Keith and I had a chance to sit down with Dimitar Gargov, the engineer from Bulgaria and brains behind the Multi Domain Technology of the Tarsacci MDT 8000. We covered many topics, so this will be multi-part interview. Enjoy!
Aaron - Hey Dimitar! Keith and I are ready pick your brain!
Keith - Yeah, y’all ready? LOL!
Dimitar - Yes, lets get started!
Aaron - So tell us, when did you first get into designing metal detectors?
Dimitar - Well...I have been designing metal detectors since 95’. In Bulgaria where I’m from, we have a lot of Roman artifacts. People are very excited about metal detecting there, where you can find all these artifacts and they are pretty much everywhere! You just step out of your house, and your stepping into history! LOL
Aaron – Kind of like Keith’s backyard!
Keith - LOL... Very nice!
Dimitar - Ah, yes, yes, it’s similar. And,,,,where I’m living you dig and find artifacts probably 5-6 thousand years.
Keith - That’s crazy!
Aaron - Awesome!
Dimitar - Back then, metal detectors were available on the market, but they were VERY expensive! And this is why I decided to start designing metal detectors. I started using them and I enjoy the hobby! And,,,,this is what I find out: It’s one thing when your designing in the lab and you think it’s perfect, and when you go in the field.....it doesn’t work at all!
Aaron - Gotcha. I just have as this first, when did you first start metal detecting?
Dimitar - Um,,,,94’-95’
Aaron - So about the same time you started designing?
Dimitar - Ah, yes.
Aaron - So did you get into detecting because of designing? Or did you start detecting first?
Dimitar - It was pretty much simultaneous, because I started having requests from various people: “Can you design detectors?” And I said, well, sure I can. I have a good technical background. I’ve been learning about electronics since I was in 8th grade. The high school I attended had a college level education, and from the high school you can graduate with a career, and be an electronic technician.
And after this I continued at the university and I received a MSEE with a special education that is related to the military designs. But this started opening my eyes, and I started thinking from different perspectives. And this helps in the design of new products, to make them different, and to fight and to overcome the different challenges that come with designing metal detectors.
A lot of people think it is simple, but it’s not. Because, you have so many variations, so many different ground conditions. And, at the same time you have to detect small targets which are buried into this ground, and from the metal detectors point of view, such a thing as a ground or a target doesn’t exist, everything is just a signal.
And that was the question, how you want to translate the signal? And how do you want to display it to the end user? And what do you want to display to him? And I started thinking in that perspective, and the first detector I designed was a VLF. Back then MineLab started to introduce their multi frequency technology on the market. I think this was in 92’, 94’, in this time frame. In the beginning, people were very skeptical about multi-frequency technology, they didn’t find a lot of advantages, over the VLF’s. But...that is a different story, and the first detector I designed was a VLF detector, and I started selling it, and I continued to sell it for around 4 years, until I come to USA in 1999.
During that time I developed a technology which was different from other VLF technologies, I’m talking about the different tracking and target ID systems and when I came to the US. I contacted Fisher and they invited me there for a interview. I showed this technology to them, they didn’t have it at all. Back in 2000, Fisher did not have detectors with numerical target ID and tracking.
Only the CZ had some (sort) of target discreet i.d., they never had numerical target i.d. or tracking, nothing. I licensed this technology to them, and they used to pay me royalties for every single detector that Fisher built based on that technology.
The first detector that I designed and introduced to the market was the Gold Strike. Back then, that machine was sooo different from any other gold machine and the customers had a very strong resistance to it. They did not accept that type of technology, nor the way the detector worked. And so now these days, gold detectors work pretty much the same way I designed the Gold Strike.
After the Gold Strike we introduced the Coin Strike, and this was a single frequency machine, with a unique feature. This was back when it was the ONLY VLF machine that could work in salt. I’m talking about a PURE salt environment like Florida. You can ground balance to the salt, and at the same time you can detect and have target i.d. However, if you have even a little bit of mineralization, the detector didn’t work really well in these conditions, like regular VLF’s.
And, even in the beginning when we introduced the Coin Strike, because of the signal processing and the way it handled the mineralization, and way it worked , people thought it was a multi frequency machine, which it was not, it was a regular VLF. Later, down the road we had a stripped down version ID Edge, which was in the mid price range and then the ID Excel. Also , I designed for Fisher XLT30 and XLT16 Leak detectors which Fisher is still selling today.
In 2007, First Texas bought Fisher, and Fisher was moved to El Paso Texas and I cut ties with Fisher. And since then I started to develop this new technology, which is not a VLF, it’s not pulse induction and it’s not multi-frequency machine. And when I started developing this new technology I had one thing in mind.....
Let’s say you go to the beach, which is the tough part. You have a salt environment, you have black sand. Sure you can ground balance at one point, but if you move and now the salt dominates over the black sand, or vice versa, the ground balance changes dramatically. And...this WILL mask the targets, and their depth.
I started working on this new idea, and this is how it got started. Meanwhile, I had different jobs, not related to metal detecting to support the family, and I even designed some P.I.’s on the side which I never introduced to the market. In 2016, we established Tarsacci, and it was born.
