Author Topic: My Radar Detector Experiments from the past couple months. Very Long winded..  (Read 6108 times)

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Eric18T

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Little background: There are 4 main radar bands in use here in the US. X (~10.xx GHz), K (24.1GHz, 24.125GHz and 24.250GHz), Ka (33.8GHz, 34.7GHz & 35.5GHz) and lastly Laser.

X has a ‘tendency’ to be garage door openers, electric sliding doors, alarm systems. I could not find any support info last year that there are still any ‘X’ range radar guns still used in Colorado, Utah or Wyoming. They are still common in OH, NJ, PA and a few other states.

K was more popular in the 90’s and there are still some guns around in use. Most of these guns are in smaller towns where budget constraints may prevent upgrading to newer guns.  You may come across ‘K’ in CO, WY, UT.  We came across ‘K’ in Kremling.

Ka is the most popular gun right now (next to laser). The local Police departments, State Police still have many Ka guns in use. I have received hits on 35.5Ghz, 34.7GHz and once on 33.8Ghz. It seems like the 35.5GHz and the 34.7GHz were both State Patrol and Local Patrol. I could not find in my notes the 33.8GHz hit, so I am not sure which police group that was.

Laser is the last main option. Apparently some of the older laser guns used a round beam which was less accurate and took longer to lock in on the vehicle. The newer guns use a square beam which locks in quicker and provides a quicker response to the officer and with more accuracy. 

I have not had the chance to get hit by the Sheriffs Dept so I still do no know what speed detection equipment they are running. 

Here are my findings 1-5 w/ 5 being the highest and best of the 4 detectors. If I listed a 1’s or 2’s I think are things that need improvement and are below expectations given the cost of these pieces of equipment:

1. Distance and Range:  this will as always be subjective as it was not scientifically performed in a lab with a controlled environment.

Escort 8500 X50 (version 6.1) Used in ‘Auto’– Detection range/distance: Ka = 4, K= 4, X= 4, Laser = 2

Escort 9500i (version 1.3) – Used in ‘Auto’– Detection range/distance: Ka = 3, K= 4, X= 4, Laser = n/a (never got hit with laser)

V1 (version 3.8 ) Used in ‘Little "L"’ - Detection Range Distance: Ka = 5, K = 5, X = 5, Laser = 3

Bel STi (this is the 2nd one I have had this summer, the first one was quirky and had power issues) – Used in ‘Auto’ - Detection Range Distance: Ka = 4.5, K = 4 (from first detector), X = 3, Laser = 2

2. Filtering and ramp-up: I tied to drive the same roads at the roughly same time of the day to simulate similar conditions. Obviously it won’t be identical and will be subjective.

Escort 8500 X50 - Overall 4. The filtering on Auto was good, many of the ‘X’ detections that came up in Highway mode were eliminated in Auto mode. The ramp up was nice and pretty smooth, but still slower than the V1.

Escort 9500i (version 1.3) Overall 3. The filtering was so-so, unpredictable. It worked great one day. And then the 2nd day in the same location it was not filtering on ‘Auto’. Ramp up was the same way. Some days it was smooth and sometimes it went from nothing to full alert.

V1 – Overall 4. The filtering on Auto was not as good as I expected and many of the ‘X’ detections that came up on highway also came up on Auto Mode.  The ramp up was much faster and smoother than the Escort 8500.

Bel STi - Overall 4. The filtering was excellent on Auto and most of the ‘X’ detections that came up on highway were eliminated on Auto. The ramp up was the slowest of the 3.

3. My conclusions: All four of these radar detectors are considered best of class from each manufacturer. Luckily I needed 2 new radar detectors this summer and 3 of the 4 offered 30-day try them out return policies so at worst I was out the $$ for the month. It provided me a good opportunity to try out some ideas and see what I liked best.

I ended up Keeping the Bel STi (2nd one) for myself and the Escort 8500 x50 for my wife. 

The V1 was definitely superior in all K, Ka, X and Laser detection. But I found myself frustrated by the amount of falses and the lack of filtering. Now this is a good thing and a a bad thing. Some people like to hear every alert around, unfortunately I don’t. The arrows were great. But I found myself looking at the arrows and looking around more which meant I wasn’t looking at the road as much. So to me this was a fun distraction, but still a distraction. V1 provided me a 100% refund and was amazing to work with.

