Garrett AT Pro Pointer - Falsing & Erratic Signals - Solved

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R4RJB
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Garrett AT Pro Pointer - Falsing & Erratic Signals - Solved

Post by R4RJB » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:21 pm

I am generally happy with my Garrett AT Pro Pointer but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I thought it might be useful to share my experiences.
Firstly, the Pro Pointer will occasionally start acting up and this is usually down to the battery needing to be replaced. The user manual states that when the battery becomes low, the detector will sound an alternating dual-tone alarm. However, other spurious signals may be triggered. A fresh battery should always be the first thought when things aren’t working correctly. Whilst the battery usually lasts me many weeks, I always carry a spare just in case.
The Garrett AT Pro Pointer can sometimes be set off by mineralised soil or salt water but it can be ground balanced to counter the background noise. The user manual states “To tune out the detection of saltwater, wet sand or highly mineralised ground, hold the tip of the Pro-Pointer AT to the water, sand or soil and quick-press the on/off button for an instant retune. If necessary, repeat the fast retune to further eliminate any environmental response.” This action effectively desensitises the pointer and can also be used to home in on a target.
I had a serious problem though, when my Garrett AT Pro Pointer started to constantly behave erratically and give false signals. It got so bad that the pointer would even be set off by slightly shaking or lightly tapping it, rendering it useless. I bought the pointer second-hand and it was out of warranty, so I was intent on trying to repair it myself, if there was an easy fix. If your pointer is under warranty, I recommend you contact your supplier.
I googled the symptoms and it seemed that the fault was likely to be due to wires shorting against the circuit board. I found some YouTube videos showing how to remedy the problem. I followed this one:

It shows the Pro version not the AT Pro but the principle is the same. The wires are insulated with Shellac (varnish) and in general use, they can get abraded by components on the pcb, leading to a possible short circuit. This problem is due to poor design and wouldn’t present itself if the manufacturer had simply used an insulating sleeve over the cables.
The chap who made the video clearly doesn’t do this sort of thing for a living and he makes the job seem far more complicated than it really is. It’s important to watch the whole thing before commencing a repair (at your own risk :D), especially to avoid breaking the on/off switch. The chap used plastic sheet as an insulator but I carefully wrapped the wires in small strips of electrical tape which I thought was a better solution. I also tied fishing line to the wires to aid reassembly, which was much easier than he made it look. When I retested the pointer by shaking and tapping it, the problem had gone.
I used silicone grease around the on/off button and LED to reseal the joints and prevent water ingress. I also routinely apply it, around the ‘O’ ring on the end cap, whenever I replace the battery. This can be bought cheaply at most DIY stores, usually in the plumbing department, or on the internet. As an alternative, Vaseline would also do a good job.
I had yet another issue with the Garrett AT Pro Pointer whereby the foam pad in the base of the end cap had lost its sponginess, causing it to intermittently switch off. I removed it and super-glued a small ‘O’ ring in its place to ensure that the battery remains engaged with the terminals. A small piece of folded cardboard would provide a temporary fix in the field.
It works fine now and I am pleased with its operation, despite the above!


Nox 800 with Standard Coil
Garrett AT Pro-pointer

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