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Does Sentry mode full replace dashcam?

Tigermad

Member
Mar 1, 2021
239
47
UK
Hi. I have just ordered a M3 S+. At the moment I use a front and rear camera with a battery pack for parking mode. Will I be able to scrap all that and just use Sentry mode now? Does it eat a lot of the battery up overnight?
 

Tigermad

Member
Mar 1, 2021
239
47
UK
Hi. I have just ordered a M3 S+. At the moment I use a front and rear camera with a battery pack for parking mode. Will I be able to scrap all that and just use Sentry mode now? Does it eat a lot of the battery up overnight?
Just found the answer. It doesn’t record all the time like a dashcam so will need to keep my current setup by the look of it.
 

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
3,679
2,678
Bath, UK
Sentry will record events (not continuous recording) while your vehicle is parked, and will also record (dashcam) while it is in motion.

That being said - it is not without its quirks. There have been instances where people have claimed that it has missed part of an incident, not saved it properly, or whatever.

As far as I know it only records the last hour of the current journey on a constantly overwriting loop, so if an incident happened at the start that you were unaware of and you only noticed after you'd driven for some time, you might find you don't have any footage of it.

There is no audio, on either dashcam or sentry recordings.

it is "serviceable", but that is about it.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,533
3,422
Scotland
Just found the answer. It doesn’t record all the time like a dashcam so will need to keep my current setup by the look of it.

Yes, it records only when triggered. If you need security coverage 24/7 then a standalone system can have advantages.

Sentry Mode is very much an "extra". Having so many cameras around the car for other purposes it was realised that there was an opportunity to make use of them for a "free" security dashcam. The feature can be very useful and has particularly good coverage at the sides of the car (as well as the front and back) to pick up if an adjacent car in a car park has caused damage by someone opening their door carelessly for example. However, it obviously wasn't planned for right from the outset. Though the resources needed to run a dash cam system may be quite moderate the Teslas need to boot up their full mega computing suite to run it. This is quite power hungry so will have an impact on range if used whenever the car is stopped. Also the cameras are optimised for their primary function which is to provide information for computer analysis rather than human viewing. Having said all that ... it's still a useful feature!
 
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TechnoMinds

Member
Oct 16, 2020
16
4
Montreal, QC
Just found the answer. It doesn’t record all the time like a dashcam so will need to keep my current setup by the look of it.


This is from the manual

Save Clips on Honk: If on, you can save video recordings to a USB flash drive or other storage device using Dashcam by honking the horn on the steering wheel. You must insert a properly formatted USB flash drive or other storage device in one of your vehicle's front USB ports (see Dashcam on page 70).​
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,912
UK
One really big advantage of using a decent dash cam is much reduced battery drain. Sentry mode uses a ludicrous amount of power from the battery, something like 200 W to 300 W IIRC. A decent dash cam with its own standby battery pack will only present a tiny fraction of the drain, so is probably a better bet if you need 24/7 monitoring.

Against that, Sentry mode does have more cameras, and the side view cameras, in particular, can give pretty good coverage of people trying to get in, or just doing something like keying the side of the car.

I started out using the built in dash cam all the time, and occasionally using Sentry mode (when parked somewhere public), but wasn't that happy with the video quality. The built in dash cam quality seems to be something like 720p in appearance, and nothing like as clear as even a budget 1080p dash cam. I ended up fitting the smallest budget front and rear view dash cam I could find and found that the quality (only 1080p) seems much better than the built-in dash cam functionality.
 

curmudgeon

Member
Jul 11, 2019
262
247
Northern Ireland
...I started out using the built in dash cam all the time, and occasionally using Sentry mode (when parked somewhere public), but wasn't that happy with the video quality. The built in dash cam quality seems to be something like 720p in appearance, and nothing like as clear as even a budget 1080p dash cam. I ended up fitting the smallest budget front and rear view dash cam I could find and found that the quality (only 1080p) seems much better than the built-in dash cam functionality.

I'm looking to do something similar because I too think the video resolution is pretty rubbish.
How hard was it to set up a budget dashcam? Did you hard-wire it? If so was it difficult?
 

justinhow

Member
Feb 8, 2021
61
41
Dumfries, Scotland
I have just ordered a Tesla Model 3 and am interested in a dashcam.
Are the USB ports in the car powered all the time or when the car is "on"?
Are the 12v adapter ports powered all the time or when the car is "on"?
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,714
6,270
Surrey, UK
Are the USB ports in the car powered all the time or when the car is "on"?
Are the 12v adapter ports powered all the time or when the car is "on"?

It depends on what you mean by "on".

Basically there are (at least?) 2 modes of the car being "off". One is standby/idle call it what you want. The other is Sleep. I am sure some will argue that there are other modes such as power down and possibly deep sleep, but I'm keeping things simple.

As far as I am aware, and it can and has changed from software version to software version, as long as the car is in standby, USB and 12v will be active.

So what is the difference between standby and sleep. Its basically up to the car, but generally, 10-15 minutes after car had been left, it will typically go to sleep, but not always. Some features will prevent the car from sleeping, ranging from "we havn't a clue" to the use of modes that may keep the car awake such as ironically, sentry mode. When the car is sleeping, it will consume a significant amount of power, typically in 200-300W range, so 4.8kW - 7.2kW per day. You can do the maths on how long the main battery will last at that power draw; not that many days at best if you are not using the car and its not plugged in. Car will go in a self protect mode at 20% battery, ie, modes that keep car awake will be disabled.
 
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Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,912
UK
I'm looking to do something similar because I too think the video resolution is pretty rubbish.
How hard was it to set up a budget dashcam? Did you hard-wire it? If so was it difficult?

It was a bit fiddly, but not that difficult. I fitted the cam party behind the mirror, tight to the side of the internal forward looking camera housing, with the cable tucked in behind the edge of the headlining. I partly removed the trim down the A pillar and tucked the lead down there and fed it in behind the dash. The cable then ran inside the dash and down alongside the centre console (tucked under it) and plugged it in to a rear USB port.

This powers down when the car powers down, so isn't suitable if you want the dash cam to work like sentry mode. I did play around with a USB power bank, one of the few that will charge and discharge at the same time, and that seemed a reasonably good way to power the camera all the time, at least for a short time. Finding a power bank that can both charge and discharge at the same time can be a challenge, though, as few seem to have this feature advertised.
 
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