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Old January 31st, 2010
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Rocky2 Rocky2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nine_c1 View Post
Here is a neat clip on the manufacture of a Decatur K-Band radar antenna on Discovery's Science Channel.

I found it pretty slow to load, so give it a few minutes.

Escort should do an episode on their manufacturing line in Mississauga Ontario. It's the only factory in North America that actually builds Radar Detectors at the board / component level that I'm aware of. The tools that place the components on the printed circuit board and do the soldering are cool to watch.

How do they get those tiny little components soldered onto the board? They call this Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and it broke onto the Radar Detector sceen with the original Passport detector. This modern form of technology uses microelectronics with very small components called SMDs (Surface Mount Devices) which permit alot of electronic circuits to be squeezed into a very small package.

These components are way too small to attach manually, so there are two processes that use automated tools to solder these tiny devices to a printed circuit board. Wave soldering and Reflow soldering.

Wave soldering is used for soldering both "through the hole" components as well as SMDs. It's a process where the components are first glued to the printed circuit board and then passed through a wave solder, or solder bath, to make the electrical connections to the board.

Reflow soldering is another method where they use a solder/flux paste to stick the SMD component to the board. Then the assembly is heated to melt the solder and make the connection. would be cool to see.
I just watched the video and it was pretty cool, doesn't seem like there is that much to making one.

Radar Detectors: Redline, 9500i, 9500ix, 8500 X50 (S7), Rx-65 (M4), V1 (3.819), Escort Max, 8500x50 Black
Jammers: Blinder M27
Radio Shack Pro-107
Radio Shack Pro-106

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Old February 1st, 2010
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EscortRadar EscortRadar is offline
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The SMT machines are VERY cool. We used to have them at CMI. Think of a very large diameter gatlin gun with a bunch of barrels pointing down. Each barrel holds a different component, or the same component just rotated differently. The little SMT components are packaged on reels that look just like film reels. The barrel assembly stays in one spot and the board moves around (but didn't spin). I can't remember the specific part placement speed but it was very fast, several placements a second, and each part placement was digitally photographed Our newer equipment is probably much faster then these that we used at CMI in the early to mid-90s.

Here's how I remember our old board line at CMI:

The boards first passed through a SMT solder applicator. Usually 3 or 4 detectors where in one board "frame" just like model car parts. The SMT solder was like a paste and the applicator was a basically a big "silk screen" press. It would smear the paste over the screen that had openings in it for each area of the SMT part that was to receive solder.

The boards left the solder applicator then went into the SMT machines (the gatlin guns!). Then they went through an oven to melt, or flow, the solder paste. The oven had various temperature ranges along the path to heat the board while not damaging the parts and the boards themselves.

After the oven, the boards would go to handplaced, through the board, component placement. Parts like the volume knob of the 8500/X50 and a few other larger parts that have legs which go through holes in the board. These parts were just placed here, not soldered, so they had to carefully be fed to the wave solder machine. I can't remember if the legs of these parts were clipped to length here or after the wave solder machine... it's been a while.

The wave solderer works like a tub of solder that creates a "tidal wave" of solder that barely licks the bottom of the board as it passes under it. This is just enough to stick to the legs of the parts.

All of this is simple in principle, but each machine had it's own quirks and attitudes which the operators had to learn and compensate for to keep things running smoothly and the yields good.

Critical antenna board (the little board inside the antenna) components like mixer diodes were done entirely by hand with stereoscopes and equipment to handle the very small parts. The "solder" they used was more like a glue, these parts couldn't handle the heat to melt normal solder.

I haven't personally been to our Mississauga plant but I understand that the M4 is placed mostly or entirely by machine and that we designed some of our own tooling to accomplish this with the small internal M4 board. When/if I get to visit our production plant I will be sure to take plenty of pics and post them here on our forum.
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Old February 1st, 2010
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Nine_c1 Nine_c1 is offline
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^^^^^ Great Post EscortRadar ^^^^^

The technology used to make these things is almost as impressive as the Detectors themselves. Thanks for sharing this with us!!!
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Old September 2nd, 2010
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fatchick1o9 fatchick1o9 is offline
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Not to knit pick or anything but SMT comes is various sizes of components. Most of which can be soldered onto a board by a human operator. We have special workstations with magnifying lenses that look similar to a microscopes eye pieces. But manufacturing speed is greatly impacted using this setup. It also requires skilled techs and you're usually limited in time due to the effects on your eyes working under high magnification.

I've spent many hours prototyping SMT devices before rolling out products to the manufacturing line where they then used pick-n-place machines and wave solder.

