Contributed Tech Stuff - Radar Detectors

Contributed by F. Robert Falbo


Disclaimer: Information and ideas contained in this section are solely those of the contributor(s) and not those of Harley-Davidson®, Harley-Davidson® of Uica, H.O.G.®, or the Erie Canal H.O.G.® Chapter.



Nobody likes to get a ticket, no matter what the infraction is. Obviously the best way to avoid a ticket is to conscientiously obey all the rules of the road, all the time. I don't know about you, but I know my mind is sometimes split between riding and, well, somewhere else. So maybe I'm a little over the speed limit, or I forget to put my foot down at a stop, or miss signaling a lane change. Sometimes a radar detector can help keep you legal by letting you know that the Law is close by. No, I'm not saying that it will allow you to break the Law with impunity, just that it may help bring your concentration back to where it should be - on the road. That's predominantly how I use mine.

There are lots of radar detectors available. I bought an Escort Passport 9500ix a few years ago, for my car, and decided to mount it on my bike too. Since that bike was a Softail without a fairing all that was required was to find a 12 volt power sourse and a mount for the handlebars. I settled on a Techmount that used an elastic strap to secure the detector. It worked fine, but I was always taking the detctor off to avoid, ahh, loosing it. Later on I bought a Street Glide Special, and I decided that I needed a better way to be able to move the detector between the bikes and the car. A RAM magnetic base mount was just the ticket - just adhere a small metal strip to the bottom of the detector and I was all set. and added a wireless headset connection.

A few years later I added support for a wireless headset to the Street Glide, and with it came the ability to add an audio input from a GPS or Radar Detector. I decided to pipe the audio alerts from the detector to my headset via the AUX input of the wireless transceiver. It looked like a no-brainer. How wrong I was! Both units had 3.5mm audio jacks, so a simple 3.5mm stereo jumper should do the trick. Unfortunately, what I got was just muted audio where a notification should have been - Grrrr. This is where RTFM comes in handy (Read The $%#& Manual). The Detector Audio output was monaural, while the Transceiver input was stereo. Usually this isn't a problem - you just get the same sound in both speakers, but for some reason this wasn't the case with these components, and I'm pretty sure that the detector is the one not playing nice. The solution was to isolate them, but allow the audio to still pass through - by using an audio transformer. I managed to scrounge an ultra-miniture audio tranformer from a good friend and when I added it to the connecting cable the radar announcements came through loud and clear

If you decide to buy a radar detector for your bike, a few things to think about:



Pictures - everybody loves pictures...

Here's the interface cable, before I painted it black. For Electronics Nerds - the Schematic Diagram!


I'll be adding information on the Techmount & RAM mounts shortly...






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