These are the questions most frequently asked by newcomers to the laser jammer interest. We have prepared this FAQ to help quickly orient you to the basics of evaluating, choosing, installing, and using a laser jammer. This is not an exhaustive encyclopaedia of laser jammer information, and is not intended to be. There is much more for the advanced enthusiast to know about laser jamming, and still much more that we have yet to learn. But for you to get started intelligently choosing, installing, and using the jammer that is right for you and your vehicle, these basics are all you need to know.
Special thanks to the following people for their contributions to this FAQ: Guys Of Lidar, jimbonzzz, kpatz, Laser-InterceptorUSA, PMoth, snoopyc4, speed-dreams, TSi-WRX
1. Do I really need a laser jammer since my radar detector detects laser?
Yes. A laser detector by itself is useless. Period. Laser works at the speed of light. By the time even the best radar detector alerts to a laser attack, the officer already has your speed. It literally takes less than a second. A laser warning from a radar detector is about as useful as a buzzer that warns you that your airbags are about to deploy. It is no warning at all. Think of it as hearing the gunshot that was just fired at you. By the time you hear it, you're already dying.2. How does a laser jammer work?
There is no passive way to beat laser. You must have a jammer to defeat it. And although some people will claim they were able to out-brake laser, they didn't. They only think they did because they don't understand how it works.
3. What is the best laser jammer?
It is a more complicated process than one would imagine. An excellent introduction can be found here
. Generally speaking, the jammer must first recognise that it is being shot at. Then it must determine what kind of gun is shooting at it. Then it must fire back with the appropriate beam, at the appropriate pulse-rate, as no two laser gun models are the same. And all of this must happen at the speed of light. As you can see, it is not simply a matter of shining light back at the laser gun. However, in the past there was one jammer -- The Lidatek LE10 -- that employed "brute force" of high intensity laser optics as part of the equation, which allowed it better success at blinding a laser gun. Guns are more sophisticated these days though, so the "brute force" concept remains a valid adjunct factor, but cannot be reasonably relied upon as a sole manner of jamming laser. Consequently, don't fool yourself thinking that just adding a bunch of lights of any kind to your car is going to protect you.
One common misconception is that the laser beam from a police LIDAR gun is a very small, pinpoint beam, as common lasers are. It is not. The beam from police LIDAR, even at a very short distance, is several inches wide. At typical engagement distances (around 500 feet), the beam width is likely to cover the entire front end of your car. Consequently, simply protecting your licence plates and/or headlights with passive measures alone will not help you. The entire front end must be protected by a competent jammer.
4. How do I choose a laser jammer?
Currently, the Laser Interceptor is the undisputed king. If you must have absolute confidence, that’s what you need. No other jammer outperforms it. And many vehicles cannot be protected with anything less.
There only other quality option in North America is the Blinder X-Treme, which provides excellent protection for most vehicles at a reasonable price. The Escort ZR-4 Shifter may sometimes
be adequate for some very small, dark cars, but it is a serious gamble and not recommended. In Europe, the Anti-Laser G9 (Google it) is a jammer that performs near the level of the Laser Interceptor. Be very wary of any other jammer on the market, as there are a lot of duds and knock-offs out there.
The definitive source for complete, honest, side-by-side comparisons of the laser jammers is the http://www.guysoflidar.com/
. There, you can see how all the current jammers stack up against each other in formal, controlled testing. While the last test results are now outdated by product improvements, Guys Of Lidar will be updating their tests in the coming months. They are the gold standard for independent laser jammer and radar detector testing.
There are other groups of independent testers across the country that provide public results here, and they can be found at http://www.radardetector.net/forums/...t-archive.html
5. Where should I mount my laser jammer?
To properly determine your needs, you first have to assess your risk. This is entirely dependent upon the car you drive. The factors that affect your risk include:
• Size of vehicle – bigger target is easier to hit
• Colour of vehicle – lighter colours reflect laser better
• Shape of vehicle – streamlined and wedge shaped cars like Corvettes have less reflective surfaces than others
• Amount of chrome – chrome bumpers, grilles, badges, and trim reflect laser more than paint
• Front licence plate – the most reflective item on the front of a car.
• Lights – Headlights are extremely reflective of laser. The bigger they are, the more of a risk they present. Auxiliary lights like fog and driving lights add to that risk.
