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Firmware Update Process

Discussion in 'Wiki' started by tomas, Mar 29, 2015.

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The first post in this thread is a WikiPost, and can be edited by anyone with the appropriate permissions.
  1. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

    Oct 22, 2012
    #1 tomas, Mar 29, 2015
    Last edited by tomas: Aug 31, 2016

    Here's what we know about Tesla's firmware release/update process:


    Firmware nomenclature includes Version Number and a software release number, e.g., v6.1 (2.2.200). It is not uncommon for owners to receive multiple software releases within a single Version.
    You can see your current firmware version by pressing the T center top of your 17" display, and then looking just below VIN# on the popup.
    As of this writing, all release go to all cars. There are not configuration-specific firmware versions. However, there may be capabilities in an update that you only get if you have a certain configuration (e.g., auto pilot, tech package, dual motor).


    After Tesla has completed it's internal testing, there is a Beta test using a cadre of hand-picked owners. There is no "opt-in" Beta. There is no known way to get picked. Beta testers sign a non-disclosure and are sworn to secrecy. Many of them are on this forum, and they do a great job of keeping it zipped!


    Software is pushed to your car "over the air" (OTA) using either the car's 3G or WiFi connection. Tesla has stated that priority will be given to WiFi connected cars, however there remain plenty of reports of cars receiving updates over 3G.
    It can also be loaded at a service center.
    There is NO WAY to "pull" or request a new firmware release.
    When the software has been downloaded to your car, you will see a yellow alarm clock on top of your 17" display. When you press it, you will get a popup that allows you to schedule when you want the software update to occur.
    You can change your mind any time up to when the update actually occurs. Just press the alarm clock again, cancel the current schedule, and reschedule.


    The car has to be parked and off for update. It is advisable, though not required, for it to be plugged in. It also needs WiFi or 3G connection, which is used at points during update process.
    Most updates take between 20 minutes and an hour. During the update process, there are all kinds of weird events. Lights flashing, screens going on and off. If you sit in your car to watch, don't get alarmed, and DON'T interrupt the process in any way. Let it complete. In rare instances, people have reported failed updates. The update cannot be re-scheduled until Tesla pushes the release to your car again.


    Typically, after reports of a new firmware version appear, it takes 1 or 2 months (sometimes longer) to get pushed to the entire fleet. Tesla determines the distribution of releases. There has been much conjecture on TMC regarding Tesla's algorithm for determining what car gets what release when. There is no definitive answer. Prior to rollout of the D, it appeared random. Following rollout of the D, there were several software releases (within versions 6.X) that provided functionality specifically for D cars (e.g., torque sleep), and distribution to D cars was clearly prioritized and accelerated. However, many of these software releases were also eventually received by non-D cars. UPDATE 8/2016: there has been a clear trend over the last year of more rapid pushes. Releases seem to get to all cars much more quickly than they used to (days or weeks vs. months).


    It is not unusual for Tesla to begin distribution of a new version, halt, and then resume distribution with a new software release within the version. This appears to be their approach for dealing with bugs detected by owners or fine-tuning functionality.


    Tesla provides release notes for each version (e.g., 6.1), but generally NOT for each software release within a version (e.g., 2.2.200). So, do not expect release notes to change when you get a new software release. You may see documentation changes, but probably not. Tesla's philosophy regarding release notes is generally to document changes to the user interface only. So, changes to algorithms (e.g., power delivery, charging, regen), and bug fixes are typically NOT documented. TMC is a good source for discovering such changes, though plenty of the reports on this forum are spurious or pure conjecture.

    Tesla also provides an online user manual. This changes for each version. Often it reflects changes in software releases within a version.


    If you would like to help track the rollout process, take a look at the Firmware Upgrade Tracker and add your car and the version you received to the spreadsheet. This is of course entirely optional.
  2. David29

    David29 Member

    Aug 1, 2015
    The link to the Tracker does not work. It just goes to a new copy of the TMC home page.
  3. SUN-day Driver

    Jan 6, 2012
    References to 3G should be updated since LTE is the wireless technology in the cars for quite a while now. It can say "3G/LTE" or "mobile connection" to be more up to date.

    Also about whether you can pull an update, people were able to cause their cars to get the latest update by driving to a service center, also called "geofencing". This stopped working for 8.0 so technically it's correct again that there is no way to cause your car to get an update, but mention that there was indeed a way to get the update faster should be made.
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