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Upgrading Model S firmware for an imported car (no 3G OTA updates; no WiFi w/ FW)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by mygel6119, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. mygel6119

    mygel6119 New Member

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    Location:
    Pasig City, Philippines
    Hello,

    Good day!

    I'd just like to inquire if there's a way of upgrading the firmware (FW) of a Tesla Model S through USB flash drive or through another method. We’re trying to service a Tesla Model S to improve its performance and avoid problems on the 12v aux battery charge/discharge.

    The car was imported to the Philippines early in 2013, and still has a FW v4.x. There’s still no Tesla service center in my country. Since the car was imported to another country, we have no access to over-the-air (OTA) updates normally available to Tesla Vehicles. Additionally, we can’t use the local WiFi since the FW version that enables WiFi (v5.6) has not yet been installed.

    I’d be very grateful you could suggest alternative methods of downloading the latest FW to the Tesla Model S.

    Thank you very much in advance!
     
  2. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    Have you tried replacing the SIM card with a local carrier? I don't know if the car's GSM radios support your local frequency, but this seems like a good first step to me.
     
  3. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    The short answer is no; Tesla Technicians used to be able to flash new firmware by hard connecting to a laptop they had appropriately configured, but that has been superseded by WiFi and as far as I know that don't flash FW with a laptop anymore.

    Have you spoken to Tesla about your issue?
     
  4. Kalud

    Kalud Member

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    I am pretty sure you best bet would be to replace the SIM (which is not an easy task I guess) , ensure internet access and THEN call Tesla to initiate the firmware download remotely.
     
  5. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    You will need to have a SIM that is authorized for a local carrier, and you will have to pay for the data plan.

    Where is the SIM in an MS?

    If you do all of this, it will be interesting to see if Tesla will support it. Even if you don't get a firmware upgrade immediately, you can check connectivity with the Web App on the console, seeing maps load, and try to see if you can get the iPhone or Droid App running. If all that works, I would hope that the robots at Tesla central would see your car with an old version and push an update to you quickly.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    I would look here for the SIM: Where is the SIM card located? - Page 2
     
  7. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    How about using an AT&T microcell? That way, you could conceivably replicate a USA AT&T cell signal with your own home Internet as the back-end. That should allow the car to grab the latest firmware.
     
  8. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    The SIM card is a good idea if the local cellular carriers in The Philippines use the same frequencies as AT&T in the U.S.

    The idea of getting a U.S. AT&T microcell connected to the internet is brilliant! It may require a good, high-speed, low-latency internet connection, but that is probably easier to find than digging under the console and fiddling with SIMs.

    Here is an example: Amazon.com: AT&T Microcell
     
  9. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    Before buying a microcell, just make sure it's not GPS locked. I thought about getting one a while back to take to Canada when visiting my in-laws and didn't get it since they have gps restrictions and won't create the cell network outside the US... That may have changed since though...
     
  10. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Very Good Point!
     
  11. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    Will Tesla even push an update to a car that is in an unsupported region?
     
  12. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    I believe that you can get around the gps on the microcell by bringing it up first in the US, then move it, and make a call into ATT, and let them know that it is located in a location that has no GPS access. You just need to give a location for 911 service. That was all possible a couple of years ago, but the rules may have changed.

    The other issue, unless anyone knows a way around this, is that you need to program the microcell account with the phone numbers that you want it to connect with. To get that you either need to know the access code to get into the setup screen in the car behind a password, or have Tesla let you know what it is.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    Peter
     
  13. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    They will on a car with FW 5.8 or earlier, not only because of the recall on the charging adapter/firmware, but because the password for the earlier FW versions became too well known. They will do anything to keep people out of the hidden diagnostics menu.
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Repeating what Nigel asked earlier: Have you asked Tesla about this? What did they say? If they are supporting the car, then surely there is a way to do this. Talking to them seems like the first step.

    And if they've already said no, how do you expect to get the update to upload?
     
  15. rknee

    rknee New Member

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    Whoa, someone actually imported a Model S to the Philippines?
    This wouldn't happen to be the white S, non-pano roof with silver 21" turbine rims locked up behind the marble building along Ortigas right?
    If you're open to questions, did the car get successfully registered with LTO? If that's cleared up I'm definitely getting a P85D.


    As previously discussed by other members of the forum, you'll have two options:
    1) Get a AT&T microcell, activate it inside the US, then bring it to the PH and fire it up while indoors and out of GPS coverage.
    IIRC, it won't start broadcasting a signal unless it's got a GPS lock, though you may be able to call AT&T and bypass that.
    You might also want to run its Ethernet connection through a US VPN to get a US IP address - activating a microcell with no GPS and with a foreign IP might sound too fishy :tongue:
    This'd only be a short term solution though - you'd have to do the microcell voodoo dance every time you'd want to use it or keep it tethered to your phone, burning up the batteries.

    2) Crack open the center console, and swap out the sim card - as discussed in this thread, the 3G module doesn't seem to be SIM-locked to AT&T.
    The big three carriers are all good in terms of compatibility - they have the same 850/1900 WCDMA bands AT&T (and more. shouldn't be a problem for the chipset in the Model S)
    This'd be a more permanent fix - aside from Slacker not working outside the US, the car would work just as it should.
     
  16. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    That seems more like an assumption to me than actual fact. Like Bonnie and Nigel said Tesla should probably be asked, especially before taking some of the recommendations here that will require pulling the screen out to get to the SIM card.
     
  17. mygel6119

    mygel6119 New Member

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    Thanks for your replies, everyone!

    Yes, I've already asked Tesla and their response is to ship the car back to a country with a Tesla Service Center. This is definitely not the most economical solution.

    I've also provided the 2 options suggested (a. SIM card replacement; b. Micro-Cell removal) and asked for their position on them (i.e. can I ask for support for network settings update, etc.).

    Additionally, I've also asked if Tesla is willing to do the following:
    1. Sending a Tesla technician with the necessary equipment to our country (all-expense paid).
    2. Enabling roaming the to the built-in network SIM in the car (we'll pay for all the charges).

    Anyways, we only need once to update the firmware, then succeeding updates could already be done through WiFi (enabled with newer firmware versions).

    Please inform me if you have other ideas!

    Thanks again, everyone!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Correction:

     
  18. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    Good luck! And update us!
     
  19. C.r. Moorehead

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    The Microcell option will not work. I have set up COUNTLESS mircocells for customers and myself. The microcell has to LOCK on GPS before it will attempt to initiate network functionality. Not to mention it has to be activated thru AT&T and attached to a customer account. This is to prevent rogue network transmissions etc. I have thought of a way to get by the gps - you could essentially hack the gps signal. It would involve a software radio and quite a little bit of expertise and patience. The microcell would have to be activated at a particular spot (In U.S.) and then you would have to re-transmit the EXACT location while scrambling or at least overpowering the local signal. Not an easy task - but not impossible either.

    I would guess that the sim option would be MUCH easier!

    Other than that- find a Tesla ranger with a laptop that would love a free trip to the Philippines! I'm going to assume that the trip would most likely be on your dime if it's imported to an unsupported country.

    best of luck!
    AJ
     

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