The Escort 9500i was a huge disappointment. I thought this detector would be the coolest thing since sliced bread. The GPS function never seemed to remember the spots you ‘locked’ in. The screen was hard to read and several of pixels in the screen were dead (great for a brand new product). The laser detection either never worked or I never got hit. I got hit in the same location from the same cruiser 2x with the other detector. When the filtering worked, it worked well. But maybe it was just not working. I am not sure. But it did not install any confidence or trust. Escort was reluctant to provide me the refund even know that advertise that they will. My CC company took care of getting the credit from Escort. Customer service was sub-par and hold times were over the top (20+ min).

The Bel STi was very quiet on auto and very active on highway. On highway mode it is ‘chatty’ like the V1, but the filtering is definitely superior. It seemed to lack the total detection range of the V1 but it was just by a small margin. Overall it was exactly what I was looking for. The construction and quality is very good. The first Bel STi I purchased had power issues and was shutting off un-expectedly.  Bel customer service was so-so as they are the same company as Escort. But they did replace the detector with a new one, so I was happy.

The 8500 x50 is very similar to the Bel Sti. The filtering is almost as good, but I think the laser range is better than the Bel Sti. But still not on par with the V1 for laser detection. But the Ka range was just behind the Bel STi. 
 
I was not worried as much about the laser detection as I have a Blinder M25 setup coming that I will be testing out.  With these radar detectors once you have picked up laser you are pretty much locked on by the officer anyways. There really is no time to react and correct your speed.

Here is the price break down:


V1 -  $399 + $6.50 Shipping
Bel STi - $449 + 15 shipping
Escort 8500 x50 - $299 + $15 shipping (red version, blue is $20-30 more)
Escort 9500i - $449 + $15 shipping 

« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 10:40:01 PM by Eric18T »

Eric18T

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one last thing. The Bel STi is undetectable by the Spectra Detector Detectors. It is the only model on the market that is stealth. It is not a big deal here in CO though.

Rocky Mountain Club B5


ColoradoB5

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Excellent writeup, Eric. I am going to make this a sticky.
You can't rehabilitate a fire ant.

Cole

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Did you program the V1 with the K auto-mute feature or turn X and/or "pop" off?

Programing the V1 will change its' falsing dramatically!

Cole Ford
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Eric18T

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Did you program the V1 with the K auto-mute feature or turn X and/or "pop" off?

Programing the V1 will change its' falsing dramatically!

Pop Off =  yes. I did not program any special features. I used the Little "L" mode which should eliminate some of the falses.  I didn't change the programing on any of them. I ran them using the factory programs. Every model has little features that can be programed in to help with this or that. Honestly i wanted to see how they all were out of the box and which ever ones i kept i would fiddle with after.  My thought is the basic program should do a comparable job to competition on a similar setting. 

I really did like the V1, but it was just too busy for me. The Bel STi gave very similar distances with less misc falsing. The arrows were the best part of the V1, but they were distracting to me.

Lots of personal preference plays into picking which ever model you end up using. I don't feel anyone can go wrong with any of these models. I think after a few more revisions the 9500i might be worth playing with again.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 10:46:07 PM by Eric18T »

Cole

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The K band automute makes the V1 almost totally silent when driving around Denver. It mutes up to 30seconds of low level K band noise. You can set it to alert you when the signal gets stronger than 4-6 bars and longer than a certain time interval.

The programing of the V1 makes a HUGE difference in its overall usefulness. Try searching radardetectors.net for more information.

Cole Ford
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Cole

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Here is the link on the V1 site. Kinda hard to find.

http://www.valentine1.com/lab/MikesLabRpt3.asp

Cole Ford
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SweetVW

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Hmmmm?  Very interesting Cole.  I was unaware of this.  I have not been to the Valentine site since buying mine.
If it ain't broke, take it apart and fix it!

Cole

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This section

and this section are the ones you want.



Makes a HUGE difference around town.

Cole Ford
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kt037

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i use the escort 8500 for my commute,

K-band is a little obnoxious on the highway, because the programmable construction signs; the DoT fueling station; the big warning signs that tell you when there are accidents ahead or flash "keep right except to pass", are all run oin the K-band and set it off.....

oh and state patrol likes to hide near the DoT fueling station.... (near larkspur on 25 N-bound east side of the road)

oh and the sports authority's door in s-denver just off the highway, always kicks on the X-band warning.

no tickets yet, but a couple close calls, where others got a ticket because they didnt slow down when i did. overall i am happy.
OT DISH?-----> nope!
and YES I KNOW I CAN NOT SEPLL!!!!