil) it offers up yet more options for the Quest owner.

The BlackDog Max coil is now my go to coil of choice for both the Q30 and Q60!

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