Unresponsive Model S Touch Screen

I have recently installed the latest software update which was pushed from Tesla. I started the software update using the mobile app this time. Previously, I always started the update from the car. After about 40 minutes, the mobile app has notified me that all went well and the update installation is complete. Since this was a routine software push and all of them worked before with no problems, I also did not expect any issues this time. However, to my surprise, this software update was not green for me 🙂

Having worked in the software development for long time, glitches and bugs in software is a very common occurrence. After I stepped into the car, my main touch screen was showing the release dialog box with some info from the update. The info did not appear to be any different from the last update. Moreover, my screen did not respond to any of my inputs. I have restarted the screen several times by holding both wheel buttons until the Tesla sign appears on the screen but no luck. The screen does work and the information does seem to be changing but no touch screen input.

I called Tesla support and they ask me to restart the screen and this did not help. I am waiting for my appointment at Tesla Devon PA service center. Recently, the Tesla Devon service is being very busy and booked most of the time. I am checking for the open days in the Tesla App to see if anything opens up sooner than a week out.

Now, I want to share what one can and cannot do when driving the Model S without the main display screen.

Driving

In Model S, it is totally possible to drive the car without the main display screen because there is still the driver display. The two displays are different and I noticed that the driver display is much more stable than the main display.

I am not sure how the Model 3 drivers can drive the car if the main display is not operational. I would like to hear comments from Model 3 drivers if they had a chance to drive without the one display.

The main driving functions such as speed, energy consumption and navigation are operational in the main driver display. I am happy for this.

Music

Without the main display, operating music in the car is very hard to annoying hard. You only left with two choices:

  • Voice Commands
  • Mobile App

With Voice commands, the choices are limited to “Play [name]” and “Listen to [name]“. There is no voice command to play your favorites and you cannot set any specific radio stations except some preset ones. Play command only works with music streaming and search. Listen command also seems to search streaming and only works with certain pre-configured radio stations. It is unbelievable how limited this command set is. Tesla please fix this.

With Mobile app, there is a new feature to control your media which does allow you to play your favorites but the UX is so limited and confusing. I do not see if I am playing the radio, music from my phone, or streaming.

Climate Control

This is another pain point when the main touchscreen display is not functional. You can turn the fan on and control its speed with the right rotating button on the wheel but you cannot adjust the temperature setting. Moreover, you cannot turn off the fan. Tesla, please, can you add a function in the driver display to turn off the fan.

You can still control the temperature in the mobile app but you cannot control the fan speed.

In summary, the climate control function is not consistent. Some things you can do in the driver display, some you can do in the mobile app, but all functions are available in the Main touchscreen display.

Autopilot

Without the main touchscreen display, the autopilot can only be controlled using the Voice command such as Navigate To. It is not possible to turn on the new Navigate on Autopilot feature using the voice commands.

Solution To Tesla Disabled Screen Problem

I have documented the solution to the Tesla Disabled Screen problem in this blog:


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