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How A Metal Detector Works

The operation of metal detectors is based upon the principles of electromagnetic induction. Metal detectors contain one or more inductor coils that are used to interact with metallic elements on the ground. The single-coil detector illustrated below is a simplified version of one used in a real metal detector.

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A pulsing current is applied to the coil, which then induces a magnetic field shown in blue. When the magnetic field of the coil moves across metal, such as the coin in this illustration, the field induces electric currents (called eddy currents) in the coin. The eddy currents induce their own magnetic field, shown in red, which generates an opposite current in the coil, which induces a signal indicating the presence of metal.

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