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Radar/Lidar detectors

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  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    upstatedoc - Again, you truly do think too highly of me, I'm nowhere near as experienced nor knowledgeable as you think I am. :blush: I'm just an average hobbyist in this area, that's all. :)

    I did order a 9500i, Red, this afternoon. I requested one with the revised (x50-esque) audio ramp-up. Hopefully, I'll get what I asked for.... To Escort's credit, though, their phone operator was very cordial, and was product-knowledgeable.

    I am very eager to give this unit a try, however, I'm also somewhat apprehensive.

    The Rev5 x50 is regarded very, very highly among countermeasures enthusiasts, and as such, the 9500i will have big shoes to fill. Also, I was just informed today by a fellow BL/BP-chassis Subaru Legacy enthusiast - someone with whom I've only had "e-contact" with but whom I'd consider a true friend - that his 9500i, using the same hardwire setup as his x50, has come up with the often-reported "false Laser-alert on WOT" issue (his Rev5 x50, of the same vintage as mine, never saw this trouble). Although he kindly advised me to wait-out his trouble/fix report, I decided to take the plunge, nonetheless.

    It needs to be said that our Subarus - as with many modern-generation FI Subarus - are considered electrically "noisy" vehicles. Although there are those of us who've never experienced such issues, those who have are not, per se, necessarily a minority. Of that unfortunate group, many have been able to "cure" their woes by splicing in some form of in-line electrical filter (i.e. ferrite choke). However, it is speculated by at least one true guru in this area that RF-interference produced by the VEHICLE itself could also be the root-cause of these issues (and may be the true cause in those specific vehicles for which such in-line filters have not worked), and that in these cases, either shutting off the laser detection or sending the unit back to the manufacturer for "tweaking" (often, this means increased shielding around the laser circuitry, and this in-turn translates into decreased sensitivity; my friend was quoted that his laser sensitivity would be decreased by appx. 1/3 that of his current unit's).
  • lgtwrx-

    I'm begining to understand what you mean by smooth audio ramp-up. The 9500i (at least mine) definitely has a different alert system. Gone are the days when you here just one beep and search for the source then the alarm slowly gets more frantic. This unit likes to scare you right off the bat when it encounters a signal. It's going to take some getting use to.. With the 8500, that flurry of sound meant you were right on top of the signal, not so with the 9500i, Again this unit is much more sensitive than my 8500, blowing it out of the water with it's Ka performance.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Hey upstatedoc -

    Look at the bottom of your unit - there should be a serial-number, with last four digits in the format of XX07. The "XX" part corresponds to the week of the year in which your 9500i was manufactured.

    It is rumored that any unit bearing a manufacture week after week 40 (i.e. "4007" = 40th week, 2007) has, as a part of its production-line revision, the smoother, more x50-like ramp-up scheme. My unit, which I just received this past Thursday, bears a 4307 stamp, and it does ramp-up in a manner which is similar to, but still not quite the same as, my x50.

    If you'd like to pursue this issue more with Escort, I know that they will reflash your unit's firmware, at their cost, so that you will receive the smoother ramp-up progression, akin to your x50. Just call their customer-service line, and make them aware of the issue. Typical turn-around is within two weeks, I believe, with many fellow hobbyists having reported that they've received their unit back within only about one week.

    I unfortunately have not yet had time to test this unit with regard to Ka band performance. A local township uses 35.5 Ghz Ka-band - which is a frequency that gave the x50 some trouble on - but I have not been able to cruise around to test-out the 9500i.... On K band, I'm pretty happy with the 9500i's performance, even when set to "Auto" mode (which greatly enhances the comfort of my daily commute - more on this in just a minute), it seems to pick up K-band threats as fast as/with similar range as my Rev5 x50.

    What I've really been able to enjoy the past few days is the quietness of the 9500i. Even with no GPS TrueLock lockouts set on the first day of my commute, I was able to get to work, and then home again, without *any* false alerts. Apparently, during regular-traffic hours, my road-speed is decreased sufficiently that the falses I do encounter are all successfully filtered via the "Auto"Sensitivity mode's road-speed based real-time sensitivity adjustments. Currently, I have 4 X-band signals locked-out (while the OH State Patrol does occasionally use X-band, my local enforcers are exclusively K, Ka, and LASER shooters), which covers the X-band falses on my normal commute, which I can still elicit when I travel those routes during off-traffic hours, which sees increased road-speed (even though I'm still within the PSL).

