In this year's laser jammer test we tested 7 different jammers against 3 different laser guns; a LTI Ultralyte 100pps, Kustom Prolaser 3 and a new LTI Truspeed. The LTI Ultralyte laser gun (lidar gun) and the Kustom Prolaser 3 are the 2 main guns used in Australia. The LTI Truspeed is a new model lidar gun that was released in 2008. The attractive selling point of the LTI Truspeed is it's price tag - being around half the price of the other lidar guns available to law enforcement. For this reason, you can expect to see wide use of the LTI Truspeed once police departments upgrade their speed measurement equipment.
Our test vehicle (not our first choice) was the same red Porsche used in our 2007 tests, which due to a change in circumstances, had be used in lieu of our first choice.
We were nervous about using the Porsche again for our laser jammer test, because last year's results showed us that with (the Porsche's) large, reflective headlights, the jammers were having a difficult time protecting this car at short ranges.
Nevertheless this laser jammer test was not conducted to make jammers "look good", it's as close to a real world example as we can get, so the morning of the first day, we set up, temporarily installing the jammers on this car.
As mentioned above, we prefer to test as "real world" as possible, which in our case, included mounting the jammers in a 'real' position on the Porsche, based on the actual mounting positions available (not many) for this vehicle - without cutting into the bumper.
Many laser jammer tests are conducted with each jammer's heads mounted on temporary brackets coming out from the front bumper of the test vehicle at an ideal position for maximum jamming efficiency.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with this method when doing a direct comparison of the performance between different jammers, mounting the laser jammer heads in this method is simply not possible in the real world for 99% of cases (even where jammers are legal to operate, they would be highly visible to thieves).
So for our test car, we mounted the jammer heads in the best position available to us, without cutting into the bumper or front grill in any way. This meant mounting them slightly lower in the front bumper then we would normally have considered as a "100% ideal" installation position.
In other words, to maximise jamming efficiency for this particular vehicle, the laser jammer heads would best be mounted slightly higher than we did (see in the picture above). Of course we still ensured the heads were straight and levelled with the spirit (bubble) level, but we needed to explain the installation in detail in case some of you wondered why some of the results were not quite as good as other tester's results.
For the rear installation, the jammer heads were mounted above, and either side of the rear number plate. Again, not the 100% ideal location, as we'd have preferred to move the rear heads higher and wider (closer to the tail lights). But without cutting into the bumper, this was not possible on this vehicle.
The second point to our testing style that is different to other laser jammer testers is we focused on the amount of time (in seconds) each jammer [successfully jammed the lidar gun] and the resulting speed reading obtained after this time.
Seasoned hobbyists will be used to other testing styles that start the test from 1000 feet (or more) away, and report the distance of "punch through" (the distance from the laser gun at which is was finally able to overpower the jammer and display a speed reading).
Again, whilst there is nothing wrong with starting out at a long distance, and measuring/comparing the punch through distances - there are several limitations in our opinion to this style of testing.
Since the actual diameter of the laser beam is very small - approx 30cm in diameter for every 100m (12 inches for every 328 feet) - the first job of any successful laser jammer is actually detecting the laser beam. Hobbyists worldwide agree detection is half the battle, because you may could have the strongest transmitter, with the best jamming algorithm, but if the jammer fails to "see" the lidar gun, it's useless.
If you start your jamming test from a long distance away, the laser beam from the gun is much wider and thus the chances of the laser jammer actually "seeing" (detecting) the lidar beam is much higher.
And if the jammer detects the laser straight away, then it can begin firing straight away and defeating the lidar gun. But in the real world, lidar speed traps occur at various distances away, some as close as 100m (328 feet)
So giving the jammers the advantage by first targeting from a long distance will not simulate a "close encounter" when the speed trap is set up at very short range.
We endeavour to test the jammers at multiple distances to show our readers the very different results
The third (and controversial) point we do differently in our tests is not only test aiming at the front number plate / centre mass of the vehicle, but also at the head/tail lights and also an "all over" test whereby we aim at any point of the car to try and get a speed reading. Whilst this is not standard operating procedure for traffic police operating lidar guns, we don't think it should be ruled out from the results.
Numerous reports have come to our attention of police "aiming the red dot" from the lidar gun on driver's heads as some kind of amusement when operating lidar guns, as well as it being "common practice" for police in Australia to aim at motorcyclists helmets - due to the difficulty in targeting a motor bike.
The point is nobody should be under the illusion that by installing a laser jammer on your car (even the best jammer in the world) you are completely immune from ever getting a ticket from a laser gun. To quote someone we highly respect :
Fortunately, jamming the lidar gun to point blank range is not the goal (those doing so are just asking for trouble) but more so to give you enough time to check your speed, slow down if necessary, then switch the jammer off.
So for this reason, we have tabled the results in our test as "jamming for at least 4 seconds" as a "successful jam", jamming between 2 and 4 seconds as "moderately successful", and denoted by yellow. Jamming for less than 2 seconds (rather ineffective) is in orange, and "instant punch through" (no effect on the lidar gun) as red.
We understand this may cause some confusion for those hobbyists so used to the Guys of Lidar's results table (hats off & respect to you guys for all your hard work) but please, feel free to post any question you may have on our forum
Only one laser jammer was ever switched on at any one time. Each jammer was tested against each laser gun from 1000m (to determine if any "punch-throughs" could occur at long distances by lower powered jammers), and then at distances of 500m, 300m and 100m (1640, 984 & 328 feet respectively) targeting number plate, headlight and "anywhere" separately.
The test vehicle (fitted with the jammer) counted down to each mark on the radio, and continued to hold down the radio so you can hear the jammer actually firing. Whilst we would have loved to do IR videos as well, the shear number of test runs prevented us from doing this test in low light - thus the IR camera would struggle to show the jammers in broad daylight.
We also continue to target the vehicle if no speed reading was obtained on the first trigger pull (unlike SML whom only pull the trigger once, and cite a successful jam if the gun did not display a speed immediately). Again, simulating what would normally happen in the real world if a LEO was using the lidar gun.
Key for results tabled below:
Tests against the LTI Ultralyte LR100 (100pps):
Rear tests with LTI Ultralyte
Tests against the Kustom Prolaser 3 (200pps):
Rear tests with Kustom Pro Laser 3