Turn Signal Stalk, my only issue after my Model 3 test drive

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Mike

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#1
My only "negative" observation from my test drive experience last night: the way the turn signal stalk works compared to what I am used to, after driving various vehicles for over four decades. No haptic feedback (in my opinion).

Background: Here is what (the latest iteration of) the Model 3 owners manual says about using the turn signal stalk to signal your intentions:

turn-signals-png.4817


When I used the turn signal stalk (very often in the urban milieu of my eight minute test drive), I never knew if it was engaged or not.

The stalk did not "lock into place" when I desired a continuous turn signal at an intersection.

I asked about this and You You stated that it's a "digital control stalk" (?).

So, from a haptic feedback point of view, I would select a turn signal by pushing up (or down) on the stalk but the stalk would always immediately self center. This happened at every intersection where I wanted to signal my intentions.

I could not hear any turn signal tone.

Reading other threads (links below), it seems there is a turn signal tone to allow aural feedback that the turn signal is on. Someone please confirm that there is, in fact, a turn signal tone

The defroster fan was on full blast during this whole test drive, so the turn signal tone generator needs to know when ambient cabin noise levels are high and produce a louder turn signal tone.

I could not readily see the corresponding turn signal indicator lights, via peripheral vision, during my turns.

My eye's had to (hunt and peck) around a new driving environment to seek out the (far too small) turn signal indicator lights.

I acknowledge that I would eventually learn to look down and to the right for visual feedback that my turn signals are, in fact, on.

TL; DR: I don't like the turn signal control. No tone (that I could hear). No visual indicator (readily seen within my peripheral vision). No turn signal lever "lock in place" for continuous signal. In other words, no feedback.

I see there has already been some discussion in the past on this subject:

https://teslaownersonline.com/threa...r-new-owners-to-share.4806/page-15#post-46938

https://teslaownersonline.com/threa...k-at-the-tesla-model-3.5183/page-8#post-55105

I hope folks who have driven the car for a few weeks can comment on this as I am "vexed" by my takeaway experience of the turn signals :(
 
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mig

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#2
The BMW i3 has a similar design for the turn signals and it drives me crazy. Sometimes I think I've engaged "continuous" flashing, then go to cancel, and instead engage the signal on the other side and probably look like an idiot.

It isn't a deal breaker, but poor interface design for sure!
 

ölbrenner

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#4
Haven't tried BMW/Tesla M3 turn signals yet, but perhaps it is driven by intended function, rather than a poor design decision:

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/posts/2492183/
"With the 3 geared to autonomous driving, they couldn't use a physical detent in the stalk like most other cars use. It needs to be all software driven and not requiring a physical switch."
 

Mike

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#5
Haven't tried BMW/Tesla M3 turn signals yet, but perhaps it is driven by intended function, rather than a poor design decision:

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/posts/2492183/
"With the 3 geared to autonomous driving, they couldn't use a physical detent in the stalk like most other cars use. It needs to be all software driven and not requiring a physical switch."
And, from the same thread (sorry, I don't know how to direct quote from TMC to here)....

domenick said: Also, turn signals. Say you're turning left, usually one just pushes down on the stalk and it stays until the wheel straightens and (hopefully) it turns itself off. In the 3 a push down (or up) gives you 3 blinks and stops. I ended up just holding it down until I wanted it to stop, though I'm not certain that was really working. I was too busy looking around to look down to see if the signal indicator was flashing.

This was my first driving impression of the turn signal control as well. I never knew if they were working either and I was always manually holding the lever up/down when I wanted a continuous signal.
 

AEDennis

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#6
It took a few hours to get used to it, though many of those from the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (CA) that we took out for our New Year's Eve (Day) meetup for the ride and drive were perplexed at first, but adjusted quickly, and this was a 5-7 minute drive for folks.

It does remind me of the i3 from the times I've driven that... Perhaps it's the rule for all EVs with 3 in the name! :D
 

Mike

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#7
It took a few hours to get used to it, though many of those from the Tesla Owners Club of Orange County (CA) that we took out for our New Year's Eve (Day) meetup for the ride and drive were perplexed at first, but adjusted quickly
Fair enough.

I guess my question now is, how do you know when you only get three signal flashes versus continual signal flashes without looking around for the indicator?

