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Discussion Starter #1
Do any of ya'll have pics of your radar detector hardwire installs? I did a search and found a good explanation of how to hardwire it to a fuse in the fuse panel (sounds like windshield wiper one works well), but I was hoping to see some pics of exactly how to do it, as well as how to hide the cord behind the a-pillar on the driver's side. Also, does anyone know if placing the detector behind the blue tint affects its performance? Thanks, BDMD.
 

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bdmd said:
Do any of ya'll have pics of your radar detector hardwire installs? I did a search and found a good explanation of how to hardwire it to a fuse in the fuse panel (sounds like windshield wiper one works well), but I was hoping to see some pics of exactly how to do it, as well as how to hide the cord behind the a-pillar on the driver's side. Also, does anyone know if placing the detector behind the blue tint affects its performance? Thanks, BDMD.
What kind are you planning to use? I have a Passport 8500 and yes, it is recommended that you DO NOT have it behind any heavy tint. I have mine just below it.
I also posted pics of my installation. I will see if I can find the link.

Pics start near the bottom of the thread.

http://www.acuramdx.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=5544&perpage=15&highlight=Passport&pagenumber=2
 

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Randall Morton said:
One of the above links refers to a website with a radar test. I don't know who they are but I am sure they have a reason for picking the 8500 over the V1 other than it being better. A think I would believe the test for Car & Driver over the other test. They pick the V1 by a wide margin over the 8500. Also the 8500 is not light.
http://www.caranddriver.com/xp/Caranddriver/features/2002/february/200202_feature_detectors.xml
I have found the Passport to be excellent for my purposes, plus I like the looks (OK, shoot me for aesthetics being a factor in my choice) and it's price/performance ratio. We have both V1 and 8500 owners on here, I was the one with the most recent installation post.
Here is Escort's response to some of the issues raised by C&D in their evaluation which I was well aware of before purchase. I wont bore you with numerous other reviews by other publciations.


1. Short testing range

Since radar detection distances can easily be five miles or more, most testers use very long roads to compare radar/laser detector range.

Car and Driver uses a two-and-a-half mile straightaway at the Chrysler Proving Grounds near their headquarters in Michigan. When they set up for testing, they "adjusted the radar strength so even the best detector could not find the signal at the far end of the 2.5-mile straight." This is a different technique than that used by other testers, and obviously produces different results.

2. K-band weighted 60%?

Car and Driver weighted K-band radar as a full 60% of their sensitivity score. Most of our customers tell us that low-power Ka-band radar is their biggest radar threat. At the minimum, we'd weight Ka-band and K-band radar equally. (This would change the overall scoring.)

3. Selectivity scoring

The Passport 8500 and the Valentine One had the same number of false alarms over the 14-mile urban loop, but Car and Driver's scoring system gives the Valentine 15 points, and the Passport only 10. (So the Passport performs equal to the Valentine, but gets fewer points.)

4. "Porkiest?"

Car and Driver called the Passport 8500 "the porkiest detector," but they weighed the detectors with their power cords. However, our power cord weighs more than the others, for two very good reasons.

Passport has the longest coiled cord by far (fully extended, Car and Driver measured it at 124 inches, versus the Valentine's 72 inches), and of course Passport's standard SmartCord (with its built-in power-on light, alert light and mute button) is heavier than a standard lighter plug.

5. Features ratings

Car and Driver says the Passport has a "6-segment LED meter." Actually, our text/graphic display has 280 segments, allowing us to display much more information than a conventional bar graph display. Choose our ExpertMeter option, and Passport's display shows eight separate 7-segment signal strength meters at once.

Passport has many more features than the Valentine, including Dark Mode, EZ-Programming (lets you customize 9 features), Safety Warning System (SWS) detection with text display (significant in areas like Tampa where there are hundreds of SWS transmitters on school buses), ExpertMeter (displays band and signal strength of up to 8 signals), text display for easy and intuitive operation, plus SmartCord and high-quality carrying case as standard equipment

Nonetheless, Car and Driver gives the Valentine One 13 points versus Passport's 12. (Different rating of the features would change the overall scoring.)

6. EZ-Programming - not?

Car and Driver says Passport "can be reprogrammed to the user's tastes, but it's not duck soup - you'll need the owner's manual." Most other detector users and testers would disagree.

RadarTest.com says, "It's the most intuitive programming method we've seen, and the only one that doesn't require prior consultation with the owner's manual."

European Car says, "Escort calls the options 'EZ Programming,' and after using it we can see why."

Motorcycle Consumer News says, "We have come to appreciate its easy-to-use programming and display options."

7. eBay recommendation?

Car and Driver says "brand-new" Passport 8500's can be found discounted on eBay. Well, maybe. But it's hard to know who you're dealing with and it's impossible to know if what you're buying is "brand new."

We can also say for a fact that any such units are sold without our factory warranty, regardless of what the seller maintains.

eBay is great for lots of things (in fact, we found subscriptions to Car and Driver for under $4 per year - search for "car driver sub*"), but for buying new radar detectors we don't recommend it.
 

