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Using Minelab E-Trac with Pro-Swing Harness – A $4.00 Hack for More Comfort

2016-06-30 11_30_02-Scott Clark (@metaldetecting) • Instagram photos and videos

Comparing stock E-trac coil to NEL Big Coil

I’ve been using the excellent new NEL Big coil (it’s 15 x 17 inches, y’all!) in some of my civil war camp searches over the past few weeks in a successful attempt to sniff out fragments of friction primers (many are pictured on my Instagram feed.) But the reality is that the NEL coil is heavy (2.3 lbs) and it’s far easier to hunt with it using a harness.  I choose the Minelab ProSwing 45 Harness for this purpose as it is by far my favorite.  With the harness “tuned in” the NEL coil becomes manageable.

The ProSwing is really designed for the GPX machines, and doesn’t work very well with E-trac out of the box.  But the harness is so good, it’s worth a bit of effort to engineer things a bit.  So I brainstormed the problem and came up with this:

Defining the ideal Scenario 

The main problem is that you must connect to the E-trac in such a way that:

  • You can use very large coils for maximum depth, coverage or sensitivity.
  • The harness supports around 3/4 of the weight (around 3/4 of the weight is ideal.)
  • You allow enough distance between torso and detector to swing naturally (as if harness was not attached.)
  • The detector doesn’t “twist” in your hand by hanging from the side (this will destroy your wrist.)
  • The machine is easy to pop off when you’re recovering a target.
  • You don’t get pain in your wrist, shoulders or neck from extra reach, etc.
  • You can adjust the hang distance based on going up or downhill with minimal effort.

First… grab a couple of bags of zip ties.  One should be the large, heavy duty (150lb) type.  The other should be the smaller (70lb) type most of us have around the house.

  1. Lowes has the 150 lb, long black heavy duty ties for around $4.00 a bag.  Grab a bag of these long things…they are the perfect length.  If you don’t have any small ties, spend $3 more and get a bag.  These are endlessly handy.
  2. Wrap the large tie around the shaft so that it hangs right behind the control box.  Only tighten the tie so that it grabs 5-7 teeth to avoid it coming off.
  3. Loosely attach the second tie at 90 degrees (don’t tighten it) so that it will “squeeze” the large tie in a manner that it grabs the shaft and remains upright.
  4. Take note of where the small ties bottom falls on the large tie.  That is where you’re going to make a small, 60-degree cut (wire cutters) that will serve as an anchor to avoid the smaller tie sliding up during use.  You want this under tension, so favor the side closer to the shaft.
  5. With the notch cut, slide the small tie down (this should be making the large tie’s grip on the shaft nice and tight) until it passes the cut, which then locks the small tie in place.
  6. Now the assembly will keep the erect, large tie above the center of gravity and easy to clip your carabiner to it during use with the Pro-Swing.


You can optionally attach a ring (using the same cut/anchor method) on the opposite end if you’d rather clip to it.

After a few adjustments, I was swinging normally and had a rhythm down for clipping and unclipping.

Good luck and happy hunting (and hanging.)