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Help with Model 3 FSD/camera issue?

Hello all - I've been following this forum for a while but just joined and I'm hoping someone might have some ideas/suggestions for a frustrating issue I have with my Model 3:

2018 Model 3 AWD Performance Stealth, about 57,000 miles

In November 2021, at about 48,000 miles, while driving at night, I suddenly began receiving frequent error messages about the left front fender camera being blocked or blinded. The error would come and go intermittently, every few minutes. At first, this was somewhat intermittent, not all the time, and not every night, but never during the day. Of note, even when the error message showed a blocked front left fender camera, I could pull up the backup camera and view the image from the front left fender camera, and it looked fine.

I made a service visit and a mobile service tech came to my house (in rural Colorado, about 5 hours from closest service center), and replaced the left front fender camera under warranty. However - this did not change the issue.

Since then - the issue is now constant. Every night, once it gets completely dark (usually about 30 minutes after sunset time) the display will start sending error messages about "Full Self Driving may be degraded - one or more side cameras occluded", or "left front fender camera blocked or blinded". The display will flip back and forth from the FSD visualization to the standard autopilot visualization. It may go away for 30 seconds, then come back. This occurs constantly, every night, every road I drive on. FSD is now useless for me at night, and even when autopilot is not engaged, the error will come up every minute or so.

After several months of scheduling issues, I was able to get the vehicle into the service center in Colorado Springs last week. For me, this is a 5 hour drive each way, and required a 2 night hotel stay as they had the car overnight waiting on a part. The tech identified "damage" on the camera (the one the mobile service tech just installed a few months ago) and replaced the camera (again, same repair as last time). I advocated this wouldn't fix the problem - they disagreed and said it was fixed.

Stupidly I drove back home and sure enough - the next night, the exact same issue, nothing is fixed. I made another service center visit (5 hour drive back, another hotel stay) for next week - and now the service reps are messaging me and indicating that there are no hardware issues, that the logs show a blocked camera which is a common issue that they attribute to dirt, poor lane markings or a wall next to a lane. They are essentially saying that if their scans in the SC show no hardware issues, then nothing more can be done. They can't test drive it during the night since it's not fully dark until about 9pm when the SC is closed and is light out again before they open.

I'm not sure what to do at this point - there surely is something wrong, as it can't be normal for the car to indicate the camera is blocked 100% of the time during the night and never during the day, but the SC can't replicate the issue since it doesn't occur during the day.

Has anyone else had this issue and if so, any suggestions? Or any thoughts as to what it could be? The mobile tech suggested perhaps the coaxial cable to the camera was bad, but the SC declined to replace it as it passed all of their tests while the vehicle was there.

I would be grateful for any suggestions, I'm continuing to discuss with the SC on the app but I'm afraid I'll drive down there, stay in a hotel again, they will check the car out and say they can't find anything wrong and this issue continues. It's also now out of warranty - although I believe this issue should still be covered as it was reported and addressed before the warranty expired.

Thanks!
 

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I would contact your service advisor--again--and ask they re-evaluate. I had my 10/2018 in for interior camera fault recently. Windshield wiring harness was replaced (Feb). Driving home from service visit #1, issue continued to be present. On follow-up visit, wiring harness was again replaced, plus new interior camera, as well as firmware update. This resolved this issue. Happy with Broadway/Littleton service center (since Superior CO remains offline due to the wildfire).
 
My model 3 is a 2018 FSD AWD. I had a similar experience last fall on a cross country trip, when driving on country roads (Rt 24 from Limon to Colorado Springs).
What I noticed is that when a road is dark, no street lighting, the FSD is degraded - camera blocked. As soon as I drive into an area with street lighting the message clears and FSD is back. It seems that the cameras don't have very good night vision without exterior lights.
This would also explain why we don't get a warning about the front or rear cameras, there's always light from the car shining front and back.
This situation is similar to when the side cameras are blinded by bright sunlight shining directly on them in the morning or evening.
In order for FSD to fully function it needs to be able to see from all the cameras, so no light for side cameras = no vision from side cameras = not fully functionable FSD.
Hope this helps.
 
My model 3 is a 2018 FSD AWD. I had a similar experience last fall on a cross country trip, when driving on country roads (Rt 24 from Limon to Colorado Springs).
What I noticed is that when a road is dark, no street lighting, the FSD is degraded - camera blocked. As soon as I drive into an area with street lighting the message clears and FSD is back. It seems that the cameras don't have very good night vision without exterior lights.
This would also explain why we don't get a warning about the front or rear cameras, there's always light from the car shining front and back.
This situation is similar to when the side cameras are blinded by bright sunlight shining directly on them in the morning or evening.
In order for FSD to fully function it needs to be able to see from all the cameras, so no light for side cameras = no vision from side cameras = not fully functionable FSD.
Hope this helps.
Interesting. So this would imply this must happen all the time? Anyone driving with FSD on a dark unlit road would see a camera blocked message. I’m surprised this isn’t much much more common than it seems to be? It would definitely make FSD much less valuable in rural areas, to be essentially disabled by the absence of street lights. I wonder if there is a difference between a 2018 Model 3 and a current model in regards to the ability to see in the dark? Also the error messages pop up about every minute which is incredibly annoying. Perhaps I’ll try disabling FSD on my next night drive and see what happens. Thanks!
 