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I never said that Car and Driver magazine was perfect, but I think they ran a fair test. The other test had the 8500 a clear winner over the V1(Who is behind this test?). I think part of the reason C&D weighted the test the way they did was because it was easier to tell more info about the signal due to the directional arrows. As far as I'm concerned both dectectors may detect exactly the same but the arrows alone are worth the extra money to me and many others.

Low power instant-on can beat any detector unless you react extremely quick and then they may still get you. Your eyes and using common sense helps about as much as the detector.

I can't remember who, but someone did a test of the old Passport
(metal case) and at the time of the test I think the only one to beat it
was V1.

I'm sure the 8500 is an excellent detector but the V1 is better because it has the arrows not because it has better range.
 

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Randall Morton said:
Low power instant-on can beat any detector unless you react extremely quick and then they may still get you. Your eyes and using common sense helps about as much as the detector.
True especially on roads where traffic is really sparse. In a little heavier traffic, you should be able to detect radar activations on the folks preceding you. Unfortunately, in the Los Angeles area we mostly dream of even being able to speed! :(
 

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Randall Morton said:
I never said that Car and Driver magazine was perfect, but I think they ran a fair test. The other test had the 8500 a clear winner over the V1(Who is behind this test?). I think part of the reason C&D weighted the test the way they did was because it was easier to tell more info about the signal due to the directional arrows. As far as I'm concerned both dectectors may detect exactly the same but the arrows alone are worth the extra money to me and many others.

Low power instant-on can beat any detector unless you react extremely quick and then they may still get you. Your eyes and using common sense helps about as much as the detector.

I can't remember who, but someone did a test of the old Passport
(metal case) and at the time of the test I think the only one to beat it
was V1.

I'm sure the 8500 is an excellent detector but the V1 is better because it has the arrows not because it has better range.
And I certainly wasn't knocking the Valentine which forced the competition to do better than they were. If the truth be told, the first time in my experience where I was alerted and actually saw the cop aiming in my direction only few seconds later was with an old Uniden. Hardly state of the art, but it saved my butt (barely).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
inline fuse?

Thanks for the pics. The detector I have (let's suffice it to say that it is not a $300 passport or v1) came with a coiled cord, so I bought a "12 volt direct wire kit," which I have two questions about. First, the cord has an in-line fuse on the power lead--nice feature, I guess, but very bulky and impossible to hide; so, can I cut this out and run the wire without an inline fuse (I will probably connect to an accessory fuse or to the wiper fuse). Second, the instructions say "determine polarity required and insert plug to tip;" my detector, nor its power cord, have any polarity markings. So, any idea how I can determine this, or should I just try the + first? Any info will be helpful. Thanks, BDMD

Oh, also, my detector states it operates on "13.8 volts DC and receives power from the cigarette lighter." Can I run this off the accessory or wiper fuse? Thanks!
 

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Randall Morton said:
I never said that Car and Driver magazine was perfect, but I think they ran a fair test. The other test had the 8500 a clear winner over the V1(Who is behind this test?). I think part of the reason C&D weighted the test the way they did was because it was easier to tell more info about the signal due to the directional arrows. As far as I'm concerned both dectectors may detect exactly the same but the arrows alone are worth the extra money to me and many others.

I'm sure the 8500 is an excellent detector but the V1 is better because it has the arrows not because it has better range.
Exactly the reason why I choosed V1. I bought both and compared it myself. After two weeks, Escort is packed up and ready to be shipped.
I tried both one at a time on the way to work, and sensitivity wise, I think Escort is better and also gives me less false alarms. also very informative on signal strength. On V1, I counted 3 more false alarms(Xbands) on a 10 miles trip to work on the same spots everytime.
But one day I was driving with a V1 on my way home back from work, it counted 3 Ka with arrow pointed FRONT. I passed 3 Austin cops on bikes but as soon as I passed them and on downhill, it still says 3 Ka but the arrow is blinking pointed FRONT and a weaker signal BACK. If its not for the arrrow, I thought I passed the signals. I slowed down and there goes on a turn one more bike. That paid for extra bucks on my V1.

But if you are careful enough, even with Escort, you just slow down while there is a signal you'll be safe.
 

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Re: inline fuse?

bdmd said:
Thanks for the pics. The detector I have (let's suffice it to say that it is not a $300 passport or v1) came with a coiled cord, so I bought a "12 volt direct wire kit," which I have two questions about. First, the cord has an in-line fuse on the power lead--nice feature, I guess, but very bulky and impossible to hide; so, can I cut this out and run the wire without an inline fuse (I will probably connect to an accessory fuse or to the wiper fuse). Second, the instructions say "determine polarity required and insert plug to tip;" my detector, nor its power cord, have any polarity markings. So, any idea how I can determine this, or should I just try the + first? Any info will be helpful. Thanks, BDMD

Oh, also, my detector states it operates on "13.8 volts DC and receives power from the cigarette lighter." Can I run this off the accessory or wiper fuse? Thanks!
First of all, it should draw a heck lot less current than the rear wiper, and what's the chance you will be using both together? Normally, no radar to worry about on rainy days. And even if you did I doubt it will blow the fuse. (which is the worst that can happen.)
Does it have a 12 volt plug now that fits a cigarette lighter or accessory socket?

