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Radar Detector Installations - A Discussion

June 7, 2008


It's coming up to 10 years since I have had my Valentine 1 in the SHO and about to send it in for either a tune up or an upgrade. I've always had the detector mounted just above and to the right of the rear view mirror.
A couple of questions.
1, Does anyone have any pictures of there radar detector installs?
2, Running the detector while mounted over the windshield tint does make it more stealthy but I believe it loses range just from my own driving round town tests. I know Valentine suggest mounting it away from the tint, but do you guys see the same reduction in range.
3, Has anyone sent their detectors in for a tune up or should I just go for a upgrade?
Thanks,
Rav.

Rav
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You can check if yours needs upgrading or not, just go to this page on their web site:

http://www.valentine1.com/upgrades/

I would say do the upgrade unless there are no differences, you get basically a brand new unit for a nice discount.

I upgraded my original V1 when they did a major upgrade several years ago. I should run my serial number through too.

As for where to mount, the slight dark band at the top of most factory windshields won't hurt performance of radar any, and the laser performance might be down a tiny bit. I think the stealth factor is worth it though. Plus mounting up high is much better for range, so the trade off is probably a wash. Reading their suggestions, they say the only real problem is if you have the metalized heated type of windshield (not available on the SHO, but on the regular Taurus) and some glass that says it is particularly solar reflective. Look for a metallic look to the tint. REgular tint is NOT a problem for radar, and again, only very dark tint would degrade laser performance much, but really with laser, your detector is basically telling you you probably are toast, no detector can help much in that situation.

I also like the remote display, that way people behind won't be tempted to tailgate so they can read your signals! (had people do that, they never did it with any other detector!).

Don
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I checked on the website and it does show that I could get some improvement though it isn't too clear one whether those improvements are worth it or not.

To be honest, I didn't have any problems with the detector and the only reason I thought about upgrading was because I surfed along to V1's site and noticed the upgrade option.

I have the concealed display option and couldn't imagine buying a detector without one. I have the concealed display just above the steering column and in front of the instrument cluster.

On the tinted band, I'm going to test it over the next couple of days again. I know of some constant on K band sources, speed readout signs, and will see what the effect is of the tint.

I'll get some pictures and post them to the list in a couple of days.

Anyone else with any thoughts/comments/pictures on/of detector installs?

Thanks,

Rav
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Radar Roy seems to have a lot of information. I used his site when making my last radar decision. The difference between the one I bought and yours was minimal at very long distances, and was a lot cheaper on price. Basically he tests a lot and shows the results on the higher end radars. I will be getting the M4 or newer version for my Impala SS.

Rik E
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Thanks I'll check out Radar Roy's site. I think that there is an associated forum with lots of pictures of installs but nothing for Gen3 Taurii or SHO's.

On the radar detector. To be honest I have been using my V1 without any problems for 10 years and the mere fact that they offer a tune up and an upgrade path means that I'm willing to pay the cost. As an existing V1 customer I can trade in my 10 year old one for a brand new one for less than half the list price.

Also I know people harp on about the arrows, but if I didn't have them now I would feel blind when coming up to a radar source.

I think Tim expressed it best once a few years back, when he said the test of a product is if you lost it today would you buy it again? For the valentine 1 I would be on the phone today with credit card in hand.

On the tint at the top of the windscreen, either that or it's positioning seems to make it less sensitive on the normal radar sources I come up against. I'll be moving it back down to it's usual spot this evening.

Please keep your inputs coming.

Rav
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Just a note that Radar Roy doesn't sell the V-1, only Valentine sells them direct, so they get a lot of negative reviews just because if they got good reviews, that might hurt sales!

Still, the 2007 test shows the V1 best at almost everything but false alerts, and you and I know that if you set the unit correctly, and have any memory of your own in your head, false alerts aren't a problem. the 9500 has a feature where if you tell it where door openers etc are, it won't false, but it will still false at every door opener on a trip where you haven 't been before!

