MCU Retrofit Confirmed

MCU Retrofit Confirmed

This might not be news to some of you and I don't want to get anyone in trouble so I won't cite sources, but I was told directly a MCU retrofit kit for older vehicles is being actively developed. I couldn't get pricing or an ETA, but was told by multiple, direct sources. I got the impression it's not that far off. | 07/05/2019

Cool - I thought they gave up on it.

bernhard | 08/05/2019

Which cars can get upgraded? How old?

carlk | 08/05/2019

And what kind of upgrade it offers?

Jcastillo18 | 08/05/2019

More questions than answers lol | 08/05/2019

Well, we know for sure you can upgrade any Tesla vehicle - only requires buying a new one :)

I expect any MCU1 car can buy the MCU2 retrofit, even back to 2012. MS. May take a while to find out if I got this right...

stever | 08/05/2019

What’s the point of the retro? What’s gained? | 08/05/2019

@stever - Good question. Not much from what I can tell. It is slightly snapper. One feature that is not here today, but only possible with MCU2 is FOB-less key using your phone like the Model 3. Unknown if Tesla plans this feature or not, and it's possible the retrofit will not support it anyway, as it requires additional antennas outside of MCU2 that don't exist in MCU1 cars.

DBrohm | 08/05/2019

The MCU in my '13 P85+ is part number 1004777008 (@TeslaTap you might want to update your page of processors and part numbers as this one was not listed). It seems like there may be version of MCU1 that can be swapped out for the main MCU2 unit, but in my case, the retrofit kit will include new harnessing as well since the plugs/cables/etc. are different, not just the MCU housing itself. When I drive late model loaners, the MCU is much snappier and fluid, and the LTE seems faster than my LTE upgrade. This is because the later LTE chips are faster than older LTE chips, even though they're both "LTE". I will probably upgrade because I like the snappier display, but if you don't notice/care about such things then you probably won't care about the retrofit kit. I'm hoping they also offer an IC upgrade - mine predates the current hires version. But from what I understand, the retrofit kit will update any age Model S. I think that's a fair assumption based on the conversations I had and the questions I asked. Aside - I do believe the current MCU1 units could be even snappier - while they got a big performance boost a year or so ago, the hardware is more than capable of a much more fluid experience. Don't get me wrong - my interest isn't driven by my distaste for my MCU - it works great. I just like the notably incremental performance improvement in the later MCU units and I'm happy to pay a few thousand (assuming that's the price range) to upgrade the hardware and push down any desire for a new S any time soon. Until there's a 200kW battery anyway ;-).

Silver2K | 08/05/2019

It would be best for Tesla to retrofit the new mcu for inventory purposes

Tropopause | 08/05/2019

My 2017 S was flatbeded into SvC today for an MCU screen that is black and will not allow the car to drive. I asked about the MCU2 upgrade and was told they'd look into it. I also asked about an HW3 upgrade and was told the same.

First time one of my Teslas has left me stranded, albeit in my garage. The flatbed driver did a great job and was very cautious with my car.

barrykmd | 08/05/2019

Tropo - good place to get stranded,
Silver - The word "inventory" is not in Tesla's dictionary.

CygnusX-1 | 08/05/2019

Rich Rebuilds just put out an interesting video on the differences between MCU1 & MCU2.

bill | 08/05/2019

I am not sure I got the video you described but the video I saw pointed out a major issue that is going to effect every Tesla owner. According to the video around the the 4 year mark (sooner for cars with a lot of city driving) a chip on the MCU will burn out. Currently Tesla does not replace the chip but requires a entire MCU replacement which out of warrantee costs between 2 and 5 thousand dollars. According to the video as I understand it this is because of the diagnostic logging that is being done. The chip is a memory chip that stores the log. According to the video this logging has no value to the owner of the car. It is only useful to the software developers. It can be turned off by Tesla and there is no downside with the upside that the chip won't burn out.

If this is true this is outrageous that Tesla would have a design flaw in the car that is going to cost owners this kind of money because of their problem. Especially when the module that has the chip can be replaced without replacing everything that they do now driving the cost into the many thousands of dollars.

We need to make Elon aware of this so that Tesla can change its policy and:

Disable the logging.
Replace the damaged part out of warrantee for free

This seems to me that this could be a public relations disaster in that Tesla has a built in problem that will cost owners several thousands of dollars every four years. While I do not believe this is the case it does have the appearance that Tesla is building cars designed to milk the customers.

I think this issue is serious enough to have a product recall to replace the chip and reprogram the car to not do the unnecessary logging.

If Tesla does not deal with this I think two things need to happen:

We need to get to the agencies that cause product recalls to look into this.
A class action suit needs to happen to recover the money spent by owners fixing this problem (according to the video the buy has received many of these bad modules from cars that had to have them replaced) and force Tesla to address the issue going forward.

I am going to tweet Elon and hopefully if he sees the tweet he will take corrective action:

bill | 08/05/2019

Ok I just sent the tweet but it did not show up on his twitter, It probably needs to be moderated first. I only read Twitter and rarely Tweet so hopefully I did it right.

