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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Figuring that I was on vacation and had a good bit of driving to do, I bought a Passport 8500 radar detector in Hyannis Massachusetts at the local Tweeter. It was $314 after tax and all and it was in stock of course (instant gratification :tongue:). Here are my thoughts:

Looks:
Very fit and finish. Comes in a nice leather case that does nothing for performance, but looks cool. It comes with the detector, suction cup mount, manuals and "smart cord". The smart-cord is the ciagrette lighter plug that has a small unit at the plug end containing an "alert" light to indicated possible "threats" and a mute button to scilence any nuisance alerts. One convenient thing is that the suction mount is seperate from the detector, so you can leave the mount in place but take the detector off but still have the mount in the same place later.
The unit itself looks very nice. The display has adjustable brightness levels including a "dark" mode (with audible alert only). When not alerting, the display shows the mode you are in (Auto, City, Highway) in one of several forms. It can show the word or a couple other artsy little things.

Features?
The first thing that comes to mind is I now know what Mike Valentine and his cronies ;) are talking about when it comes to the directional arrows. Once the detector goes off, the first thing you want to know is where is it??? Unfortuantely with this you have no idea. Frequently I would get an alert that I would think is valid (like a K-band alert on the highway) and I wouldn't be able to see anything ahead to the side or behind.... Then the alert would turn off and I'd have no idea weather I passed it, or if it was ahead and maybe using instant on.
As far as counters go, I now believe that is very important as well. However (and I didn't previously know this), the 8500 has it's own form of counter. With the display set in "expert mode" the detector will display up to 2 K-Band, 2 Ka-Band and 4 X-Band alerts and the individual signal strengths of each. One thing I still don't know about the V-1 is what if I have a x-band going off strong right now and then during it I get a weaker Ka-band? The X is most likely BS and the Ka is more likely a threat - but which will the V-1 tell me about?

Detection Quality
Well when it gets an alert, the 8500 shows the appropriate band and indicates the strength. As the strength increases, the pitch gets louder. An "Auto-mute" feature halves the volume after a few seconds so it's not annoying (this feature can be turned off) and the mute button allows you to completely mute a warning if you like.
I have so far had mixed experiences with detection. First let me say I have 35% metallic tint all around except for windshield. The detector is mounted in the center of the windshield, level and about 5" below the rear-view mirror. I set it up so that both the front and rear sensors can look out the appropriate windows.
All the threats that went off and then I actually saw a cop car had ample warning.... Somewhat impressive actually. At one point in New Hampshire, I got a K-band alert well over 1/2 mile in advance. In MA, I was sitting on a crowded street when a cop came up behind me and I got a K alert with him about 800 feet behind. One bad experience was on I-93 in MA, a trooper came from behind in the left lane and I got warning only when he was about 100ft away - thankfully I was in the right lane.
Known falses (like X-band in the shopping mall area) weren't too bad and really arent that annoying. It's usually easy to tell they are false and you can mute the beep but the display will still indicate their presence. However, with the photo radars in CT (see my other post!) I had some posts where I got 1/2 mile warning and some where I got 100 feet and some where I got none. Now I don't know if some of the radar towers were aimed differently or if some of them weren't on, but this did perturb me.
As I mentioned before, the lack of directional arrows made it hard to tell if some of the K, Ka and Laser alerts I got were false. I got 2 or 3 laser alerts these past few days, all in areas where I'm pretty sure they use K band almost exclusively. I didn't see cops on any of them. But I didn't think you could get a "false" laser signal - I thought they were almost always cops? I did get a good number of K and Ka alerts where I saw now cop... But I was in areas where they use those bands so I may just not have seen them.

Conclusion..... V1?
Overall I think this is a great detector. I don't think it "falsed" too much and I'm happy with it's features. I DO think I will be driving with a detector from now on... I saved myself quite a few times this week and the peace of mind is quite relaxing, especially on long drives through unfamiliar areas. However....
Knowing the competition offers directional radar at only $100 more is persuading.... Combined with the frequent opinion that the V1 is much more sensitive and accurate and has an easier to read "bogey-counter", I think I'll be making the upgrade. Even when I started talking to the guy at Tweeter, one of the 1st things he said is "...the V1 is the best, but..." Well now buts here. Considering that any ticket is likely to be more than $100 and I'll be humiliated with this 8500 on my dash, I think I'd rather return the 8500 while I still can and make the switch now. When I do, I'll let you know how it turns out.

-Nick
 

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good write up...only know one guy with a V1 and he owns a M3... my friend, whose buying a s2000, plans to get the v1. Once I get more familar maybe I will make the switch. If anyone could get the 8500 for $178 would you take it or still pay $400 for the v1???? "if you were drowning and I'd threw you a life jacket, would you grab it? YES, pick up 200 shares!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bender said:
good write up...only know one guy with a V1 and he owns a M3... my friend, whose buying a s2000, plans to get the v1. Once I get more familar maybe I will make the switch. If anyone could get the 8500 for $178 would you take it or still pay $400 for the v1???? "if you were drowning and I'd threw you a life jacket, would you grab it? YES, pick up 200 shares!"
oh yeah i think i get your point about the 8500.......... The reason I'm making the switch is that I paid $314 for the 8500. The V1 is $411.50 with 2nd day shipping :D ...... For that extra $100 I think it's worth it.

