«

»

Feb 17

Radar Detector Hardwire Cable Options

Max360 mounted in Miata

If you’d like to hardwire your radar detector for a professional and clean looking install, you’ve got a number of options for hardwire cables. Generally they’re special cables that replace your cig. lighter cable and instead use your fuse box or some other hidden power wire for power. When it comes to selecting a hardwire cable, you’ve got everything from your standard basic cable that just provides power, cables that add convenient mute buttons or bluetooth capabilities, or even cables that plug into unique locations like your rearview mirror. Let’s take a look at what your different options are.

Note: I have tutorials available to help you install these power cables. If you go for a traditional hardwire cable, use this tutorial. If you go for a rear view mirror based hardwire cable, use this tutorial.

Standard Cable: Power Only, $10

Standard Escort Hardwire Cable

This is the most simple cable you can get. One end wires into your car for power, the other end plugs into your radar detector. That’s it.

This type of cable is best suited to detectors that only need power for full functionality, ie. no external bluetooth module needed.

If the detector already has bluetooth built in (ie. Max2 & Max360), if the detector doesn’t offer bluetooth support at all (ie. LRD950), or if it does but you don’t want to use the bluetooth capabilities (ie. Redline), this is a great choice.

Compatible with: Escort, Beltronics, Valentine, Uniden, Radenso

Purchase the Standard Directwire Cable for $10.

Escort Smartcord: Add a Mute Button & LED’s, $29

Escort Smartcord DirectWire Red Mute Button

This is the same idea as before except now also get an external mute button and alert LED’s. If you like the idea of the standard hardwire cable, but you’d like to have a convenient mute button so you don’t have to reach up and hit the mute button on your detector every time, this is a helpful option. Just install the plastic control module somewhere within arm’s reach.

The Smartcord also has a pair of LED’s, one for power and one that blinks when you’re getting an alert. That way even if you can’t hear your detector, you can still see the LED and get notified when you’re getting an alert.

There’s two versions of this cable with different colored LEDs. The first has a red alert light and green power light. The second has a yellow alert light and a blue power light. Otherwise they’re the same. Choose the color combo that matches your car or what you feel looks better.

Note: Though the power connector may fit other brand detectors like Uniden, the mute button and alert functionality won’t work so the standard cable is best for those detectors.

Compatible with: Escort, Beltronics

Purchase the Red/Green Smartcord for $29

Purchase the Yellow/Blue Smartcord for $29

Escort Live Cord: Add Bluetooth, $99

Escort Live Directwire

If you’d like to add some Bluetooth compatibility to your Escort or Beltronics radar detector (assuming it’s a newer detector that works with Live), you can get an Escort Live cable. It’s basically the same ideas as the smartcord we just looked at, which adds a mute button and an LED, but now there’s also a Bluetooth module built in so you can pair your radar detector with your cell phone.

Benefits:

  • Realtime alerts to / from the cloud via Escort Live
  • Configure your radar detector through your phone (much easier)
  • Use your phone as an external display to add more useful information or while running your RD in dark mode for stealthiness
  • Update your detector through your phone (only some detectors like the Redline)
  • Add manual GPS lockouts to GPS-less detectors for better false filtering in town

Compatible with: Escort Redline, Max, 9500ix, X70, most 8500 X50’s (info here), Beltronics Magnum, Driver rev. M9/A4 or newer (info here), RX65 rev. 6.3 or newer (info here), GX65, Pro 500, Pro 300, V10, V8, V6

Compatible with remote mount: Escort 9500ci, Beltronics STi-R Plus

If you have a windshield mount detector, buy the Android / iOS cable for $99.

If you have a remote mount detector, buy the Android cable or buy the iOS cable for $99.

Radenso Direct Wire Cord: $18

Radenso hardwire cord

If you’re using a Radenso Pro or Radenso Pro SE, they use a rounded power plug as opposed to the RJ-11 plug you see in most other detectors.

Purchase the Radenso Direct Wire Cord for $18.

Valentine 1 Direct Wire Adapter, $19

V1 Direct-Wire Adapter

If you use a Valentine 1, it actually comes with a directwire adapter as part of the package.

This adapter has two ports, one for the V1 and another for an accessory like a bluetooth module or concealed display.

The power cable is actually compatible with other brands of detectors too from Escort, Uniden, and Radenso and so this is what I use. It works with the V1 and BT module when I plug in and powers my other radar detectors normally when I switch them in.

If you don’t have your direct wire adapter already, you can buy a new one here for $19.

