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Finally! Door Handles That Work Perfectly

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by ToddRLockwood, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I recently had all four of my door handles upgraded to 2nd generation handles. These newer handles, introduced on the assembly line last summer, have improved ergonomics and reliability. When used with firmware v5.9, Tesla seems to have solved the handle glitches for once and for all.

    The door handles utilize a hall-effect switch to activate the electric door latch. In the 1st generation handle, the two halves of the switch are mounted less than 2mm apart. Pulling on the handle brings the two halves of the switch together, opening the door. With such a tight tolerance, it's no wonder there were issues involving doors opening by themselves or refusing to open.

    The 2nd generation handle is vastly improved. Right after it extends, it retreats about one-quarter-inch. Inside, the two halves of the hall-effect switch are parked further apart, eliminating false triggers. When you pull on the handle, you are pulling against a light spring, which gives it a much more appropriate feel, whereas the 1st generation handle felt like it was bolted to the side of the car. At the end of that quarter-inch of travel, the hall-effect switch comes together and activates the latch. It requires a lot less of a pull than the previous version.

    Apparently, firmware v5.9 has been optimized to get the best performance out of the 2nd generation handles.

    Time will tell whether this eliminates the issues many owners have experienced. From what I've seen so far, it looks promising.
     
  2. jerry33

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

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    The initial batch of new-style handles had the LEDs lighting up the interior of the door. Looked really stupid. Are these the same, or did they fix that? I have the original handles which have worked reasonably well so far. I don't really want to get the new style until the light issue is fixed.
     
  3. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #3 ToddRLockwood, Apr 13, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
    I haven't noticed that with my new ones, but I can see how it might have happened—with the handles retreating a bit after they extend. I'm out frequently in the evening, so I think I would have noticed that by now.
     
  4. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    The light retracts with the handle, is that what you're talking about? I guess I don't understand. You can still see the light.
     
  5. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    The earlier firmware may have pulled the 2nd generation handle in slightly more (after extending) than v5.9 does. That could have caused the LED to shine inside the door. I'm just theorizing here.
     
  6. jerry33

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

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    If you look at the originals, the LED is totally outside the door. In the new style that I've seen about 3/4 of the LED is covered by the door and most of the illumination is gone (e.g. inside the door). When you see the two side by side they appear dramatically different.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yes, part of the light is inside the door. I noticed this right away after my 4 handles were replaced also. It still does provide illumination, so I'm not terribly worried about it, but have to wonder why they just didn't move the hole a little further out on the re-designed setup.
     
  8. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I imagine they probably tried to use as many existing parts as possible, at least until they're used up. Other than the light, the function of the new version is much more elegant.
     
  9. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    The LED being half-way in the door has always bugged me. I took delivery last August so I have the 2nd gen handles. When the door is open, however, the LED lights up much better because the handle stays fully extended until you close the door. I do wish they'd update the handles with LED's that are a little further out so this doesn't happen. It's clearly a side effect of using the same handles that were never intended to be recessed into the door like that.
     
  10. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I just checked mine. Yes indeed, the LEDs are partially obscured. They must be using the same chrome handle part as on the 1st generation—and I'm guessing it's because they're sitting on a warehouse full of them. Obviously, getting the door latch behavior corrected was somewhat more critical. The new version feels a lot nicer when you pull on it. Eventually, I imagine we'll see a 3rd generation handle that does not retract slightly after extending, but when you pull on it that extra quarter-inch of travel will still be there.
     
  11. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Mine actually has puddle lights on the bottom of the doors in addition to the door handle lights. It also has front and rear interior footwell lighting. I don't remember either of these features being listed when I ordered, but it does minimize the partially obscured handle light in my case.
     
  12. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    This 'upgrade' sounds like a lot of labor and new parts - was it on your nickel?? That is, if car lacked history of unrepairable misfunctions & misery. Mine has been so lacking since very early on, so I have no real interest in upgrade.
    --
     
  13. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I believe all of that lighting was standard with the original tech package. Now it's an option.
     

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