Speed limits are one of the common topics that comes up in motorist circles. Violation of these laws is not only fraught with a fine, but is also the most common cause of death and injury on the road in any country. The police use radar to monitor whether drivers are following the speed regulations in a particular area.
Among the car accessories that can be bought on the market, there is a device that can detect that a scanner is working nearby and alert the motorist. The Avtotachki editors only advocate compliance with traffic rules, but since all kinds of radar detectors are offered to motorists, it is worth figuring out what kind of devices they are, how they work, and how to choose them correctly.
What is a radar detector?
Before considering the features of devices from this category, it is worth clarifying that not all motorists knowingly violate speed limits. Although the driver is responsible for complying with all the rules, it is not uncommon for him to get distracted from the dashboard and unknowingly exceed the speed limit. When the device for automatic detection of violations is triggered or is stopped by a policeman, it is impossible to prove that an accidental misunderstanding has occurred. For these reasons, some decide to buy a device that warns about verification.
For many motorists, radar detector and radar detector are interchangeable concepts, but this is far from the case. Here's the difference between these devices:
- Antiradar. When the device picks up the signal from the speed scanner, it creates a return noise that prevents an adequate determination of the real speed of the vehicle. Europe has long banned the use of such devices. If the car is equipped with it, the driver will receive a fine without warning.
- Radar detector. Unlike the previous version, this device only determines whether the speed radar is nearby or not. It does not emit any signals. The device is equipped with a signal that notifies the driver about speed control. Often, it is triggered at a sufficient distance for the car to slow down before the radar detects a violation. This popular device is also prohibited in some countries, so before using it, you need to clarify this issue in the traffic rules of a particular state. Sometimes a fine is issued even when the device is in the trunk and not connected.
So, the radar detector only warns the driver that a police radar is working in the area of the device. A warning about "danger" is issued by a characteristic sound signal.
Principle of operation
Each device is tuned to a specific response frequency. It only works to receive signals. There is no emitter in it. Since the device does not in any way affect the operation of police devices and does not interfere with the adequate recording of the behavior of road users, the authorities of a particular country may allow drivers to install such devices. Although official permission cannot be found anywhere, often the absence of a law is regarded by many as permission.
Regardless of the model, all devices are equipped with a main unit, which has its own mode of operation and records the corresponding signals. The block is tuned to a specific frequency range. If a signal appears in this range, the device issues a tracking device alert.
Types of radar detectors
All equipment from this category can be conditionally divided into two types, which will work in their range or will differ from each other in the type of signal processing. As for the differences in the range of work, there are three main types of devices:
- Tuned to the X band. This is 10525MHz. Such devices are able to identify the oldest radars, which are already rarely used (for example, devices such as the Barrier or Sokol). Anti-radars, as most motorists call them, in this category do not pick up signals from new radars. As for some modern devices, they can be tuned to this frequency.
- Tuned to K-band. In this case, the operating frequency is 24150MHz. Devices with such a mode of operation (have a wide bandwidth within 100 MHz) have a decent range for detecting radar signals. Most modern radar detectors operate in this range.
- Tuned to the Ka range. This is the most advanced technology. The bandwidth in such equipment is about 1300 MHz. Another feature of such devices is that the signal from the radar is captured one and a half kilometers away, which allows the driver to avoid sudden deceleration. True, if equipment is sold on the market with the "Super Wide" marking (indicates that the device operates in this range), then this is an unlicensed product, because it has not yet passed certification.
Another innovative development should be mentioned separately. These detectors are capable of recognizing signals from laser scanners. True, such products will cost a lot of money, which is why they are not popular in the countries of the post-Soviet space.
As for the principle by which the signal is processed in the block, there are three types of devices:
- Analog. This type of radar detector is already obsolete. They have many disadvantages, including a small range, as well as the ability to pick up a lot of extraneous signals. Often, such devices recognize other signals, such as the operation of a scanner, due to which the driver is constantly falsely notified of the presence of a radar on the road.
- Digital. The most modern devices are distinguished by high processing speed of the incoming signal. They are equipped with microprocessors, and the receiver is triggered at the greatest distance. The device also filters out false signals, so that it is triggered only when the car enters the radar range.
