Laser and Radar
What Laser and Radar Detectors Are Recommended?
The Valentine One detector is extremely sensitive and indicates both the number and direction of radar sources. The new Valentine One has these improvements over the last version:
- Rear laser detection
- ncreased X and Ka sensitivity
- Mode memory (starts up in previously selected filter mode)
- Visual band alert (X, K, KA, Laser visual display)
The number for Valentine Research is 1-800-331-3030. Cost is $399 ($5 shipping) for the Valentine One with the Laser Detection feature. There is also a concealed display kit for $69 ($4 shipping). It is only available direct from Valentine and they are not willing to offer group purchase discounts.
Cordless detectors give very poor performance compared to all others. To conserve power they only look for radar every few seconds (called a sleep mode - all brands do this) and their sensitivity to incoming signals is poor. If you plug them in you can improve the performance and end the sleep mode but none of them are as good as a "regular" detector.
As far as anyone has been able to determine, the Lidatek Laser Echo Jammer is the only laser jammer that works. 888-543-2835.
[GM] I ordered the memory mode adapter for my V1. This allows older units to remember the mode they are in when switched off.
The first unit I received did not work so I sent it back. The second unit I received did not work either. Since I know Valentine has good quality control that seemed odd to me. I phoned and asked to speak to a tech. He informed me that some upgrade units have the labels reversed and I should try reversing the phone jacks (there is one for the main unit and one for an accessory). I followed his suggestion and the unit worked fine. After 5 years of pushing a button to switch modes at power up I'm pleased to not have to do that anymore.
If you get this upgrade and it doesn't work, try switching the phone jacks.
[JS] I have used the Valentine for years. My unit also has the updated electronics. I was running the unit from the cig lighter and installed on the dash. I had a number of experiences that suggested reduced detection in my NSX (speeding with another car...suddenly the other car drops back....no detection on my unit but a cruiser 1/4 to 1/2 mi ahead). I was also getting a number of false laser signals.
I returned the unit to valentine research. Evidently, Acuras can have a voltage output that is very, very slightly reduced compared to other models, but enough to cause quirky performance of the V1. They re-programmed the unit for Acura and I have had no problems since.
[DJS] The Valentine 1 truly is worth it.
- The June issue of Automobile Magazine conducted a review of a host of different radar and laser detectors. Once again the V1 came out on top. For one test, a course was mapped out on a stretch of Colorado highway.. about 10,000 feet long... this was thought to be long enough for the detectors that were being tested. The course had to be extended to 45,000 feet to reach the maximum range of the V1. It was also noted that the V1 was the only detector that could consistently, effectively listen around corners for radar. This is VERY important. Basically.. the V1's performance is without equal. The only bitch the magazine really had with the V1 was with respect to its ergonomics. It isn't as sleek or pretty looking as the competition.. but.. performance wise it kicks booty.
- The V1 is upgradeable. Your investment is protected. As the new capabilities and technologies come out.. you can continue to upgrade your V1 due to its modular design. Valentine Research recently came out with a new faceplate design and some revisions to the firmware. I'm sending my unit in to be updated accordingly.
- While a lot of units "claim" 360 degree protection.. it is the unique indicator lights on the Valentine that really make this a powerful feature. I know exactly from what direction my radar target is approaching, I know how many targest there are... I know which direction has the stronger target and I can weed out the false signals from the potential real onces with intelligent muting controls.
Almost all radar detectors will leak radiation. That is because they are not shielded. The Valentine 1 is a shielded unit. This does two things that are VERY important for us.
- The shielding prevents the detection of the presence of the V1 in your car by law enforcement. It is possible to detect the presence of radar detectors in cars and in some places.. the use of radar detectors is illegal.. like.. Canada. the shielded V1 gets around this problem. This is one of the reasons the V1 is not as sleek looking as the competition.. the other reason is the V1 is a modular design that can be upgraded.
- Because the V1 is shielded and will not leak radiation, it is much more useful when driven in a caravan. Traditional detectors have problems when used in caravan driving formation... as they can be set off by each other. There have been plenty of instances in caravans (most notably, SoCal NSX's infamous "CanyonBall Run" events) where other members using lesser detectors are reading all kinds of weird alerts and my V1 is keeping quiet and ignoring all the B.S.
[JM] I went through about two years ending this January with a routine of picking up a new radar detector from Circuit City every time I took a road trip, using it for 2-7 days and then returning it. That was a lot of radar detectors 'tested'.
They all sucked, including the Unidens I had used for many years, except the top-of-the-line BEL-Tronics 845STi, which was just OK.
Then my brother let me drive back from DC to NC with the V-1. Blew right past plenty of VG-2-equipped units safely the whole trip--no surprises with instant on either, where the V1 was the ONLY unit that consistently picked up the hits to cars ahead before I got zapped. Do yourself a favor and spend the right $400.
