Media control unit
Media Control Unit or MCU is the main screen in your Tesla. Currently, there are two versions of Tesla’s Media Control Unit: MCU 1 and MCU 2. How to know which MCU version your car came with? Easy. All Model 3 and Model Y come with MCU 2. For Model S and Model X, if you purchased your car after March 2018 it came with MCU 2, and if you purchased it before that date, it came with MCU 1.
If you’re still not sure which MCU version you have, here’s a couple of tips:
- When doing a restart of the car using the two side wheels of the wheel drive, if you have MCU 1 only the MCU will restart, whereas if you have MCU 2, both the MCU and the IC (Instrument Cluster) will restart.
- Check out Tesla Tap MCU tester
Pictures of Media Control Unit
Blog posts related to Media control unit
My touchscreen (MCU1) has started failing. It resets iself 2-3 times a week, it takes forever to calculate a route, and it even erased all of my favorite places saved in the map. I'm afraid it's the issue known as the eMMC failure that often appears in Tesla cars with MCU1. Here's what they told me when I took it to the Service Center and potential costs of fixing the problem for good.
After a month without any updates, Tesla owners with MCU1 have finally started getting them again. 2020.4 comes with 'Additional Vehicle Information' and most of the missed features released in the 'holiday update'. Here are all the details.
Tesla’s Media Control Unit or MCU is the main screen in the car and it determines some of the new features your car can get. Since we have a Model S that we purchased in 2017, we have MCU1. In this blog post, we will try to answer the following questions:
Last week Tesla started rolling out V10 but there are still quite a few Tesla owners who don’t have it. I’m getting quite a few questions about what upgrades you get if you have Media Control Unit version 1 (MCU1), so I decided to summarize what I know. Let me know if you have unanswered questions!
Videos about Media control unit
Past Tesletter articles
Since v9 was release there has been a lot of Model S and Model X owners complaining about Tesla removing the ability to split the screen between any two apps. According to several reports, 2018.42 just started to roll out and introduces the ability of moving the rear camera view, as well as other apps, to the top while showing the media player. While this isn’t the split screen abilities that folks were asking to get back, it is clearly a step in the right direction.
At the same time, Electrek has reported that 2018.42 is releasing «tesla navigate on autopilot» to the masses. It seems that the released version requires user input - we assume that pulling the AP stalk as in previous versions - to initiate the suggested lane change. As this feature is being polished more and more we assume that Tesla will release the ability to do these lane changes without driver confirmation at some point 🤞.
Read more: RedditFrom issue #30
It clearly seems like an unintended feature (A.K.A. bug) because it goes away if you then start the navigation, of if you don’t have the camera up and start backing up. But one can only dream that Tesla would bring something like that to the Model S and Model X, this would be superior to the previous «split screen» if they let people re-arrange them.#29
There’s been a lot of speculation around if it’d be possible to upgrade cars with MCU1 to FSD (HW3). Well, we’re now seeing the first Tesla with MCU1 being upgraded to Hardware 3 both in the US and Canada. A few highlights from the stories we’ve read here and here:
- The hardware part takes about one hour
- The software update is trickier, it needs involvement from engineering, and it can take between 2-4 hours
In terms of functionality:
- No cones or street markings on the IC display (MCU2 is needed)
- TeslaCam and SentryMode recording works (Dashcam Viewer does not)
- Only front and repeater cameras record - no recording from the rear camera. This is the same as with HW2.5
We hope to get the upgrade in the next few weeks, we’re currently waiting for some missing parts to arrive in our Service Center 🤞From issue #114
A few months ago, there was some speculation around if Tesla cars with AP2.0 would be able to upgrade to FSD or not. The answer is yes, and it can be done right now if you’re also getting the MCU2 retrofit. Reddit user ‘chillaban’ has shared his experience so you can read more about it here. If you’ve purchased FSD and are waiting for the Infotainment upgrade to be available, know that you can just schedule an appointment and request it. Most likely, you’ll get an appointment to get both done at the same time.
Read more: Reddit
From issue #113
FSD with MCU1 doesn’t display cones or trash cans but it does display stop signs and stoplights. I personally didn’t know that, I thought it would stop at stop signs and traffic lights but just not display the icons in my MCU1 screen. Good to know, and thanks for sharing Zack! I’m next! I got the FSD retrofit in my Model S 2017 with AP2.5 and MCU1 on Tuesday and I almost cried when I saw my first stop sign 😉
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #115
After a month of owning a two year old Tesla, Greentheonly has taken a look at his car’s EMMC stats and he thinks that, in ideal conditions, it should last somewhere between 100 and 200 years. The EMMC he has analyzed is for Model 3/MCU2 cars, and even if these numbers are not realistic, it’s definitely an improvement if we compare it with the MCU1 EMMC (which has been giving problems after 3-4-5 years).From issue #109
After swapping his AP board a couple of weeks ago, now Greentheonly has replaced his MCU1 with an MCU2. According to his tweets, he only needed the MCU2 (~$1,600 from a junkyard), IC2, and the new tuner; no wiring harness changes were needed. Of course, Greentheonly noticed how MCU2 is much more responsive than MCU1.