    A good friend of mine, and a fellow BL/BP-chassis turbocharged Subaru Legacy driver unfortunately reported that he is seeing a laser-alert false at WOT. This is a not-uncommon issue with the top-flight Escort products, and was first noted with their 7000-series detectors, but has seemed to continue to present itself through both the x50 as well as the 9500i. My friend also comes from, as I did, an early-make Rev5 x50, which, on his vehicle (on the same exact electrical wiring setup), did *NOT* false laser alert at WOT.

    It's rumored that the 9500i is much more laser sensitive than the x50 (and in-particular, the S7 chassis, early-make, Rev5 x50s) - as a remedial measure, Escort has told my friend that they'll "tune" his 9500i so as to hopefully prevent this falsing from taking place, but it will come at the expense of an appx. 30% decrease in laser sensitivity. We currently do not know exactly where this will place his 9500i, in terms of laser sensitivity, when compared with our old Rev5 x50s.

    To-date, luckily, I have not yet seen this concern replicated on my own vehicle and with my 9500i/ZR3-integrated setup.

    However, in addition to my friend, there are also more than a handful of others (who either are fellow BL/BP, turbocharged, Legacy drivers or owners of other vehicles) who are suffering from this persistent issue with their Escort detectors (x50, 9500i). To me, this is a big disappointment.

    For someone like me, where the detector itself is no longer the first line of LASER defense, it really is more of an academic as well as strategic concern (i.e. that one receiver "up high" could help catch the "lucky scatter"). But for those who are relying on the detector as first-line laser defense, this falsing issue could be a serious concern.

    One of the things that really gets to me about a detector that falses too much is that as the end-user, we may become de-tuned/de-sensitized to the detector's falses - in essence "lose confidence" in the detector and trying to second-guess it. The "spooky quietness" of the 9500i is something that many have listed as a tactical advantage, for, in this sense, *every* blip on the detector should then be taken seriously.

    Living with falses on a detector that is specifically designed to minimize such - be it for reasons of convenience/sanity or for tactical concerns - is, in my most humble view, unacceptable, and I think that it is something that Escort should work to resolve, without degrading the detector's performance.

    ---

    Note that self/end-user effected "fixes" to address this "LASER @ WOT" falsing issue does exist - typically, one uses an in-line filter, such as a Ferrite Choke - to try to suppress the tapped power line's electrical noise, which is one of the biggest (speculated) causes of this problem. Alternatively, it's also been reported that RF interference could also be an issue - but due to the truly random nature (as well as the difficulty involved in tracing it down) of this type of interference, there currently exists no real end-user effected methods of addressing this problem, short of turning off laser reception on the detector.
  • Mine is stamped 5007, so I guess it has the updated scheme. Maybe it's just the sensitivity that has it acting more hyper. In regards to laser sensitivity, this may sound funny but if i lower the unit below the level of the top of the dash, the laser alert goes off (presumably secondary to the cd player). My x50 would only do that if I put it right next to the cd input.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Agreed - the 5007 should qualify your unit into the updated/revised ramp-up units. (But if you want to know for sure, you can give Escort's C/S a call, and they should be able to provide confirmation via S/N. :) )

    If you're in "Auto" mode and are at moderate road-speeds (between, reportedly, 25 to 50 MPH), remember that the unit is actively trying to figure-out if the signals it encounters are falses, and this, in and of itself, may cause sufficient temporal delay for you to have traveled "right on top of the target/signal." :) As-such, if your local speed-limits are in the 35 MPH range, and you habitually speed to 40/45 MPH, it may be worth it to suffer the additional false-signals, but switch to full-sensitivity "Highway" mode to insure full X and K-band coverage (alternatively, if X and K are less-used in your area, you could use "City" mode).

    ---

    That's very interesting, what you're reporting about the laser alert behavior on your 9500i, as well as the x50. One can't help but wonder if this is because of RF interference from the actual player itself, or if it is from laser "peeking out" from, say, the player's physical casing (including the disc slot).

    Cool!
  • So you're laser alert doesn't go off if your unit gets too close to the cd player? That happens in all my vehicles. :confuse:
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    ^ You know, honestly, I haven't tried......

    I've nearly always been a "high mount" kind of guy, so I can't really say that I've ever tried this - or had the detector located in such a way that this may have been an issue. I'll give it a run tonight, though. :)

    What I do know, specific to the BL/BP-chassis Subaru Legacy, is that the '06+ models' navigation screen will set off the laser false.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    A reporter from a national newspaper is looking to speak to consumers who use radar detectors. Please provide your daytime contact info to ctalati@edmunds.com no later than Wednesday, January 9, 2008.

