New info on radar detectors

New info on radar detectors

I read the old posts on radar detectors and possible issues with the windshield. Unfortunately, there was a lot of guessing, and not much useful information. I recently purchased the 9500ix, and stuck it to the windshield, center of the car, just above the dashboard (bottom of the glass). It works fine, and seems to give plenty of warning. I can say for sure that the unit sees the GPS signal, the X band, K band, Ka band, and laser (since my detector has reported all of the above during the past week of driving). It is possible that the EZ-pass has some issues that require special mounting just above and to the right of the rear-view mirror (where the black dots are), but that does not seem to be necessary for the frequencies of radiation used by the radar detector. I like to test things, rather than guess. I parked some distance away from a stationary, K-band speed camera source, and then played with the position of the unit on the windshield. I can say that there is no improvement in signal strength when moving it from the center-bottom of the windshield to the "special" location to the right of the rear view mirror. What did affect the strength of the signal was proximity to the glass itself. In other words, the further away from the glass, the less strong the signal, and this affect was significant (I could go from 5 bars to 1 or 2 bars by moving it 18 inches). So the best response (earliest warning) is when the unit is parallel to the road surface, and as close to the glass as possible. I plan to do a few more tests, such as comparing the signal strength when just holding it out the window in the same convenient K-band location - in case the glass is attenuating the signal significantly, but still allowing the unit to function at an overall reduced level.

In any case, it does not seem necessary to get the $2500 custom installation on a unit designed to have the sensors mounted externally as described by a few. But if you have money to burn, why not, since the seamless installation, particularly where they integrated the lights and display into the factory mirror, were pretty darn nice. The only thing that bugs me is that the cord runs down through my beautiful 17" display, and also that if I am stopped, it will be obvious that I have a radar detector. I am thinking about getting the accessory cable for that unit that allows you to tap into switched 12V power where convenient, and enclosing the unit in something custom that looks like a GPS unit instead of a radar detector, and permanently mounting the camouflaged unit near the base of the windshield. If I take the time to do this, I'll post some pics. But for now, I thought I would post my experience so far, since I believe the information posted on this topic is way off base. Please don't respond with "I think it won't see the blah blah signal". Test it. Then report your findings.

nickjhowe | August 28, 2013

Thanks for the update. I've linked to this post and added a few notes to the Model S delivery checklist and owners guide

zero mpg | August 28, 2013

I have a hardwired v1 to the 12v cigarette adapter under/behind the cubby and then did a tuck of the cable under the dash up the pillar and headliner with the mount very tight to where the windshield meets the headliner. The install is very hard to see from outside the car or leaning in the window. I've been pulled over and they didn't see it ... and i concur that all signals, laser, and infrared come through. They have since last October for me.

TommyBoy | August 28, 2013

If you've been pulled over, uh, then how well could it have worked? ;)

howardb33 | November 1, 2013

I am thinking about getting a radar detector. Called valentine1 as I live in Cinci. They said with our metal windshield it will not work.

Called passport 9500ix and they said "we don't know if it will work or not use our 30 day guarantee and test for yourself.

Custom install not an option now as my wife thinks I am spending too much on the car!!

Original post of this thread says it does work I think......

If either does work, could someone post a picture of the place to mount it on front windshield to "make it work".

Was hoping the "blendmount" would work, but I think that got shot down too.

howard in cinci red p85+

GeirT | November 1, 2013

Epoxy glue on the inside of the cone?

Captain_Zap | November 1, 2013


The V1 does work in the Model S, the signal just isn't quite as strong as it would be if the window were not coated. You need to snug the detector up against the windshield because it is really sloped.

I place mine under the rear view mirror so it gets a good shot out the back window too.

PBEndo | November 1, 2013

My 9500ix works just fine. I tapped into the switched power in the rear view mirror stalk and suction-cup mounted it to the windshield as high as possible on drivers side, above the mirror. It is barely visible, and turns on and off with the other accessories.

