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Articles

  • Beltronics Pro 100 Review

    pro_100.jpgBeltronics recently revamped their Professional Series, retiring old radar detectors and introducing four new ones - the Pro 100, Pro 200, Pro 300 and Pro 500. The Beltronics Pro 100 is the base model in this series and is comparable to its predecessor, the Vector 940. In fact, it has the exact same FCC ID as the 940, which means, for all intents and purposes, it is one.

    As with the 940, the Beltronics Pro 100 features two city modes (standard and "No X"), to adjust the tolerance for false signals. It also has "POP" mode radar detection. Like the 940, it features an alpha-numeric display and voice alerts. Of course, it detects all the relevant radar signals and the types of laser typically in use today.

    pro_100_2.jpgOkay, so if the new radar detector is essentially the same as the older model, why is it considered newer or better? Of course, the Vector Series was discontinued, which automatically labels the 940 "obsolete". But is it? Not really. However, it does look old compared to the slightly sleeker, sharper style of the Pro 100, which can be a rather powerful influence on those shopping for a new radar detector. After all, why buy an older looking model when you can buy a new one?

    Looks aside, the Pro 100 does have a few tweaks to ennhance performance. First, there is improved range. Beltronics claims the Pro 100 has "six times the range of others in its class". What that means is somewhat ambiguous, since some radar detector aficionados consider Beltronics radar detectors to be in a class all by themselves.

    pro_100_3.jpgSecond, according to Beltronics, the Pro 100 is factory optimized for the typical domestic US driver. And the Vector 940 wasn't? Since most of us don't work in a radar detector factory, we really can't say if such a statement is true or not, so we'll give this one to Beltronics.

    Third, what about that new look, anyway? It's nice. Beltronics took the Vector 940 and gave it a sleek shell with a darker color and a durable, rubberized texture that makes it easy to look at and even easier to grip. That alone is a considerable improvement.

    Finally, consider the source. It's Beltronics. Sure, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its top-of-the-line cousin, the Pro 500, but at the low end the Pro 100 rivals higher-end models produced by other radar detector manufacturers. The ultra-bright LED display with multiple brightness levels including dark mode, over 60 voice alerts, auto and manual muting, VG-2 undetectability, auto memory retention, and general ease-of-use make even the lowest-end Pro 100 a prime choice for drivers in any class. In all, whether it's a Vector 940 or a Pro 100, it's still a Beltronics.

    pro_100_4.jpgThe Pro 100 does have a few minor enhancements, but there is still one clear advantage the Vector 940 has over its replacement: The price. The Vector is no longer manufactured, and as it's availability in the retail market has dwindled, so has the cost. What does this mean for consumers? A great deal. Literally. The Beltronics Pro 100 is a good radar detector at a good price, but the Vector, while still available, is almost the same thing at a real bargain.

    If you're looking for a solid radar detector with great features at an equally great value, the Pro 100 is a good choice. If you're on a budget and need the performance but not the looks, The Vector 940 may be an option. Either way, they are both Beltronics, so which ever way you go, you can't go wrong.

    Here is a comparison chart of all four current models in the Beltronics Professional Series.

  • Beltronics Pro 200 Review

    Thumbnail image for pro_200.jpgIn 2012 Beltronics introduced a new line of radar detectors in their Professional Series. There are currently four models in this series, and while they all share some common, basic features, each offers something a little different from the others.

    Case in point is the Beltronics Pro 200. It includes the core features of the base model, the Pro 100, but adds something more to give it that little extra oomph. In order to understand what that is and what it means, we need to know where this radar detector essentially came from.

    pro_200_2.jpgAs mentioned in the Beltronics Pro 300 review, The Professional Series itself is essentially a makeover of the previous line. As the newer Pro 300 is basically a tweaked up RX65, the Pro 200 is one from the Vector line, the Beltronics Vector 955, to be exact. This was reasonable. The 955 was a popular detector that held its own, with over 60 digital voice messages, Digital Signal Processing, 3 city modes and compatibility with the Cincinnati Microwave ZR4 laser Defense System. It featured full radar detection on X, K, Superwide Ka bands, instant-on (Pulse) detection and POP mode. It also had multiple laser sensor diodes for instant front and rear laser protection. It had great performance, especially for the price. To carry all that over to the Pro 200 makes sense, so they did.

    pro_200_3.jpgBeltronics took their Vector 955 radar detector, tweaked it with 8x the range of other radar detectors in its class, added Traffic Signal Rejection (TSR) filtering, and repackaged it as the Pro 200. Not that it's a bad thing. On The contrary, I think it worked out rather well. The 955 was a solid performer, to be sure, but I was not at all impressed with the the old Vector look. It just wasn't my style. In my opinion, the 955 looked, well, old. Beltronics gave the Pro 200 a hard, rubberized coating and a more stylish design. The Pro 200 looks new. I think that was the biggest improvement of all.

