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I might buy a Radar Detector

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Ok wise heads school me up on Radar Detectors, are they still worth it and if I buy one in the USA will it still work in NZ? Also what are the good ones.

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yes definitely worth it IMHO/IME; gives me sufficient warning to check my speed, and does so around two out of five days of my commute.  I run a Bel Magnum STi.  Escort Redline is basically the same (same company, different product line), but $100 more in NZ.

There's a lot written on US sites about how much better the STi got with the hardware upgrade toward end of 2014/early 2015, and that sample variation now accounts for more than the performance gap between the two models.

I'd run a Bel 995 for a few years before, and liked the voice warnings; there's different voicings between BEL and Escort.  I run mine set up with no lights, no visual warnings on the dash.  More stealthy.  The only lights are on the remote mute on the cig lighter, so again, muting is stealthy - no visible hand to the dash.  YMMV.  You get different tones depending on type of radar/lidar.

I get so little warning on Redflex camera vans or stationary radar, I think the minor diff's US to NZ not worth worrying about.  If there is in fact a receiver bandwidth difference.  I found it difficult to truly suss out the freq differences betweem US and NZ models.  

If you buy an STi you're welcome to make a list with me of the exclusive NZ programming features that the Road & Track guys were so f$%king cagey about, from mine.  After shelling out the extra money to buy local, from R&T, I was left wondering why I bothered and figured I should have purchased from Amazon.

In use?  Worked example... doing 50-55 past silversteam station, as I pass the lights heading north onto the straight part of Fergusson Drive, I'll pick up mobile Ka coming toward me just after they've passed through the lights and passed Palmer Ave.  On the highway, you'll get suffucuent time to check... about double what I used to get with my 995.  And I get less 'noise' with my STi.  Laser, not so much warning, though you should get scatter from other cars first.  Instant-on radar?  Nothing's invincible, man!

Let me know how you get on.  If you want to dip your toe in the water, my Bel 995 is cased and on the shelf, yours for $300.   

 

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PS:  in my last job, one of my workmates opined that I really shouldn't have a radar detector, in light of our work.  I countered "hey, if our goverment wishes to broadcast on those frequencies, it's still legal for me listen!  This is just a really high frequency tuned radio receiver with high selectivity and some cool programmable auto-muting features."

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Yup, I reckon they're still worth it. I've got a V1 and should it stop working tomorrow I'd get the same again. I love the directional arrows and ease of use. Programming is also simple

Although I only use mine about once a month, it is great on the open road and has saved me a few times. I've got K band switched off, too many junk alerts but that also means that I won't pick up speed cameras however no demerits attached to those so not a huge issue. Laser is an interesting one. I get a lot of laser falses from newer model cars which use laser to stay in their lane and adjust following distance etc, mind you it's not the latest software. @Olaf do you have this problem with laser?? Fortunately the alert for Ka band and laser sound different. Like Richard said, you'll often pick up laser scatter if there is actually a cop using it down the road.

Ka sensitivity is fantastic and I've never had a false. The V1 picked up a signal from 4km away once. If it's alerting Ka, it's a cop. Even if using instant-on a km or so down the road for other passing vehicles you'll likely pick up a quick signal and have enough time to slow down. I think most top-end detectors are a good choice and will perform very similarly. The advantage of the passport max and a couple others is that they use GPS and know where fixed cameras are, as well as junk K band alerts (automatic doors etc). 

Hopefully that was of some help :)

Edited by Kepes
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I have no problems with laser (lidar), when I've had "lay-zerrrr" alert there's a motorcycle cop or a car at side of road.  

I did look at V1, had loved the idea of one for years, decided on STi/Redline on basis of low signature for radar detector detector.  I agree, there's not a large gap between the top of the top models.

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Uniden R1 (no gps) and R3 (gps) are getting good pre-release reviews and are coming end of month. Probably get the R1 myself which appear hard to beat for $299usd .

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Quite like the idea of these type of displays but I suspect stealth mounting the detector would reduce effectiveness being lower in the car.

 

http://www.radar-mirror.com/

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My e39 came with an older Escort passport SR7 with detectors down near number plate.  How would these ones perform these days.  I need to learn how to use it...