Aaron - I get this question a lot, “what does Tarsacci mean”?
Dimitar - It is Bulgarian for “Seekers”.
Aaron - Ah, okay I see...
Dimitar - So we started thinking about introducing this new technology to the market. What makes this detector different is that it handles salt environment, AND,,, mineralized ground simultaneously, both can be adjusted independently. This means that you can reject one or the other or both simultaneously, and this gives you the ability to swing your coil from the dry to the wet sand without changing your ground balance. If your ground balance has changed, this means your Salinity balance is incorrect.
We started calling this the “Salinity Balance” for a reason. The main target for this machine was the beach hunters, even though I am a relic hunter. This detector was originally designed for LAND. It has a fast response time, has fast ground balance.
The Salinity Balance, I call “salinity” just for the beach hunter but actually, this Salinity Balance helps you reject and to ignore fertilized ground, reject hot rocks like natural graphite, which is non-magnetic but all machines detect these hot rocks because they act like low conductors. Coke, it’s another one. In the same group we can put in the very small foil pieces, their in the same group of targets.
And with the Salinity Balance, we can balance out these targets and we can see through them with correct i.d. This is the difference, because this machine does not unmask the salt, it is actually “seeing through” the salt, and the hot rocks using this “see-through” technology.
For a lot of the detectors, if we are in the salt environment, or if we have fertilized ground, the depth starts to be greatly reduced. This is not true with Tarsacci, thanks to this new technology, actually this environment may help you. Your preserving the depth, and you will see even deeper than the air test, with the exactly the same settings, what I am saying, this means you set the ground balance, sensitivity, and the threshold and these are your working settings.
Aaron- So air tests means really nothing with the Tarsacci?
Dimitar- Airs tests and non-mineralized ground, their the same. A lot of customers discover this, and I’ve done this test several times on the beach. If it’s a black sand beach, you make a hole, and throw in the target. If the hole is not covered, passing the coil above the target gives you a weak signal, but once you cover the hole....it’s a different story. And there’s nothing magic, it’s just the physics, and I’m just using the mineralization and taking advantage of this mineralization to enhance the signal. Instead of messing up the signal or to make it weaker it, I am going in the opposite direction. And you can experience this first hand, and you see them with the lower sensitivity, their best let’s say a sensitivity of 6, you never can go for nickel size targets for instance, 10-11 inches.
But, with the same settings, same target that’s buried in you dirt, you can gain a inch or two extra on top of that. And this has been my philosophy, it’s easy to make a practice machine for air tests, but if this machine does not work in the ground it’s meaningless. Sure you can make a detector that can do a 20” air-test, but when you go to the ground you cannot squeeze out anymore than 5-6” out of your ground conditions.
Now...talking about this Salinity Balance feature, which nobody has had, until now. I had a call 2 weeks ago from a customer in Florida. He told me he’s working in a sulfur springs area there in Florida, and the sulfer is very dense. He has a MDT8000 and variety of other detectors. He’s telling me once he reached these areas, his detectors are useless except MDT8000, they cannot be used in this environment.
However...with Tarsacci, he’s sending me pictures with a lot of targets. Because of the Salinity Balance, and once it’s set correctly to this environment, he said it’s now as quiet as a mouse, and he can go VERY deep, with NO problems.
And, it’s the same with the red clay, it’s another aspect. With the Salinity Balance you can also reduce the effects of the red clay. And what it gives you is the “see-through” capabilities, and helps you with the target i.d.
Of course, nothing in this world is perfect. If you have very mineralized ground, a lot of black sand, the discrimination will be gone, for this model, I’m talking this model. But still, the ID capability will be reduced at a much slower pace, compared to other brands.
I don’t like to mention names or anything, because the purpose is introducing and talking about this detector, to say what makes this detector different. And it’s a hobby, and every customer when he buys a detector, doesn’t matter which brand it is, it’s important he enjoys it, that’s the main thing.
Keith - Oh yeah, for sure!
Dimatar - Everyone is asking for comparison tests, but then at the same time if you show it to someone who spends $3000. for the detector and your detector which is half the price is doing better, that does not sound good! LOL! And he thinks he has made the wrong choice!
Keith - Yep, agreed, I don’t get involved with stuff like that!
Dimitar- Yeah, LOL! No, you’ll get the people who will begin to hate you, and they’ll run away and stop talking to you, it’s not good!
Keith - Ha ha! Yeah, whatever, I don’t get into those detector battles!
Dimatar - Yes, correct!
Keith - I’m not even gonna waist my time!
Aaron - Yes, thats just futile and frustrating. Now I’m just curious, regarding earlier when you were discussing detecting in Bulgaria and all the relics that are in the ground there. What is the ground conditions like there in Bulgaria?
Dimitar- Well most of it, because we were in the Balkans, it’s pretty much like a red clay. If you go to the valleys where people are farming and the ground is heavily fertilized, and when you have rainy days and the ground is moist, it’s a BIG problem. When you moisturize these minerals they become conductive, and start acting like targets. This is where the Salinity Balance can come into place and it helps you to overcome this problem.
In part #2 we will be discussing: Dimatar as the User & Engineer, Multi Domain Technology, Why so Different? And much more....