Savvy: Power from OBD-II Port, $69

Savvy

Another option you have to power your V1 is Savvy. Rather than wiring into your fuse box somewhere, you can plug your V1 into your vehicle’s OBD-II port. It makes for an even easier installation, plus Savvy will be able to read your vehicle’s speed and mute your V1 when you’re traveling below a pre-set speed.

You can now get this similar functionality using your phone’s GPS and running and app, but this is an alternative that doesn’t require a phone or an app.

One advantage it has is it doesn’t rely on GPS so it works even in parking decks and in tunnels, plus it works even if you don’t want to fire up your cell phone app. I have seen it conflict with YaV1 though, even though you can override Savvy with Savvy emulation in YaV1, so I’d recommend skipping it if you’re using YaV1.

Purchase Savvy here for $69.

MirrorTap: Power from Rear View Mirror, $15-$25

Mirrortap

If you’re hanging your radar detector next to your rearview mirror or underneath it with something like a Blendmount and you have a powered rearview mirror (autodimming, compass, garage door opener, etc.), one really convenient idea is to get a MirrorTap. It’s a short power cable designed to plug into your rearview mirror and then power your radar detector that way. No running cables or messing around with the fuse box required.

Because you don’t have the option to wire in an external Bluetooth module, this is again going to be best suited to detectors where you aren’t bothering to plug in an external BT module. If all you need is a straight power cable, this is a convenient option.

They make them in different lengths and with different sized connectors. I found the bigger connectors in the MirrorTap wouldn’t fit in my car, but the smaller version fits fine. When you buy one, they contact you to make sure you get the right one.

There’s also a cheaper version by Radar Mount on Amazon. They all come with the smaller tips so they should fit every car. I haven’t tested those, but they get great reviews and I’m sure those work fine as well.

Compatible with: Escort, Beltronics, Valentine, Uniden, Radenso

Click here to buy a MirrorTap for $15-25.

MirrorTap MTX: Upgraded Power Cable Tapping into RVM, $40

There’s an upgraded version of the MirrorTap that I really like called the MirrorTap MTX. It’s essentially a traditional MirrorTap with different sized swappable tips so that you can more easily find the one that best fits your RVM. It’s hard to know which size connector you need when initially buying and if you purchase the wrong size, it’s a pain to make the connector a bit bigger or smaller to fit or to have to go and exchange the cable altogether. Having a few different sized tips available makes it so you know you’ll have the right size available. (If the connector is too large it won’t fit and if it’s too small it will fall out.)

I’ve also found it beneficial because it’s easy to bend or break the connectors during installation, especially the smaller and thinner ones, and in case it happens (it happened to me! whoops..), you can fall back to using a different sized connector as a backup.

Additionally, when you’re probing around behind your rear view mirror with your multimeter to find where to plug in your MirrorTap, chances are your multimeter’s probes will be too big and fat to fit into the teeny connectors behind your RVM. You can use the removable tips from the MirrorTap to probe into the RVM’s power connector and then connect your multimeter to the other side of these tips (though you could do the same thing with some extra wire lying around the house) and so for the installation process, I find this power cable to be very helpful. It’s more expensive for the upgraded MTX version of the MirrorTap, but I think it provides an excellent upgrade in convenience.

Compatible with: Escort, Beltronics, Valentine, Uniden, Radenso

Click here to buy a MirrorTap MTX for $40.

Inviscord: Rear View Mirror for Valentine 1 with BT, $26

Invisicord Y-splitter for V1

If you like the idea of a MirrorTap and you’re using a V1 with a Bluetooth module, one thing you can do is get an Invisicord. It’s like a MirrorTap except that it’s got two plugs, one for the V1 and another for the Bluetooth module.

This will allow you to power your V1 off of your RVM and still use the BT module. You’ll have to find a good place to secure your Bluetooth module, either attaching it to the back of your RVM, for example, or maybe tucking it into your headliner if your vehicle allows it. It won’t be as clean of an install with your BT module attached to the backside of your RVM, but it’ll work. (I would rather hardwire to the fuse box, have the BT module tucked down somewhere out of sight, and run a cable up to the V1, but this would make for an easier wiring job.)

You can get these in various lengths and connector sizes, and you can also add a fuse (recommended).

Click here to buy an Invisicord for $26.

2 comments

  1. Alan S.

    On your site, it shows the Radenso Pro & SE hardwire at $10. The link goes to Radenso’s site and it is $17.95.

    1. Vortex

      Thanks for the heads up. I’ve updated my article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>