Whistler XTR-550 User Manual

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Total Band Protection



The13016WhistlerN. WaltonGroupBlvdCorporate. • Bentonville,HeadquartersAR 72712

Tel 479.273.6012 • Fax 479.273.2927

551CustomerN. 13th St. •ReturnRogers,CenterAR 72756

Customer Service Tel 800.531.0004


P/N 260012, REV2 © 2007 The Whistler Group, Inc.

Dear Whistler Owner,

If you have questions concerning the operation of this Whistler product please call:



Monday - Friday • 8:00 am - 5:00 pm CT

or visit our website

Please keepwww.thewhistlreceiptrgroupin a safe.com place. You may register your product online at www com. For warranty verification.whistlergrouppurposes, a. copy of your dated store receipt must still accompany any unit sent in for warranty work. If the unit is returned without a dated store receipt, an out of warranty service charge applies.


Note: Your warranty period begins at

the time of purchase. The warranty is validatedPleaseonlyrecordby thethedatedserialstorenum- berceipof the! unit in the space provided in the warranty section of the manual.

To fully acquaint yourself with the operation of your Whistler detector and to better understand the differences between detecting radar, laser and safety radar signals, we recommend reading this entire manual or visiting our FAQ page on our website www.whistlergroup.com

Enjoy your Whistler detector and please drive safely.


The Whistler Group, Inc.

Model Features Summary .................................

3 - 5

• Mounting Guidelines

5 - 6

Installation ........................................................

5 - 6

• Windshield Mounting


• Power Connection and Fuse Replacement


•Dim/Dark Mode


Operation .......................................................

7 - 13

• Power On Self Test & Volume


• Setting Saver


• Feature Engaged Confirmation


• Integrated Real Voice®


• Auto Quiet Mode


• Quiet Mode


• City/City 1/ City 2 Mode


• Highway Mode


• Teach/Tutorial Mode


• Dual LED Alert Periscope




• Vehicle Battery Saver Mode


• Option Select Mode


• Stay Alert Feature


Safety Warning System.....................................


POPMode Alerts ..............................................


• Speed Radar Audio/Visual Alerts


Laser/Rad Alerts ..............................................


• Laser Audio/Visual Alerts


• Pulse Protection®


• Alert Priority


VG-2Ale ts .........................................................


Reset Features ....................................................


Troubleshooting Guide .......................................


Care and Maintenance ........................................


Are Detectors Legal? ..........................................


FCC Information ..................................................


• Radar Facts


Speed Monitoring .........................................

19 - 22

• POPMode


• Laser Facts


• Other Speed Detection Systems


Warranty Information ....................................

22 - 25

Specifications ......................................................


Accessories .........................................................



Feature Listings of XTR-500/550





































Features of XTR-500/550

• Dim/Dark Mode


• Total Band Protection

• Stay Alert



• Red Text Display


• Setting Saver



• Detects POPMode

• Vehicle Battery Saver


• 360° Protection


• Safety Warning System


• Real Voice®


• Alert Priority





• Dual LED Periscopes

3 City Modes

Quiet/Auto Quiet Mode



Whistler’s ergonomic and user-friendlydesign provides a new level of operating convenience. Special features include:

1.Bracket Release Button – provides quick and easy release of the mounting bracket.

2.Speaker – provides distinct audio warnings for X, K, Ka band radar, safety radar, laser and VG-2.

3.Mounting Bracket Location – slot holds mounting bracket firmly.

4.Radar Antenna – compact, high-efficiencyantenna receives radar signals.

5.Front Laser – high gain optical lens provides increased sensitivity and field of view for leading-edgelaser detection.

6.Rear Laser – an integrated optical waveguide provides superior detection of laser signals transmitted from behind.

7.City Button - reduces the annoyance of false alerts typically encountered in urban driving areas.

8.Quiet Button - pressing QUIET before a radar signal is detected engages Auto Quiet Mode which provides “clicking” sounds after the initial warning. Pressing QUIET during a radar encounter silences audio alerts, while allowing visual alerts to keep you informed.

9.Power / Volume Control – turns unit on/off and adjusts audio level.