    Like the other Professional Series models, the Pro 200 sports an ultra-bright alphanumeric display with multiple brightness settings, including Dark Mode, and is visible from almost any angle. It can has AutoMute so you don't have to mute it yourself.

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pro_200_4.jpgThe Pro 200 package includes the standard items and is about what you would expect, with a quick-release windshield mount, coiled SmartCordâ„¢ power cord, quick reference card and a one year manufacturer warranty. It's available to ship directly from Buy Radar Detectors.

    The Beltronics Pro 200 Radar Detector isn't original, nor is it particularly unique compared to its predecessors as Beltronics radar detectors go, but that's okay. It's not getting older, it's getting better. And that makes it a winner.

    For A quick comparison chart of all four current models in the Beltronics Professional Series, read the Beltronics Pro 100, Pro 200, Pro 300, and Pro 500 Comparison.

  • Beltronics Pro 300 Review

    Pro_300_1.jpgThere are many different makes and models of radar detectors out there, all of which do essentially the same thing. While their primary directive is to detect and alert a driver to police radar (and, in most cases today, laser as well), the accuracy with which each model accomplishes this task can vary greatly. When it comes to fast and accurate detection, a lot depends not just on the features included in a particular model, but on the brand of radar detector used or even a specific line of products.

    Take Beltronics, for instance. Many ardent fans of radar detectors will tell you there are noticeable differences in performance between a Cobra branded detector and one manufactured by Beltronics. But performance shifts can also exist between different series of Beltronics detectors. New product series are often built on the previous series that are being replaced. So when Beltronics launches a new line of radar detectors, it's helpful to know what specific series it is replacing in order to better understand the range of features and performance one can expect from it and whether it fits your needs.

    Pro_300_2.jpgSuch is the Beltronics Professional Series. The line itself is really not new, it's just been given a complete makeover. The Beltronics Pro 300 is a prime example. A higher end model in the series, the Pro 300 is essentially the RX65 with a few tweaks to improve sensitivity and wrapped in a darker package with a hard, rubberized coating that makes it easy to grip and a little easier on the eyes. Not that the RX65 was homely to look at, of course, because it was attractive in its own right (as radar detectors go) but the Pro 300 looks, well, newer.

    Pro_300_9.jpgAlthough the Pro 300 has a new shell, ergonomically, it's essentially the same as its predecessor. And why not? The buttons are already in the right places. VOL/MUTE spans across the top front, just above the LED display, within easy reach and with three raised dots on the surface so you can find the correct button easily in the dark and without taking your eyes off the road. The PWR, REW/CITY and CHG/BRT buttons are above it, evenly spaced with a ridged surface so you can ID them easily without looking, as well. The QuickMount Button, as always, is in the center, for quick release from the mount on your windshield. Everything is where it's supposed to be, and exactly where you would expect for a Beltronics Professional Series radar detector.

    Of course, looks aren't everything and a nice looking radar detector won't keep you from getting a ticket, so the real question is, does it have anything new, or anything improved, that helps it perform better?

    Pro_300_3.jpgBeltronics touts the Pro 300 as "the next generation of the most advanced Radar/Laser/Safety Detectors ever designed by Beltronics". That statement alone promises that it should be everything its predecessor was, and more. But is it? For starters, it does have all the standard features of the Beltronics Professional Series, including full radar detection on X, K, Superwide Ka bands, as well as instant-on (Pulse) detection and POP mode. That hasn't changed. It still sports the rear laser periscope, designed to pick up laser from the rear of the vehicle for instant front and rear detection, which the RX65 also had. No change there.

