High pitch whine noise upon acceleration

High pitch whine noise upon acceleration

Is anyone experiencing a high pitch whining upon acceleration. I have had my MS P85 since mid March and just recently started hearing the high pitch whine when I aggressively accelerate. This seem to have started after I got my car back from the service center after replacing my 12 volt battery. If you experienced this, did the service center have a fix for it?

Captain_Zap | October 12, 2013

Use to search. There has been several discussions regarding the issue. Did they do a firmware update while you had the car at the service center?

AmpedRealtor | October 12, 2013

Does it sound like a balloon deflating? I've read a number of posts over at TMC forums regarding the "balloon whine" or "balloon deflating" noise upon acceleration. I believe Tesla's response so far has been that this is "normal", although those who are impacted by the noise would argue probably that the sound does not exactly instill confidence. One poster went so far as to say that it has stopped him from giving test drives because he finds the noise "embarrassing".

This is a different issue than the "hum" or "drone" noise that has also been discussed and that I experienced myself. If that is the issue, and you experience a low frequency droning noise above 60 MPH, then Tesla has been replacing inverters/motors for that particular issue.

J.T. | October 12, 2013

@AR Was the only symptom the drone noise or would you know if there's an actual diagnostic that Tesla performed that led them to essentially replace the power plant.

Mark2131@CA-US | October 12, 2013

Yes, I have the "deflating balloon" noise. I've had my car since December, and it seems to have gotten progressively worse. First few months... nothing. Then only upon HARD acceleration. Now (17,000 miles) it seems to sound off with even moderate acceleration. in fact, I've started to notice it upon
hard REGEN too!

It's not the end of the world, and I certainly prefer it to a throaty roar of a V8, but the progressive nature of the sound makes me wonder what's next? Whine on door handles presenting?

Somebody on this or the TMC board once put up an incredibly detailed theory about where the noise comes from involving motor windings, insulated wires, wrap tension and so on. I have no doubt that
this is definitely related to massive amounts of current going through miles of wire. I just wish there was an easy fix. I've heard that Tesla's position on this is that the car "performs as designed", and therefore there is no solution planned or available.

AmpedRealtor | October 12, 2013

@ jtodtman - No diagnostic other than recording the noise and sending the recording back to Engineering. They said there was technically nothing wrong, but that Engineering felt that the level of noise was higher than they liked. A special recording device of some kind was sent from Engineering in CA to the service center in Phoenix with which to record the sound. Perhaps this device also took a decibel reading as well, but I wouldn't know.

ir | October 12, 2013

Dropped my car at the Fremont SC today. They explained the balloon sound was the contactors (high capacity on/off switch that makes the clacking noise to connect / disconnect battery) as lots of current is getting dumped through it. Sounds plausible, anybody spend much time around other contactors can confirm / deny?

Left the car with them to replace the inverter to fix the hum. More news when I pick it up.

rbgliny | October 13, 2013

Yes.. Notice that as on the one delivered at the end of Sept. Only on hard acceleration and noticeable loud. Sounds like it is emanating from the MCU. I reported it to ownership but have never heard back from them or from the SC. I also hear it from the one delivered in February but not as noticeable but it does exist. VIN# 4523 and 21143 jic this thread is read by someone at Tesla.

J.T. | October 13, 2013

. I reported it to ownership but have never heard back from them or from the SC.

I'm in a discussion with ownership about the lack of communication. I sent them an email on 10/8. No answer. I forwarded the same email to them 3 days later taking them to task for a lack of communication. They said they never got the first email. Giving them the benefit of the doubt I will, now, send them an email every day until I get a response and I will tell them what I am doing in the email. This is one of those things that's easy for them to get right and will set them apart from other car manufacturers. People hate being ignored.

Threads like it, people hate it.

Pungoteague_Dave | October 13, 2013

Rockville SC is now saying that both the 65+ hum and the high pitch whine on acceleration are normal, at least at the level I am experiencing. They say that the mother ship is no longer approving inverter/motor replacements as the engineering hasn't changed and all of the cars will eventually hum when fully broken in. It is now considered a characteristic, not a flaw, even though the car was silent at delivery.

RobS | October 13, 2013

The well cover and parcel shelf noticeably muffle the sound.

Car t man | October 13, 2013

I think Tesla has somewhat a design flaw in the winding approach and is using an outdated design which allows stress to cause very specific degradation.

David Trushin | October 13, 2013

I hear a high pitched whine whenever my wife drives my model s.

Oh wait. That's me.

Captain_Zap | October 13, 2013

I never got a response from mhg about whether or not they updated the version of firmware that was in his car.

There has been changes in noises associated with firmware updates as they refine the car's performance.

TeslaDude69 | October 14, 2013

I have the same noise when I do a hard acceleration. does not always happen. To me it sounds almost like radio interference of some sort.

HenryT2 | October 16, 2013

I've experienced this situation in two time periods. The first time, it seemed to go away on its own. The second time, I messed around with my "stereo" as I'd heard a theory that this might somehow be responsible and, sure enough, it stopped right away.

AmpedRealtor | October 17, 2013

The explanation offered by ir was also used by Tesla to explain the poor AM radio performance. Something about RF interference put out by various contactors in the drive train. I read this at the TMC forums, don't remember which thread.

mumanoff | October 17, 2013

that is the Throaty Tesla Roar that is being heard upon stomping on the accelerator. Enjoy it.

