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W221 & Audio Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UPDATE Fall 2019 - For owners of the pre-facelift S-Class 2006-2008 Rest of World and 2007-2009 US Models equipped with NTG 3.0 HDD-based COMAND units, myself and the community have created and made available for free the detailed instructions, files, and video on how to update your NTG 3.0 to restore 100% functionality. There have been virtually no negative side effects reported and the ones that have generally have been due to user error. NO REPORTS OF DAMAGE TO ANY COMAND DEVICES HAVE BEEN RECEIVED FROM THIS At worst it the COMAND may not accept the Software Update, but no damage has been reported at all. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL MBUSA LLC, Daimler AG, or Harmon Becker release and none of these companies should be be contacted if you experience issues with this.*THEY ARE IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ISSUES, DAMAGES, OR SUPPORTING THIS UPDATE AND IT IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Since this is a community-based effort, one of the above entities may request its availability to be removed, but thus far they seemingly have been understanding and no request has been made. If a legal request is made, it will immediately be complied with to remove access to the media, video, and PDF-based instructions. It was not created to be sold or for profit and is completely free. NO WARRANTY IS OFFERED , EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. More information about this including a video of the process being performed, a link to download an archive of the instructions in PDF format to print and an ISO file to write to a optical disc can be found in the link below:

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As more and more reports are coming in that their COMAND units are malfunctioning when dealing with the GPS Date beacon that is sent out from the satellites for GPS devices to synchronize the date/time, many COMANDs are starting to show a bug in the software code where the COMAND is not correctly dealing with the rollover of the GPS protocol.

For those interested in the technical aspects, it is crucial to the operation of the GPS system to maintain an extremely accurate Date and Time system, as your location is calculated using triangulation from multiple satellites, and the delays in which the signal arrives to your receiver allows your COMAND to calculate your position in relation to the satellites. To do this, it must have a very accurate clock, and locked on to at least 3 or 4 satellites to determine your location. A part of the GPS protocol is a beacon that is delivered over the GPS signal with the payload being a date/time value. As in most anything computer related, it comes down to multiples of 1024. Just so happens, the date is derived from a value of the current week on a 1 to 1024 number. 1024 weeks is 7268 days, and after this time has elapsed, the week number cannot roll over to a Week 1025 value, so it simply reverts back 1 one as it was designed to do. It is now being revealed that the software running the on many models of the COMAND units is not mitigating this change correctly and the code was incorrect or not-existent to adjust accordingly.

This is resulting in many COMAND models to display an incorrect date. So far, I have either seen for myself, or heard of the following COMAND units experiencing this malfunction. I welcome input from other members to add to this list, and if they were able to discover a mitigation for it. A "*" indicates I have personally witnessed this.

W210/W208 - COMAND 2.0 (and all other Mercedes-Benz vehicles this was installed in, including the G-Wagen in the mid 2000s)*
- Reverts date back to 1999.
W215/W220 - COMAND 2.5
- Changes date to late 20xx.
W211/W219 COMAND NTG 1.0 DVD-based Navigation.
-Changes date to incorrect value.
W216/W221 NTG 3.0 with current Telematics update.
-I have witnessed on my S600 the date is showing December 28 2018, so a change in the week, but correct year. Others I have seen revert to April 2006 and will not save changes.*
W211/W219 2009 MY (Final production models) NTG 2.5
-Reports are running current firmware and still have error.

Please note - this only affects your COMAND if you have Navigation as well. For W211/W219 that have a COMAND without the Navigation processor and drive in trunk will not be affected by this.f I am still evaluating the impact this potentially causes, other than possibly providing an incorrect ETA and an annoyance.

2009 seems to be the cutoff date - the NTG 2.5 in the W211/W219 and 2009 was the final year for pre-facelifted W221 S-class and CL-class with the NTG 3.0. With the news that the NTG 3.0 and 3.5 will no longer receive Map Updates, which MBUSA and the headunit manufacturers have a potential to profit from, have abandoned an update beyond the 2015 update, so these are currently in the "obsolete" category it appears according to MBUSA. This leads me to believe that nothing will be done to address this, and I am highly confident that a firmware update on all models would remediate this, so some new code and it would be fixed, but I honestly do not expect a fix for it, but will be delighted if they do, and hope they do.

Other units may be affected, so feel free to comment with your experiences with this and if you were able to mitigate the problem.

