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Radar/Lidar detectors

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  • I think i may be getting false laser signals on my new 9500i. It appears to go off for no reason. I have the unit mounted low,center windshield (my usual spot) My x50 never did this. In fact, I think the x50's laser alert was triggered twice by police laser and a bunch of times by my cd player but there was always a definite source. My 9500i has laser alerted me probably half a dozen times in the last couple of weeks w/ no obvious source. There weren't even any vehicles near enough to me to cause interference from a "cruise control" or "lane change" beam. Anyone else w/ this problem?
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Although the problem isn't exactly common, it's not uncommon, either.

    Currently, speculation for the cause of this problem runs anywhere from RF interference (unfortunately, no real solution on this one) to electrical noise (where a snap-on ferrite choke should help cut down on the problem) to "other" causes (various IR sources, or even the "flickering" of modern vehicle's nav/entertainment system displays).

    http://www.radardetector.net/viewtopic.php?t=26821&highlight=laser+false

    With the 9500i, an e-friend of mine (whom I met through the Legacy enthusiast's Forums) was also having this problem - even the ferrite choke would not solve the issue.

    He eventually elected to send the unit back to Escort to have this issue addressed - the technician reported that the solution was to "de-tune" (further shield) the unit's laser receiver - and would likely reduce the unit's laser sensitivity by upwards of 30%. :cry:
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    LT, this may be a question for you.

    Are the radar units that the police have able to switch back and forth from say, K to Ka band? The vast majority of law inforcement in my area (town,city,county,state) use Ka band but every once in a while I'll get "K'd" by the county sheriff. Maybe they're using an older unit?
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Hey there...

    Unfortunately, this is beyond my shallow knowledge pool - my instinct, however, is to say no, that there are no "switchable band" devices.

    Certainly, though, different departments will have different equipment, and this can even be *within* the department itself.

    Local to me, for example, there are adjacent townships using K and Ka band, respectively, as well as one township which operates both K *and* Ka band.
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    I think my laser falses coincide with bursts of bright sunlight. Yesterday as I was driving around a long curve that was shaded, my laser alert went off as I hit a patch of bright sunlight. No other reason for it to go off. I wonder if I should send it back to Escort for a tune up?
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    ^ That's certainly possible.

    My ZR3's rear sensor is very sensitive to such falsing (particularly when sunlight is being "strobed" - i.e. driving on tree-lined secondary streets).

    Although I have not yet had any sunlight-induced issues with my 9500i, I have heard of this happening.

    [ Aside: this also happens on some other active laser-jammers, in addition to the Escort ZR3 mentioned above. ]

    Would I send the unit back to Escort?

    I honestly don't know - supposedly (coming from a good friend of mine, who sent his unit back to Escort for persistent laser falsing), their "fix" will decrease the laser sensitivity of this unit by up to 1/3.

    Where this will place you, in terms of the absolute laser sensitivity of this unit (i.e. will it be as "bad" as a Rev.5 x50?), is still currently an unknown.

    The good thing, though, is that you're almost guaranteed a fix.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Just wanted to be sure that you got notice to the reply. :)
  • upstatedocupstatedoc Posts: 710
    Hey thanks for the reply LT,

    So it seems I can either live with laser falses (which scare the crap out of me) or opt for decreased sensitivity. Now the other conundrum is that I must have been living w/ decreased sensitivity with my x50 all along.....or is the x50's adequate? Where is my philosophy professor when I need him?
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    LOL - Philosophy professor, indeed!

    I think that when we bring up the comparison to our older x50s, we're not really going to be missing much, even if we got our 9500i's "fixed," if you will.

    But does this mean that you are indeed compromising a lot of your protection?

    It's hard to say, but I'm inclined to answer yes.

    Still, having to live with persistent falses is a definite and BIG problem - it erodes the end-user's confidence in the detector, and causes desensitization, which can be a deadly problem even for advanced detector users.

    There's a case on RD.net where a fellow detector enthusiast came forward and offered-up his tale of having disregarded his V1's warning, only to end with a ticket....

    Particularly for a detector like the 9500i, where "the only alerts are the real ones," this is a big problem, IMveryHO.
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 116
    I have had two Escort X50 detectors. Both have started, constantly, displaying laser alerts. Laser is not particularly used around Columbia, SC. Both started after 1 to 20 years of use. The one I am using in my Towncar goes off every time I excelerate. Is this a normal problem? I am considering either sending them back for refurbish or just getting new ones. Which would be better? The 9500i is out of my price range at this time, but could be a near future option.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Hi [b]izaclown1[/b] -

    You mean 1 to 2 years, right. :) 20-years would almost bring us to where all this stuff started! :)

    No, the problem is definitely not "normal," even as the detectors "age." Although some will fall out-of-tune and suffer from various other "typical" small electrical problems due to their harsh use environment, it's still definitely NOT something that should be happening. Something is certainly wrong.

