9500ix review and TrueLock/AutoLearn info

CJR238

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My personal review of the 9500I/ix.

Autolearn: Passport 9500ix AutoLearn Lock & Unlock

Over the years I have had 2-K40's, 1-Bel, 1-8500, 3-9500I's and one of the 9500I's I upgraded to an IX. Though my 8500 was my favorite above all previous i decided to upgrade to the 9500I and then upgrade to an ix. The 9500I/ix is simply a great tool, however its only as good as the user allows it to be. I currently run 1-V1 1-RedLine 1-9500CI.

The 9500i/ix is a totally different breed of radar detector and certainly is in the top 3 if not #1. I have done some pretty extensive testing on the 9500 sires and find it to be very impressive.
The features are truly awesome, and they are what makes the 9500I/ix a top notch choice. From GPS & speed sensitive filtering, Marking of speed traps, to the USB that you can update through.
The 9500i/ix at times is so quiet it's as if the 9500I/ix knows the difference between a real threat and a false alert. Its amazing quietness when driving through towns or through cities and suburbs, insure virtually every alert is real. The key point of the 9500 is knowing that ~9 times out of ~10 a 9500i/ix alert is real means that you will pay attention and react to the alert appropriately and immediately. I had a few instances where i didn’t get a single false for a week and when a real alert happened i almost fell off my seat. Don't get me wrong you will still have some falses but the majority of them are dramatically decreased.

The 9500I/ix should be mounted striate, level and as centered as possible with a clear view of the sky for the GPS. The Horn on the 9500I/ix angles down so I prefer to keep it very high in my car, but would probably keep it lower on a tall vehicle/truck.

TrueLock allows you to "mute" a specific false alert signal at a single location. This allows you to "silence" common false alerts in your area without the extreme risk and tactics used in other detectors that do this by users turning off an entire radar band or blindly ignoring/muting alerts in that area. The GPS capability allows the 9500i/ix to know specifically where it is located at any given time and thus lockout the false signal frequency in that very small specific area (~1/2mi) with decreasing the risks associated by turning off the entire X or K band.
TrueLock is nothing more than a very advanced means to "mute" a false alert area and not to have to physically press your mute button every time you pass that area. I drive through TruLocked areas with caution, proceed with discretion and use my best judgment. No more having to listen to countless local false alerts, no more repeated pressing of your mute button. Now when your detector does go off you will know its only because there is most likely a real threat in your vicinity.

Laser sensitivity:
I have had a few laser saves, even though the rule is: if your alerted to laser they already have your speed. Most laser alerts scared the pantS off me, wasn’t expecting it at all.
I was driving on highway 84 to drop off a friend. I saw a LEO with a customer with no radar on so I assumed he was possibly using laser, so I couldn’t wait to see what happened on my way back.
I figured 30 over in a 55 would certainly not give me enough time to slow so I did about 74.
Just cresting over a hill and on my way down I get “laser alert” from my 9500I and slowed to about 63. about 2 seconds later another “laser alert” from my 9500I and there he was, tucked into some trees on the right side of the road, and my girlfriend saw him first.
The first alert was about 1/2mi and the 2nd was about 1/4mi. He may have been waiting for bigger fish to fry, or didn’t get my speed the first time but I certainly could have been going faster if I didn’t have my RD.

Save or luck, I was very happy not getting a ticket and my girlfriends comment “another save that pays for itself again” was priceless. :D

K & KA Sensitivity:
The sensitivity to enable saves on the 9500ix is truly amazing. I am always alerted before I see the LEO and some times miles before.
A few times I had a KA alert going full on then nothing, full on than nothing about 2mi later around a bend on the highway there was an off axis LEO I/O everyone who passed.
I have had a few alerts less than 1/4mi, but as long as im alerted before the encounter and before i see the LEO im happy. Terrain and curves in the road will greatly affect your detection range. Weather as well as your area in the US can effect it too.
The horn on the 9500I appears to be designed to help filter out those useless off axis falses. The slightly narrower field of view of the M4 antenna keeps the long range detection, and the reduction of falses created by signals being projected from strip mall door openers. The algorithms of the ix are more complex as well thus helping it filter out more false signals.

The antenna/horn actually seams to take into account for “Cosine error/effect” any radar more than 40 degrees off axis will show less than 80% of your speed so this is considered a low threat.