A push of the stalk is a push of the stalk.

It's a "one" or "zero" coding proposition (sorry if not the correct term, I don't know computers at all).

How does the car know I want only a three flash event versus wanting the signals on until further notice and/or until I make the turn at an intersection?

....or is it a push of the stalk for a split second versus pushing the stalk for, say, half a second (or longer)?
 

mig

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#9
Haven't tried BMW/Tesla M3 turn signals yet, but perhaps it is driven by intended function, rather than a poor design decision:

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/posts/2492183/
"With the 3 geared to autonomous driving, they couldn't use a physical detent in the stalk like most other cars use. It needs to be all software driven and not requiring a physical switch."
Ah, very good point!

Fair enough.

I guess my question now is, how do you know when you only get three signal flashes versus continual signal flashes without looking around for the indicator?
Not sure about the Model 3 of course, but on the i3 you push "halfway" to a very soft detent to get 3 blinks, or a hard push to the limit of stalk movement to get continuous blinking. Part of the problem for me is that I think I've pushed all the way, then try to turn off the signal by pushing the other way, which turns on the opposite signal, so I try to turn *that* signal off and get blinks the other way -- and I'm quite sure I look like a crazy person.

This is only a problem for lane changes, for normal road turning I seem to be better at turning on a continuous signal and it then turns off automatically after the turn as you'd expect.
 
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#10
I've driven multiple BMW's with this design and haven't really had an issue with it. I don't know how the Tesla detents feel vs. BMW, but it is very easy to know when you've pushed past the 3 blink position. My wife's Acura MDX works the same way. (I actually thought most cars had gone to this type of system, and was thoroughly rebuked on another forum when I suggested as much)
 

John

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#11
None of the minor controls in the Model 3 can "click into place" or have manual positions because they all have to be controllable by the car. To have a stalk that locks into place, the car would have to add sensor inputs (the top and bottom positions) and a servo to return the stalk to center. You can't allow a situation in which a control is manually in one position and something else is happening. Instead, all of the controls are just momentary contacts that can send a pulse to the system to interpret.

It also explains the choices for wiper controls. You can't have a stalk that is clicked into three positions, or a ring that is twisted into position. Everything needs to be a bump or a touch, not a set position. That's why the only discrete manual wiper control is a button, and the bulk of the control is via touchscreen.

The two exceptions I think are:
1. The steering wheel, but this DOES have the expensive sensors and servos to make it controllable by the car
2. The hazard lights, since you need to be guaranteed that these are controllable by a person even if the system is down

Tesla COULD HAVE made the turn signal stalk click, and let the car have servos to be able to ghost it up and down. But more cost, and a lot less reliable than a simple momentary contact. And realize that once you have physical controls, you almost inevitably limit the ability to improve them over the air. The current wiper logic on the Model 3 allows a great deal of future improvement. Instead of three hard speeds, you can have any number, any pattern.

The turn signals aren't awkward due to Tesla forgetting what a good turn signal is like. It's due to very purposeful design decisions. This is analogous to our smartphones which don't have buttons any more. Is a glass screen nice to touch? Oh heck, no. It's awful—no tactile feedback, very twitchy, very position dependent, blah blah blah. But "more satisfying buttons" leads to dramatically less software flexibility. Instead we choose to let our apps draw buttons and controls—many of which are quite creative and could never be "built"—and suffer with rubbing on glass all day.

Yay! And Ugh!
 

Petra

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#12
So, from a haptic feedback point of view, I would select a turn signal by pushing up (or down) on the stalk but the stalk would always immediately self center. This happened at every intersection where I wanted to signal my intentions.
The BMW i3 has a similar design for the turn signals and it drives me crazy. Sometimes I think I've engaged "continuous" flashing, then go to cancel, and instead engage the signal on the other side and probably look like an idiot
This is how BMW's non-mechanical turn signal stalks have worked for over a decade, even in the 3-series.
 

Ken Voss

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#13
None of the minor controls in the Model 3 can "click into place" or have manual positions because they all have to be controllable by the car. To have a stalk that locks into place, the car would have to add sensor inputs (the top and bottom positions) and a servo to return the stalk to center. You can't allow a situation in which a control is manually in one position and something else is happening. Instead, all of the controls are just momentary contacts that can send a pulse to the system to interpret.

