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Samsung Solid State Drives Tested for USB Video Storage

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
Background
  • Recently drove a(n Enterprise rental) 2018 Tesla Model S 75D for ~10 days.
  • There’s much online about choosing the best USB device to store Tesla dashcam/Sentry Mode videos (e.g., adequate size; "endurance"-type micro SD devices; etc.). Some argue for a “bigger-is-better” approach saying that drive longevity is extended (fewer rewrites necessary over time).
  • I tested two new Samsung Solid State Drives (SSDs):
    1. Samsung V-Nand 850 Pro 256 GB SSD (Model MZ-7KE256
    2. Samsung 850 Pro 2 TB SSD (Model MZ-7KE2T0B W)
    housed in Sabrent non-powered, external drive enclosures:
    1. Sabrent (plastic) enclosure Model EC-UASP
    2. Sabrent (metal) enclosure Model EC-UK30
  • Each SSD was tested in both enclosures.
  • Power to the drives came exclusively from the car’s USB port (~4.8 volts).
  • As required, both SSDs were formatted with FAT32 file systems (single partition) by EaseUS Partition Master (v. 12.10) software with empty “TeslaCam” directories.
Results
  • The Samsung 256 GB SSD worked. Tesla video files were stored on the drive.
  • The Samsung 2 TB SSD did not work.
    - Icon dot (top of the screen) remained gray, indicating no compatible USB storage device was available.
    - No Tesla video files could be stored on the (larger) drive.
Discussion*

Possible reasons for failure of the 2 TB SSD include:
  1. Some sort of size limitation built into Tesla hardware/software.
  2. Power consumption exceeded what is available through the car’s USB circuitry.
  3. The 2TB SSD was not prepared properly.

    Reason #1: Others (e.g., on Reddit) have reported difficulties using a 2 TB SSD as a storage device. It may be partition- (and not total drive-) size that is a problem. Anecdotally, a 1.6 TB or smaller partition (on a 2 TB drive) may work.

    Reason #2: TeslaTap (Recommendations – Tesla Dashcam Advice, Recommendations and more!) suggests that SSDs must require 2 watts** or less to work in Models S and X. (Model 3 apparently has 6-watt USB circuitry.)

    Various online sources report that read/write power requirements for those two Samsung SSDs are about 2.5 (256GB) and 3.4 (2TB) watts. So it is possible that the Model S USB circuit just couldn’t handle the larger Samsung SSD.

    Reason #3: Possible, but less likely. (But as noted, preparation with a smaller partition size could be important—see response to Reason #1, above.)
Conclusions
  1. Why didn’t the Samsung 2TB SSD work?

    Possibly because the (single) partition size was too large. Creating a 1.6 TB or smaller partition on the 2 TB SSD might have solved the problem. (And See #2, below.)

  2. Was power consumption a problem?

    Possibly. Additional power consumption required by the larger SSD may prevent its use in a Model S or X (but perhaps not in a Model 3).

  3. Is there a maximum SSD size for Tesla USB storage?

    Unknown. But if power consumption is not a problem then partition size, not drive size, may be the limiting factor.

  4. For long-term, trouble-free, set-it-and-forget-it dash cam and Sentry Mode operation, how large should a USB storage device be?

    Online recommendations vary widely and depend on the type of device (e.g., micro SD flash drive or SSD) used, on the model and age of the car, and on changing Tesla Sentry Mode software protocols (for overwriting old files). Tesla originally recommended a 32 GB or larger device. As larger electronic data-storage devices become cheaper, it may now make sense to have a 256GB or larger device (for digital-storage drive longevity, if not for video and music storage).
____
*
Note #1: These were spare 256 GB and 2TB SSDs; I did not purchase them specifically for this purpose.
Note #2: The 32FAT-formatted Samsung 2TB SSD functions perfectly when plugged into my Windows 8.1 desktop computer. For example, I can examine its contents using Desktop Explorer.
Note #2: Unfortunately, I had to return the Model 3 rental, so my investigations must be delayed.

**

Recall that volts x amps = watts.
 

