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      07-17-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
SleepTight
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Rear-view Mirror on M5

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I'm going to order a Valentine-One mirror system for my new M5 so that I'm ready to go when the car finally arrives.

Does anybody know if the stock M5 rear-view mirror is the same as in the regular F10? They look identical to me, but you never know.
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      07-17-2012, 01:30 PM   #2
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I myself am thinking of one when I get hold of my M5 but in my case it would be the Escort 9500ci.
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      07-17-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybimmerfan View Post
I myself am thinking of one when I get hold of my M5 but in my case it would be the Escort 9500ci.
The Escort 9500ci is how I was originally planning on going, but after several radar encounters on the New York State Thruway and Route 17 with my current 9500ix, I decided that the Valentine One directional indicators were worth the aesthetic tradeoff in having the detector permanently hanging off my window. Of course, with an integrated rear-view mirror display, you can install the Valentine One anywhere, including up in the headliner, but I'm still likely to mount it at the top of my windshield for better performance.
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      07-17-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepTight View Post
The Escort 9500ci is how I was originally planning on going, but after several radar encounters on the New York State Thruway and Route 17 with my current 9500ix, I decided that the Valentine One directional indicators were worth the aesthetic tradeoff in having the detector permanently hanging off my window.
Interesting. I have no biased towards Escort though I have used Passport and Bel but never Valentine in the past. In trying to decide which Radar/Laser detector to get for the M5, friends have informed me regarding their experiences regarding Beltronics/Escort and Valentine. Most have told me that the Valentine seem to be very sensitive albeit too sensitive that it often gives false alarms whereas Escort would have less false alarms. What is your experience?
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      07-17-2012, 02:32 PM   #5
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They are both really sensitive, even with the filters applied. It may have more to do with the fact that both of us are driving through heavily congested urban areas with lots of things transmitting on the radar band than any weakness in the detector design. They both probably work like a charm in Iowa!

I originally chose an Escort 9500ix because you can theoretically lock out known false signals using the built in GPS receiver. What they don't tell you is that it takes close to twenty minutes for the GPS receiver to lock in the GPS signal if you park your car in a garage overnight (and is there any one of us who doesn't park our very expensive cars in a garage?). That means that most of your daily commute (which is the only time you're really going to be sure that an alert is a false signal) will be without GPS, which makes the 9500 just another dumb detector relying on its own filters to discriminate false signals.

Definitely not an advantage over the Valentine One.
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      07-17-2012, 08:16 PM   #6
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Valentine all the way
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      07-17-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
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I will chime in on this later. See my signature below. I don't think anyone on this board has a better setup.
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      07-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
I will chime in on this later. See my signature below. I don't think anyone on this board has a better setup.
Escort Inc. is the parent company of Beltronics and the Bel Branded Radar/Laser detector has almost the same electronics as the equivalent Escort/Passport model. So in your case, your Bel STiR Plus is equivalent to the Escort 9500Ci.
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      07-17-2012, 11:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepTight View Post
They are both really sensitive, even with the filters applied. It may have more to do with the fact that both of us are driving through heavily congested urban areas with lots of things transmitting on the radar band than any weakness in the detector design. They both probably work like a charm in Iowa!

I originally chose an Escort 9500ix because you can theoretically lock out known false signals using the built in GPS receiver. What they don't tell you is that it takes close to twenty minutes for the GPS receiver to lock in the GPS signal if you park your car in a garage overnight (and is there any one of us who doesn't park our very expensive cars in a garage?). That means that most of your daily commute (which is the only time you're really going to be sure that an alert is a false signal) will be without GPS, which makes the 9500 just another dumb detector relying on its own filters to discriminate false signals.

Definitely not an advantage over the Valentine One.
There must be something wrong with the unit. Lost signal takes less than 30 seconds to acquire.
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      07-18-2012, 12:16 AM   #10
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So here is my perspective:

1) V1 is out of date. Mike Valentine invented a great detector, and has failed to innovate for the last 20 years. The key thing he is missing is effective false alert filtering. In an urban environment, driving with a V1 means you can't speed because it is always going off. Or you switch of K band but then you might get caught by a cop with an old gun.

