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Anyone else have HORRIBLE radio reception?

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by themacs, Nov 30, 2014.

  1. themacs

    themacs Member

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    Location:
    san clemente, CA
    The internet radio is great (I think it is called "slacker"?)

    BUT AM is terrible :cursing:. We listen to the news from time to time in the car and also get freeway updates on news channels which is important in S. Cal. Lots of echoes and drifting voices on stations that are perfectly clear on my Jaguar and Lexus. FM is a little better.

    Anyone have this or solutions? The service center said it "Happens". They tried to "tune" it but no change.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    I don't think I've ever used the AM/FM part of the radio. Do you know if your AM stations stream? You might be able to grab their feed via the built-in TuneIn app.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Couldn't tell you. I haven't listened to AM since the 70s and FM since the 80s. (Besides the sound quality, I just can't take five minutes of song and fifty-five minutes of commercials and inanity.) I've always wondered why home audio amplifiers always have a radio in them when it never gets used.
     
  4. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    #4 markwj, Nov 30, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2014
    It's never gonna be good. AM requires a large ground-plane, and the aluminium body of the Model S doesn't help.
    (Correction: it has been correctly pointed out that aluminium should behave as good as steel as a groundplane)

    If it is any consolation, the carbon fibre body of the Roadster made for even worse AM reception.

    Workaround is to try to find your favourite radio stations on one of the Internet sources.

    Regards, Mark.
     
  5. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I'm not aware of any car bodies made of copper or silver. Aluminum's conductivity is an order of magnitude better than steel (exact amount depending on the alloy).
     
  6. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Interesting. I had always been told that aluminium makes a crappy ground plane, but that is from my amateur radio background. It seems you are correct - conductivity is all that matters, so steel vs aluminium should not matter.

    So, the question is - why is the Tesla Model S AM reception so bad? I've definitely found it worse than any of my other cars (apart from the roadster). The receiver or the antenna?
     
  7. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    FM reception is pretty bad. The local NPR station is almost unusable using the built-in tuner. The saving grace is Tune-In radio which has all the local stations and works well, so we just use that and never use the actual built-in AM/FM tuner. I had reported it to my service center and they basically just said it's expected for that station. The issue is the Model S sacrificed radio reception performance for antennas that won't mess with the aerodynamics of the car.
     
  8. Barry

    Barry Member

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    It has to be antenna-related. Think how small in terms of wavelength a car antenna is on the AM band. Getting back to the ground plane conductivity issue, I don't think it really matters than much due to the low current in the ground plane. I have used galvanized steel electric fence wire for Beverage antennas. It works fine compared with copper because the Beverage is a low current antenna, so losses are small. Were you on for CQWW this weekend?
     
  9. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Hey, just install an 8 ft whip on the rear bumper. :biggrin:
    --
     
  10. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    Talk about de-gentrification of the MS, for that he'll need to stop bathing and shaving daily and a gunrack 2:)

    At least that is how we do it here in Appalachia.
     
  11. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    You're not alone, and this problem has surfaced perennially:
    Bad FM reception
    radio reception
    Unfortunately, I haven't seen anyone post a solution. Personally, I get okay reception, but it's noticeably worse than in my wife's BMW 535 (judging quality by how far away from Boston we can drive and still tune to WGBH or WBUR). Manually turning off the HD option seems to help some, at the expense of lower-quality radio signal.
     
  12. jive_devil

    jive_devil Member

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    Count me in as a person who also misses good FM/AM reception. While the TuneIn app has many of my local stations, many live sports broadcasts are "blacked out"/blocked because TuneIn has not purchased game rebroadcast rights. The workaround for that is buying the game audio stream on my phone and streaming it to the car via bluetooth, and unexpected added expense to owning the car.
     
  13. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    I had horrendous reception on the Roadster, and that got slowly fixed. I don't listen to AM or FM nearly as much as I used to as the stations have really deteriorated but the Model S reception is quite reasonable.
     
  14. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    You cannot get good AM reception in an EV due to the close proximity of high voltage interference. The issue is so pervasive that BMW does not ship the i3 with any AM radio whatsoever. BMW took away a choice so that it receives fewer complaints, Tesla left it intact to give you more options.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Aluminum would be an excellent ground plane - better than steel.

    I imagine the reason for the poor reception is that Elon hates visible antennas (whip, shark fin, or otherwise) so the antenna design is probably a compromise.

    I rarely listen to AM but I've not had any issue with it on the occasions I've used it. The FM reception is just fine.
     
  16. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I don't listen to AM but FM radio reception sucks in both our Roadster and Model S. In my Roadster, if I'm driving away from the station's antenna I get persistent fuzz and no chance at HD. If I'm driving towards the station's antenna it is better but still bad. Model S it slightly better but still quite bad. As others have stated it must be related to antenna design and placement. Maybe Tesla hired the same RF engineers that designed the iPhone 4? :tongue:
     
  17. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    3 reasons why it's not good in the Model S:

    1. Electromagnetic interference from the drivetrain.
    2. Lack of a separate (whip) antenna.
    3. AM is so yesterday. TuneIn and Slacker is where it's at! (You should be able to find local FM/AM stations on TuneIn....and you can receive them anywhere you have cell coverage!
     
  18. themacs

    themacs Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! I don't understand it all but I have only had the car about 30 days. I will learn! I need to figure out how to tune in on the internet radio I guess. Perhaps the SC can teach me :)

    Happy Holidays all!
     
  19. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Being in Cali, you probably have a Tesla neighbor on your block that you can ask :).
     
  20. kkostas

    kkostas New Member

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    I just picked up my S85 this weekend (LOVE IT!) and tried finding an AM station on my way to work (East Bay to San Francisco). The auto-scan just kept cycling - even in the city where there a ton of AM stations - stopping nowhere. Has anyone in SF had luck tuning into AM? I want to report the issue but want to make sure I'm not heading down a dead end.
     

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