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I run the bel sti magnum on the bike and its sweet. Only thing i have turned on is KA band. Never see laser around here, tho if i go auckland ways i turn it back on. 

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9 hours ago, hqstu said:

My e39 came with an older Escort passport SR7 with detectors down near number plate.  How would these ones perform these days.  I need to learn how to use it...

Hey Stu, back in the day (early 00's) the SR7 was pretty hot stuff.  The manual is here (in case you don't have one).  It looks like the configuration is very similar to my old BEL Vector 995i.  It'll be mostly a case of switching off the stuff you don't need.

The detectors by the plate will be your laser detectors, I beleive the radar horn antennas are elsewhere.  Here's a pic I nabbed off t'interweb:

Components.gif

By the looks of the tests from the time, the SR7 was very capable, and although these days is probably bested for distance and falsing by current 'top performing' dash-mount units it should give you pretty respectable performance for Ka and laser assuming it remains in good working order.  Where the SR7 wasn't great was in stealthing tech against SPECTRE radar detector detectors, though this isn't such a big thing in niu zild where detectors are legal.  I'm not sure if NZP use SPECTRE or similar.

HTH

 

Edited by Olaf
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Thanks Olaf, yes that's the one, the radar antenna and laser sensor are either side of number plate, but I don't think I have a rear sensor.  It was throwing a calibration error for quite a while when it switched on but lately it has been OK.  Thanks for the manual.  Need to switch off the annoying band, K?  There is also a LED on top of the steering column but appears not to be working.  I did adjust the column when I first got it and heard a bit of a crack so must investigate...

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4 minutes ago, hqstu said:

Thanks Olaf, yes that's the one, the radar antenna and laser sensor are either side of number plate, but I don't think I have a rear sensor.  It was throwing a calibration error for quite a while when it switched on but lately it has been OK.  Thanks for the manual.  Need to switch off the annoying band, K?  There is also a LED on top of the steering column but appears not to be working.  I did adjust the column when I first got it and heard a bit of a crack so must investigate...

yeah IMHO K band is mostly an annoyance.  Even my STi Magnum gives sod-all warning of fixed and mobile cameras, and it's unlikely your SR7 goes there (note:  that's an assumption on my part, I've not checked), so yeah you might want to configure it off.  You should be able to repair or replace the warning LED.  Do you have a remote mute button mounted somewhere?

That rig probably cost $2k plus install when new.

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1 minute ago, Olaf said:

yeah IMHO K band is mostly an annoyance.  Even my STi Magnum gives sod-all warning of fixed and mobile cameras, and it's unlikely your SR7 goes there (note:  that's an assumption on my part, I've not checked), so yeah you might want to configure it off.  You should be able to repair or replace the warning LED.  Do you have a remote mute button mounted somewhere?

Yes I will pull column cover off to fix LED.  No remote mute button unless it is very remote...

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Good advice guys please keep the discussion going. :) 

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You're very welcome, John.

it seems that BELtronics as a brand are disappearing, with Escort being the lead brand for that company.  I'm sure there was a long study by management consultants that helped them figure out that the R&D and marketing costs of developing/releasing/maintaining  competing products in the market was not efficient despite having greater brand coverage. (No slight on management consultants!).  I'd been wondering for some time how they made that pay.

When I picked up my 995, it was testing better for long range Ka (main threat in NZ), than the V1 of the time (there have been numerous hardware and firmware updates since then).  I was shopping used and on a budget, and the 995 was the best value I could find at the time.

Fast forwarding (below the speed limit of course, officer) to last year and a new unit was on the cards.  I didn't hesitate to buy BEL again, though had I known they were getting out I'd have scored an Escort Redline instead.

Today there are additional options, either built-in GPS, or linking to your cellphone.  I'm not sure how effective GPS croudsourced updating is in little ol' NZ, given the tiny market, and the even smaller percentage of detector users buying models with GPS and subscribing or updating live data services.  Cool idea though.

I'd like to try a V1, though for me the arrows - with my style of use - offer no benefit.

 

Edited by Olaf
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Given what Olaf has said about lidar falses, in that my V1 gets them and his STi doesn't, I wouldn't go with a V1 again, unless of course they have since updated it OR you plan on linking your phone to it (you'll need an additional V1 bluetooth dongle for this). YaV1 is a very highly rated app for this. Probably the best of those available.
 

