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Condensation between windshield and front facing cameras

Beardley

Member
Sep 17, 2019
39
38
Upstate NY
I was driving around this morning (about 35F out) and I was intermittently getting the blindspot detection limited message. I get it most mornings and I chalk it up to dew on the side cameras. It didn't go away today after it warmed up and there was no more moisture on the car. I checked the repeaters and everything was good, and when I finally looked at the forward facing I saw a lot of condensation between the windshield and the cameras. Anyone ever see this before?
 

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WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
I was driving around this morning (about 35F out) and I was intermittently getting the blindspot detection limited message. I get it most mornings and I chalk it up to dew on the side cameras. It didn't go away today after it warmed up and there was no more moisture on the car. I checked the repeaters and everything was good, and when I finally looked at the forward facing I saw a lot of condensation between the windshield and the cameras. Anyone ever see this before?

Thats a new one (to me, anyway). I wonder when the defrost lines are supposed to kick in?
 
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WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
Not going to believe this. Just had to go out in the rain and I have this same issue (Seattle is especially rainy right now), - it’s complaining about lane departure avoidance anytime I go above 15mph. I remember this thread (lol) and go check the front cameras and yep - steamed up.

I turned on the front heat defrost (I assume that heats up the element in front of those cameras?) and within 30 seconds it was clear up there and the error went away.

I feel like the car should handle this situation differently, and automatically.
 

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Beardley

Member
Sep 17, 2019
39
38
Upstate NY
Not going to believe this. Just had to go out in the rain and I have this same issue (Seattle is especially rainy right now), - it’s complaining about lane departure avoidance anytime I go above 15mph. I remember this thread (lol) and go check the front cameras and yep - steamed up.

I turned on the front heat defrost (I assume that heats up the element in front of those cameras?) and within 30 seconds it was clear up there and the error went away.

I feel like the car should handle this situation differently, and automatically.

I also got the lane departure avoidance warnings. I didn't realize there was a defrost loop in that area, which is good to know for the future. That does point to one difference for me compared to recent history. I had turned the HVAC off completely for most of my trip, experimenting with energy consumption. If I see that consistently again, I'll give the defrost a a boost. I did go out about an hour ago, and its completely clear now.
 

WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
Just had it again today! About 45 minutes into a wet drive. And once again, a 15-second defrost blast solved it. I don't use my A/C in this chilly/wet weather in Seattle, but I may leave the A/C on. The vent is always pointing up and forward, so that wasn't the issue, but I'll leave the A/C on and see if that helps. Either way, Tesla should have that heating element engaged on the cameras when the wipers are on.
 

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gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
Interesting. How does the car know to enable the heater? And if it does “know”, why doesn’t it enable the feature when driving in the rain? This is all fascinating to me. :D
Honestly I think in my case its not humidity which is what you're fighting against, which having A/C on (regardless if you're using heat or not) will reduce the moisture within your cabin. The reason sentry helps in cold/dew climates is because the unit/cameras stay warm. I don't think the defrost lines are doing anything in my case.
 
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WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
Honestly I think in my case its not humidity which is what you're fighting against, which having A/C on (regardless if you're using heat or not) will reduce the moisture within your cabin. The reason sentry helps in cold/dew climates is because the unit/cameras stay warm. I don't think the defrost lines are doing anything in my case.

Interesting theory. Either way, the cameras need to be able to deal with this by this situation by themselves. Otherwise FSD simply won't work.
 

WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
Honestly I think in my case its not humidity which is what you're fighting against, which having A/C on (regardless if you're using heat or not) will reduce the moisture within your cabin. The reason sentry helps in cold/dew climates is because the unit/cameras stay warm. I don't think the defrost lines are doing anything in my case.

So when are the defrost lines actually activated?
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
9,668
11,629
San Diego
So when are the defrost lines actually activated?

The defrost lines used to be on all the time in idle mode (I took some thermal pictures at some point). Maybe this was one of the vampire drain “improvements.” But obviously they should be on when you are driving regardless. That is odd. Might be a new bug; maybe they tried to get fancy with the detection of a fogging condition, rather than just leaving the heater on all the time. Or your heating element is broken.
 

malventano

Member
Aug 25, 2018
42
67
Florence, KY
I was driving around this morning (about 35F out) and I was intermittently getting the blindspot detection limited message. I get it most mornings and I chalk it up to dew on the side cameras. It didn't go away today after it warmed up and there was no more moisture on the car. I checked the repeaters and everything was good, and when I finally looked at the forward facing I saw a lot of condensation between the windshield and the cameras. Anyone ever see this before?

