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Found Least Expensive Compatible TPMS Sensors - $25.50/ea

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by SomeJoe7777, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    Abstract / TL;DR

    The Autel MX Sensor-1 universal TPMS sensor works perfectly with the Model 3 after it's programmed. There is no source I could find to buy them pre-programmed, so you have to do it yourself with your own programmer or have someone do it for you. Once programmed, they are a direct replacement for the Tesla sensors.

    I am offering programming service for these sensors, see my thread in the For Sale forum.



    Full Version

    I set out to put together the least expensive set of winter wheels/tires that I could and I think I did well. Finding an inexpensive set of 18" Aero wheels isn't too hard since a lot of people are selling them in favor of aftermarket wheels like from T-Sportline. Tires can be had from tirerack.com or other places depending on which exact tires you want (I got mine from tires-easy.com). But one thing that I found difficult was getting TMPS sensors for the wheels -- most of the sets of Aeros that are less expensive don't have them included because the owners transferred them to their aftermarket wheels. Tesla charges $65 each for those sensors (as does tirerack.com and several other places). I wanted them as inexpensive as possible.

    After a long search, I found the Autel MX Sensor-1 which is a programmable universal sensor for $25.50 each. The issue is that they come blank/unprogrammed, so you have to program them, and therefore need a programmer to do so. I went ahead and bought a programmer to see if they actually will work with the Model 3, and indeed they do.

    Here's what the sensors, programmer, and procedure look like, along with results.

    1 - 4 Autel MX Sensor-1 Universal TPMS sensors
    [​IMG]

    2 - What the sensor looks like
    [​IMG]

    3 - My programmer, the Autel TS501
    [​IMG]

    4 - Select car manufacturer and model
    [​IMG]

    5 - Select model year
    [​IMG]

    6 - Read existing sensors on the car
    [​IMG]

    7 - Read sensor detail
    Note the ID numbers of each sensor, these are Tesla sensors that are in my existing 19" sport wheels. The ID numbers let the vehicle identify which sensors belong to your car. In some vehicles, the ID numbers assigned to the new sensors either have to match what the old sensors have, or the ECU has to be reprogrammed through the OBD-II port with the new sensor IDs. Teslas do NOT require this, they will auto-learn new ID numbers, making this process much easier.
    [​IMG]

    8 - Additional sensor detail
    Note the modulation of the sensors -- 433 MHz frequency, data transferred with frequency modulation (FM). No national standard exists for how TPMS modules transmit data, so every auto manufacturer came up with their own system. There are about 75 separate methods in use. This Autel MX Sensor-1 can be programmed for compatibility with 98% of those systems.
    [​IMG]

    9 - Create new sensors
    You can create/program up to 16 new sensors at a time. You can also copy existing IDs and program them into the new sensors, which is very useful for those vehicles that would otherwise require the ECU reprogramming through the OBD-II port. Copying the existing IDs eliminates the requirement to reprogram the ECU on those vehicles (most Japanese manufacturers). Again, Teslas do NOT require this step, and can automatically re-learn new ID numbers.
    [​IMG]

    10 - Creating 4 new sensors
    [​IMG]

    11 - Detect Sensors
    [​IMG]

    12 - 4 Sensors Detected
    [​IMG]

    13 - Programming the Sensors
    [​IMG]

    14 - Programming in Progress
    [​IMG]

    15 - Programming Completed
    Note new ID numbers assigned. The Teslas will automatically learn these new IDs once they're in the wheels.
    [​IMG]

    16 - Checking the new sensors
    [​IMG]

    17 - Checking the new sensors, detail
    [​IMG]

    At this point, I had the sensors installed in the wheels, then had tires mounted on the 18" Aero wheels, then balanced. After that, I put them on the car and then began driving.

    18 - Sensors not yet detected
    [​IMG]

    19 - Sensors detected, car asks what size wheels are on the car
    [​IMG]

    20 - Sensor readings now showing
    [​IMG]


    Because of the cost of the programmer, I didn't exactly accomplish my goal of building a winter tire set as cheap as possible. But I did prove that these sensors work very well.

    I am offering programming service for these sensors, see my thread in the For Sale forum.

    You can purchase a set of the sensors for $102 ($25.50 each) from Amazon.
     
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  2. Big Ern

    Big Ern Member

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    I can confirm that 31inc. tpms sensors do not work. My installer had them and tried to clone my factory sensors. Drove the required 10 miles today and got the tpms system needs service message. Going to go the AUTEL route.
     
  3. Atari2600

    Atari2600 Member

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    Why not us the 433 MHz MX sensor? Wouldn't you only have to activate it and not program it? The function list download says this product works with Tesla Model 3 and correctly points out relearn is automatic.
    Autel MaxiTPMS

    These cost $24.99 on Amazon so one penny cheaper with one day shipping where I live.
     
  4. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    Yes, the 433 MHz sensors will also work. They still need to be programmed. The frequency is not the only item that is different from car to car, it's also the modulation, data format, and they have to be assigned ID numbers.