10 hours ago, Olaf said:

I'd like to try a V1, though for me the arrows - with my style of use - offer no benefit.

Interesting, what do you mean by your "style of use?" I do kinda get what you mean though, if there's 5-0 around you're going to check your speed regardless of whether they're in-front, behind, above, anywhere. What I do like is knowing whether a unit has merged onto the freeway behind me or i'm picking up something further ahead. Particularly if it's just a short alert, I know it's not just a cop using instant-on up ahead. 

Olaf, it would be cool if we could somehow compare how the two radars vary in terms of sensitivity, perhaps if we see a cop on the side of the road this next trip we can figure something out :)

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6 hours ago, Kepes said:

Interesting, what do you mean by your "style of use?" I do kinda get what you mean though, if there's 5-0 around you're going to check your speed regardless of whether they're in-front, behind, above, anywhere. What I do like is knowing whether a unit has merged onto the freeway behind me or i'm picking up something further ahead. Particularly if it's just a short alert, I know it's not just a cop using instant-on up ahead. 

Olaf, it would be cool if we could somehow compare how the two radars vary in terms of sensitivity, perhaps if we see a cop on the side of the road this next trip we can figure something out :)

oh, don't get me wrong, it'd be good to know where they are... I was left wondering the other evening, it was near dusk, and the unit was just a little ahead of me in traffic.  I was thinking it was behind.  I missed a light, lost signal... caught up at next light and recognised the red mufti commode I'd spotted a couple of days before.  For me, I dislike my cabin "lighting up like a christmas tree" at night when it goes off, hence my stealth mode operation. Helps maintain my night vision etc.  Most folks like the visual info provided.  These modern detectors with the OLED displays are probably very cool, assuming one can dim the display like dashboard lights.

6 hours ago, Kepes said:

Olaf, it would be cool if we could somehow compare how the two radars vary in terms of sensitivity, perhaps if we see a cop on the side of the road this next trip we can figure something out :)

Well, we could do the radar geekfest, you put them both on your dashboard and be the rabbit... I've still got the 995 as well.  Be interesting to see about your LiDar false positives too.  (I read that most auto-cruise systems are K band not laser).

 

 

Edited by Olaf
cruising (with Michael Nesmith)

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(be careful though, you might end up with a youtube channel, and a stack of radar detectors!)

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1 hour ago, Olaf said:

oh, don't get me wrong, it'd be good to know where they are... I was left wondering the other evening, it was near dusk, and the unit was just a little ahead of me in traffic.  I was thinking it was behind.  I missed a light, lost signal... caught up at next light and recognised the red mufti commode I'd spotted a couple of days before.  For me, I dislike my cabin "lighting up like a christmas tree" at night when it goes off, hence my stealth mode operation. Helps maintain my night vision etc.  Most folks like the visual info provided.  These modern detectors with the OLED displays are probably very cool, assuming one can dim the display like dashboard lights.

Well, we could do the radar geekfest, you put them both on your dashboard and be the rabbit... I've still got the 995 as well.  Be interesting to see about your LiDar false positives too.  (I read that most auto-cruise systems are K band not laser).

 

 

Just do it, and make a video as well :) 

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I've been doing more reading.  Turns out the best on distance/performance is the Escort Redline followed (less than a second at highway speeds) by the Beltronics STi Magnum.  Magnum has die cast chassis/casing (where the Redline is plastic), and filters out car nav and distance better than the Redline.    As the STi has been discontinued if you want one buy now (late ones have band segmentation).

None of the new top-end kit has the long-range Ka band sensitivity of these two.  The (German) Radenso models are nowhere near as sensitive as the Redline or the Magnum.

Here's an interesting summary from August 2016:

http://www.vortexradar.com/2016/08/choosing-the-best-radar-detector-for-you-a-flowchart/

Be interesting to see how those new Uniden units compare to the two kings.

Edited by Olaf
video

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Escort Redline has just been discontinued as at May 2017.
 

Bear in mind "blindspot filtering" is X-Band

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raving about pre-production Uniden R3 being the best thing since sliced bread....

 

 

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