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  • Hey lgt,
    What are your first impressions of the 9500i? I'm loving the lock-out feature however have not encountered radar/police car in a locked-out area yet. The alerts sound different so that is taking time to get used to. I have also switched to auto mode in the "city" with X turned off completely. Is there any advantage/disadvantage to this? :confuse:
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Hey [b]upstatedoc[/b] -

    I'm still forming my "first impression" of the detector. I just don't feel like I've logged enough time nor distance behind-the-wheel, with this detector, to have formed a good "bond" with it, just yet. :)

    What little I can tell you, so far:

    During my commute, I'm finding that leaving the detector on "Auto" mode was allowing "automatic" silencing of just about all of the falses in my area, during my AM commute hours, due to my lowered road-speed at such times.

    During my afternoon as well as off-hours commutes/errands, however, I do reach sufficient road-speed where I'm in that "transition zone" of sensitivity in "Auto" mode, and as such, I will sometimes encounter falses. As such, I've utilized, so far, about a half-dozen marked locations. Almost all are X-band, so I don't have to worry about my local enforcers, but for the two K-band related locations, I've yet to be able to test them for responsiveness to true enforcement signals, since none have yet been present, simultaneously. I also don't know when/if I'll *ever* get a chance confirm, as, for those two spots, I truly rarely see any enforcement activity at all.....

    Aside from this, I've truly been enjoying the tremendous increase in K and Ka-band sensitivity, compared to my old x50.

    ---

    With regard to your question -

    It's stated that in "Auto" mode, X and K-band sensitivities are speed-dependent. At below 15 MPH - i.e. parking lot speeds - you should have X/K-band falsing only if you're within *very* close proximity to the emitter.

    Nevertheless, if your local area truly has no X-band enforcement, completely disabling this particular band, which is the most common cause of in-city falsing, will make your commute quite enjoyable, I'd imagine. :) Just be ABSOLUTELY sure that your locals do not utilize X-band!
  • I can see how the automode would work in the 9500i because it can tell how fast you're going (GPS), but then how does the x50's automode work? :confuse:
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    The x50's "Auto" mode is a filtering algorithm that is, unfortunately, not speed-dependent. This is where the 9500i's GPS capabilities come into play, as a lot of us Escort fans/users have, in the past, complained about the slight temporal response delay in terms of reporting of the threat signal, when utilizing "Auto" mode, exclusively, for all driving conditions.

    You can well imagine that that very slight delay/hesitation may not matter much in low-speed, city-driving scenarios, but that it would be of much more concern when at higher road-speeds, on the open highway.

    With my x50, I used, for my daily commute, the "City" setting, with "LoX" preference, and had to remember to turn the unit over to "Highway" mode when in open-field. On the 9500i, I honestly am very comfortable just leaving it on "Auto" setting, and letting the GPS real-time speed compensation work its magic.
  • According to the wife-o-meter, the 9500i is more annoying than the x50 which she prefers, apparently, because of its decreased sensitivity. I think this unit is far superior to my 3 year old x50 as far as sensitivity, maybe even straying into V1 territory.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    ^ That's a very interesting observation - and I will have to log more highway (speed) miles, I think, in order to confirm that with my wifey. :) In-city, the combination of "Auto" mode with the few X-band locked-out spots I have makes for a near-noiseless commute, so definitely, I think this is more scenario-based.

    With regard to your observation/comparison to our venerable Rev5 x50s, I'd totally agree - Ka-band sensitivity, overall, and also K-band off-axis sensitivity as well seem to be way up compared to my old Rev5 x50, which is about the same "vintage" as yours.

    I still don't know that it's a match for the V1 just yet, particularly on the open highway, but definitely, Escort did make a progressive step in the right direction between the x50 and this new flagship.
  • In all fairness to V1 owners, I didn't own my V1 long enough to be able to compare it to the new 9500i. One things for sure, if the wife doesn't like the 9500i, she sure as heck wouldn't like the V1. :P
  • Does anyone know what band of radar is used with the blind spot detection feature offered on some vehicles? We may see more of this in the future, its a $200 option on some Mazdas now.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Hi upstatedoc -

    The radar-based systems, I believe, are in the range to cause falses on K-band. The Audi Q7, for example, uses a "24 GHz" frequency for their system, and it's known to present problems.