2) Bel StIR Plus is much better than the 9500ci. I own both. The 9500ci is in my Lexus, and the Bel STIR+ is in my BMW. The poster above is correct that they are very similar. However the Bel has band segmentation which allows you to switch off non police KA band frequencies. This is a killer feature. It gives the Bel STIR+ the best sensitivity on the market. Better than a V1, but while retaining the filtering logic of the 9500CI. My CI missed instant on radar. My Bel does not.

3) The laser shifters in the 9500ci are weak. The Laser Interceptor Quad HP on my 2012 550i are amazing. I have tested it against 6 guns on runs from 3000 feet and not got one speed reading. The car is a black hole.

This kind of protection is pricey. $3500 for my setup. But freedom is priceless.
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      07-18-2012, 01:13 AM   #11
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Valentine all the way
+1 I wouldn't use anything else.

Last edited by Tylerstar; 07-18-2012 at 01:24 AM.
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      07-18-2012, 08:16 AM   #12
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+1 I wouldn't use anything else.
I use a V1 right now as well and I really like it, but am thinking about going fully integrated and permanently installed in the M5 with the Beltronics system. Anyone with experience with the top Beltronics integrated system, please PM me with details of your system and if you're will to help answer some questions for me.
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      07-18-2012, 08:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
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There must be something wrong with the unit. Lost signal takes less than 30 seconds to acquire.
After initial GPS signal is acquired then, yes, subsequent lost signals (tunnels, etc.) are re-acquired in perhaps, a minute. But the initial GPS acquisition (which of course requires satellite triangulation) does take 15 to 20 minutes.
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      07-18-2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
This kind of protection is pricey. $3500 for my setup. But freedom is priceless.
Stealth.Pilot,
Thank you very much for describing the difference between the Bel STiR and its sister product in the Escort line. Could you tell me exactly your complete Bel STiR Plus setup especially the Laser Interceptor. Is the Laser Interceptor Quad HP an addon or something separate from the Bel STiR unit? I would want to install the same setup on my M5. Also, the integrated Mirror Display, was that something added on? Were you able to order everything from one dealer/installer?

Last edited by nybimmerfan; 07-18-2012 at 09:27 AM.
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      07-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
So here is my perspective:

1) V1 is out of date. Mike Valentine invented a great detector, and has failed to innovate for the last 20 years. The key thing he is missing is effective false alert filtering. In an urban environment, driving with a V1 means you can't speed because it is always going off. Or you switch of K band but then you might get caught by a cop with an old gun.

2) Bel StIR Plus is much better than the 9500ci. I own both. The 9500ci is in my Lexus, and the Bel STIR+ is in my BMW. The poster above is correct that they are very similar. However the Bel has band segmentation which allows you to switch off non police KA band frequencies. This is a killer feature. It gives the Bel STIR+ the best sensitivity on the market. Better than a V1, but while retaining the filtering logic of the 9500CI. My CI missed instant on radar. My Bel does not.

3) The laser shifters in the 9500ci are weak. The Laser Interceptor Quad HP on my 2012 550i are amazing. I have tested it against 6 guns on runs from 3000 feet and not got one speed reading. The car is a black hole.

This kind of protection is pricey. $3500 for my setup. But freedom is priceless.
I've never heard anyone mention that the Bel STIR+ had any available filter settings that were different than the 9500CI. Interesting. I agree that a non-police KA band filter would be a great feature. I'm wondering why Bel would add this to a detector system that's meant to be a stripped down version of the 9500CI.
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      07-19-2012, 12:24 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybimmerfan
Stealth.Pilot,
Thank you very much for describing the difference between the Bel STiR and its sister product in the Escort line. Could you tell me exactly your complete Bel STiR Plus setup especially the Laser Interceptor. Is the Laser Interceptor Quad HP an addon or something separate from the Bel STiR unit? I would want to install the same setup on my M5. Also, the integrated Mirror Display, was that something added on? Were you able to order everything from one dealer/installer?
I have my Bel STiR+ mounted inside the lower front grille with the display mounted on the dash next to the A-Pillar. In this position the display provides line of sight alerts near the HUD which I find is much superior to mirror placement. In my Lexus I have the display in the mirror, but I found that causes me to take eyes off the road, so in the Dinan 550 I opted for top of dash near HUD placement. It is still very discrete. If anyone gets the Bel I would be happy to help you calibrate the advanced settings. The Bel also alerts you to traffic cameras, and has intelligent filtering of false alerts just like the 9500CI.

