OTA Updates - Technical Info

Jimrpa

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Yes I believe it will *if necessary*. I'm betting most OTA updates are not deemed necessary enough to go over cell. Even Teslas will not go over cell unless they have to. They'll tell you for months to connect to wifi to update. At least the X I drove a lot did.
Is there a way to “force” an update?
 

Jimrpa

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I haven't timed it right yet but Sync 4A does have a "check for updates" option that I've always assumed would offer "Update now".
I know, but I don’t think that “forces” an update.
 
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breeves002

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Only way to force an update is hook up FDRS/FDJS or even UCDS/FORScan (the latter if you know the VBFs) and manually update… Can’t force an OTA update at least without being someone with access to that which is NOT a normal ford dealer login.

UCDS just updated so I may see if they added Mach E support. If they did I’ll be able to update modules with that. It is also much more affordable ($300-400) compared to buying a VCM and FDRS for most people if they want to update things themselves.
 

Jimrpa

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Only way to force an update is hook up FDRS/FDJS or even UCDS/FORScan (the latter if you know the VBFs) and manually update… Can’t force an OTA update at least without being someone with access to that which is NOT a normal ford dealer login.

UCDS just updated so I may see if they added Mach E support. If they did I’ll be able to update modules with that. It is also much more affordable ($300-400) compared to buying a VCM and FDRS for most people if they want to update things themselves.
Cool! Thanks for the scoop.
I think what most of us here would find useful would be some way to find out and track “the” version each of us has versus what the latest released version is. I’m not sure that’s possible, since the vehicle software doesn’t seem to have a monolithic version, but rather is comprised of a bunch of different modules all at different levels?
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on this? Would there be any value? At least to help people who might be wondering “did I get the update?”
 

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9A91F0E1-C38D-4E41-96A8-4CC1802E6ED7.jpeg

Ok can we talk about the TCU module in this drawing and how it has a Flux Capacitor on it? I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to assume it’s the “Time-travel Control Unit”.
I'm going with Telematics Control Unit. 😉
 

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I was doing some light reading in the WSM and wanted to share what I found about OTA updates. I'm marking general points of interest in bold then quoting those excerpts.

System Diagram:
4 modules use an 'ethernet' network (its a 2 wire custom bus) to communicate. Everything else communicates via CAN. There are 6 CAN networks in the MME. HS 1 to 4, FD-CAN (adjustable datarate) and MS. There are also some other FD CAN or local CAN/LIN networks to communicate direct between modules or modules that are not CAN networked but need to have a data stream for some various reason.
MME OTA1.jpg

Out of the 44 possible modules in the vehicle (depends on trim/options) 37 are able to be updated over the air. Here is the list:

MME Module List OTA.jpg

The modules that cannot be updated are the ACM (Audio Control Module), BCMC (Body Control Module C, or battery junction box/fuse box under hood), BECMB (Battery energy control module B), DSP (B&O), GSM (Gear shift module), OCS (occupant classification system/passenger seat airbag sensor), RGTM (rear gate/trunk module), and the WACM (wireless phone charger). I think this list of modules makes sense to not require updates considering what they do. The actual audio system/sirius receiver/DSP seem like an update should be available but they didn't implement it. Things like the BCMC are just a fusebox, and the BECMB/OCS are airbag system related modules separate from the main RCM.

Erase and replace vs ABA swap:
"Erase and Replace Modules
Many modules on the vehicle need to be erased before new data can be installed. The software installation process can take up to 40 minutes to complete. Updates to these modules need to be scheduled and specific vehicle conditions must be met for the update to be initiated.

ABA Swap Configuration Modules
For modules that have an ABA swap configuration the update is applied to the B portion of the module while the vehicle continues to reference the data in the A portion. The module will reference the new data once a key cycle has completed."


A basic overview:
" Over The Air (OTA) module updates are released from the Ford cloud and received by the vehicle GWM over the vehicle cellular and WiFi connection. The TCU WiFi and cellular connection is used to connect the vehicle to the Ford data cloud and pass the data to the GWM over its Ethernet network connection. The download of OTA updates from the cloud to the GWM occurs seamlessly in the background. Once the download from the cloud to the GWM has completed, the GWM manages the software update installation to the receiving module(s). The module updates are communicated between the GWM and the receiving modules over the Ethernet network, for Ethernet connected modules and the controller area networks (CAN), for all other modules, dependent on the update protocols.

For vehicles capable of receiving over the air updates there are 2 general types of update; Scheduled updates and Non Scheduled updates. If it is determined the update installation to the module requires the vehicle to be disabled for the installation process to complete, an installation update icon will appear on the vehicle display screen to inform the user to schedule a convenient time for the update to take place.