    At the same time, similar laser-based cruise-control or predictive-safety systems found on many Lexus and Infiniti vehicles also can cause falses on both laser detectors as well as jammers.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    The February 2008 Motor Trend magazine has a long article about their 11,306 mile north-south, east-west cross-country road test of a 2008 Chevy Malibu. Here's what they said about some of the tools that they took along:

    http://tinyurl.com/3b4ltf

    That's the last of seven pages of the article on their website.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    ^ Easy answer to the "which detector" question - the Valentine 1, as they openly listed. :)

    I don't want to link to the Valentine 1 website, directly, here, as I don't know if that's against Forum policy :blush: , but you can easily obtain the V1, direct from the manufacturer, by simply Google'ing the detector name.

    In any case:

    Most true open-highway warriors will have a strong preference for the V1 due to its extreme sensitivity as well as directional-threat indication (for radar, this is unique to the V1), and, in cases where an active laser jammer is either out of financial reach or illegal (or simply beyond one's "moral/ethical" boundary), the V1's extreme laser sensitivity is a plus, too.

    For raw sensitivity and unfiltered/"full" informational presentation, the V1 is nearly impossible to beat. Although it is, nevertheless, imperfect, it is so strong in the open-highway scenario that nearly 99% of drivers - even enthusiasts - will need no supplementation when detection is the question. Yes, there are those who actually run the V1 with the Bel STi-Driver (one of the truly rare "magical" combinations that do not cross-interfere with each other) or even use the V1 in conjunction with the remote-mounted Escort SR7/SRX units (to those in detector-legal areas, this is oftentimes considered the true gold-standard, as these two devices pair near perfectly to offer "full-circle" detection, and fills the holes left by the other in a complementary manner), but those are truly few and far in between.

    The V1's only true weakness, in the open-highway scenario, is that of Spectre radar-detector-detector detectability (which will only matter for commercial vehicle operators or, alternatively, for those who live in detector-banned areas; nevertheless, even the use of the fully-cloaked Bel STi-Driver requires a certain amount of proper tactical execution and discretion).

    Honestly, if my commute entailed routine open-highway travel, I'd definitely be a V1 user.

    However, my commute is nearly 90% on local surface streets (and I'm factoring-in even my most typical highway-route errand running). And in as much as Escort's latest commercial video demonstrates (that kind of densely-packed non-LEO signal situation is very much akin to what I must run through, every day, during my commute), I truly need the 9500i's filtering capabilities. And yes, I am well-aware, as per our previous discussions, that the V1 can be programmed, in-depth (even more than to simply select between the various main operating modes), to greatly cut-down on such "annoyance" factors - but as you can read via the discussions here: http://www.radardetector.net/viewtopic.php?t=32993 , such extremes in terms of programming can cause dangerous oversights, as the original poster of that thread very well acknowledged (his goal, as a fellow enthusiast, was not to debate the "V1 versus 9500i" issue, but rather to show how easily one can manipulate such videos to further their own commercial propaganda).

    There is no perfect detector - everything is a compromise. It's up to the end-user to determine what compromise best-fits their particular threat scenario. :)

    ---

    Current rumors have it that the new remote-mounted units from Escort (introduced at this year's CES) may rival or even exceed the current-generation V1 in terms of raw sensitivity, but this remains both to be seen as well as need to be categorized differently, as such remote units offer not only not-insignificant advantages in being able to optimize on-vehicle positioning (particularly if "off-the-books" mounting/setup is taken into account), but are also, literally, many times more expensive than even these top-flight self-contained models.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Addition to above -

    I just finished reading the entire article - most entertaining! I must say that Mr Markus, et. al., certainly have a higher opinion of my fellow commuters here in Cleveland than either myself or most of my fellow driving-enthusiast friends. :P I wish I saw more of that kind of vehicular/driving courtesy. :)

    One point I did want to address with regard to the little blurb about the V1.

    Mr. Markus mentioned that it is able to discern the frequency of the threat. This is, while true, not completely so - yes, the basic X, K, and Ka-band differentiation, based on frequency, can be made, but the more advanced differentiation between actual, physical, frequncy of the signal is something that is currently the sole ground of the high-end Bel/Escort products, with "SpecDisplay."
  • I don't know if anyone has caught that new show on tru tv (formerly court tv) called speeders, but it's pretty interesting to see how the officers operate and who they pull over. In the vast majority of cases, the officer is using laser and none of the offenders are using countermeasures (from what I can see). It's also interesting to see how some people interact w/ the officers. I imagine acting "annoyed" that you got pulled over isn't going to help your case at all.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,217
    In my (very recent) experience.. If an officer is standing outside his car aiming a laser, and takes the time to get back in his car, and chase you down.... It really doesn't matter how you act... you are getting a ticket..