10.Dim Dark - engages Dim/Dark modes

11.Menu Button - enters Option Select Mode.

12.Text Display – provides distinct visual confirmation of signals detected, signal strength, and indicates engaged modes of operation.



13.Dual Alert LED Periscope - provides added visual alerts of threats ahead.


Mounting Guidelines

Mount the unit as low as possible near the center of the windshield.

Do not mount the unit behind wipers, ornaments, mirrored sunscreens, etc. These obstructions have metal surfaces which can affect radar and laser signals and reduce critical warning time. (Regular tinted glass does not affect reception).

Some windshields have an Instaclearor Electricleartype coating, which affect radar signals. Consult your dealer or the owner’s manual supplied with your vehicle to determine if your windshield has this coating.

Avoid placing the unit in direct contact with the windshield.

To reduce the possibility of theft, conceal your unit when not in use.



IMPORTANT: Make sure the unit is level

Rubber Bumper



Windshield Mounting

Install the two suction cups and rubber bumper onto the bracket by fitting them into their holes.

Press the suction cups onto the windshield at the location you have chosen.

Important: Some newer cars have a plastic safety coating on the inside of the windshield. The windshield bracket may leave permanent marks on this type of surface. To find out if your vehicle has this type of windshield, check the owner’s manual or ask your dealer. We recommend that you do not leave the suction cup bracket on the window in direct sunlight. If the detector is removed, this may cause blistering of the dash in some vehicles.

Slide the detector onto the bracket until it locks into place.

If necessary, the unit may be leveled by bending the windshield bracket. Press the bracket release button and remove the detector before bending.

Power Cord Connection

Plug the small end of the power cord into the unit’s power jack.

Plug the large end into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

Note: Cord fits tightly into detector. When installing the cord, expect some resistance.

Fuse Replacement

The lighter socket plug is equipped with a replaceable 2 amp 3AG fuse located behind the silver tip. To replace the fuse, carefully unscrew the tip of the plug.

Important: Unscrew slowly. The tip contains a spring which may fly out when disassembling. Insert the new fuse with the spring and screw on the tip. With use, screw cap on plug may loosen. Retighten occasionally.



Dim/Dark Mode

Dim/Dark Mode reduces the illumination of the display.

Press the Dark button to reduce illumination to a Dim setting.

Pressing the Dark button a second time engages Dark Mode. The display illumination is further reduced.

Dim or Dark Mode can be engaged during an alert. In Dark Mode, the display goes dark for as long as a signal is being detected and for 20 seconds after, then the display returns to the dimmer setting.

Pressing the Dark button a third time restores full illumination to the display.

Power On Self Test & Volume

Each time your Whistler detector is turned on, an automatic self-testsequence confirms that the speaker and visual displays are functional. To increase volume, continue turning the volume knob.

• Display shows in order:

1. WHISTLER 2. X-band3.K-band4.Ka-band



Setting Saver

Setting Saver saves your personalized settings so that when the detector is turned off and then on again, you do not have to re-enterthem.

Feature Engaged Confirmation

Each time a button is pressed, one beep confirms feature “on”, two beeps confirm feature “off”.



Integrated Real Voice®

When selected, Real Voice® will be used to articulate the following:

1.Band Identification

2.Safety Warning System messages

3.Feature Selection

Note: In certain cases the voice message does not replicate the text message.

Auto Quiet Mode

Pressing QUIET before a radar signal is detected provides an alternate alert pattern, consisting of four beeps (indicating X, K, Ka or Safety Radar) followed by clicking. The clicking will continue for as long as the detected signal is present or any new signal is detected within 20 seconds, becoming more rapid as the strength of the signal increases.

Press Quiet (before a signal is detected) to engage Auto Quiet.

Once the Auto Quiet mode is engaged, you may cancel the audio alarm by pressing Quiet.

Press Quiet (when the unit is not alarming) to cancel Auto Quiet mode.

Quiet Mode

Quiet cancels audio during an alert and any new alert within 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, approximately 2 beeps are provided on any new alert and unit then remains quiet.

Press Quiet to cancel the audio.

Press Quiet a second time during an alert to restore the standard audio alert pattern; or turn the unit off, then on.