- Hybrid. This is the most common modification today. Such a device is inexpensive, but the number of false positives is minimized. Incoming signals are processed quickly, which allows the driver to reduce the vehicle speed in advance.
What is a good radar detector?
The most important parameter that determines a reliable radar detector is the ability to determine the maximum number of radar models. Ideally, everything. For this reason, you should focus on a model that works in the ranges mentioned above. The choice should not be stopped at the most budget option. A low-cost device will recognize a small number of speedgun modifications.
The second factor that characterizes the device as effective is the number of false positives. When the track is clear and the device constantly signals the presence of radars, the driver can relax and begin to ignore the real warning. Some models have signature mode. It is a kind of memory for signals not typical for radars (for example, when a car drives past buildings with automatic doors).
Many manufacturers of modern detectors prescribe the signatures of different broadcasting devices so that car accessories can recognize which signal is being sent to the receiver. Police radars also have their own distinctive characteristics. Each model has its own unique character of work, thanks to which the detectors can recognize even modifications of the scanners. An excellent option from this category is from the Neoline company. The model is called X-COP 7500s.
The third parameter to be guided by is the presence of the gps module. The peculiarity of this modification is that, in addition to the signal detector, the location of stationary points for photo-video recording of violations is programmed in the unit memory. The wireless sensor detects its position on the map and warns the driver that he is approaching the control point.
This function turns out to be practical in the case of checkpoints that are located at a certain distance from each other. In such cases, speed measurements can be made not using signal emissions at a specific frequency, but through photographing vehicles at each checkpoint. If the car has covered the distance faster than expected, the driver will receive a "letter of happiness".
The price of such a device will not necessarily be high. One of the budget options is the Signature Excellent model from the SHO-ME brand. The location of the stationary control points is stitched in the block's memory. When purchasing this device, you should clarify which card is downloaded in it, so that it does not work out that in a particular country the device will not provide high-quality warnings about stationary posts.
Construction: which is better?
Automotive radar detectors are available in three versions:
- In the form of a monoblock. All elements of the device are located in one housing, which is usually fixed on the dashboard or in the area of the rear-view mirror. Some models have a small screen, which in parallel can function as a video recorder.
- A device consisting of separate units. There are usually two of them. One contains all the sensors, a receiver and a control unit, and the other contains a camera (if the recorder function is additionally used), a screen and a control panel for setting the desired mode.
- Combined design. If the previous types of devices may not have a video recorder function, then the combined models are necessarily equipped with it. The price of such modifications is higher, since the recording device must have advanced functions and a high-quality camera. The above-mentioned Neoline company offers a good modification of the combined device - the X-COP 9300c model.
Mounting method: scotch tape or suction cups?
The fixing of the device depends on how actively the detector is used. So, when a driver drives around a familiar city, especially if it is a metropolis, then he can already learn all the stationary places of fixing offenses. There can be so many radars in such an area that the sensor will beep throughout the entire trip, which is very annoying.
Such motorists usually plug in the device when they go on a long trip through unfamiliar cities. The point of a stationary attachment disappears when such a trip is planned once a year.
There are three types of mounts that are used in this type of equipment:
- Sucker. This clip is commonly used for windshield mounting. Some motorists do not use the elements included in the kit, because they do not hold well, especially in the heat, and buy a better analogue. The disadvantage of these types of mounts is that with strong shaking, which is not so uncommon when driving on modern roads, the device can fall and be damaged. Another disadvantage - usually such models are equipped with a special bracket, which often looks too bulky.
- Double-sided tape. This type provides a permanent fixation of the detector housing. It is better to use this method if there is an additional casing into which the device is inserted. This allows the accessory to be removed when the car is left in an open, unguarded parking lot.
- Anti-slip mat. It is not uncommon to find multifunctional rugs in car accessories stores. They can be used for mobile phones as well as for the devices in question. Despite the ease of installation, this latch has a significant drawback - when turning, the inertia force will do its job, and the detector may fall and break. But to use the device, you do not need to spoil the interior design - there are no protruding brackets and covers. Plus, you can choose the color of the rug to match the interior style. A similar material should be used in models of machines, the panel of which has flat horizontal surfaces.
