The Joy of Text … and the Equinox

9th January 2018 — 24 Comments

Don’t get excited. There’s little Comfort in what follows

Many like-minded people understand plain English as something that the intended audience can read, understand and act upon the first time they read it. I must admit that I have difficulty in fully comprehending the avalanche of words springing from the keyboard of a blogger based in Poland. He infers that I fail to understand his obtuse outpourings because of poor literary skills. Maybe so.

I’ve been looking at the information presented on US Patent forms and they fall well below the standard mentioned in my first two lines. After reading them (again) I feel inferior and just a little frustrated that I don’t fully understand. Unfortunately a sketch of the apparatus couldn’t be found (although there are plenty of schematic diagrams) that may have helped with my understanding, but somehow I doubt it. There should be laws against gobbledygook like this.

My first example is Patent Number US 6,421,621 BI, dated 2002, and the assignee is White’s Electronics and is in relation to a new metal detector. Could it have been the MX5? Here’s an abstract:

The abstract MAY apply to the MX5

White’s metal detector target identification using flash phase analysis

 A flash phase analysis circuit provides parallel phase channels for simultaneously analyzing a detected signal in each of several phase windows and providing parallel outputs indicating whether a target falls in one of the phase windows. In one implementation, the parallel outputs each drive a segment of an output device to indicate the target type to the user. The flash phase analysis circuit divides a detected signal among the phase windows and then simultaneously compares the measured signal at each phase window with a reference signal. The circuit matches measured data with pre-selected phase characteristics corresponding to known targets in parallel and provides parallel output signals indicating target type….

… before flash phase conversion occurs, a phase detector or detectors measure the phase data. A signal representing the measured phase data is then divided into phase windows such that the measured phase data can be analysed in each phase window simultaneously … and so on for four dense A4 pages, but you get the idea …

However, there are half dozen diagrams to make the gobbledygook clearer for the likes of you and me. Here’s just one:

Minelab’s new patent. A detector with a magnetic field.

In 2016, Minelab filed a patent for a new metal detector in which a ‘magnetic field generator’ is described. Here’s the abstract:

Minelab started this process in 2014, obtained the patent in 2016, and … probably soon we’ll see the result. This is how metal detectors of the future are created. Of course there are multitude of incomprehensible diagrams. The latest news from Minelab states: 

Representing our most significant coin & treasure introduction since the launch of the CTX 3030 in 2012, Minelab is pleased to announce the pending release of our new EQUINOX Series Metal Detectors … The EQUINOX Series features Minelab’s STATE-OF-THE ART Multi-IQ simultaneous multi-frequency technology and combines fast recovery speed with low-latency wireless audio in a lightweight waterproof platform.

Why did Minelab name their new machine EQUINOX? What has the name to do with a metal detector? The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring. So why does the word refer to ‘night’? Equinox comes from the Latin words aequi, which means ‘equal’, and nox, which means ‘night’. Vernal means fresh and new … very appropriate … but it isn’t the vernal equinox.

It goes without saying that stargazing is a lot easier to do at night than during the day, and given the importance of the stars in Roman life, it’s not surprising that they chose to highlight the night in naming the Equinox … but why was it Minelab’s choice? Would be interesting to know! Come on, Minelab. Tell us the the genesis of the name and its association with a metal detector … I’m getting negative vibes here. Say no more!

For what its worth, and if I’d been present at the brainstorming session, I’d have come up with something more meaningful, like SIRIUS … after all it’s the brightest star in the night sky. In Greek the name means ‘glowing’ and an appropriate name for a new machine. However, it is also known as the ‘Dog Star’. Back to the drawing board!



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24 responses to The Joy of Text … and the Equinox

  1. I can see that Minelab has [finally] stared to listen to their customer.. Took them long enough.. Finally., a lightweight machine that can [maybe] bring them to the level of the Deus!!

    Is it a game changer? I suspect not.. I cannot understand all the hype over the ‘nox..

    And as to the unplain english.. That seems to be the way of it these days, John.. Couch everything in technical terms, or in language so complicated as to make the original idea unfathomable, Just think of the hundreds of thousands of words it takes to make just one insignificant government law.


