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 so you can learn how to install the drivers, update the redlight camera database, and update the firmware for the Uniden R1 and Uniden R3 radar detectors.

Here’s a pair of videos, the first for Windows and the second for Mac, showing you how to update your detector, 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.

Uniden R3 Firmware Check

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.

Anyway, when you download and unzip the file from Uniden’s website, you’ll find a few files including the update software and firmware update file for your detector.

Uniden R3 firmware update files

Install the firmware update software.

Install Uniden software update

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.

The detector doesn’t need the power cable plugged in too. Just USB to your computer. The detector’s display does not turn on during the update and that is normal.

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 cable. Some work better than others. You need one that provides data information, not just power.

Install the Drivers

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

Launch the update software once it’s installed.

Update software R3 from 1.36 to 1.37

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 file.

Click “Start Download” to load your new firmware onto your detector. It may take several minutes. The firmware update file includes the latest firmware, voice pack, as well as GPS database if you’re running the R3.

Once it completes and updates successfully, close the update software. It it fails, simply try again.

If you ever run into a situation where the detector gets accidentally unplugged mid-update and won’t power on normally, click the “Recovery Mode” checkbox and have it reload the firmware onto your detector.

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.

If you need help programming your detector, see my R1 and R3 setup guide.

That’s it! You’re all set. Enjoy! 🙂

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    • Dash on June 15, 2017 at 5:35 pm
    • Reply

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

    • Dash on June 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm
    • Reply

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

      • Dash on June 15, 2017 at 5:42 pm
      • Reply

      I meant refurbs

    1. 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.

        • Dash on June 15, 2017 at 6:27 pm
        • Reply

        Do refurbs of other models ever come out?

    • DSG on June 16, 2017 at 9:32 am
    • Reply

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

    1. This 3 minute video I posted will explain what 1.26 covers:

    • steve nealy on July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    • Reply

    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. 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?

        • steve nealy on July 11, 2017 at 5:59 pm
        • Reply

        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?

          • William on October 31, 2017 at 9:59 pm
          • Reply

          I have the exact same problem! I’m beyond irritated! What the hell’s the solution, …for me to mail it back to where I bought it every time there’s a firmware update?! Jesus. The least Uniden could do is make the R1/R3 iOS compatible, at least then I’d have a fighting chance.

            • Larry on November 1, 2017 at 4:52 am

            I loaded bootcamp on my Mac and it works like a charm

    • Dash on July 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm
    • Reply

    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

      • Dan on July 28, 2017 at 7:32 am
      • Reply

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

          • Dash on July 28, 2017 at 10:06 am
          • Reply

          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

            • Kyle on July 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm

            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.

    • Dash on July 28, 2017 at 10:15 am
    • Reply

    And so that DB is from July?

    • Larry Cherrin on August 13, 2017 at 4:45 am
    • Reply

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

    1. Yep

        • Larry Cherrin on August 13, 2017 at 5:31 am
        • Reply


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

    • Rascal on August 18, 2017 at 8:05 am
    • Reply

    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.

    • benny on September 4, 2017 at 4:21 am
    • Reply


    Could i update the RLC DB by myself? is there any 3p software that i can use for that.
    i’m not living in the USA and i have a fully updtated RLC db that i use on other devices, and i just want to add my points to the R3 is it possible?

    Is the r3 better then the escort 360?

  1. Hello,

    I’m trying to find the latest firmware update 1.31 for uniden R3 and I can only find version 1.30.

    Where can we find firmware 1.31?

    Thank you very much,


    1. It’s currently being beta tested and hasn’t been publicly released yet, but it should be soon.

    • Gary Cowen on December 10, 2017 at 10:33 am
    • Reply

    Hi. Can you help with the updates for DFR 7 ?

    • Jonas on March 16, 2018 at 10:30 pm
    • Reply

    Just wanted to add this to computer not able to recognize the detector if replacing USB cable does not work. You have to download the USB driver from Uniden.

