I'm new to the forum. I'd like to say that I wish I had discovered this forum back when I did this project, as I'm sure many of you would've had lots of great ideas. However, that being said, my name is Jon, and this is my stealth STi install...
This was about a 3 month project that I did in my spare time back in the Spring. After getting 2 speeding tickets within a year for no good reason (ok, I was speeding, but like 10kph over and was picked out of a group of cars going the same speed), I decided that I wanted to have radar/laser detection in my Mustang. However, living in Ontario, Canada, I needed the unit to be undetectable and invisible in case I did get stopped. I decided to go with the Beltronics STi unit, which is currently undetectable by all known RDDs, and I would stealth install it.
At least a month of bouncing ideas around and trying to decide how to interface with the hidden detector, I finally decided that I would like to use my cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. Also, that I'd like to have an indicator hidden in the instrument cluster in addition to the remote speaker the detector came with. After much planning and bench testing, I built the custom interface module and began the actual install.
The first step was to make a slight modification to the radar detector itself. The provided "smart plug" harness would give me access to the volume/mute functions, but I also wanted to be able to change the sensitivity setting and power up/down the detector as well.
Here's the unit reassembled, now with a micro 2-pin external harness to provide the extra button inputs.
The next step was to modify the instrument cluster to add an RGB LED. There's an unused "shift" light in the instrument cluster (even though the car does have a manual transmission), it looks like an up arrow when lit. This icon is directly above the tach needle, inside the tach field, it serves perfectly for my mod.
The first step is to pull the needles (VERY CAREFULLY), after taking a picture of their rest positions.
Here's a picture of the icon.
LED added, time to do some colour tests.
Here's a picture of the cluster reinstalled in the car, with the shift light lit up green.
With that done, it was time to install the remote speaker that came with the Beltronics STi kit. I decided to install it inside the driver's side left-most air vent.
The speaker is the PERFECT size, it slides in nice and snug and requires no additional mounting hardware. Because it's square, inside a circular passage, there's still a decent amount of airflow.
The next task was to fabricate a weather-proof housing. It had to be rugged, able to handle heat, cold, rocks... I decided on one of these snap-lid style clear containers for the job. I painted it with plastic paint, leaving a window for the laser detection and installed a vent to equalize air-pressure and prevent moisture accumulation.
Here's the detector installed in the enclosure. The two cables exiting are a CAT5 LAN cable (provides power and button signals, returns power status and alert signals) and the audio output to the speaker. The small circuit board is to convert the RJ-45 on the CAT5 to the RJ-11 smart plug for the STi, as well it has driver circuitry and some basic ESD protection for the STi power/sens button modification.
With the unit mounted, it's not visible.
If you look under the car, you'll be able to see it hanging behind the bumper on the driver's side, about 6" back. It actually does hang about 1" below the bumper in order to have line-of-sight for laser detection.
Inside the vehicle, the interface module I designed is mounted on the floor behind the center console (white box).
The module takes care of monitoring the cruise buttons, controlling the detector, monitoring detector power and alert status, controlling the RBG LED and controlling power to the remote speaker. This module was most of the work in the project. Being an embedded software developer by day, I have a slight advantage in this area. That being said, if anyone has any interest in my schematics or source code, I'll gladly send them to you to check out.
Well, that's it for the physical install. Controlling the detector is a breeze. The interface module looks for a "double-click" on the cruise OFF button. Then it maps the SET-, SET+, RES buttons to operate as the 3 buttons on the detector. This works well, because after pressing OFF, the other buttons won't affect the vehicle cruise functions. Pressing ON or OFF will exit the interface control and allow the vehicle cruise to function. The LED displays a different colour for each mode (City, Auto, Highway...) and does a very eye-catching red, blue and white strobe effect during an alert. Below is a link to a video of a demo I did (posted on YouTube) I had just finished getting it working and couldn't wait to make the video, so sorry about it being dark and raining out. LOL
In this video, I pull into a parking lot and head towards a door opener that uses radar detection. The detector, in Highway mode, gets falsed. This location worked out really good when I was testing the install...he he. After I pull right up to it (it starts beeping very fast), I mute the alert by pressing a cruise button. While the alert is muted, the LED stays a soft red until the threat is gone. The video quality is poor, the LED colour is faded and most of the strobe flashes get missed due to poor framerate...oh well, you get the idea.
YouTube - Stealth Beltronics STi Install in Mustang
I'm thinking of raising the unit 2" or so and losing my laser support. I've never had a real laser alert yet (a couple falses during early morning sun glare though) and I'd like to have the unit 100% out of sight. Also the higher the better for radar detection, right?
Anyways, I just thought I'd share my install with this forum. Feel free to comment, etc.