August, 2014

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AntiLaser Priority (ALP) Connect

ALPConnect_Banner-Large

 

Introduction

The AntiLaser Priority (ALP) laser jammer has a very convenient and easy to use accessory called the ALPConnect.  The ALPConnect is a Bluetooth enabled module that works alongside the ALPConnect app, available for free on iTunes, in order to allow the user to perform basic functions and changes to settings on the ALP, and provide users visual and audio alerts to LIDAR threats.  Bluetooth accessories for radar detector and LIDAR countermeasures are beginning to become popular.  In the past year, we have seen radar detector manufacturers like Escort Incorporated design the Escort SmartCord Live for iOS and Android smartphones, and we have also seen Valentine One Research Labs design the V1Connection for the same phone platforms.  The purpose of this review is to provide interested and new ALPConnect buyers information covering the features of this device, and how to connect and operate the ALPConnect.  Overall, the ALPConnect Bluetooth module and accompanying app ALPConnect is a solid performer with that is easy to use and free of annoyances and bugs.

 

ALPConnect Module – Overview

The ALPConnect Bluetooth module is a device that connects to the ALP Control Box via the included C-to-C connection cable and establishes a Bluetooth connection to an iOS smartphone or tablet allowing the user to manage all the same functions as the Control Set switch with the downloadable app called the ALPConnect.  Basically, the ALPConnect replaces the functions of the Control Set and adds more functionality by providing users specific visual and audio alerts to LIDAR threats.

Comparison Setups
ALP Control Set ALPConnect
 ALP_ControlSet2  ALP_ALPConnect2

Physical Dimensions

Compact and Light ALPConnect
 ALPConnect_dimensions

Basic Features – Settings Tab

The ALPConnect Bluetooth module performs all the same basic functions as the Control Set.  Since the ALPConnect interfaces with its counterpart app on the smartphone, it is also able to quickly modify the following settings:

ALPConnect_settings alpconnect_settings2
    • Speed (Units of Measurement) – English (mph) or Metric (kph)
    • Voice Alerts – Male or Female
    • Voice Pack – Simple or Detailed
      • Simple: ALPConnect will notify of you against 4 types of LIDAR sources
        1. LIDAR Speed Gun – a definite LIDAR (laser) gun attempting to acquire your vehicle’s speed
        2. Laser Scanner – type of LIDAR, fixed or semi-mobile, system for recording traffic patterns
        3. IR Section Camera – fixed infrared camera source monitoring a section of road
        4. Error Sensitive Laser – a LIDAR source with error detection abilities
      • Detailed: ALPConnect will notify you against the LIDAR source by identification (ie ProLaser III, Poliscan)
    • Audio Output – Default, Speaker, or HFP
      • Default: When your smartphone or tablet is configured with a Bluetooth connection to your vehicle’s audio system, then your ALPConnect’s alerts will be heard on your vehicle’s speakers
        • Note: Ensure the phone’s ringer is not muted or set to a low volume, because alerts will then not be heard on the vehicle’s radio. Also, make sure you do not lose your bluetooth connection to your audio source accidentally by turning your phone Off (sleep mode).  Doing so will not allow the alerts to be heard on your vehicle’s speakers.
      • Speaker:  ALPConnect alert notifications will ONLY be heard on the smartphone’s or tablet’s speakers
      • HFP (Hands Free Protocol): ALPConnect alerts will be sent to the vehicle’s audio system. In the event that a bluetooth connection is established between the smartphone/tablet and the driver decides to listen to a CD, alerts will still transfer through to the audio system.
    • Audio Mix – Mix or Duck
      • Mix: ALPConnect alerts will be mixed with whatever sounds are currently playing on the smartphone/tablet or streaming to the vehicle’s radio
      • Duck: ALPConnect alerts will take priority of the sounds on the connected smartphone/tablet or vehicle’s radio.  For example, if you are speaking to someone on the phone, and an alert is received, the phone call will be “hushed” and the alert will sound over the device.
    • Bluetooth Reception Quality: Ensure your iDevice (smartphone/tablet) always has a solid connection to the ALPConnect Bluetooth module.  Ensure the line on the graph does not fall below -93db (measured value on the right vertical axis).

      Example of a good Bluetooth connection greater than -93db

      Example of a good Bluetooth connection greater than -93db

    • System Info: Shows the current ALPConnect app version, ALP Control Box & Control Set firmware versions
      alpconnect_systeminfo2

Basic Features – Drive

The features in this portion of the app clearly make the ALPConnect stand above the rest of the competition, and where all the action takes place.  Since the ALPConnect is the most advanced laser jammer defense system available, one of the main additional functions like distinguishing between front and rear alerts allows the system to interface with the app and visibly show them.  Other laser jammers lack this distinguishing feature and simply just alert without showing whether the alert was in the front or the rear of the vehicle.

