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MASTER THREAD: USB drives that work with Sentry and TeslaCam

I used a fairly cheap 3.0 USB flash drive...like 15 bucks or so. After about 3 months, the car tells me the card is now too slow, which I believe! At that point, the past few weeks have been the situation where the viewer wouldn't open for like 30-45 seconds. Just black.

Flash memory has a limited number of writes, and going too cheap will bite you in the butt. If there ever was a time you REALLY needed a recording to work and it turns out the cheap flash drive let you down? Yeah, the drive is worth at least what you'd pay for a good dash cam.
 
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Just making sure: are you trying to look at the footage in the Viewer?



Also, try the double thumb-wheel reboot.

Finally, what version of the firmware are you on? New cars are often NOT on the latest version (though the Viewer was introduced with 2020.15.5, so most likely you're at least on that)

Tried the reboot. Also just got the update to 2020.40.4 and still the same. Sentry recordings still working fine when I check the viewer. Will have to get the Tesla service centre to check it next time it is in there.
 

Kevy Baby

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Aug 11, 2019
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Tried the reboot. Also just got the update to 2020.40.4 and still the same. Sentry recordings still working fine when I check the viewer. Will have to get the Tesla service centre to check it next time it is in there.
Gives credence to what many of us already believe: it is a software issue in the car (not just yours). Good luck and let us know what they say.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,202
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NC
As has been mentioned by others, don't skimp out on a quality flash drive. Not all flash drives are the same. You really want a high endurance drive, designed for the heavy abuse of dashcam use. We broke all this down plus more in our dedication TeslaCam/Sentry Cam post. Reliable TeslaCam/Sentry Drive on iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows
As has been mentioned by others, don't skimp out on a quality flash drive. Not all flash drives are the same. You really want a high endurance drive, designed for the heavy abuse of dashcam use. We broke all this down plus more in our dedication TeslaCam/Sentry Cam post. Reliable TeslaCam/Sentry Drive on iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows



Your basic premise on the need for high endurance storage is incorrect (as explained in some detail with math elsewhere in these threads- but the tl;dr version is the tesla cam writes MUCH MUCH less data than traditional dual-4k dashcam setups that need high endurance storage).

Also your webpage basic explanation of how the Tesla system works is incorrect.

For example you claim sentry records 10 minute clips while the car is turned off. That's wrong on multiple points.

Sentry doesn't record anything. Ever. Dashcam does. It's the only thing that does. Sentry may move dashcam recordings when going alert mode, but it doesn't ever "record" anything at all. Sentry mode still works fine even if you have no storage attached, it just skips the "move already recorded dashcam files" step.

Sentry doesn't work if the car is off (which in the context of what you're writing means asleep, because if you mean something else then your description of when Teslacam records is also wrong). On the contrary one of the main things Sentry mode DOES is prevent the car from sleeping so that the dashcam keeps recording.


Oh -and it's also out of date regarding the USB ports in the car- for some months now the 3 has been coming with only one USB-A front port, and the built-in charger goes to the other, USB-C, port....so you might wanna update that while you're correcting the other misinformation.

While you're at it you might want to replace the cheap dumb USB hub and JEDA hub suggestions with links to the Navak splitters, that are designed and sold by an owner and forum member, and actually contain intelligent circuitry to offer (in one version) the ability to use a 2.1 amp wired charger and a USB storage device at the same time, or in the 2nd gen version the ability to run an SDCard, a game controller or music USB stick, and a 1.5 amp phone charging cable all at the same time.... and in a very small form factor.
 
I bought the Navak adapter and a 128GB SD Card USB when I bought the car. Unfortunately, the Sentry Videos would consume the entire capacity in a week or so because it didn’t overwrite the videos.

So yesterday I bought the 1TB Samsung T5 SSD because it was on sale for $130. Hopefully, this drive will allow many more days of recording.

My wife has had the car for a month now and loves it
 
Tried the reboot. Also just got the update to 2020.40.4 and still the same. Sentry recordings still working fine when I check the viewer. Will have to get the Tesla service centre to check it next time it is in there.