My install:
I have the 9500I hard wired high to the left of the RVM. The top 1/2 under the tint strip so its pretty stealthy, yet just peaks out so the laser sensor has full visibility. I also have it hooked up to Escorts optional amplified speaker.


I took apart the hard wire smart cord and drilled 3 holes into a blank switch spot, then covered with a black rubber peace to allow depth for the LED's and keep the mute button more flush.

Figured I would also post what the new 9500ix features add over the 9500I:

USB Data Port & Safety Camera Database:
This allows you to update your database, (red light and fixed position speed cameras) and other software from Escorts website. All marked locations in the database will be reported as you approach them. Or you can set it to Selectable Markers (on/off) this allow you to customize which Markers are monitored and you are alerted to.

AutoLearn-TrueLock:
AutoLearn works just like the 9500I’s TrueLock with the addition of the AutoLearn feature analyzing (over time) the source of radar signals by location and frequency. The ix automatically locks out a source it sees at a particular location after ~3 passes.
AutoLearn is supposed to Unlearn signals if a particular signal is no longer present at a location that was previously locked out.
I found its best to lock out dally commute or areas you know well and have surveyed closely. This will help your understanding the falses in that area.
I prefer using AutoLearn initially for the first few weeks to lock out frequently driven routs and falses, then turning it off if not in a low risk area.
TrueLock AutoLearn thread: Passport 9500ix AutoLearn Lock & Unlock - Escort Radar Forum

AutoLearn Bottom line:
1- AutoLearn will unlock signals that are no longer present after ~5+ passes of no signal. Those passes must be above ~35mph to enable AutoLearn to unlock. (there is no notification of Un-Lock, it will just notify you the next pass).
Note: AutoLearn stores a location and if later on it doesn't "see" it for a couple of passes it will unlearn it. If, later on, it starts "re seeing" the false at that location again it will re-store it. If you have a location that is intermittent you can manually lock it out. Auto doors frequency can drift so instead of Auto learning and adding another 30MHz block and creating a wider locked out range it re-learns the location.

2- At ~35mph and below AutoLearn does not unlock. This is to decrease the amount of locking and re-locking of falses.

Note: AutoLearn will review locations that were auto locked for any changes in the radar signal on every pass. However manually locked out locations are weighed differently when being reviewed by AutoLearn.

Also Laser can also be locked out now.

NOTE: AutoLearn typically needs to see the exact frequency in the same location approximately three times to lock it out. Since some door openers are turned on and off routinely, some variations may occur.

Note: GPS lock, mark... features require over 1mi, or a power down, to confirm and commit to memory the marked, locked information

A few improvements for mark locations:
Once marked and assigned a label, the ix provides the following alert distances:
• Red Light Cameras = 250’ or 10 seconds
• Speed Cameras = 250’ or 10 seconds
• Speed Traps = 1/3 mile (needs to be larger)
• Other = 1/3 mile

AutoPower:
This feature automatically turns PASSPORT off if the vehicle has not moved for 4 hours. This is especially useful if your vehicle has a hot plug (12 volts all the time). See the Preferences section for details.

Auto mode No X setting:
In addition to adjusting sensitivity according to speed like the 9500I, the ix can be set to turn off X band in auto mode. City mode is no longer an option.

NOTE: If your vehicle is moving less than 20 mph and you encounter a radar or laser signal, only a double tone is used. However, the display meter will keep you informed of the signal strength until it has passed or until you reach a speed above 20 mph. This happens in any mode.

The 9500I & ix work off exactly the same platform so there radar performance should be about the same other than variance from RD to RD. The added features certainly can have advantages for some areas, especially for areas that have a lot of red light and fixed position speed cameras. Pus the AutoLock is an awesome advantage for the RD user that doesn't want to do all the thinking for the RD.

Escort also added the ability to delete Locked out locations and manually marked locations:

The bottom line is I really enjoy the quite commute, and I am more likely to react to an alert on a quiet detector than when I had a "noisy" detector.

