First impressions Radio Shack 3300

Got my 3300 yesterday and just took it out of the box and read the manual. I promised to compare it with my ACE 250 so.....First impression is that it is harder to operate than my ACE. The Ace you just turn on and go. 3300 requires some tuning and especially ground balancing before you go. I like the multi-tones of the 3300. Neither detector has volume control on the sound. Radio Shack light weight stereo headset with a volume control is almost mandatory. Overall fit and finish is inferior to the ACE 250. Battery box on the 3300 needs to be shimmed to keep the batteries held tight against the contacts as per the manual. (I used a piece of clear plastic I cut out of a battery pack). Shaft is slightly wobbly and I don't like the idea of sticking duct tape on it! I do like the light weight, that is just slightly less than the ACE. Would like to know what accessoris ( coil cover, other coils, etc) are available for the 3300. It may state in the manual but I don't recall reading it, perhaps I just missed it? Looks like the 3300 has to be manually ground balanced every time you take it out. I like the manual ground balance feature but would prefer that it be automatic unless you opt to reset it. Out of the box without using it that is about all I am able to report at this time. I am taking it out for a trial run this AM and will report back on the results good or bad. MB


Active Member
I appreciate you doing this. I have a BH Tracker IV and am thinking of purchasing an ACE 250 so this info is very helpful. JoAnne
Ground Balancing

I have only been using my 3300 for a few months like a lot of people who got them at RS and a lot of us have been fussing with ground balance. Most of users I am in contact turn the knob to preset and turn on the unit because we are not 100% sure how to ground balance it. In pinpoint mode it will auto balance everytime I hit the button and the tone just depends on how far I have the coil from the ground when I hit the button. I know when I get 199s targets that I am way off but there are some places I get a lot of iron 1 depth 10 is that when I need to ground balance it?
Rs 3300

I have had a chance to compare the 3300 and the ACE250. No contest , the ACE wins hands down. But I will say the 3300 is a very good entry level detector. I have 5 detectors and I still can't get the 3300 to ground balance like the manual says. I just put it in the preset mode and go and so far no trouble. It should be ground balanced every time you take it out, but it's a mystery as to how to do it! The AACE has a factory preset Ground Balance and what you see is what you get. It soes not do well around salt water and ovean beaches because of that fact. As far as the search ability the ACE has all the latest circutry and will discriminate much better and pinpointing is never a problem at least for me. It does use an all metal mode to pinpoint, one that does not require movement. Just this evening I was trying to find some coins in my coin garden and could not find them with the 3300, or at least it was hard to find them, while I chased it with the ACE and went right to them. I already have a couple of coils one a 13" and the other a 4 1/2 inch that I use on another BH detector. They seem to work ok on the 3300. But I also have several coils for my ACE that will do the same thing but just a little better. Neither does well under overhead electric utility lines giving off false readings. The 3300 is a lot of fun to operate and I wouldn't mind loaning it or using it to help a child learn to detect. As a backup it would be fine. Monty


Active Member
Thank you very much for this information. I would be interested in any update as you continue to get to know these detectors. So fra looks like the Ace 250 is the one for me. JoAnne
monty in referring to your ace you said you have several coils for it may i ask what kinds do you have and how is your liking to them.

I have the 10" and the 4 1/2". I seldom use the big coil but use the small coil quite a bit. It helps seperate out the trash from coins in really junkie areas. It also quietens things down around fences and metal bleachers, etc. I also have all 3 coils for the 3300, and they work ok, the large coil being a little harder to pinpoint. MontyB`
I have the 10" and the 4 1/2". I seldom use the big coil but use the small coil quite a bit. It helps seperate out the trash from coins in really junkie areas. It also quietens things down around fences and metal bleachers, etc. I also have all 3 coils for the 3300, and they work ok, the large coil being a little harder to pinpoint. MontyB`

Were did you find your coils? Cause I wanted to buy a few some day. So far the big one seems to work though.
Rs 3300

I just replaced my second set of batteries. They were new Rayovac alkalines and only lasted six hours before they were down to one bar. The 3300 seems to eat up batteries really quick for some reason? A set of 4 AAs will go about twice that long in my ACE 250 for a commparison. I was using head phones too so I expected them to last longer.
Speaking of headphones, I went to Radio Shack and tried out a set of wireless headphones since the ones I have now have a cord that always seems to be in the way. I couldn't get enough volume out of the set they had on hand, but I didn't charge them for 12 hours as recommended on the box. That may have made the difference, but I am not willing to bet $59.00 it will make a difference....especially on a hundred dollar detector. Monty
I think you might have a defective 3300. Maybe a short in the circuitry. I have been useing Ray O Vac alkalines in my BH 3300 since I got it. I have gone through six sets of batteries and got between 15 and 20 hours of use out of each set. If I were you I would take it back to Radio Shack and have them replace it.
One other thing I noticed is that when it gets down to one bar on the battery indicator it still operates normally for about two more hours.
HH, Merf


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I think you have the exception Merf. Everyone else I know that has or has used a 3300 with myself included on three of them ; you're lucky if you get 6 to 7 hours use . :mad:
Bh 3300

I have had my 3300 for about 1/2 year or so, and have not had to much trouble from it. setting for the ground noise wasn't to hard to do, from what i can figure, and once set i just go for it.....

Also radio shack has an exellent pair of headphone's for the 3300 or any other, they are about $20.00 bucks and they have a volume control on each side of the headphone....they work great!!! and they will prolong the battery life also.:bthumb:
The main thing I don't like about the 3300 is,I have to reduce sensitivity all the way down to use it in the wet sand and it still gives off false signals (erratic beeping) as you sweep,usually at the end of a sweep,before changing direction. At first I thought it was the batteries.It wasn't.Dry sand it works okay for the most part.
Hi Pete.Yes I am.It won't manually ground balance there either.I just learned to distinguish between the good tones and the false tones.It does okay in the wet sand if I reduce the sensitivity all the way down,just can't wade in the water with it hardly,it really acts up there. Any advice?

I'm not Pete but I started this thread, so....I have never used mine near salt water, but I am not satisfied that I have ever got this thing to ground balance. No matter how many times I have read the manual, I can never seem to get it to behave as described in the manual. So, I just set it to the default position and get on with it. Seems to work ok most of the time. MontyB