I just got back from a long road trip and discovered a problem with my V1...
When it's not hot (driving at night, for instance) it is amazing. It picked up forward facing 35.5 from between 1/4 and 1/2 mile. It picked up over the hill Ka very well in general, and my favorite;
It picked up instant on, forward facing, over-the-hill 34.7!
That's the good news on how it does when it's not hot.
Here's the bad news;
It sucks when it gets hot.
I called V1 today and was a little nervous because the lady I spoke with said running two detectors on the same car was "not a valid test." I tried to explain that The SRX is a remote-mount unit with it's antenna located outside of the car and I have ran them in the past with no problems but she seemed unconvinced.
With that in mind, here is the long letter I sent to V1 with my unit....
Hi. My name is Mike and my new V1 (about three months old) seems to have a problem operating at full sensitivity when hot.
Here is the background;
My V1 was purchased for a car that I seldom drive. Both the car and the V1 spend most of their life in my garage, in the dark.
Shortly after buying the V1 I had the opportunity to test it, head-to-head against my wife’s three year old, remote-mount Escort SRX in her Dodge Magnum RT. (Not the car I bought it for) I was a little concerned about running two radar detectors on the same car, but did some research on radardetector.net and found another owner that runs his V1 and Escort SR7+ (also a remote-mount setup, with the radar antenna mounted outside the car, under the front bumper.) on his Corvette with no problems.
The “test” was a road trip of about 1000 miles with most of the driving done at night.
The SRX performed as it always has. (Good detection, and “ok” over-the-hill protection with Ka) The V1, however, did better than any radar detector I have ever owned! (And I have owned many, high-end Bel and Escort products dating back to the late 90’s) I was very impressed, and wrote a lengthy review on the website mentioned above.
I hardwired the V1 in my 350Z and used it on another road trip of about 2000 miles. It performed as well as it had in tandem with my wife’s SRX and I was again impressed with its capabilities. This trip, however, was done mostly daylight hours and I was concerned about how hot the V1 got in the sunlight. (It’s mounted on the windshield, just below my rear-view mirror.) The cabin was, of course, air-conditioned the whole trip but the V1 still got very warm in the sunlight. The temperature of the metal case concerned me enough to run my AC in “defrost” mode for much of the trip to send cool air up the windshield and to the V1. This worked well to keep the V1 cool and as I mentioned above, it performed great.
I was concerned that my hardwire-install had something to do with the V1’s high operating temperature so I used the cigarette-lighter cord a few days after we got home and it only took about 10-20 minutes (in the same air-conditioned car, but mounted in the same direct-sunlight location) to get up to the same approximate temperature that prompted me running my AC in “defrost” on the road trip.
I thought that maybe the unit felt “hot” because it had a metal case that transferred heat from internal components better than other plastic-cased radar detectors. I did a little research and read that many V1 veterans say the V1 does feel hot when operating and they have no problems with their V1’s performance or reliability. Some even mentioned that they leave their units baking on the windshield when the car is parked for long periods in the sun, and their units power up and run fine when they get back in the car.
Now to the problem;
Thinking that my “defrost” AC approach was just being paranoid, I did another head-to-head with my wife’s SRX on a recent road trip that totaled just under 3K miles. This time, though the day / night driving was split up pretty evenly and the results seem to have exposed a problem with my V1. When the unit is relatively cool, such as nighttime driving, it outperforms the SRX handily.
But, when the sun is out and it is running hot, its performance is scary-bad.
On the first leg of the trip, at night, the V1 picked up forward-facing 35.5 (SRX in SPEC mode) from a FL. DOT car that already had a customer, between ¼ and ½ mile away! The SRX alerted about 500 feet away. (It outperformed the SRX on all other encounters too, but that was the best one.)
We spent a few days in Alabama where my V1 sat on my nightstand in the room.
The next leg of the trip was to the Corvette plant in Bowling Green Kentucky, during the day and I put the V1 on the windshield for the trip. This time, when my V1 got hot in the sun I did not change the AC settings to “defrost” and try to cool it down. (The kids in the back seat would have probably protested anyway) The V1, on this leg of the trip, got spanked by the SRX on every encounter. On one encounter, I picked up 35.5 on the SRX, from a patrol car that was pointed in my direction. The SRX alerted before the parked patrol car came in view and started going nuts as we approached. The V1 was completely silent until we were right on top of the patrol car! I cycled power on the V1 to “reset” it and noticed it was hot. (Like a car-stereo amp that’s working hard. Not going to burn you, but not something you want to keep your hand on either.) We took the tour of the plant, where the V1 got a break in the glove compartment. We then continued on to just south of Cincinnati Ohio, with the V1 back on the windshield. The second leg of this daytime trip went bad for the V1 also. There were a few 34.7 encounters and the V1 lagged way behind the SRX in alerting. It was still better on the K-band door openers near the highway but that was about the only thing it did better than the SRX for this portion of our vacation.
On this leg of the trip, I knew my V1 needed service. The V1 sat in our room for a few days again until it was time to make the trip home to SW Fl.
With the V1 mounted on the windshield from 7:30am and through the last 1k miles of our trip. I saw the performance start strong in the morning, fade badly in the heat of the day, and improve to stellar in the evening.
While I am not a radar expert, I do have over a decade’s experience in the field of electronics as Ground Radio Repairman for the USMC from 91-95 and a commercial electronics tech with a civilian company for over 11 years. I have said “Intermittent problems make technicians look bad.” for years, and that’s why I wrote this lengthy description of the problem. Please understand that I expect the unit to work fine if it is connected to a test bench in an air-conditioned building. It isn’t heating up from the operation of its internal components. It’s getting hot from direct sunlight (even though the car(s) are air-conditioned) and only then having issues. I am sure that the heat caused by life on a windshield was considered when the unit was designed, so I am guessing that a component or group of components that should be able to operate under these temperatures is failing or drifting out of tolerance.
As a technician myself, I appreciate the difficulty in fixing an intermittent problem and hope my lengthy description assists in troubleshooting and repairing the problem.
In case this letter and my V1 ever get separated the Serial number for my unit is XXXXXXXXXX.