Vehicle status and operational preconditions must be met for all over the air (OTA) update software installations to complete, scheduled or unscheduled. Battery state of charge is an important factor that is considered before an update is started. The GWM is aware of the length of time required to update a given module and compares this against the battery state of charge. If it determines that the battery state of charge is not high enough to support the update, the update is cancelled. Other preconditions that must be met before an OTA update is installed. The PTS software update dashboard displays the preconditions applicable to your vehicle. The preconditions can include but are not limited to, the following:
Electronic Steering Column Lock (ESCL) is engaged
Steering tension torque, no torque is applied to the steering wheel
A diagnostic self-test is not active
No Charging faults are reported
Ignition status, Ignition Off
Ignition status, Accessory functionality Off
The battery voltage is within the required range
The vehicle is stopped PRNDL in park
Parking brake is applied
Charging is not in Progress ( hybrid or EV high voltage battery charging/LIII
The hazard indicators are off
The alarm is not sounding
The engine is not running
All doors and liftgate are closed
The parking lights are off
Limp home mode is not active
Illuminated exit is not active
The brake pedal is not being pressed
The battery voltage is within the required range
The windows are closed and not operating
eCall is not active
Remote start is not active
Vehicle theft (SVS) is not active
Remote park assist is not active
Neutral tow is not active
4x4 high/Low is not active
A DTC requiring vehicle service, is not present in the module targeted for the update.

The vehicle must be off for a minimum of 5 minutes before the GWM will attempt the target module update, scheduled or unscheduled. The GWM confirms the 5 minute off condition is met, all other preconditions are met and the battery status can support the update process before initiating the module update(s).

Note: The GWM considers the battery life while the module programming action is active and the vehicle is off, to be a maximum of 40 minutes. With the deterioration of the state of charge increasing after the 5 minute period with the vehicle off before starting any update, the maximum download time allowable is approximately 10 minutes. "

Some other interesting snippets:
" All module software update files are downloaded from the Ford data cloud by the GWM to the GWM through the vehicle WiFi or cellular connection, expect for APIM SYNC software files, which are passed through the GWM to the APIM. Updates to the APIM module are driven by the GWM. "

It appears the gateway module (GWM) has a decent amount of on board storage to be able to download and then distribute updates. Some updates like the IPMA can be multiple gigabytes in size.

More info on Gateway Module:
"The GWM serves as the programming manager for over the air software updates completed for target modules. Depending on the modules involved the gateway module may store the update or just relay the update to the target module. The gateway module acts as a router or hub for the Ethernet networks and is also connected to the vehicle CAN. Software updates can be deployed from the GWM to target modules using either CAN or Ethernet networks."

The WSM also talks about signal strength for cellular downloads:
" The vehicle has 2 sources of connection to the Ford data cloud, vehicle WiFi and vehicle cellular data. The vehicle is required to have a minimum of 3 bars signal at the location where the vehicle is parked over night, to make sure OTA updates are completed without delays. "

There are 3 types of updates:
" There are a number of OTA update sub types as described below.
Simple: These are update releases that generally affect a single module.
Coordinated: These are update releases that may affect a number of modules and requires each module to be at a specific version.
Non Coordinated: update may include multiple modules in each update, however does not require all modules to be at a specific software version. "

Cancelling updates while installing:
" The customer does not have the direct ability to cancel an OTA system software update. There are a few reasons why an update may be canceled.

Ford Motor Company can cancel the update at any time before the installation of the update is complete.
If the automatic updates setting has been toggled to OFF, with the vehicle connectivity selection still enabled, the update will expire after a period of time if a manual update icon is not available from the vehicle display screen determined based on currently installed software.
A master reset can cancel an ongoing update. "

Update history can be seen in PTS along with a ton of other info about previous software, etc. It says release notes will be available in PTS as well but I'm not sure if it is different than the public release notes. It will also show in progress updates."

USB Updates (applies to only APIM, IPMA, IPC, TCU, and maybe GWM):
"Updating Modules Using The Diagnostic Scan Tool
Modules with an Ethernet network connection can be updated through the diagnostic scan tool, using the USB flash method. A 32 GB USB drive formatted to exFAT can be used to transfer software to the Ethernet connected modules. Connect the appropriate exFAT format USB drive to the diagnostic scan tool and follow the on screen prompts to complete the software download."

There are a few more parts I left out. A large section on scheduled updates that we already know, and some other basic info we already know such as notifications and that you have to turn automatic updates on for them to be automatic...

All of the quoted information and images is copyright Ford Motor Company and I am providing it here for educational purposes for forum members.

This is good info, worth revisiting.

1) If you dissect this info, you can go full nerd and make some pretty good guesses into why OTAs aren't popping up on your vehicle monthly.

