I'm beginning to really love my new 9500i. I have to revise my post regarding the 9500i's ramp-up, but instead I wanted to post my preliminary observations about how the 9500i's TrueLock feature works. If you own a 9500i, then CJR238's stickied thread
Explanation of the 9500I & TrueLock info (Tricks)
is a must read. CJR has really done his homework and has heavily revised his notes based on a lot work testing the 9500i's TrueLock system.
NOTES: Please keep in mind that the following observations are simply my initial observations. Also note that my following tests were performed with my 9500i in Highway mode. There is a possibility that these test results will be different when I perform them again with my 9500i in Autoscan mode. Thus my comments below may and likely will need to be revised after more thorough testing. But I am having fun even though my girlfriend doesn't understand my radar detector addition.
The size of the 9500i's GPS cells which are used for locking out a location:
The very first thing which I wanted to find out is how large the 9500i's GPS cells are which are used when you lockout a specific GPS location. Two days ago I used my cell phone, which emits X band while charging, to find out how wide the 9500i's GPS cells are. I drove out of town and selected two relatively long stretches of highway which had crossroads which could serve as reference points. I pulled over at each crossroad, plugged my cell phone into its charger so that it started emitting X band, locked out each location, unplugged my cell phone, and then drove for at least 2 miles away from each location. I then plugged in my cell phone again so that it was emitting X band and used my odometer to measure the distance from where the 9500i stopped alerting to where it started alerting again. It appears that the 9500i's GPS cells are around 5000 feet in diameter. I think that the cells should be half that diameter, but this potentially could require four times as much memory. That got me thinking about the large dropped down flat area on the underside of the 9500i. I suppose a board redesign to accommodate a SD card slot would be possible in the future. I will have to open up my 9500i again to see if the space is really there.
I also noted that my 9500i's GPS icon started/stopped spinning at somewhat different distances relative to the exact location where I locked out my cell phone's X band signal. For example, as I approached one locked out location the X band alert was killed and the GPS icon started spinning at 0.35 mile from the actual location, and the GPS icon stopped spinning and the alert resumed at 0.6 mile after the actual location. My guess is that the coordinates of a locked out GPS location are only stored to an accuracy of about 1/4 of a mile.
Testing whether or not TrueLock locks out everything:
Obviously I would have to have X and K band transmitters in order to perform these tests. Used X and K radar guns are rather expensive, but several months ago I got lucky on eBay and purchased an X band transceiver module and a K band transceiver module. I got them for dirt cheap, and I haven't seen any more on eBay since then. See my post about how I built my own X and K radar transmitters:
My X and K transmitters...
This evening I took the time to drive around town to four locations which had one or more pairs of K band door openers. I pulled into the parking lot at each location and locked out each location. I then drove five miles out of town in order to put me at least five miles away from the nearest locked out location. At that point I powered off my 9500i and then powered it back on, assuring that it wouldn't possibly try to store any additional signals within each location. Thanks CJR for that tip! I then went to each location and alternatively triggered my X band transmitter and then my K band transmitter.
In all cases the instant-on X band transmitter signal overrode the lockout such that a strong X band alert was displayed. The locked out K band signals were indicated as well when I put my 9500i in Expert mode.
In three out of four cases the instant-on K band transmitter signal failed to produce an alert because my K band transmitter was within the same frequency window as one or more of the locked out K band door openers. Needless to say, I then drove to each locked out location and unlocked those locations. Does anybody know how to erase all locked out locations within the 9500i? A reset to factory defaults sure doesn't do it. I tried that.
What are my initial conclusions? TrueLock, as implemented, needs a bit of work:
-- First, whenever an instant-on signal is detected, then TrueLock should automatically be overridden.
-- Second, Escort could add a user preference which allows the user to set a signal strength at which TrueLock will be overridden. Perhaps the default should be a signal strength of 5 out of 10.
I have dreamed up another idea or two about how TrueLock could be made to work very effectively and as advertised. I won't disclose these ideas since they are not like what is described in Escorts GPS Radar Detector patent. In other words, I am looking at the problem and solution from an entirely different approach.
On a final note, tonight when I drove five miles out of town to be sure that I was well outside the nearest GPS location which I locked out, my 9500i started detecting 35.5 Ka band. The signal was weak, but there were two small hills along the highway between me and him! Needless to say the signal went to full when I finally crested the second hill and his Ka radar was line-of-sight. There were only slight curves along that stretch of road, so my 9500i was basically getting a nearly straight-on signal over the two hills. I was most impressed since the initial distance between me and the approaching patrol car was nearly 1 mile, with the two small hills between me and him. I should mention that the signal instantly went from a 1 or 2 to full strength. Further testing of my 9500i's ramp-up shows it to be relatively smooth for X and K bands. Yet for this Ka band signal there was virtually no intermediate ramp-up! I am curious if others have experienced their ramp-up problems only and specifically on Ka band. Its just a thought.
Anyway, there you have it!
Best regards to everyone,