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Old 09-27-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
kenliu84
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Default Radar Detector Mount on headliner

So I've been trying various radar detector mounting locations and mounts in my car the last year. I have an Escort Passport X50. I first tried out the somewhat popular location of right above the rearview mirror, I've seen this in a couple of posts on NASIOC:



It didn't work because it straight up did NOT detect anything, specifically laser, as that is what Hawaii PD likes to use. I was driving up this highway and I could see the cop on his bike shooting his laser gun at me a good 1/4 mile away. My detector did not go off at all, all the way up to the cop and passing him - I was stunned. I'm sure it had to do with that factory sunlight "blocker" right on the windshield above the mirror. It also didn't help that I had 5% tint above the AS1 line on my windshield.

Then I found out that some company came up with the big suction cup mount for the Escort detectors; you know the same or similar types of big suction cups found with GPS nav systems. It worked like a charm; I was able to place it on the windshield so that the detector is right below the AS1 line so that you can't really see it from the front unless you're really close to the car. It was a stealthy setup. However, after about 3 months, it failed. The spring that creates the suction became really weak. It made sense as well because of the design - the radar detector was essentially extended out like an arm so you can imagine the amount of torque this placed on the suction cup, especially going over big bumps. Well, I decided to try it again and it failed on me again at the exact same timeframe of use - 3 months. It cost $25 each with shipping.

I was really fed up so I decided to build my own mounting bracket. Here are the pictures from start to finish:

So I used two T brackets, one I beat the crap out of into the shape I needed, the other I dremeled. Not all bolts and nuts used are shown


Some profile pictures





Test fitting the detector and mount. I want just slightly below the AS1 line and angled slightly towards the passenger side



The guts of the detector are showing because I removed them in prep. for painting then I realized I should take a few photos first

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Last edited by kenliu84; 09-27-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:52 AM   #2
hybrid gti 2
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What about magnets under the headliner?
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:54 AM   #3
kenliu84
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Now I wasn't going to leave the bracket all shiny, I had to make it stealthy. I also decided to paint the detector as well.


Finished product




The Cockpit!


Well, I'm really happy with the way it came out. I'll have to find some gray plastic caps and block off the ugly holes from my first mounting location that I mentioned above. All you'll need is a pair of T brackets and bolts, nuts and washers. Choose your nuts and washers carefully depending on where they will be used - lock or flat washers, nylon lock or plain nuts. For a cleaner install, 'hybrid gti 2' mentioned using magnets behind the roof liner which is a really good and clean install idea.

Tools you'll need:
- drill: the holes in the vertical lines of the T bracket aren't exactly what you'll use
- dremel
- hammer: for beating the headliner bracket into the shape you need
- blowtorch: can help with the hammer
- vice grips: for holding the brackets
- screwdriver
- wrenches of right size

I also wired everything according to the following ghetto ppt-made picture:


If you look at my cockpit picture above, you'll see there are two LEDs above and between my tachometer and speedometer; that's the smartcord that came with the detector. I just broke the cigarette lighter body, removed the inside chip, drilled holes in the gauge cluster molding, stuck the two LEDs in there and used a glue gun to keep it together. Purpose of this is for visual purposes, incase I have music playing and I can't hear the detector.

The direct wire power cord device is placed inside the shift boot area. I simply glue gunned it in there. I got this idea from some thread floating around here on the forums. Here's a picture:


Everything is powered via the direct wire power cord tapped into the cigarette lighter. For the phone splitter and phone line, make sure you get ones that run 4 wires, not 2. Here are some pictures:



Many thanks to those that posted their setups that inspired me to do a really good setup. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Last edited by kenliu84; 09-27-2010 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:57 AM   #4
kenliu84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hybrid gti 2 View Post
What about magnets under the headliner?
LOL you beat me to reserving a spot

Oh I see what you mean. Not a bad idea! Might be a little more difficult to blacksmith the T bracket into the right position but it should work for a much cleaner install.

Last edited by kenliu84; 09-27-2010 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:16 PM   #5
LGT+WRX
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Looks great!

That's an awesome DIY!

But in terms of your encounter......

You're partially right. Mike Valentine likes to say that even the most "transmissive" windshield is still akin to putting a pair of sunglasses on, when it comes to LASER detection - and that's only worsened by the addition of tint (and, to a certain degree, some of us also suspect that the density of the "sun dots" matrix could potentially serve as a visual impairment, if the situation's just right). So, yes, your high-to-headliner mounting position, given the visual "darkening" of the tint and stipples, certainly could have led to the failure-to-detect scenario you just mentioned.

But there's more to consider than that, too.

Let's first continue to tackle your past (and current) mounting position as the possible culprit in your failure scenario.

In visualizing the outgoing LASER beam diverging as a "cone" (the actual shape is dependent on the specific device used), and in assuming the typical divergence of 3 milliradians, we're left with the reasoning behind what's typically known as "the 18-inch rule" rule-of-thumb governing receiver placement for active LASER jammers. But we need not take it that far, since all we're concerned about is absolute detection - so we can assume that even if the slightest incoming is detected, the detector should have reported: so let's just double that figure, and go with the 36-inches, at 1000 ft.

