The Radar / Laser MEGA thread
Plenty of threads out there recently on radar and laser... Some have good information and some have very bad information...
Guys of Lidar: http://www.guysoflidar.com/index.html
Radar Detector Forums: http://www.radardetector.net/forums/
Laser Interceptor: http://www.laser-interceptorusa.com/home.html
Valentine One: http://www.valentine1.com/
Federal Communications Commission: http://www.fcc.gov/
I will try to keep this thread updated and informative... This will be a four part thread:
Part One will be What you are up against...
Part Two will be Radar and Laser Defense Gear..
Part Three will be mounting locations and test results...
Part Four will be defense gear recommendations...
Please do not turn this thread into a radar detectors are worthless and a waste of money thread... If you feel that way, please post it in one of the other radar related threads...
About me... I am a retired Police Officer who ran radar enforcement for over 10-years... I also trained other officers on radar enforcement... I am also a radar defense enthusiast... A bit odd, I know..
1st of all let me say speeding is dangerous! The higher your speed the more time it takes for you to react, and brake... The higher the speed, the worse the accident in most cases... Please drive safe and never use radar defense gear as an open ended ticket (pun intended) to haul ass.. I have seen and work many horrific accidents over my years where speed was the major contributing factor... Dead children and decapitated motorists is NOT a pleasant sight...
In my opinion radar / laser defense should be used for 2 reasons... 1st so you can check your speed... There are some rather aggressive officers out there who would write their own mother for 5 mph over... When your defense systems sounds, check your speed and adjust accordingly... A ticket these days is not cheap.. Add to that the higher insurance costs and points taken off your license and you get the idea.... A simple moment of lax and you can easily be 8-10 mph over... Murphy's law says that is when you will meet the guy who'd write his own mother...
The 2nd benefit of using radar defense this that when you are alerted, you should become a far more defensive driver to the vehicles in close proximity to you... Once these other drivers see the officer running radar, they do some pretty crazy stuff... They slam on brakes, they swerve into other lanes, ect... If you know radar is being ran ahead, you can prepare for these nut bag drivers...
Radar detector are legal in all states except Virginia, Washington DC, and on military installations... Federal law prohibits radar detectors in all commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds..
Laser shifters / jammers are legal in all states except California, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina...
Radar Jammers (different from Radar Detectors and Laser Shifters / Jammers) are prohibited by Federal Law...
See ---> http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/...6/da962040.pdf
PART ONE -- What you are up against:
Types of radar in the USA:
X-Band 10.525 GHz +/- 25 MHz
K-Band 24.150 GHz +/- 100 MHz
Ka-Band 33.4-36 GHz
X-Band is the least common police radar. It is rarely used anymore except in a couple of states, most notably New Jersey and Ohio. Some small towns might also use it on occasion. X-Band IS frequently used by motion sensors, such as those that automatically open the doors at your local supermarket, so in most cases this is what causes X-band false alerts.
K-Band probably has the most radar units out there on the road. However, K-Band is also used for some motions sensors too. Treat K-Band alerts with caution, until you have identified the source.
Ka-Band radar is the newest band utilized for police radar. Some sources claim that most of the new units sold are Ka. Generally, with the higher end detectors, false alerts on Ka are rare, so every Ka alert should be treated as police radar until you know otherwise.
POP Mode is a feature that was introduced by MPH Industries in their latest radar guns, designed to defeat radar detectors. POP acquires a vehicle's speed by sending out a quick burst of radar. This burst was so short that detectors available at the time of POP's introduction did not alert to it, either due to a sweep rate that was too slow to detect it at all, or due to the short burst being filtered out as a false alert. Fortunately, many radar detector manufacturers have since added POP detection capability to their latest radar detectors.
Radar guns that currently have the POP feature:
MPH BEE III = 67ms, K or Ka-Band
MPH Enforcer = 67ms, K or-Ka Band
MPH Z25 = 16ms K-Band
MPH Z35 = 16ms K-Band
Laser Gun Pulse Rates in the USA:
Ultralyte 100/200 Standard 100 pps
Ultralyte 100/200 LR 100 pps
Ultralyte 100/200 LR 125 pps
Kustom Prolaser III, Kustom ProLit 200 pps
Kustom Prolaser II 238 pps
Kustom Prolaser I 380 pps
Laser Atlanta 238 pps
Stalker LZ-1 130 pps
PART TWO -- Radar and Laser Defense Gear
Radar detectors are superhetrodyne receivers, similar to a scanner. First, they use a microwave horn antenna to receive the radar signal. The radar signal is generally passed on to a mixer stage, where it is mixed with a first local oscillator to produce an IF. The IF is generally passed on to one or two more mixers and IF stages depending on the design. Finally the signal is detected, and then handled by the processing and control circuitry to produce a visual and audible alert. Radar detectors usually sweep the first LO (and sometimes the 2nd or third too) in order to sweep the different police radar bands for a signal. They will also contain multiple filter and amplifier stages.
