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You are here: DelonixRadar  >  Radar Detectors  >  Radar Detector Tests  >  Laser Detector Test 2008

Laser Detector Testing - 2008

Many consumers live under the illusion that their radar detector will also "save them" from the hand-held laser guns such as the LTI Ultralyte and Kustom Pro-laser 3 used throughout  Australia.

Whilst it's true nearly all current radar detectors have the ability to detect laser, actual "protection" or advanced warning is entirely another thing.

 

Even though a radar detector has the ability to detect laser guns on some occasions, by the time you detect the laser gun, it's already too late - the gun has your speed.  And that's assuming your detector does actually pick it up in the first place.

 

You see unlike a speed radar "beam", a speed laser "beam" is much more tightly focused, with very little of the "laser pulses" going past the car that is actually being targeted.

 

 

 

At 100m from the car, the diameter of the laser beam is only 30cm in diameter!!

At 300m from the car, the diameter is a mere 90cm

 

So if the laser is aimed at the centre front of your car, there is actually little chance of the beam spilling over your bonnet and hitting your radar detector mounted on the windscreen.

 

Here's a view from the front at the diameter of the laser beam at 100m, 200, and 300m

 

 

                100m                                   200m                                 300m

 

You can see from this illustration, that at close ranges, the beam may not even strike your radar/laser detector when mounted on your windscreen, thereby failing to alert you when you car is targeted.

 

Here is a picture viewed from the scope of a LTI Ultralyte laser gun at 100m, 200m and 300m:

 

 

Note: the latter pictures above are blury because we've zoomed in on the photos to show you proportionally the same size car each time.

 

Again, you can see there is no dispute, the target area is smaller than the actual size of the car.  This is why you are not guaranteed to get an alert from your radar detector when your car is targeted at close range.

 

So the first problem with detecting laser is that your radar/laser detector may not even go off.  The second problem is that even if your detector does go off, the laser gun usually has your speed in less than 1 second!

 

Watch the video below, and see how fast the laser gun gets a speed reading:

 

Notice when the fifth car is targeted, it doesn't give a reading immediately because the laser is aimed at the windscreen (not a good reflective surfont face to bounce a laser signal back), but once the laser is shifted down towards the front of the vehicle, a reading is obtained.

 

In the above video your radar detector would have Alerted on laser (since the laser gun was swept across the windscreen) but since a speed reading was still obtained so quickly you still wouldn't have had time to brake.

 

Inspired by Bob's (The Veil Guy) laser detection tests in 2006, we decided to test a few newer radar detectors against the most common laser gun in Australia - the LTI Ultralyte.

 

We sat the target car at ranges between 25m and 300m and set up the radar detectors mounted both at the bottom (middle) of the windscreen, and at the top of the windscreen.

 

We then proceeded to fire three shots across the front of the car, targeting the right side of the car as viewed through the laser gun (the passenger's headlight), centre mass and finally the left side as viewed through the laser gun (the driver's headlight).  We then noted if the radar detector Alerted to the laser hit each time.

 

Here are the results:

 

First Laser Detection Test at 25m (82 feet):

Bel STi-R (hidden installed model)

Bel STi XR (windscreen model)

Cobra XRS9330

Escort X50

Whistler Pro-78

Whistler XTR-690

Valentine One

 

 

 

 

 

Second Laser Detection Test at 50m (164 feet)::

Bel STi-R (hidden installed model)

Bel STi XR (windscreen model)

Cobra XRS9330

Escort X50

Whistler Pro-78

Whistler XTR-690

Valentine One

 

 

 

 

 

Third Laser Detection Test at 100 (328 feet):

Bel STi-R (hidden installed model)

Bel STi XR (windscreen model)

Cobra XRS9330

Escort X50

Whistler Pro-78

Whistler XTR-690

Valentine One

 

 

 

 

 

Fourth Laser Detection Test at 200m (656 feet):

Bel STi-R (hidden installed model)

Bel STi XR (windscreen model)

Cobra XRS9330

Escort X50

Whistler Pro-78

Whistler XTR-690

Valentine One

 

 

 

 

 

Fifth Laser Detection Test at 300m (984 feet):

Bel STi-R (hidden installed model)

Bel STi XR (windscreen model)