    Pro_300_8.jpgThe ultra-bright, 280 LED, alphanumeric multiple threat display has three brightness settings plus Dark Mode and is visible from almost any angle (unless you are looking at directly from the side or from the rear). It can display in three different modes. The Standard Signal Strength Meter with a bar graph and text messages is the type most users are familiar with and the mode recommended for new users. Expert Meter Mode is essentially a miniature spectrum analyzer intended for more experienced users. Tech Display mode gives you the actual numeric frequency of the signal received and is also for experienced users. All standard features.

    The other features? AutoScan™ Mode, VG-2 Undetectability, TSR Filter, Selectable Bands, Over 60 Digital Voice Messages, Detailed SWS™ Alerts, Auto Memory Retention, Audio Alert Only Mode, Visual Alert Only Mode, Auto and Manual Muting, and Fully Adjustable Audio Levels, check, check and double check. It even has an Earphone Jack, just like the old RX65.

    Oh, yes, and the Pro 300 is SmartCord™ power cord compatible as well, and even includes one in the package. Nice, to be sure, but not new.

    So, if the Pro 300 has everything the previous model had, what does it have that's different? What, besides the outer shell, is new and improved? What makes it better?

    I'm glad you asked.

    Before I answer your question, let me just emphasize that having all the features of an RX65 is not a bad thing at all. In fact, the RX65 is well respected as a great quality, high performance radar detector. I have one and am very happy with it. But as good as it is, there is always room from improvement. And Beltronics did just that with the Pro 300.

    First, Beltronics increased sensitivity on the Pro300 to give it greater range. According to Beltronics, the Pro 300 has up to ten times the range of other radar detectors in its class. The lens on the rear of the unit is also different, curved outward as opposed to recessed on the RX65. However, another improvement, and one that can potentially be a game changer, brings radar detection technology into a whole new era.

    The Pro 300 is fully compatible with the new Escort Live!

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for escort_live2.pngFor those not familiar with Escort Live! Real-Time Ticket Protection, it's a system that allows you to connect your Beltronics or Escort radar detector to a network and database of radar detector users nationwide, in real time. A special Escort Live! SmartCord or DirectWire plugs into your radar detector and interfaces it with your iPhone or Android smartphone via Bluetooth® technology. An app on your smartphone connects you to the Escort Live! Real-time ticket protection network and DEFENDER Database, and voila! Your radar detector is connected to a million other radar detectors on the road, alerting you to radar and laser threats before you reach them. And it's fully compatible with the Beltronics Pro 300.

    Now, some later versions of the RX65 may also be compatible with Escort Live!, but many are not. The only way to know is to call Beltronics and find out. But the Pro 300 is designed with compatibility in mind. It is 100% compatible with Escort Live! That gives the Pro300 an edge.

    The Pro 300 comes ready to roll with a quick-release windshield mount, coiled SmartCord™ power cord, quick reference card and a one year manufacturer warranty. The Escort Live! system is an add-on, but when you do add it, the 300 is ready for it.

    The Beltronics Pro 300 Radar Detector may not necessarily be an original, but with a nicer skin, increased sensitivity and complete compatibility with this new Escort Live technology, it's way better. In fact, after checking my old radar detector, I think it's time for an upgrade.

  • Will driverless cars be the end of the radar detector?

    The self-driving car is no longer the stuff of science fiction. It's now a reality, and it's heading toward us fast.

    It's no secret that Google is leading the way toward this new era. They have been using automatic autos for awhile now, actively testing their fleet of prototype self-driving vehicles in select areas of the country. Earlier this year Nevada made autonomous vehicles legal by issuing the first license for a car that drives itself. California followed the lead last month when they instituted their own autonomous vehicles law. Google hopes driverless vehicles will be cruising roadways across America within five years.

    According to Google, driverless vehicles offer a lot of advantages to society as a whole. They provide a means of transportation to those who do not have a driver license or are unable to drive themselves, such as the young, elderly, handicapped or the intoxicated. Google also claims they are safer, citing an accident-free record for their vehicles after driving over 300,000 miles on their own. Google says these auto-driving autos don't run red lights.

    Apparently, neither do they speed.

    When a car is designed to automatically obey the traffic laws and set its speed accordingly, is there a need to use a radar detector, or even have one at all? Will the radar detector as we know it become obsolete?