City/City 1/City 2 Mode

Whistler’s Three Stage City Mode is designed to reduce the annoyance of automatic door openers, intrusion alarms and other devices which share frequencies with police radar. Generally, X band is used for these devices.

Press City button to cancel Highway Mode and engage City Mode.

Press City button again to enter City 1 Mode

Press City button again to enter City 2 Mode

Pressing City button a fourth time cancels City 2 Mode and returns the unit to Highway Mode.

In City Mode, weak speed/safety radar signals give an initial alarm of two beeps, and then remains quiet unless the signal becomes very strong. When the signal strength increases, two additional beeps are provided. City 1 and City 2 Modes operate the same as Highway Mode, but in City 1 Mode, only the X band sensitivity is lowered. In City 2 Mode, X-bandis not detected.

Caution: Some towns/small cities may still be using X band radar. City Modes do not change the audio alert for laser or VG-2.

Highway Mode

Highway mode provides full audio warnings any time radar (X, K, Ka, Safety Radar) or laser signals are detected, and is recommended for open road driving.

For more information on City and Highway modes,

please visit our F.A.Q. page on our website: www.whistlergroup.com


Teach/Tutorial Mode

Provides simulated alerts for each type of signal.

Press City and Quiet buttons simultaneously

Display Shows:

Press Dark button to exit.

Dual LED Alert Periscope

Whistler’s new Dual LED Alert Periscope provides an added attention getting visual alert. The two extra LED’s flash on and off when the unit alarms to provide a unique visual alert. This alert can be programmed, through the Option Select Mode to: 1. flash for all alarms, 2. remain on, or 3. turn LEDs off completely.






See Option Select Mode to turn this feature on/off. When a VG-2signal is detected, theVG-2is sounded and the display flashes“VG-2”.After 3 seconds the audio is canceled and the display no longer flashes. This cycle is repeated if theVG-2signal is again detected.

During the period a VG-2signal is detected, a radar signal cannot be detected. However, because theVG-2alert has confirmed that a patrol car is nearby, you are already aware of the potential for speed monitoring and can adjust your speed accordingly. Laser detection is not affected while aVG-2signal is detected. (See page 15 for more information)

Vehicle Battery Saver Mode

The Vehicle Battery Saver Mode automatically shuts off your detector after 3 hours. The timer is reset if the detector is turned off, unplugged or any button is pressed before the timer has expired. The detector will alert you with an audible and visual warning before it shuts off. During this warning, you can momentarily reset the timer by pressing any button. If the unit has automatically turned itself off, press any button to turn the unit back on.

Refer to “Option Select Mode” for instructions for deactivating battery saver mode feature.



Option Select Mode

Entering Option Select Mode allows you to customize options such as Tone Select, Abbreviated Power Up Sequence and VG-2Mode. Press the Menu button to enter Option Select Mode. When selecting options, the Dark or Quiet buttons must be pressed within 20 seconds or Option Select Mode will automatically be exited. To enter:

Press and hold Menu button to exit Option Select Mode.



Stay Alert Feature

The Stay Alert Feature is designed to test a driver’s alertness. To engage (when the unit is not alarming) :

• Press and hold the City button for approximately 2 seconds. Release the button during or immediately after the alert is given. Display shows:

Within 30-60seconds, two beeps are sounded; to show alertness, the driver must press either the City, Menu, or Quiet buttons within3-5seconds. If a button is pressed within3-5seconds, the cycle is repeated.

If a button is not pressed within 3-5seconds, an alarm sounds and the display shows:

• Press the Dark button to exit the Stay Alert feature.

WARNING!!! Stay Alert is NOT intended as a substitute for adequate rest. You should NOT operate a vehicle if you are drowsy. During extended periods of vehicle operation, you should take frequent breaks. Improper reliance on the Stay Alert feature may result in vehicle damage, personal injury or death. NEVER OPERATE A VEHICLE IF YOU ARE DROWSY.


Safety Warning System

In communities where transmitters are located, the Safety Warning Systemdisplays over 60 text messages. When Safety Radar is detected the audio alert is geigercounter-like.