PBEndo | November 1, 2013

The only problem I have had is my horn will set off the detector on occasion.

mlnewman | November 1, 2013

@pbendo, can you post pics?

howardb33 | November 1, 2013

I am hoping for pictures too. :)

next big question: valentine1 or 9500ix

I guess the blendmount will not work :(

howard cinci red p85+

PBEndo | November 1, 2013

I took some interior pictures. If you don't have a tinted strip at the top of the windshield it is visible from the outside.

I am glad I went with the removeable windshield mount. By the end of this month I will pass 3000 miles logged in 7 loaners. It was nice to be able to move the detector to the loaners.

Here you can see the visor is still functional. Though I can't push it all the way forward, that has never been a problem for me.

PBEndo | November 1, 2013

In case you are wondering, in the pics posted above the device to the passenger side of the mirror is a dashcam, also hardwired.

Here are pictures of the plastic housing on the rear view mirror stalk. It can be pried apart in the middle seam.

Rheumboy | November 1, 2013

My radar detector went off several weeks ago. Mine has a woman's nice voice that said " please pull over soon due to a laser up ahead to receive your speeding ticket". "Also you will need to get your front license plate mounted as we'll". " have a better day". She laying on the side of the road at the 231 mile marker on the 101 near Santa Barbara.

Brian H | November 1, 2013

"Have you got your quota yet?" BLAM! "NOW I HAVE."

howardb33 | November 2, 2013

thanks for the pics

I assume I should get the 9500ix not the valentine1 correct?

howard p85+ in cinci

RomanandKathy | November 2, 2013

I have the 9500ix for about 6 months now in my model S, and purchased an inexpensive windshield mount kit, which is a simple bracket with strong double-sided 3M tape (about $20, ebay). The suction cups hold in most parts of the windshield (other than the bumpy section with black dots (at least on my windshield) above and to the right of the rear view mirror, which is where I wanted to mount my unit. If you do not hard wire it, then you need to deal with the cord dangling down the 17" screen to get to the aux power plug. So, I purchased a very inexpensive permanent wiring kit, which, in retrospect, I could have crimped myself for next to nothing. It is a standard phone plug, with just two of the 4 wires (two inside wires - red and green) used to provide switched 12 volt power and ground. I wanted an inconspicuous location that was also near a source of switched power, so that it would come on and off with the car without needing to hit any buttons. The location I used is very high on the windshield, just to the right of the rear view mirror. You splice into the red and black wires in that location. Just use a plastic knife or similar object to carefully pry apart 4 clips. Using a black phone cord makes the installation look a bit better. No cutting of plastic mirror covers, since the wire can be snuck under the mirror mount when reassembling. You only need to remove the right side of the mirror mount(the part against the glass, not the mirror stalk). The 9500ix can see the GPS signal from that location, and receive X, K, and Ka bands and laser. I found, (per my original post) that it is very important to have the 9500ix touching the glass. The further away, the more you lose signal, very rapidly. I did not measure just how much sensitivity I am losing, even touching the windshield, but holding it out of the window is not an option. But, it seems to work well enough in real world driving conditions to alert you to problems, and is out of the way. I would recommend the 9500ix, mounted in this way, as a reasonably good compromise, although I assume that some amount of sensitivity is lost due to the windshield. No experience with the V1.

gregguy | November 3, 2013

Can anyone please expand on getting power from the mirror?
How do you pull the cover from the mirror.
Direct email is fine

RomanandKathy | November 3, 2013

Someone already posted nice pics of how the mirror housing splits in half (several posts above). My last post tells you which side of the plastic cover needs to be removed (the passenger side). Leaving the driver's side of that assembly in place makes it much easier to re-assemble. As I posted above, you would use something thin, flat, and preferably made of plastic. A screwdriver will work, but you might chew up the edge a bit. It simply splits down the middle like the pictures above. You wedge the tool in, and pry. That's it. Move slowly and carefully. Having a second item (whatever - credit card, etc.) to wedge in to keep it open as you move around the seam helps. Not hard. Be patient. You might try a plastic knife to get it started. If too thick, sand it down. Make your own tool. (I have plastic tools that are used for removing interior trim in vehicles - those worked great - and now scuff marks at all on my trim when I was done).

What you will see when you remove that cover is a wiring harness. There is a red and black wire inside. I'm pretty sure it is only one of each color. That is where you get power from the mirror. You splice into the wires in any one of a number of ways, but the easiest is using a "tap splice connector", which can be purchased at a hardware store, Radio Shack, etc. It is important to get one in the correct wire gauge range, else it may may not bite into the wire correctly. I used "18-14 AWG" (designed for 14, 16, and 18 AWG wire). My guess is that the wires in that harness are 18 AWG. In any case, that created a good connection for me. The red wire goes to power and the black wire to ground for whatever you are powering. In my case, it was basically the 4-wire telephone jack that provides power to the 9500ix, which uses the center two pins of 4 for power and ground. If you are not comfortable crimping a phone jack connection, just buy the kit, like I did. Here is an example:
for $14. Although, you will throw away almost everything in the kit, including most of the chord, since you are tucking it all into the small space behind the mirror mount. As I recall, after cutting the telephone cord that comes with the direct wiring kit to perhaps 6 inches, and soldering on a couple of inches of wire of 18 Awg wire (the telephone wires may be too thin to use the splice kit), the only step that you saved by buying the kit is that the correct two wires of the phone plug are identified for you as hot and ground, you get a black cord (which matches the black plastic in the model S). Really, you can take any old section of phone cord and other than the color of the cord, you are at the same starting place with the $15 kit. Waste of money, in my opinion.

On second thought, although the above sequence is the path I took, it might be easier to cut the red and black wires in half, twist them together with the thin phone cord wires and a small wire nut, and call it a day. I was originally thinking that I wanted to disturb the existing wiring as little as possible, but it's possibly more trouble than it is worth if you don't have a soldering iron or the tap splice connectors at hand. Another path would be to carefully scrape away a bit of the insulation on the red and black wires, solder in your spliced wires, and put a bit of electrical tape on it. Electrical tape is kinda crappy though, because it does not hold up well over time, in areas that get pretty hot. But, even that would likely be fine - I just would rather use heat shrink tubing - but then you need to cut the wires. Lots of options. All will work. If you don't feel comfortable with it, find a friend that works with electronics. It is a very simple task, but may be a bit uncomfortable if you are "learning" on an expensive vehicle that you want to keep looking pristine.

Brian H | November 3, 2013

Comprehensive and generally comprehensible answer. Gude stof.

chord cord, in this context.

PBEndo | November 3, 2013

I used one of these -

No cutting, stripping or twisting or crimping. You just push the pins into the back (where the wire enters) side of the wiring harness plug. Friction holds them in place and you secure the wire with a cable tie. It is also very low profile so it makes it easy to tuck the wires back into the original location and cover with the plastic housing.

RomanandKathy | November 3, 2013

Nice. I missed that. And, the length is more reasonable than the unit I purchased, so you can use it as is without cutting to length and then dealing with how to splice it in. That's clearly easier for most, cheaper, and a nice clean installation. Thanks for sharing. | November 3, 2013

If you are going to be prying things apart, pick up something like these tools to help prevent marring:


stimeygee | November 4, 2013

I tried my Valentine One and it definitely does NOT work. Sure, some radar leaks through a tiny bit (maybe even reflected through the rear or side windows, I don't know.). But it is useless as a duntioning detector.

I wonder - has Tesla started using different windshields or coatings? For those people who do have functioning detectors, what are your approximate Vin #s. Mine is just above 10,000, call it 105XX.

stimeygee | November 4, 2013

"Functioning" in the first paragraph. Or duntioning, I like that too.

CA_Kid | November 4, 2013

In a post above, BlendMount got a response from V1 saying in effect, the film on the front windshield kills laser reception and approx. 90% of radar range.

The biggest feature of the Valentine One as compared to their competition, was that the V1 could report the signal source. Front, back, right or left. Even if you were able to get a little signal from the front by carefully placing the detector near the small black dots, I doubt you would receive any significant signal from the rear or side windows. This dramatically reduces the functionality of that detector in this MS.

While I don't know for a fact, I would surmise that the film everyone is commenting about is on all vehicle glass, to diminish the draw on the A/C during hot weather days.

zero mpg | November 4, 2013

Vin 643, v1 firmware from 7 years ago, all good, upgraded to latest esp firmware to use ipad/iphone app, all good. Detector is mounted where roof meets windshield just left of mirror, not quite touching the windshield. How did you test your v1?

Brian H | November 5, 2013

Supposedly the glass directly under the mirror mount is clear.

KOL2000 | December 17, 2013

I can also confirm zero mpg claim. Mine works too.

togliat | December 17, 2013

Sorry to report my v1 is definitely not as effective on known radar sources as it was in my M3. I am continuing to play with the location and angle. The unit points down when I try to push it into the mount further towards, and closer to, the glass. My results are not as scientific as some of the other posters, I'll admit. But I have been using the v1 for many years.

RomanandKathy | December 18, 2013


I think there are individual definitions of "works" or "does not work". Clearly, there is some compromise with range due to the windshield. And if you feel that getting an earlier warning warrants the cost of the externally mounted units that seem to run about 2 grand, then that would be the best path for you. I have been using the 9500ix, mounted parallel to the road, just to the right of the mirror, right up against the glass, and about 1/2 inch down from the headliner on the display side. I do get all the signals, including GPS and laser, and it works well enough that I receive adequate warning. Of course, you never get enough warning with laser with just a passive sysem. I also get decent warning for the rear facing sensor in that location. It is reasonably well hidden, and I have no complaints. I do not think there is a magical spot on the windshield where the effective range is not affected at all, so it is a matter of degree of effectiveness. But, as I said in earlier posts, moving the unit away from the glass has a very significant effect on detection, with every inch of distance.

There was a recent post where one person mounted the 9500ix to the metal behind the nose cone and used the warnings on the end of the power cord along with moving the speaker inside the car. That is also a clever idea, but I imagine he lost both forward looking laser and all rear facing sensors with that configuration.

murraypetera | December 18, 2013

I mounted the detector in the nose cone.
Escort laser is useless. If you get zapped it is too late. I have blinders on my front license plate.

I seem to get side and rear radar ok but am not so concerned with them since there is not much I can do even if they zap me. Too late. I have to say I do like the escort network with my iPhone. This seems to work well with warning me with speed traps before I hit them.

Perhaps some day states, towns will decide that speed traps are stupid and if the police have nothing better to do then perhaps they should don't need so many police. Do like Germany, design streets for the appropriate speed.

Ps. I am very happy with my remote setup.

ajmail01 | January 15, 2014

Please check my reply here where I self installed a 9500CI display and LED in the mirror, just scroll to the bottom of the page.


PBEndo | June 15, 2014

Here are updated links to the Escort/passport connection wire. The link in my previous post is now broken

PBEndo | June 15, 2014

Actually, neither of those links appear to be the identical product that I used. Mine had flat blades on the ends but those look like just exposed wire (it is hard to tell in the picture). The blade ends are easier to use.

johncrab | June 15, 2014

Thanks for the update and info! I have a 9500 as well. I don't speed intentionally and my driving record bears this out but I like to have some warning as a reminder. I also use the GPS function on some long, downhill stretches to trigger a "speed trap" reminder just to make me look at my speed as I descend. With a performance car like a MS it's even more important to be mindful of one's speed, especially without the rumbles and growls of an ICE as an indication of speed.

I also use it to drop below the posted limit by 2-5mph when radar is detected as a safety buffer. This is due to once being pulled over by an officer who was forced to use an ancient X-band radar which he did not even believe was accurate. It wasn't and he even said so in court. Nice guy though and he acted honorably throughout. I just like to have that margin for error on my side.

nick-r | June 15, 2014

I have an Escort 9500ix, but have to say that since I've been using the Waze app on my phone, there is no longer a need for a radar detector. I configured Waze to use Bluetooth with the car. It warns me of police, road obstructions, and a lot more through the car speakers. It is eerily accurate.

