Model S

Tesla cannot fix stalled firmware update without replacing whole center console...

edited November -1 in Model S
Model S tries to install downloaded firmware update every night and progress bar stalls at 10% consistently. I need to reset the touchscreen each morning to be able to drive. Brought car to the shop and was told it is a failing SD drive (apparently the firmware gets loaded on that) and needs the whole infotainment MCU replaces at a cost of ~$2.5K!

Told them I would be ok to no longer receive firmware updates as it is a 2013 model (no autopilot features) so they just need to avoid the daily install of the new version so it doesn’t need a daily reset. They said they cannot do this. The written message basically suggest the extent of their diagnostics is that they inserted a new SD card in the reader and it didn’t work with that either.

Issues:
1. You need to do more detailed diagnostics than just staying ‘its probably the SD reader’
2. It’s a sign of bad non-modular hardware design that you cannot replace part of a full infotainment system
3. It’s a sign of bad UI software design that you cannot have a simple ‘abort’ button on a firmware install. My $700 phone has that but apparently a $100k car does not

So far I have not approved the repair.

Anyone experienced a similar issue?
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Comments

  • edited January 2020
    Many people, including me, have had problems with the SD card. Linux is continuously writing unnecessary log files to the SD card. SD cards have a limited number of write cycles before they fail. In normal use it is unlikely anyone will reach the limit. So far the SD card in my car has been remotely reformatted and partitioned twice. It is on record that if it happens a third time they will replace the card. The proper place to be writing log files is RAM or a hard disk which usually do not have write limitations.

    There are a couple of aftermarket people that can repair the problem. It has been discussed on here and on TMC.

    In my case it was navigation data that would not load.

    IMHO the choice to put an SD card in this hardware was a very poor decision.
    I'm a retired EE that worked on computers that I could walk inside of, in other words they were massive.
  • edited November -1
    Are people using SD and eMMC interchangeably? If the MCU needs replacing, stalled FW updates are going to be the least of your worries. Mine is being replaced today. Car doesn't charge.
  • edited November -1
    It's not an SD card; if it was, it would be easy to pop it out and replace it, since Secure Digital cards are designed to use sockets.

    It's soldered-in flash memory. The memory tech is the same as a consumer SD card, but it's not (easily) replaceable.
  • edited November -1
    Thanks for clarifying. I was confused, not really being familiar with the vernacular, but well aware that the eMMC is the culprit.
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn, are they replacing yours under warranty?
  • edited January 2020
    @BH - I presume you have MCU1. Is it a direct replacement or upgrading it to MCU2 (which I'm not sure a retrofit is available yet).

    @euroguyinbayarea - You've got more serious problems than the failed update. It sounds like the eMMC flash drive is failing, and even if you have no update, it's going to cause other problems, perhaps a lot of problems. As others noted, it is a soldered component deep in the MCU.

    We can argue if the design, made back in 2009 or so is the best approach, but very similar to all other auto manufacturers. Any fault in the entertainment system and the dealer replaces the entire unit, even if it's only a $5 part that failed. Dealers and Tesla service centers are not well equipped to deal with electronic failures down to the component level. It does make it expensive when such items do fail.

    I'd also point out the eMMC memory in your phone is also not replaceable, and when it fails, the phone is junk. The advantages manufacturers have with phones are other items such as the battery or cracked glass make the phone disposable after 2-3 years, so it's rare to get to the eMMC end-of-life in a phone.

    The current MCU2 uses a different part that should last 4 or more times longer as it's much larger and uses newer technology not available back in 2009.
  • edited January 2020
    @TeslaTap - The other issue is that Tesla was writing multitudes of logs to the eMMC card continuously. This resulted in the car being written to and then rewritten over and over again.

    They have fixed this issue lately, but the damage has already been done to many cars out there. Being a software engineer with a lot of experience with solid state devices, I know that you do not write to them over and over again. It is a bad idea and will cause them to eventually fail. Tesla should have lowered the amount of logging a long time ago.

