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NHTSA asks about MCU memory screen failures

Gwgan

Almost a wagon
Aug 11, 2013
2,944
2,192
Maine
US Agency Probes Touch-Screen Failures in Tesla Model S

Documents posted Wednesday say the agency has received 11 complaints about the screens over the past 13 months in vehicles that have been in use from 3.9 years to 6.3 years.

If the screens fail, the cars will lose the rear camera display, causing reduced visibility. No crashes or injuries have been reported.


The probe covers 63,000 Model S vehicles with screens controlled by flash memory devices with finite lifespans based on the number of program and erase cycles, the documents said. The screens can fail prematurely because the memory can wear out.

The same screens and processors were used in 159,000 2012 through 2018 Model S and 2016 to 2018 Model X vehicles built through early 2018, the agency said.
 
  • Informative
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jvanyc

Member
Oct 30, 2018
50
63
Chagrin Falls, OH
Coincidentally I just had mine replaced Tuesday the day this announcement was made. Sure would love to get that $1800 back if it turns out Tesla is on the hook to recall this avoidable issue. The replacement MCU1 unit is a remanufactured one which I guess is 1k cheaper than a new one and has a 4 year no mileage warranty. I have to say the screen resolution is much better and brighter and it does seem to refresh faster than the original one.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,473
8,627
Visalia, CA
...If the screens fail, the cars will lose the rear camera display, causing reduced visibility. No crashes or injuries have been reported...

Proposed side electronic cameras without backup traditional mirrors can be a safety issue if the electronic fail.

However, for the S and X, most people don't display rearview camera while driving so when it fails that does not affect them.

For those who do, there's a backup system called the traditional mirror on the windshield. So if the MCU fails, drivers can still use the traditional rearview mirror.

So there's a need to clarify what's the safety issue here when the electronic fails but the traditional rearview mirror has not been eliminated from the design.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,473
8,627
Visalia, CA
...Not so much about rear view while driving forward...

Thank you for the info. It does make sense.

NHTSA requires Reverse Gear Rearview Camera to protect kids who might play at the rear outside of the car effective 2018.

I guess that's why Tesla has switched to MCU2 during that year and boosts the eMMC size 4 folds so it will take longer to wear out.

I assume most of the complaints are MCU1 that are not eligible for the 2018 deadline protection.

Even if it's a safety problem, Tesla has a warranty for 50,000 miles and 4 years, and the problem of worn-out eMMC seldom happens during the warranty time.

Thus, is selling something that has a finite life that fails after the expiration of warranty a safety problem?

Not only eMMC but tires also got worn out after the expiration of warranty and can pose a safety problem too.

Hmmm. Very interesting to see what NHTSA is up to!
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,473
8,627
Visalia, CA
I would think the bigger safety issue with losing an MCU is the inability to defog or defrost a windshield in adverse weather vs loss of the backup cam. A windshield can fog up pretty quickly if conditions are right.

Indeed! That would make more sense in the safety claim!
 

mtndrew1

Active Member
May 12, 2015
1,371
3,884
Gardena, CA
You are too generous about the duration. It's now:

"Touchscreen and Media Control Unit: 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first"

Tesla updates ridiculous warranty on problematic media unit and touchscreen - Electrek

To play devil’s advocate it’s half of the prior warranty but twice as much as you’ll get for a replacement system from any other automakers.

This is entirely due to verbose eMMC over-writing killing the chip for no reason and Tesla should indeed own up to their screw up.

It would cost them on the order of $150M to fix this on a rolling basis over many quarters. Now that they’re flush with cash, creating happy owners who originally supported the company through tough times is cheap advertising. They can clearly replace worn units with refurbs with fresh chips (now that the over-writing is fixed) and remain profitable.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: MP3Mike

Eriamjh1138

Member
May 31, 2017
471
621
Michigan
You are too generous about the duration. It's now:

"Touchscreen and Media Control Unit: 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first"

Tesla updates ridiculous warranty on problematic media unit and touchscreen - Electrek
The warranty has nothing to do with the expected life. No one expects to replace something like an MCU / body computer every 24 months. No one.

And Tesla doesn’t expect them all to fail after 12 months.

A design defect is something that will fail regardless of how the user uses it. I the case of the MCU, tesla is killing it with defective flash memory management.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,473
8,627
Visalia, CA
...The warranty has nothing to do with the expected life. No one expects to replace something like an MCU / body computer every 24 months. No one....

Consumable components are tested to see how long they can last.

Tire companies do with their tires so they can write up their terms of the warranty.

Like tires being worn out with use, eMMC is also rated for how many times it can be written and overwritten again.

Initially, Tesla gave a warranty of 4 years and 50,000 miles but now, after 8 years since the first Model S came out, Tesla has accumulated data of how long this thing lasts, and thus, your new 2 years and 25,000 miles.

The warranty revision has everything to do with how soon the thing will be worn out.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,516
38,694
Oregon
This is entirely due to verbose eMMC over-writing killing the chip for no reason and Tesla should indeed own up to their screw up.

Nope, as a number of people have said the majority of the current failures are not related to write cycles, it is the controller in the eMMC failing. Which appears to be related to specific batches of the chips.

Here is one write up about it: Preventive eMMC replacement on MCU1
 

Eriamjh1138

Member
May 31, 2017
471
621
Michigan
Consumable components are tested to see how long they can last.
Yes.

Not at Tesla. They skip that phase. They probably don’t even pretend to simulate it.

Elon Musk 'allegedly' instructed staff to skip key brake tests to achieve target (just an example).

There was an article I cannot find about a test engineer telling musk something about some legacy company not shipping a car until it has had 2.5 million miles of testing done (on all of its systems) or whatever, can’t find it.

We are Tesla’s testers. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but my point is that products last longer than their warranties. If you don’t believe that, I have an extended warranty to sell you.
 
Last edited:

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
9,473
8,627
Visalia, CA
...but my point is that products last longer than their warranties. If you don’t believe that, I have an extended warranty to sell you.

Indeed. The products should last more than their warranties and not less or otherwise, it might look really bad.

That's why the shrinking warranty for

"Touchscreen and Media Control Unit: 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first"

Your statement is very true because my 2012 Model S was doing fine within the warranty but after that, there were 3 repairs that could have cost me more than $9,000.

Fortunately, I took your advice and bought their extended warranty in 2012 when most people told me that there's nothing to fix in an EV and Tesla covered the repair cost fully.
 

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