Last week, I drove from Pittsburgh to Cleveland and back, and it told me about every police car on the way, well before a radar detector could have picked them up. I also contribute to Waze while driving. It's hands free.

This is a game changer, and it's free!

msung330 | August 5, 2014

PBEndo, those are some very helpful, fantastic pics, thank you.

Would you mind sharing a bit more info on how you wired two devices to the same switched tap in the mirror housing? Have you had any issues running both devices concurrently since you did the hard-wiring?

Thanks in advance.

PBEndo | August 15, 2014

I actually wired them separately since the dash cam uses 5v, not 12. Since USB also uses 5v, I used a 12v USB adapter to convert the voltage. I disassembled the adapter to reduce the size and make it easier to fit under the headliner. If I didn't already have the adapter, I would have just bought a 12-5v converter. They can be found on Amazon for $5. So the dash cam was a more involved traditional cut-and-splice install. Ultimately though they are attached to the same wire, just at different locations. Combined they draw very little power. I have had no issues with them both running every time the car is on.

PBEndo | October 2, 2014

My thoughts on the windshield affecting the radar detection are inline with TSLA_Long. Mine is mounted in the same spot and it definitely works. It may not works as well as it would behind a non-metallic windshield, but it works well enough. I recently tried testing different positions on the windshield with a stationary radar speed sign. I found no difference in detection level in any position around the mirror. However, when I opened the pano and held the detector out above the roof, it did get a stronger signal (2 bars greater) than it did when in the car. In everyday use, it seems to work as well as in my previous cars.

jbmjbm22 | January 2, 2015

so is this the wire I tap?

puppybite | January 3, 2015

The usefulness of a radar detector in a vehicle is becoming ever more obsolete by the day. This is because many new cars include radar controlled functions like lane departure warning systems and automatic active cruise control. These radar systems operate on the same radar bands as police radar systems. This results in and endless stream of false alarms with your radar detector as you drive past these cars, and even worse, a continuous false alarm if the car is nearby and traveling in the same direction as your car. Very irritating. Presently Audis are most likely to have these radar systems, but mainstream cars are starting to include them too :-(

barrykmd | January 3, 2015

Can anyone corroborate the above post?

Mark E | January 3, 2015

From what I was reading this morning from various radar detector forums, yes there are a lot of false positive detections from cars with both laser and radar systems. I was interested to see if the radar cruise control on the new tech pack would result in a continuous alarm from an onboard detector. At least one link that I found today indicated that this was likely as they'd had that problem in other similarly equipped cars.

It's all acedemic for me - radar detectors are illegal in my state anyway.

snowy | January 5, 2015

I have 2011 BMW and 2014 Porsche vehicles equipped with radar based active cruise control systems. These do *not* cause false positives in K or Ka bands for an escort radar detector.

Perhaps the escort does a good job of filtering out signal patterns from active safety systems.

When set to Ka band, the escort has not registered a false positive for me anywhere in California.

Unfortunately, K range is shorter through the windshield of Model S. It is equal to visual range for me.

Brian H | January 6, 2015

IR block stops LW radiation, and radio/radar is longer wave than IR. An IR "notch" coating is needed. Don't know if it exists.

cliff | April 10, 2015

Following up on puppybite's comment: I picked up my Model S two weeks ago and had noticed a phenomenon of cars coming past me at speed and hitting their brakes as they got about 20-30 feet in front of me. They then drop back or on a couple of occasions have cut in front thinking they were being targetted. I have my S set for 5 over the speed limit so they are well in the 'police attention zone'. I had surmised that perhaps they had radar detectors and my ACC radar was tripping their boxes. I will try to find someone with a radar detector to confirm this but it certainly seems likely that some detectors are fooled by the ACC radar. Fascinating!

dabaum89 | April 10, 2015

Just finished a P85D for escort 9500ci with front and rear laser jammers

dabaum89 | April 10, 2015
dabaum89 | April 10, 2015
jsimon | April 10, 2015

Still trying to figure out the best way to power my v1 in my P85D.

Any advice?