Silver2K | 09/05/2019

barrykmd | May 8, 2019
Tropo - good place to get stranded,
Silver - The word "inventory" is not in Tesla's dictionary.

For supplier. :) | 09/05/2019

I called Tesla support multiple times and they said there is no MCU retrofit that they know of.

CygnusX-1 | 09/05/2019

@Bill you got the eight video. Posted it here because I thought it relevant to the thread. This is a very good reason to upgrade to the new processor and why I would not buy a car with MCU1. | 09/05/2019

@bill - I watched the video, and while true every Tesla (and any car for that matter) will need replacement parts someday, I think it's far from calling the occasional flash drive failure as a damaged or any reason why Tesla should replace it for free vs any other parts that fail out of warranty. Yes, flash drives don't last forever. It's also far from clear that the logs being written are enough to cause premature failures. A far more detailed analysis with a logic analyzer and a lot of software and hardware knowledge is needed to make that assessment. Could Tesla design it better - perhaps, and they have increased the memory on MCU2, which in part should increase longevity.

Phil does point out that it's not necessary to save the log the way Tesla does, but without knowing how much other data is being written, the type of flash memory and the size of the memory, it may have anywhere from a significant to almost zero affect to longevity. Since the vast majority of long term cars have not had failures, it's not as big an issue as you make it out to be. The only public relations disaster is making such wild claims without a detailed understanding of the technical aspects and failure rates.

Also this issue has zero to do with recalls - they are safety related like brakes or steering and don't cover infotainment systems. I expect less than 5% of parts in EVs today could subject to any kind of recall. Maybe more on ICE cars as the engine/drivetrain is far more complex than an EV.

Suggesting a class action lawsuit is silly, but go ahead. I can't see how it could possibly win. Issues are covered under warranty. Tesla even provides an option to have an extended warranty, which few other automakers offer. If you don't elect for the extended warranty and some part fails, then you're responsible for the cost. Seems really simple to me.

ammar.subhan | 09/05/2019

My screen recently went out on my 2015 Model S. The screen replacement that I got (outside of warranty) is definitely upgraded. Here’s what I noticed:

-Updated from 3G to LTE Module
-Increased screen resolution. Screen appears sharper and brighter
-Appears to be much quicker. Music being played use to lag when actively navigating - no longer.

It was a costly replacement but I didn’t feel as bad given the changes noted.

bill | 09/05/2019

My comments assume what the video said will happen that we will see a large number of failures in the next few years, Enough for it to become a known drawback of buying a Tesla.

I think a Class Action could be successful if it can be demonstrated that unnecessary logging caused a large number of failures and Tesla chose to require a very expensive fix to a much less expensive fix. I could see the video being entered into evidence that it was a known problem and Tesla chose to its financial advantage to ignore it.

Tldickerson | 09/05/2019

You make a very good point there bill. If we had a way to delete some of what was writing to the flash drive I wonder if it might not last a whole lot longer? I wish Tesla could do their magic and tell us what we can do to help the situation without having a try and sue them in the long run.

Silver2K | 10/05/2019 | May 9, 2019
I called Tesla support multiple times and they said there is no MCU retrofit that they know of

OP noted that it is in development | 10/05/2019

@bill - I'm not a lawyer, but even if the design is the worst ever made, I don't see a chance of a class action lawsuit working. If Tesla honors it's warranty as stated, I don't see what case you have. Tesla has never stated the cars will be problem free for 100 years, or even 4 years. Just like every automaker on the planet. I do agree the design could be better - so could the battery, so could the motor, so could any part in any car you buy.

Now the video is also fairly useless. It shows a possible issue and possible solution, one that has not been tested and proved to be true. It's an interesting conjecture and may be true, but we really don't know. Until you do a detailed engineering analysis of the chip and what is being written to it and other factors, we don't know if the log has any effect to the life of the part or not.

Lots of non-Tesla's have parts that wear out. Most lead-acid batteries die in 4 years, and Tesla is the only one that I'm aware of that even includes the battery in it's 4 year warranty. Clearly GM knows the batteries will die, and it's to GM's advantage to not include it in the warranty. Should you create a class action lawsuit for this defective design? Many more GM cars, so the windfall could be great if you sue GM. Still I don't see any chance of a win.

Tropopause | 10/05/2019

My car was diagnosed with MCU1 failure by the SvC yesterday. 1.75 years old, 26,000 miles. Would not drive with MCU inop. Parts ordered, estimated arrival 5 days. Covered by warranty. Asked if I can get a MCU2 upgrade but no answer yet.

Firaz | 10/05/2019

@bill: can you please share a link to your tweet? very good points. I hope Tesla would clarify the issue and address any potential software shortcomings in that area. The sooner the better, since many people may be turned off by the risk of failure of such a central and expensive part of the car.

Tldickerson | 10/05/2019
NKYTA | 10/05/2019

Sigh. | 10/05/2019

Bound to happen with extremist views that haven't a clue about the underlying technology.

Aerodyne | 10/05/2019

One thing I have learned here and elsewhere, FUD never sleeps..

