Following is my brief (not!) :P post about the STi's 33.8 bug fix, plus info about what you will get back with your re-flashed STi. I will start off with what you will get back, depending on the condition of your STi when you sent it in.
What you will get back...
It seems that no matter what, Bel will send your STi back with a new Smart Cord, a new windshield bracket plus four new suction cups, and a "Customer Sevice Repair Information Report" card which describes exactly what the technician did to your STi. Bel really does seem to be trying to make everybody who sends in their STi for the 33.8 bug fix very happy -- even though Belscort has chosen not to disclose the 33.8 bug.
NOTE: Be sure to save the CSRIR card as well as your return receipt label to prove that your STi was re-flashed at some date after June 19, 2007 when the 33.8 bug fix became available! This info will help the resale value of your STi should you ever decide to sell it.
If your STi looks MINT, has no cosmetic scratches, and if it is working normally but you merely sent it in for the flash to fix the 33.8 bug:
Then you should get back your exact STi without any parts of the case being replaced.
I was one of the first to get my STi re-flashed to fix the STi 33.8 bug. Before I sent my STi in for the flash, I carefully marked the socket within the head of one of the four Torx case screws. I used a green Sharpie to mark the screw which is to the left of the serial number sticker. I had previously ThreeBonded all of the horn screws within the radar detector as well. I also included a cover letter stating that all I wanted was for the STi to be flashed with the latest firmware fix for the 33.8 bug and that otherwise the radar detector was working fine. Thus there was no reason why Bel should have to open the STi's case since the flash is performed via the RJ-11 jack.
Upon return receipt of my STi, I noted that the marked case screw was in the same position. Thus the Bel service technician had only a 25% chance of putting the marked case screw back into the same hole. Just to be sure that my STi contained the same internal electronics, I also checked one of the horn screws to verify that ThreeBond was on the screw. It was. I also decided to compare a previously taken photo of my STi's internals with the returned STi. I noted that the random twists to the speaker wire were identical to what I saw on my returned STi.
After all of the above checks, I am 100% sure that my returned STi is the exact same one which I sent off simply to have its firmware re-flashed to fix the 33.8 bug. That was a huge relief since I had just purchased my STi only two months ago in June!
If your STi looks used and has obvious cosmetic scratches:
Bel may opt to replace the scratched front/rear plastic covers and may opt to replace the case if your original case is scratched as well. Bel may also install a new front radar horn cover which no longer has the two cylindrical microwave focusing lenses (bumps). Doing away with these focusing lenses theoretically will improve the STi's off-axis sensitivity by about 2dB to 3dB while theoretically reducing on-axis sensitivity by only 1dB to 2dB at the most. (But read further below about the firmware changes before you assume that a "bumpless" STi will be less sensitive on-axis!) If Bel replaces your STi's case, then it is possible that Bel will install a new serial number sticker as well which has the same serial number but which contains a different four digit week/year code.
What has been changed in the new flash which fixes the 33.8 bug:
- First, the displayed firmware revision number will still be the most recent firmware version prior to the release of the new firmware which fixes the 33.8 bug. Your STi will display the firmware as A4M9.
- You will know that your STi, even if its previous firmware displayed A4M9, has been flashed with the new firmware because the automatic brightening and dimming of its display now takes much longer. This actually made me think that my STi was broken since, when I turned off my dome light, I was used to my STi quickly adjusting the display brightness to its dimmest night settings. Instead, my reflashed STi (at night) now slowly darkens the display over nearly two minutes after I turn off my dome light. This fixes one very annoying problem when driving at night and a car gets very close behind you. With the original A4M9 version of the firmware code, car headlights behind you could cause the display to brighten after just a few seconds -- making your STi's display clearly visible both to other nearby drivers and to LEOs behind you or parked alongside the road. The much slower auto brightness ramp also means that you can now turn on your dome light at night for up to 30 seconds without the STi's display appreciably brightening too much during those thirty seconds. This is handy at night when you want to check a road map, yet don't want your STi to quickly brighten due to your car's dome light. The change to the automatic brighten/dim algorithm is your proof that your STi was re-flashed with the latest firmware that fixes the 33.8 bug.
- X and K band sensitivities are definitely is improved somewhat -- probably by 2dB. Both are so good now that it is positively spooky and should put the STi's X and K band sensitivity within a 3dB ballpark of a V1.
- Users are reporting excellent Ka band sensitivity with their re-flashed STi radar detectors.
- A user has also reported that a re-flashed STi occasionally has problems filtering out certain older Cobra radar detector models (likely the ones which were eventually banned by the FCC and which have a third harmonic right around 33.8). Just like V1 users, STi users with the latest flash will just have to live with this annoyance since it is the price we must pay in order for the STi to be able to always respond to true 33.8 police radar.
It is amazing -- over two weeks after receiving my re-flashed STi and not one GA State Patrol trooper around who is running Ka band radar! What is even more funny is that I encountered GSP operating Ka radar for two nights in a row a couple of days before my STi came back from Bel.
Jerry540i reports that his re-flashed STi performs much better for 34.7 radar. See his post:
33.8 fix works--and now gets amazing 34.7 range as well
I have a little theory about this:
I've experienced similar enhanced results with my re-flashed STi, but only for X and K so far since I haven't yet made any longer road trips and encountered any Ka yet. Apparently the firmware which fixes the 33.8 bug is a complete rewrite of the earlier versions of the code. I should point out that in the FCC photos of the STi pre-production unit #13, someone at Belscort had written "ANALOG 13" on top of the horn cover:
FCC STi internal photo of pre-production unit #13
As mentioned, I think that the new flash is based on entirely new code which is making far more use of the STi's onboard processor in order to perform more digital processing of the radar signals which are being received. My re-flashed STi now is more sensitive on X band and somewhat more sensitive on K band as well. In both cases, my STi now consistently outperforms both my V995 and RX-65 on X and K bands. Its X band sensitivity is so good now that its spooky -- probably now almost as good as a V1? Maybe you will have time to test both your V1 and STi against X and K band door openers and then post your observations?
Contrary to what certain forum members here said, I think that the STi also had an issue with 34.7 as well.
Why do I think that there also was a 34.7 issue? Because the third harmonic of the oscillator frequency used in most radar detectors is roughly 34.7GHz. Spectre RDDs look for 34.7! Recall also that the 33.8 bug was caused by the STi improperly rejecting intermittent 33.8GHz signals as being caused by a nearby Cobra radar detector. Apparently some Cobra models used an oscillator frequency which produces a third harmonic of roughly 33.8 GHz. That should put the Cobra's fundamental oscillator frequency outside the VG2's scanning range.
Back to the 34.7 issue. Apparently any 34.7 issue merely somewhat reduced STi sensitivity to 34.7 at all times, probably because the STi was also continuously checking (in a conventional analog signal sweep fashion) that first and second harmonics from another radar detector were not present in order to confirm that the STi really was detecting real 34.7 radar. Maybe the STi is now digitally modifying and controlling the signal sweeps in order to very quickly rule out other radar detectors? Anyway, this is my little theory as to why your re-flashed STi now owns 34.7 radar.
These are my thoughts for what they are worth. Keep in mind that up to 90% of the above may be BS!
With Kindest Regards,