MrKool

Member
Nov 30, 2019
156
69
Virginia
I didn’t see if there was a way to store more than an hour of dashcam video. What would be the point of having terabytes if storage? Is it so you can save many clips by pressing the camera icon?
 

quickstrike12

Member
Jun 13, 2018
638
475
Fort Worth Texas
@MrKool i use a 32GB thumb drive made by patriot. It has fast read write speeds. it has worked fine since the inception of teslaCam. I’m not quite sure of the fascination with all the large drives.
I only go into the drive and look at files if something unique happens while I’m driving or maybe if I ever have any damage during a sentry event that would warrant it. I like the fact that it just works in the background without fuss and it’s there if I ever need it.
 

MrKool

Member
Nov 30, 2019
156
69
Virginia
@MrKool i use a 32GB thumb drive made by patriot. It has fast read write speeds. it has worked fine since the inception of teslaCam. I’m not quite sure of the fascination with all the large drives.
I only go into the drive and look at files if something unique happens while I’m driving or maybe if I ever have any damage during a sentry event that would warrant it. I like the fact that it just works in the background without fuss and it’s there if I ever need it.
I agree I have a 64gig usb plugged in and it has 40 gigs free. I am thinking about building a raspberry pi so I can review videos on the go. TESLA should allow you to play back the videos through the console not sure why they don’t .
 

BHCLUC

Member
Nov 7, 2017
232
168
Chicago
@tps5352 - I have a Samsung T5 2 TB drive. Saw the same Reddit thread you did about partitioning down to 1.6 TB. This did not work for me. Partitioned down to 1 TB and the drive works without issue after formatting and creating required folder.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I didn’t see if there was a way to store more than an hour of dashcam video. What would be the point of having terabytes if storage? Is it so you can save many clips by pressing the camera icon?

If what you are saying is true, then you are right.

However, my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) is that Tesla cars save videos in at least two ways:
  1. For a short period as the car is in operation so that if there was an incident (e.g., an accident), there would be a visual record to examine. These get re-written frequently, correct?

  2. During Sentry Mode. These do not necessarily get re-written, depending on size of the designated storage device, right?
I am looking at contents of the 256 GB SSD I tested with the Model S. I see the "TeslaCam" directory. In it are "RecentClips" and "SentryClips" sub-directories. The "SentryClips" directory has several days worth of saved videos.

That seems to indicate that some Sentry Mode videos get permanently saved, possibly until space runs out?

So there may arguably be three reasons to have a bigger drive:
  1. To greatly extend longevity of the storage device (by minimizing electronic re-writes to memory components);

  2. To save and compile Sentry Mode videos (so the driver does not have to remember to transfer files to their computer every day or week); and

  3. To also store other types of files, like music.
As SSDs get larger and larger (Samsung SSDs currently go up to 4 TB, I believe), and people swap out older components, there are probably lots of smaller (e.g., 256 GB, 500 GB, etc.) SSDs lookingh for homes. Why not in a Tesla?

I use an iPod in my current car (2017 Honda Clarity fuel cell car). Since USB data ports are limited (in the Tesla), it might be nice to partition my 2-TB SSD into two 1-GB partitions and (if that works) store Tesla security videos on one partition and music on the other. That would require taking up only one USB port, I think.

I'll be experimenting further if or when I get a new Tesla in 2020.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
@tps5352 - I have a Samsung T5 2 TB drive. Saw the same Reddit thread you did about partitioning down to 1.6 TB. This did not work for me. Partitioned down to 1 TB and the drive works without issue after formatting and creating required folder.

Interesting. See my Post #6. Two 1-GB partitions may eventually work great for me (1 for videos; 1 for music). We'll see.