* Mounting Options - Even a small, dark, wedged shape car is difficult to protect if the design of the front end does not allow the jammer heads to be placed optimally. Consequently, you may still need the best jammer possible to get the job done. This includes most BMWs.
The more of those factors you have working against you, the more protection you need. But also be aware that, even if you negate each and every one of those factors, you are still vulnerable to laser. We can easily get a speed reading off the back of a jogger wearing a black sweatsuit at half a mile or more, so don't fool yourself into believing that simply blacking out and Veiling your car will protect you. It will not. There is no passive way to defeat laser. None. Not Veil. Not a Laser Shield. Not a black paint job. They will not "buy you a couple of seconds". NO jammer = NO protection. Period.
If you will post a question to this forum, answering all of the above questions, along with make and model, and posting a full-frontal photo of your
car (not a similar car off of Google, or one parked at an angle) if possible, the experienced forum members will gladly help you determine what jammers would adequately protect your vehicle. Just be aware that you will spend somewhere between $400 to $700 dollars to protect just the front end of most vehicles. If you have a lot of the above risk factors, that cost could go up to $1200 dollars. Protecting your rear end will double that cost. And looking for the cheapest solution is likely to end up buying you only a false sense of security. Speeding is a pay-to-play game. If you can't afford to play for real, then save your money and slow down.
This is going to be highly variable, from car to car. But there are several constants. First, the jammer heads must have a completely clear and unobstructed view. That means they cannot be behind the grille or any other obstructions. Not even a partial obstruction, like a honeycomb grille. NO obstructions. They also should not be so deeply recessed as to be obstructed from the sides or above, because police may target you from overpasses and 45 degree angles. They generally should be as widely spaced as practical so that they are no more than 18 inches from the center of your headlights. If you run a front plate, they should be equidistant between the headlights and the licence plate.6. I don't need JTG performance, just enough time to slow down, right?
On motorcycles, it has been consistently noted that jammer heads provide better coverage when mounted vertically, instead of horizontally. Remember that, on a motorcycle, you have to cover both the bike and the rider, because the helmet is the most vulnerable part of the equation.
The most important rule of thumb is this: Stealth the ride, not the install! That means, concentrate on installing your jammer for maximum performance, not for maximum concealment. Otherwise, you are only increasing your chances of failure and getting discovered when they pull you over. You are not the first person from California to buy a jammer and think that he MUST hide the heads behind something to avoid a ticket for having a jammer. We know this. But there is no way around it. If we tell you that you have to put it somewhere, then that is the bottom line. Again, NO! You can NOT put it behind ANYTHING! And YES, you may have to cut your grille to mount it. You do not own the one car on Earth that will defy the laws of physics. If you argue with us about it, you will be banned.
If you will post a photo of the front end of your car, or a photo of an identical car, in the Advice On Placement forum, we will be happy to point out the ideal mounting location for your vehicle. In that same forum, you can also easily browse previous threads by car type to find examples of placement on your car.
First, it is important to understand that a jammer does not buy you time. It buys you distance. It's about feet, not seconds. Some feel that any jammer that protects you down to around 500 feet is “good enough” to save you from a ticket because many cops do not engage you below 500 feet, so you have a few seconds to react. But others maintain that nothing but JTG is good enough to be sure of not receiving a ticket with laser. The rationale being that, in reality, most laser encounters take place right around 500 feet to begin with. And it is not the distance at which you are shot that you have to jam to. It is the distance at which you finally get slowed down that you have to jam to! If you are targeted at 500 feet while travelling at highway speed, you will travel past the officer before you can slow down. That means your jammer better still be protecting you the whole time, or you’re toast.7. Do I need to worry about rear laser shots?
If you’re comfortable with gambling your $400 to $1200 dollar jammer investment by trying to get by with “good enough”, then by all means feel free to do so. But before you try to get by on the cheap with a “good enough” jammer, you should calculate how much the tickets, attorney fees, and insurance rate hikes are going to cost you and decide if you are really saving any money or not.
Although rear laser shots have not yet become prevalent in many areas of the U.S., this is an enforcement technique that is quickly catching on, and it is eventually going to be common anyplace that laser is used. California seems to have pioneered the technique, and it has been commonly sighted across the South. In California, Texas, and Florida, it is very definitely a concern. Where you live, you might encounter it and you might not. But you won’t know until it’s too late. And it has been noted that having a jammer greatly increases your chances of being shot from the rear, because the officer had trouble getting you from the front. If you can afford it, it is highly recommended that you get jammer heads for your tail end too. It should be noted that the rear end of most cars is harder to protect than the front end, so again, you will probably not be able to get out on the cheap. That means NO, you can't just put one head on the rear. I've seen that work on a grand total of ONE car, and I doubt that it's the car you drive.8. Do I need to worry about laser at night?