Just to bring my issue to a close, I had the car in with the service centre to fix some delivery issues today and had this issue on the list. Not sure what they did to it, but the dashcam is now working fine for me, and the problem is solved. Assume there was some sort of software issue that has been resolved.
 
Is it possible to have Teslacam write to two different USBs at the same time? Effectively a RAID-10?

@MamaSmurf RAID sounds like a bit of overkill IMHO, but it's probably possible. I doubt there's any sort of RAID functionality built into the car, but you could probably find a portable USB RAID enclosure, something like this? https://www.amazon.ca/StarTech-com-Enclosure-Raid-USB-10Gbps-Aluminum-SMS2BU31C3R/dp/B06ZYM7L9N. That's just one example, I'm sure there are several options out there.
 
The actual owners manual specifically recommends 2 USB thumb drives (one of which I've used the 128GB version of for ~18 months with 0 issues- the Samsung one).

Link here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D7PDLXC




An SSD will generally be the most expensive, take up the most room, use the most power, and have the narrowest operating temps (and I've seen a number of folks posting issues with them in recent SW updates too).

The things an SSD is really good at aren't relevant to this application (the ports are USB2, so being SUPER FAST doesn't help in any way- the car is only writing at 2MB/sec anyway).... the only time it really makes any sense at all is if you have a HUGE music collection (like larger than would fit on a 256GB usb key) because beyond 256GB non-SSD flash gets a lot more expensive.


SDcards are fine, but require an added adapter so that's an additional point of failure (indeed a number of folks have posted about their adapter failing and needing to replace it).


So my recommendations are either get a 128GB Samsung Fit Plus .... or if you need to plug in a number of things to your ports, get a Navak Gen2 adapter and use an SDcard

The adapter includes an SDcard slot for sentry, plus dual USB port for a phone charger, and another USB port for a music thumb drive.

This is the card I've used in that adapter (I was a beta tester for Navak)-

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D7PDLXC


A second Navak adapter on the other side would also let you attach both a phone charger and a game controller- or if you've no need for a controller the second phone charger can just plug right into the port.

Either way the navak stuff takes up a lot less space than a giant hub does, and usually offers a lot more intelligent splitting of the power too-


https://www.amazon.com/Navak-Splitter-Tesla-Model-Power/dp/B07Z2KQ719

1st gen Navak- no SDslot, 2.1 amp charger port and 400ma data port

https://www.amazon.com/Navak-Combo-Adapter-Tesla-Model/dp/B08B3FY8X8

2nd gen Navak- SD slot, 1.5 amp charger AND data port, 500ma data port




Note- Navak is a member here, offers excellent support- and I think sometimes Amazon discount codes too

Has something changed with the above bolded area about writing at 2mb/sec? I haven't had a software update in probably over a month now, but suddenly, after more than a year of no issues, I'm getting warnings that the USB drive I'm using isn't adequate and I need to get a drive that allows for writing at 4mb/sec.

A couple of days ago, it stopped recording altogether and said the drive was full. I put it in my laptop to see what was going on because it should just be writing over the previous video files unless I'm saving dashcam clips or having sentry triggered (neither of which had happened in weeks). The main directory had about 10 GB of files in it, the total available space was only about 2 GB. So I cleared all of those files out along with some from the sentry folder, freeing up about 20 GB of space. Put the drive back into the car and it's working now but giving me that warning about needing to be able to write at 4mb/sec.

I haven't gone through this entire thread but it seems odd that it suddenly stopped writing over previous files like it always has, and had plenty of space in that directory to do so. Just wanting to check to see if that Samsung Fit Plus is still adequate for the current software we have. It's only $16 so I'm happy to get it to prevent issues going forward.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,292
1,237
Encino, CA
Has something changed with the above bolded area about writing at 2mb/sec? I haven't had a software update in probably over a month now, but suddenly, after more than a year of no issues, I'm getting warnings that the USB drive I'm using isn't adequate and I need to get a drive that allows for writing at 4mb/sec.

A couple of days ago, it stopped recording altogether and said the drive was full. I put it in my laptop to see what was going on because it should just be writing over the previous video files unless I'm saving dashcam clips or having sentry triggered (neither of which had happened in weeks). The main directory had about 10 GB of files in it, the total available space was only about 2 GB. So I cleared all of those files out along with some from the sentry folder, freeing up about 20 GB of space. Put the drive back into the car and it's working now but giving me that warning about needing to be able to write at 4mb/sec.