The Laser Interceptor Quad HP is a different product from the Bel. It is a best of breed Laser Shifter. Unlike the Escort and Blinder products, the Laser Interceptor uses actual Laser Diodes. The HP model has both vertically and horizontally polarized diodes in the same head. I have tested this against 5 different Lidar guns on 18 runs and not got a reading on my car at all. It works perfectly on the F10. I also have my own gun for testing, and have a friend who has 5 guns. It is very important to test the setup since placement is important. However this technology is not legal in all states, so check your codes.

Finally I also have a Zaon MRX which an aircraft collision avoidance device which alerts you of close aircraft. I set this to 3000 feet and 1 mile which is ideal for picking up speed enforcement aircraft.
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      07-19-2012, 12:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepTight
I've never heard anyone mention that the Bel STIR+ had any available filter settings that were different than the 9500CI. Interesting. I agree that a non-police KA band filter would be a great feature. I'm wondering why Bel would add this to a detector system that's meant to be a stripped down version of the 9500CI.
The reason for this is that the Bel STIR+ is an enthusiast detector, not a low cost 9500CI. It is intended for people who buy best of breed as opposed to buying a one size fits all bundle.

The 9500CI is a good one box product because it contains both radar detector and laser shifters integrated into one CPU. It is intended for people who want a simple solution not the best solution. The biggest weakness in this setup is the Escort Laser Shifters which are the weakest on the market today, and truly not effective against most guns.

The Bel STIR+ was developed for people enthusiasts. Enthusiasts want advanced settings and they want to buy the shifters from Laser Interceptor not from Escort. The average radar detector user would have no idea what to do with band segmentation. So Escort saved this feature for this enthusiast model and left it out of the 9500CI. The catch is you are paying $1200 for just a radar detector, whereas with the Escort 9500CI you get radar detector and shifters for $1500. So when your factor in the cost of shifters, the Bel ends up being more expensive.

Like I said the Escort 9500CI ends up being about $1500, whereas the Bel is $1200, plus another $2000 for a Laser Interceptor Quad HP. Laser Interceptor also has non HP models for less money. The regular LI models are still better than Blinder or Escort's shifters. I have a regular LI Quad on my Lexus paired with the 9500CI (because I found the Escort shifters to be useless).
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      07-19-2012, 12:53 AM   #18
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One last thing - I would generally advise against a mirror placement. The BMW tends to have Homelink buttons on the left of the mirror, so the display has to be placed on the right side of the mirror. This means you have to really take your eyes off the road, to read the radar display.

My placement is much more intelligent because it places the display in line of sight.



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      07-19-2012, 07:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
One last thing - I would generally advise against a mirror placement. The BMW tends to have Homelink buttons on the left of the mirror, so the display has to be placed on the right side of the mirror. This means you have to really take your eyes off the road, to read the radar display.
Nope. Radar-Mirror.com places the display in the left side of the mirror:

http://www.radar-mirror.com/Store_V1_Mirrors.html
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      07-19-2012, 09:03 AM   #20
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stealth.pilot,
I am impressed with your radar/laser equipment and thanks for giving us an insight on your setup. I agree with you that the mirror placement for the indicators/alarms may not be the best place as it causes to take ones eyes off the road. Now if we could only have a way of incorporating those indicators/alarms in the M5 HUD, that would be super. Hope somebody figures that out, he he.
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      07-19-2012, 05:28 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepTight
Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
One last thing - I would generally advise against a mirror placement. The BMW tends to have Homelink buttons on the left of the mirror, so the display has to be placed on the right side of the mirror. This means you have to really take your eyes off the road, to read the radar display.
Nope. Radar-Mirror.com places the display in the left side of the mirror:

http://www.radar-mirror.com/Store_V1_Mirrors.html
That's better than the right side, but still not ideal, since most radar threats are from the front.
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      07-20-2012, 09:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
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What they don't tell you is that it takes close to twenty minutes for the GPS receiver to lock in the GPS signal if you park your car in a garage overnight (and is there any one of us who doesn't park our very expensive cars in a garage?).
I live in a high rise and have an underground parking space in a walled off personal spot within the garage where I completely lose GPS signal, radio and cellular.

However with my Bel StiR+ and my 9500CI both lock onto the signal within about 2 minutes.

The custom installed ones can perform well as long as you mount the GPS antenna in a suitable place. My installer found a location with both good reception which is not visible.
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