SubSurface Instruments ML-3LY Magnetic Locator Review

  • Posted on: 2 March 2015
  • By: Sam

Howdy, today I will be discussing the SubSurface Instruments ML-3LY Magnetic Locator. This meter is the “Long” version of the ML-3 and measures in at around 55” in length.

The locator is encased in aircraft grade aluminum and can be tested in water depths up to 220 feet. This depth is not something you will probably come up against very often but there is always someone out there who will find this useful.

The unit weighs around 2.8lbs, is powered by 3 standard 9V batteries, and has an approximate battery life of 60 hours. The SubSurface ML-3LY locator is also proudly made in the USA in Wisconsin and is backed by a 7 year warranty.

The unit is very simple to operate and is almost foolproof.  There are four buttons on the locator (On/Off, Zero, Gain Up, Gain Down). To operate, simply turn on the unit and find a spot with minimal interference. You will then push the Zero button to reset the sensor.

There are a total of 8 Gain settings on this locator and you will most likely want to start each location session around the middle of 3-4. If you are getting a strong signal you can always lower the gain as appropriate. When you are ready to locate you will want to walk at a consistent pace and swing an arc in front as you walk forward. As the signal strength gets close to an object the sound will increase.

Again, as the sound increases you will want to lower the gain so you can continue to narrow in on the source. Once you have a general idea of the source of your object you can hold the locator vertically and make an “X” pattern to find the center to the closest of your ability.

What exactly are you getting with your purchase? Each SubSurface ML-3LY  magnetic locator ocomes in a soft carrying case that houses the unit, batteries, and the manual. There is an option for an Aluminum Case if that is something you need.

The ML-3LY has many uses and is a very popular choice for finding Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) and Unexploded Ordnances (UXO’s). Buried Ferrous Metal Objects can be found up to depths of 8ft depending on their size. For instance, something like a hand gun can be detected between one – two feet, whereas a 55 gallon drum could be found anywhere from six to ten feet. For more information on the SubSurface ML-3LY, including sales pricing, please follow this link.

Have you ever used one of these locators and if so, what are your experiences?

Cheers and Happy Testing,


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