Lights in the garage

Lights in the garage

I took delivery of my MS Signature last night and have obviously have a whale of a time since then. This is the first bunch of cars delivered into Sweden. I am happier than a pig is shit for the car, and, is it creating looks and comments!!!!

But here's something odd:

in my garage I have ceiling lamps with movement sensors, that is, when I open the door and walk in, all lamps light up. Then they close after some minutes, if there is no movement, indeed, if I stand stock still, they go out.
This works when the garage is empty or if my previos car, a Ford Focus, stood there.

When the Tesla S is standing there, the lights never go out, even though the car is standing absolutely still. This applies to whether the car is charging or not.
So the lights are on 24 hours a day.

How can this be? Electric radiation? Magnetic fields?

Grateful for advice - I don't want the lamps to burn and I don't want to park the car outside. Of course I can cut the fuse, but then I don't see anything when I want to...

Best - Robert von Bahr, Sweden | October 4, 2013

That's very strange. One thought is the car may be communicating with the Tesla servers via the wireless connection. While not quite known how often this occurs, we suspect it happens briefly once a minute.

Perhaps the light's electronics (not the sensor itself) is poorly shielded and susceptible to the frequency of the cellular connection?

One thing to try is back the car in (i.e. have a different orientation), and see if the lights remain on. Another test is to park in the driveway outside the garage and see if still occurs. If the garage door is not metal, you can even close it and the cellular transmission may still keep the light on. Anyway, this only helps point to the problem, a poor shielding in the light's electronics.

Let us know what you find out!

negarholger | October 4, 2013

Motion detectors are typical infrared sensors. Tape a black piece of paper over the sensor. If light goes off, then adjust the sensor sensivity ( should have sensitivity settings ), if it stays on then electrical interference is the likely cause... follow TeslaTap guidance.

TeslaMD | October 4, 2013

I have a motion sensor garage light in my single car garage. The garage barely accommodates the Tesla's length with only 16" to spare so the motion sensor is only a couple feet above the nose. No issues with the motion sensor whatsoever. Don't know about the return policy of the stores in your area but it might be worth buying a different motion sensing switch and if all else fails return it until you find one that works for your application. My switch is a Leviton Cat. No. PR180.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 4, 2013

Its because the Tesla is a living breathing animal waiting to be set free.

robert | October 4, 2013

Thanks. Will try it out tomorrow - it is in the middle of the night here. I AM reversing the car in anyway, since there's a sloping driveway down to the garage, and, when Winter, I much prefer to drive out that reversing out, because of the back wheel drive.

More later - Robert

robert | October 4, 2013

Thanks. Will try it out tomorrow - it is in the middle of the night here. I AM reversing the car in anyway, since there's a sloping driveway down to the garage, and, when Winter, I much prefer to drive out than reversing out, because of the back wheel drive.

More later - Robert

Jamon | October 4, 2013

Plan B: you might need to stop walking in the garage to check on your new baby every 60 seconds!

EcLectric | October 4, 2013

When e-mail first became popular, our e-mail system was locked up by a 'loop' phenomenon with auto-replies:

- Hey Joe, it's Stan, I'm leaving for the day
- Auto Reply: Joe is not here. He will contact you...
- Auto Reply: Stan is not here. He will contact you...
- Auto Reply: Joe is not here. He will contact you...
- Auto Reply: Stan is not here. He will contact you...
until both in-boxes were stuffed full...

Perhaps this phenomenon is happening between your Model S and your garage:

Model S: Time to shut off
Garage: Light in garage changed, better turn on lights
Model S: Light changed. Turn on convenience lights
Garage: Light in garage changed. Leave lights on.
As soon as one turns off its lights, the other one detects it and turns its lights on, so you end up with lights on all the time.

EcLectric | October 4, 2013

... but it could be what Jamon said.

J.T. | October 4, 2013

Have you tried wrapping the car in aluminum foil?

robert | October 4, 2013

@ Jamon
It is hard, I know - it is so bloody beautiful, but I managed to stay away for 3 full hours, and no, the lights stay on. This is really odd.

@ EcLectic
If you're serious, why should the closed and abandoned car, with no key in the vicinity, react to changing lights in the surroundings?


LottDenn | October 4, 2013

Similar thing happens to me. The light of my garage door opener will come on as if the door has been activated. It happens when I am around the car with the fob. After it's normal "on" time, it shuts off.

In my case I think it may be related to Homelink and the car waking up and "talking" to the opener.


robert | October 5, 2013

Have now tried to tape over the movement sensor with black tape over black paper and black cloth. Didn't help. But if the car is outside of the garage, the lamps go off as scheduled. Oh well, I will have to instal a normal switch at the entrance to the house. No big deal, but odd. Why does the car influence a movement detector?


john.m.hennessey | October 5, 2013

I've experienced the same issue.

Rheumboy | October 5, 2013

It's the ghost of Fisker

portia | October 5, 2013

I have a motion sensor in the garage, but no such problem. Maybe it's the placement of the sensor, you can move it around?