Aerodyne | 10/05/2019

Hey TT, can't seem to log in to the TT site. Tried multiple times. Just wondering if it is a site problem. | 10/05/2019

@AERODYNE - Not sure what the issue might be. Logged myself out and back in several times without a snag. Note that in some Wordpress weirdness after logging in it jumps to the prior page (which if not at TeslaTap will be something else. A "back" will get you back to TeslaTap and you'll be logged in. Let me know if you're still having an issue. You can also reach me directly at voting@ my name above.

Tropopause | 10/05/2019

I read the FUD story. I wouldn't agree that my 2017 is an older Tesla but the fact is my MCU went dead and my car is not able to drive- "bricked" if you will. I'm not sure if the eMMC is the culprit but I'm not exactly thrilled to have my car flatbeded to SvC; at least it's under warranty. Hope this is a corner case and next to impossible to happen again.

NKYTA | 10/05/2019

@Tropo, I feel your pain, but “not able to drive” is not bricked. Hoping for the best resolution for you.

Tropopause | 10/05/2019

NKYTA- agreed. the FUDster is misusing that term. Anyway I'm sure Tesla SvC will get 'er going again.

Pungoteague_Dave | 11/05/2019

I don't see FUD n the linked article. Seems a fair assessment of the issue. What am I missing? | 11/05/2019

@PD - A lot of conjecture. It may well be true, but far from any kind of in depth analysis of the part and failure modes. Also seems like people are assuming every MCU failure is related to this one part, which is clearly not true. Also timeline for failure is also suspect - has zero to do with years, but may have something to do with hours the car is used. Still, it would require some major engineering to assess the effect of logging data to the part and determine if it actually has any significant effect to longevity.

NKYTA | 11/05/2019

Brick == traction battery dead. Not this.

Tesla “won’t fix it”, clearly wrong.

RobertMontreal | 08/07/2019

@Tropopause: what was the end result? Did they upgrade your MCU to MCUv2?

nukequazar | 08/07/2019

MCU failure is a great reason to buy the warranty extension which is a great deal, in my opinion. Not a good reason for a class action lawsuit which always get the lawyers a ton of cash and get the plaintiffs a gift card.

Silver2K | 08/07/2019

MCU is around 2400, the extended is over 4k.
I've had 2 certified Tesla with no failures. I've also been out of warranty for over 70k miles with no issues.

The extended warranty is a waste of money

bp | 09/07/2019

There is a growing list of features that are present only with MCU2, in addition to having a faster processor than MCU1.

MCU2 appears to have an improved processor architecture that implements sleep mode better than MCU1.

MCU2 can support recording of the camera videos - and will be able to run more of the growing list of entertainment apps (starting with the buggy racer).

Since we plan to keep our 2017 S 100D for at least 8 years or 100K miles, if Tesla offered an MCU1 to MCU2 upgrade, at a reasonable price, we would strongly consider it. | 09/07/2019

@bp - Most above is right, but MCU2 has nothing to do with recording. There are cars with HW2.5 and MCU1 that have the dashcam feature. If you have HW2.0, upgrading to MCU2 and/or HW3 processor will NOT provide dashcam features (at least according to Elon).

Yep, it's confusing. Wrote an article on all the variants and what it means feature wise:

mikefromma | 31/07/2019

Elon recently tweeted that the MCU2 upgrade is possible. @DBrohm, any updates from your source?

bp | 01/08/2019

When Tesla performs the HW3 processor upgrade, if they also offered an MCU2 upgrade at a reasonable price, would likely have them do that upgrade at the same time...

To make that decision, would be helpful to have a real list of the additional functionality that would come with an MCU2 upgrade... | 01/08/2019

@bp MCU1 -> MCU2 changes:

A bit faster operation
Beach Buggy II game
More internal flash memory (may help with future features and longevity)
Updated display (no yellow border, hopefully)
The possibility of a Phone key feature like Model 3 (Depends if the MCU2 upgrade includes new Bluetooth antennas, which is quite a bit of labor to install).

I'd expect the cost to be at least $3K and maybe as much as $5K. While an MCU2 upgrade would be cool, I really don't see the value for the price. It might save $100-200 in labor costs if done a the same time as HW3.0 AP processor upgrade.

murphyS90D | 01/08/2019

Does MCU2 support AM radio?

The PA Turnpike and I suspect others use low power AM radio stations to convey traffic information to cars on the road.

rxlawdude | 01/08/2019

@murphy, the lack of AM on the M3, MX, and now more recently, the MS has been discussed a lot. I agree that the lack of AM is one of the few dumb moves that Tesla has made.

Lots of others here will flame us for discussing this issue. | 01/08/2019

@murphy - No AM radio. The radios are external to the MCU. No flames needed - but better talked about on the AM radio thread.

eddyline | 01/08/2019

When I scheduled an appointment to have my touchscreen replaced (yellowing around the edges), I received a notice from Tesla Service that they are working on a fix and replacing at this time would not fix the issue, and that when they have a fix they would replace the screen. I hope this includes an MCU update as well....