    The 433MHz only modules may be a bit harder to obtain, as I believe Autel intends to shift to the universal sensors exclusively.
     
  5. Atari2600

    Atari2600 Member

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    I purchased a TS401 four years ago to read TPMS sensors but never programmed. I updated the firmware and Tesla Model 3 is now in the car selection. Getting the update utility working on Windows 10 was not fun. Are the newer units working better under Windows 10 when updating?
     
  6. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    No, Autel's software has difficulties under Windows 10 for the TS401 because the 401 needs to be updated through the USB port, and the USB drivers Autel provides have some difficulties getting installed on Windows 10. Once installed they work fine.

    My programmer is the TS501, which doesn't update through USB, it uses an SD card that you take out of the programmer and put it into the PC. The Autel software then just writes the updates to the SD card. No USB driver, so no difficulties.
     
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  7. Atari2600

    Atari2600 Member

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    Yes that virtual STMicroelectronics virtual com port driver doesn't work unless you get a newer version elsewhere which is what I did.
     
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  8. knarf

    knarf Member

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  9. Big Ern

    Big Ern Member

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    Got mine back today from SomeJoe7777, super fast turn around time. He received and programmed Thursday and had them in the mail Friday, I received Monday (Texas->Pennsylvania)
     
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  10. RedSafari

    RedSafari Member

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    This method has worked for me as well, thank you for posting instructions.
    I used the 433 MHz-only Autel MX sensors and the TS401 programming tool.
    After installing the wheels and driving about 5 miles, my Model 3 prompted to reset the TPMS and detected new pressures. All good.

    If anyone is reading this in Toronto, while I still have the tool, you can use mine to program your sensors.
     
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  11. IgorS

    IgorS Member

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    Can the winter tires without the sensors be compatible with the M3? figured i can manually check them once in a while for the duration of winter.
     
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  12. RedSafari

    RedSafari Member

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    If there is no TPMS you will continually see a tire pressure alert, but the car will still drive normally.
     
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  13. Feathermerchan

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    So with the TS401 you just need to activate the sensors and install them?
     
  14. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    The TS401 can program the sensors just like the TS501. The main differences are:

    1. The TS501 kit includes an OBD-II port cable that can be used to reset the TPMS system and/or program the new sensor IDs into the car's ABS computer. This is done on certain Japanese and American cars, but is not necessary on Teslas.

    2. The TS501 has an SD card that holds all the data files for the various car makes and models. This makes it easy to update since all you have to do is remove the SD card, put it into a computer, and download the update files onto it from Autel. The TS401 does not have a removable SD card, you have to update it through a USB cable. The USB drivers provided by Autel do not work under Windows 10, although some people have found the manufacturer of the USB chipset used in the TS401 and used their drivers and then it works. Just be aware of this if you purchase a TS401 that it can be difficult to update. And that the update is necessary for it to be able to program for the Tesla Model 3.
     
  15. Feathermerchan

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    I'm not sure if the update is necessary for the Model 3. I looked in the setup and there is a listing for the 2016 to Dec 2018 Model 3.
    If I need to update it, I'll go look for the correct drivers.
    And thanks for your help.
     
  16. RedSafari

    RedSafari Member

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    TS401 worked for me without doing software updates.
     
  17. Feathermerchan

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  18. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    OK cool. They must be shipping the TS401 with later software than they were a few months back. Last summer, the TS401's shipped-with software did not have the Model 3.
     
    • Informative x 1
  19. TimM.

    TimM. Member

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    Adding another data point.. I just bought the universal Autel sensors, and the TS408 programmer ($125), and was able to easily update the programmer via USB on Windows 10. I'm about to bring them to Discount Tire to get installed, mounted, and balanced and will see how it goes. They said $60/tire with a 6yr/75K mile warranty for the ones DT installs. I basically spent the exact same amount for the programmer and sensors but now have the programmer out of the deal, to use in the future. Thanks for this info!!
     
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  20. SomeJoe7777

    SomeJoe7777 Marginally-Known Member

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    Just FYI for anyone else who might be purchasing Autel sensors: The Autel MX-1 sensors come from the factory with an "area code" ID number. The ID number has to match the area of the programmer you're using or they won't work. This is intended to prevent the sensors that are intended to be sold in the Asian market from being programmed by a North American programmer and vice versa.

    One of the Amazon retailers that I recently bought a set of sensors from sent Asian-coded sensors that could not be programmed by my North American programmer. This happened with two separate sets of sensors They apparently obtained their recent inventory from Asia, unaware that they could not be programmed by the North American programmers. I had to contact Autel tech support to verify this, which they did, and they recommended that I only purchase sensors from their list of authorized dealers.

    I did purchase another set of sensors from a different vendor on Amazon that claims to be an Autel authorized dealer, although they are not listed on Autel's dealer sheet that they gave me. But, I verified that the sensors they are selling are indeed North American area code and they program properly:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075SBSV5Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
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