Do Metal Detectors Detect Marbles?

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Cory Haasnoot

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Metal detectors are a fascinating invention of modern times. Using an electromagnetic field, this device can detect all sorts of different items that may be hidden from sight. But what about non-metal items? A lot of collectors like to accumulate all sorts of different marbles to add to their collection.

Since marbles are made of glass and not metal, a metal detector will not detect marbles. This is due to metal detectors not being able to pick up the material that marbles are made of.

The glass makeup of a marble doesn’t require any sort of metal to manufacture it. So, collecting marbles will have to be done the old-fashioned way, finding them at stores that sell various collectibles. The good news is, if you’re big on using your metal detector to find whatever goodies are out there beneath the surface, there is still plenty to find.

Items a Metal Detector Will Detect

You never know what you’re going to find if you’re out with your metal detector, searching areas people frequent to see if anything valuable has been dropped. Plenty of metal detector fans have found all sorts of amazing items that people have lost. And when it comes to detecting metal, a detector essentially separates metal into two groups that determine whether the metal can be detected or not.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are categorized by any metal that has magnetism. So, metals such as:

  • Iron
  • Nickel
  • Cobalt

These can be detected by metal detectors. The main ferrous metal that most people out there detectors are looking for is gold, and rightly so. Gold will never lose its value, and there are plenty of people out there who mistakenly lose gold jewelry. 

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Items a Metal Detector Can’t Find

Non-Ferrous Metals

Copper, aluminum, brass, and lead are all examples of non-ferrous metals. A metal detector will have a difficult time registering these metals if they’re in the vicinity due to the fact that they have low magnetism. Stainless steel fits into this category as well due to low magnetism. So, as mentioned, there are some metals out there that a metal detector will s have a difficult time locating.

Non-Metal Items

Without a magnetized metal that the electromagnetic field can detect, an item just simply isn’t able to be found by your metal detector. There may be some conflicting information that exists about non-metal items, but we can put that to bed here. No items manufactured without metal can be sensed by your metal detector. Ferrous metals are always going to end up as the most detectable items.

If you’re in a location that has a lot of ferrous metals around, your metal detector should have no problem pinpointing where the items are. There are plenty of great things to find, especially if you’re searching at the beach. Once an item sinks below the sand, it’s owner may not even notice before it’s too late. It’s easy to accidentally let an item get lost at the beach, so you’ll typically see a few other metal detector users milling about to find anything good.

Digging Deeper: What Metals Do Metal Detectors Have Trouble Detecting?

How does a Metal Detector Work?

Metal detectors have what’s called a search coil. What this part of the machine does is send out the electromagnetic signal that will inevitably detect ferrous metals as long as they are within the field that has been created by the metal detector. When an item is made with magnetic metal, it becomes energized by the electromagnetic field. It then sends a signal back to the metal detector to let you know that it’s down there, sending you a signal.

Each piece of the metal detector plays an important role in an all-encompassing tool to help you find all those cool items you’ve been searching for:

The Control Box

This is where all of your electronic components for the metal detector will reside. The control box generates the ability to send out the signal from the detector while also creating an environment where the reciprocating signal can also be sensed. 

The control box will then react to the frequency being sent back to the metal detector and will typically have a gauge. Whether it’s analog or digital, your frequency gauge lets you know when you’ve potentially found something.

Search Coil

Your search coil is the component that sends out the signal once the control box provides the electrical charge. The electromagnetic signal is sent through the coil and is then returned when a piece of ferrous metal has been detected. So, the return signal heads back to the coil, which is then sent to the control box to let you know it’s picked up on an electromagnetic signal coming from a piece of metal.

Digging Deeper: How Search Coils Work

Target/Unwanted Target Response

Not every piece of metal your detector finds is going to be a wanted target. There are plenty of scraps made of metal out there that will be exciting when the response happens but can be a little disheartening when you discover it’s not the type of item you were looking for. As the technology for metal detectors has evolved, so has the ability to set your detector for certain frequencies that will detect a more specific type of metal. Play with the settings and see if you can set your device to find exactly the type of targets you want to uncover.

It’s important to note that, even though your device is going to send you signals back from pieces of metal, there will still be times you’ll find other items in the vicinity. Seeing as our article is really about marbles, the chances of finding items like these while using a metal detector still exist. Especially in certain areas where there are a lot of people frequenting the environment. Keep those eyes peeled!

There are also “detection depth factors†that play a role in the ease or difficulty in finding underground metal. For instance, how deep the piece is into the ground is going to determine how easy or difficult it is for the machine to find the item. 

Orientation is also going to play a role as well. The best way to describe this is that a coin lying flat deep beneath the earth will be easier to detect than one that is shallower yet vertical. The greater a detectable surface area, the easier it is for your device to send you a signal that it’s there.

Digging Deeper: How Metal Detectors Work – A Comprehensive Guide

Metal Detecting Concepts

One last key to note are the concepts that best allow us to find metal with our detectors. The first is the frequency at which your metal detector is set. There are variables that come into play to find the right frequency. It will depend on the type of metal you’re trying to find, along with the makeup of the earth you’re searching through. Various elements present in the ground can affect your frequency.

And that brings us to ground balance, which will be important to investigate when setting your frequency. When you think about it, there are so many different areas of the world where metal is present in the soil, earth, sand, or otherwise. 

Depending on whether there is metal present in the ground will determine the potential to receive false positives. So, do a little digging (no pun intended) to find out if metal is present in the earth that could cause your metal detector to target.

Conclusion – Do Metal Detectors Detect Marbles

And there you have it! Whatever you set out to find with your metal detector, it will indeed have to be metal. And specific types will be easier to find than others. Whatever you set out to find, enjoy yourself, and discover something new! 

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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