[CJB] So I was driving back from LA on Highway 5 over the weekend. It was very crowded so I needed to drive at a good clip in the open areas to make up time. Right as I went under a overpass, by V1 started going nuts, pointing behind me. I SLAMMED on the brakes to get it down to 70 and looked in by rear-view. I saw a CHiP getting on the freeway to come and get me. I stuck the CC on and took the Radar Detector down and put it under the passenger seat and waited. He trailed me for about 10 minutes (hiding behind cars, but I KNEW he was back there), then passed me giving me a evil eye. Trust me, that would have been a EXPEN$IVE ticket! The $400 is WELL WORTH the money! Thanks again V1!
[SA - 99/8/7] V1 saves the day -- again. Cruising wide, smooth, two lane roads along the St. Croix river between Duluth and Mpls. Behind a Harley going 45-50 in a 55 zone. Can't pass for a couple miles. See my opening. Drop to second, then third, let off as I approach 100. Two cars crest a hill about 1/2 mile ahead. My V1 gives me a low to moderate instant on signal. Standing on the brakes, I try to pick out if one of then is the cop. I could be toast. I am now at 55 as a third car crests the hill -- the patrolman. I take full brunt of his Ka signal as I cruise at 55. I LOVE MY V1
[CSK - 99/8/8] I've only had my V1 about a month but can definitely second your emotion. It's given me plenty of solid long-range warning to rein things in a bit. Even Joyce is a believer since we drove up to Albuquerque (in the van, though) last weekend. Got home (~225 miles) in about 2-1/2 hours--not a typo--including a gas stop, giving the slip to three smokies wanting to tag someone. (Even waved at one: what the hey, we were at the limit by then!) Now I've discretely installed phone cords in all three vehicles so I can just plug the V1 in whatever I happen to be driving that day.
[[email protected] - 2000/4/13] I bought three Laser Echo's just before Christmas (one for myself and two as presents). One was faulty on delivery so it was returned. Despite an e-mail from Chris Smith at Lidatek saying they were going to send a new one, nothing has been received. This has now been going on for four months and they don't answer their phones or response to mails. The product may be good but the customer service is terrible.
[Update] I still haven't had any contact from Lidatek, I have attached the last mail that they sent to me. Obviously I haven't received anything.
From: [email protected]
To: Stephen Lindsey/GBR/CST
Date: 05/03/2000 15:27
Subject: Re: Urgent - faulty laser echo
dont worry im sending you a new one right now
Valentine 1 Programming
Information available at http://www.valentine1.com/lab/mikesLabRpt5.asp
Discount Valentine 1
Valentine only sells their radar/laser detectors direct, so there is no "shopping around" for pricing.
[BM] There is only one way to get a deal unless you buy one used from someone else.... Valentine. Remember, they offer a money back guarantee. Some people do send them back, fools that they are. I just asked for one of those. Same warranty, etc. Saved about 20%.
[CSK - 99/7/24] Please be aware that tinting your windows somewhat reduces the effectiveness of radar/laser detectors like the Valentine 1. So keep them eyeballs peeled and watch your six!
Do Laser/Radar Jammers Work?
Theory of Jamming
You cannot just blow by cops at 150. They could cite you visually etc. The idea is to detect them and jam them while you get slowed down, then turn the jammer off and let them acquire your car at a (reasonably) legal speed. As radar/laser makes mistakes, hopefully they think the problem is with their unit. And because they know there are thousands of drivers speeding, they just wait for the next sucker. Also, you don't want a jammer that allows you to "dial up" a certain speed. The cops are trained observers. If you are going 90, but his radar says a constant 55, he KNOWS he's being jammed right away. The better units simply shut down the gun by confusing it with random signals.
Because radar is a 50 year old technology, it is kind of imprecise. Therefore jamming is tough, you need a wide bandwidth and a fair amount of power. None of the "passive" jammers do anything. These are sold mainly by Rocky Mountain Radar. Basically a box with a power jack and an LED, this is a great business. Active jammers are big and heavy. The only one I know of that works is made by or called the Voodoo. It used to be called the Stealth VRCD. That's what I have. Even though it jammed well at first, I tested it a year later and found it had drifted (helps to have a Ducati-riding police friend), so I returned it for adjustment. It also sets off detectors, but only every minute or two. That makes it hard to use. I rate this unit fair to good. It costs about $600. Remote Systems makes a unit that operates in both "one speed" and random jamming modes but I have no experience with it. I did test the Interceptor unit and it did not jam police radar.