    Now, before you put your detector up on a shelf, consider this. Unless you work on that specific project for Google, you probably don't have a self-driving vehicle, at least not yet. That is still half a decade away, and probably a lot longer for most of the general population. In the meantime, we all need to get somewhere today. As of now and in the foreseeable future, if you speed you can still get a ticket and you can't blame it on the car.

    When automatic autos do become the standard, as they inevitably are destined to be, they may still require human intervention on occasion, should something go horribly wrong. In that case, it may be wise to keep a radar detector around as a backup, especially if the human driver is not accustomed to manually operating a vehicle that never goes over the speed limit in auto mode.

    Could the radar detector become obsolete? It could. Perhaps, someday, it will. But there are still many miles to go until that day arrives, with a lot of speed traps along the way. Until the day of the automatic auto, keep your detector turned on, tuned in and watch your speed.

  • Do radar detector apps for smartphones work?

    When it comes to radar detectors and smartphones, you generally get what you pay for. But when it comes to radar detector apps for smartphones, isn't it a much better deal, especially when the apps are free?

    Okay, wait a minute. A radar detector app for a smartphone? Yes, there's an app for that, believe it or not. In fact, there are a number of them out there, purporting to use your smartphone as a smart sensor to sniff out speed traps on one or all police radar bands.

    Curious, we wanted to investigate further. Perhaps we could download one of these smartphone apps and try it out for ourselves in our own testing facility at Buy Radar Detectors. Wouldn't that be fun, or at least enlightening?

    So we did. It was, well, interesting.

    One so-called "radar detector" app that caught our attention in the Google Play store was aptly named, of all things, Radar Detector. Coincidence? I think not. It was developed by an entity called Fizzix Corp. (funny, I just now got the pun). According to the description, this is the first app developed that turns the phone itself into a radar detector. "Forget about buying expensive equipment that requires installation," the app description states, "just open this app and go."

    This sounded rather intriguing. Turn a smartphone into a stand-alone radar detector? Could one even do this? If so, how? Inquiring minds wanted to know. Well, actually, I was looking for something interesting to blog about. But I was sure you would want to know. So there you go.

    Radar is radio technology, and smartphones do contain radio transceivers. However, radar operates on different frequencies than, say, wi-fi or Bluetooth. The chance of an app tuning a 2.4GHz wi-fi transceiver on a smartphone to pick up police radar guns seemed like a bit of a stretch, but to be fair (and for entertainment purposes) we decided to test it out anyway.

    We installed the app on my Motorola Droid X. From the moment it activated I knew this was going to be interesting, and I immediately sensed that somehow, in some way, I was going to either be taking a ride, or be taken for one. I was right - on both.

    When launched, the screen displays a simple layout with large numerical readouts for Signal Strength (dBm) and Speed (mph) in landscape mode only. A black, vertical bar on the right edge of the display that also apparently monitors signal strength bounces up or down in tandem with the numerical readout. The screen turns red when it allegedly detects a signal purportedly from an actual radar gun and the words "Radar Detected" appear in bold. There is also a small rectangular green icon in the upper left corner of the display to apparently indicate the radar detector app is on and active. Apparently is the keyword in this entire description because, save for a couple of outdated screenshots of the app in the Google Play store, there seems to be no instruction set or user guide available to explain how to use this radar detector app. The layout is simple, but you do need to understand what you are looking at when using the app, so if you aren't already familiar with the basics of radar detectors, good luck.

    The app uses the on-board GPS to calculate vehicle speed (and possibly other operations as well). According to user reviews of this app, the GPS service on the smartphone needs to be on and enabled in order for the app to function. GPS can be somewhat resource intensive and drain a smartphone battery quickly, so it is generally best to connect the phone to a vehicle DC charger when using it.

    At first, the Signal Strength display indicated some minor activity, even when placed on a desk in the middle of an office. When moved outdoors, the levels increased somewhat, fluctuating wildly and seemingly at random. Aiming it a few feet from a wi-fi router caused the levels on the readout to experience an even greater increase, fluctuating even more wildly than before. The bar indicating signal strength bounced rapidly up and down. However, after a couple of minutes, it quieted down, and the levels went back to nearly zero and stayed there, even when just two feet from the router and facing it directly.