Hmmmmmm.............. where'd you get the 8500 for $178?? :)
 
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trkmedic69 said:
Paint color is for looks. Girlfriends are for looks. :D

Radar detectors are for pure function. It could look like a ham sandwich for all I care, as long as it works.

Features?
One thing I still don't know about the V-1 is what if I have a x-band going off strong right now and then during it I get a weaker Ka-band? The X is most likely BS and the Ka is more likely a threat - but which will the V-1 tell me about?
The V1 will show multiple bands, and the lights on the front tell you exactly which band. Newest V1s now have the "Ku" band for European use.

Conclusion..... V1?
Overall I think this is a great detector. I don't think it "falsed" too much and I'm happy with it's features. I DO think I will be driving with a detector from now on... I saved myself quite a few times this week and the peace of mind is quite relaxing, especially on long drives through unfamiliar areas. However....
Knowing the competition offers directional radar at only $100 more is persuading.... Combined with the frequent opinion that the V1 is much more sensitive and accurate and has an easier to read "bogey-counter", I think I'll be making the upgrade. Even when I started talking to the guy at Tweeter, one of the 1st things he said is "...the V1 is the best, but..." Well now buts here. Considering that any ticket is likely to be more than $100 and I'll be humiliated with this 8500 on my dash, I think I'd rather return the 8500 while I still can and make the switch now. When I do, I'll let you know how it turns out.
Excellent conclusion, very good points.

My notes:

1) There's only a difference of $86. Your Passport was $314, the V1 is $400. $86 disappears in two hours during a hard-drinking-and-whoring weekend, right? :D You'll be glad you spent the extra $86 in a very short time.

2) You will find the V1's directional display incredibly useful, it's not just hype. Other detectors make you feel like you're driving with a blindfold. The directional display is also very good for learning your local area. For example, a local store on a road I travel frequently has an alarm that triggers radar detectors. The V1's directional display points forward toward it as I am coming up, left side to it as I am passing, and behind as I am going away. Local cops know about this and will sit just past the store. When the V1 tells me there is still a radar source beyond the store, I know it is ticket quota time and to watch my speed.

3) Regarding "the best"... well, isn't that why you bought a BMW in the first place? Don't go cheap now! :yikes:

I just bought <i>another</i> V1 for my other car. A repeat purchaser, with a smile on my face!

- Rob
(no affiliation with Valentine whatsoever, just a satisfied customer who demands the best.)
 
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mattman said:
Interesting info..
Do you have your V1 hard wired? Was it easy? What power source did you take? Maybe the cigarette tray light?
tia,
I do have it hard-wired (<a href="http://www.robertlevinson.com/M5_Touring/interior/images/v1.jpg">click here for pic</a>). In the M5, I am using a power source in the overhead lighting unit so I did not have to run wires all around the dashboard.

The other V1 just arrived, have not put it in anything yet... debating whether to permanently stealth-mount it in <a href="http://www.robertlevinson.com/images/Xsig2.jpg">Project X</a> in a trick housing with the remote display in the dash, or just use it in the <a href="http://www.robertlevinson.com/images/svx_1.jpg">Scooby Doo</a> stuck on the windshield.

- Rob
 

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'a certain moderator'
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Good write up, Nick, and a valid conclusion.

I run an 8500, and i have had only the best results from it (when running in Highway mode :banghead: ) And i too am considering the upgrade to the V1, but i cant really justify it, as i live in an area where directional arrows are next to useless, when the cops are stupid and only hide in front of me. if i were in cali, where they use rather elaborate speed traps on a regular basis, i would probably enjoy the directional arrows a lot.

regardless, my expert mode keeps me out of trouble, and i'v got $100 in my pocket (OK $86, Rob) for other mods :thumbup:

-brendan

PS. u should roll up from Philly tomorrow (Sunday June 30), for a local import show in Allentown that should be pretty tight! AIM for more info if u want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
simsima325 said:
Good write up, Nick, and a valid conclusion.

I run an 8500, and i have had only the best results from it (when running in Highway mode :banghead: ) And i too am considering the upgrade to the V1, but i cant really justify it, as i live in an area where directional arrows are next to useless, when the cops are stupid and only hide in front of me. if i were in cali, where they use rather elaborate speed traps on a regular basis, i would probably enjoy the directional arrows a lot.

regardless, my expert mode keeps me out of trouble, and i'v got $100 in my pocket (OK $86, Rob) for other mods :thumbup:

-brendan

PS. u should roll up from Philly tomorrow (Sunday June 30), for a local import show in Allentown that should be pretty tight! AIM for more info if u want.
did you have a bad experience in city or auto mode?? I'm less worried about it around here then I am when I travel... I go to DE or MD frequently enough - actually got tagged w/ laser in DE 2 weeks ago (but the cop was nice :thumbup: and hooked me up).

