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Tesla infotainment system upgradeable from MCU1 to MCU2

VValleyEV

Supporting Member
Sep 23, 2018
668
3,878
Cottonwood, AZ
Shower idea: IF tesla is going to make an MCU3 sooner or later, let's hope they design it to be backward compatible with both MCU1 and MCU2 cars. This way they could offer it as a retrofit (at a fair price!) for both MCU1 old early adopters, and for MCU2 large base.

THIS is what I have been thinking about.

157BF67C-1F39-4C87-8EAD-E3AF2D5026C4.jpeg
 

boaterva

Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
7,565
3,737
Northern Virginia, USA
I had this thread bookmarked on my PC (as opposed to my phone), and reread a chunk of it... when I posted about ten pages ago about R&D for wiring harnesses and all that is needed to make the upgrade work, I'd not read some people posting it was more or less plug and play.

Then I get to the end here and there are more people saying it isn't..... and/or if it isn't, the hardware does already exist.

I think a major issue is these facts.

Is there a way to settle this? I've heard this story all three way in too many threads.

The MCUs are totally incompatible and need some complicated wiring harness to make the upgrade work.

OR It's plug and play.

AND now: The harness already exists so it's just a matter of producing them.... so, the issue is Service Center time and pricing....


WTF.... which is it?
 
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boaterva

Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
7,565
3,737
Northern Virginia, USA
THAT I KNOW OF, There is no actual confirmed case of it being done.

I have been trying to get some folks to do the R and D at my expense and still have no takers.
All of that would great to see, of course. Right now, everything seems be smoke. Without a measure of complexity, hard to tell if it will ever really happen....
 

Krazaak

Member
Jul 30, 2017
903
998
Charlotte, NC
THAT I KNOW OF, There is no actual confirmed case of it being done.

I have been trying to get some folks to do the R and D at my expense and still have no takers.
Curious, are you aware of the claim I referred to and doubt the validity or are you unaware of it? I could have sworn it was in one of the yellow screen discussions, but I can't for the life of me find the thread now.
 

BigD0g

Active Member
Jan 12, 2017
2,019
4,385
Somewhere
It’s been done. It’s not complete plug and play, some things are different but 2 - 4 hrs pulling and replacing hardware and maybe 2 hrs of messing with firmware issues and boom it’s upgrades. Assuming you know some bits AND have full access to your current mcu.

caveat I have not done this myself, but I know someone that has.
 

Trebek1762

Let's play jeopardy
Feb 6, 2018
344
472
Wisconsin
It’s been done. It’s not complete plug and play, some things are different but 2 - 4 hrs pulling and replacing hardware and maybe 2 hrs of messing with firmware issues and boom it’s upgrades. Assuming you know some bits AND have full access to your current mcu.

caveat I have not done this myself, but I know someone that has.
See, I would totally do this given the right directions. Is there a reason a write up can’t be done?

Doesn’t appear like anyone at this point is interested in commercializing it, so is there any reason why the part numbers required and steps needed to preform this can’t be released? (Minus the rooting part).

I’d rather invest the time and effort instead of dropping over 20k for an updated auto.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,564
7,888
Seattle area, WA
@whitex -- while I am 100% behind you on the chance (i.e. asymptotically approaching 0%) of an MCU retrofit program being done, I'm told by a very reliable source that Tesla already has an MCU2 retrofit kit/harness designed and built internally. It wouldn't be an MCU 1.9, it would be a retrofitted MCU2. They could mass-manufacture it and offer an upgrade path. But at this point in time, they have shelved it. And the longer time goes on, the less and less likely they'll ever release it.
Even if you are right and they designed a retrofit kit/harness, unless it literally replaces EVERYTHING that has to do with the new MCU2, adds the new antennas, new instrument cluster,etc, bringing it 100% identical to factory MCU2 car, it would still be not be an MCU2 configuration. To illustrate, let me give you an example: MCU1 has single 2.4GHz WiFi band, MCU2 has dual band 2.4/5GHz. If this new retrofited MCU2 doesn't have a matching antenna in the side mirror, but the software doesn't distinguish between actual original MCU2 and retrofited MCU2, then the software will enable both bands, but 5GHz will function horribly it at all without an antenna. So, your car sees an AP, connects 2.4GHz, AP is informed the car has dual band radio, AP has band-steering enabled, it sees a very strong 2.4GHz signal, so it terminates the 2.4GHz connection reasoning that the car will reconnect on 5GHz. The car tries, fails, so it reconnects back on 2.4GHz and the whole cycle repeats - the car is stuck in infinite reconnect loop. If you tell me that the software will somehow know that it's running on a retrofitted MCU2 as opposed to factory MCU2, then you are telling me it's a new configuration, which you'd call "retrofitted MCU2" and I just dubbed "MCU1.9" - a new configuration for software to account for, be tested and maintained. WiFi is not the only difference btw, there is also integrated vs independent instrument cluster, bluetooh, etc.

Then there is training of all service centers how to install such retrofit, and then amend all repair manuals to account for such retrofitted car - yet another configuration to support. Oh, and then yet another part (retrofit kit) to keep for repairs and for sale in the parts supply chain (which we know is already giving Tesla plenty of troubles scaling).

So, we both agree it's not going to happen, I can just think of many more reasons why not. :)
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,564
7,888
Seattle area, WA
Sounds like a good plan, but I think the only problem is getting Tesla to sell you 100,000 MCU2s and IC2s, or finding that many salvage MCU2 cars. ;)
With $200M to play with, I would probably just reverse engineer the MCU2 and produce the retrofit from scratch at probably under $750, even cheaper if I could reuse the MCU1 screens and other parts (possibly just design a board to replace the Tegra board and some emulator of the IC to send what's needed to the old IC, maybe IC would need a retrofit board for that too). Tesla probably used some reference design from Intel to start. 100,000 units is probably close to the the minimum such an exercise would be worth while.

PS> Of course step one would be to approach Elon to buy 100,000 MCU2 with the retrofit kit you mentioned - if I can do it at under $2K total per unit, I would become just a wholesaler :p At up to $200M deal size, Elon would give me a few minutes of his time.
 
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whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,564
7,888
Seattle area, WA
Don't bet against Elon. Oh I see what you're doing. Saying it won't/can't be done will force Elon to make it happen.
I wish you could bet on Elon's promises in Vegas, it would be very interesting to see the odds. What do you think the odds would be to bet that Elon will meet his autonomous robo-taxi fleet next year allowing owners to make money while their cars taxi people around? Heck, how about Elon's just coast to coast summon available to all who paid for FSD by end of 2020 (so >4 years after he made that statement)?

It won't happen of course because the odds against Elon would be too high, i.e. nobody would be willing to bet against Elon because they could make more money and guaranteed just parking it in a money market account. ;)
 
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BigD0g

Active Member
Jan 12, 2017
2,019
4,385
Somewhere
@Trebek1762 - as @BigD0g said, the hardware part is hard but doable. It's the MCU access that is an issue...to do this on your own, you need to root your MCU....

Or, get access to Tesla toolbox. Theoretically say a 10,000' view, if Tesla was wanting to be cool / nice about this. You could go into a service center and ask for your MCU to be backed up. You then go home make the necessary hardware swaps, MCU2, IC2, right side mirror for new antenna and then you drive back to SC and ask them to restore your back up.

Upgrade complete, you get a refurbished MCU ( tesla won't sell them to you, need to get it off salvage market ). Tesla get's call it 2 hours of labor charges and good will with all their customers for enabling retrofits.

Sounds win/win to me.
 

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
415
514
boston ma
I had this thread bookmarked on my PC (as opposed to my phone), and reread a chunk of it... when I posted about ten pages ago about R&D for wiring harnesses and all that is needed to make the upgrade work, I'd not read some people posting it was more or less plug and play.

Then I get to the end here and there are more people saying it isn't..... and/or if it isn't, the hardware does already exist.

I think a major issue is these facts.

Is there a way to settle this? I've heard this story all three way in too many threads.

The MCUs are totally incompatible and need some complicated wiring harness to make the upgrade work.

OR It's plug and play.

AND now: The harness already exists so it's just a matter of producing them.... so, the issue is Service Center time and pricing....


WTF.... which is it?

The MCU1 and MCU2 are totally different.

MCU1 talks to another computer that runs the instrument cluster; MCU2 manages both the IC and the central display. There are other wiring differences as well such as antennae.

But they're both computers mounted in a place and connected to the rest of the computer via a small number of network interfaces.

The people who have put an MCU2 into an MCU1 car have done a Remove and Replace of the MCU and all things that touch it (IC and other stuff as well) which probably involves dismantling part of the car.

The premise of an "MCU upgrade" is that the car is basically a network on wheels; in theory it isn't outrageous to imagine a replacement part that is compatible with both the MCU1 style connectivity and MCU2 style connectivity (in MCU1 car talk to the existing IC using the same protocol as an MCU1; in an MCU2 style car the IC plugs into a different port and the IC is treated as a 2nd screen).

In practice, this apparently was not a design target of the MCU2 and likely won't be a design target of an MCU3 as well, leaving the MCU1 users basically on "sustaining engineering" (no more features, we might fix bugs, we might introduce one final apple style "upgrade" that makes the car unusable, forcing you to upgrade.

Theoretically an MCU2.5 will be made that's compatible with either installation without a major amount of reworking of either installation, but it'd have to be a Tesla initiative and if not a priority at least a desired feature.
 

dark cloud

Active Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,990
2,247
BC
Many in this thread will be interested in this petition at change.org. It has over 700 signatures now.

Sign the Petition

Signed. Everyone else should also. But personally my thought process is paying $3000 for Netflix and more games I will never play? I can find plenty of other ways to play Netflix in my car for a lot cheaper than $3000.

Then again when my MCU dies it will piss me off to pay the same $3000 to replace an archaic computer in my car. At that point I should be able to at least get something more capable.

How hard is it to just update the processor and memory in the same MCU1 to make it function properly?
 
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