Yes. It is generally less common at night simply because there are generally fewer cops out at night. However, there is no technical reason why LIDAR cannot be used at night, and we often hear reports of it here.9. Do I need to worry about laser in the rain?
Yes. Although it is not terribly common for police officers to do laser or radar speed enforcement in the rain, simply because they don’t want to stand in it to write tickets, the newer generation laser guns compensate for rain interference and work just fine in the rain.10. Can police shoot laser through their car windows?
Yes. It minimally decreases the maximum range of the laser gun, but not enough to affect it at normal enforcement distances.11. Can police shoot laser in their side view mirror?
Yes. Like the glass, it minimally decreases range. And aiming is a little more difficult. With some guns, you can't make it work. However, police can accurately get your speed by shooting behind them using a mirror.12. Do headlights have any effect on laser guns?
Some people have noticed that their HID headlights actually make it more difficult for a laser gun to get a lock on their speed. This has been tested a few times and shown to sometimes make a difference of up to hundreds of feet. However, others have found no difference whatsoever with their HID lights. The results are not consistent and should not be counted upon when assessing your risk. Without a jammer, no amount of HID headlights, on even the stealthiest car, will help you. 13. Can I mount my jammer behind the windshield or window?
Bottom line is, do not expect your HID headlights to make a significant difference in your laser vulnerability just because it did on someone else’s car. Every car is different, every set of HIDs is different, and every laser gun is different. Unless you have formally tested your car against real laser guns and determined that your HIDs absolutely, positively, beyond any doubt whatsoever, have a consistently measurable jamming effect on laser, then do not count on it. And even if they do help, they will only help you if you also have a jammer. Alone, they will do nothing for you.
Non-HID headlights, incandescent or halogen, dim or bright, have not shown to have any pretictable effect whatsoever on laser speed measurement. However, remember, laser is merely light, so any kind of light can occasionally cause an error message on the officer's laser gun. But again, do not expect that to make any difference in your getting a ticket.
Nobody who has attempted to do this has ever made it work. Not behind glass. Not behind plexiglass. Not behind Lexan. Many have tried. All have failed. Glass reduces performance of a head by about 80 percent. A system behind glass simply will not work. The very best that anyone can claim so far is that an extra jammer head -- in addition to your externally mounted system -- behind glass/plastic near a potential weak spot, such as your roofline, might possibly help reinforce that weak spot to some unpredictable degree. But no, you cannot place your entire system itself behind any kind of obstruction, no matter how transparent, and expect it to jam police laser at all.14. Can I use two separate jammers on one vehicle?
It is very rare that this is done successfully, and not recommended. What happens is that two separate jammers on the same vehicle, operating simultaneously, will receive signals from each other, causing them to mis-analyse the LIDAR signal, resulting in a jamming sequence that is incorrect for the threat. In other words, the jammers will try to jam each other instead of the LIDAR signal. What we usually see is that two separate jammers operating simultaneously results in absolutely no jamming at all. More is not always better!15. Can a police officer tell if I am using a laser jammer?
There have been some rare cases of installations, where meticulous technical care was taken to assure that the jammer heads were separated well enough that two systems can peacefully co-exist. However, most vehicles don't have the mounting options to do so. And, of course, there is no real benefit to using two separate systems on one vehicle where it would be advisable to try.
Of course, this all applies exclusively to jammers on the same end of the vehicle. Separate systems on the front and back of the vehicle would not result in crosstalk issues.
It depends upon the experience of the officer, but yes, it is possible. Some laser guns have circuits which attempt to identify jamming signals, and will display an "error" or "jam" code on the display for the operator when jamming is identified. This works with varying degrees of success, and there are often false alerts to jamming, so officers may or may not even pay attention to them. The Laser Atlanta brand guns are the only ones to consistently and accurately alert to jamming. Also, all laser guns emit an audible tone while firing. That tone varies with the rate at which the light is being reflected, and an officer can tell when it is on target and when it is not by the sound. If he sees that he is on target, yet the tone says he is not on target, a technically savvy officer may well understand that means he is being jammed. And, of course, it usually takes less than a second for a laser gun to get speed lock on a car. It can take up to three or four seconds if there is no front licence plate and the car is particularly low profile. But after about three seconds, the officer becomes suspicious of why his gun has not locked, especially if the audible tone does not sound right. Of course, not all officers are that experienced or technically savvy, but many are. Stories abound of officers pulling people over and inspecting their car looking for jammers because of those telltale signs. Beware of that risk.16. Are laser jammers legal?
