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In my travels, talking to Minelab GPX users I have encountered few people who make much use of the mode switch. When we first designed the GPX-4000, after much discussion we put a 'Mode' switch on the front panel. Our intent with this switch was to try and let operators do one of three things with this new switch.
1. New users could easily change the character of the detector before learning the finer points of the settings in the menus on the LCD. This is a bit like using the dial on the top of your digital camera to change between Sports, Portrait and Night modes. It makes the detector more flexible without imposing hours of learning on the user.
2. More experienced users could store settings that they use for different conditions such as for larger coils and smaller coils or for pinpointing etc. This would make setting up the detector for these conditions easier and quicker to change.
3. Operators can experiment with settings to see what changes they can hear. Two modes can be configured to be the same except for one setting. This would allow the operator to blindly change between settings using a switch on the front panel rather than navigating the menus each time.
Were we wrong and nobody wants this switch? Did we not explain the function well enough? Is it too difficult? Have I been talking to the wrong people and really everybody is madly using the mode switch? Please let me know by adding a comment below.
Probably my only complaint is having the tone section in each and every search mode rather than a global setting in the main menu but this is just nit picking. My reasons for this are, moving from different tones too quickly can leave the operator partially incapacitated for a period until they re-learn the more subtle tonal changes of the detector. When experimenting with Tone I find it best to allow a reasonable amount of time until your brain becomes attuned to the way the detector is responding, if the Tone you are operating at is annoying then try a different position until you are comfortable.
Good subject Phil, thanks putting this up.