    My 3+ year-old x50 still functions as well as the day I bought it, and there are many in the speed-detection countermeasures community who own detectors that are far older, again, with no such problems.

    Something's definitely not Kosher.

    You can do a little trouble-shooting, yourself --->

    First, perform a "hard reset" of the unit. With the unit switched off via the rotary dial, press down on all three of the buttons on the detector's body, and while you're doing so, use the dial to power-up the unit. ( Note that after you perform such a "reset," you will need to go back through the unit's "Preferences" to re-tailor the unit to your end-user enabled settings, as this reset will take the unit back to factory-default settings. ) See if this doesn't take care of the problem, outright.

    If that doesn't put a halt to such problems, let's try troubleshooting the detector-car axis.

    First, will your detector false in the same manner in another vehicle? If not, then it's obvious that it's something to do with your car - have you changed vehicles recently? did you recently add new accessories (i.e. aftermarket nav/GPS screen or entertainment system/components)?

    Also, if the detector is not falsing in other vehicles, you should try enabling the voltmeter function on the x50. See if, for some reason, the detector is pulling either insufficient or too much voltage. With the x50, anything less than about 10V of input or more than 14V could elicit such falsing issues (typically more common on the over-volt scenario [actually, laser-falsing with over-volt is a known problem with the x50], with unpredictable shut-downs more likely on the < 10V input scenario). Since the voltmeter function can be enabled while the detector is actively in-use, you should be able to keep an eye on things as you drive. See if provoking the accelerator will cause such voltage spikes.

    Remember, though, that this isn't necessarily your vehicle's output voltage - this is what the detector "sees" on its line. If your 12V accessory socket is dirty, or if the wiring leading to it is faulty, then the detector may see less than vehicle voltage - don't immediately jump to the conclusion that your charging system is at-fault, but instead, work the problem backwards, from the detector. :) If under-voltage is an issue, try taking remedial steps with the socket and/or wiring leading to it, first, or bypass the entire issue by hardwiring (which itself should be undertaken, then, only after you make sure that the vehicle's charging system is good-to-go, as it would be illogical to pursue such a bypass if a dirty socket or faulty wiring leading to it are not your sole problems).

    And even before you pursue the socket/wiring issue, you should, as logic dictates from "working backwards from the detector," check to see if your SmartCord could be at-fault. Since you have two detectors, you can try interchanging their SmartCords to see if it somehow solves the issue. And also along this line of logic, if your detector continues to false after you've transferred them to another test vehicle, you should also see if the issue can't be traced to the SmartCord(s). If you have a friend who has a non-faulty x50 (or any Bel/Escort detector that utilizes the RJ11 fitting power cords), you can try a cross-change, to see if you can isolate the issue.

    Failing these, it would likely be best for you to send the detector(s) in to Escort for a fix.

    Also, there are some cars that are just "electrically noisy."

    Late-model Subarus, for example, are notorious for this - the Escort detectors often false when in these vehicles, and our sub-community have pursued such concerns to great depth:

    http://www.radardetector.net/viewtopic.php?t=26821&highlight=armscrafter1

    Hopefully, you'll be able to read that without having to sign-up. I stopped "lurking" on the RD.net hobbyist community about a year ago, and until then, no registration was necessary to simply read/lurk.

    As you can see, there are various means you can undertake to try to solve this problem.

    But honestly, start with the easy stuff, first. :) Best of luck!
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 116
    Yes, 2 not 20. (Fat fingers strike again) I will try the hard reset and see what happens. I have used it in other vehicles and the results were the same, maybe the false alert may have been less, but was still there. Thanks for the advise and tips. I will report back as to what happens.
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 116
    The hard reset seemed to fix it. I had forgotten you could do that. Thank you very much.
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Glad that it worked out for ya!

    Keep an eye on it - sometimes, the hard reset only "cures" things temporarily - alternatively, some detectors (totally random, production-line variances) just seem to require periodic resets in order to perform their best.

    If it can't get out of "SELF CAL" mode (i.e. it gets stuck there) or displays the "SERV REQ" messages, send it in.

    Honestly, my x50 is now more than 4 years old, and still works just as well as the day I bought it - and this is even considering the fact that it's been a 24/7 "live-in-car" detector, always exposed to the elements. I definitely got lucky.

    Hope this does the trick for ya!