It also explains the choices for wiper controls. You can't have a stalk that is clicked into three positions, or a ring that is twisted into position. Everything needs to be a bump or a touch, not a set position. That's why the only discrete manual wiper control is a button, and the bulk of the control is via touchscreen.

The two exceptions I think are:
1. The steering wheel, but this DOES have the expensive sensors and servos to make it controllable by the car
2. The hazard lights, since you need to be guaranteed that these are controllable by a person even if the system is down

Tesla COULD HAVE made the turn signal stalk click, and let the car have servos to be able to ghost it up and down. But more cost, and a lot less reliable than a simple momentary contact. And realize that once you have physical controls, you almost inevitably limit the ability to improve them over the air. The current wiper logic on the Model 3 allows a great deal of future improvement. Instead of three hard speeds, you can have any number, any pattern.

The turn signals aren't awkward due to Tesla forgetting what a good turn signal is like. It's due to very purposeful design decisions. This is analogous to our smartphones which don't have buttons any more. Is a glass screen nice to touch? Oh heck, no. It's awful—no tactile feedback, very twitchy, very position dependent, blah blah blah. But "more satisfying buttons" leads to dramatically less software flexibility. Instead we choose to let our apps draw buttons and controls—many of which are quite creative and could never be "built"—and suffer with rubbing on glass all day.

Yay! And Ugh!
Sure, controls should not be mechanical and must be digital to support future FSD but that does not mean you can not have a tactical "click" for the driver when engaged. Good example is the home button of iPhone 7 and newer, this button is not mechanical but you certainly feel a "click" when pressing it.
 

Mike

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#15
This... I got used to what it takes to get three blinks, vs. "on until turned"...
So, a very quick flick of the lever versus ensuring the lever is stopped at its maximum range of motion for a good half second.

Have I correctly summarized the correct turn signal stalk procedure?
 

Maevra

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#16
It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get learn how the turn signal stalks behave it's easy to know when you do the three flashes vs continuous turn signal feels.

Just push up or down gently until you encounter some resistance and then let go- that'll give you the three flashes. If you push past that resistance and go all the way down, that'll activate the continuous turn signal mode. I think of the first push as a "half click vs full click" (like cameras).

What I had real difficulty with was pushing up/down to turn OFF the signals in continuous mode. I'd always push too far in the opposite direction and activate the opposite turn signal, which was annoying. So a new habit I've developed is thus:

1. If LEFT turn indicator is on and you want to turn it off, just do the half click/tap DOWN on the stalk and it will turn it off.
2. If RIGHT turn indicator is on and you want to turn it off, do that half click/tap UP to turn it off.

It's weird but works for me.
 
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Mike

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#17
. If LEFT turn indicator is on and you want to turn it off, just do the half click/tap DOWN on the stalk and it will turn it off.
2. If RIGHT turn indicator is on and you want to turn it off, do that half click/tap UP to turn it off.
Maevra, thanks for the tip. I will try your technique the next time I drive the Model 3.....hopefully before I take delivery.
 

TrevP

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#18
By and large most cars these days have the 3 flash for lane changes at the first detent and full on flash at full deflection.

I noticed the momentary nature of the Model 3 turn stalks during our deep dive video and thought it was strange to go that route but like anything you get used to it. Turning the wheel enough turns cancels it as normal stalks do but it’s something you get used to and learn to adjust to it.

Not a big deal, just like the wiper controls.
 

AEDennis

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#19
By and large most cars these days have the 3 flash for lane changes at the first detent and full on flash at full deflection.

I noticed the momentary nature of the Model 3 turn stalks during our deep dive video and thought it was strange to go that route but like anything you get used to it. Turning the wheel enough turns cancels it as normal stalls do but it’s something you get used to and learn to adjust to it.

Not a big deal, just like the wiper controls.
It only takes minutes to get used to. :cool:
 

Mike

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#20
I noticed the momentary nature of the Model 3 turn stalks during our deep dive video and thought it was strange to go that route but like anything you get used to it.
Thanks Trevor. Now that I'm expecting that characteristic, my 2nd time behind the wheel will not have to deal with that as a distraction.