    That isn't to say that you shouldn't be respectful and pleasant.. just that the laser operation is a whole different thing than radar.. There is no chance that the officer was sitting there eating a donut, and you happened to trip his radar detector..or, he was on his way home and you popped up.. He was making a conscious act to aim that laser detector at you, and then come after you..

    Unless you have the mother of all excuses, you are getting ticketed..

    On the plus side, I could call in and pay it with my credit card... :(

    MODERATOR
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  • Of course, what's easier than calling in your credit card number and being done with it. I guess going on-line might be a better solution for those who don't like to talk to people. Why waste your time going to court? ;)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,217
    Uh, yeah... To go to court, I'd need a defense.. ;)

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • I just keep "discovering" new features of the 9500i on a regular basis. You can set it to display your speed continually. Very handy in my GTI as the speedo is difficult to make out sometimes. It should have a huge speedo dead center! Not useful for measuring 0-60 times though, it takes a couple of seconds to "catch up" under hard acceleration. But it matches the speedo exactly during cruising.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    I've seen an episode or two here and there, but just haven't been interested enough to keep-watch.

    It really puts me off how many of those depicted interact with the officers. :( I have quite a number of friends in law-enforcement - some who are Troopers and other local, but who also pull traffic duty. It makes me cringe when I see what they have to go through every day, "at the office." Makes my day seem like a walk in the park, for at least my lab animals don't talk back to me, and the students are all well-behaved. :)

    I must say, though, that every once in a while, one of those shows will get a clip or two posted to YouTube and the likes, and then get "cross-examined" by the various countermeasures enthusiasts. There are several incidences on, I believe, one of their first episodes, where the LIDAR enforcement scenario was highly suspect (i.e. could have been in-error).

    For as many people who are getting their traffic cases thrown out because of evidence from their own "dash/car-cams," I would imagine that this show would supply some good evidence, too, and may not necessarily be making the enforcers' jobs any easier.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Please note that police LIDAR, just as with RADAR, is not immune to various error - both operator as well as equipment induced.

    Yes, it can be a much more accurate speed-detection tool, but it must be used judiciously and with expertice, as well as without malice - and the instrument itself must be calibrated and maintained properly, just as with RADAR.

    Also, the officer does not need to be out of his/her vehicle in order to use LIDAR.

    It is very possible to use various portions of the vehicle's door/window-frame, armrest, dash, steering wheel, and even the data device mount (or the unit itself) in order to steady a LIDAR "gun" from inside the vehicle - even while belted and seated at the wheel, ready-to-go (preferably without the interference of the vehicle greenhouse glass, although, again, not necessarily so).

    Although highly frowned upon, there have even been instances of enforcers utilizing their exterior - or even interior - rear-view mirrors to "bank shot" LIDAR.

    -----

    On a side-note:

    As with what I wrote to upstatedoc above, I agree, there's no reason to be anything short of fully cooperative and completely courteous when pulled-over, even if you sincerely believe that the officer has made a mistake. Everyone's just human, and this person is just doing his/her job.

    The one time where I was pulled-over for "speeding-stupid," I crested a hill without slowing - my detector didn't go off (and no detector would have), since it was Instant-On radar, until I was actually well-past the enforcer's patrol vehicle. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't shave-off speed fast enough. :blush:

    I had signaled and safely pulled-over to the shoulder even before he even got his cruiser off the roadside runoff area.

    We were both polite and courteous to each other, and he simply gave me my ticket and sent me on my way.

    I knew I was at-fault, so I wasn't about to lie. :) Gotta pay to play. :blush: And that's what I get for, as I like to call it, "speeding stupid." :lemon:
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    It's certainly a "gadget filled" detector, and I can see why the Valentine group counterattacks, in its own marketing, the way that it does.

    Certainly, to "purists," these gadgets/side-functions can be deemed to be un-necessary.

    For me, the simple ability to turn my daily errands and commute into a noiseless one, without my need to take any action, is a blessing to those of us who have more demanding passengers. :) For me, the lock-out feature, as well as speed-sensitive sensitivity compensation, is all that I really need.
  • I couldn't find anything in the manual about the 9500i's "memory" It obviously can remember false alarms but can it remember legitimate signals? (i.e. for use later in court let's say) :confuse:
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Not that I know of, yet.

    Who knows what stuff the Escort guys might come up with, when they finally release the USB-capabilities of this unit.......
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