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Special thanks to Gordon at eFIXX for sending this faulty Tesla model X headlight for us to explore.
This whole light was condemned and replaced because it seemed to be causing network issues. In reality it was only the control module that seems to have an issue. It comes off with four screws and two connectors. There are three connections to the light - power and a single data line.
I strongly recommend against trying to open these lights, as they are glued shut with a tough adhesive, and after wasting a lot of time with an angry Dremel it took a Ryobi cordless angle grinder with a cutting disk to get the very chewy polycarbonate lens off the front.
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Rather huge tesla headlight from a tesla model x. Courtesy of gordon at efix uh. Uh. He was a bit disappointed that this 1 200.

Pound module uh. Didn't last the life of the car and uh when it failed. There was a knock on effect. I don't know if it was connected.

But the uh the number plate light defaulted to on it made me wonder. If there's a network problem with this so i have done some initial exploration. Apparently. There is a external uh mechanical drive for actually tilting the light inside what happens.

If i just shove. My finger in there now is it going to do anything oh. It does you can actually see it just pushing uh. The led module up interesting and on the back.

I've already taken some screws out for brackets and we've got this which is the electronic module one of the things that's always suspect with these i have disconnected the two connectors you're gonna have this is a part of the greenhouse leds. This one looks as though it's going over to uh this connector here. So this is gonna be the power and the data. There's five pins in it but one of the prime suspects in these is the electronic modules because if you get a problem with the canvas network.

It can actually take down other things of cindy. So we'll take this one apart over on the normal workbench. Where you can see it closer. Now.

This is glued together and then clipped together. It's absolutely completely unserviceable so i'm going to try and get it apart. But really i'm going to be getting a big screwdriver into it and i'm going to be prising in and it's not going to end well. It's going to break the plastic.

I don't think there's any other way to get it out because uh. It is glued together as these things aren't it's not like heatable glue. I think it's going to be a dremel job to get this open because uh. It is well sealed.

So i shall dry dremel apart right now one moment. Please a handy hint so far. If you get the urge to take a tesla head light apart uh don't waste your time. The dremel use a cutting blade in an angle grinder.

It's the probably the fastest way to do it and also make sure you do it outdoors and wear protective clothing. All that because it doesn't just spray the dust everywhere. But molding plastic comes out like candy floss as well because this is very chewy uh. I guess polycarbonate and it's got this urge to actually refuse itself together again.

The dremel was not happy by the time. I decided it had enough so let's put this out the way we have the decorative trim here with its uh led modules. I see a section coming around the back here. And i see a section here uh.

We've got this i get is this the main one uh that will be interesting so i'm going to take all these modules out and we can take a look at them in more detail. They might be small enough to actually go to the main bench. Where we can get a closer look so i shall do that now that's the trim out with uh sections of leds around the outside. We shall explore those uh white out this is what happens when you're trying to film something black.

And this is the uh dipping mechanism in here. There's very little movement. I didn't realize the whole thing physically moves inside. But i suppose that makes sense we appear to have a matrix leds firing up the way into these scooped reflectors.

It's quite a complex optical design. Okay carry on with the teardown. I've got a pile of tesla. Parts including a little air stirrer.

Fan in. There and its voltage. Rating is. 135.

Volts suggesting that it is just running off the auxiliary battery. That's used in teslas aside from the main automotive power battery. I have taken the screws out this. But i have not lifted the lid.

Yet because i i wanted to share the moment. The optics are fascinating. Because this particular one can with external control. Tilt sideways to actually spread the beam out and the other ones can actually tilt up and down to actually adjust their height on the road.

But it's a very small movement. It's just very highly optimized optics and the strange thing is that say for instance. This one well as in all this headlights. It's very very tiny leds let me just zoom down on this because they're super tiny super tiny indeed uh and they're just three volt leds.

They're single chip leds with a little sort of uh resistoring. Capacitor is that a resistant capacitor in this one yes. I'd say it's a resistor and capacitor. But a little uh snubber network.

Based across them each led will each module effectively has a series of connections. But it's got two connections for the leds in this case. Three pins and one connection goes on to the metal work. Via the screws going through the circuit board and actually clamp it on so it must be for screening purposes.

But that's gone a bit wrong in one of them this is one of the decorative panels. This one is notable that these are three volt leds again quite an unusual style and they're on separate aluminium sections of a continuous pcb. But the ribbon that passes between them uh actually jumps off the aluminium and ducts down uh. It's quite unusual.

But this one has the same screen again where it's got like one two three four connections uh. Two of them are common one of them is going to the other end of the leds. The other two connections are going to this end. And then the fourth connection is going to this screening pad underneath the mounts of this.

But it's tarnished and it's not making good connection to the screw not that that really affects these the leds will still light. But in this case. We've got one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen leds roughly three volts each that's about 39 volts across this so 13 across that section. What have we got in this section.

This is the other decorative trim uh. One two three four five six seven 9 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15 times. 3.

Is 45. Volts roughly across this section. Interesting so two of those sections. In there will be voltage boost sections on the main headlights section.

Which is just surprisingly lacking leds. Given the amount of light that comes out these things it's got these pairs again in uh series. So each pair takes about six volts with its own little filter network on each one. Each for each pair of leds.

And then uh. It's got uh them over here now that what is that is that just a link. It's a zero link is it just jumping across not sure that's that might just be jumping across or it may be i doubt. It's a fusible link.