I would sure nuff ;) roll up there - but it is sunday, 5am now and I'm off to work for another glorious 24hrs :cry:
 

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Damn son, 24hr work days!!! and on sunday none the less....

I got tagged in Jersey ( :mad: ) while using auto mode. Jersey and CT are two of the only states left that use X band rather heavily, and i guess the radar looked like a false alarm to the detector, because it gave me, maybe 100ft of "warning". i call it "warning" because it did not come on in any linear pattern that would indicate police radar, instead it was sporadic and never reached full intensity, even as i flew 15ft past the radar source at 85mph :banghead: .

so now it stays in Highway mode, and that has never let me down. had i had it in highway mode, i am confident that i would have been given MORE than enough warning.

-brendan
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
simsima325 said:
Damn son, 24hr work days!!! and on sunday none the less....

I got tagged in Jersey ( :mad: ) while using auto mode. Jersey and CT are two of the only states left that use X band rather heavily, and i guess the radar looked like a false alarm to the detector, because it gave me, maybe 100ft of "warning". i call it "warning" because it did not come on in any linear pattern that would indicate police radar, instead it was sporadic and never reached full intensity, even as i flew 15ft past the radar source at 85mph :banghead: .

so now it stays in Highway mode, and that has never let me down. had i had it in highway mode, i am confident that i would have been given MORE than enough warning.

-brendan
interesting you mention this..... on the way home yesterday I spent about 2-3 hrs each driving through CT and NJ. Knowing about their x-band fetish - i left the thing in highway the whole time. While i didn't get tagged by any cops, there were TONS of x-band traffic things in CT, many of which I got little or no warning for! This occurance in the x-band particularly perturbs me.... :dunno:
 
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simsima325 said:
Jersey and CT are two of the only states left that use X band rather heavily.

-brendan
Were you tagged by a local cop or a State Trooper? I am fairly certain that Trooper radar units are all Ka or Lidar. Maybe some backwater local towns are still using old X band equipment, but I have not seen a legitimate X band gun used in Jersey in years.

Then again, I <i>never</i> exceed the speed limit, my knowledge is purely academic. I use a radar detector solely for construction site warning. Really, Officer, I swear!

- Rob
 

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Here's the thing about the 8500, using the Frequency display option for about a month allows you to map out most of the false alarm frequencies... so when you are looking at your arrows to figure out where the cop might hiding be I'm flying past you because I already know that's frequency K24.142 which is from a stores automatic doors. ;)

Once you use the frequency displayfor awhile you will notice that most city police radars will typically vary in a very tight range.

Also I don't have to wait for the signal to get strong before I start slowing down... when I see certain frequencies I IMMEDIATELY slow down because I know its from an actual radar gun and not a microwave tower or some security system.

If the V1 could show the frequency of the radar I'd buy it in a hearbeat though, but for that one feature I'll stick with the 8500.

Just my opinion though. :)
 

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wow, thread from the dead!!!

u raise a valid point, but around me, i honestly rarely run into police radar, that i can identify as so (visually), so it would be a long time until i could figure out exactly what frequency the police radar is on.

i use the ExpertMeter, and i can see the intensity of each band, which in my opinion is far more important information than an arrow pointing in the general direction of a threat (which can be incorrect, due to the radar bouncing off of other solid objects, which can give the detector a false direction, and a false "bogey" count)

IMHO, its 8500 or nothin! (for now... :D )

-brendan
 
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3.0LI6 said:

If the V1 could show the frequency of the radar I'd buy it in a hearbeat though, but for that one feature I'll stick with the 8500.

Just my opinion though. :)
Of course, the V1 shows X, K, and Ka.

Although it does not show the frequency, the different anti-falsing levels (A, big L, little L) weed out the signals that may or may not be legit police signals to different degrees.

Knowing the actual frequency is technically interesting, but probably of less real-world use that simple sensitivity in the first place. The idea behind anti-falsing is that the detector recognizes which extremese of the common bands are non-threats, and does not bother you with the info.

Although the new Passport does indeed sound like a good unit, this frequency display gimmick seems much like a voltmeter in your car - yes, your car's electrical output varies over a few volts in normal use, but all you care about is a big drop or spike.

Details like this seem to get lost in the "detector wars"... the V1 is fundamentally two detectors in the same box, one dedicated to forward view and one to rear.

Although the Passport is intriguing, I would still say the V1 is the overall better unit. Bells and whistles versus fundamental quality are like the difference between a lightshow mainstream home stereo and a serious quality McIntosh or Carver amplifier.
 
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