Main functions: what are needed?
This parameter directly depends on what devices the police use in a particular area, as well as on the material capabilities of the car owner. It is quite obvious that with increasing functionality of the device, its price will increase. If there is no experience in using such accessories, you need to focus on the feedback of experienced motorists.
All detectors are conventionally divided into three categories in terms of functionality:
- Simple modification. Basically, such devices look like a small flat box with a couple of buttons for setting, as well as a strip with indicators of different colors. As you get closer to the place of fixing the speed, more and more LEDs will light up. In parallel, many devices emit a beep.
- Middle class. In addition to the basic functions, the device has a small screen that displays settings positions or information about the approach to the radar.
- In more advanced modifications, the manufacturer adds monitoring of the current transport speed and permissible on a specific site. Other options are already left to the discretion of the brand. The driver himself can determine whether he needs such functions or not.
Most detectors have a button to turn off the sound notification, as well as a speed mode switch, for example, when a driver leaves the city, he is allowed to move at a higher speed, so he switches to track mode so that the device notifies about approaching the radar much earlier than in city.
As with any car product, auto detectors can be cheap, expensive, and mid-range. Here's what to expect from each individual category:
- The budget version is equipped with a minimum set of functions, and the range of operation is limited only by the main radars, which usually operate at the same frequency. Such devices are unable to detect the modern equipment that is increasingly appearing in the arsenal of the police. Examples of detectors in this category are models from Crunch (Korean production) or Whistler. When planning the purchase of this modification, you should expect that its cost will be within 150 dollars.
- Average price category. For such devices, it will already be necessary to pay from 200 to 500 USD. In addition to the extended functionality, the user will also pay for the name of the company, because there is little trust in unknown brands, and those that have already established themselves on the market set their own price bar. Most popular are various modifications of Stinger or Beltronics.
- Advantage segment. Among the products in this price range there will be models with the maximum set of functions. It should be admitted that even if a motorist is ready to pay about a thousand dollars for the purchase of such a radar detector (and even more for the most exclusive options), then some options remain unused. But they perfectly filter out extraneous signals and promptly warn the driver about the checkpoint. In addition, they can be reflashed under the new police radars that have appeared.
Notification distance: what should it be?
In addition to qualitatively determining the radar signal, the detector must warn the driver about the check in advance. Therefore, when deciding on the device model, you should pay attention to this parameter.
Usually, when the "track" mode is on, the driver is notified 500 meters or a kilometer before the fixing point. Even if the driver has slightly exceeded the speed, this distance is enough for the motorist to slow down.
The real "problem" for violators is radars, which record the speed of retreating vehicles. In this case, most detectors do not work, since the signal is not directed towards the receiver. Such a model of radars was introduced to calculate the violation of the speed limit by motorcyclists whose license plate is located at the back, so they do not care about frontal speedguns.
Here is a ranking of popular brands that offer quality radar detectors:
- Top two companies open - Cobra, Whisler. Their products are premium class.
- Valentine One, Escort and Beltronics are also considered whales in this area. These companies have been developing such equipment for a long time, thanks to which each model has the functionality that the driver really needs, and also has high reliability. The only drawback is the rather high price.
- Devices from Supra, Sho-Me and Crunch are very popular. These radar detectors have a good price-performance ratio.
- Of the less expensive options, the products of Neoline, SilverStone F1 and Park City are of good quality.
- Modifications from Inspector and Karkam are popular among domestic equipment.
Concluding the review, it is worth paying attention to one more question: is it worth purchasing a budget detector model? In this case, the answer is unequivocal: no. The reason for this is the low probability of being able to expand the range of the device. When the police switch to new radars, most detectors simply stop working, and there is no way to update them.
For this reason, it is better to dig a little and buy a more expensive model. Well, the most reliable radar detector is driver attentiveness and strict adherence to traffic rules.
Here is a short video review of several popular radar detector modifications: