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Service Report: AP1 camera replacement

Discussion in 'Model S' started by mblakele, Dec 23, 2016.

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  1. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
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    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    For the past month or so I've been having an occasional problem where AutoSteer would be unavailable for no obvious reason. Generally it'd be fine for the first 5-10 minutes of a trip, then become erratic. I'd disengage and wouldn't see the AP steering wheel icon on the IC anymore. This would usually happen while driving with sun on the windshield, and never happened at night. Running the wipers wouldn't help, so I knew it wasn't exterior condensation. But some mornings I had to wipe off exterior condensation right over the camera, sometimes when the windshield was otherwise clear. Another clue was that if I was on a long trip with sunny weather, the problem would eventually resolve itself — although sometimes I had to force an IC reboot to help this along.

    After several exchanges with the Burlingame service center, the only anomaly they could find in the logs was a possible problem with the camera's heater. I was suspicious of this answer at first, because exterior condensation wouldn't explain the behavior I'd observed. Exterior condensation that shouldn't form during my drive, and even if it did the wipers would take care of it. But the other shoe finally dropped when I realized that my car's bad days were always shortly after it had been parked outside on a rainy day. That raised the specter of interior condensation, which seemed to fit pretty well. So I scheduled an appointment.

    After three days I now have the car back, with a replacement camera. The service report says they also re-calibrated my radar. It's a rainy day today, so tomorrow I'll be watching AP carefully.

    Lessons learned:
    • If you have similar symptoms, maybe you also have a bad camera heater.
    • Right now Burlingame seems to have a very small number of Tesla loaners available. I was third or fourth in line at 08:00, and didn't get one.
    • After just nine months with my TMS, a BMW 328i felt slow, clunky, and obsolete. I especially detested the beeping media nag screen at the start of most trips. But I liked having an audio source button on the steering wheel. I also enjoyed the handling and the feel of driving a smaller car. The TMS is quite a bit larger than I really want or need. Is my TM3 ready yet?
    • I'm not sure how much Tesla pays to rent extra loaners, but it probably would have been cheaper for Tesla to simply pay for any and all uber or lyft rides that I wanted to take.
    • To work on the front camera, service has to disconnect anything using that extra connector in the microphone enclosure. I had two dashcams attached to that, and they had to call me and get my authorization to disconnect them. This didn't happen until day two, which suggests some potential for improvement. Anyway my advice is to disconnect anything like this yourself, before you drop off the car. It'll save time all around, and naturally the tech might not do things the same way you would.
    Overall this was a pretty good service experience. Communication from service almost met my expectations. First, I'd like to get a realistic ETA for return of the car. They estimated two days, but slipped by a day to run an overnight test of the new camera's heater. Honestly it seems like a job that could be done in one day, but I'll live. Once they have the car, I'd like a status update before the end of each and every day the car is being serviced. Here they missed the first day, but did ok the second and third days. Of course I'd also like a Tesla loaner with working AP, too — as long as I'm asking.

    I expect Tesla to send me a service quality survey in the next few days, and I'll try to report as much of this as makes sense. If I don't see a survey request, I'll send it in an email.
     
    • Informative x 2
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  2. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    SF Bay Area
    Followup: within a week, the replacement camera began to act erratically and I started to see Driver Assistance Feature Unavailable messages. I limped through the holidays with occasional resets of the "two-minute power off" variety. Shortly after the first of the year the camera seemed to fail completely, and took TACC with it.

    Burlingame was able to schedule me for a camera replacement on short notice. This time I disconnected the dashcam myself before handing over the car. I asked about reimbursing for Lyft/Uber rides, but they aren't set up for that. They're able to call you an uber from the SC after you drop off your car, and back to the SC when it's ready. That would work for me sometimes, but this time I needed to make a few different stops that day. Instead I had another BMW 3 series loaner, which felt old, clunky, and slow — much like the last one. The media nag screen didn't seem as bad this time, but the seats seemed worse. Perhaps one virtue of the Enterprise loaners is that they make me appreciate my Model S anew.

    The service ETA was spot on this time: they said they could finish the repair by end of day, and they did. They also gave me a status update when the car was ready. I wasn't able to get to the service center before they closed, but that isn't their fault.

    Anyway I'm now on APv1 camera #3. So far so good. AP worked very well on the drive home, which helped convince me that my last two cameras really were faulty. At some point in the service visit I got a software update notification, but apparently it was just a reflash of 8.0 2.50.114 for the new camera.
     
  3. Steve1081

    Steve1081 Member

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    Nov 3, 2016
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    Location:
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Strange that the 2nd camera failed so quickly.... Did you ask if something else could be causing the failures?

    Hopefully the 3rd camera bill be a charm...
     
  4. mblakele

    mblakele radial cross member

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    SF Bay Area
    Yes, I asked a few questions along those lines. But I didn't really get any answers.

    Speculating, maybe when parked outside some camera heaters tend to fail through overuse. Then with the heater inactive, condensation gets into the camera housing and can't get out. However I didn't see direct evidence of moisture inside the camera housing, so I might be on the wrong track there.

    The first camera only started failing when the weather turned, and the problem tended to show up in clear weather after rainstorms. The camera's built-in heater definitely wasn't working. Some mornings I'd preheat the car and have a clear windshield except for the camera location, so I'd have to wipe that off. The second camera seemed to have heater problems too. The morning I took it in I didn't preheat the car, and it had a thin layer soft ice over the whole windshield including the camera area. However that second camera may have had an unrelated defect. Its symptoms were a little different to begin with, and began to show up within a day or two of installation.

    I'm also curious to know if these replacement cameras are new parts, or refurbished. We know that Tesla and Mobileye have parted ways, as far as new hardware goes. Can Tesla continue to replace APv1 hardware when necessary? The original contract should have covered this situation, or at least I'd hope so.
     
  5. ThisIsTrue

    ThisIsTrue Dismember

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    Location:
    'Western Slope' Colorado
    Quit taking pictures of yourself with the camera, and maybe it won't fail. :D
     
  6. Nosken

    Nosken Member

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    Lincoln, CA
    #6 Nosken, Jan 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
    Yesterday, I was charging at one of the Truckee California superchargers. There was a model X, AP2 car that had snow on the windshield on top of the camera housing when it parked. He had not driven far, so what have you had a chance to melt. After 15 minutes the snow on the windshield had melted, and I observed heavy condensation either on the inside of the glass or on the top of the camera. His car had not been on, so the camera heaters weren't running. He wasn't there when I took off, so I didn't have an ability to ascertain if there was a problem with auto pilot (if it was enabled at all).
     
  7. Pale_Rider

    Pale_Rider Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Just had AP camera #2 installed this week. Got the car at the end of August. Hopefully this isn't a reoccurring problem!

    Chris
     

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