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DashCam & USB storage issues

AntonM

Member
Sep 7, 2019
55
4
UK
DashCam and USB storage work intermittently. Long post follows.

Since I got the SR+ in early Sep2019, DashCam has been unreliable - wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences and - especially - any known fix?

The car came with v9 software. Seeing DashCam as A Good Thing, I bought a high endurance 256Gb micro USB and reader.

Win10 formats FAT32 only up to 4Gb (exFAT on bigger media), so I used "Fat32format" which seemed generally recommended. DashCam worked exactly as expected, all well.

So after an hour or so I took the reader out and moved the files to a backup HDD, leaving the "TeslaCam" folder as it was - all well. Put the reader back - DashCam still worked fine. somewhat oddly, every time I plugged the reader into the PC, the PC moaned about something wrong with the media - I ignored it the first few times but then gave in and let the PC do its thing. The next time I put the reader in the car, DashCam icon did not show. So I did a full FAT32 reformat with "FAT32format", but no dice.

Called Tesla Support who said I should do a scroll wheel reboot, which made no difference. Support then said there was a known issue with DashCam that would be fixed in the next update. Support also said to try a different drive - I had a 4Gb USB stick free, so tried that, and it worked, but 4Gb doesn't go very far, so not a permanent solution. Fair enough, I could wait.

Got v10 a few days ago, and tried DashCam again - still no dice. Reformatted the microSD, put the TeslaCam folder in, and tried again. Worked as before. :)

But now, after running for a few days, the DashCam icon no longer appears. :( The reader was warm when I took it out to investigate, and I'd read a Reddit post where they said that could cause a problem, so I let it cool. I could still get at the files, and moved them to my backup drive again - so it seemed the car hadn't cooked the microUSB.

Popped the now cool reader back - no DashCam icon. Reader out, back to PC, reformatted FAT32, put TeslaCam back, popped reader back in car - still no DashCam icon.

I know I plugged the reader into the correct USB socket, because that's the socket that worked before, and anyway the phone's USB is plugged into the other one.

Am I doing something wrong?
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,240
5,762
Surrey, UK
You probably didn't help matters letting windows do its own thing. Windows doesn't like FAT32 > 32GB so will often have a moan and say something is wrong with the media. There isn't, so you should ignore the message and not let windows try and fix what isn't broken.

Once windows has tried to fix things, it seems then often stuff any further formats. What I think sorted mine was playing with the partition tables then starting again - at that point I probably just deleted any partitions on drive and reformatted. Lots of warnings here about only doing this if you are sure what you are doing etc. However, this drive worked for a few days then failed again so I just did a straight reformat that time.

I rotate 2 endurance SD cards, one rock solid (I bet I jinxed that one now), the flaky one is still flaky and hasn't been rotated back in for a few weeks now.

The above can happen to any media. Tesla drive support is notoriously poor and its easy to corrupt contents - just make sure you correctly eject the drive, I didn't and thats what started off the issues with the unreliable drive. Make sure you turn off dashcam prior to pulling from usb.

I do however think, apart from checking authenticity of the card, the format is key to this. Maybe try a different method of formatting.
 

jdw

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 1, 2015
700
1,338
Vancouver
In case you didn't, make sure that you properly unmount the drive before removing it from the Tesla by pressing and holding the Dashcam icon (not Sentry) until the red light goes out. If you just pull the drive, you run the risk of corrupting or damaging it.
 

tsh2

Member
Aug 27, 2019
301
85
Cambridge, UK
I've found windows completely unable to recover SD cards before, when 'all' that is wrong is the partition table. However, with SD cards, I think it can sometimes be hard to work out what the partition table should look like unless you did a dump before it was corrupted. Booting an ubuntu live USB and learning about partition tables might not be worth the effort to try and recover it now...
 

AntonM

Member
Sep 7, 2019
55
4
UK
I do however think, apart from checking authenticity of the card, the format is key to this. Maybe try a different method of formatting.
Thank you - where can I find guidance on different methods of formatting it? I'd be really glad if I didn't need to trash an £80 microSD!
 

AntonM

Member
Sep 7, 2019
55
4
UK
In case you didn't, make sure that you properly unmount the drive before removing it from the Tesla by pressing and holding the Dashcam icon (not Sentry) until the red light goes out. If you just pull the drive, you run the risk of corrupting or damaging it.
I can't unmount the drive if there is no DashCam icon on the screen.

When It last worked (a few days ago), I simply left it plugged in, in the expectation that it would carry on working and delete/overwrite older files as time went on. But it just stopped today, and the DashCam icon was no longer showing.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,240
5,762
Surrey, UK
Wouldn't a thumb flashdrive(eg SanDisk Cruzer Fit) work instead of SSD+enclosure?

Its all down to reliability - flash technology of any type has a finite number of times it can be written to. It will work for a while, but depending on how often you run dash/sentry - the latter being the most likely to be used most frequently. A relatively small drive being written to 24/7 may exceed its reliability figures with a few months, and you won't necessarily know that it is having problems until you try and view the footage. IMHO, best stick with devices designed for the job, ie High Endurance SD cards designed for 24/7 video monitoring, or some SSD cards. The stress of the constant writes of TeslaCam cannot be underestimated. Generic USB devices are not designed for this, even if their performance spec says that it may be suitable. Worth also pointing out how size influences reliability. Whilst size is no longer as important for amount it can store as the drive largely self manages so doesn't really get 'full', a larger drive will reduce how often data is overwritten, so a 64GB drive will be approx twice the reliability of equivalent 32GB drive, and a 128GB approx 4x as reliable. You can go larger, but 128GB is probably the sweet spot and should, if not used 24/7, give several years or more reliable service - so long as other issues (USB cable, corruption, heat) do not cause problems before that.
 
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