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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've had a little snow over the last few days. Just enough to cover the roof.

I've not been out in the car since the snow arrived and it's just been parked on the driveway.

I noticed that the snow around the shark fin aerial does not settle and has melted.

3685


It's been like that for 3 days.

I'm guessing the car must be bored and is watching sledging videos on the internet.

Has anyone else's car done the same?
 

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Mine no ... others have reported this.

There is no definitive answer to this but some others have seen this too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting. I assumed that it was heated by design to help the car maintain it's communciation link.

It did get me wondering how much energy it uses to maintain this?
 

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Yep, mine was similar. We have had snow here in Kent and the fin has pretty much always been visible.
 

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I think they all do that, and mine seems to do it regardless of wether it's plugged in or not. I don't think it is intentionally heated, just waste heat from whatever electronics they have there, presumably related to the radio that'll be used by the upcoming app etc.
 

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Exactly, it's just waste heat from running the 4G (hmm) and more likely the SOS cellular connection. Mine's always done it, even when in its very low power state after a few days of no use.
 

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Another interesting thing I noticed today is that the rear window of my Audi had a gap in snow that matched exactly the contour of a vinyl sticker stuck on the inside of it.

The car was parked for a couple of days and everything else around the car had about half an inch of snow from the overnight snowfall. Bear in mind it's an odd shape, so even if someone intentionally wanted to clear just that bit of the glass they couldn't possibly have done it that accurately, as it wasn't a simple rectangle!

So as the outside air temperature started rising the snow started to melt, and it appears that this vinyl patch on the inside of the glass was providing sufficient insulation from the colder air inside the car to help that bit of glass melt slightly faster, but enough to make this pattern visible for a couple of hours. It's all gone now, shame I didn't take a photo.

What I'm trying to say is that perhaps there's no waste heat there, it's just better insulated from the cold steel mass bellow the rest of that panel, so its temperature would increase faster when the air temperature increases than the surrounding area. I would expect any steel there to be recessed to provide a gap to improve antenna radiation pattern.
 

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Mmm, I'll have to borrow the thermal camera from work (when I ever go there again). I get three patches of melted frost/ice - one around the shark fin, one around the front dash cam and one around the rear dash cam. The rest of the car stays completely and consistently covered, including any other protrusions. I'm sure it's coming from heat inside the fin, it's far too pronounced to be just warming up more quickly from surrounding air as it extends for a few inches all around it.
 

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Mine never has, even when just frosted over.

View attachment 3690
Does your parking spot see morning sun?


Mmm, I'll have to borrow the thermal camera from work (when I ever go there again). I get three patches of melted frost/ice - one around the shark fin, one around the front dash cam and one around the rear dash cam. The rest of the car stays completely and consistently covered, including any other protrusions. I'm sure it's coming from heat inside the fin, it's far too pronounced to be just warming up more quickly from surrounding air as it extends for a few inches all around it.
I wonder if the folks who see it have some degree of morning sun that warms up the air, providing the mechanism that @kkonstan mentions.

But that would rely on the UK seeing anything but gray skies in the winter...

... nevermind
 

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Does your parking spot see morning sun?




I wonder if the folks who see it have some degree of morning sun that warms up the air, providing the mechanism that @kkonstan mentions.

But that would rely on the UK seeing anything but gray skies in the winter...

... nevermind
I can confirm it wasn't sunny today in my part of the UK, but air temperatures inevitably rises after dawn and given the cars have insulation the rise of the temperature of the air inside will lag a bit. This slight difference cain explain why snow would melt a bit faster over the vinyl sticker, but I'm not sure if this effect is enough for the antenna area - waste heat from the electronics is probably the most likely cause.

I suppose one way of confirming wether this effect is at play is to check if this area is clear even when temperature outside is actively dropping (eg in the late evening). If it's clear it's most likely due to waste heat. If not and it's only clearing in the morning when ambient temperature is on the rise, I suspect it's due to the mechanism I described.

I'll set my CCTV camera to continuously record tonight and see what happens :)

Any non-armchair physicists in the forum?
 

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Mine does it sometimes but not always, does seem to be less often now that 4G is more reliable but I wouldn't put money on it.
 

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When my 4G was borked, that area was constantly warm and I never once saw snow or ice gather there.

Now my 4G is working fine, it seems to frost over!
 

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My 4G has only once in 7 weeks gone down, yet it always has a warm patch around it.

The plot thickens!
 

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It’s been consistently bellow freezing and occasionally snowing here all afternoon.

The car was driven (so clean) about 6 hours ago, and then parked and not plugged in.

There’s now a very evenly distributed amount of snow all over, except around the fin, where the layer of snow is thinner.

This has to be due to waste heat, my guess is it was turned on at some point and melted any accumulated snow and now it’s cold again.

Plugged it in now, I’m wondering if it’ll heat up again, and that’ll be my entertainment for the rest of night #323 after The Event :)
3703
 

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You guys are way overthinking this.

Those shark fin antennas are bog standard. It just passive antennas elements on a circuit board, isolated with plastic/rubber. The shark fin itself is just a plastic cover.

4G devices are limited to 1 Watt of power. Even if the antenna was only 50% efficient, you're talking maybe half a Watt of waste energy. Even if the cellular connection was transmitting full tilt 24/7 it wouldn't be enough energy to melt that much snow.

Makes zero sense that the antennas would be heated. How does it determine when to turn the heater on? The only reasonable way is temperature, so you're telling me they are going to have an antenna heater running anytime it's below freezing? That's a huge amount of energy, which realistically is only going to help in light snow. Heavy snow and it's useless because the energy requirements would be enormous.

No ICE vehicle has this, and I've never had an issue with remote start or connectivity with my Volvo under a foot of snow.
 

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alternative explanation: does the wind just help keep that area clear?
 

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The area definitely gets hot enough to melt snow and ice - it is clearly not just a passive device - there must be electronics in there. It's obviously not deliberately heated, that would be absurd.
 

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The sharkfin is not just an antenna. It is an entire communications module that includes antenna, 4G/Cellular modem & its own internal battery. It provides the SOS functionality. My suspicion is that it also includes the GPS module (since a lot of these radio modules are combined / SoC type things).

I also have a hunch that it also interacts with the sleep state of the car e.g. that it might be used to wake the car for things like scheduled preconditioning and also the the 'sleep' profile (e.g. wake at 7am Mon-Fri, sleep at weekends, go into deep sleep after 72 hours etc.).

That's not even to mention that it might occasionally 'phone home' to Polestar (e.g. for tracking / app purposes).

I checked mine this morning - it's definitely frozen over solid but my car hasn't been driven for 72 hours+ so it's likely gone into deep sleep mode. If I go and drive the car and it's still icy tomorrow, I'd expect it might have melted since the car would wake itself at 7am as per its internal scheduling (so you don't have to wait for the infotainment to boot up, basically).
 
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