Larson Scanner Hacking


We all love a good larson scanner. They’re so iconic that Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories makes a kit. However, just getting a kit and building it isn’t enough for many of us. How would we make a larson scanner better? Simply by adding more. EMSL shows us how you can modify their kit in both hardware and code to chain them together.  They detail the modifications very clearly and show some video examples. You can see a three larson scanner chain in action after the break.


13 thoughts on “Larson Scanner Hacking

  1. With all the work that went into this upgrade, I don’t understand why he uses “an old scanner that has seen better days” as the third one, where it’s missing LED makes the whole thing seem a bit broken.

    Okay, it proves previous ones can be upgraded too, but the visual effect makes the whole thing seem unfinished.

  2. @TopHat agreed, it’s also the cheapest for bulk wire I’ve found. Looked at spools, trunk cables.. cat5 is ubiquitous enough to be the most economical – unless someone has better sources? :D

    @Seth Nice, now I kinda want to put a knight rider grill/cylon eye on my Saab

  3. @Seth CANT be street legal. Holy mother of getthehellofftheroad!

    @Tophat @Erik, the verizon/bell telco guys tend to waste alot of bell wire around their giant outdoor block/neighborhood boxes. Those are useful and FREE. That, or cat3 wire. Cheaper than cat5, even on a per pair baises.

  4. @Erik Johnson:

    You can’t put one in your car unless it uses colors that aren’t blue or red. I installed a red one in a friend’s car and he came back shortly after asking me to uninstall it because he got a ticket. Cop told him that across the US those 2 colors are banned and for official emergency use. Also he suggested to check the local law in other states, as some other colors might be reserved. He mentioned amber is safe though. The ticket got dismissed in court after he proved it was uninstalled.

  5. I almost forgot. The cop also said that you could have the red and blue on front ONLY if it was as part of an alarm system and only when the car was parked (not moving) and the alarm going off. Once you are driving it can be considered (at least in NY) police impersonation.

  6. @JB Seth’s mod and what I was thinking was the stock brake bar. Some cars it blinks as a stock installment, why not add some nerd flare and animate it? I mean it IS supposed to get attention and make people slow down behind you, they always catch my eye like those goddamned cadillac LED lights

    @cde I used to scavenge the phone box of my neighborhood all the time, at most I only found ~6ft lengths laying around but I always collected anything of usable length as a kid… It was always solid core which is useful for breadboarding…
    Sometimes I need stranded for its better resilience to metal fatigue which I fall back on cat5 for now

  7. @Erik,

    Nothing wrong with doing it to your brake light. I thought you wanted it on the front of the car since you mentioned “Knight Rider”. I put it on the front of the car like the Knight Rider car for my friend and he got a ticket ;)

  8. @MS3FGX, me neither. I always called it the “cylon eye”, since it is older than Knight Rider (I think)

    Does Larson stand for anything or is it a proper name? (guy who invented it, perhaps?)

  9. @JB, Larson is for Glen Larson, the creator of both the original BSG as well as Knight Rider. The story on EMSL has a link to the original kit and the story behind it.

    @Sci, it was a guest blog-post, and I hadn’t really expected it to get picked up and spread about the interwebs the way it has been. It was already late at night by the time I took the video, so I tossed an old scanner in to prove it worked. I could have put a new unit together, but at that hour, thought it better not to be soldering anything.

    My work is not representative of the quality that official EMSL staff would normally put in towards a blog post.

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