If it does, the center connector of the plug is the positive side. So you need to find out which wire is going to that, and that's the one that would go to fuse box accessory connection.
The other one, or the one connected to the outer contacts of the 12V plug, would go ground.
You may have to take the 12 Volt plug apart to see which wire is connected to where on the plug.
I hope this helps.
If it has another kind of power plug, some pictures may help us decipher what goes where.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's done!

Well, I completed my hardwire install of my radar detector. I mounted it on the driver's side visor, ran the cord along the front border of the headliner to the driver's side a-pillar, then around the top of the a-pillar to where it joins the black molding, then down the inside of the black rubber molding and took off from there to the driver's side fuse box. I "piggybacked" to the 10a rear wiper fuse, and attached the ground to the bolt to the left of the fuse box. I would have tapped into one of the accessory fuses behind the fuse box cover, but I could not figure out how to get it off. Overall, a very clean install with no wire showing (except b/w the headliner and where it plugs into the detector). I didn't realize how much room there is around the fuse box, so I was able to keep the in-line fuse and had plenty of room to hide the wires. Thanks for all of the help! BDMD
 

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Well, I bit the bullet and ordered a Passport 8500 w/direct wiring kit. Prolly will do the rear-wiper fuse, too.

Quick question for you electrical geniuses. Do you recommend or discourage FUSE TAPS (pic below) for the + power? They basically go around one of the "blades" on the minifuse, and a piece comes up above the plastic part of the fuse, where you can plug in the wiring.



If not, what's the "best" way to tap into the fuse? Thanks!
 

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TheWorm said:
Well, I bit the bullet and ordered a Passport 8500 w/direct wiring kit. Prolly will do the rear-wiper fuse, too.

Quick question for you electrical geniuses. Do you recommend or discourage FUSE TAPS (pic below) for the + power? They basically go around one of the "blades" on the minifuse, and a piece comes up above the plastic part of the fuse, where you can plug in the wiring.



If not, what's the "best" way to tap into the fuse? Thanks!
That's what I ended up using on mine. I had originally only had the wire wrapped around the blade. Although it probaby would be fine, it's not a good practice, I have since used a tap.

Also, a good point raised by frostrya that you should use an additional nut with a lug terminal to ground to that screw post on the left of the fuse box.
Don't just wrap the wire around the screw under the one mounting nut, as there is only plastic underneath which may shrink some as it ages, possibly compromising the connection.
 

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8500 installed

Just finished installing the 8500. Similar install to Dale's w/r/t location of the main unit itself and wiring through the A-pillar and headliner. Thanks again, all, for the tips and blazing the trail.

Couldn't bring myself to cough up another C-note for the Valentine; that woulda crossed the wife's approval threshhold ;)

I ended up mounting my remote vertically, just beneath the "not an ashtray". The wiring path is the same as with my handsfree kit (see link in sig line for that install). BTW, the box behind the Passport's remote is the speaker from the handsfree...
 

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Bumped this because it's very easy to do. Plenty of threads on how to. I'll add that I used a 'ground' bolt that is on the back driver side panel between the emergency brake and the regular brake. This one is better because the one next to the fuse panel is made of plastic. The one I used has a good metal ground. fyi, placed my Passport 8500 directly behind the rear view mirror where you can just see the 'lights'. The smart cord is on the side of the steering column similar to DaleB's installation. BTW Dale on one of these radar install threads has several really good pixs on how to.
 

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I installed my V1 right under the rear view mirror and hard wired it into the circuit that turns on the autodim feature on the mirror. That way, it turns on automatically every time I start the car and turns off when the engine is turned off. It was a simple installation...remove the trim panel behind the mirror and use a probe and light to locate the positive wire feeding the mirror power. Simply tap into that for the positive leg (+) and use any good ground in the area. Worked for me! By the way, love the V1 and it has saved my bacon on many an occasion. As with any device like that there is a learning curve to determine what it is really telling you but once I got the hang of it, I have great confidence in it. I have the setting on it such that it eliminates most of the X band responses since here in California the Highway Patrol uses Ka band exclusively and some local Sheriff departments or Police occasionally use the K band. I have not encountered any law enforcement units using the old X band but that may not be true in some smaller cities.
 

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Easy Hardwire Solution

You can find switchable power above the rearview mirror in the reading light-garage door opener panel, to power your radar.
I think its the blue wire (don't hold me to that), but it comes from the auto dim rear mirror.
It is fused, back at the panel, but you might want to add another-plenty of room.
To get at it, open the sunglass cubby hole and you'll see 2 philips screws.
You must put the detector below the black reflector glass, but on the plus side you don't have to thread wires all over the place and it will turn on and off with the ignition.
My choice would be the new Passport (with added power cord). My neighbor has the VI, great detector, but you can't silence it completely and the regular Escort is quite big, but all 3 do a great job-with the exception of laser. Laser tags you so quickly you don't have a chance-only good news is cop has to be parked for laser to work.
Here in WA state they are getting very good at catching you, hiding in bushes, facing the car the "wrong" way on the opposite side of the freeway etc.
 
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