Safety Warning System Text

Example: Poor - Road - Surface.

Note: Not all areas have Safety Warning Systemtransmitters.



POPMode Alerts

Because POPMode radar utilizes the same

K or Ka band frequencies, POPMode Alerts will be displayed as regular radar alerts.


Speed Radar Audio/Visual Alerts

When X, K or Ka is detected, the band ID and signal strength is displayed. The audio alert is continuous and has a geiger counter-likepattern. The faster the beep, the closer or stronger the radar source.

Laser Audio/Visual Alerts

When a laser signal is detected the audio alert is continuous for a minimum of 3 seconds.

• The Displays Shows:

Pulse Protection®

Pulse (or instant-on)radar is more difficult to detect than conventional radar because it remains ‘off’ until activated to measure the speed of a targeted vehicle.

When a pulse type transmission is detected, your Whistler detector sounds an urgent 3-secondaudio warning and the display shows:

After the 3-secondpulse alert, the standard alert pattern continues for as long as the signal is present.

It is important to respond promptly to a pulse alert, since warning time may be minimal.


VG-2Audio/Visual Alerts

Note: You must turn this feature on before it will detect VG-2.

When a VG-2signal is detected, the detector “hides” its own radiated signal and becomes undetectable by theVG-2.

Every 30 seconds, the detector checks for a VG-2signal. If aVG-2signal is still present, the unit continues to hide and repeats theVG-2alert. If no signal is detected, two beeps are provided, indicating an “all clear” condition. During aVG-2Alert X, K, and Ka band signals cannot be received (Reference page 21 forVG-2information).

Alert Priority

When two or more signals are received at the same time, the alert priority is:

1. Laser


3.Speed Radar

4.Safety Radar


If X band is alerting, then suddenly a VG-2signal is detected, theVG-2warning will override the X band alert.


Reset Features

All user features can be reset to factory settings.

•Unplug the Power Cord from the unit. •Press and hold the Quiet button. •Plug the Power Cord into the unit. •Wait for 2 beeps.

•Release the Quiet button.

Unit is now reset to the following features and settings.

Default factory settings are:

1. HIGHWAY Mode.

2. Dim/Dark Mode to full illumination of display.

3.Auto Quiet Mode OFF.

4.VG-2Detection Mode OFF.

5.Safety Radar OFF.

6.Vehicle Battery Saver ON.

7.Full Power Up sequence.

8.Default TONE 3.


10.Voice ON.

11.LED Periscope to BLINK





Your Whistler detector is expertly engineered and designed to exacting quality standards to provide you with reliable, trouble-freeoperation. If your unit has been correctly installed following the guidelines in this manual, but is not operating optimally, please refer to the troubleshooting guide below.

PROBLEM: No display or audio.

Check fuse in plug; replace if necessary with a 2 amp 3AG type.

Check fuse for lighter socket; replace if necessary.

Make sure lighter socket is clean.

PROBLEM: Unit alarms when vehicle hits bumps.

Check for loose lighter socket; tighten and clean.

Check connections at both ends of power cord. Substitute another cord to determine if cord is defective. Return defective cord to the factory.

PROBLEM: Audio alerts are not loud enough.

Cancel Auto Quiet Mode or City Mode.

Check audio level setting (see page 8 ).

If difficulties occur which cannot be solved by information in this Troubleshooting Guide, please call Whistler Customer Service at 1-800-531-0004or visit our FAQ page atwww.whistlergroup.com/faq-detectors.asp,before returning your unit for service.


Care And Maintenance

During the summer months, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight by removing your unit from the dash when your vehicle is parked for an extended period of time. Do not spray water, cleaners, or polishes directly onto the unit. The spray may penetrate through the openings and damage the unit. Also, do not use any abrasive cleaners on the unit’s exterior.


In Most States YES!

Laser-Radardetectors are legal in every state (with the exception of Virginia and Washington, D.C., which have local regulations restricting the use of radar receivers in any vehicle) when used in automobiles or light trucks (under 10,000 lbs.).