Generally speaking, the jammer must first recognise that it is being shot at. Then it must determine what kind of gun is shooting at it. Then it must fire back with the appropriate beam, at the appropriate pulse-rate, as no two laser gun models are the same. And all of this must happen at the speed of light. As you can see, it is not simply a matter of shining light back at the laser gun. However, in the past there was one jammer -- The Lidatek LE10 -- that employed "brute force" of high intensity laser optics as part of the equation, which allowed it better success at blinding a laser gun. Guns are more sophisticated these days though, so the "brute force" concept remains a valid adjunct factor, but cannot be reasonably relied upon as a sole manner of jamming laser. Consequently, don't fool yourself thinking that just adding a bunch of lights of any kind to your car is going to protect you.
One common misconception is that the laser beam from a police LIDAR gun is a very small, pinpoint beam, as common lasers are. It is not. The beam from police LIDAR, even at a very short distance, is several inches wide. At typical engagement distances (around 500 feet), the beam width is likely to cover the entire front end of your car. Consequently, simply protecting your licence plates and/or headlights with passive measures alone will not help you. The entire front end must be protected by a competent jammer.
Using GPS technology, the detector alerts you with audible and / or visual alerts to high risk accident areas and photo-enforcement safety cameras, including Redflex, ATS, Nestor, Lasercraft, Gatso, Redspeed, Traffipax, TruVelo, SPECS Average Speed cameras, Watchman, Speedcurb and many more.
These photo / speed camera detectors are updated via online databases... They use the preloaded locations and your GPS position to alert you to known photo / speed camera locations before you reach them...
VEIL is a "stealth coating" that is designed to absorb the LIDAR energy from a police laser gun to reduce the range that the officer can obtain a speed reading. Veil is generally coated onto headlights, fog lights, tail lights, and license plates..
PART THREE -- Mounting Locations and Test Results
[[Since we are on a Camaro Forum I will only cover mounting locations for the Camaro]]
Windshield mounted radar detectors should be mounted as high as possible for best range. Keep in mind that many detectors also have rear looking radar sensors that will need to "see" out the back window... On the Camaro, the best location to obtain this position is probably just below the rearview mirror..
Blendmount makes several different mounts for many different radar detectors that work great in this position. All detectors will come with suction cups that can also be used for mounting to the windshield..
No matter which mounting system is used, windshield mounted radar detectors do have their downsides... 1st and foremost, they are not stealth... Police, thief's, and other motorists will see that you have a nice detector hanging from your rear view mirror... If the police see it, you may get a ticket instead of a warning just because you have it... A thief wants it, and other motorists will tail you to "live" off your detector...
Any windshield mounted detector should be removed from the windshield when the vehicle is parked for any length of time... This will keep it hidden from thieves and in hot climates, the interior of vehicles is known to get well over 100 degrees... Many radar detectors have been "fried" due to high temperatures inside vehicles...
If you choose to leave your windshield mounted detector in your car during high heat, use a product like 303 Aerospace Protectant.... Do NOT use Armor All...
Remote mounted systems add stealth to your detector setup... Remote mounted units offer several benefits over windshield mounted units.. They are stealth and can't generally be seen by the police, thieves, and other motorists.. They also offer a cleaner, more factory installed look if installed properly...
The radar receiver / antenna is mounted in the front grille area of the vehicle.. For best performance, the receiver / antenna should be mounted in the upper grille area and have a clear and unobstructed view of the roadway..
Laser Shifters / Jammers
The Camaro is a difficult vehicle to defend due to it's very large front end... Placement of laser shifters is made more difficult because of the slope / angle of the front bumper...
If you have a front mounted license plate, the shifters should be mounted at a mid point between the plate and the headlights...
If you do not have a front license plate the shifters should be mounted to cover the center mass of the vehicle and the headlights...
Lighter colored vehicles are more reflective to the laser beam... If you have a lighter colored Camaro, you will need to consider high powered laser shifters and Veil..