Laser is a highly precise technology. That makes it easier to jam. Passive devices like license plate covers only reduce the range of the gun, aren't really worth it. The K40 license frame with infrared diodes works on the same idea, does not fully jam the gun. The Lidatek Laser Echo completely shuts down the police laser gun. This unit is excellent and highly recommended if you live in a high laser state like Ohio. There is a small laser transmitter that mounts on the plate or the front of a car, and a computer that goes inside the car. The unit is fully automatic - it detects the police beam and fires back. An alarm goes off in the car. It shuts down automatically after 5 seconds. Again, you want this to happen. If you do the math you see the jammer offers about 600 feet of protection at 80mph. This is fine because the police fire from a distance of about 700-900 feet.
Note that the unit offers less protection at slower speeds. If you're going 40mph you have only 400 feet of protection. If the officer was smart he could get a 2nd hit off you while you were still far enough away. He must do this manually. At higher speeds when jamming stops you are too close for a 2nd hit off your car. Lidatek advertises in Car & Driver and other auto mags. The computer can accept up to 3 transmitters. You can put one on the rear, or two on the front for large vehicles (SUV's etc.). The unit with one transmitter costs $380. For more info see the January 97 Roundel magazine, pg. 44. I have no association with Lidatek.
Radar absorbing paint and bras never caught on because the radiator is the biggest reflector of radar energy in most cars. After that comes the headlight reflectors then the license plate. Driving with your high beams on emits enough infrared energy to reduce a laser gun's range by 50% or better.
All detectors except the Valentine 1 transmit (leak) some energy.
Even with the power turned off, some detectors and all jammers keep the local oscillator* energized because its the best way to ensure the output frequency does not drift due to heat. Detector-detectors look for the output of this device. They work REAL well according to my experiences in Canada. The Valentine 1 is the only detector that is properly shielded and will not set off a detector-detector (the dreaded VG-2) at close range.
*This oscillator provides the detector with a reference signal. All detectors work by comparing the reference to other signals it receives and sounding an alert when it sees a match.
[AV] Carl Fors of Speed Labs has a website and you can order the video from there: http://www.speedlabs.com/
[DG - 99/2/16] The Laser Blinder does what it says...
So I'm zooming along in the middle lane on my way to Maryland today, doing maybe 80. On the median, I see an officer standing outside his car, aiming his laser gun at me. It takes me a few moments to realize what's happening, and to slow down. As I drive by (now doing about 70) I see him pointing his laser device at the ground and shaking his head: it looks as though he got NO reading, even though he had a clear shot at me.
Hehehehe, ain't technology grand? The Laser Blinder does exactly what it's supposed to do -- make you invisible to laser! Not a cheap solution, but well worth it for those of us who travel in states that use this nasty form of speed measurement...
I saw this gizmo at NSXPO '98, where Carl Fors of Speed Measurement Laboratories said it really works. So, I bought one from a vendor at the event. You can get info on the Laser Blinder M-06 HP at:
And you can buy it online for $299 here:
[STH - 99/03/29] Just wanted to let you know about the bad experience I have had so far with trying to do business with LaserStealth that sells the Blinder Laser Jammer. Ever since a fellow NSX'er (Don Gallo??) posted his impressions of the unit on the Digest, I have been trying to get it through the http://www.laserstealth.com web site. These people are unresponsive to e-mails in a timely fashion, give excuses upon excuses why my unit which my credit was charged for on 2/19/99 is still not delivered to me. I would seriously think twice about doing business with them.
[CA - 99/03/29] You too eh? I ordered my Jammer about a month ago and am now to the point of writing "deliver or give my money back" letters, I havd had a couple replies of someone screwing up the orders and he is now gone type verbiage, but I don't buy it, if you get a number Thomas, let me know and we can conference each other in. You can also use my name for reference as well. I am very disappointed.
[BHU - 99/3/30] I bought one after NSXPO last year and YES, they do work, saved me twice so far.
[KKA] A friend of mine had the misfortune of having to order his second V1 a few months back, since the first one got stolen. He mentioned this to them, and they looked up his original serial number in their customer database and said they'd add it to their list of stolen detectors. Apparently if someone sends a V1 back for repairs/upgrades they always make sure it isn't one they know is hot.
What's my point? When buying used, you might get the serial number from the seller and give Valentine a quick call to see if it's in their database of stolen units. I think I'd be pretty darn suspicious of anyone who wouldn't tell me the serial number of something he/she's trying to sell me.
[Anonymous - 99/8/25] Re: the "Stolen Detector?" FAQ, this is quite correct. I actually recovered an Escort in this way. I reported it as stolen at the time, and two years later, Escort called me with it. I had to send them a copy of the police report, but once they had that, they shipped it right back to me, with information on the person who'd submitted it to them for repair sent to the police department (not to me).