17. What about the “parking sensor” defence?
Unlike radar jammers, which are illegal under federal law, and laws in many states, laser jammers are not regulated by federal law, and are specifically outlawed by only the following states and provinces:
• South Carolina
• Washington, DC
In depth information regarding each state's jammer laws can be found at http://www.guysoflidar.com/usa-laser-jammer-laws.html
You should not get too secure and comfortable in other states though, for two reasons. First, a lot of cops simply are ignorant of the law. They know that radar jammers are illegal, and will ignorantly attempt to apply that law to laser jammers. Second, other officers may attempt to charge you with “Interfering With A Police Officer” or “Hindering An Investigation” or some other such nonsense criminal charge. Neither one are likely to hold up in court, because the judge knows better. But you’ve still wasted a lot of time and money fighting it, and possibly even spent a night in jail. So yes, there is a risk to be considered, even in states where they are legal.
If jammers are illegal in your state just remember this: So is speeding. Does that stop you from speeding?
Claiming that your laser jammer is only a “parking sensor” can help you to avoid the wrath of the police, should they discover your jammer. The top laser jammers all have a “parking aid” feature, where you can actually have your jammer alert to nearby objects, like when pulling into your garage. If you get an officer who does not know better (most don’t), and you can demonstrate that for him, it may well get you off. It’s a big gamble though. He probably pulled you over for jamming him in the first place, so really, the cat’s already out of the bag.18. What causes laser false alerts?
It’s worth a shot. But if it doesn’t work on the officer, you probably wont want to try it in court. They’re going to know better, and if you cannot produce documentation proving that it is a parking sensor, and a parking sensor ONLY, then you’re guilty. In states where jamming laser is illegal, doing it with a parking sensor is just as illegal as doing it with a jammer, just like robbing a bank with a fake gun is just as illegal as robbing a bank with a real gun.
19. How do I install my laser jammer?
Remember that laser is just light. Although you will rarely get a false alert on most laser jammers, there are several known sources of those false alerts:
• Neon and LED lights - including those on autos, like third brake lights on the Chevy Envoy, Avalanche, and Trailblazer
• HID headlights, usually only off-colour aftermarket HIDs
• Adaptive cruise control - particularly that on Infinity cars
• Toll plazas - usually as you are leaving the booth
• Airports – collision avoidance system
• Sunlight – sometimes when driving directly into the sunrise or sunset
Sometimes there simply is no apparent reason for a false alert on your laser jammer. The Escort/Cincinnati Microwave ZR3 and ZR4 are the most prone to false alerts, with the Blinder and Laser Interceptors falsing much less frequently.
20. How do I know if my jammer is working properly?
A laser jammer can be properly installed by anyone with moderate wiring skills. If you can install a car stereo, you can install a jammer. Radar Roy has an instructional video of the process at http://www.radardetector.net/forums/...er-jammer.html
. The difficulty will vary greatly from car to car. The most difficult part will be mounting the heads where they are perfectly aligned and levelled, and that can be very tricky on some cars, depending upon the configuration of your grille.
Other than installing it yourself, you have two options. You can ask for help here at the forum. You may get lucky and have another member near you may volunteer to help you out for beer and pizza. Or you can get a professional installation done on your car. To find a professional installer in your area who can be trusted to do a good job, first contact the manufacturers rep for your jammer. If they cannot recommend an installer in your area, ask the forum if they know of any. If all else fails, simply locate an auto accessories shop in your area, such as Car Toyz or Circuit City. They can help.