Concerning trucks over 10,000 lbs., the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a regulation, effective January, 1994 which prohibits radar and laser detector use in these types of vehicles nationally. Prior to the FHWA regulation, laws existed in the state of New York restricting the use of radar detectors in trucks over 18,000 lbs. and in Illinois in trucks over 26,000 lbs.






This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions:

(1)This device many not cause harmful interference, and

(2)this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

Important: FCC requirements state that changes or modifications not expressly approved by Whistler could void the user’s authority to operate the equipment.


Radar Facts

A radar gun operates by transmitting radio waves at certain frequencies which reflect off objects and are picked up by the radar gun’s receiving section. When a radar beam reflects off a moving target, a measurable frequency shift occurs. The radar unit converts this shift into miles per hour to determine your vehicle’s speed. Currently, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) permits operation of traffic radar guns at X Band (10.500 - 10.550 GHz), K Band (24.050 - 24.250 GHz), and Ka Band (33.400 - 36.000 GHz).

Note: A radar detector will only alarm if an officer is transmitting on any one of the above radar bands.



POP™ Mode

POPMode is a feature on some newer radar guns operating on K and Ka bands. When the gun is in POPMode and activated, a brief burst of energy, less that 1/15 of a second, is transmitted and the vehicle’s speed is quickly acquired. A detector without POPMode detection capability cannot respond to this brief transmission.

Laser Facts

It’s well documented that many radar guns cannot reliably provide the speed of a targeted vehicle that is traveling in a group of vehicles. In contrast, a laser gun can target a specific vehicle out of a line of traffic and determine its speed. The advantage of laser over radar in terms of

target identification is the result of the laser gun’s narrow beam. A radar gun’s transmission can cover more than a four-lanehighway at a distance of 1,000 feet, compared with a laser gun’s transmission which covers about 3 feet at the same distance. For best protection, keep these points in mind:

Because the vehicle’s license plate or headlights are the laser gun’s primary targets, mounting the Whistler detector on the dashboard can improve laser detection at short range.

Do not follow closely behind any vehicle you cannot see through. If you can’t see past a vehicle ahead of you, chances are your detector can’t either.

The receiving range of your laser detector will not be the same as a radar detector. Laser guns are most often used at short range.

Whistler Laser-Radardetectors receive all current laser guns which operate at a laser wavelength of 905 +/- 10nm.

Pro LaserI II III

•LT1 20-20

•Ultra Lyte



Laser Tips

If you are the targeted vehicle, a laser gun can often determine your speed within a few seconds after you receive an alert. In this situation, there is generally no time to safely adjust your speed. However, if you are traveling near or behind the targeted vehicle and receive an alert, response time should be sufficient. Any laser alert, regardless of duration, requires immediate action!

Other Speed Detection Systems

Several techniques other than radar or laser are used to measure vehicle speeds. When these methods are being used, no detector can provide a warning. These techniques include:

Pacing - A patrol car drives behind you and matches your driving speed.

Vascar/Aircraft - The time it takes a vehicle to travel a known distance is measured.

Radar Detector Detectors: VG-2,Spectre

The Interceptor VG-2or simplyVG-2,is one type of microwave receiver used by Police to detect signals radiated by the local oscillator of a radar detector.

Because its purpose is to identify persons driving with radar detectors, these devices are known as a “radar detector detector” (RDD).

An RDD is the primary tool used by the police to identify radar detector equipped vehicles. If caught in a state or country where detectors are illegal (see page 18), drivers risk losing their radar detector and receiving a fine. In addition, instant-onradar is almost always used in combination with an RDD, leaving unsuspecting motorists vulnerable to receive two tickets - one potential for speeding, and the other for possession of a detector.



Note: Having a radar detector capable of detecting theVG-2may alert you to the presence of a speed trap. The newest tool Police have to detect radar detectors is called Spectre. Spectre can detect the majority of undetectable(VG-2)laser/radar detectors on the market.

It is the responsibility of the individual radar detector owner to know and understand the laws in your area regarding the legality of the use of radar detectors.


Consumer Warranty

This Whistler Laser-Radardetector is warranted to the original purchaser for a period of one year from the date of original purchase against all defects in materials and workmanship. This limited warranty is void if the unit is abused, modified, installed improperly, or if the housing and/or serial numbers have been removed. There are no express warranties covering this product other than those set forth in this warranty. All express or implied warranties for this product are limited to the above time. Whistler is not liable for damages arising from the use, misuse, or operation of this product.



Service Under Warranty

During the warranty period, defective units will be repaired without charge to the purchaser when returned with a dated store receipt to the address below. Units returned without a dated store receipt will be handled as described in section

“Service Out Of Warranty.”

Due to the specialized equipment necessary for testing a Laser-Radarreceiver, there are no authorized service stations for Whistler brand detectors other than Whistler.

When returning a unit for service, please follow these instructions:

1.Ship the unit in the original carton or in a suitable sturdy equivalent, fully insured, with return receipt requested to:

Whistler Repair Dept.

551 N. 13th St.

Rogers, AR. 72756

Please allow 3 weeks turnaround time.

Important: Whistler will not assume responsibility for loss or damage incurred in shipping. Therefore, please ship your unit insured with return receipt requested. CODs will not be accepted!

2.Include with your unit the following information, clearly printed:

Your name and street address (for shipping via UPS), a daytime telephone number and an email address, if applicable.

A detailed description of the problem (e.g., “Unit performs self-testbut does not respond

`to radar”).

• A copy of your dated store receipt or bill of sale.



3.Be certain your unit is returned with its serial number. For reference, please write your unit’s serial number in the following space: s/n______________.

Units without serial numbers are not covered under warranty.

Important: To validate that your unit is within the warranty period, make sure you keep a copy of your dated store receipt. You may register your warranty online at www.whistlergroup.com, however, for warranty verification purposes, a copy of your dated store receipt must accompany any unit sent in for warranty work.

Service Out of Warranty

Units will be repaired at “out of warranty” service rates when:

The unit’s original warranty has expired.

A dated store receipt is not supplied.

The unit has been returned without its serial number.

The unit has been abused, modified, installed improperly, or had its housing removed.

The minimum out of warranty service fee for your Whistler detector is $55.00 (U.S.). If you require out of warranty service, please return your unit as outlined in the section “Service Under Warranty” along with a certified check or money order for $55.00. Payment may also be made by MasterCard, VISA or American Express; personal checks are not accepted.

In the event repairs cannot be covered by the minimum $55.00 service fee, you will be contacted by a Whistler technical service specialist who will outline options available to you.

If you elect not to have your unit repaired, it will be returned to you along with your certified check or money order.



Important: When returning your unit for service, be certain to include a daytime telephone number and an email address (if applicable).

Customer Service

If you have questions concerning the operation of your Whistler detector, or require service during or after the warranty period, please call Customer Service at:


Representatives are available to answer your questions Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (CT) or visit the FAQ’s at www.whistlergroup.com.


Radar Frequencies:

10.500 - 10.550 GHz (X Band)

24.050 - 24.250 GHz (K Band )

33.400 - 36.000 GHz (Ka Superwideband)

Operating Temperature Range:-20˚C to +80˚ C(-4˚F to +176˚ F)

Power Requirements:

Operational 12 to 15 volts DC, 250mA nominal Vehicle Battery Saver, 30mA nominal.

One or more U.S. patents may apply:

#5,146,227, #5,379,456, #5,666,120, #5,990,821, #7,215,276

POPMode is a trademark of MPH Industries, Inc. SWSis a trademark of Safety Warning System L.C.

Specifications are subject to change without notice. 25


These and other accessories can be ordered directly from Whistler by calling 1-800-531-0004or visiting our online store at www.whistlergroup.com

Order #




Zipped Travel Case

$ 9.95


Windshield Bracket Kit



Straight Power Cord (5’)



Coiled Power Cord (7’)



Hardwire Kit (10' )



(for wiring to fuse box)



Modular* Cord Package



(includes coiled and straight



cords, and power adapter)



Package of 8 Suction Cups



Non Skid Dash Pad



Straight Modular Cord &



Socket Multiplier



Coiled Modular Cord &



Socket Multiplier


* Modular: Interconnecting pieces cord and plug. Shipping and handling (per order) $5.00 . Prices are subject to change without notice.