Not all Tesla cars can receive all the latest features and improvements released via software updates, availability also depends on the hardware version. Tesla cars have two main pieces of hardware: the Autopilot hardware and the Media Control Unit (touchscreen).
Current retrofits available are:
Blog posts related to Retrofits
If you purchased Full Self-Driving (FSD) and are not on Autopilot Hardware 3 yet, I’m sure you must be wondering when is your retrofit going to be available. Here’s what we know.
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 to its fleet, but there are still quite a few Tesla owners who don’t have it. I’m seeing and getting quite a few questions about what upgrades you get if you have Media Control Unit version 1 (MCU 1), so I decided to summarize what I know in this blog post. If you have unanswered questions, please let me know and I’ll add them here. Here we go.
Past Tesletter articles
Elon has said multiple times that they won’t start retrofiting the AP processor to the new FSD computer (also known as HW3) until the software needs it. If you have purchased FSD, it’s possible that you get it this year, since earlier this week Elon said on Twitter that it’s likely going to happen in Q4 this year. Yay!
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #67
We’ve been waiting to get the FSD upgrade for a while (Model S, Dec 2017). Tesla recently released a support page that throws some light to frequently asked questions such as, ‘when’s my FSD upgrade going to be available?’.
Also, a very cool video on the enhanced Driving Visualizations that come with FSD.
Read more: TeslaFrom issue #104
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 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
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
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
Greentheonly has discovered there’s been some recent progress in the HW2 to HW3 retrofit, which makes us think it’s actually going to happen. According to him, it’s probably going to be a degraded experience compared to the HW2.5 to HW3 retrofit, and looking at the changes in the latest firmware versions, it seems they don’t plan on changing the radar or the steering rack.
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #97
Bad news for folks that did the FSD upgrade, MCU2 retrofit, MCU1 EMMC fix, or any other fix requiring computer swap. According to @greentheonly, Tesla doesn’t erase personal data so consider all accounts that you logged in your Tesla compromised and change your passwords ASAP. Tesla has said they’ll reach out to affected customers to inform about this.From issue #110
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
Afaik this is the first report of Mobile Service performing the Autopilot upgrade from HW2.5 to HW3. Here is the process:
- Replacement of the computer, one hour and a half
- Installation of the necessary firmware, two hours
- Updated the card to the latest software, another hour or an hour and a half
Read more: TeslaratiFrom issue #86
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
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
According to Elon «There are many diff versions of mcu & autopilot computer & supporting hardware. Cars last so much longer than phones!» I hope we can get our AP retrofit (MCU1 + HW2.5 here 👋) in the next month or two. Since 2019.40.50.1, I feel like I’m starting to miss out on too much cool stuff.
Read more: TwitterFrom issue #91