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Jun 15

How to Update the Firmware on the Uniden R1 & R3

This week Uniden released firmware updates for both their R1 & R3 radar detectors. Let’s walk through the update process.

Here’s a video to show you the update process, followed the step-by-step tutorial with important links.

What You’ll Need:

  • Uniden R1 or R3 radar detector (purchase the R1 or R3)
  • A MiniUSB cable (buy one here)
  • A Windows computer (a Mac running Windows works too)
  • Uniden update software (download here)

How to Check Which Firmware Version You’re Running

If you’d like to check which firmware version is loaded onto your detector at any point, say before or after updating, then while your detector is powered on normally, press the “Menu” button on top and the scroll left a few times with the “Vol -” button and you’ll see the firmware version listed like this.

Download & Install the Software

To download the latest firmware update software from Uniden, visit this website, scroll down, and click on the gray “Firmware” button.

For both the R1 and R3 you’ll find a pair of links. The first one is for the drivers you may need so your computer can talk to the detector and the second one is the firmware update itself. Download the latest firmware file and if it’s the first time you’re doing the update, download the drivers as well just in case.

Note for Mac users: The update software is only compatible with computers running Windows. If you’re running a Mac, you can install Windows on it, but it takes a good amount of time to do. One way is to install Windows in a virtual machine using Parallels. (Tutorial here.) Another is to dual boot Windows alongside OS X using Boot Camp. (Tutorial here.)

Anyway, if you download the firmware update for the R1, when you unzip the file, here’s what you’ll see:

In the “SW Download Tool” folder is the installer for the firmware update. The R1_xxxxxxxx file is the actual firmware itself.

If you download the firmware update for the R3, you’ll see some extra files.

You’ll also see the firmware update installer (SW Download Tool) along with the firmware itself (R3_vxxx.xxx.xxx), just like the R1.

You’ll also see two extra files for updating the redlight camera and speedcam database. You have the RLC installer (DB Download Tool) plus the RLC database itself (R3_DB_xxxxxxxx).

Note: You’ll find two versions of each installer, one that ends in _x64 and another that ends in _x86.

If you have a newer 64-bit computer, use the x64 version.

If you have an older computer or you’re not sure, you can use the _x86 version.

Either way, if you happen to pick one that won’t work on your computer, you’ll get an error message letting you know so you can’t mess anything up. If this happens, simply choose the other version.

Install the firmware update software if you have the R1 or both the firmware and RLC update software if you have the R3.

Plug In Your Radar Detector

You’ll need a MiniUSB cable to plug your detector into your computer. The detectors don’t come with one, but I wish they did. Most people have a spare one laying around the house, but in case you don’t, you can buy one here.

Note: Some people are reporting that their computer is not able to see their detectors at all. If this is the case, try a different USB cables. Some work better than others.

When you plug your detector into your computer, it may go through an installation process and automatically download the drivers for your detector. If it’s unable to find the drivers, you can manually install the drivers after downloading them from Uniden’s website.

Run the Firmware Update Software

Whether you have the R1 or the R3, you’ll next want to run the firmware update software.

Click the “auto connect” button at the top and make sure the program says “Connected!” at the top.

Note: Your radar detector’s display will not turn on when plugged in to your computer to be updated via USB. This is normal.

The program should automatically pull up your radar detector model and firmware version. If it doesn’t, click the “Read Version” button.

The program may automatically load in the firmware update file in the “Download File” section just underneath. If not, click the “Open” button and find the R3_vxxx.xxx.xxx.bin file.

Click “Start Download” to load your new firmware onto your detector.

Once it completes, close the update software.

Update the Voice Pack

If there’s an update to the voice pack like there is with 1.30, you’ll see a file called VoicePack.exe included as well.

Fire this up and click Start to begin updating the voices in the detector. This update process will take a few minutes to do so just let it do its thing.

Note, the software should open right up. However, you might see the following error:

If you do, you’ll want to move the update software to another folder. For some reason for me, it didn’t work when running it from my Downloads folder or moving it to the Desktop. However, I moved it to “C:\Uniden R Series Tools” and that did the trick. Not sure why, but FYI.

Update the RLC Database

To update the red light camera database (R3 only), you’ll need to run the DB Download Tool next.