I've noticed the same every morning that has been just below freezing. The camera heater used to run even with the car off, but now not only does it not heat while off/idle, but it fails to heat while the car climate control / front windshield defroster is on. Tonight was a good night for me to test before / after a firmware update (2019.32.12.2 to 2019.36.2.1) and both firmwares failed to activate the forward camera resistive heater. On both firmwares, not only was the heating element not activating in freezing temps (car reported interior temp of 27F), with the windshield defrost turned on, the duct heating was able to clear the rest of the windshield while the camera just sat there frosted (10+ minutes of defroster activity). Then after manually clearing the exterior frost from the camera, we end up with the interior still fogged, which blinds the cameras as the sun hits the fogged glass (see attached pics). The duct defroster/heater can't clear the interior fog from the camera area because the camera shroud blocks the air, so the only way to properly clear that space is with resistive heat.

The same actions were tested on my AP1 S. Camera glass began visibly clearing via resistive element within seconds of enabling climate/front defrost, and the camera glass cleared before the duct heater was able to clear the rest of the windshield.

I get the desire to save on battery, but in the case of my wife's morning commute, we are talking a 90 mile / 1.5 hour drive with all driver assistance / safety features disabled and constantly throwing warnings every time it is below freezing (and these are the times where safety systems are even more important due to slick roads / increased chance of accidents). That tiny bit of battery savings kinda backfires when the cameras remain blind even with the windshield defroster enabled.
 

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WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
I've noticed the same every morning that has been just below freezing. The camera heater used to run even with the car off, but now not only does it not heat while off/idle, but it fails to heat while the car climate control / front windshield defroster is on. Tonight was a good night for me to test before / after a firmware update (2019.32.12.2 to 2019.36.2.1) and both firmwares failed to activate the forward camera resistive heater. On both firmwares, not only was the heating element not activating in freezing temps (car reported interior temp of 27F), with the windshield defrost turned on, the duct heating was able to clear the rest of the windshield while the camera just sat there frosted (10+ minutes of defroster activity). Then after manually clearing the exterior frost from the camera, we end up with the interior still fogged, which blinds the cameras as the sun hits the fogged glass (see attached pics). The duct defroster/heater can't clear the interior fog from the camera area because the camera shroud blocks the air, so the only way to properly clear that space is with resistive heat.

The same actions were tested on my AP1 S. Camera glass began visibly clearing via resistive element within seconds of enabling climate/front defrost, and the camera glass cleared before the duct heater was able to clear the rest of the windshield.

I get the desire to save on battery, but in the case of my wife's morning commute, we are talking a 90 mile / 1.5 hour drive with all driver assistance / safety features disabled and constantly throwing warnings every time it is below freezing (and these are the times where safety systems are even more important due to slick roads / increased chance of accidents). That tiny bit of battery savings kinda backfires when the cameras remain blind even with the windshield defroster enabled.

I’d love to understand under what circumstances the camera defrost system kicks in.
 
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malventano

Member
Aug 25, 2018
42
67
Florence, KY
Thanks to a hard freeze and snow last night, confirmed that defrost activates wiper heaters and side mirror heaters, but fails to activate forward and pillar camera heaters.
Windshield with 20 minutes of defrost use (note all cleared except camera area):
75614153_428482071196057_2053810321079926784_n.jpg

Wipers cleared just fine:
74349813_421687225189328_5922237706175250432_n.jpg

Side mirrors cleared just fine:
74515030_544271433037011_6569637393924620288_n.jpg

Pillar cameras (ice not melted - had to be scraped off):
75077923_2608315052729275_5418740893383393280_n.jpg

Front camera after outside manually cleared (note interior of camera space is still heavily fogged):
75375662_1124399527766211_8551492951073619968_n.jpg

Fender cameras also appeared to not be heating, but there was not enough buildup to confirm.
 

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Reactions: WilliamG
Oct 20, 2019
58
45
Fredericton
My front cameras also started getting condensation on the weekend but it was a very slushy and wet day. Anyone get this once and it go away? Or should I assume now that it's happened once it will be a continual problem forever until service fixes it?

Another reason why I wish this car just had conventional cruise control and AP instead of adaptive cruise and AP. Once these cameras stop working, you no longer have a cruise control period. Kinda silly.
 

WilliamG

Active Member
Apr 20, 2019
3,025
2,921
Seattle, WA
Thanks to a hard freeze and snow last night, confirmed that defrost activates wiper heaters and side mirror heaters, but fails to activate forward and pillar camera heaters.
Windshield with 20 minutes of defrost use (note all cleared except camera area):
View attachment 476144
Wipers cleared just fine:
View attachment 476150
Side mirrors cleared just fine:
View attachment 476147
Pillar cameras (ice not melted - had to be scraped off):
View attachment 476146
Front camera after outside manually cleared (note interior of camera space is still heavily fogged):
View attachment 476145
Fender cameras also appeared to not be heating, but there was not enough buildup to confirm.

Thank you for the input!

First, we have wiper heaters?! That’s a new one. I had no idea.

Second, when does the front camera de-fog / heating system kick in, then? Seems like it’s just a borked system at this point. This is a major failure if you live somewhere like Seattle (like I do).

Also, has it ever been confirmed we have b-pillar heaters? I figured if anything it was just the cameras themselves generating their own heat...
 

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