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I have been nothing but thrilled with my purchase of my vintage Wilson R & C II on ebay 6 months ago. I own Minelab, Whites, Compass and Tesoro detectors and I never thought I had any holes left in my game. But my Wilson has shown me otherwise. It is an amazing machine in several ways. With a small 7 inch coil (many would think is a handicap) it provides unbelievable depth...comparable to all my other machines. But with this smaller coil, it is like a sniper in waiting when it comes to small iron infested areas. I have snipped small buttons, mini balls, etc. in these iron areas that have been thoroughly checked by my other machines. Also, with its ability to signal a target with only about 1/4 inch movement of the coil, it is ideal for those sites where it is difficult to get that coil down to the ground and swing at the same time. It will false at times on large iron items (which are sometimes cool relics anyway) but is nearly 100% silent on all small iron. When it is a good target it hits solid and there is no mistaking it. Higher discrimination seems to have little effect on dept capability.
It also lasts so long with a set of batteries it's amazing. It runs on three 9 volts batteries. It appears that the speaker runs on one battery that will not register on the battery level meter and the circuit board runs on two separate batteries. With my limited electronics experience, this design seems to me to be a stroke of genius by the designer. With separate power sources, one part of the circuit runs totally independent of another part therefore making the performance much more stable. I have also found with the battery level tester on the unit, you can run the unit down to almost 6 volts left of battery power without any noticeable decrease in performance.
The detector is very well balanced and can be swung all day without fatigue. If there is any flaws with this machine, I have not found them yet. The only thing I would like to see with it would be a threshold, so I could here the null when going over iron. However, you can also here the iron field by turning down the disc all the way and listening for all the crackle and pop.
I switched from using nautilus metal detectors to the wilson relic & coin 4 metal detector in 1992. It was the best move that i had ever made ! I never thought that Mr. Wilson could make a better detector than the r & c 4, but he did so with the Northstar.
This machine operates much like the old models having only 2 control knobs, sensitivity and a descrimination. This is truley a turn on and go machine. the depth of the northstar is great. I have returned to some "hunted out" civil war camps and home sites and have dug many relics including a north carolina military institute button that was at least 13 inches in the ground. The machine will pick out good readings from trash with no problem. I have had cut nails come up from the same hole that i have dug civil war bullets out of and never even get a reading on the nails but the signal for the bullet was loud and clear. You can however cut the discrimination back if you want to dig cannon ball fragments or what have you. the few drawbacks are : from what Mr. Wilson tells me you have to use energizer batteries as they are longer and other batteries cause false readings. The machine is a little heavy compared to some newer models, however compared to my old nautilus it is light as a feather. I have heard of other diggers returning there machines to the factory several times for problems but they had the first production of the noerthstars and mine , according to the serial number, in from the 3rd production and i have not had to return it at all.
At times I am tempted to get a computerized detector with all of the bells and whistles, but evertime I dig a deep bullet, I resist. I am thinking about getting a shadow x2 as i have heard great things about it and I am looking forward to giving it a try. Never will i give up my wilson, however at times it would be nice to have a lighter machine to take with us camping plus my 6 year old daughter wants to go with me digging now so it will be great for her.
There are many great detectors on the market and what ever one you choose just take your time and learn it inside and out and the results will come. good luck !! hp.
By no means am i putting down the nautilus detectors. i used them from
1980 until 1992. they are fine machines and i know many people making great
finds with them today. i just prefer the silent mode and the lighter
The Wilson North Star metal detector (Manufactured by Paul Wilson in South Bend Indiana) is an excellent detector with some possible fatal flaws. It goes deep, almost as deeply as a Fisher CZ5 or 1266. It seperates targets extremely well, picking out a coin from between the two "arms" of a pair of pliers with no problem. It balances well, even though it is a fairly heavy and bulky unit. Pinpointing is no problem using the "crossing" method (as it has no pinpoint mode.).
Mr Wilson has told me over the phone that the unit must use Everready 9 Volt batteries (3) as they are longer than other brands of batteries. This is true, as I had trouble with my Northstar cutting off intermittingly using other brands of batteries. Changing batteries is no problem, certainly much less hassle than the old Wilson units. such as the R&C and R&C2. A few years ago here in central Virginia, the Wilson and the Nautilus detectors reigned supreme with relic hunters.
The Northstar, however, has the following flaws. The plastic connector between the body and the head is pure"Mickey Mouse" It causes false signal problems, as well as "on-off" problems. I had to send my North Star back to Mr. Wilson 6 times because of faulty head to body plugs. Why he can't use a screw-in metal plug like other companies do, is beyond me. Several times the unit was returned to me exactly like I sent it-unfixed. Wilson Electronics is a rather small business, as I understand, and support is limited. Mr Wilson personally handles most of the phone calls. He does seem eager to help with problems, at least over the phone. The battery length problem and the head connector made me decide to sell my North Star- that and the fact that even after it was finally "fixed" by Mr. Wilson himself, it still would "go wild" with false signals at times. These signals would generally stop if you turned the detector off and then on again.E.V. Smith Troy, Virginia