I think it's just actually a jumping link uh and that is it right tell you what let's get into the the control module. Now where's the screwdriver to pop the lid in this. This is where i find out it doesn't come out it does come out. But it's a friction fit that is surprisingly empty.

What have we got here i can see a tiny inductor here. Oh i'm going to have to go in deeper. Am. I going to be able to is that it that might actually be it.

Oh dear. There's a problem. There's why it failed in the first place. This is what eric oh calls the green crusties uh.

Let's try and tame this down. Just a little bit do you see this green here. It's corroded water has got into this um and that makes sense because this was screwed in the back. So.

Perhaps. The seal has allowed water to penetrate and that has a then got in here. And it's caused corrosion that is what killed this light. Wow.

The whole light dead because of that but i'm looking at this now and thinking how on earth are they controlling this because those super high power leds. I was expecting more it's super optimized um. I'm seeing one in doctrine thinking is that not like that's strange give me a moment. I'm going to explore this a bit further.

But at the moment. It's not got as much on it as i was expecting is something hiding from me in here. I'm not really sure one moment. Please oh.

There they are on the back glued. In you can't remove this without breaking the inductors because they're physically siliconed onto the uh onto the heatsink. They've got little housings that they squint and squish. The silicon about them uh two big ones here well not any longer and then the smaller ones so how is this gonna go uh the smaller inductors.

I guess the bigger ones may be doing the uh let me let me work this out the bigger ones may be doing the higher voltage. But i wouldn't really expect to be big because i thought those were more like mostly decorative lights. I don't think these are super duper high power. I thought it would be these ones uh would be the ones that have the fairly decent.

It would be buck regulators in their instance because they're stepping the voltage down from 12 volts. I'm not really sure it's not exactly what you call an ideal circuit board to uh to trace out uh given that it's got bazillions of tracks. And it's it's wide which doesn't help so um. Yeah.

Power's coming on here. Those two are columned those two may be calmed down give me a second. I'm gonna work this out yeah. Two for one pole of the power supply positive or negative uh.

Two for the other one and then i guess the other two are data. Then maybe canvas so a positive negative in canbus. Which is very much what we get these days in modern vehicles. Interesting is is it canvas.

They're using too this is a proprietary protocol. I've been surprised if they're using something proprietary. But it would make sense to use a industry standard canvas for the availability of the components. But there we go interesting stuff i feel need to probe about other bits here yeah.

That's the let's see negative there okay well that's interesting yeah that was uh actually quite worth taking apart just to see the construction. But so annoying that uh what has destroyed 1 200. Pounds worth of vehicle uh component is a just a little bit water ingress and having said that this module just unscrewed from the back of that light. And there were two connectors couldn't they've just changed this module maybe.

It's just a standard fixes to change the whole light. But there we go interesting stuff so thanks to efix for sending that it was very frustrating to take apart. But that's okay uh and uh. I'll put a link to their website while their youtube channel uh down below in the description.

But very interesting that's what's inside a tesla model x headlight.

14 thoughts on “Exploring a tesla model x headlight”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Raglan's Electric Baboon says:

    If you want to know about expensive repairs for simple problems wait until a motor (or anything else) fails on a front seat. Tesla only sell seats complete (NZ$4500 here in NZ)!
    I've had to replace a similar super-expensive headlight on my S. It died from having one of the 'decorative lights' as you call them (sidelights) fail. From 'researching' on youtube it seems likely to be an internal fault and so unreachable without megadeath methods.
    Nice teardown, thanks.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars thedarkknight1971 says:

    A gentle heating in the oven (with REGULAR checking every 5 mins or so) will sufficiently heat up the unit enough to soften the glue/sealant so you can prize it apart (have done it a few times with my motorbike headlights and tail lights (for LED enhancements/mods… ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mysock351C says:

    I like how it uses a motherboard PSU connector for the module. None of this Metri-Pack stuff with its seals that you normally see. Itโ€™s built like a really big gaming PC with wheels.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ELBERTO says:

    Send some voltage up them, we need to see them lit ๐Ÿ’ก

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars InvadersDie says:

    Lack of bench PSU powering on the lights and blowing out the camera saddens me :_(

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars MsLancer99 says:

    That Tesla headlight looks to me a bit OTT just for lighting up the road

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Brian West says:

    This is why cars are expensive. No simple bulb in a plastic housing.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars NusaCat says:

    The seal around the module was probably just fine. The problem is the connectors are open to the body of the headlight, as well as being on the bottom of the headlight, which means any liquid that gets in somewhere else will puddle down to the module. Or perhaps just humid air which condenses with temperature changes.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Johnson says:

    Could survive a lot longer if shot into space . No rain.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars J G says:

    Could have turned it into some nice interior lighting

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Janis Vaskevics says:

    Tesla – an awful design with outrageous price tag. Made for sucking out money in all it's lifetime.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Johnson says:

    Possibly designed to keep the DIY person out unless the control module is available.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Graeme Zimmer says:

    Thanks Clive. Very interesting to see the details of Tesla electronics. Very sophisticated, but wildly over engineered. Will be completely un-repairable in a few years time.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Pravardhan Udaya Simhaa says:

    There was opening for the 3 electrolytic capacitors & water has gone inside from this gaps.
    Don't know which dumb engineer designed this headlight module.

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