  2. Shaughn Malcolm Tyreman 9th January 2018 at 12:26 AM

    I understand your contemplations John, and hundreds of detectorists paid their deposit on this machine, they are spellbound as we all are to this new and exciting machine. I will be continuing with my machine slow and low as I have over the last 34 years and hope the guardian spirits of the land reward me in some small way for my patience. I haven’t done bad so far. And a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  3. Why everyone is so excited about a machine that has no thorough “in the field” feedback is beyond me. Perhaps it was the airborne introduction…… I wonder what they will do for the next?

  4. I have passed the amatuer radio theory and regs so i have a basic understanding of the circuit diagram but it isn’t something a layman could understand. I have noticed Minelab doesn’t file the patent untill just before the release date.

  5. The latest machines are as much of a toy to play with as they are a vital tool to help find treasure. You have to have a name that makes no sense to go with other things that make no sense- like pre-ordering a machine that hasn’t been shown finding anything you wouldn’t have found with a ACE 250.
    It’s probably better, but I doubt the majority of people that purchase one will learn how to use it fully. You can look good on youtube with one in your hand, but not as good as that detecting British lady regardless of what detector she is holding.
    You can’t blame minelab for trying to convince someone they will have an ” equal night ” in comparison to their competition. 🙂

  6. equinox days are approximately 12 hours long which is the approx. life of the battery.
    could this be it?

  7. Many people are loyal users of one manufacturers detector or another, regardless of the hype at the launch this machine is going to be easier to use than the 3030 purely because it is lightweight. Many people in this hobby are either retired or have sustained some injury during their life that may limit their exercise, a lightweight machine is a must that is why I have ordered one, not because of the promises it comes with but because of the benefits it will give me.

  8. Morning all.

    Another good read for sure thanks John.

    The name “Equinox” was one of a few which goes back to the real old Minelab days and the Emerald Isle.

    Its nice to know that when Minelab chose to leave their UK central base, that something remains to remind us as do a few of the detectors from those days.

    There are not so many of us left from those days,but we have a few who are still in touch with one another.

    For the above reason if no other, I hope that all goes well for the “Exuinox”, but these days it faces some stiff competition.

    One thing for sure with the XP Deus having ruled the roost for the last 8 years XP will will not have been resting on the laurels during that time.

    Happy Hunting to you all.Jerry.

  9. minelab will not let them selves down with the NOX ….their marketing skills are brill …launch a new machine before xmas and stop pre xmas sales on other machines …and the talk hasn’t stopped since detecterville launch day …very clever …. John you wrote [The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring ] maybe that’s when ill receive my machine lol

  10. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 10th January 2018 at 5:11 AM


    the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun crosses the celestial equator, when day and night are of equal length (about September 22 and March 20).

    I’m going with the product was launched on September 16th at Detectival (roughly September 22nd), and will available March 20th.

    As to why all the hype over a new machine?? Just ask all those fools who have line up days in advance to get their hands on the latest iPhone?

    Brilliant marketing if you ask me?

    By the way………who won the Scrabble game? LOL…..

  11. Scrabble?
    I’d rather not say …

  12. it reminds me of the marketing of products as “green”, the next miracle iPhone, or the latest in cryptocurrencies; market new tech as the solution to something and it can become a huge whisper campaign on the Net. The vague language also reflects legal positioning so that a company can pursue patent infringement claims if necessary. What a world.

  13. Ah, John. Never mind about that ignoramus from Poland who’s trying to big-up his IQ – we all know what he’s up to. Most Tekkies can out-IQ him, any time, anywhere. He’d love to have your level of intelligence and influence. Mind you, I doubt many Tekkies could out-treason this person.

  14. Hmmm… Minelab could be awakening forces which might best be left undisturbed . An anagram of “vernal equinox” is queen nox rival… Nox is the Roman Queen of the Night… Come March 20th there could be a large smoking crater where once was Minelab, and pairs of smoking wellies where once were new Equinox users… ‘Course, one might be safe if one burns a grain of incense to her and pledges not to detect after sunset … Thank you again John!

  15. Yes … my point entirely.
    Nox is the name of the Roman Primeval Goddess of Night.
    In the circumstances, not a good choice.

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