    I am having issues with my car where audio is pausing every few seconds randomly, and my driver's assist features are becoming disabled at random times. I am convinced that my MCU1 eMMC is starting to fail. I have a service appointment (the second one for this) and hopefully they will replace the MCU. I would love to get a MCU2, but I do not think that will happen.
  • edited January 2020
    s/in the car being written/in the card being written/g

    I wish this forum had edit.
  • edited November -1
    Not counting on an MCU2 upgrade based on what I’ve read. Ranger is just a few minutes away, so I’ll know soon enough. Not under warranty at 283k miles, though the estimated labor was very reasonable. $1800 for the part.
  • edited January 2020
    Hmm. The statement made to me was that the engineers reformatted and partitioned the SD card in my car to get it working again. This was done remotely while the car sat in my garage. That brings back my worry that the people programming the car have never driven one and maybe have never even seen one.
  • edited November -1
    @Tap
    He said it's not possible to upgrade to MCU2 with the early Tegra units or that it would involve a new dash as well. He said he wasn't aware of a successful update, though it sounds like some are kluging a solution with effort.
  • edited January 2020
    BH, I'd pay $1800 without hesitation to go from MCU1 to MCU2
  • edited January 2020
    Bighorn | January 16, 2020
    Car doesn't charge.

    How ironic for you!
  • edited January 2020
    I've been cut off. A conspiracy I tell you!
  • edited November -1
    The non volatile memory chip soldered to the board has a finite number of write cycles. Unfortunately the early chips had the least number of cycles.I expect the later models have 10x the number of write cycles than those that are failing in older cars today.
  • edited January 2020
    Back in business.
  • edited January 2020
    The Costa Mesa Service Center just replaced the MCU on my 2015 85D with only 50,400 miles and just under 5 years of ownership. So it looks like Bighorn did a little better than me! The total cost of the repair was $2308 with specifics listed below:

    Rear View Camera HSD Jumper(1127304-00-B) $8.80
    MCU,MDLX,NA PREMIUM,REMAN(1098010-00-F). $1800.00
    ANTENNA , BLUETOOTH(1052393-00-B). $7.70

    Total Parts (USD). 1,816.50
    Total Labor (USD). 351.00
    Discount. 0.00
    Subtotal (USD). 2,167.50
    Tax. 140.78
    Total Amount (USD). 2,308.28

    The service rep told me the web browser should load faster. I can verify it went from really really slow to now really slow. What I found interesting was the MCU went black and would not reboot but the display behind the steering wheel still functioned enough to drive, charge (both at home and Superchaarge) and even do basic TACC. My car wouldn't do full Autopilot (stay in lane), navigation, radio, air conditioning, turn signal sounds, etc. I could even drive the car safely at night but very quietly.
  • edited January 2020
    Bluesdsy
    Surprised they didn’t goodwill it so close to 50k. Letting the maps download now, so haven’t checked it out. I did get an LTE upgrade in the process by design. Exact same parts on my estimate.
  • edited January 2020
    I had LTE from a previous upgrade. As I was well into the 5th year (bought March 31, 2015) I didn't push it.
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn | January 16, 2020
    Back in business.

    How much did they charge you?
  • edited November -1
    I signed an estimate that was exactly like Bluesday’s except they only quoted $120 for labor. Hoping they stick to it. Plus no charge for the 750 miles the 2 rangers drove. TSLA makes it all a rounding error;)
  • edited November -1
    Didn’t consider the 4 yr limit. I never run into that issue:)
  • edited November -1
    Bighorn, MCU1 or MCU2. Come on. We are on the edges of our seats.
  • edited January 2020
    MC1. He said an upgrade was impossible on my vintage car. I mentioned that above to Tap.
  • edited January 2020
    Bighorn, what year is your vintage car? When was it built? Did the tech give you any idea of what year/month cars can be updated?
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