The most important factors in mounting laser shifters / jammers:
-- They must have a clear and unobstructed view of the roadway
-- They must be level ( +/- 2 degrees)
-- They must be straight (no toe in or toe out)
-- They should be mounted as far forward as possible
Test Results of Radar Detectors and Laser Shifters / Jammers
Reference and images taken from Guys of Lidar: http://www.guysoflidar.com/
Laser Shifters / Jammers (JTG = Jam to Gun & If numbers are listed, that is the distance in feet that the Shifters jammed the gun to)
PART FOUR -- Defense Gear Recomendations
1st you must find out what type of radar enforcement is used in your area... This list is updated frequently... If you travel, then you need protection against just about everything..
Radar Detector Recommendations
** Laser detection is useless without having laser shifters / jammers.. By the time the detector alerts, your speed HAS been recorded... If laser is a concern, see Laser Shifter Recommendations **
For X, K, KA bands -- Not in listed any particular order
-- Valentine One
-- Escort 9500ix (also has red light / speed camera GPS database)
-- Escort RedLine
-- Escort 8500x50
-- Bell STi
-- Bel GX65 (also has red light / speed camera GPS database)
-- Bel RX65
-- Bel 995
-- Escort 9500ci (remote unit with red light / speed camera and laser shifters)
-- Escort Qi45 / Bel RX45 (remote unit with optional add on laser shifters)
** Most detectors under $300 are not worth spending the money on **
*** Rocky Mountain Radar devices should be avoided like they have the plague ***
For Red Light / Speed Camera's
-- Escort 9500ci
-- Escort 9500ix
-- Bel GX65
-- Escort SC55
-- Cheetah GPS Mirror
-- Cheetah C100
-- Cheetah C50
Laser Shifters / Jammers (Listed in order from best protection to lesser protection)
-- Laser Interceptor
-- Escort ZR4 (these are the standard shifters on the 9500ci and are the optional shifter add on's for the Qi45/RX45)
** For best defense against laser, Veil should be used regardless of which shifters you have installed.. Veil is a must have if you run the lowered powered Escort ZR4's **
Complete Protection Setup's
** Windshield Units **
-- Valentine One with Laser Interceptors or Blinders and Cheetah GPS product
-- Escort 9500ix or Bel GX65 with Laser Interceptors or Blinder's
-- Escort RedLine or Escort 8500x50 with Laser Interceptors or Blinders and Escort SC55
-- Bel STi or Bel RX65 or Bel 995 with Laser Interceptors or Blinder's and Escort SC55
** Remote Mount Units **
-- Escort 9500ci (remove the ZR4 shifters and replace with Laser Interceptors or Blinder's)
-- Escort Qi45 or Bel RX45 with Laser Interceptors or Blinders and Cheetah GPS Mirror
Thanks for reading this long and massive mega thread and please DRIVE SAFE!!!
Fortunately in my area the LEO's don't have laser and don't use POP mode on their radar guns because just about all traffic enforcement have their radar guns hard mounted in their vehicles. The only ones that don't (as far as I'm aware) are the motorcycles, and I hardly ever see them out in my area. But even when I do, they're usually not using the POP mode either...
Also, in regards to laser, even though the beam is not as "pinpoint" as many people think, the beam itself doesn't refract as easily as radar does. This is why your radar detector, even though it says it can detect laser, is fairly inefficient at giving you any decent length of warning time with laser as it is with radar. The detector typically won't catch any laser signal until the nice officer already has you...
The 1st 2 posts have been update and all 4 parts are now complete...
Laser detectors are for the most part useless, unless you happen to get lucky... For true Laser protection, you need high powered shifters and Veil coating...
Even with all that, your car is still not invisible and as the old saying goes, if it can happen, it will....
This thread is stuck. :thumbsup: We appreciate your contribution. This is a wealth of quality information.
Oh snap stickied!
Very nice write-up! :clap:
But other than that one miniscule detail (which is pretty much irrelevant to the point of the thread :D) this is an awesome thread to point people to in the future. Thanks for compiling all of this! :thumbup:
An interesting thread. Thanks, you probably spent a lot of time on this.
I'm running the 9500ci and I'm interested in laser shifter placement. Mine are mounted outboard as far as possible and as high as possible on the lower grill. I used that location since the shifters are wider than the stock grill verticals and part of the shifter would have been obstructed if mounted in upper grill. Also, the lower location offers better stealth. I've since installed a Hennesy grille and this open up other mounting options.
I've felt that my system has been effective and in one case had an officer make three attempts from about .4 to .2 miles to get a reading. Granted, I slowed after the first hit but it didn't seem like he was able to lock and he kept trying. Perhaps, he was aiming at other cars but I would expect that a Yellow Camaro would certainly draw the officers attention
If you don't mind have have a few questions:
You've mentioned that the ZR4's are not powerful enough for lower grille mounting and also that they should not be more than 24" apart. Can you expand on this?
