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Where to mount candy bar style fastrak transponder in M3?

xanatos

Member
Jun 21, 2016
234
108
SF Bay Area
Bay Area, California. Recently had to get the new CAV fastrak transponders so I can drive in 237 HOV lane. Currently have it mounted like this:

20200210_103124.jpg


based on their mounting instructions:
FasTrak

But 3 days in a row it was not detected, so they used my license plate instead and charged me full price instead of half.

Normally I would just keep experimenting on my own, but there is a 4 day lag between going through the lane and seeing the charges posted, so the feedback loop is too long to do any useful experimenting. Plus everytime they get it wrong I have to contact customer service to dispute it.

So for those of you using these type of transponders, where are you installing it to get properly detected, and what orientation?
 

iamnid

Member
Dec 4, 2019
484
474
Riverside, CA
Strange. Over the summer FasTrak in Southern California told us the transponders were being phased out and sent us stickers to replace them. Do they not have that in the Bay Area? The documentation that came with the stickers indicates they can be used anywhere the transponders were previously used.
 

xanatos

Member
Jun 21, 2016
234
108
SF Bay Area
Strange. Over the summer FasTrak in Southern California told us the transponders were being phased out and sent us stickers to replace them. Do they not have that in the Bay Area? The documentation that came with the stickers indicates they can be used anywhere the transponders were previously used.
Whoa, stickers? No we have not heard of those up here. The candy bar transponders are needed because there is a switch to select how many people is in the car. Not sure how to do that with stickers?
 
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PoitNarf

My dog's breath smells like dog food
Jun 7, 2016
2,870
4,006
NJ
Is the transponder meant to be mounted horizontally? I have an EZPass tag that I had initially mounted vertically like yours in the photo. I got many read failures at toll booths so ended up mounting it horizontally and it’s been fine ever since.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
1,881
1,832
San Jose, CA
I have one of the FasTrak Flex candybar style transponders with the 3-position switch. I do not have it mounted to my windshield. Instead I bring it out from the center console and lay it on the dash in front of the air vent with the switch side down whenever I need it. It's worked fine in the admittedly limited number of times I've used it to go over the Carquinez Bridge.

ref: FasTrak
 

xanatos

Member
Jun 21, 2016
234
108
SF Bay Area
Is the transponder meant to be mounted horizontally? I have an EZPass tag that I had initially mounted vertically like yours in the photo. I got many read failures at toll booths so ended up mounting it horizontally and it’s been fine ever since.
weird, I did not think of that. I just figured as long as it was facing out it's ok. Maybe I should try horizontal...
 
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iamnid

Member
Dec 4, 2019
484
474
Riverside, CA
You're right, there would be no way to indicate number of passengers. Yes, it's just a sticker with some type of metal antenna on it. I'll take a photo and upload when I'm able. They're all over the place in SoCal and work on the tollroads as well as anywhere that used to use transponders. The literature that came with them says they work throughout all California.
 

creativeguy

Member
May 11, 2018
24
16
USA
OP it isn't the transponder, it is the reader equipment on 237. I drove from MV to Sacramento and 237 didn't read my transponder while every other express lane and bridge toll did. I don't drive the freeways much so just throw it on the dashboard when I need it.
 

RobbL

Member
Jul 13, 2018
115
42
Oakland, CA
I have the candy bar with the switch set to 3. I taped it to the horizontal area behind the screen so I don’t see it from the drivers seat. I have had no problems having it read correctly on several Bay Area bridges including the Bay Bridge during rush hour in the car pool lane.
 
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Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,604
3,158
SF Bay Area
OP it isn't the transponder, it is the reader equipment on 237. I drove from MV to Sacramento and 237 didn't read my transponder while every other express lane and bridge toll did. I don't drive the freeways much so just throw it on the dashboard when I need it.
The readers on 237 do actually work (at least the ones in eastbound direction). They just don't make the transponder beep. I believe this is intentional, to make it not too obvious where the readers are (because you could easily cheat by changing lanes in those spots since there are large sections with no solid line separating the express lane).

I have my tag mounted on the windshield to the right of the mirror and so far have always received the 50% discount.
 

ellett

Member
Dec 25, 2019
77
84
Benicia, CA
The transponder you want is the FasTrak Flex, which is the switchable model. You set that permanently to the three position once you have your CAV decals mounted. Get rid of everything else. The sticker does NOT give you carpool rates. One would think that the sticker could be linked to an EV or some other "carpool eligible" vehicle, but apparently FasTrak hasn't figured that out.

If you haven't, you should sign in to your FasTrak account and register your license plates.

The company hired to run FasTrak (it used to be Xerox, don't know if it still is) is incompetent/evil and will try everything they can to keep your erroneously deducted money. Make sure you do everything in writing, and if they pull their usual s***, take it to your local TV station "On Your Side" (or whatever the TV ombudsman is called). Up here, there's a huge lawsuit about incorrect tolls/fines, FastTrak is trying to keep all the proceedings secret, and our "On Your Side" guy is at court often.

BTW, it will be a cold day in hell before i mount both a sticker and a transponder on my windshield. The transponder is intrusive enough, and the sticker is just another thing for FastTrak to screw up.
 

Paul-K

Member
Jan 28, 2020
47
49
Sonoma County, CA
I use a small square of “micro suction” tape on mine. Works very well.

Push firmly on the windshield when needed, pull it off after my drive with nothing left behind (except a smudge from my finger if I’m not careful).
 

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