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Old 09-29-2010, 01:11 PM
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Angry Hiding an ugly toll tag sticker

I just bought a TxTag tolltag (Texas) and put it on and man is it ugly from the outside of the car! I expected it to be a slight eyesore, but a white sticker on a black car with darkly tinted windows, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It's the sticker type that has to be placed on the windshield near the rearview mirror.

Here's what they look like (not on my car obviously, random image from google)






I've been trying to think of some ways to make it a little less ugly. The only thing I can think of would be to get a small square of super dark tint material and placing it on the outside of the windshield to cover up the big white square.

Again, this is the sticker type toll tag, not the big box that you can velcro (would have preferred that).


Has anyone ever come up with an idea to hide these?
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:21 PM
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why not velcro it like you would have liked if you got a box-style? I'm sure it wouldn't effect the way it works as much as a tint might. Some black velcro, or maybe magnet? So that you can take it on and off?
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:27 PM
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I've got the big box with Velcro. You can pop the box off, but the white Velcro strips still stick out like a sore thumb. Gonna have to play with some black Velcro strips to see if that helps.
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:31 PM
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Well, what a lot of friends I have do is just hold it up when the time comes. No velcro or way of fastening it at all. If you really dont like the velcro you could just get rid of it...
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:35 PM
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I don't know how true this is, but APPARENTLY, these sticker types use the windshield to amplify the signal. Though, I don't know how that would work since glass isn't a conductor. Maybe it helps spread out the signal somehow. Maybe it actually does nothing and what I heard was wrong/urban myth. All I know is they're VERY specific about the placement of these tags.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:07 PM
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arcooke- I'm in the RF business, so no, I don't see how the windshield would provide much gain. Weird RF things happen surprisingly often, so possibly, but much more likely is urban legend.

As for covering it up-- once you attach the tag to the windshield, you typically need to replace it. They use one-time glue. Learned this when my SRT8 windshield was replaced (twice).

You can try this however: remove carefully using a hair dryer. Don't get it too hot, just enough to soften the glue. Careful not to wrinkle or bend the device much as you remove; it has a built in antenna you can easily break.

Then spray paint it black or whatever color. The add a layer of spray on adhesive over the black paint and re-attach to your windshield. You'll still see it but it won't pop out like it does now.

Plan B: get a new one, spray paint the adhesive cover (leave the cover on), then lay down a coat of spray adhesive. You'll want high temp-- I don't need to explain why to a fellow Texan... : )

Plan C- sell your car and buy an HO unit. The stickers actually look pretty spiffy on an orange car. Ask me how I know ; )

Keep us posted.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:08 PM
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Black magic marker?
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by internetguy View Post
arcooke- I'm in the RF business, so no, I don't see how the windshield would provide much gain. Weird RF things happen surprisingly often, so possibly, but much more likely is urban legend.
Just found this..

In May 2006, HCTRA introduced a new version of the transponder tag. Instead of battery-powered radio transmitters, the new tags are adhesive stickers with a button-sized microchip in the middle of, and a reflective antenna system throughout the tag. These new tags are sold, rather than rented, so they help save money over the life of the tag by eliminating the monthly $1 rental fee. The battery tag's $15 security deposit can be applied to the purchase of the sticker tag.

Removing the sticker after placement has a high probability of either separating the chip from the antenna, and/or de-tuning the antenna from its designated frequency, therefore invalidating the tag for future use. The tag also relies on the windshield for an amplification effect, and its effective range is greatly reduced if it is not mounted on a glass substrate. This range reduction is so much that not having a tag properly mounted will result in it not reading at all in toll lanes.

These characteristics are much different compared to the old battery tags, which would read fine if not mounted properly. As such, some toll patrons are attempting to 'hold up' their sticker tags when driving through the toll lanes, and appear mystified when they do not work as their old tags did.
The new tag uses three different protocols, or communications methods, with the tag readers - ATA, eGo and SeGo. The protocol used in Houston is ATA, however a driver in Houston can conceivably use the tag in another state where the other protocols are used. HCTRA is working on the interlocal agreements that will make this happen.
EZ TAG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is the same sticker type I have to use (eGo).

Last edited by arcooke; 09-29-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:51 PM
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our toll transponder has a clear velcro you don't see when its off
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:57 PM
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It's possible the windshield can enable a parabolic or other gain effect but you'll note it's convex with regard to the direction its radiating.

There's a thing called VSWR which in plain terms means that each radiating component of an antenna ideally resides within a certain range of resistance. Put another way, the components more or less match each other for conductivity.

I don't know the antenna design of the tag, but I can say this, you don't see many antennas with components at that level of resistance. Very unusual indeed. The Wikipedia blurb looks more like it was written by a marketing person than an engineer. I've removed mine twice and they still work; it's just it looks like crap from outside the car.

I'm more interested in solving your problem than reverse engineering the antenna. Maybe try the approaches mentioned earlier, see how it goes. rmfootball's idea of keeping it nearby and then holding it to the windshield is probably the cheapest and best looking idea.

Good luck, let us know how it works out.
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