Just like before, click the “auto connect” button and wait for the program to say “Connected!” at the top.

If it doesn’t load your current version in automatically, click “Read Version.”

Chances are under “Download DB” it will automatically pull up the correct RLC database update file. If it doesn’t click “Open” and select the R3_DB_xxxxxxxx.bin file.

See if the updated version is different than your current version. If it’s the same, there’s no need to update. If it’s newer, click the “Start Download” button.

Close the program once you’re done and unplug your R3.

Performing a Factory Reset

Uniden recommends that after you update your firmware, you perform a factory reset to ensure that the new firmware is loaded properly. You won’t clear your lockouts or manually marked locations by doing this, but you will need to go back through your settings afterwards and set everything back to where you want it.

To do this, press the “Menu” button, scroll left with the “Vol -” button until you see “Factory Reset?” and then hit the “Menu” button again to reset the detector back to factory default settings.

Then go back through your detector and choose the settings you want to run again.

That’s it! You’re all set. 🙂

21 comments

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  1. Dash

    How long does it usually take for an item like this to drop in price? Or get refers on the market?

  2. Dash

    How long does it usually take for an item like this to drop in price? Or get refers on the market?… .

    1. Dash

      I meant refurbs

    2. Vortex

      I don’t know about refurbs. I can tell you that the wait list is out until July to even get one right now. Apparently BRD is having to turn down around 10 people a day who want one. They’re just not available until the next batch of detectors arrives next month.

      1. Dash

        Do refurbs of other models ever come out?

  3. DSG

    What does the new firmware do? meaning do i have to download it to my R3, i just received my R3 last week.

    1. Vortex

      This 3 minute video I posted will explain what 1.26 covers: https://youtu.be/-IUpKSGvCGA

  4. steve nealy

    Hi, Trying to update my R1 but when I download it I get a bin file that will not open. my download looks different than yours…..yours looks like a little hat and mine is just a white square. Thanks, Steve

    1. Vortex

      The bin file isn’t one you open. It’s one that the update software opens and loads into your detector. The icon looks different just because we have different programs associated with opening a .bin file. If you follow the instructions as I show, does that work?

      1. steve nealy

        No…In your video the update automatically loads on the screen and you just hit update. nothing is in the second box for me….make sense?

  5. Dash

    I just got mine today. Why does the website only have the 4/5/17 Red Light DB, when mine says 7/3/17 already on it?

    Am I reading the dates wrong?

    My DB is: 2017/07/03 is that March 2017? or July 2017

    Also confusing on Firmware is when I auto detect it says version
    126.192.100 but we are loading a version that seems lower onto it? (126.192.100)?

    When I did like you said it still detects the same version I started out with

    1. Dan

      Did you get an answer? I have the same version 1.26 / 1.92 and DB ver 17/07/03. Is this the latrst firmware update?

      1. Vortex

        You have the current public firmware and an RLC database that’s newer than what’s currently available online. Enjoy. 🙂

        1. Dash

          Can we confirm that the software will not let you downgrade? I mistakenly overwritten the firmware with the older one from online and it didnt change.

          Didnt dare try the DB

          1. Kyle

            I did the same thing. I got trigger happy – always looking for the latest greatest. Hit download and I didn’t see the different version until the status bar was over 50%. At least I’m not driving with stock FW. I’ll just have to keep a look out for the latest email update to stay current.

  6. Dash

    And so that DB is from July?

  7. Larry Cherrin

    Can you use a windows laptop running “vista” to do the update?

    1. Vortex

      Yep

      1. Larry Cherrin

        Thanks.

        I just checked my R3 for versions and I have:

        DB Ver 17/07/03
        Ver 1.26/1.92

        So I’m really all set and don’t need to update anything, correct?

        Are my Red Light Cameras updated as well based on the above information?

        1. Vortex

          You’re good with the RLC database, but you’ll want to update to 1.30. Here’s the info about that: https://youtu.be/LBroj6aUTLs

  8. Rascal

    In my 32 years of working with PC computers I have never had as many problems with down loading software. This is the worst experience that I’ve ever had. I am now waiting for a IT specialist to come to my domicile ($25 hour). I have emailed Tom at BRD, asking if I can mail my R3 back to him and pay him to load the software and mail the RD back to me. He hasn’t returned my email request at this time.

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