WhisperingCJ | October 5, 2013

You have trapped a whole battery of LiOns. Of course there's movement ;-)

PBEndo | October 5, 2013

I don't know if it is in any way related, but at least 50% of the time when I honk the horn, my escort radar detector goes off as if I just ran into a speed trap!

Perhaps the MS is emitting some electromagnetic energy at unusual frequencies!

diegoPasadena | October 5, 2013

Robert - there might something else at play here. I have motion activated laser parking guides in my garage, and they work flawlessly. I have no idea what is causing it, but whatever it is, it doesn't affect all motion sensor systems. So I'd say rather than forgoing automation, perhaps try a different brand of sensor.

LottDenn | October 7, 2013

I checked it out on the weekend. My fob activates the light on my garage door opener when the car is there. No activity from the car, but the opener light goes on!

Brian H | October 8, 2013

That's just weird.

robert | October 8, 2013

Well, my electrician is coming tomorrow morning to instal a normal switch by the garage entrance to the house.
Coming down in the mnorning, I activate the switch, and the lights go on, and go off automatically, when I drive away.
Upon returning, the movement sensor activates the lights, and I turn the switch off upon entering the house proper from inside the garage.
Stupid, but evidently necessary.

Re garage door and Home Link: I need to have a Home Link Version 7, which can accept 868 mHz STRAIGHT code (whatever that is - what is a bent code?).
The car cannot, so so much for the Home Link. Duh...


WhisperingCJ | October 8, 2013

I wonder if this is the reason for the lights...

You walk away, the lights go out, then the car starts lowering itself triggering the movement detectors.

I guess whether it's relevant to this case depends on how long it takes before it starts lowering and how long it takes. If it only takes a few seconds then settles down it would explain why the lights come on the first time, but then you'd expect them turn off and stay off after a while. But if it takes much longer or starts a lot later it might explain why you come back to a lit up garage

J.T. | October 8, 2013

@Robert Do you have air suspension. there's a thread that suggests that the MS sometimes moves down after being parked. perhaps that motion triggers the lights.

robert | October 8, 2013

I do have air suspension. Are you telling me that the car moves continuously for a full 18 hours? Because that is the longest time that it has been parked in the garage, with the lights continuously on (have cameras, can check continuously on-line). Anyway, the movement sensor isn't that particular. I can stand in the garage and move very slowly, up to a point, without the sensor going on. There's no way that the car sinking a few centimeters can trigger the lamps for 18 hours.


J.T. | October 8, 2013

This situation is just so peculiar that I'm kind of sorry you'll have it rectified without finding out why it's happening.

robert | October 8, 2013

Oh, I can easily have it un-rectified. Just not turn the light switch off reverts to the present situation.
I am willing to experiment, if anyone has a bright idea.

The covering the movement sensor with layers upon layers of anything didn't help, so it cannot be movements - it must have with radiation to do, which, in itself, is ever so slightly scary...


J.T. | October 8, 2013

I know i suggested aluminum foil, tongue in cheek, but if you've got the time . . .

tezzla.SoCal | October 8, 2013

my old washing machine used to turn off my TV every time it changed cycles! Now that was a pain in the butt! | October 8, 2013

Another test to run is to not charge the car and turn the car off from the touch screen, controls section. You have to be a bit tricky as the car likes to go back on (at least with 4.5) fairly easily. I think the best is to roll down a window, and reach in and tap the off button on the screen.

My guess is this should disable the 3G connection, which is my guess as to what is triggering the light.

Another test, If your phone is a 3G (not 4G LTE) AT&T or have a friend that has AT&T make a call near the sensor (within 10 ft should be ok), and see if it triggers. You might also have to use some data, such as bringing up a web page (data is a different frequency than calls). If it triggers, it's clear there is no shielding in the sensor (i.e. poor design), and another sensor brand might fix it.

robert | October 8, 2013

I have tried not charging the car, and I have 5.0
I will try what you say tonight, though.

My phone is a Nokia from 1995 (works splendidly for what I want a telephone to do - namely talking). I very much doubt it is even 3G. Anyway, I have tried not having the phone on/with me. Doesn't make a diff.

If I turn off the car as described, what happens to the window? Can I get into the car later - I don't want to re-enact what I described in another thread on a rainy Stockholm street...

Thanks - Robert - more reports later.

Brian H | October 8, 2013

Maybe the Tesla is afraid of the dark, and is manipulating the circuits?

robert | October 8, 2013

OK, I tried what you suggested. Lamps on, so I'll do it the old-fashioned way tomorrow, when the electrician instals a switch.


Lessmog | October 9, 2013

Any illumination yet?

robert | October 9, 2013

No. Nothing. However, problem fixed with an old-fashioned switch.


amish.bhatia | October 9, 2013

could it be the pulsing of the charge that causes enough light change in the garage for the motion detector to not sense stillness? just a thought?

jay.nandwana | July 29, 2015

I am having the exact same problem. Did anyone figure out a solution that doesn't involve changing out the garage motor/light?