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Is sentry recording a joke?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Galinette, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Galinette

    Galinette Member

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    The feature was highly advertised when it was released.

    On my 2018 MS, it records 50% of the time, side camera videos are often half black or stop after 5 seconds, when it works files are huge and quality is awful with compression artifacts, it doesn’t send notifications and there is no way to watch the videos in car or in app.

    Being a développer in the CG industry I can’t believe they achieved a video compression performance of the 80s with one of the most powerful GPUs of 2016.

    And it draws almost as much power as a toaster.

    A 40$ Chinese home surveillance camera outperforms it on all these aspects.

    Is this only a MCU1 issue, or is the whole feature a big joke in its current form?
     
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  2. FatherTo1

    FatherTo1 Member

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    #2 FatherTo1, Jan 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
    I love Sentry Mode on our MCU2 car. I don't recall the exact file size at the moment but it isn't too bad, maybe 30 MB per 60-second clip from all four cameras. Compression used to be h265 but lists as h264 as of the initial V10 update. Resolution and video quality is beyond acceptable. Sure, not as clear as the latest and greatest 4K dashcams, but still clear enough for me to make out license plates.

    Although Sentry Mode records all the time when parked, the drive-time portion is only captured for an hour and then continuously overwritten. I wish it kept longer records of drive time, especially when you have a large USB drive, but that's a small complaint and can easily be remedied with a future software update. I am just grateful they finally introduced automatic file overwrite so you don't have to manually empty the drive. Initially, Sentry Mode would stop recording once the storage filled up until you manually deleted files -- that was annoying and risked missing an event when you most need Sentry Mode!

    Yes, viewing recordings is a hassle but I bought an USB OTG (on-the-go) adapter for my phone and can quickly view videos on my phone. I keep the adapter in the car.

    Here are examples:





     
  3. A-Wimoweh

    A-Wimoweh Member

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    I had spotty performance of the sentry recordings until I switched from using a USB stick to a microSD card and reader. Recordings are much more consistent for me now, but there is still an occasional glitch. Since its writing 4 streams at once, you really need a good card and reader capable of supporting a high write rate without overheating and dying.
     
  4. Ken7

    Ken7 Member

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    My sentry recordings are complete with no breaks, but the quality is not auite as good as yours. My 2017 MCU1 camera recording quality is sub-VHS. I hope these cameras are ‘seeing’ better than my recordings would indicate and the poor quality is due to some bandwidth/compression limitation in MCU1 cars.

    Edit: When I made your clips full screen, it appears yours are about as bad as mine.
     
  5. A-Wimoweh

    A-Wimoweh Member

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    I didn't watch the videos that AYCE posted, but I have personally noticed that the recording quality seems to be better with the dashcam videos that the sentry videos. Anyone else notice this?
     
  6. Galinette

    Galinette Member

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    Yes, I’m speaking of the sentry videos. The dash cam feature is decent, the sentry is awful on my car. It records randomly on people walking by, I have managed touching the car without being recorded. Sometimes, it records when driving out of the parking... but the video is in sentry folder, not dash cam...
     
  7. Galinette

    Galinette Member

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    And I get loads of 0kb (empty) files, especially for the side cams.
     
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  8. A-Wimoweh

    A-Wimoweh Member

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    Are you using a USB stick, or a SD/MicroSD card inserted to a card reader?
     
  9. Galinette

    Galinette Member

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    I used a sandisk ultra fit usb stick.

    I have a spare M2 SSD in a usb case, I might try it, it should be at least as good as a SD card.

    However, I don’t see how any decent Brand usb3 stick could be a problem, since the usb2 interface is very likely the bottleneck.
     
  10. Galinette

    Galinette Member

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    Concerning the h265 vs h264 question, I am 99% sure the codec doesn’t even use P or B frames. So it may be compatible with a h265 or h264 reader, but it only uses 1% of the standard, making it crappier than oldschool MPEG 1. So yes the codec is ultra crappy. Tesla devs, if you read this forum...
     
  11. A-Wimoweh

    A-Wimoweh Member

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    The problem is the continuous writing for long periods of time. This builds up the heat, and the USB sticks don't dissipate that heat quickly enough due to their enclosed design. I went thru the same thing in the beginning with sentry mode, using random USB sticks that I had lying about. I've heard others have had good luck with some SSD's. I switched to a pro version of a microSD card, designed to be used in 4K dashcams, and have not had any issues since.
     
  12. FatherTo1

    FatherTo1 Member

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    Ken, make sure you're watching the 720p stream and that YouTube didn't auto select the lower quality version. That said, our modern monitor/TV/smartphone high-res displays will highlight the shortcomings of 720p. Still better than nothing. I used to run two 1080 dashcams in my previous car but much prefer the integrated 4-cam setup of Sentry Mode.
     
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  13. shellderp

    shellderp Member

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    it's definitely a hacked in feature, but I'm very grateful to have it at all
     
  14. Tigerkc

    Tigerkc Member

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    It was a free feature, that had proven to be useful for many. I am glad it was free and I ddi not need to install my own dash cam.
     
  15. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

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    as an aside - sentry mode isn't supposed to send notification unless something triggers the alarm, not for warning events.
    The vast majority of videos I get, you can see the headlights flash as a warning to the people around the car.
    I've seen so many clips of people looking into the car and pointing at the big HAL display.
    For a freebie that was added to help customers with car crime problems I think its fantastic addition and something Tesla were under no obligation to provide.
    It has already provided enough evidence leading arrests - not bad for a "joke"

    If I need something better I'd go and buy something - but I'd be looking at least $650 for a Blackvue DR900S 2 channel plus battery pack that actually does something close to sentry mode and still not get side cameras.
     
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  16. A-Wimoweh

    A-Wimoweh Member

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    #16 A-Wimoweh, Jan 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
    Its good and useful as it is, but its been out for awhile, and has not been refined except for deleting old clips when the drive/card fills up. It really only needs two more things...

    1) Ability to look at footage inside the car, without having to remove it and plug it into another device.
    2) For Tesla to add an accessory to their store, a USB storage device that has the right specs and is certified to work optimally with the sentry mode and dashcam.

    And of course for #1, you should only be able to access the sentry mode footage when a key is present, or after the pin is entered if pin to drive is enabled. Don't make it easy for someone to break into the car, and then delete the footage. Future refresh of the interior should have an option to put the USB storage device in a hard to access place, or maybe locked inside the glove box.
     
  17. Tdub621

    Tdub621 Member

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    Since when has sentry mode video recording been available on MCU1 cars?
     
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  18. Wooloomooloo

    Wooloomooloo Member

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    I do have missing clips from my side cams occasionally, both in sentry mode and driving, and I am pretty sure it’s because my USB drive isn’t fast enough. The video should be viewable on screen, especially if there’s an incident and you need to review before taking note of a license plate or something else.
     
  19. Ken7

    Ken7 Member

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    Thanks AYCE, yes it was 720p. I'm into video so that's always one of the first things I look for. I even tried both the Safari & Chrome browser to check quality. I guess I'm so accustomed to 4K video, the sentry clips are just disappointing and blocky. Yes, they're good enough to read a license plate, but they pale by comparison to the better dash cams. But hey, it cost us nothing! ;)
     
  20. Ken7

    Ken7 Member

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    If you have MCU1 & AP2.5, you have the ability for sentry mode recordings.
     
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