alpconnect_drive_mode
  • The color of the vehicle icons indicate whether the ALP is in Parking Mode, Detection Mode, or Defense Mode.
    • Note: When using Dark Mode, the vehicle color will first be Green for 1 minute, then transition to a Blue color as it goes into Defense Mode
    • Note 2: Ensure you use the setting “PDC & LID” in your SETUP config file
  • In Detection Mode, radar and LIDAR threats are alerted, and obstacles are still detected.
  • In Defense Mode, the little “wave” alerts will indicate the direction of the received LIDAR threat.
    • Vehicle icon will shift from Blue to Red during defensive actions to neutralize the threat
    • Historical logs are stored in the Recent Alerts tab
  • The radar detector signal meter is only functional when the additional accessory ALP Radar / GPS Plugin is installed in the vehicle along with a Beltronics STi-R Plus radar receiver

 

alpconnect_radarmode2
  • The following circular icons are used to select the different Radar Detector Sensitivity Modes when the ALP is equipped with the ALP Radar / GPS Plugin accessory
  • In order to select different modes, simply tap the little circular icons shown in the picture on the left.
    • Note: not shown is the RED icon, which is City Mode with the least sensitivity affecting K and X band radar sources

 

ALPConnect Module – How to Use It

Requirements

AntiLaser Priority (ALP) Bluetooth Module Requirements
Component Requirement
ALP Control Box  Firmware Version 4.3.3 and higher
Smartphone or Tablet OS  iOS phones 4S and higher; iPod touch 5G and iPad 3 and higher
Smartphone or Tablet App  ALPConnect for iOS; app is free

 

Starting the ALPConnect Bluetooth Module

    1. Connect the ALPConnect Bluetooth module to the ALP Control Box with the included C-to-C cable, as shown in the picture above earlier.
    2. Ensure your phone’s Bluetooth and GPS features are enabled.
    3. Open the ALPConnect app from your smartphone or tablet.
    4. On the Main Screen, press Scan:
      alpconnect_mainscreen1
    5. If your ALPConnect is connected properly, you will see it appear in the list, as shown above.  Tap the Power icon, located to the right of your ALP serial number (blurred out in this picture)
    6. When it is connected as shown below, the LED on the ALPConnect module will be also lit GREEN:
      alpconnect_mainscreen2
    7. Login to the app for the first time and supply the app with the ALPConnect Bluetooth module serial number, located on a sticker on the back of the little module.  Also, supply the app the PIN (4-digits) which is also located on the same sticker.
    8. You are now connected successfully to your AntiLaser Priority (ALP) system. Refer to the manual and description of the settings above for configuring the device to your liking.
    9. When you leave the vehicle, there is no need to turn OFF the ALP from the ALPConnect app, since the loss of the Bluetooth connection between the phone/tablet will cause the ALP to shut down. Upon re-entering the vehicle, the ALPConnect app will automatically reconnect with the ALPConnect Bluetooth module and power ON the ALP.

Helpful Tidbits When Using the ALPConnect

Running the ALPConnect in the Background:  The ALPConnect will still work and provide alerts while it is minimized.  If the user decides to open another app, like iTunes or Fandango, the ALPConnect will continue providing alerts in the form of notifications.  Please follow the instructions below to ensure alerts appear on your phone while the app is minimized in the background

alpconnect_notifications
  • When the ALPConnect app is installed on the smartphone, the audible Notification alert setting is turned OFF. Keeping this setting will not alert the user when the app is minimized and a LIDAR threat or obstacle is detected.
  • In order to ensure alerts are heard on the phone or audio system, when the phone is paired to the vehicle’s audio source, follow the pictures to the left and enable the Sounds setting.

Tap the Screen

Here are two important functions that tapping on the screen will do on the ALPConnect app:

Two Helpful Tap Functions for the ALPConnect
When this alert is ON … Tap anywhere on the screen to do this …
LIDAR (laser) jamming active  Stop the ALP from jamming – device will switch to detection mode; tap to scroll back to Defense mode
Parking sensors beeping  Mute the audio alerts (PDC audio mute) – device will visually show detection on the Drive screen

 

Summary of the ALPConnect Bluetooth Module and ALPConnect App

The ALPConnect Bluetooth module and ALPConnect app are solid performers in terms of design, build quality, compatibility and user friendliness.  Unlike apps like Escort Live which had many annoyances and improperly working functions (bugs), the ALPConnect app showed no bugs during its use with the ALPConnect Bluetooth module.  The app for the ALPConnect is based on simplicity, which allows for easy connection to the ALP system, and easy interpretation of the alert notifications.  These alerts are easy to view, and muting them only requires a tap on the screen.  Such ease of use allows for safer driving, since ALP users can remain focused on the road with little interaction on the app.  Although the app is simple to use, it can also be configured several ways to satisfy the hobbyist who may like to manually set certain features for spirited driving.  In comparison to other Bluetooth modules, the ALPConnect is the best and most refined LIDAR Bluetooth accessory we have used.  AntiLaser Priority (ALP) consistently provides top of the line products and we look forward to new accessories this fall as well as designing apps for Android compatibility.

Notes: