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Monthly Archives: April 2008

  • Radar Detector Firmware Versions

    Today's high performance radar detectors are like computers in a way: they work well because of a combination of both hardware and software. A radar detector's hardware are the physical parts of the detector that enable it to sniff out a radar signal. This is the part that chiefly determines the sensitivity of a detector. Software, or firmware, controls how a detector behaves once it encounters a signal, and is responsible for the "personality" of the product. It decides which signals to filter out as false alerts, and is responsible for many of the detector's features, including the user interface.

    Radar detector hardware doesn't change very often, if ever. Typically a change would only occur as new models come to market. Firmware, however, is frequently being tweaked by radar detector manufacturers and it is common to see several new versions released per year. That means that, for example, a Bel RX65 purchased today would potentially perform differently than a RX65 purchased several months ago, and certainly would perform differently than one purchased several years ago.

    What Are They Changing?
    So, what kinds of changes are being made with these firmware upgrades? Manufacturers are typically secretive about specific changes, but a common tweak is likely to adjust a detector's filtering capabilities for newly found interference-creating devices. Updates could also contain bug fixes, or product enhancements. Within the last year, Beltronics released an updated version of the STi Driver that fixed a problem related to poor sensitivity on a specific Ka frequency. Also within the last year, Whistler released an updated Pro 78 and XTR690 that improved Ka performance and enhanced some user interface functions.

    Shopping For The Latest Firmware
    If you're shopping around for a new radar detector, be aware that the detector's firmware version could affect its performance and usability. Avoid buying products from retailers or web sites where product would sit on shelves for months (from infrequent sales or due to huge quantity buys), or from web sites who have distributors "drop ship" product instead of stocking themselves. In a situation where products have sat in a warehouse for months or where a dealer has no control of the source of the products, it is easy to see how you could receive a dated version.

    Buy Radar Detectors policy for high end detectors is to only stock as many units as we expect to sell within a two week period. This means we are constantly turning over our inventory, and always have a recent firmware version. We are now beginning to indicate on our product pages exactly which version we are currently shipping. We are also indicating manufacture date, when available. This information is being checked and updated once per month. If you are considering purchasing from us and have any questions regarding the firmware, please don't hesitate to contact us.

    Checking Your Radar Detector's Firmware Version
    If you already have a high performance radar detector and are curious to find out your firmware version, simply find your detector below and follow the steps.

    Beltronics STi Driver - Hold down both the Volume/Mute and Sensitivity buttons while powering on the detector. The firmware version will be displayed when the detector turns on. Warning: this will reset the detector's settings to factory defaults.

    Beltronics RX65, Vector Series (995, 965, 955, 940) - Hold down both the City and Brightness buttons while powering on the detector. The firmware version will be displayed when the detector turns on. Warning: this will reset the detector's settings to factory defaults.

    Escort 8500 X50 Black - Hold down the City, Dim, and Mute buttons while powering on the detector. The firmware version will be displayed when the detector turns on. Warning: this will reset the detector's settings to factory defaults.

    Whistler Pro 78, XTR-690 - Hold down the City button while plugging the detector into the cigarette lighter adapter. The firmware version will be displayed when the detector turns on.

    Valentine One - Hold in the control knob while turning the knob "on". Continue to hold in the knob until all lights are illuminated (about 5 seconds). Release the control knob, then press-and-release it again. This will display the version one digit at a time in the bogey counter window. Warning: this takes you into the V1's programming mode. To exit, turn the detector off and then back on normally.

    Dates of Manufacturer
    For Bel and Escort products, you can determine the date of manufacture by checking the label on the bottom of the detector. The last four digits on the serial number line represent a year and week number. For example, if this number on the bottom of your detector is 1208 that means the detector was manufactured during the 12th week of 2008.

  • Whistler XTR-695: Pre-order Now!

    Buy Radar Detectors is now accepting preorders for the new Whistler XTR-695 radar detector. Placing a pre-order will guarantee that a XTR-695 will be reserved for you, and that it will be shipped to you the day it is first released. At this time the expected ship date is Monday, May 19th, but this date is not set in stone and is subject to change.

    For more information on the XTR-695, please read our introduction to the 2008 Whistler radar detectors.

    NOTE: In the unlikely event that there is a shortage of product and Whistler is not able to completely fill our initial order, orders will be filled on a first come first served basis.