Take a tape-measure, and see where the bottom-most cut-off is - both 18 and 36-inches, and given your detector placement both then and now: my bet is that this enforcer is an experienced enforcer, and chose to specifically engage your vehicle's lower front hardpoints, which led to the beam simply being out of receptive range by your high-mounted detector, and that given the worst of the two scenarios, at 18-inches, that your detector, even as it is mounted now, may present with a "miss."

[ Aside: this is exactly what happened in my wife's '09 (SH) Forester XT - the high-mounted detector simply missed the incoming shot from an Ohio State Highway Patrol trap, an LTI Ultralyte (as identified by my Laser Interceptor, which, of course, caught the incoming), also stationed about a quarter-mile away, at time-of-engagement. When I got home, I broke out the yard-stick to confirm my initial thinking: and sure enough, from the detector to the front plate on this vehicle was a large enough spread that a "miss" certainly could have been the result. ]


And given that the beam only gets smaller as you get closer, a miss is going to still be a miss, no matter what....

But there's more to the equation, too.

One big problem is your chosen detector - and before we go any farther, here, let's get it out of the way, right from the get-go: I've been an Escort detector user, exclusively, for nearly the past decade-and-a-half: the detector on my windshield now is a 9500i, and I have a S7-antenna Rev5 x50 that's resident in my wife's car, which I also use as my backup detector...I'm not here to bash Escorts, and instead, am simply relaying facts - none of the Escort in-cabin standalone models are really all that hot, when it comes to LASER detection.

VEIL Guy's 2009 test illustrates this really well:

http://www.laserveil.com/laser/detec...ws-tests-2009/

^ Of that, note, especially, that each detector will have strengths and weaknesses, in terms of detection, versus different types of police LIDAR hardware.

I don't know how old your x50 is, kenliu84, but if yours is of the same vintage as mine (c.2003/4), yours will also not detect, at all, the Laser Atlanta Speedlaser, when operated in Stealth Mode. And while this particular threat/mode is very unlikely to be used, it just goes to show: hardware is an important factor to consider.

If you face a lot of LIDAR, in all honesty, I would pursue front-line active protection. If you don't want to go that far (for whatever reason), I'd max-out passive protection (sadly, this will likely entail at least some level of cosmetic compromise) and/or choose a detector that's better suited for the task at-hand.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
kenliu84
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excellent info LGT+WRX. I didn't know all of that about laser beam width and all. You are correct, Hawaii PD are definitely experienced LIDAR operators. They NEVER use the same spot twice, and if they do, they are just there to keep people in check, they randomly use their equipment.

I understand the limitations of my radar detector. I purchased it back in 2006. I know it's definitely not the best but it was more economical against the V1 back then. It has actually already paid for itself in the amount of times it saved me from high patrol police in a couple of states when I drove from NY to OK. I had it mounted just a little above the dash, like right where the windshield starts. To be honest, I don't remember detecting LASER during this drive. NY, NJ, PA, IL, MO, OK. I might've missed a state or two in between.

I have considered the really advanced LIDAR detection equipment, I don't know specific models but I've seen some at an auto show where there were various detecting devices in the front and rear bumper areas. But, the price is steep, definitely not cheap but understandably so. With things going on in my personal life, I'll have to consider them at a later time.

Cheers.
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:55 PM   #7
LGT+WRX
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^ NP, glad to be of-assistance.

HI is definitely one of those places where you'll need to go all-out in terms of LASER protection. There's actually a good number of LI users (both front and rear equipped) in that area, and they are among the more fanatical members of the RadarDetector.net Forums - as well as they need be, given the type of threats seen there.

With regard to active LIDAR protection - jammers - I agree, the price-of-entry is steep, and in many cases (such as yours), that's made even more steep by the fact that you'll need to seek comprehensive coverage, due to your area's threat level. Certainly, if you can be more careful, that should eliminate/minimize the need for more protection, but I just wanted you to know that there are options out there.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...ghlight=jammer

^
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
kenliu84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LGT+WRX View Post
^ NP, glad to be of-assistance.

HI is definitely one of those places where you'll need to go all-out in terms of LASER protection. There's actually a good number of LI users (both front and rear equipped) in that area, and they are among the more fanatical members of the RadarDetector.net Forums - as well as they need be, given the type of threats seen there.
hey brother, you got me a little confused with the above paragraph. You mentioned HI and then LI, as in Long Island? It seems like you are talking of only HI but the LI threw me off. I am in NY now, was in HI.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
LGT+WRX
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^ Ah, my fault entirely. :redface:

HI - as in Hawaii.

LI - as in "Laser Interceptor."

My sincere apologies...I sometimes forget which Forum community I'm in and end up using abbreviations where I should be more clear, and should've written out the words, long-hand. :redface:
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:02 PM   #10
kenliu84
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Not a problem.

To be honest, i didn't think there was such a big radar detector community in Hawaii, I mean it just isn't that type of place no matter how "western" it has become. There's still the laid back and relax attitude.

But HPD is serious about their traffic enforcement. They don't mess around when it comes to laser.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:55 PM   #11
LGT+WRX
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^

The community is small in number, in an absolute sense, but it is actually bigger than in many of the "bigger" states, and what's more, it's also very active.

Check on RadarDetector.net and on the Laser Interceptor Forums. You'll find some seriously hardcore examples of what's to be had, on the islands.
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