Is there any reason why I can't leave the ZR4s as they are and mount a couple interceptors on the upper grille. Another option might be moving the rear shifter to the front. It sticks out like a sore thumb above the license palce and partially blocks the license plate lights.
Third question. I have an Escort, 9500ix and 9500ci. Occasionally, they all false on laser detection when the sun is at lower angles in the early morning or evening. They also false in situations any time of day where there could be other cars running laser jammers and a laser gun is highly unlikely. Have you experienced these situations?
Once you are alerted and slow down you should be turning the shifters off to allow the officer to get your speed on his / her 2nd hit... If you don't, most officers will know they are getting jammed and will pull you over just because... They can also write you based on their general speed estimation... Officers are trained to estimate the vehicle speed before activating the radar / laser... With Laser, many have become lazy and no longer estimate speed... They just point and shoot... In any event, it's always recommended to turn the shifters OFF after you have slowed...
24" (12" from each side of the Camaro center) will allow the best protection of both center mass and the headlights... If you spread the shifters to far apart, you are loosing center mass protection.. Many officers will simply aim for center mass on the 1st hit... At further distances, they generally can't even see the headlight, or hold the gun steady enough for a direct headlight hit, so center mass is the choice... At closer distances, the headlight may be the actual target... BUT many officers have become very lax with laser guns... They don't expect to be jammed and figure center mass is a good hit.. If they don't get a reading from center mass, then they they adjust the aim accordingly...
Also, the laser beam from the gun is not as small as most think it is... It will likely cover a large potion of the front end... You want both shifters active and jamming at the same time and in the same direction (no toe) back to the gun..
The ZR4's are not powerful enough to cover the entire front of the car... With the ZR4's, placement and the use of Veil, is critical... Laser Interceptors and Blinder's are a different story... They are high powered and can easily protect the Camaro even when they are located in the lower bumper area...
They could interfere with each other... If you are getting Laser Interceptors, they will easily cover the car and you will have no need for the ZR4's... If you wish to keep the ZR4's just put them in receive only mode and leave the jamming to the Laser Interceptors...
Escort warns against putting the rear jammer in the front.. They say they will interfere with each other... Some enthusiasts say they have done this and it works great.. Me personally, I would not risk it... For this to work you would need precise distance separation and even then I am not so sure they would not interfere with each other...
Personally, rear protection is getting needed more these day as more and more speed traps are rear hits from overpasses ect... It might look a bit odd, but I'd keep the rear protection if it were me...
Try running just the ci and see if it continues... Make sure the shifters heads are level (use a bubble) and looking straight (no toe in or toe out)
Here are a few things known to cause false laser alerts....
-- Neon and LED lights, like third brake lights on the Envoy, Avalanche, and Trailblazer
-- HID headlights, usually only off-colour aftermarket HIDs
-- Adaptive cruise control - particularly that on Infinity cars
-- Toll plazas - usually as you are leaving the booth
-- Airports – collision avoidance system
-- Sunlight – sometimes when driving directly into the sunrise or sunset
Edit to add:
I just saw you are in California where shifters are illegal (come to think of it, speeding is illegal as right lol)
In your situation, I'd go with the Laser Interceptors only and stealth them out the best you can.... Remove the rear ZR4 as it does stick out like a sore thumb for a State where it's a no no to have....
My custom (ghetto) mounting for the front upper grille area with the ZR4 shifters...
** The mounting hardware that comes with the ZR4's is pretty useless on the Camaro **
Here is what I did:
1) I used the grille mounting clamps that come attached to the ZR4's and removed them from the ZR4...
2) Took these grille mounting clamps and fastened them to the inside lip of the upper grille..
3) Used one 3" (on non headlight side) flat metal bracket and one 4" (on headlight side) flat metal bracket per shifter... I then attached one end of each flat metal bracket to the ZR4 grille mount clamps using the stock mounting clamp bolts along with a #8 nut and washer...
4) Attached the ZR4 shifter to the other end of each flat metal bracket using the supplied ZR4 mounting bolts..
Presto! Level, straight, and stealth in the upper grille area...
Now why use a 3" and a 4" you ask? My math indicated that the curvature of the grille was approximately one inch for my mounting location... Needing to keep the shifters straight (no toe in or toe out) is the reason for the different length of the brackets...
See this thread for images of the install and shifter placement:
A wealth of information. Just the lesson I was looking to learn. I've never had any kind of radar detector/laser jammer-shifter and am looking forward to seeing how the Escort 9500ci works after it is installed sometime this week. Thanks for post. Very informative.
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