  • Whistler's 2008 Radar Detector Lineup

    Buy Radar Detectors is pleased to announce the 2008 lineup of Whistler radar detectors. Whistler's 2007 introduction of the XTR-690 and Pro 78 radar detectors has been a huge success, so we've been anxious to see what they had in store for us this year. We're sure you won't be disappointed!

    There are five new models, all of which are expected to become available in May. Pricing information is not yet available for models other than the XTR-695.

    Whistler XTR-695
    The Whistler XTR-695 will retail for $189, and will almost certainly replace the Pro 78 as the most popular detector in the series. It uses the same platform as the Pro 78 and XTR-690 so there will be little difference in range or false alert filtering, however there several are new features and as well as aesthetic improvements over the XTR-690. The most noticeable addition is the ability to change the background color of the display. Users can select from 7 available colors, but more importantly a background color can be linked to a specific type of alert. As an example, X band alerts could have a green background color, K band could be blue, with Ka red. This could help quickly alert you to the seriousness of a threat.

    The XTR695 also introduces a Ka radar and laser "Signature ID" feature, which will be a big hit with enthusiasts. This feature gives a driver additional information to help determine if a threat is real or false.

    As you become accustomed to driving in a certain area with a detector, you tend to learn where false alerts will occur and what band(s) of radar police in your area typically use. Normal radar band identification (X, K, Ka) is very useful, as it helps a driver determine if the alert is a real threat or a false alarm. The X and K radar bands are relatively small, and there is little fluctuation in the frequencies that a detector will pick up in these bands. Ka, however, is a monster. There are three common frequencies used by Ka radar guns in the United States, but there are also three other less common Ka frequencies that are used and cannot be ignored by a detector. When the Whistler XTR-695 receives a Ka alert, the Signature ID feature allows the detector to display the frequency of the Ka radar gun closest to the detected frequency. This effectively breaks the Ka band down into smaller segments, which can be much more useful when determining the validity of a threat.

    The laser Signature ID feature works a little differently. During a laser alert, the XTR-695 will display the pulse rate (PPS) of the laser being detected. The Whistler XTR-695 even allows drivers to lock out individual PPS rates, preventing future alerts for that PPS. This feature is the answer to the prayers of many drivers who suffer through daily laser falses because their route takes them by an airport or other laser source.

    An audio jack has also been added. This is a nice benefit for motorcycle owners, or those looking to attach an external speaker. It also creates the ability for a 3rd party, like Cheetah, to develop interfaces to the 695. We may now see an interface that allows the GPS Mirror to communicate with the XTR-695!

    This model also has all other features you would expect from a flagship Whistler model: voice alerts, selectable bands, compass, 3 city modes, twin periscope LEDs, a volt meter, an industry best 3 year warranty and more.

    We will begin accepting pre-orders for the XTR-695 very soon!

    Whistler Pro 68
    The new Whistler Pro 68 will replace the Pro 58, which will be discontinued. The Pro 68 will have the same blue icon display of the 58, but will add twin periscope LEDs. Range will be similar to the Pro 58, but additional filter modes have been added. A two year manufacturer warranty is included. No pricing information is available at this time for the Pro 68.

    Whistler XTR-575
    The Whistler XTR-575 radar detector will include a 72 point digital compass and blue back-lit text display. The XTR-575 uses Whistler's mid-range platform, so performance will be similar to that of the Pro 68. Although no pricing information is available at this time, it is likely the XTR-575 will be the lowest priced model with this platform. The XTR575 also offers selectable bands, twin periscope LEDs, and a 1 year warranty.

    Whistler XTR-550
    The Whistler XTR-550 replaces the XTR-500, which will be discontinued. It has the same bright red text display of the XTR-500 and also offers voice alerts. The XTR550 uses Whistler's smaller platform, so performance will be similar to the XTR-330 and XTR-260. Twin periscope LEDs and a 1 year warranty are included.

    Whistler XTR-130
    The Whistler XTR-130 will be the new low end model in the series, joining the XTR-140. The XTR130's features will be similar to the 140, but with only one city mode and no periscope LEDs.

    An update will be posted here once these new models are in stock. Check back soon for pre-order information on the XTR-695!

    UPDATE (4/10/2008) - The detectors listed above are only the new models that will be released soon. Many current models will still be available. The following is the full lineup of available models: XTR-130, XTR-140, XTR-185, XTR-190, XTR-260, XTR-330, XTR-550, XTR-560, XTR-575, XTR-690, XTR-695, 1788, Pro 68, Pro 78, Pro 3450, Fuzion

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