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #93
A couple of months before Tesla announced the availability of the Infotainment upgrade, Kyle (@kyleday) finished this project to upgrade his Model S’ MCU and was even able to keep Tuner2 (which the official Tesla retrofit doesn’t offer).
In his words «I do not encourage you to repeat anything I have done. In fact, now that Tesla is offering the MCU2 and FSD Computer retrofits officially, I highly recommend you go do that.» But if you’re looking for good entertainment- with a successful outcome!- this is it. Thank you Kyle for sharing 🙏 Enjoy!From issue #107
You may have heard rumors that the Hardware 3 (FSD) retrofit is not going to be possible without MCU2. According to Bonnie Norman- well known for having reliable sources at Tesla- the rumors are not true. She has confirmed with Tesla that it is going to be possible. It’s just not available at the moment.
We’ve been in touch with our Service Center and they told us they’re prioritizing Hardware 3 (FSD) + MCU2 upgrade at the moment. No dates shared for Hardware 3 (FSD) +MCU1 yet.
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #101
A while ago Elon said that MCU1 cars could upgrade to MCU2 in the future. Today we’re still waiting as this may or may not happen. When I first read about it I thought why not, at the end of the day it’s just a computer upgrade, but Tozz explains what it actually means:
The MCU2 upgrade requires the following changes:
- Obviously, a new MCU2 (expensive part!)
- New IC screen. In MCU1 cars the IC (screen behind wheel) is a separate computer with its own CPU/RAM/etc. With MCU2 its just a second screen to the MCU. So IC needs to be replaced.
- MCU2 has 5G WiFi that needs an additional antenna to the mirrors
- MCU2 has Bluetooth in the mirrors, and it also requires additional antenna
- New wiring harness. IC screen, antenna’s, and perhaps change of connectors requires a new wiring harness
Read more: TMC ForumFrom issue #28
I know folks have been missing the radio with the MCU retrofit, if that’s your case, we have good news. Tesla is going to offer the MCU 2 upgrades without losing the radio. Tesla’s MCU2 FAQs clearly state that starting in Q4 2020 there will be a ‘Radio Upgrade’ to retain access to FM radio and Sirius XM radio.From issue #134
Tesla has recently updated its MCU warranty to 2 years or 25,000 miles, whatever comes first. This change only affects replaced MCUs, both fixed because of the memory problem or upgraded via the $2,500 MCU1 to MCU2 upgrade. This seems to me like a very uncharming move by Tesla.From issue #119
Bonnie just had the opportunity of experiencing the new tool that Tesla is testing out to fix the yellow border problem - this is a somewat common problem for MX and MS. According to her, not all centers have the tool and it seems her SC got it just temporaly. As you can see in the pictures, it worked like a charm for her.
Read more: TMC ForumFrom issue #66
We already reported greentheonly’s findings about Pole Position and Breakout included in MCU1. Some people speculated that they weren’t disabled because it’s «slow» and Tesla wouldn’t do it otherwise. Here is a video proving that it actually plays flawlessly.#40
Lately, the browser of MCU1 cars (like ours) has become totally non-functional. Reddit user u/djhazee has discovered a trick that makes it at least (somewhat) functional. The steps are:
- Open Browser
- Type in «127.0.0.1:8000» into the browser and navigate to it.
- Once you see «This webpage is not available», browse to your page of choice!
Read more: RedditFrom issue #94
When asked (again) about an MCU1 upgrade, Elon replied on Twitter that it’s not worth it. That’s probably because he doesn’t have to suffer it, but at least he replied to one of our tweets saying its current problems could be fixed with software optimizations. We hope it happens soon!
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #90
If you’re a Model S/X owner and have MCU1, you’re probably dreading the moment when you get the eMMC failure and need to replace the touchscreen. Up until now, this replacement had a cost of between $1,500 and $2,500. Luckily for us, Tesla has started fixing the daughterboard for about $500 instead of having to replace the whole MCU.