    The next test utilized a radar gun. The first time the trigger was pulled, the screen turned red and the radar detector app went off, emitting a few short beeps. Unfortunately, that was the one and only time it happened. Subsequent tests using the radar gun at various distances and angles elicited no response from the detector at all, even when aimed at it point blank.
    Then the real test began. The Droid, with radar detector app active and prominently displayed onscreen, was placed on the windshield side-by-side with a Beltronics RX65 radar detector set to pick up nearly everything on X, K and Ka bands. During a 50 mile round trip across two states, two cities and two highways with known speed traps and other radar devices, the RX65 didn't miss a beat. It picked up radar signals on all three bands, even detecting the automatic doors from a couple of stores along the way. The Radar Detector app? Nada, as in nada thing.

    At one point, a patrol officer, apparently noticing the radar detector on my windshield, pulled up behind my vehicle and tailed me very closely for several miles, radar on. Since the vehicle was on cruise control and set to speed limit, I wasn't too worried. As soon as the patrol car approached, the Beltronics detector sounded the alert and it didn't stop until the officer backed off and exited the highway. The Radar Detector app on my Droid? It just stared back silently, with the signal strength meter at a stable or nearly stable Zero the entire time.

    Oh, yes, it did go off a couple of times during the trip, which was very odd, since it did so when there was nothing around to trigger an alert. The RX65 confirmed the road was clear, and there was not a cruiser or a building around, so what that app detected remains a mystery. Perhaps it was a UFO.

    It also went off several times while sitting around on the desk in my office, away from the road and any police radar. That should tell you something about the validity of this app to detect radar.

    To say the Radar Detector app doesn't actually work at all is a little presumptuous and is not entirely true. It does track current vehicle speed and it does so with a fair measure of accuracy (which really isn't difficult to do using GPS), although there is a bit of a delay. So it could actually be useful as a virtual speedometer, although we certainly don't recommend using it to replace the one that is factory installed in your vehicle.

    However, as a radar detector, it is less than reliable, and may not even really function as one. The developer acknowledges this as well, simply stating "This app is just for novelty purposes; do not rely on it." In other words, this app may be just something to install for your own amusement or to show around at parties or to use as a gag. It isn't, and shouldn't be used as a real one on the road.

    Of course, this isn't to say all radar detector apps are bogus. There are apps that do work, such as the Cobra iRadar and the Escort Live!. These apps are actively developed by companies that specialize in radar detection technology. However, such apps don't attempt to turn your smart phone into a virtual, stand-alone radar detector, they are intended to interface with a real one. The radar detector itself still does all the work. The apps serve only to augment the features of the specific radar detector they are designed to connect with. They aren't designed to replace the device.

    Can a smartphone be a radar detector? The question is moot. As versatile as the typical smartphone is, its core function is communication, hence the term smartphone. Whether there is an app for it or not is irrelevant; an iPhone or Droid is not designed to inherently detect police radar, much less laser, so to argue the point is rather pointless. However, it can work well as an interface, as a means to communicate with a radar detector, and in that sense the two can potentially work very well together.

    Remember, the right tool for the right job. Smartphones are communicators, radar detectors are sensors, not the other way around. Let each one do what each does best, and together they can do it all.

  • How to reset a Whistler radar detector to factory defaults

    If you are experiencing issues with your Whistler radar detector or want to restore it to its original configuration, a reset may be the solution. Below are simple instructions for resetting many popular Whistler radar detectors back to their factory defaults!

    Dash and Windshield Mount Radar Detectors

    The following applies to the following detectors in the Whistler XTR and Pro Series:
    XTR-475, XTR-575, XTR-580, XTR-590, XTR 690, XTR-690SE, XTR 695, XTR-695SE, Pro 58, Pro 68, Pro 68 SE, Pro 78, and Pro 78 SE:

    • Unplug the power cord from the unit. Press and hold the POWER and QUIET buttons and while holding them down, plug the power cord into the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the POWER and QUIET buttons.

    XTR-140, XTR-145, XTR-150, XTR-255, XTR-260, XTR-265, XTR-310, XTR-330, and XTR-335 radar detector:

    • Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. Press and hold the QUIET button and while holding it down, plug the power cord into the unit with the power switch turned on. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the QUIET button.

    XTR-430, XTR-435, XTR-500, XTR-550, and XTR-555:

    • Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. Press and hold the QUIET button and while holding it down, plug the power cord into the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the QUIET button.