We know it affects the date of the COMAND, but I am interested in the hidden impacts it may be having, such as corrupting the ASSYST+ data on oil changes, replenishment, etc., and am currently investigating this very thing and will report back my findings.

The mitigations I have found to work comes at the price of working Navigation. You can potentially remove the Map CD-ROM in the COMAND 2.0/2.5 and it will not have access to additional data it feels it needs to force GPS time, so it falls back to manual mode and does not adjust it to GPS. This occurred after a September 2001 firmware update was installed (Version US 7.23) and did not insert a Map disc. The date stayed at what I set it at, although the system did have the ability to receive GPS signals, it did not use them until the Map disc was introduced. I will do additional experimenting with this.

On the W216/W221, disabling the Navigation functionality using DAS on the COMAND will successfully disable this portion of the COMAND, and time sync with GPS will be disabled. This is not a practical workaround admittingly, as not everyone has their own Xentry Kit and can perform these operations, and you sacrifice a fully functioning Navigation system.

Some may, however have moved on to their iPhone for all of their GPS and Navigation needs, so if you are one of those that look at the COMAND as an out-of-date device that has little value, you may not miss it in any of the vehicles listed above. Until Daimler AG releases the appropriate Telematics update media for these devices, this will be an ongoing bug we have to deal with. It is also a test as to how much Daimler values its customer base that has not purchased new in a few years, but are still driving in some cases their flagship model and didn't expect the Telematics to have an Expiration Date. The SmartKeys we all use to start these also have a timebomb when they will stop functioning after a programmed number of uses, but it is high enough that none of us would probably hit that ceiling, but it is in there for the curious.

If having the correct date is more valuable than Navigation (for example, you have never updated your Maps) AND you know someone with Star Diagnostics, here are the steps:

(The images are attached, but are not displaying on my end - if this continues, i will place the files in another location and link to them.)
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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Thank you for posting this, Tiffany Twisted. I am placing a link to it in the W221 DIY and FAQs, and adding it to the stickies in Audio & Telematics, and also notifying moderators of forums for affected models. Your attachments show fine on my end.

Of note, the models listed above as W208, W215, W219 and W216 are shown on the forum's first page as C208 (CLK), C215 (CL), C219 (CLS) and C216 (CL).
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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10,928 Posts
I hope we get more data concerning this. It will be interesting to see if large numbers of COMAND units with navigation are affected in clusters, which one might expect if the problem stems from programming. If not, I would wonder if the problem may be with a circuit component dealing with the timing from the satellites, failing to handle the reset (rollover) properly.

Konigstiger provides the following references for troubleshooting for NTG 3.0 in the W221 forum at (https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w221-s-class/3009806-analog-clock-question-2.html):
https://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w221/728926-dash-board-clock-reset.html#post7619045
https://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w221/727345-analog-clock-comand-aps-ntg3-problems.html
https://mbworld.org/forums/s-class-w221/728926-dash-board-clock-reset.html

Unfortunately, there may be more than just clocks and navigation affected, as TiffanyTwisted wondered.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
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267 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Not Quite The News I was hoping for on the NTG3 Time Issue

It has been acknowledged again regarding the clocks in cars from around 1999-2010 regarding defective software installed in the COMAND units causing the GPS time to not update correctly and displaying an incorrect, non-adjustable date. Daimler's official fix is the same thing we are recommending here on the boards, which is not a fix of any kind. And the date remains incorrect.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It has taken some time to determine what NTG 3.0 units corrected automatically when Week Number 0 passed, and it appears that based on the satellite that the GPS processing receives information from (if it includes enhanced data, or the original GPS standard data format) it can cause the date to be correct on occasion, and on other occasions be incorrect, and is unpredictable.

Finally, however, a long-term fix is believed to have been discovered, and, if given permission by the Moderators to post, can be done by any user with an NTG 3.0 equipped S-Class with a PC or Macintosh running Windows, OS X, or UNIX/Linux with a software application that will write an ISO to a CD, CD-RW, DVD, or DVD-RW. It will not require a trip to the dealer, and will not require you to own a Star Diagnosis/Xentry Diagnosis device or have a Xentry Flash account with Daimler to perform online SCN/Control Module Programming.