The ECG (Gateway Module) orchestrates all the OTAs. It gathers files from the mothership, and schedules and delivers the updates to the various modules.

As someone mentioned, some update files will be in the gigabyte range, especially those requiring graphical (visual) changes. Look at the connection pipes to the various modules... only a lucky 5 get ethernet. Do some research on the connection speed to the rest of the modules (CAN). Do some calculation on how long it would take to transfer an, oh, 3 gigabyte file over CAN. Closer to dial-up than fiber. Ouch.

Now look at the criterion above mentioning what has to be achieved before an OTA can happen. Now think of your car, and how often you meet that criteria.

Bluecruise gonna be a fun rollout, lol.

Ford is still in the land of OTA rookies, with everyone but Tesla. More work to do, but lots of work is being done. It might take a year to catch Tesla, but the only sure thing is they will be caught.

2) Of course, if your vehicle is new enough, it already has all the current updates... so you won't see an OTA. Even though Jimmy F. "promised you OTAs", you might already have the updates.
 

Jimrpa

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I’m beginning to think that Ford should push a dummy OTA to all vehicles weekly that does nothing but change the welcome animation or something so that people (like me) will get over their “OTA insecurity” 😀 You know, sort of like how airlines roll out new safety videos periodically. Absolutely nothing changed, but this way, they get you to hopefully look at something new?
 

Gullwingdmc

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I’m beginning to think that Ford should push a dummy OTA to all vehicles weekly that does nothing but change the welcome animation or something so that people (like me) will get over their “OTA insecurity” 😀 You know, sort of like how airlines roll out new safety videos periodically. Absolutely nothing changed, but this way, they get you to hopefully look at something new?
Don’t change the welcome animation! That’s one of the things I love most about the car. 😍

I know what you mean though.
 
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breeves002

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As someone mentioned, some update files will be in the gigabyte range, especially those requiring graphical (visual) changes. Look at the connection pipes to the various modules... only a lucky 5 get ethernet. Do some research on the connection speed to the rest of the modules (CAN). Do some calculation on how long it would take to transfer an, oh, 3 gigabyte file over CAN. Closer to dial-up than fiber. Ouch.
One thing I will mention is any module on FD CAN is up to 5mbps. So that is an extreme speed upgrade from the 512kbps that was HS-CAN or 125kbps that was MS-CAN. The Ethernet is just a custom two wire bus. It isn't actually ethernet. There is no info on what its max speed is since it seems to be a Ford standard.
 

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Wanted to thank folks for the input. A couple of things. First was that with all the swirl about PAAK updates, I realized that it was for pre-May builds, so I don’t need to keep looking for that one. Second, I turned automated OTA updates off, notifications on. At this point, I’m going to wait for a notification, then try either using the built-in communications, or if that doesn’t work, try making my phone a temporary hot spot. It’s the one device that I use the least amount of data plan. Since there is about 15G of mobile hotspot there, it should be plenty, and I can turn hotspot off easily enough. Thanks again.
 

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At the dealer and they are updating "Gateway Module A". Service writer just warned me to be prepared to be here all day. The update is going slow. I brought it in for the PAAK campaign and an issue where the cruise control was adjusting for a speed change from 55 mph to 65 mph except the system thought it was 85 mph. Now the dealer network is not the best so not sure what contribution that may be making to the slowness. But I was told it is writing blocks of memory VERY Slowly.

On my 2015 Mustang the APIM has taken 3+ hours to update.

While I get the issue of COGS (cost of goods sold) cheap silicon is actually never cheap

Also info on automotive 2 wire ethernet which is being standardized: 100BASE-T1 Ethernet: the evolution of automotive networking and from the IEEE
 

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At the dealer and they are updating "Gateway Module A". Service writer just warned me to be prepared to be here all day. The update is going slow. I brought it in for the PAAK campaign and an issue where the cruise control was adjusting for a speed change from 55 mph to 65 mph except the system thought it was 85 mph. Now the dealer network is not the best so not sure what contribution that may be making to the slowness. But I was told it is writing blocks of memory VERY Slowly.

On my 2015 Mustang the APIM has taken 3+ hours to update.

While I get the issue of COGS (cost of goods sold) cheap silicon is actually never cheap

Also info on automotive 2 wire ethernet which is being standardized: 100BASE-T1 Ethernet: the evolution of automotive networking and from the IEEE
There was one of the updates that was dealer only because it was a big update and required the car to be hooked up to a 12v battery charger to avoid the battery draining during the long update. This may be the update you're getting.
 

crownmountain

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There was one of the updates that was dealer only because it was a big update and required the car to be hooked up to a 12v battery charger to avoid the battery draining during the long update. This may be the update you're getting.
Any insight into how long it takes to do the update??
 

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