As an owner of both a Laser Interceptor and a Blinder HP905 system, and as a long time CM enthusiast, I felt compelled to review the new AL priority system to see if it lived up to all the hype. First of all, I want to say that I have not been asked to do this review nor have I been given any special privilege or discount in exchange for this review. Iím doing this solely on my own.
First letís just take a look at the highlights:
Dual processor, 5 head capable CPU with discrete front and rear alerts, USB connection and plug-in capability for GPS, radar detectors, HiFi modules and Bluetooth.
More detailed specifications can be found here.
Compact & Stealthy
Iíll start by saying the system is extremely small. So small that I thought I had ordered the wrong item when it arrived. The sensor heads are no larger than a key fob and close to a third of the size of the LI head. The only thing I wished this system had was a remote controller instead of the wired controller. I can see that going away when the Bluetooth modules are available since youíll be able to control everything with your phone, but would be nice to see this in future releases.
Each part of system is boxed separately making it easy to mix and match to get the system you really want so in the case of an ALP dual you would get 3 boxes. 1 for the CPU, and 2 sensor boxes. Each sensor comes with mounting hardware including a bendable bracket, and RJ style connecting wires. The RJ plugs go into the CPU and the other end is connected via a weather proof din connector to a small 1 foot wire off the sensor head. This makes it easy to remove or exchange heads without having to go back through the firewall. This is very similar to the Laser Interceptor 8.9 heads and connecting cables.
Hooking Everything Up
Connecting the CPU is simple just hook up the red and black power wires and plug into the CPU. You will notice there are two additional wires (blue and green) for connecting to a mute source and a relay respectively. The blue wire can be connected to a stereo that has its own muting capabilities or it can be triggered via a separate switch. The green wire could have many uses, but one that comes to mind is a relay that controls an external brake light kill. Useful for rear laser encounters when you donít want to apply the brakes.
Programming and Firmware Updates
The AL Priority system comes with a USB port designed to be used with USB keys / jump drives. Each system is individually keyed to a specific serial number making it easy for AL to control who receives each firmware revision as the firmware cannot be shared between CPUs. This is all easily accomplished via the ALPrioriyUpdate.com website. You donít need any software just a web browser and a USB key. Visit the website type in your serial number and download the file to your USB key. Then simply put the key in the CPU and wait for it to upload. No software, No special USB to Serial connectors, just a simple copy of a file from any PC and you are ready to go. (USB keys must be formatted in FAT16 or FAT32. FAT 32 recommended). This makes upgrading a breeze. Plus the site also contains setup software for configuring your ALP. Once you answer the questions on the setup screen it will download a file to your USB key. Again simply plug into your ALP CPU and wait for it to the complete the configuration. Easy to setup, easy to upgrade, and extremely powerful.
Reception is key to any effective laser jamming system. The AL Priority has 4 receiving diodes that are extremely sensitive and the Laser Interceptor 8.9 head has 2 receiving diodes and very good ones at that. I did some sensitivity testing with the ALP head and the LI 8.9 head and discovered to my surprise that the ALP head was able to detect the lidar signal up to 3ft further than the LI. This test included firing a lidar gun in a straight line at a distance of 20ft. At this range, the lidar pulse would only be about 3" wide. As you fire towards the head you move away keeping the same distance until the lidar signal is no longer detected by the receiver. The ALP was able to pick up the signal approximately 7ft from the head. The Laser Interceptor lost the signal at 55". Still not bad that's 4 feet from the edge vehicle, but 7ft was surprising.
With the help of Won Hunglo, he and I tested against some of the more common guns and the more difficult to jam guns. The key here was to test the ALP's capability against various guns. Today's test was setup as if a LE was targeting the vehicle. So no extreme off axis or anything of that nature. The goal was to make sure the jammer was setup properly and that the heads were mounted correctly. To my surprise it was extremely effective even a close range where competing products have failed in the past. We had one PT on all the JTG runs where the distance was less than 100'. This was on the Stalker at 44'. On a 3000' course, we'll call that JTG.
* - Initial result was IPT, but has been addressed with new firmware.
We did run into some issues with our version of the LTI UltraLyte LR-100. This is the same gun that gave Blinder fits in the past. A different LR-100 was tested by YellowCab and RadarRob and were JTG so we are investigating the difference. Our version did not appear to jam at all. We captured the data and sent it to AL. We are hoping that AL can shed some light on the issue. (Update: After new firmware LR-100 was JTG)
One of my favorite features of the new AL Priority system is the ability to capture an unknown laser source and send it to AL for coding. This to me is one of the most powerful features of the system. Now with crowd sourced data, newer guns with updating firmware and/or changing pulse trains can be handled with a simple capture. No longer do you need to ship the gun to the jammer manufacturer for coding. This is a huge leap forward and something the advanced community has been wanting for quite sometime. I built a similar device using Laser Interceptor heads, but the LI team would never look at the data. That same data was later used by some of the advanced members to decode the DALA pulse train. During our testing we did encounter a variant of one gun that the ALP was not jamming effectively but yet another version it did jam effectively. So we recorded the data and sent to AL. Unfortunately, it was after hours so hopefully we will see an update sometime next week.
Another powerful feature is the plug-in capability of the ALP. With plugins for Bluetooth, HiFi audio, GPS, and radar detectors, the ALP is truly an all-in-one defense system.
USB upgrading with no software to install
Ability to capture unknown Lidar
None at the moment, but I would prefer a wireless controller and wish the voices were part of the original system as with competing jammers.
The AL Priority is a serious jamming system with features that are way ahead of the competition. The other laser jammer companies are going to have to step up significantly to surpass what AL has done with the priority. I am now running this system as my daily driver, but I must say I do miss the voices from the Laser Interceptor. I hope the HiFi module or Bluetooth module will bring these back as this is something I really enjoyed on the LI system. This system should prove to be powerful competition against LI who is really the only other competition in this area. Blinder still continues to be plagued with the inability to update frequently enough to make it an effective jammer, and the other systems should take note of the capture capability in the AL Priority as it is the first step in the next generation of LCM's.