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V1 Radar Detector Installation



To avoid the occasional speeding ticket, I decided to invest in one of the best radar detectors money can buy: the Valentine One. However, leaving this connected inside my car is definitely a theft magnet, so I chose to stealth-install it inside my headliner after being inspired by this write-up. Since the radar detector will be completely hidden from view, I also bought a Concealed Display for mounting in front of my instrument panel. Both the V1 and Concealed Display were manufacturer-certified return units ordered from the Valentine One web store.


In order to fit the V1 in the headliner, it needs to be slimmed down. The first step is to disassemble the outer housing to expose the electronic guts inside.


The front display also needs to be removed for maximum thinness. This is accomplished by de-soldering the six-pin ribbon cable connected from the display to the PCB.


Fortunately, the display-less V1 still works correctly with the Concealed Display!


The best place for a concealed radar in my car is in the pocket above the dome light. First, pry off the light diffuser from the edges using a screwdriver and remove the two screws holding the remaining fixture in place. Then, the dome light assembly can be removed easily by prying it out with a screwdriver.


Inside the headliner, there is a block of foam that needs to be removed to make space for the radar detector. Also, the rearview mirror sun visor (that plastic contraption in front of the dome lights) should also be removed since this area is where the V1 will aim out the front window. The headliner in this area can be cut out using an Exacto knife, and the enlarged hole can be covered with an opaque, IR-transparent film (like limo tint). That way, there is no lost in range because of the visor, and you can retain forward-facing laser detection as well.


The dome light assembly will be used to hold the V1 inside the headliner. A lot of plastic needs to be removed with a Dremel tool for the radar to fit.


This photo shows the dome light assembly after surgery. I made sure to keep the screw holes intact for re-mounting the assembly back into the headliner. However, I had to cut through the metal tracks that provided electrical connections to the dome light switches.


A test-fitting shows that the V1 is nice and snug in the modified dome light assembly!


Despite having to remove the center dome light and 3-way slide switch, I still wanted the driver and passenger bulbs to work via their respective pushbutton switches. To do this, I soldered wires to the appropriate metal tracks so each light switch had the appropriate power and ground connections.


The V1 beeper is located near the front of the unit and would be obscured inside the headliner if left alone. To give me flexibility to choose where the beeper is located, I de-soldered it from the V1 and attached some short lead wires instead. Also, to electrically insulate the V1 circuitry (and hide it when viewed through the center dome light diffuser), I cut a piece of foam sheet to cover the bottom PCB. Finally, a couple pieces of electrical tape hold the PCB snugly to the magnesium radar waveguide.


The dome light assembly has a plastic grill that is a perfect location for the beeper. I squeezed the beeper through a rectangular piece of black foam and wedged it behind the grill so the sound fires outward.


A front photo of the dome light/radar assembly.


A rear front photo of the dome light/radar assembly. The lead wires from the V1 are soldered to the beeper in its new location.


A bird's-eye photo of the dome light/radar assembly. The wires for both the dome lights and the beeper are tucked closely against the top of the housing.


On the other side of the assembly, the 3-way slide switch (which no longer functions) is fixed in place using double-sided foam tape.


Since the roof of the car can get incredibly hot when left in the sun, I also put a foam sheet inside the headliner to shield the V1 from heat. The foam sheet starts at the front of the headliner and extends up and around towards the middle of the roof.


This photo shows the foam sheet installed in the headliner, as well as the 4-wire telephone cord that is used to connect the V1 to the Direct Wire Power Adapter. The telephone cord is tucked under the headliner and down the driver-side A-pillar to the fuse box area.


The dome light/radar assembly is ready to be installed. The power and ground wires for the dome lights (which are covered in solder) slide right into the stock wiring harness and are held firmly in place by the pin receptacles in the harness. Also, the telephone cord is plugged into the V1's RJ45 jack.


At this point, the Direct Wire Power Adapter (upper left) is connected into the fuse box. To ensure my radar system remains completely discrete, I wired the power wire for the radar detector to a relay controlled the second pull of my Euroswitch; that way, the radar detector only turns on when the "rear fog lights" (which I don't have on my car) are engaged by the light switch. I did something similar for my parking sensor installation, but the parking sensor only engages for the first pull ("front fog lights"). Finally, test the system again with the Concealed Display and adjust the Alert and Mute volume knobs on the V1 to your liking; you won't be able to adjust them after everything is installed!


Getting the whole assembly to fit inside the headliner takes a little bit of effort. First, the V1 is slid to the rear of the dome light assembly so that the front of the radar detector is just barely over the front plastic bar. Next, the assembly is slipped into the headliner by inserting the rear of the V1 first, and then pressing the rest of the assembly in place (from back to front).


Finally, the V1 is moved as close to the windshield as possible by gripping it from both sides (where the driver & passenger light bulbs are) and sliding it forward. This final step provides the best front-facing radar reception because the detector is not obscured by the roof.


Since the metal clips that held the light diffuser were removed to fit the V1, I used double-sided foam tape to secure it.


To hide the V1 from sight, I cut a piece of felt that would cover the hole in the headliner. The cloth is held in place with four push-pins, and the material is transparent to radar. Unfortunately, laser detection won't work anymore because visible light can't shine through.


A final test reveals that both the dome lights and radar work spectacularly! Although I did not test the V1 prior to installing it in the headliner, I am very happy with its performance when concealed. I'm sure I lost some range, but I've found that the V1 still provides significant advanced warning for front and rear bogeys despite the mounting location. Also, I have absolutely no fear of theft since the radar detector is out of sight, and the Concealed Display is inconspicuously mounted in front of my instrument panel.


Costs:

Valentine One Radar Detector $359.00
Valentine One Concealed Display $35.00
Double-sided foam tape $5.00
Black felt/pins $1.00

Total $400.00


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