    Cordless Models

    For the XTR-180, XTR-185, XTR-190, XTR-195 and XTR-420 radar detector:

    • Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. Remove the batteries. Press and hold the POWER and QUIET buttons and while holding them down, plug the power cord into the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the POWER and QUIET buttons.

    XTR-440 and XTR-540:

    • Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. Remove the batteries. Press and hold the POWER/BL and QUIET/VOL buttons and while holding them down, plug the power cord into the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the POWER/BL and QUIET/VOL buttons.

    XTR-445:

    • Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. Remove the batteries. Press and hold the POWER/DARK and QUIET/VOL buttons and while holding them down, plug the power cord into the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the POWER/DARK and QUIET/VOL buttons.

    Installed Radar Detectors

    Pro 3450:

    • Remove Power from unit. Press and hold the P/V and QUIET buttons and while holding them down, apply power to the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the P/V and QUIET buttons.

    PRO 3600:

    • Method 1: Remove Power from unit. Press and hold the POWER and QUIET buttons and while holding them down, restore power to the unit. Wait for 2 beeps, then release the POWER and QUIET buttons. Method 2: Press the reset button on the Interface Box.

  • Protection from IR traffic enforcement cameras

    Infrared, or IR as it is also known, is electromagnetic radiation that is at the edge of the spectrum of light visible by humans (above 720 nm wavelength). Devices utilizing IR, such as infrared photography cameras and night vision goggles, allow users to see objects under low-light conditions. Such devices are particularly useful for surveillance, especially when stealth is important. The flash from an IR photographic camera is usually not noticeably visible to the naked eye, yet can provide a reasonably identifiable image of an object at night. Given these advantages, an IR camera may be a logical choice for use in traffic enforcement in some locations, such as intersections where red light cameras are in use.

    IR cameras are commonly used overseas in the UK, Sweden, Czech Republic, Norway, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and other countries. While not yet used extensively in the US, they are apparently installed in some local jurisdictions. Because of their stealth qualities, it isn't always easy to tell where they are being used. The best way to tell if an IR camera is installed at an intersection is, of course, at night. If the intersection is a known location for red light cameras and there is no bright flash or only a faint red one when they are tripped, there are likely IR cameras in use.

    At such intersections, night vision surveillance and easy to read photos of your vehicle license plate are probably unbeknownst to you, until you get the ticket. It's sneaky, underhanded stuff, to be sure. So how can one deal with an IR camera? How can you elude the spying eyes of Big Brother and protect your wallet from the revenue hungry clutches of the local city or county government? The solution is anti-infrared camera blocking.

    Fortunately there is a product available to block IR cameras from detecting the content on your vehicle license plate: The IR Invisi-Plate from OnTrack.

    The IR Invisi-Plate anti-Infrared Camera License Plate Cover fits neatly over the license plate of your vehicle. It is completely translucent under normal light, so are the numbers on the plate are visible to the naked eye when viewed from any angle. When viewed using infrared photography, however, the Invisi-Plate blocks out the letters and numbers on the plate, effectively removing them from view. According to OnTrack, the Invisi-Plate "is the only anti-photo license plate cover designed to defeat IR cameras from every angle!"

    There is one caveat. While it is itself a stealth solution to a stealth surveillance issue, The OnTrack IR Invisi-plate may not be legal to use in some areas or states. Buy Radar Detectors strongly recommends that you check the laws in your jurisdiction before you purchase the Invisi-Plate for use on your vehicle.

    For those who need protection from traditional photo traffic enforcement cameras, the OnTrack Photo Blur Protector, Super Protector, TollFree Protector and Total Eclipse all work against IR as well.

  • Escort Live! takes radar detection to the next level

    When your radar detector alerts you to an oncoming radar speed trap, every second counts. If it's a laser, chances are the time needed to react before you are tagged has already passed. But what if you could be alerted a minute or miles in advance? Well, now you can.

    Escort has taken radar detection to the next level with a patented system called Escort Live!. This unique system combines over a million active Beltronics and Escort radar detectors, Bluetooth wireless technology, smartphones and a central database to create what they call a "real-time ticket protection network" that can alert you to potential radar and laser threats on the road before you encounter them!