So you didn't have any problems with power requirements? The Samsung T5 setup may require less power than my loose SSD-in-an-external-enclosure assembly; I don't know.
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,856
2,683
Columbus, Ohio
Background
  • Recently drove a(n Enterprise rental) 2018 Tesla Model S 75D for ~10 days.
  • There’s much online about choosing the best USB device to store Tesla dashcam/Sentry Mode videos (e.g., adequate size; "endurance"-type micro SD devices; etc.). Some argue for a “bigger-is-better” approach saying that drive longevity is extended (fewer rewrites necessary over time).
  • I tested two new Samsung Solid State Drives (SSDs):
    1. Samsung V-Nand 850 Pro 256 GB SSD (Model MZ-7KE256
    2. Samsung 850 Pro 2 TB SSD (Model MZ-7KE2T0B W)
    housed in Sabrent non-powered, external drive enclosures:
    1. Sabrent (plastic) enclosure Model EC-UASP
    2. Sabrent (metal) enclosure Model EC-UK30
  • Each SSD was tested in both enclosures.
  • Power to the drives came exclusively from the car’s USB port (~4.8 volts).
  • As required, both SSDs were formatted with FAT32 file systems (single partition) by EaseUS Partition Master (v. 12.10) software with empty “TeslaCam” directories.
Results
  • The Samsung 256 GB SSD worked. Tesla video files were stored on the drive.
  • The Samsung 2 TB SSD did not work.
    - Icon dot (top of the screen) remained gray, indicating no compatible USB storage device was available.
    - No Tesla video files could be stored on the (larger) drive.
Discussion*

Possible reasons for failure of the 2 TB SSD include:
  1. Some sort of size limitation built into Tesla hardware/software.
  2. Power consumption exceeded what is available through the car’s USB circuitry.
  3. The 2TB SSD was not prepared properly.

    Reason #1: Others (e.g., on Reddit) have reported difficulties using a 2 TB SSD as a storage device. It may be partition- (and not total drive-) size that is a problem. Anecdotally, a 1.6 TB or smaller partition (on a 2 TB drive) may work.

    Reason #2: TeslaTap (Recommendations – Tesla Dashcam Advice, Recommendations and more!) suggests that SSDs must require 2 watts** or less to work in Models S and X. (Model 3 apparently has 6-watt USB circuitry.)

    Various online sources report that read/write power requirements for those two Samsung SSDs are about 2.5 (256GB) and 3.4 (2TB) watts. So it is possible that the Model S USB circuit just couldn’t handle the larger Samsung SSD.

    Reason #3: Possible, but less likely. (But as noted, preparation with a smaller partition size could be important—see response to Reason #1, above.)
Conclusions
  1. Why didn’t the Samsung 2TB SSD work?

    Possibly because the (single) partition size was too large. Creating a 1.6 TB or smaller partition on the 2 TB SSD might have solved the problem. (And See #2, below.)

  2. Was power consumption a problem?

    Possibly. Additional power consumption required by the larger SSD may prevent its use in a Model S or X (but perhaps not in a Model 3).

  3. Is there a maximum SSD size for Tesla USB storage?

    Unknown. But if power consumption is not a problem then partition size, not drive size, may be the limiting factor.

  4. For long-term, trouble-free, set-it-and-forget-it dash cam and Sentry Mode operation, how large should a USB storage device be?

    Online recommendations vary widely and depend on the type of device (e.g., micro SD flash drive or SSD) used, on the model and age of the car, and on changing Tesla Sentry Mode software protocols (for overwriting old files). Tesla originally recommended a 32 GB or larger device. As larger electronic data-storage devices become cheaper, it may now make sense to have a 256GB or larger device (for digital-storage drive longevity, if not for video and music storage).
____
*
Note #1: These were spare 256 GB and 2TB SSDs; I did not purchase them specifically for this purpose.
Note #2: The 32FAT-formatted Samsung 2TB SSD functions perfectly when plugged into my Windows 8.1 desktop computer. For example, I can examine its contents using Desktop Explorer.
Note #2: Unfortunately, I had to return the Model 3 rental, so my investigations must be delayed.

**

Recall that volts x amps = watts.

I've been using a EVO 840 inside a sabrent USB case for 6 years. I tested newer nvme SSD and the newer 850 and 860, but the power requirement for the latter and the extreme heat of the former caused me to go back. Also, somewhere along the way, Tesla changed the USB output via software which would further limit your options.
 

supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,856
2,683
Columbus, Ohio
Interesting. See my Post #6. Two 1-GB partitions may eventually work great for me (1 for videos; 1 for music). We'll see.

So you didn't have any problems with power requirements? The Samsung T5 setup may require less power than my loose SSD-in-an-external-enclosure assembly; I don't know.
I also use partitions for USB playback and it works fine. The car has seen up to 6 mounted drives across 2 usb devices before.
 