    • Greg on March 17, 2018 at 4:19 am
    • Reply

    just received my new R3 and trying to update firmware, so i go to the uniden website and download the firmware tool to windows 10. it completes but when I go to update the tool box doesn’t pop up, also when I connect the detector it connects I hear the connection sound but the detector doesn’t light up. I believe the cable is fine as it worked w/my escort.

    • MP on June 29, 2018 at 3:19 pm
    • Reply

    Couple questions, I just bought an r1 a couple days ago and the display does not show the heartbeat wave while powered on , it just shows the word HIGHWAY, CITY, or ADVANCED depending on what it’s set for. Does this mean it’s an older model? Also when I use the suction cup windshield mount, the detector leans downward a great deal and is not parallel. I have to wedge some paper or something behind the clip mount to keep the detector parallel. Is there a better way to do this?

    • MP on June 29, 2018 at 3:24 pm
    • Reply

    Let me add to my last messaage, the detector had firmware 1.31 when I received it but I successfully updated 1.37 and it still doesn’t show the heartbeat wave on the display.

    1. Change the display mode to scan. See my R1 & R3 setup guide for more info.

    • David on July 1, 2018 at 10:07 am
    • Reply

    Thank you very much for this video. It was educational and led me through the process easily. I just purchased the Uniden R3 after having my six month old Escort 360C stolen out of my car. We shall see how I like the R3 versus the Escort 360C. Thank you again for the assistance and excellent video. GREAT JOB!!!

    • GTIGUY on July 30, 2018 at 4:52 am
    • Reply

    I am having a problem loading the software to update my new Uniden R1 , I’ve followed the video step by step , but when I try to open it I get a message saying “Uniden R1 V1 quit Unexpectedly “ I deleted And tried 11 times with same result all with the same results?
    I even tried it on my Dell LattitudeD610 running Windows XP the message on it is different, it says “Error (null) is not valid Win32 application? Can you help with either of these , I’m a Apple guy so I prefer my Mac!

    1. Have you tried updating it on your Mac? There’s Mac update software available now too.

      • Traci on August 15, 2018 at 4:28 pm
      • Reply

      I am having the same issue!!!

    • Avrohom on November 11, 2018 at 11:09 am
    • Reply

    Hey, I just want to thank you and let you know I appreciate your help with me setting up my r3.

    • RickB on December 5, 2018 at 8:17 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for helping with all my R3 setup and firmware update. Much appreciated!

    Also, in the Firmware Update video you program the R3 after doing the update. What adapter/converter cable are you using with R3 DC Power Adapter?

    • Marc McCord on July 24, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    • Reply

    I am using the same cable I used for the last update but it won’t find my R3. It just says Searching – for about 10 minutes. Any ideas?

    • William on September 8, 2019 at 6:33 am
    • Reply

    my update screen was different…. it connected to the R3, but would not provide power to it. And I was able to update the firmware regardless? it did confirm that is was updated.

    1. Right, the R3 connects, but the display isn’t supposed to power on too.

    • Aslan on July 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm
    • Reply

    hi!when i try to download the DB_20200106.bin file through the software for mu R1 i receive an error message that the uniden model is wrong. do i necessarily need that file to be downloaded? how to fix the issue?

    1. You don’t need that file. The DB is the GPS database for redlight cameras and speed cameras. The R1 doesn’t have GPS so it doesn’t support the GPS database.

    • Matt Garrison on February 28, 2021 at 2:49 pm
    • Reply

    Using a Mac – I installed the driver and the Uniden Tool V1.4 but when I tried to “read version” it wouldn’t read the version, and when I went to “downloads”, it was empty. No downloads were present. Maybe the cable is bad?

    • Matt Garrison on February 28, 2021 at 3:38 pm
    • Reply

    So I just commented above, but I also have a PC, and I followed instructions closely (to the best of my ability), and when I click on the Uniden Download Tool shortcut, now it reads the version, but there is no file in the download window to open. I went back over this but cannot figure it out.

  2. Unfortunately, my PC is toast and the only Windows PC I can access is at work, which doesn’t give me admin rights. So I can’t run the MSI file. Wish they had an Android updater or Linux or a standalone app that didn’t have an installer.

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