In fact I hand built most of the Lidatek LE-10 prototypes on a SMT magnified workstation. But back then we were using the larger SMT components so we didn't have to use the higher magnification. That allowed us to push the product out to the manufacturing floor with just lighted magnifying stations that you see in most electronics factories.

Not really a Radar Fun Fact. More of a Lidar Fun Fact.
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Old September 3rd, 2010
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by Rocky2 View Post
I just watched the video and it was pretty cool, doesn't seem like there is that much to making one.
nice video.thanks for posting it.
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Old October 9th, 2011
stalkervision stalkervision is offline
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Originally Posted by Nine_c1 View Post
Rats! Your leaving it up to a rookie to explain! I'll do my best.

The condensor lense used on the 9500i, 9500ix, 9500ci, STi-R, STI Driver and RedLine is a Plano-Convex Lense.

Radar Detectors use a compact horn antenna having a tapered wall and cavity aligned with the aperture (open end) of the horn. The Plano-Convex lense covers this aperture and introduces a phase delay, which is maximum at the center cavity of the horn and decreases towards the tapered horn walls, thereby producing a more planar (flat) wave inside the horn cavity to compensate for the deficiencies in the antenna design. It significantly increases the sensitivity and gain of the detector.

The deficiency in antenna design is due to the shortened horn which is necessary to fit into a compact detector. The lost gain or sensitivity in short horns is due to phase errors at the entrance or mouth of the antenna and in the use of sharply tapered walls within the waveguide. These errors result in higher sidelobe levels and/or less energy available for detection by the detector.

So, to answer my own initial question, I think it improves overall sensitivity which includes off axis detection.
excellent explanation there nine_C. Sure glad I found you guys.
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Old November 17th, 2011
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Originally Posted by radarrob View Post
nice video.thanks for posting it.
I agree, the video's great

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Old November 20th, 2011
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Maybe some one can help me out with the following information I just pulled up from the internet.

Lets start out by separating fact from fiction.

Then I would like to know if I could use the bottom chart to tell which type of radar guns the local police departments are using by noting their frequency during an alert.

Lastly , how can I tell if I am detecting another radar detector with my radar detector ? which frequency range will come up ? ( K-KA etc. )
__________________________________________________ _______________

K band was developed for police use in 1976 and currently over 60% of all the police radar guns use this frequency. This band is in the 24.0 to 24. 25 gigahertz spectrum. There are also other devices that operate on this band such as garage door openers, but the chance of false alerts are much lower then X band.

Ka band was developed for police use in 1989 and is used by the other 20% of the police radar guns today. This frequency is in the 33.4 to 36.0 gigahertz range.
This band is the cleanest band and false alerts are rare. The range of Ka is also much shorter then X or K band.

Traffic Radar Frequency Bands

Band Frequency Wavelength Notes

X 10.525 GHz 25 MHz 1.1 in
2.8 cm one 50 MHz channel

K 24.125 GHz 100 MHz 0.49 in
1.2 cm one 200 MHz channel
Europe and some US systems

K 24.150 GHz 100 MHz 0.49 in
1.2 cm one 200 MHz channel

Ka 33.4 - 36.0 GHz 0.35 - 0.33 in
9 - 8.3 mm 13 channels; 200 MHz/ch

IR -- Infrared 332 THz 904 nm Laser Radar

Table 11.1-3 -- Select Ka Band Traffic Radar Frequencies
Frequency tolerance for Ka band radars typically 100 MHz.

Frequency System

33.3 GHz Genesis II
33.4 GHz photo radar

33.8 GHz BEE 36

34.3 GHz TMT-6F photo radar
Multanova 6F photo radar

34.6 GHz PR-100 photo radar

34.70 or 34.94 GHz Stalker ATR

34.2 - 35.2 GHz Stalker ATR (freq hopper)
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Old February 4th, 2012
Eloi Eloi is offline
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My question :

would a gold plated antenna have better performance ?

I doubt but since a friend asks me ...I want a confirmation since
he does not beleive me

My explanation :since gold plating add a minimal cost would
have been done long time ago + military grade antennas are not gold plated...
and cost for military is a relatively non-existent issue

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Old February 4th, 2012
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Cusp Cusp is offline
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First question to come to mind was; why no circular polarized detector antennas? May be to big for the windshield, but what about remote mounted.
RedLine on a Samsung Galaxy S III Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2. Settings: Highway X, K, KaSW off, Ka 5,8 on. Tech/Spectrum On, Pilot A. Waze. Escort Live on hold until the dysfunctional background issue get resolved.
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