    And hey, don't worry about your fingers! Mine are not exactly slender and delicate, either! :D
  • I just bought a Beltronics STI Driver. I'd rather not attract attention to myself and I pass through Virginia every so often. I have it mounted low on the windshield but it's all the way over on the driver's side so that it's a little more concealed. Does anyone have an idea of how this affects the performance of the detector? Thanks.
  • If you ask any seasoned RD user, they will tell you hardwired high for radar detection. Not so great for laser detection but if laser is a real threat in your area you probably should have laser jammers. Mounting up high also gives you a bit more "stealthiness".
    The STI is an excellent RD, immune to all of the radar detector detectors, good choice if you travel through areas where RD's are illegal. Let me know if you have any more questions, if I can't answer them the guys over on radardetector.net can!
  • lgtwrxlgtwrx Posts: 34
    Like [b]upstatedoc[/b] said, mounting high will give you, overall, better RADAR performance.

    With the current crop of Bel detectors, LIDAR reception is not its strong-point, and while mounting low should help optimize "sure hit" reporting, the value of such an alert is already debatable (particularly with any noticeable corrective/remedial driving input on your part likely to be very noticeable to the enforcer, looking through the scope of his LIDAR device)....best-odds, thus, would still likely have you mounting the detector either high, or, better yet, mid-windshield (however, this is unacceptable in VA, as it would put the detector too-easy into the enforcer's line-of-sight, from outside-vehicle observations).

    Low-mounting may allow you to bury the detector out-of-sight of the enforcer, when he/she is in-vehicle, to your periphery, but you need to make sure that the detector clears both your hoodline as well as any intrusions, such as a hood-scoop or the windshield wipers.

    Even then, the detector is likely to rest in plain sight, on the dash, to any enforcer who might be walking up to your vehicle.....

    Typically, a "high and tight" setup, against the headliner and the tint band (if you have one on your vehicle) will not only keep the detector out of the visual range of an enforcer sitting on your six (i.e. right up against your rear bumper, executing a stop), but also will put it out of their view as they approach the vehicle for your interview. There are several different methods to help accomplish such mounting (and hardwiring, which will fully conceal the wiring run), and thread such as this are a start:

    http://www.speedtraphunter.net/speeding-tickets-traffic-citations/984-windshield- -mount-illegal-california.html

    Also, I'd also recommend that you install a hidden - but easily accessed, without overt movements in-cabin which may telegraph your intent (as well as un-necessarily raise the threat level of your roadside traffic stop!!!) - "kill switch," to surely cut-power to your detector, to insure that you have an intrusion-free interview.

    Finally, remember, a detector is only a tool, and just because the detector itself is fully cloaked with respect to VG2 and Spectre RDDs does not mean that your driving practices may not, themselves, tip-off the enforcer as to the fact that you have a detector in-vehicle.

    As anyone will tell you, I'm a fan of VEIL, and also highly respect its creator, [b]The VEIL Guy[/b], for his "tactical thinking" approach to speed-detection countermeasures. :) This is what he had to say, in his review of the Bel STi-Driver:

    [quote]
    realize really astute officers will likely still be able to determine detector usage when your vehicle is targeted by their radar gun if you quickly decelerate (the normal response to an alert) which can be done visually - either by an abrupt drop of your vehicle's front-end under heavy breaking, a rapid decrease in speed readings on the radar gun, or from the rear by observing brake lights or by audio - listening to the rapid decrease in the RADAR's Doppler tone at point of trigger pull.

    At any rate, be prepared with a good explanation as to how you "visually spotted" the officer at the same time he/she pulled the trigger...[/quote]

    So think about how you're using your detector - and just perhaps, carry with you an el-cheapo Cobra that you scored off FleaBay (and remember to carry the power cord with you, too), to nicely hand-over to your friendly enforcer, if you actually get pulled-over. :P
  • That is the best response and dialog advice on how to use a detector. You are correct you will get pulled if your speed drops quickly after the device has already recorded your speed.

    I try to drive in the right hand lanes and not be as obvious as other detector users. The first thing a trooper looks for is break lights or front ends dropping.
  • Long time no see LGT!
  • i dislike the escort solo cordless detector...this type of detector is the only one that i have recieved a speeding ticket with...i now have an 8500 x50 which has a quicker response time and overall just performs to a higher standard...u have to spend more but in the long run it works out way better than the solo...look at the comparisons between all escort and various comparable detectors...this will give u a good overview on quality and accuracy of your desired detector
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,547
    Introducing "the Cobra iRadar S-Series, a remote detector that is hidden away behind the car&#146;s front grille. It sends information to a mobile phone with the Cobra app inside the car."

    For the Speedy, a Sneaky Radar Detector (NY Times)

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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