    For instance, someone in your area connected to Escort Live! is driving down a road and their Escort radar detector picks up a radar or laser threat. The alert is immediately transmitted to the ESCORT Live™ network database and the data recorded. A short while later you drive down the same road. Connected to the database, the ESCORT Live™ app on your smartphone receives the data on the previous threat and immediately alerts you to the speed trap, well before you reach it. Now imagine a million or more drivers, their radar detectors all sharing radar and laser threat data with each other across the continent through that same database. Escort has essentially created a "social network" for drivers and their radar detectors!

    Sounds great, but how does one connect a radar detector to a smartphone app in the first place?

    Enter the SmartCord Live!™. It is a power cord and data cable all rolled into one. This is the accessory that connects your Escort or Beltronics radar detector with your smartphone so you can connect to Escort's database and share all that information. SmartCord Live! uses Bluetooth® technology to interface with the ESCORT Live! smartphone app installed on your iPhone or Android smartphone. It comes in two versions, a coiled power cord that plugs into a 12V DC outlet (cigarette lighter) or a Direct Wire cord that is hard wired into your vehicle.

    SCLIVE-1-x.jpgThe SmartCord Live! coiled power cord features a DC vehicle adapter, Mini USB Jack that connects your computer to download software updates, a USB Jack so you can charge another device with the DC adapter simultaneously, a modular connector to connect and power your Beltronics or Escort radar detectors, an alert light, a Power/Bluetooth light, an ESCORT Live! Report Button (Push to manually report alerts to other users or reconnect SmartCord Live! to your smartphone) and a mute button.

    SCDWLIVE.pngThe SmartCord Live! Direct Wire uses a tiny console interface with a Mini USB Jack that connects your computer to download software updates, a modular connector to connect and power your Beltronics or Escort radar detector, an alert light, a Power/Bluetooth light, an ESCORT Live! Report Button (Push to manually report alerts to other users or reconnect SmartCord Live! to your smartphone) and a mute button.

    Both plug-in power cord and direct wire versions offer the real-time ticket protection network, Escort's DEFENDER Database of speed cameras, red light cameras and speed traps, GPS-powered speed-limit data for over-speed alerts, Truelock™ to help eliminate false alerts, the capability to receive live traffic data for your current location and mark locations for future reference.

    Then there is the smartphone app. The ESCORT Live!™ smartphone app is available for both iPhone and Android. It connects to Escort's database to obtain and display the latest information available on speed cameras, speed traps and speed limit data, including band, signal strength and frequency. Previous ESCORT Live™ events tagged across the network are noted with an "approaching live alert" message and an arrow indicating the location direction and distance from the source of the alert. A "heat map" icon marks the coordinate location of the alert and changes color and transparency based on alert relevance. The app can display a compass heading, the speed of your vehicle and over-speed alerts and offers dashboard and map views with customizable settings. You can also use the app to access settings and manage alerts on your radar detector.

    The Escort Live! Android or iPhone app must be connected in order to use these features. The iPhone version works with iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS using 4.1 iOS or later. The Android Version works with Android OS 2.2 or later.

    SmartCord Live! is compatible with Escort PASSPORT 9500ix, RedLine, and most PASSPORT 8500 X50 Models. These detectors will be updated with the latest software automatically and some models will receive Escort's traffic sensor rejection (TSR) software as well. If you purchased the Passport 8500 X50 before 2008, you should call Buy Radar Detectors Toll Free at 1-800-584-1445 Monday-Friday 8am-6pm ET to determine compatibility before purchase.

  • How To Reset A Cobra Radar Detector To Factory Defaults

    If you've been having some trouble with your Cobra radar detector or ever wanted it back to its original settings when you first turned it on, a reset may be in order. Below are instructions for resetting some popular Cobra radar detectors back to factory defaults!

    XRS 9600 Series

    The following applies to models from the Cobra XRS 9600 Series, which includes the following detectors:
    XRS 9600, XRS 9630, XRS 9640, XRS 9645 and XRS 9670:

    • Press and hold the "PROGRAM/MUTE" button for two (2) seconds. The detector will emit Three (3) beeps and PROGRAM will appear. Then brief programming instructions will scroll through the display three (3) times. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS". The detector will emit One (1) beep and reset user modes and settings to factory default.