Figured i would include my "Threat/Risk Scenarios" & how TrueLock works:


The Reason for TrueLock: The biggest complaint from RD users is the amount of falsing, the 9500I is designed to dramatically decrease the amount of false alerts. You will no longer become so desensitized to common and frequent false alerts that you will be able to react more appropriately and quickly to real threats.
A driver who hears an alert and does nothing because they here it every day is at more risk than the driver that has the quiet detector and jumps out of there seat when the silence is broken. A driver is more likely to react to an alert on a quiet detector than a "noisy" detector.

What TrueLock does for You:
TrueLock allows you to "mute" a specific false alert signal at a single location. This allows you to "silence" common false alerts in your area without the extremely dangerous risk and tactics used in other detectors that do this by users turning off an entire radar band or blindly ignoring/muting alerts in that area. The GPS capability allows the 9500I to know specifically where it is located at any given time and thus lockout the false signal frequency in that very small specific area without the risks associated by turning off the entire X or K band. TrueLock is nothing more than a very advanced means to "mute" a false alert area and not to have to physically press your mute button every time you pass that area. No more having to listen to countless local false alerts, no more repeated pressing of your mute button. Now when your detector does go off you will know its only because there is most likely a real threat in your vicinity.

K-Band is split into approximately eight segments of ~30MHz recording blocks depending on how it has self-calibrated, and derived from the received radar frequency. Like so:

X-Band is split into segments as well (13-15 MHz Ea), and derived the same way.


"Threat/Risk Scenarios"

I found its best to lock out dally commute or areas you know well and have surveyed closely. This will help to decrease the chances of locking out a real LEO and understanding the falses in that area. Most of the below applies to manually locking out with TrueLock. AutoLearn will work similarly but automatically.

It is a good idea to lock out the door opener false passing the false along your driving route you want quiet (This will prevent locking out additional unnecessary falses).

The 9500i records/locks all signals it receives for a short time/distance, approximately 1/10mi to 1/2mi radius depending on how strong the signal is and how many falses there are after you lock out the location (Cumulative).
It will lock out the false frequency block/block’s you locked out for approximately 1/10 to 1/2 mi from last signal received (total accumulative distance).

Very important note: If you are too close to the false you can get a strong alert that can overflow into another 30MHz block (Ghosting), Therefore creating a larger lock out block. So try to lock out with less then 1/2 of a full alert. This will also help keep the lock out area small.


“The Scenarios”

1) In areas where police X band isn't used, lock out X band falses the first time you encounter them. (No Risk & best area for AutoLearn)

2) In areas where police K band isn't used, lock out K band falses the first time you encounter them. (No Risk & best area for AutoLearn)

3) In areas where police do use K/X band but never sit in that area it would be a Low Risk lock out point. You will most likely lock this point out. (You may not want to use AutoLearn and manually lock out)

4) In areas where police K/X band is used and they do sit in that area it would be considered a (High Risk) lock out point (You may not want to lock this point out, or use AutoLearn).
Contrary to some peoples opinions out there it’s unlikely to lock out real police radar. You would almost have to deliberately try to do it if you use the above scnareo rules. Besides, detection range will usually trump the small lock out area in the first place and provide ample warning/alert before the lock out point (react to any alert no matter how small). In most cases Auto mode will also do a good job filtering these falses if you chose not to use TrueLock/AutoLock.

If you decide to lockout a false in a High Risk area to mute the alert you should still drive through the area with caution if you suspect any chance it could lock out police radar. The same rules would apply if you were using any non GPS capable detector and instead pressed your mute button in false area. Simply treat the spinning satellite icon in your display as a silent alert and proceed with your own discretion and best judgment.
(There is all ways the option of turning off GPS when speeding in a "High Risk" locked out area)

ix AutoLearn Risk scenarios: Use the above threat risk scenarios to determine the usage of AutoLearn. I suggest turning off AutoLearn in High Risk areas and manually locking out if you feel its safe. AutoLearn should be used sparingly and according to your Risk area.
 
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CJR238

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Here are some of the things AutoLearn does/uses to make a decision about a lock out location:
location, frequency, indexing, cataloguing repeat passes for a same/repeat signal, general speed, approach speed, closing speed on original index, heading, other previous near lockouts, band, number of sources seen, time of day, and same signal identification, same signal seen before on another pass (ie, is this a repeat event or a near but different event?).

Over all AutoLearn and TrueLock are amazing tools that when used intelligently can make your ride quiet to useless falses and bring better attention to real threats.

