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Model Y Thermal Image - Ultrasonic Sensors

bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
Hi all!

I bought a thermal camera recently and have been testing it out on all kinds of stuff. I pointed it at my Model Y and saw something I hadn't really thought about. Most electronic components heat up when turned on and the ultrasonic sensors on the car are no different. Take a look. Pretty cool to see.


20210116_142645.jpg
 

Itsuo-DC

Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2018
143
81
Washington, DC
Bjorn does the something similar in this video of a ‘21 M3 AWD. You can skip to about 12:30 to watch him with their IR footage inside the vehicle and 17:30 for the outside.

 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,440
1,506
Richland, WA
From my understanding of thermal cameras is that they need to be viewed with a little caution. One could look at that picture and see the sensors red and think they are *hot* when really they might be the hottest item in the frame, but the absolute temperature difference between the cold spots and hot spots is only tens of degrees or even less.

I would think anything with electricity powering it will generate some heat and be warmer than surrounding areas; don’t jump to conclusions that the sensors are “heated.”
 

bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
From my understanding of thermal cameras is that they need to be viewed with a little caution. One could look at that picture and see the sensors red and think they are *hot* when really they might be the hottest item in the frame, but the absolute temperature difference between the cold spots and hot spots is only tens of degrees or even less.

I would think anything with electricity powering it will generate some heat and be warmer than surrounding areas; don’t jump to conclusions that the sensors are “heated.”
You are 100% correct on that. In this case, if I remember correctly, the sensors were about 58 degrees F in this picture while the rest of the bumper was around 50 degrees F. I know these sensors are not heated but generate heat when functioning like all other electronics.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,440
1,506
Richland, WA
You are 100% correct on that. In this case, if I remember correctly, the sensors were about 58 degrees F in this picture while the rest of the bumper was around 50 degrees F. I know these sensors are not heated but generate heat when functioning like all other electronics.

There’s been a lot of speculation that they are heated and/or that the radar is heated. Just didn’t want this picture to fuel that again. We’ve seen a number of pictures with a clean dusting of frost/snow on the entire front bumper and no melted spots to still think the recently made cars (last ~3 months or so) have heated sensors.

Still cool pictures though, especially the seats!

Edit: would be curious about the charger port if you have a Model Y or 2021 Model 3. I believe the heating only turns in when you have the app precondition the car on “max” and of course you would want to do this unplugged; as soon as you start to draw some power from the mains that’ll self heat it.
 
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bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
There’s been a lot of speculation that they are heated and/or that the radar is heated. Just didn’t want this picture to fuel that again. We’ve seen a number of pictures with a clean dusting of frost/snow on the entire front bumper and no melted spots to still think the recently made cars (last ~3 months or so) have heated sensors.

Still cool pictures though, especially the seats!

Edit: would be curious about the charger port if you have a Model Y or 2021 Model 3. I believe the heating only turns in when you have the app precondition the car on “max” and of course you would want to do this unplugged; as soon as you start to draw some power from the mains that’ll self heat it.
Yeah! I wasn't expecting such a crazy pattern of the heating element in the seat. I'm going to take a wild guess that the pattern uses less heating element wire to still heat the whole seat rather than a more uniform back and forth pattern from top to bottom. Less wire means less power consumption.

I have a 2021 Model Y. I will try doing as you said and see if the charger port heats up.
 

Itsuo-DC

Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2018
143
81
Washington, DC
There’s been a lot of speculation that they are heated and/or that the radar is heated. Just didn’t want this picture to fuel that again. We’ve seen a number of pictures with a clean dusting of frost/snow on the entire front bumper and no melted spots to still think the recently made cars (last ~3 months or so) have heated sensors.

Still cool pictures though, especially the seats!

Edit: would be curious about the charger port if you have a Model Y or 2021 Model 3. I believe the heating only turns in when you have the app precondition the car on “max” and of course you would want to do this unplugged; as soon as you start to draw some power from the mains that’ll self heat it.

Not trying to rehash and debates—I was not a part of—but Bjorn’s video seems to imply that some of the bumper sensors are definitely heated. Or at least operate at a higher temperature the the rest of the bumper? His vehicle was in camp mode for hours when he took these readings in < -20C.

868A2240-028B-4B7E-B11D-C1FE50EE8274.png

5EABCB4C-81A8-4636-8ABA-55BF040D5F5C.png
 

bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
Very cool. The heating wire goes all the way up the back of the seat but I only feel heat in the lower lumbar area.
The first pictures of the seat I posted are of one of the back seats. Your comment peaked my curiosity so I went out and took a picture of one of the front seats. See below. This pattern is more of what I was initially expecting, at least for the seat back.

20210117_101113.jpg



20210117_101119.jpg
 

bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
Edit: would be curious about the charger port if you have a Model Y or 2021 Model 3. I believe the heating only turns in when you have the app precondition the car on “max” and of course you would want to do this unplugged; as soon as you start to draw some power from the mains that’ll self heat it.
This morning I tried this. My car had been sitting in the garage overnight. The temperature in the garage was 51 degrees F. I turned on climate in the app to HI and waited 10 minutes before taking these pictures. Based on these, I don't see any evidence of heating of the charge port or other sensors but it could be that it has to be below a certain ambient temperature for it to heat.

20210117_085739.jpg


20210117_085757.jpg
 
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bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
OP, what camera are you using?
I was first looking at the Flir One Pro which has a thermal resolution of 160x120 = 19,200 pixels but then I got to doing some deep dive research on some different forums and came across the one I ended up buying which is the HT-301. It has a thermal resolution of 384x288 = 110,592 pixels which is nearly 6 times better than the Flir One Pro but it is a little over double the price at $750 but I have no regrets. Only works with Android phones so I bought a used Samsung phone off eBay. Another benefit is that it has a 25 Hz refresh rate so you can record smooth thermal videos versus the 9 Hz refresh rate with most other thermal cameras. The most comparable professional handheld thermal camera in terms of thermal resolution is something like a Flir E8 but it has a slightly less resolution of 320x240, a 9 Hz refresh rate and costs $3,000.

Took a picture of one of my exterior house walls from the inside and saw that the builder didn't put a small piece of insulation back in that I remember seeing on the ground during construction a couple years ago. You can clearly see studs and if you take a closer picture, you can see the screw heads as being slightly cooler than the surrounding sheetrock.

20210116_144615.jpg


20210117_084059.jpg
 

fparent

Member
Sep 4, 2018
41
20
Cleveland
So are we saying that the radar behind the front bumper on the MY isn't heated? Darn, I really was hoping it was. I've had several instances with my 2018 M3 when the car refused to turn on cruise control because of wet snow sticking to the bumper.
 
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bsnr

Member
Jan 16, 2021
13
46
Tennessee
So are we saying that the radar behind the front bumper on the MY isn't heated? Darn, I really was hoping it was. I've had several instances with my 2018 M3 when the car refused to turn on cruise control because of wet snow sticking to the bumper.
I'm going to perform the test again when the car has been sitting out in below freezing temperatures for a while the next chance that comes up.
 
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MikeNY

Member
Dec 5, 2020
18
14
Long Island, NY
This is pretty cool. The car ones are interesting. The house one really show's how you can troubleshoot heating and cooling issues.

Edit - was asking about the model of the camera. See you posted it above.

Thanks!
 

rxlawdude

Active Member
Jul 10, 2015
2,375
1,646
Orange County, CA
I'm going to perform the test again when the car has been sitting out in below freezing temperatures for a while the next chance that comes up.
Another variable before declaring there's no heating of sensors would be to measure these after a half-hour drive in subfreezing temps.
 

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