Cobra XRS9330

Escort X50

Whistler Pro-78

Whistler XTR-690

Valentine One

 

 

 

 

 

Results Tabled for Laser Detection test at 25m (82 feet)

 

Detector

Mounting Position

Test #

Right

Centre Mass

Left

Bel STi-R

Front Grill

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

Front Grill

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

Front Grill

3

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

Front Grill

4

-

Alerted

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bel STi XR

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra 9330

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escort X50

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-78

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

XTR-690

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine 1

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

Results Tabled for Laser Detection test at 50m (164 feet)

 

Detector

Mounting Position

Test #

Right

Centre Mass

Left

Bel STi-R

Front Grill

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

Front Grill

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bel STi XR

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra 9330

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escort X50

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

2

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

3

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-78

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

XTR-690

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine 1

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

Results Tabled for Laser Detection test at 100m (328 feet)

 

Detector

Mounting Position

Test #

Right

Centre Mass

Left

Bel STi-R

Front Grill

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

Front Grill

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bel STi XR

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra 9330

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escort X50

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

2

-

-

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

3

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-78

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

XTR-690

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

3

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine 1

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

2

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

Results Tabled for Laser Detection test at 200m (656 feet)

 

Detector

Mounting Position

Test #

Right

Centre Mass

Left

Bel STi-R

Front Grill

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

Front Grill

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

Front Grill

3

No Detection

No Detection

Alerted

 

Front Grill

4

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

Front Grill

5

-

-

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bel STi XR

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

2

-

-

No Detection

 

 

3

-

-

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

4

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra 9330

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

3

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escort X50

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

3

No Detection

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

4

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-78

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

XTR-690

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

3

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine 1

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

2

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

3

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

4

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

Results Tabled for Laser Detection test at 300m (984 feet)

 

Detector

Mounting Position

Test #

Right

Centre Mass

Left

Bel STi-R

Front Grill

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

Front Grill

2

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

Front Grill

3

-

-

No Detection

 

Front Grill

4

-

-

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bel STi XR

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

2

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

3

-

-

Alerted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cobra 9330

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

3

No Detection

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escort X50

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

3

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-78

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

No Detection

No Detection

 

 

 

 

 

 

XTR-690

Low on windscreen

1

No Detection

Alerted

No Detection

 

High on windscreen

2

No Detection

Alerted

Alerted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine 1

Low on windscreen

1

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

2

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

High on windscreen

3

Alerted

Alerted

No Detection

 

 

4

Alerted

Alerted

Alerted

 

Conclusions:

 

Some readers may claim laser detection is useless, given the fact a laser gun acquires your speed so quickly, that by the time when your laser detector goes off, you've already got a ticket....and we'd agree.

 

But that wasn't the purpose of this article.  Nearly all radar detectors claim they can detect laser, but just how well do they do it?  The Valentine One has been claimed many times over as the "best unit for detecting laser", and our tests substantiate that claim.  So if there is any chance of you getting advanced warning from a laser hit, it would be with a Valentine One.

 

In fact, in my own experiences, I've had a laser alert on a Valentine One from the car in front of me being targeted.  It was a well known speed trap location, and I could see the patrol car parked in the median strip on top of the hill.  I had a car about 40m in front of me in the outside lane, and I was sitting in the inside lane.  We were both driving at 10km/h below the posted limit.  The Valentine One Alerted briefly then stopped.  A second or two later and it Alerted a second time, but for a much longer period.  From this encounter I can conclude that the car in front of me was targeted (first) and the Valentine One detected the off-axis laser scatter, before the gun was targeted on my car.

 

Some interesting points from our test:

  • The Bel STi-R - even though it is mounted right where a laser gun is usually aimed, failed to alert in most tests

  • Mounting your radar detector low on the windscreen gives you a much greater chance of detecting the laser (something we've preached since 2005)

And finally, the amount of times each radar detector Alerted expressed as a percentage of the number of "laser shots fired" at each:

  
Radar Detector % of alerts
Valentine One 73.8%
Bel STi XR 48.5%
Escort X50 42.5%
Bel STi-R 25.6%
Cobra 9330 25.0%
Whistler Pro-78 13.3%
Whistler XTR690 11.1%
 

 

A very big thankyou to those who helped us with our testing on the day.

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