Just some pictures of the internals of the 9500I:
GPS board and electronics for it are on top of the RD's. GPS board showing large cap to help remember its last position, and to aid in quick GPS acquisition :

GPS board taken off RD and upside-down:

under GPS board:
Bottom:


9500I/ix antenna is mounted upside down so the top 1/2 can be slightly obstructed.



Helpful hints and info I have acquired:

For Very Slow database upload times:
With the detector on, unplug all cables including the power cable.

Press and hold down the MRK and BRT buttons while connecting the power cable to the detector. Continue to hold these buttons down until you see USB appear on the detector. This should take no longer than 20 seconds.
Then plug the USB cable in and try to update the detector again. The entire update process should take at most a few minutes.

Clearing The Database:
At some point you may want to clear all of the data in PASSPORT’S database. This
includes all markers and your false alarm locations. In order to do this, simply press
and hold the “SEN”, “BRT” and MUTE buttons at the same time. To confirm this action, press the “GPS” button.

To clear the database on a 9500ci:
- With the 9500ci powered on, turn off your vehicle's ignition.
- Hold down the SENS and MRK buttons while turning on the ignition. Keep them held down until you see "ERASE?" on the 9500ci display.
- Press MUTE to confirm erasing the database. Display should show "ERASING" followed shortly by "ERASED". The display goes blank for a few seconds then goes back to it's normal operation mode. Cycle power after erasing. (this will erace all data, TrueLock and Database)

Hard reset for service required or odd glitches/restoring the Factory Default Settings:
To restore your PASSPORT to its original factory settings, press and hold the “SEN” and “BRT” buttons while turning the power on. A Reset message will be displayed, accompanied by an audible alert, acknowledging the reset.

9500I USB downloadable update file:
https://www.escortradar.com/register/9500iregister.asp

9500ix Speed trap notification while receiving radar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3F0mi7RITY

Hers a great video demonstrating exactly what happens to radar when odd objects are placed in front of an M3 antenna.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI1q2sAvA2c

New 9500 firmware update links (2/18/10):

9500ix Software Update v1.2

1. Updated Traffic Sensor Rejection for units that have TSR.
2. Fixed a preferences menu issue where it wouldn’t show the pilot options properly.
3. Fixed X & K AutoMute issue where at a certain signal strength it would not go into AutoMute.
4. Redlight and Speed Cameras now use heading direction to determine if the detector should alert the user.


9500ci Software Update v1.4


1. Fixed an SWS voice issue.
2. Added Traffic Sensor Rejection.
3. Fixed an issue where in some cars the audio would be very loud at power up.
4. Fixed X & K AutoMute issue where at a certain signal strength it would not go into AutoMute.
5. Redlight and Speed Cameras now use heading direction to determine if the detector should alert the user.

9500ci Software Update v1.5
1. Improved GPS ability's.

Note for 9500i and 9500ix users without TSR:

TSR itself has to be installed manually by Escort on the 9500i and 9500ix if you didn't purchase your unit with it.

The firmware update will not add TSR if your unit doesn't have it now. It will add TSR to 9500CIs.

-
 

CJR238

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My 9500ix install:

I used the standard suction cup mount that came with the 9500ix, and it sounds like you can too without the Plexiglas plate i used so it would stick. My car has a pitted ceramic tint it wouldn't stick to.



GPS worked fine with the occasional lag do to normal GPS satellite limitations. About 1/2 was under the roof and 1/2 was under the windshield. I also had a amplified speaker with my set up but it isn't necessary for most.

2 big pluses mounting it high is its ability to see over hills and by just barley resting the 9500ix on the RVM it never rattled on the windshield.
I also found it to be very stealthy, easy to here, adjust settings, and easy to get a glimpse of it up high, . Voice alerts were very helpful.

 

nano

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More and more Escort and Beltronics products are coming to Europe which are equipped with TrueLock. Thus I have some questions, sorry if this has been asked before:

From my understand TrueLock works by
- detecting a frequency (eg 24.123 GHz)
- TrueLock mutes the alert in a specific radius from approx. 24.108 to 24.138 GHz

If a police radar (eg 24.111 GHz) is used in the same spot as the false alerts, the detector would stay silent, but since police radar (at least) in the USA is much stronger than the false, the detector warns outside of the previous locked area.

