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The unit comes with a windshield mount - assemble the bracket ( if needed) and secure to a location on the windshield. Make sure its above the wipers and not behind any metal. Once installed, make sure that the radar detector is LEVEL WITH THE ROAD! This may require bending the bracket to level the unit. (Note: remove detector while adjusting the bracket).
how long have you had it? Have you had a radar detector before this one? Try a factory reset - hold in the power button and the quiet button, while holding in these buttons plug in the power cord. The unit will beep twice indicating that its reset. Remember the unit is not a "Cop" detector its a radar detector so not all police cars have radar in them and if they do they may not have it turned on.
Does the unit turn on when you plug it into the lighter socket? If not, does the lighter socket power other 12 volt devices? IF the lighter socket works and the radar detector doesn't there is a fuse in the plug end of the power cord. Unscrew the tip to expose the fuse. Replace it with a 2 amp fuse from any auto parts store and try it again.
It's called "Instant on" doppler radar. It's purpose is to defeat radar detectors and as you saw, it can. The system is powered down while the cop is sitting there watching traffic. When he sees someone he thinks is speeding he just taps a button and the unit emits a brief burst of radar and shuts off again. And just that quick he's got your speed. There are some radar detectors that say they can detect these too, but I wouldn't know how truthful that is.
Regarding the problem of the unit turning on for a second, then turning off after you plug it in....
Plug it in and hold the power button down for 5 seconds. This resets the unit. The unit will still turn off after this however. After that, push the power button on again for one second and it should remain on. Good Luck!