I haven't gone through this entire thread but it seems odd that it suddenly stopped writing over previous files like it always has, and had plenty of space in that directory to do so. Just wanting to check to see if that Samsung Fit Plus is still adequate for the current software we have. It's only $16 so I'm happy to get it to prevent issues going forward.

I had a similar experience with my Samsung usb drive. According to some other posts on TMC, this may be an indication that the drive has simply worn out. You mentioned that you have had it for over a year. Even the most durable drive will konk out at some point, given the immense amount of data that is written to the drives. I personally replaced my drive with the new Samsung T7 SSD drive. Amazon has it on sale now for $79.99.

Hope that helps
Joebruin77
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,202
31,701
NC
AFAIK the files are still writing at 2MB/sec (0.5MB/sec each, 4 cameras) unless they've very recently changed the file size/encoding.

The manual says 4MB to provide overhead, but that's still slower than any decent USB key, SDcard, or SSD can easily sustain write at.

I still haven't had any issues with my own samsung storage and have used it continually since Oct 2018.

(That said, with covid sentry is on a lot less this year than the previous one, and even regular dashcam as well driving a ton less miles)
 
For what it's worth (near nothing?) this is what I have : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G5JV2B5

Like another poster, I chose that so I could get a camera-grade? SD card for it; figuring cameras take lots of pics.. whatever, the card I got is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V5Q1K3O

The adapter is plugged into one of these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074DRW84M so I can still have 2 active phone chargers though primarily only driver side is used.

After 24.4, I rebooted (first time ever cause of hearing so many issues)

I have had zero failures with the camera or the files. Maybe just lucky...


Replying to my own post to add that in Dec 2020 the same above setup (same exact parts) continues to work w/o error - hoping I didn't jinx myself ;)
 
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Has something changed with the above bolded area about writing at 2mb/sec? I haven't had a software update in probably over a month now, but suddenly, after more than a year of no issues, I'm getting warnings that the USB drive I'm using isn't adequate and I need to get a drive that allows for writing at 4mb/sec.

A couple of days ago, it stopped recording altogether and said the drive was full. I put it in my laptop to see what was going on because it should just be writing over the previous video files unless I'm saving dashcam clips or having sentry triggered (neither of which had happened in weeks). The main directory had about 10 GB of files in it, the total available space was only about 2 GB. So I cleared all of those files out along with some from the sentry folder, freeing up about 20 GB of space. Put the drive back into the car and it's working now but giving me that warning about needing to be able to write at 4mb/sec.

I haven't gone through this entire thread but it seems odd that it suddenly stopped writing over previous files like it always has, and had plenty of space in that directory to do so. Just wanting to check to see if that Samsung Fit Plus is still adequate for the current software we have. It's only $16 so I'm happy to get it to prevent issues going forward.

not sure if you bought it yet but i have this one and it stopped working. tried reformatting, didnt help. looks like its bricked
 
not sure if you bought it yet but i have this one and it stopped working. tried reformatting, didnt help. looks like its bricked

I've had the Samsung Fit Plus sitting in my Amazon shopping cart since making my original post. My current drive seems to be working OK, the warnings about it being inadequate stopped a couple days after I posted this. I've done a few thumb wheel reboots, maybe those helped, maybe not.....who knows.

I'll probably go ahead and order this drive anyway since it's not very expensive, and keep my current drive as a backup. Like others have mentioned, these drives just aren't meant for the constant writing/re-writing of large amounts of data, so it could just be teetering on the edge of failure.
 
For anyone else who is using microSD cards. I finally figured out why I couldn't format in the car, but otherwise it works fine. Format USB drive was greyed out for me. It's because of a compatability issue with Anker SD USB adapter (AR200). I had an extra of the same adapter laying around and that also didn't work. I then tried a completely different MicroSD card which had the same issue. Finally, I found an old generic microSD adapter and that works fine and can be formatted in the car. Strange compatibility issues
 

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