As an alternative, if you have the budget and plan on keeping your S/X for a while, you could go with the infotainment upgrade for about $2,500 and get a snappier experience as well as the new games, Tesla Theater, etc.From issue #126
The Infotainment upgrade for owners with MCU1 is finally available. We have so many questions… should we pay for the upgrade? When can we get it? Is it required for the Hardware 3 (FSD) upgrade? We have shared everything we know in this article.
Read more: TesletterFrom issue #101
Release notes include:
- Automatic braking maximum speed increased from 50 to 90 mph.
- Unlocking with phone - now must grab handle for it to unlock.
- Rearranged touchscreen icons by switching the left vent icons with the music and cell phone icons on the right.
- Heated backseats controlled through the AC icon.
Read more: Reddit.comFrom issue #1
As we said above, 2019.12 brings an improved browser to our Teslas. However, it turns out it is not for all Teslas -at least for now- but only the ones running MCU2 :(
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #54
greentheonly confirmed both Pole Position and Breakout games are included with the MCU1 firmware and they work perfectly. They are just not enabled by default.
We’re big fans of greentheonly (or verygreen) and we really want to thank you for sharing your knowledge, this newsletter wouldn’t be the same without you.
Read more: TMC ForumFrom issue #39
According to Greentheonly, the latest update 2020.12 is basically the same as 2020.8.1 but it introduces two important changes:
- Preparation for cars with MCU1 to be able to be upgraded to FSD
- What seem to be preparations to enable actual stopping for stop signs/traffic lights
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #103
While there are no release notes changes, people have been reporting differences in the Tesla’s web browser. The user-agent of the browser for MCU 1 cars now matches the MCU 2 cars and is capable of rendering pages that weren’t rendering before.
Read more: TMC ForumsFrom issue #3
Tesla just updated their browser on MCU2 cars and people are looking at what can be done. This is an example of Tesla’s new web browser running Chrome Remote Desktop which basically allows the Tesla bowser accessing another computer securely over the Internet.#58
It’s been around a year since the first time Elon mentioned that it was possible to retrofit old cars with MCU1 and get MCU2, but every time I’ve asked the service center, they told me this is something that Tesla doesn’t offer. If you have been a subscriber of this newsletter for some time or have been following us on Twitter, you probably know that I own a Model S 75 from Dec 2017. Tesla started shipping MCU2s in the Model X and S in March 2018, so I’m on the bucket of interested people. It’s good to hear that Tesla is actively working on it!
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #80
The first folks who purchased FSD + MCU2 are already sharing their experiences after the retrofit. User zanary on TMC Forum with a Model S P100D (AP2.5 and MCU1 before the upgrade) has shared quite a few very interesting details from his experience, check it out! A few highlights:
- Both the IC and the MCU get replaced (you don’t get to keep MCU1 pieces unless you pay for it)
- All settings are retained except for wifi connections, Bluetooth, web browser favorites
- Beeps (like in ‘Joe Mode’) are louder
- Wifi appears to be faster, needed for a couple of initial things after the upgrade (downloading games and navigation udpate)
- And our favorite one… «it’s so damn quick. It’s night and day!»
Read more: TMC ForumFrom issue #103
If you own a Model S or Model X you probably have heard about the screen in the MCU yellow borders. Most theories indicate that it’s caused by the reflection of the sun on the chrome border of the screen and a glue that Tesla uses to attach the screen that turns yellow with heat. The thing is, months ago Tesla stopped replacing the screens with this problem and told folks that they were working on a new solution, this time a permanent one. Earlier this week, Tozz from TMC reported to be one of the first people to get the new replacement in his Model S, hoping that people don’t have to deal with this issue anymore!.
Note that this a screen replacement and not an MCU replacement, so if your car has this issue you won’t be getting MCU 2 or any other upgrades on that front.
Read more: TMC ForumFrom issue #57
Evmom shared a few pictures of the Tesla menus back in June 2014. I’m not sure what you folks think but I’m definitely on the side that is happier with flat UIs, thanks Apple for changing the trend!
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #43
Cool time-lapse of a FSD upgrade performed in the customer’s driveway in just a little over an hour. You can’t really see much in the video since it’s recorded from the outside but time-lapses are cool and it’s great to know Tesla’s Mobile Service is doing this so a) the upgrade can be done these days b) you don’t need to wait a whole day to get your Tesla back.From issue #114
A handful of owners have reported receiving HW3 upgrades, coincidentally all of them have MCU2. Now the rumor started on Reddit that you need MC2 in order to have HW3, all this based on one owner with MCU1 who had his Autopilot processor replaced and got called to go back to get the change reverted. We don’t know if this is true but let us know if you know more!
REad more: RedditFrom issue #85