It must be stressed, however, if approval is given, that you understand the following:

MBUSA, Daimler AG, Harmon Becker, or this forum CAN NOT AND WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF YOU DAMAGE YOUR HARDWARE. THIS IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK AND YOU ASSUME ALL RESPONSIBILITY. TESTING HAS BEEN DONE TO INSURE THAT THIS IS A SAFE AS POSSIBLE AND THOROUGH INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE PROVIDED, HOWEVER IF YOUR COMAND IS DAMAGED OR RENDERED UNUSABLE, NONE OF THE PARTIES ABOVE ARE RESPONSIBLE NOR DO THEY ENDORSE THIS FIX.

I hope to make this available in the coming days for the W221 owners community, free of charge and not for profit. Although it was hoped that Daimler AG or Harmon Becker would address this issue, it is understandable why they would not want to do so, as to install this Software Update without dealer diagnostic equipment, you must enter a menu in the COMAND that is for engineering use only, and is not designed or intended in any way for an end-user to access, as damage to the COMAND could be done, and the above companies likely determined it was too much of a risk from a logistics point of view to update all of these devices. If the NTG 3.0 and above were updatable like the previous COMAND versions found in the W210, W211, W220, etc., a simple CD could be used. However, beginning with the NTG 3.0, the CD media in addition to the dealer diagnostic tool connected to the vehicle had to be used due to the complexity of this system compared to previous systems. This made this update from a logistics point of view extremely challenging.

There is a preview of how it is carried out on an NTG 3.0 unit, and an additional video (if you are a technical person and have an interest in what this hidden menu displays) to watch:

The update process in its entirety:

And a view that would appear to the more technically-minded individuals:
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Updated 02/06/2020 -

I wanted to inform everyone that since Daimler AG has now released this to their dealer networks and instructions to their technicians how to remediate the problem, I intend on removing the ISO download link on 02/15/2020, and allow Daimler and MBUSA to take the reigns from here and take care of their customers. From what I have been told, at least some dealers are offering to do this free of charge, but I am unsure if this is a dealer-level decision or if they can claim it as a warranty item for reimbursement by DAG and all dealers offer it free of charge, therefore I recommend individuals that wish to have their dealer take care of this to call and discuss with their Service Advisor if any cost would be associated with performing this update. It takes less than 5 minutes to carry out, so it can be done while you wait and you should be out in no time. When I made the download available last October, it did exactly what I had hoped and helped the W221 community and served (unknowingly at the time) as a stopgap until DAG released it officially on 01/02/2020. If you wish to download/archive it ISO, I encourage you to do so before 02/15/2020 before it is scheduled to be removed.

I have received tons of messages and thank yous for providing this and I am glad to have helped. Perhaps I will be able to do a similar thing for other COMAND models do not interpret the GPS time beacon correctly. I am glad it worked out for everyone! I will leave the instructions and technical information online and have no intent of removing that.

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An update to those that have not discovered or installed to GPS date/clock fix yet: The fix is available for download for free in the description of the first YouTube video found here:


Download the ZIP file in the description and read the PDF carefully for complete instructions. An ISO file is included in the ZIP file that you need to write to a disc as an ISO image (do not write the actual ISO file itself to the CD; the ISO is a binary representation of a CD-ROM, and must be written as an "image."). Feel free to scan any/all files with your virus scanner of choice or at VirusTotal to give you peace of mind it is malware-free.

This file continues to provide 100% functionality to the COMAND as it was when new after the DST change the prior weekend. I would be interested in hearing any successes or failures regarding installing this firmware, so please post your feedback on as a comment on the YouTube video, or beneath this post (I don't normally encourage responses in sticky posts, but since this is a breakthrough for something W221 owners have given up on until now, I don't see it being an issue. This fix only applies to the COMAND NTG 3, and if affected, 3.5 COMANDs in the W221 S-Class. I have not witnessed first hand any US COMAND 3.5's being affected, but have heard of this in other countries.

Thanks!
 

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Is there any solution for NTG2 w245?
Took out fuses and it didnt work. Also removing Map CD not helped to reset gps and set correct time. I have Europe version without possibilities to set specific time zones manually in settings.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
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Discussion Starter #11
Unfortunately my experience with the B-Class is virtually non-existent as it is a model not imported into the United States. Do you have a Model Number from the label from the unit, and who the supplier is? (Alpine, Becker, etc.)?

Thanks!
 
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