Thursday, December 15, 2005

Radar detectors testing methodology

I wanted to create a short note addressing the concerns expressed by a few that our testing methodology is "flawed" whenever we compare two high-end detectors "side-by-side."

Certain individuals have commented that testing radar detectors in this fashion is taboo.

After living with the three top radar detectors over the years and have personally driven more than 6000 miles with them in operation in both stand-alone and "side-by-side" comparisons, I can state that we have not noticed any real noteable performance differences of any of them in either of the two testing modes.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend such operation on "lesser" detectors, however, but feel that at this level of performance, any two of the top detectors (we use the current Valentine as our reference detector) should get along quite well - particularly if they are spaced well apart on the windscreen.

Prior to conducting our extensive radar detector tests, we asked the leading authorities in the detector industry including a representatives of each of the top three detector manufacturers as well as authoritative reviewers. Other than the one dissenting opinion (which I believe is based upon historical experience of older models) they each gave us a thumbs up to our testing approach.

In one case we did attempt to include a "lesser" detector (although, not in price!) into the mix and found that it caused our reference detector to false Ka. In this instance we immediately suspended our test and decided that the 2nd detector wasn't worthy of testing because of its poor (lack-of) control of its own LO leakage and limited programming/configuration.

Other than this one obvious cross-talk issue we have found our detector comparisons revealing of actual performance in the real-world. We have approached known sources of bona-fide radar (X, K, and Ka) - from a variety of various angles - and have found alerts to essentially occur from any one of these top detectors as they would when run in solo-operation.

Of course, police laser/LIDAR performance of detectors is not subject the same potential of RF cross-interference permitting "fair" back-to-back realtime comparison of any given two laser detectors.

As radar detector manufacturers continue to "clean-up" the operating modes of their detectors (Bel appears to be leading the way with its new STI driver and the V1 continues to become tighter in operation) we believe the ability to do "side-by-side" comparisons will eventually become a more accepted practice - at least with the top-engineered radar detectors.

Veil Guy
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