Now we have the problem that most K-band police radar here in Europe are much weaker and sometimes also measure from behind. Is there a logical explanation why TrueLock doesn't count the number of frequencies which are locked in the area (or am I missing something?)?
So if the same scenario like above happens here in Europe, we are caught?

Thanks!
 

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Is there a logical explanation why TrueLock doesn't count the number of frequencies which are locked in the area (or am I missing something?)?
So if the same scenario like above happens here in Europe, we are caught?

Thanks!
They do count the number of signals that are present in an area but when the signal frequencies are very close it cannot distinguish that there are multiple signals present.

Note that AutoLearn Off is the default setting on our international models.
 

CJR238

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More and more Escort and Beltronics products are coming to Europe which are equipped with TrueLock. Thus I have some questions, sorry if this has been asked before:

From my understand TrueLock works by
- detecting a frequency (eg 24.123 GHz)
- TrueLock mutes the alert in a specific radius from approx. 24.108 to 24.138 GHz

If a police radar (eg 24.111 GHz) is used in the same spot as the false alerts, the detector would stay silent, but since police radar (at least) in the USA is much stronger than the false, the detector warns outside of the previous locked area.

Now we have the problem that most K-band police radar here in Europe are much weaker and sometimes also measure from behind. Is there a logical explanation why TrueLock doesn't count the number of frequencies which are locked in the area (or am I missing something?)?
So if the same scenario like above happens here in Europe, we are caught?

Thanks!

Falses drift and quite frequently there are 2, so though TrueLock does count the number of signals its broken down into ~8 blocks and it sees any signal within that block as the same. Its like having a glass half full of water than filling up to the top with more water then trying to distinguish the water that was there from the water that was added. Just wont happen.

If you use my "Threat/Risk Scenarios" you should be fine.

They do count the number of signals that are present in an area but when the signal frequencies are very close it cannot distinguish that there are multiple signals present.

X2.
 

nano

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....and it sees any signal within that block as the same...
CJR238, you are confusing me! :D

So when the police radar (@ 24.111 GHz) is not strong enough to be detectable outside the lockout-radius (from 24.108 to 24.138 GHz), does a TrueLock equipped detector warns you or not?
 
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CJR238

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CJR238, you are confusing me! :D

So when the police radar (@ 24.111 GHz) is not strong enough to be detectable outside the lockout-radius (from 24.108 to 24.138 GHz), does a TrueLock equipped detector warns you or not?

Now i am confused. lol

If a LEO is running 24.111 and you have locked out the 24.102 and/or 24.134 ~30Mhz block you will most likely not be alerted. If a LEO is running 24.111 and you locked out 24.071 and below or 24.165 and above you will get an alert. Ether way you will probably not know all the frequency's locked out since spec mode only shows the strongest, so always drive cautiously in a "High Risk" lock out area.

K-Band is split into approximately eight segments of ~30MHz recording blocks. Like so:

These blocks are used to block out K band with out blocking the whole K band and increase the chances of being alerted to a real LEO's K band radar.
 

nano

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If a LEO is running 24.111 and you have locked out the 24.102 and/or 24.134 ~30Mhz block you will most likely not be alerted.
OK, I get it now. Thanks for the explanation CJR238 and EscortRadar. I thought the 30 MHz block depends on the lockout frequency.
 

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The 9500ix must have a clear view of the sky as CJR noted. Having the 9500ix too near the roofline causes the GPS antenna to be blocked by the metal roof and a significant loss in satellite reception. My Garmin GPS is much more tolerant of a non-ideal view of the sky than the 9500ix.

If you drive in tunnels, parking garages, below ground, or even near moderately tall buildings you will lose satellite reception.
 

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It's a very useful post, and highlights just WHY the 9500ix's Truelock feature cannot be replicated in the same way on Escort Live!. Using Escort Live! with a 9500ix actually degrades the functionality of this awesome radar detector. This is why there should either be 2 separate versions of Escort Live!, one for the 9500ix and one for everything else. The app for the 9500ix should simply just READ what the 9500ix is doing, as the logic is already built into the firmware. Using Escort Live with the 9500ix, is literally like installing Windows ME over Windows 7.
 

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