And, the arrows. Once you have an open mind and use them, there is no substitute. recently, I had an alert coming into town, and I was near someplace where I go by all the time. Arrow said ahead and counter said two. I know one of them is something else, so I knew I had a cop. V1 is good enough that you have a VERY good idea how far away the signal is. I saw the cop and then got THREE signals, with the front and back arrows blinking, then when I passed the first cop, now rear arrow blinking and the side arrow showed the false.

Then all of a sudden, I got a new FRONT arrow blinking! State boy with instant on coming over the hill. Wow, I don't know of any detector that would give me all that info and let me react correctly. Was fun to be able to know what was going on.

Don
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I see a write-up coming...

1st - Good to hear from you, Rav. It's been a while!

Second - I JUST did this last weekend.

I went to Radio Shack and bought a matched plug for my radar detector
and a universal cable to plug their plug into. All told was about 10
dollars, US.
I pulled down the switch panel for the map lights and moonroof
controls. I dug around for a couple of minutes with a volt meter until
I found 12 volts. RED WIRE AND ORANGE WIRE. <-----Big Clue.(I'd STILL
test them in your car as YMMV, but you get the drift.)

I stripped back a little insulation on each wire without cutting them
and added a little solder. I then tinned a couple of wires, slid some
heat shrink tube on them, and soldered them onto the red and orange
wires. Pull the heat shrink tube over the solder joints and heat to
shrink.

I took the other ends of the added + and - 12 volt wires and put
shielded spade terminals on them. I took the Radio Shack cable and
added 2 female spade terminals to the end of it. I plugged the 2 added
wires into the Radio Shack cable and fished it through the headliner
to the windshield top face.

I suction cupped the radar detector to the windshield all the way up
in the shaded area. I plugged in the detector and pulled back the
excess cable and tucked it away in the headliner by the wires for the
light and switch assembly.

Snap the switch gear back into the roof and your done. On a scale of 1
to 10 I'd call this a solid 2.

Coolest thing of all? This circuit shuts down on that current draw
protection relay. Just leave the radar detector on. Every time you
enter the car after it has been sitting a while, the radar detector
just starts itself.
               
   


Eric Lehmann
97 Ebony 42k Welded - With the Angels Now so that I don't have to be.
Long Live the Garage Queen !
97 Ebony 182k Resurrected, Welded, Experiment in progress
96 Medium Willow Green Metallic 103k Resurrected, Welded, Eaton M90 inside
96 Rosemist 72k 2006 Best Of SHO, Popular Vote, 2007 Best Gen 3, Welded
96 Medium Graphite 120k - Resurrected, Welded
97 Pacific Green - Parting this one Out
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Cool pictures, but for the Valentine 1 with the remote display, there is a standard telephone cord that provides both power and communication between the two, so you would probably want to get power near the area that you have the remote display mounted, and then snake a phone cord around the windshield to the Val-1.

Nice mount, though.

Doug
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I have mine mounted on the passenger sun visor. The phone wire sneaks up the A pillar on the passenger side then comes out through the windshield trim. Can't see it form outside easily.

Paul
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I have a Lynx Remote with antennas mounted in the grill and on the lower portion of my rear window under the 3rd brake light. The main part is half the size of a pack of cigarettes and is mounted next to the Emergency flasher on the steering column.


Carter Fuji
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You guys with them mounted up that high:
Does the rear laser sensor perform well? Most of the units I've seen
w/ rear laser detection recommend a clear line of sight from the
sensor out the rear window. I always mount my detector dead center in
the windshield for that reason.

Dan C
Philadelphia, PA
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My understanding has always been that for radar you wanted it mounted high with a view out of the rear window too. For laser you wanted as low as possible, but not obscured by the wipers, as normally the front licence plate and/or headlights are targetted.

I don't know if you can be lasered from behind. I thought that laser had to be done from a stationary position whereas radar could be done while moving.

Rav
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I thought about that. Unless the officer is 7 feet tall or his car is
on a large hill behind me, I don't think the angle will be an issue.
I'm still in the experimental stages myself - Laser is not that
popular around my area, sometimes I don't hear that "special alert"
for 6 months at a time.
Big road trip coming, however. I'll have feedback one way or the other.
FWIW - the last ticket I got was several years ago. It was from a new
"State of the Art" LIDAR unit from a cop dressed as a road worker in a
high lift bucket "changing a light" on the side of the expressway near
the Tampa airport.

FWIW 2 - I just renewed my DL. I got a safe driver's certificate from
Illinois. No infractions since the last license was issued.

huh.

Tell that to State Farm.

Eric Lehmann
97 Ebony 42k Welded - With the Angels Now so that I don't have to be.
Long Live the Garage Queen !
97 Ebony 182k Resurrected, Welded, Experiment in progress
96 Medium Willow Green Metallic 103k Resurrected, Welded, Eaton M90 inside
96 Rosemist 72k 2006 Best Of SHO, Popular Vote, 2007 Best Gen 3, Welded
96 Medium Graphite 120k - Resurrected, Welded
97 Pacific Green - Parting this one Out
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Well if you were really only trying to detect a direct hit on your
vehicle, the cop would be reading your exact speed precisely when your
detector starts squawking. In other words all you'd be getting is
advanced notice of a ticket that already has your name on it,
figuratively speaking. Even though laser is more directional, you are
still hoping to get some activity on your detector when it picks up on
scattered/deflected signals that are aimed at other vehicles,
hopefully a while before the cop has YOU in his sights. So you want
it positioned where it has a good "view" of the open air all around
your car. The rear sensor on my detector is on top of the unit, so
putting the detector up high on the windshield would seem to block the
sensor's view almost entirely. Most of the time you are going to get
hit with other forms of radar, and most of the time it will be from a
cop ahead of you on the side of the road, so the rear laser thing
isn't really a primary consideration. But it's something to consider.

AFAIK, laser can be done while moving just as any other form of radar.
Usually the police vehicles equipped for this have two radar/laser
units. One records the LEO's car speed by tracking the pavement, and
the other records the target vehicle's speed in relation to the LEO's
vehicle. The readout is a calculation of the speed of the target
vehicle in relation to the pavement (in other words, the target's
actual speed, not speed relative to the moving cop car).

Dan C
Philadelphia, PA
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You have been lucky! The first laser trap I ever saw was on the overpass
next to Woodfield Mall over on 53, and this was in '93 or so. I also got
nailed once on EB 90 with laser around the Barrington Road area in that same
timeframe.


Ron Porter
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From above the mirror, the rear sensors have a clear shot at where the radar or lazer units will be shooting from.

I like that they aren't as obvious to either police or thieves in that location.

certainly you are doing just fine with it in the middle of the window, and it might pick up a bit better. After all Laser usually is shot at the license plate or headlights, so really lower will probably be better, but up high isn't bad. For radar, I doubt it makes any difference at all. Only if you have a metalized or heated window tint will it make any difference for radar, since that is a radio frequency, not light.
Because Laser is almost always a matter of you are toast anyway, and there isn't enough scatter to alert in advance, I don't worry about that. It is only really important to just know where they are IF you were doing OK and not getting stopped. At least that is the way I see it.

Don
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Just to throw in my .02. Laser/Lidar can only be used while the officer is stationary. Radar can be used in either moving or stationary modes.

There is also new software out there for the laser that has the ability to measure the speed of 2 vehicles, the distance between them and the amount of time there is between the two vehicles at the speeds that they are traveling. It is know as DBC or Distance Between Cars. This will aid in writing tickets for "Following too Closely".

http://www.lasertech.com/Speed_Enforcement/Products/ProductPages/DistanceBetween.htm

Mike V
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Just to follow up..

I took this afternoon to move the radar detector mount around a little. The hardwiring is still the same and concealed display is still over the steering column where I like it. The power is from under the dash and is wired to be hot with the ignition, so I don't have to remember to turn the detector on or off.

Anyway here are some poor pictures of the placement, and Don I apologise for the state of the wheel cover but after about 10 years and a lot of miles, I still think it was the second best mod for the SHO, the first was the valentine!

Any comments, apart from the state of the rearview mirror.

       

Rav.
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I got more tickets with a detector than I have since I pitched it into the garbage can years ago!

Of course, other than that, I have no opinion.

As usual, click to enlarge photos.

Larry Eck
97TR
Mods
Cam Failure #425
96MG
Almost Bone
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