Regardless of who you have install your jammer, it is very important that you do not assume they know exactly how to do it. Unfortunately, many install shops, that do not know about jammers, will perform a beautiful installation, that looks excellent, but does not work. The most important part of a jammer installation is the positioning of the heads. Custom shops have a tendency to try and make the heads invisible, which hurts their performance. So be very clear with your chosen installer that the heads must be:
* perfectly levelled with the road
* perfectly aligned forward with no degree of angle or cant
* widely spaced, as close to the headlights as practical
* not behind the grille or any other obstruction
* not recessed into the grille or body
* not be obstructed in any way, at any angle, including on the top, bottom, or sides
* DO NOT attempt to shorten or lengthen any of the wires or cables
To accomplish a proper installation, it will often require that portions of your grille be cut out to accommodate the heads. It's pretty easy to screw that up. So if you are not comfortable with that kind of detailed work, then by all means, get professional assistance. Professional installations generally run in the range of $250 to $500 dollars. Often, forum members get lucky and find a "part time" installer who does very professional installations on the side for a hundred dollars or less.
The only way you will know if it is working properly is to test it against real police laser guns. That means either finding another laser enthusiast who has guns who will test you, or buying one yourself. That’s it. That is the only way. Many forum members own police laser guns, so feel free to ask if anyone in your area can help you out. If you want to buy a laser gun, they are often found on eBay for anywhere from $700 to $2000 dollars. They are available from the manufacturers for anywhere from $2000 to $4000 dollars.
Unfortunately, even if you obtain a LIDAR gun for your own testing, it's not quite that simple. The technique of the shooter is every bit as important as the gun itself. Consequently, if you do not know the various methods of shooting used by police officers, as well as the methods used by hobbyists, you cannot get a true reading of your jammer's ability. It is highly recommended that you find a committed hobbyist, who owns his own laser guns and does a lot of testing, to do this testing for you. If you count on the results of just any old guy with a LIDAR gun, you may be setting yourself up for false confidence.
Lidar guns can also be rented by the week from these forum members:
Send them a private message for details.
You can test your jammer to see if it is firing by purchasing a http://www.radarbusters.com/laser-ja...asertester.cfm
- handheld laser jammer tester. They are sold for $49.99 at RadarBusters.com. Using this device will tell you if your jammer is receiving, alerting, and firing. That is useful for routine maintenance of the system, to make sure nothing has burned out. But it will NOT tell you if it is jamming correctly. Again, the only way to know that is to have an actual police laser gun and to jam it.
A television remote control can be used as a "ghetto laser tester", similar to the device sold by RadarBusters.com. Every remote is different, but by simply aiming the remote control at your jammer heads and pushing buttons, you may eventually find a button that triggers your jammer. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not. But again, it does not give you any information except that your jammer is not burned out, and can be triggered.
And no, laser pointers or laser aiming devices for guns are not useful for testing your laser jammer. Some of them will rarely set the jammer off, but usually not. And even if it does, again, it tells you nothing about whether it is working properly or not, so that's not really a useful test. However, for the technically inclined do it yourselfer, there is a tutorial for building your own laser simulator can be found here, http://www.radardetector.net/forums/...-gun-simu.html
. Although, I must say that I have never heard from anyone who successfully built one that worked.
Once you have a method of triggering your jammer, whether it be with a tester, a remote, or with an actual laser gun, you can see if the LEDs or laser diodes in your jammer heads are firing properly by viewing them through an ifrared (IR) sensitive camera. Sony video cameras with "NightShot" will view IR light. So will many cellphone cameras. By viewing the heads with such a camera while they are firing, you can actually see the IR light being emitted by the jammer. But again, it cannot be overemphasised that even viewing the heads firing does not mean that they are actually capable of jamming police laser. To do that, you MUST be actually shot by a police laser gun while moving.
Many people mistakenly believe that running past officers who are shooting laser will let them know if their jammer is working or not. The truth is that this is very rarely the case. You never know for sure what tolerance an officer has. That means, just because you drove past him at fifteen miles over the speed limit and didn’t get stopped doesn’t mean you jammed him. It may mean he wasn’t stopping people for less than twenty miles over the limit. There are multiple reasons why an officer might not pull you over other than you successfully jamming him. DO NOT DO THIS
. It gives you no useful information about your system. It gives the officer reason to stop you, whether he gets your speed or not. And it gets officers thinking about jammers, which we do not want! It's a tool, not a toy. Don't play around with it.
For the very same reason, do not ask a police officer to shoot you to check your jammer out. This is dangerous for you and for all jammer users. The more they know about jammers, the easier it becomes for them to defeat us, and the more likely they are to start pushing for laws against jammers. Don't screw the entire countermeasure community for a few moments of fun.