AmpedRealtor | October 17, 2013

@ mumanoff - Based on the recordings of this issue at TMC forums, sounds more like a fart being pushed really hard between two very tightly clenched butt cheeks.

tes-s | October 17, 2013

I don't have that - I get a high-pitched whine on hard accelleration that started recently at around 4000 miles.

gill_sans | February 3, 2014

So I was just accelerating from about 20mph to 45mph in a straight line with TuneIn radio playing when I heard this loud balloon deflating sound. Our S85 just passed 4,100 miles. Is there sufficient data now to say whether I have just joined the Balloon Whine Acceleration Club or this usually goes away on its own or what?

whelanj | April 17, 2014

We have this high pitched whine only on hard acceleration.... We are only at 2000kms, and it started after changeout to summer wheels (21") .... Maybe it's something to do with them, will ask the dealership and get back with a reply....

Captain_Zap | April 17, 2014

My car has always whined on hard acceleration. I have a P85.
It sounds a bit like a turbocharger. My whine is normal and sounds cool.

lph | April 17, 2014

Look behind you, if you see two long black marks in the road, that noise is coming from the tires. ;-)

theapple | April 17, 2014

I didn't realize there were people who DIDN'T get that noise! I just assumed they were dropping the switching frequency under heavy load at low speed (I've ridden trains that do this; Curtis DC motor controllers do so too).

Barring that, it's probably some minor instability in the control loop. It could come from anywhere, but my money is on some sort of electrical coupling/feedback, perhaps in the current sensors. No matter how clean your controller design, processing 300kW makes a lot of disturbance! One assumes that if it were a simple tuning issue, Tesla would have solved it by now.

Pungoteague_Dave | April 19, 2014

My new motor/inverter assembly in November completely fixed both the high-pitched whine and the 55+ hum. Hasn't returned in 12,000 more miles.

Captain_Zap | April 19, 2014

Descriptions of whines and hums do vary. My whine is could be called a whistle. It has always been there and always been deemed normal. Electric cars are not completely silent.

kwshepherd | April 19, 2014

My car has done the deflating balloon sound a few times under hard acceleration. 1,800 miles.

Bighorn | April 19, 2014

I expect a little sound with 300kW bursts.

TFMethane | April 19, 2014

I have an S85, but I drove a loaner P85 for a few days this week while I was getting some things fixed/upgraded.

In my own S85 I have had the high-pitched whine (ballon deflating sound) off and on since I bought the car 1 year and 13K miles ago. I haven't heard it that much lately - not sure why it comes and goes. It only ever happens hard acceleration. I'm sure it's the high current going through the inverter or whatever, but there must be a temperature or charge level component causing the variability.

I heard the high pitched whine on the P85 loaner on hard accelleration, too - but it was slightly different... almost like a child screaming aaaahhhhh!!! but muffled through a wall or something. Still, it was similar enough to the balloon sound on my car for me to recognize it.

Regarding the hum, I noticed it much more on the P85 than on my S85. Night and day. The S85 is much quieter. Note that the loaner car did not have active air suspension, and it had 21" wheels (lower profile than my S85 19" wheels). So, the road noise in the loaner was conducted more into the cab. However, you can kind of tell that the motor and electrical system is also making a lot more noise in the P85 than in the S85).

Honestly, I was feeling a little bit of buyer's remorse about not getting the performance version for a few months. After driving the loaner, I think the S85 with the active air suspension makes for a far superior driving experience. You can still beat almost any car on the road and drive like you own the road, if you want. The S85 is just more pleasant to be in.

krpirrone | February 8, 2015

That balloon deflating noise is totally normal. This is called fluttering. It's like a relay vibrating under high output currents. I spoke with a tesla engineer about this since I noticed it in my 60, and he confirmed that's what it was and it completely normal. Although the consistency of when it does it in my 60 is say hit or miss, but glad to confirm my suspicion. It's really only heard when outputting the 240kW. Hope that helps.

HenryT2 | February 9, 2015

After the latest firmware update, my noise is mostly gone. I'm crossing fingers and hoping for a permanent disappearance but if not, at least I know that there seems to be something that can be done about it and will keep on top of my service center to find a permanent fix.

mkh1437 | February 10, 2015

Perhaps those that report not hearing the acceleration whine are simply older and can't hear the high-pitched noise-- like the mosquito tone, which only younger people can reportedly hear? I know that I have had people in my car who have not been able to hear it when I point it out. I'm considering it normal.

Bighorn | February 10, 2015

No I've heard it come and go with firmware changes.

GeekEV | February 10, 2015

@HenryT2 - It does seem less prevalent now, I too thought it was gone at first. But it's not.

Captain_Zap | February 10, 2015

As they tune the motor's performance, the magnetics from the motor can influence the magnetism from electricity flowing through contactors making changes in harmonics. I think they are trying to best tune for the amount of noise vs. energy economy. That's the conclusion the household EE and I came up with based on data and experience.

Brand new cars may be quieter but the contactors haven't "broke in" yet.

I've had it come and go with firmware updates and I have had it occur at different power loads after firmware updates.

AmpedRealtor | February 10, 2015

FYI, I heard the "balloon whine" on a brand new P85D during a ride-along. This was on a production P85D that is owned by a local owner. Service technician's explanation to me is that at those high power levels, the current becomes a plasma that rushes over the contactor and physically separates the contactor from the metal that it was contacting. What we hear is the plasma doing its thing.

While I don't know if this explanation is accurate, it is interesting that he noted that at high current levels the contactors physically separate from the metal they were contacting by a tiny amount. This seems to make sense and supports why some who ended up losing all power in their car - the dreaded "pull over" and "12v battery" combination of error codes before the car dies - shortly after flooring it. Tesla also has a proactive contactor replacement bulletin for cars in certain VIN ranges.