Radar detector tester


[Blacklight99] made this cool tool. It is a tester for those radar detectors that people keep in their cars. Though this seems like it would rarely be a tool we would need, it’s an interesting project. Some speed guns that the police use have a “stealth” mode that makes them invisible to some detectors. This tool can tell you if your detector is vulnerable to this. While this really is just a complicated flashing LED, he notes that it could be taken further to be made into a detector that is programmable and not vulnerable to any of the stealth modes.

28 thoughts on “Radar detector tester

  1. Radar (from the cops) is in a part of the RF spectrum that is not open for folks to “play in”. If you do decide to play around in this part of the spectrum you are opening yourself up to getting to know the local FCC “agent”. The FCC, however, does not “own” the part of the spectrum which “light” comes from so you can hack away there as much as you want. This is why you can find legal laser jammers but no (or very few) legal radar jammers.

    If you want to test your detector’s LIDAR capabilities just go follow a later model GMC around; their brake lights emit light in the LIDAR frequency range.

    Then when you figure out that your RADAR/LIDAR detector sucks go get yourself a Valentine 1. ;)

    Cool project nonetheless.

  2. What if you mounted this in the back of your car and had it constantly running a ‘test’? Would that screw with any LIDAR you passed? I mean the way it would work in my mind is that it would receive your signal far before it would receive it’s own back, so it would read your speed as being, say, 500MPH. It might still send you a ticket if it’s one of those systems that mails them automatically, but I don’t think that would be a very difficult one to contest…

    1. In a word No, I made it on that ‘other site’, and it has very low Optical power in this standard one.This project does have potential for potential Lidar Jamming, but only at far higher Optical power, Osram have Answers to this.

  3. @Urza9814:

    Didn’t read the Instructable that closely, but I would assume this device has a very limited range, as the IR LEDs here must be putting out many times less energy than what is used in a real LIDAR gun.

    Presumably that could be addressed with a larger LED array and more powerful driver though, if you really wanted to aggravate law enforcement.

  4. I can see the intentions in this and every other radar detector.. But the plain and simple fact is- if we don’t have our radar on the front or back and it is on standby, IT IS NOT TRANSMITTING. Some might say that it still transmits a minute signal, but still.. the case of the radar is metallic so that would block anything from getting out

  5. @incognito53

    …which is why detectors are damn near pointless.

    Ok, for our next hack, someone rig up a radar detector to either a rig to flip/change your license plate (james bond style), a rig to flash a _really_ bright light, a smoke screen, or a HERF gun. So the automated camera either can’t get your plate number or can’t get a picture of you.

    Of course, all of these ideas are just more likely to get you arrested…especially if it’s a cop sitting hidden on the side of the road rather than a mounted camera…

  6. @Urza9814
    Or you could drive the speed limit and not run red lights. Just a thought.

    This is a cool hack, though the guys of lidar link above is really all you need to know about detectors.

  7. The best defence against lidar is a laser parking sensor. Fit it to the front of the car to help when parking. Also happens to disrupt police lidar guns, but is 100% legal as it is a safety device.

  8. As previously stated by incognito53, RADAR, when on standby, the mode in which most experienced officers run it, is not detectable in anything but laboratory conditions. LIDAR detectors are a joke, since most of them are also off, until the officer is actually tracking a violator. Since it operates at light speed, the violator’s speed will already have been checked by the time his detector alerts and he reacts. Again, the best method to avoid detection is to not drive like an idiot.

    Oh, and have a nice day. :p

  9. @Greg: That’s not entirely true. K-band radars use the 24 GHz ISM band, which anyone can play in without a license. Intentional interference is illegal, however. (Tripping someone’s radar detector…probably OK. Jamming police radar…probably not OK.)

    The 10 GHz X-band is off limits (unless you have an amateur radio license), and the 34-35 GHz range used by photo radar is also only for licensed use.

  10. Maybe harder in the states given that your plates out metal embossed, but in the UK I wondered if it would be possible (expensive though) to build plates from an LED screen?

    You could have some crazy refresh rate on the screen that obscured the whole plate value (perhaps scanning left to right).

    Just something I thought about on one of my long commutes.

    1. There were 2 products on sale like that (they are on You Tube I think) they sit in front of a plate and ‘white’d out’ at the press of a switch (wasn’t Auto triggering I don’t think).Another that had flash units close to the plate to ‘blind’ a Camera. Most Camera’s like the Truvelo etc used in UK and EC now use IR invisible flashes though. Dave UK.

  11. The point of a radar detector isn’t to detect when the cop is pointing the gun at you. It is to see when the cop is pointing the gun at someone ahead you, preferably as far ahead as possible. I’ve had radar hits 5 miles away with my Valentine 1. Most of the time, though, it’s just beyond line of sight, which still gives me plenty of time to slow down.

    When I read the title, I thought that this would be a device that tests radar detectors for VG2 detection. Some radar detectors have very noisy oscillators that can be “heard” from far away. My V1 has picked up on noisy off brand detectors many times. It can be annoying if it is someone heading the same direction as me on the same road. I generally end up speeding up or letting them pass to get away from them.

  12. @Orv: thanks for the clarification. My muddled point was that there can be legal issues “playing” with RF (K, Ka, etc.) but that you can do anything that you like in LIDAR range.
    @Min: yup the V1’s are the best money can buy! The newer versions even detect that they are detecting a crap detector (oscillator noise) and give an audible as well as “J” (for junk) indication.
    @Arbiter: yes, not driving like an idiot will save you in more ways than one. However I would not trade the situational awareness that my V1s (plural) provide. Agreed most of the time LIDAR is detected its aimed at you and you are already “cooked” – so to speak. But my V1 has saved me numerous times – not because I was driving like an idiot but because I was driving faster than the posted limit (there is a difference).

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