    XRS 9700 Series

    For the XRS 9700, XRS 9730, XRS 9740, XRS 9745 and XRS 9770 radar detector:

    • Press and hold the "PROGRAM/UTE" button for two (2) seconds. The detector will emit Three (3) beeps and PROGRAM will appear. Then brief programming instructions will scroll through the display three (3) times. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS". The detector will emit One (1) beep and reset user modes and settings to factory default.

    XRS 9830, XRS 9930

    For the XRS 9830 and XRS 9930 radar detector:

    • Press the "MENU/SAVE" button to reach the opening program screen. Choose "USER SETTINGS". Press the "MUTE" button (above the User Settings icon
      on the display) to enter the User Setting loop. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" to restore your detector to its original settings. Confirmation
      messages are provided during the process.

    XRS 9800 and 9900 Series

    The following applies to other windshield mounted models from the XRS 9800 and XRS 9900 Series, which includes the following detectors:
    XRS 9840, XRS 9845, XRS 9940, XRS 9945, XRS 9950, XRS 9955 and XRS 9960G.

    • Press the "MENU/SAVE" button to reach the opening program screen. Choose "USER SETTINGS". Press the "DIM" button to enter the User Setting loop. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" to restore your detector to its original settings. Confirmation messages are provided during the process.

    Note: Also works for XRS 969 and XRS 989 models.

    XRS 9965, XRS 9970

    The following applies to the XRS 9965 and XRS 9970G radar detector:

    • Click the "MENU" icon on the touchscreen to reach the opening menu screen. Click the "USER" icon to enter User Settings. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" to restore your detector to its original settings. Confirmation messages are provided during the process.

    XRS R Series Radar Detectors with GPS

    XRS R7G and XRS R9G:

    • Press the "MENU/SAVE" button. Select "USER" settings. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" to restore detector to original settings. Confirmation messages display during process. NOTE: You can restore factory settings at any time.

    XRS R8G and XRS R10G:

    • Press the "MENU/SAVE" button. Select "USER" settings. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS" to restore detector to original settings. Confirmation messages display during process. You can restore all settings at once to factory state.

    ESD Series

    ESD 9870:

    • Press and hold the "PROG/MUTE" button for 2 seconds to enter Program mode. You will hear "start program" in Voice Alert mode or 3 beeps in Tone mode and "PROGRAM" will appear in the display. Brief programming instructions will scroll through the display two times. Choose "RESTORE FACTORY SETTINGS". Choose "ARE YOU SURE? PRESS SET TO CONFIRM...". Press "SET" to reset user modes and settings to factory default.

  • How To Reset An Escort Radar Detector To Factory Defaults

    If you ever had a problem with your Escort radar detector or simply wanted it back to the way it was when you first took it out of the box, a reset may be what you are looking for. If so, here it is. Below are instructions for resetting an Escort radar detector back to factory defaults!

    Passport 8500 Series

    The following applies to windshield mounted models from the Escort Passport 8500 Series, which includes the following detectors:
    8500, 8500 X50 (Blue and Red Display), 8500 X50 Black (Blue Display), 8500 X50 Black (Red Display).

    • Press and hold the "CITY", "DIM" and "MUTE" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Passport 9500ix Series

    For the 9500ix, radar detector, including Special Edition models:

    • Press and hold the "SENS" and "BRT" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Redline

    For the Redline windshield mount radar detector:

    • Press and hold the "VOLUME/MUTE" and "SENS" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Solo Series

    The following applies to cordless windshield mounted models from the Escort Solo Series, which includes the following detectors:
    Solo S2 and Solo S3.

    • Press and hold the "MUTE" and "M" (Mode) buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Passport iQ with GPS

    The following applies to the Passport iQ windshield mounted Radar/Laser Detector with GPS:

    • From the Settings screen, touch "RESTORE" to return all settings to the original factory settings. You are prompted to confirm your selection. Touch "YES" to restore the factory settings.

    Custom Installed Radar Detectors

    Passport Qi45 and Passport 8500ci:

    • Press and hold the "SENS" and "BRT" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Passport 9500ci:

    • Press and hold the "VOL" and "SENS" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

    Passport 8500ci Plus:

    • Press and hold the "MRK" and "VOL.MUTE" buttons while turning the power on. The display will provide a RESET message, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

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