Ecoli

Active Member
Aug 6, 2019
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New Zealand
Interesting. So this would imply this must happen all the time? Anyone driving with FSD on a dark unlit road would see a camera blocked message. I’m surprised this isn’t much much more common than it seems to be? It would definitely make FSD much less valuable in rural areas, to be essentially disabled by the absence of street lights. I wonder if there is a difference between a 2018 Model 3 and a current model in regards to the ability to see in the dark? Also the error messages pop up about every minute which is incredibly annoying. Perhaps I’ll try disabling FSD on my next night drive and see what happens. Thanks!
The repeater camera's are different in the newer models
This video mentions some of the different revisions with examples
Although it's about fixing early revision repeater cameras getting blinded at night by the cars turn indicators flashing
 
The repeater camera's are different in the newer models
This video mentions some of the different revisions with examples
Although it's about fixing early revision repeater cameras getting blinded at night by the cars turn indicators flashing
Yes interestingly the left front fender camera which the SC replaced (the same one that shows blocked or blinded) no longer has the red glare (I assume it is the new version). The right front fender camera (original from 2018) does have the glare, and doesn’t show blocked.
 
I had this issue with the left front camera. It was replaced and has not come back since. I would talk to the service advisor again as it may be that the replacement you got was also faulty? The odds are against it, but they were also against my trying to supercharge at two different chargers in two locations and getting error messages that led me to think my car was faulty when it turned out to be that I happened to find two different faulty chargers in two separate locations one after the other....
 
Hello all - I've been following this forum for a while but just joined and I'm hoping someone might have some ideas/suggestions for a frustrating issue I have with my Model 3:

2018 Model 3 AWD Performance Stealth, about 57,000 miles

In November 2021, at about 48,000 miles, while driving at night, I suddenly began receiving frequent error messages about the left front fender camera being blocked or blinded. The error would come and go intermittently, every few minutes. At first, this was somewhat intermittent, not all the time, and not every night, but never during the day. Of note, even when the error message showed a blocked front left fender camera, I could pull up the backup camera and view the image from the front left fender camera, and it looked fine.

I made a service visit and a mobile service tech came to my house (in rural Colorado, about 5 hours from closest service center), and replaced the left front fender camera under warranty. However - this did not change the issue.

Since then - the issue is now constant. Every night, once it gets completely dark (usually about 30 minutes after sunset time) the display will start sending error messages about "Full Self Driving may be degraded - one or more side cameras occluded", or "left front fender camera blocked or blinded". The display will flip back and forth from the FSD visualization to the standard autopilot visualization. It may go away for 30 seconds, then come back. This occurs constantly, every night, every road I drive on. FSD is now useless for me at night, and even when autopilot is not engaged, the error will come up every minute or so.

After several months of scheduling issues, I was able to get the vehicle into the service center in Colorado Springs last week. For me, this is a 5 hour drive each way, and required a 2 night hotel stay as they had the car overnight waiting on a part. The tech identified "damage" on the camera (the one the mobile service tech just installed a few months ago) and replaced the camera (again, same repair as last time). I advocated this wouldn't fix the problem - they disagreed and said it was fixed.

Stupidly I drove back home and sure enough - the next night, the exact same issue, nothing is fixed. I made another service center visit (5 hour drive back, another hotel stay) for next week - and now the service reps are messaging me and indicating that there are no hardware issues, that the logs show a blocked camera which is a common issue that they attribute to dirt, poor lane markings or a wall next to a lane. They are essentially saying that if their scans in the SC show no hardware issues, then nothing more can be done. They can't test drive it during the night since it's not fully dark until about 9pm when the SC is closed and is light out again before they open.

I'm not sure what to do at this point - there surely is something wrong, as it can't be normal for the car to indicate the camera is blocked 100% of the time during the night and never during the day, but the SC can't replicate the issue since it doesn't occur during the day.

Has anyone else had this issue and if so, any suggestions? Or any thoughts as to what it could be? The mobile tech suggested perhaps the coaxial cable to the camera was bad, but the SC declined to replace it as it passed all of their tests while the vehicle was there.

I would be grateful for any suggestions, I'm continuing to discuss with the SC on the app but I'm afraid I'll drive down there, stay in a hotel again, they will check the car out and say they can't find anything wrong and this issue continues. It's also now out of warranty - although I believe this issue should still be covered as it was reported and addressed before the warranty expired.

Thanks!
Hi. Tesla newbee here and just took delivery of my 2019 Model 3 LD AWD Performance Stealth ( software 2022.12.3.2 last week ). I have full self driving active. BTW love the car but you would think for the 56K price the service center delivery prep could have included cleaning the interior and seats. Filthy on delivery. Okay. Sorry for OT rant. I'm having the same issue with the left side fender camera but with a twist. Left fender camera also doesn't "see" trucks ( 12T to semi trucks ) as large vehicles in the daytime and at night, even on well-lit interstates. Adding to this, the Right side fender camera doesn't see trucks as trucks at all. It shows them as cars on the screen and the images of them on the screen are always left of center lane even when the vehicle approaching IS in their center lane. Lastly: neither side camera in daytime or night sees metal or concrete lane barrier walls. Cones and barrels, signs and lights are fine. Question: Should I try a recalibration of the cameras on my own or, is it worth raising a warranty issue? Maybe just the nature of the beast on the 2018/2019 cameras(?)
 
We have a new Y with 4000 miles. Took ownership in March. Recently, while driving at night in FSD, we received alerts that the left then right cameras were obstructed and it kicked us out of FSD. Since then, whenever we drive at night, we cannot initiate FSD. The "steering wheel" will not illuminate on the screen and when we try to initiate by double clicking down on the stalk an error displays, "Cabin Camera is Covered," but there is nothing covering it. Tesla won't send out a remote service, so we're staring down an hour/half drive (one way) to the nearest service center. Very frustrating for such a new car. We've only been in FSD Beta for a few weeks.
 

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