BHCLUC

Member
Nov 7, 2017
232
168
Chicago
Interesting. See my Post #6. Two 1-GB partitions may eventually work great for me (1 for videos; 1 for music). We'll see.

So you didn't have any problems with power requirements? The Samsung T5 setup may require less power than my loose SSD-in-an-external-enclosure assembly; I don't know.

No issues at all thus far. Only thing I want to do is mount the drive underneath that cubby somewhere. I got some plastic velcro like material to do so, but the plastic underneath is covered with a velvety material. Vencro adhesive side will not stick.

Not sure if you have a solution to that one or not.
 

Bmac

Member
Nov 17, 2017
198
70
SE Pennsylvania
Background
  • Recently drove a(n Enterprise rental) 2018 Tesla Model S 75D for ~10 days.
Note #2: Unfortunately, I had to return the Model 3 rental, so my investigations must be delayed.

Interesting post, but I'm confused. At the start of the post you say you were driving a Tesla Model S 75D but in the last footnote, you mention a model 3. Which was it? And, if it was a 75D, did you happen to note when it was manufactured or what hardware was installed? Thx.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
Interesting post, but I'm confused. At the start of the post you say you were driving a Tesla Model S 75D but in the last footnote, you mention a model 3. Which was it?

That is a typo. It was a Model S. The Sacramento area (actually Roseville) Enterprise rental location does not have Model 3s or Model Xs, unfortunately.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
...if it was a 75D, did you happen to note when it was manufactured or what hardware was installed? Thx.

No, sorry. It was definitely a 75D. I have photos of the touch screen pages--is that information on there anywhere? It shows the VIN. I am thinking 2018. It had the updated nose design (w/o the faux radiator opening). (I should have taken a photo of the information decal inside the door opening, but did not think to.)
 
Last edited:

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
...if it was a 75D, did you happen to note when it was manufactured or what hardware was installed?

Do these photos help at all?
Rental Model S - front.jpg

Rental Model S - Touch Screen Page.jpg
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
...Only thing I want to do is mount the drive underneath that cubby somewhere. I got some plastic velcro like material to do so, but the plastic underneath is covered with a velvety material. Vencro adhesive side will not stick.

Not sure if you have a solution to that one or not.

Not off the top of my head. Unsure if the center console space(s) will change much from 2018 to 2020, or from the Model S to the Model X?

This product looks interesting, but it is just for the Model 3 so far.

Jeda Products | Tesla Model 3 USB Hub
 

MrKool

Member
Nov 30, 2019
156
69
Virginia
How about Velcro-ed onto the bottom of one of these (comes with or without Qi wireless charger for cell phone)? Appears to have flat plastic bottom. Available on Amazon and eBay. (But I have no first-hand experience with it, so unsure whether it is a good product.)

View attachment 492682
I bought one from rpm TESLA theirs comes with life time warranty they did charge 59 vs 40 on amazon but life time warranty is what sold me on this and it does not have any markings or brand name on it while the amazon ones did. I only wish it had a light of some sort bec I forget to take out my phone quite often if I am charging it.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
Concerning electrical stuff around the Model X center console area, I posted a request for advice about purchasing a good-quality USB charge-port 12v-outlet adapter here (right place?):

Advice Wanted--Any Recommendations for Decent 2019-20 USB Port Adapters?

I am also considering this product (as my iPhone 11 with OtterBox case would not fit on the Tesla product):

Premium - Model S/X Quick Connection Case Friendly Phone Dock

and would appreciate any constructive feedback on it. (It is not cheap, but the body of the premium version is made of aluminum. The standard version is made--via 3D printer--of plastic, I believe.)

Finally, as already mentioned, this thing is interesting:

Jeda Products | Tesla Model 3 USB Hub

but I am disappointed that so far is only available for the Model 3, I believe.

(It is fun, but exhausting, shopping for accessories.)

*****

BTW--I am not associated with or getting payment in any form from any of these various companies.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
471
300
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I bought one from rpm TESLA

I think I may first get one without the Qi charger (less expensive and I can test out whether I'll utilize the tray itself) and just plug the phone in when I need to charge it in the car, which is normally not that often. (With proper energy-saving settings the new iPhone 11 seems to hold a charge longer than previous models, I think.)
 

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