May 1, 2007

Back in 2003, yours truly, along with then-Editor Jim Campisano, got to sample some of the products from K40 Electronics, namely its radar detector and Laser Defuser ("Defusing a Time Bomb," Jan. '03, p. 140). The radar detector proved to be quite good, and the Laser Defuser was fantastic.

K40's Calibre DL with Laser Defuser has a suggested retail price of $2,018, but prices vary greatly depending on the dealer and installation requirements. Calibre will pick up all of the latest radar frequencies as well as VG-2 radar detection, and the Laser Defuser has you covered against the LIDAR laser guns.

Move ahead four years, and technology has improved in leaps and bounds. K40 has moved ahead also. Its newest product, Calibre, utilizes Bluetooth technology to provide a virtually wireless radar and laser protection installation.

Since our last test, K40 also upgraded its super heterodyne radar receivers with a new Datadyne Technology that is designed to provide a significant increase in sensitivity and more consistency with regard to police radar frequencies, including the newer DSP Ka band radar guns.

"Don't fix what isn't broke" are good words to live by, and with the Laser Defuser working so well already, K40 left it alone. To bring you up to speed, though, the Laser Defuser prevents detection by LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), more commonly know as laser. The Laser Defuser emits a powerful infrared signal back to the gun at a pulse rate the gun can't understand, thus deactivating the ability of the laser gun to measure speed, while you are audibly and visually warned to react and reduce your speed.

We decided the best place to mount the front radar receiver was behind the stock grille. To gain access to the area, we need to remove the core support cover.

This comes in handy, as LIDAR guns are capable of snagging speeders at distances up to 1,000 feet away, not to mention speed traps are often deviously disguised as construction and power-company workers these days, which we discovered while in Florida.

Knowing the K40 components had proved themselves, it was a no-brainer to try out K40's new Bluetooth radar receivers and Laser Defuser. This time, we installed it in our raucous 621-rwhp Project Icebox. With Bluetooth technology, you can mount the radar receivers just about anywhere on the exterior of the car without having to run wires all through it. You just need to tap into some power sources and install the control module inside the cockpit. The warning LED lights and small remote control are out of sight, while providing you radar and laser detection and protection. Installation is fairly easy if you know your way around a stereo system. We decided to go to one of K40's professional installers this time, although we later installed another K40 system on our own.

Here we have picked up our 12-volt source. Notice the inline fuse holder that is provided. The fuse should be the last thing you install prior to turning the ignition key.

Zippo's Mobile Electronics in East Brunswick, New Jersey, services just about every type of vehicle and consumer, from teenagers in Honda Civics to the discerning Porsche owner. To that end, we put Icebox in the capable hands of Rob Kopf, who had our K40 wired up and alerting us in just a few hours. One thing he pointed out to us was that in New Jersey it is illegal to cover up any part of the license plate, and the Laser Defuser comes mounted in its own frame. The good thing is, it can be removed and mounted just about any way you want.

K40 notes the optimum location for the Defuser is centered between the headlights, while making sure it is not recessed in a grille or other opening, as this can affect its perform-ance. We took our chances and mounted it to the bottom of the front license plate, as it more closely resembles the state's EZ pass tollbooth transponders. Mounting the front and rear radar receivers was far simpler, as the radar will transmit through plastics and such.

The rear radar receiver was mounted inside the trunk on the underside of the decklid. The unit still functions properly, as the radar waves can pass through the lid's composite construction. Just be sure there is no metal in the decklid or taillights that may have reflective surfaces in the radar unit's line of sight.

That said, our front receiver fit behind the front grille, and our rear receiver was mounted stealth-like inside the trunk to the underside of Icebox's composite decklid.

Another important step to note is that you want to make sure you have everything wired up and all connections protected before you turn on the system. This is because the control module looks for front and rear receivers at startup, and if it doesn't detect it the first time, it won't look for it after that, and you'll need to send your control module back to K40 to have it reprogrammed.

Our second installation in another vehicle utilizes K40's Laser Defuser and front-only radar receiver. Despite being mounted in the front grille, it can still warn you of rearward radar given the right wave reflections. While we didn't get to play with the LIDAR gun at Raceway Park like we did before, we feel better knowing K40 is looking out for us. That the system remains out of sight is even better.