TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Tesla Dashcam destroying USB drives

Discussion in 'Model X' started by Chrisizzle, Jul 12, 2019 at 1:20 PM.

  1. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, canada
    Hello,

    I suspect my Model X dash cam may be destroying USB drives in short order.

    I started with a MicroSD card in a mini-USB reader. It was something I had, was compact, and thought it would perform better than a USB stick. It worked for... let's say two weeks before the webcam icon would stop appearing reliably.

    I decided to insert the MicroSD with USB adapter into my laptop, watch some of the video, clear the data, and start over. It worked in the Model X for a couple hours, after which the car stopped detecting the USB entirely.

    I took the device back to my laptop to discover the adapter had been fried somehow. The MicroSD card still worked if I put it in a new reader. However, that one particular reader was dead.

    So, I went to my USB drawer and grabbed a relatively new, 32gb USB3 Lexar stick. I prepared the disc properly and inserted in the Model X.

    Once again, everything works for about two weeks. Then, the dash cam icon would stop appearing reliably (again). I put the USB in my laptop, watched some footage, cleared the drive and started over (again). The drive worked in the Model X for a couple hours until complete failure (again). I reinsert into my laptop and the USB device has broken completely.

    As a USB stick, I can't separate the memory from the USB plug this time. I can say the laptop recognizes something was plugged in, assigns a drive letter, but then the USB stick light just slowly pulses. (A slow pulsing being different than the typical flashing from reading/writing data). Despite the computer seeing and assigning a drive, the device cannot be accessed or formatted.

    These are unusual ways for the drives themselves to fail, while the lead-up to failure is identical.

    I am going back to the USB drawer now. Not sure if I should grab a high-end one as a 'best case scenario', or a poor one since it could fail again. I'll let you know later.

    Has anyone else had similar issues?
     
  2. RecklessFury

    RecklessFury Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2019
    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    USA
    If these devices are becoming unusable in all other devices after a stint in your car, I'd say you need a service call. Any issues with your phone charging off these ports? I'd be worried it would damage the usb port on the phone. You should check the voltage on that port and maybe test how many amps you can draw from it.

    I've only had my car for three weeks and I have not experienced this once.
     
  3. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, canada
    I have the official USB to lightning cable from Tesla (circa 2016) for the console. I moved that cable/mount from a 2016 Model X to my current 2019 when I traded leases. No problem charging the phone yet.

    Having said that, this car has been a lemon (compared to the 2016 which was flawless). I had the main screen/cpu replaced within the first week plus another two service calls in less than 6-weeks.

    In regards to the USB, I went higher end for the next test. I selected a super small Samsung USB drive. This thing has zero footprint just in case bumping the previous USB drives was causing some loose connection or short circuit. I avoided this one initially because it gets super hot.

    Let’s see how this one lasts.
     
  4. unpollo2

    unpollo2 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    96
    Location:
    atlanta
    i've had this happen to me in the past month when a firmware update caused a lot of touchscreen unresponsive errors. the USB would stop and start working randomly then finally the USB drive finally failed and wouldn't mount at all in a PC.

    new firmware seems to have stopped this.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  5. animorph

    animorph Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,607
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Do you have a USB stick for playing music? If not, try one in the same USB port. If you do and it works fine, try it in the USB port you're using for the TeslaCam. That might eliminate any questions about voltages. They just don't get writes.
     
  6. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, canada
    I just updated the firmware. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t have to post about another USB failure like clockwork in two weeks.
     
  7. Silicon Desert

    Silicon Desert Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2018
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    Reno/Sparks Nevada
    Not sure if you are aware, but some flash memory just can't handle the constant writing that the tesla does. They can wear out quickly. There are types of flash that are made for this purpose.
     
    • Like x 2
  8. azjohn

    azjohn Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    AZ
    Try using an SSD or a Samsung Pro Endurance micro with an USB card reader
     
    • Like x 2
  9. Seattle Tom

    Seattle Tom Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    392
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
  10. Chrisizzle

    Chrisizzle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    301
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, canada
    My first device was a MicroSD card in a USB adapter. Since I could separate them, the memory card was fine and the USB adapter got fried. So, it wasn’t the read/write.
     
  11. Daisame

    Daisame Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2019
    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    Sicklerville NJ
    Few things to note.

    1. Make sure you are using a hardened USB memory medium, especially in a hot vehicle. I cannot speak to specific USB thumb drives, but I use higher end MicroSD cards that are rated for high temperatures.
      • I would more suspicious of the heat, than a faulty USB port. Especially if it happens on either one of the USB interfaces.
    2. Make sure if you are pulling memory out of the car's ports, you disable or turn-off cameras. This will prevent the possibility of corrupted files, but certainly has no bearing on actually frying your memory or USB adapter.
    3. While it is certainly possible that a bad computer can put out to much voltage that could fry a memory card or USB adapter, those things are normally pretty mature technologies on those subsystems. So while 'possible' it is probably very unlikely that you have a voltage problem on the USB interface.
      • Depending on the subsystem being used, firmware/software COULD be used to control the voltages on these ports, within the limits of the hardware. However, if that were the case, it would also likely be affecting far more people.
    4. Solid state memory is certainly only viable for so many read/write cycles. These cards are used for cameras, dashcams, and other devices that will do a lot of read/writing.
      • As long as the memory cell does not get overwritten, it is not a cycle. So a smaller memory device will be overwritten more often than a larger one. SSDs normally have controllers (I don't think USB media does) with a little extra buffer. As it detects issues, it arranges memory to write into spaces that are not faulty, but over time, any high amount of re-writes will make a solid state storage device fail. Your mileage may vary based on quality of the manufacturer as well.

    However, thinking aloud, I suppose the USB wires could running next to a high voltage wire in the car that could induce a voltage into the USB cable. I would think that would have to be pretty sever to fry a USB stick, but if it were on the wrong pin... maybe.

    You can get cheap volt/amp connector for USB to see the power draw, but it may not show a problem if there were some extraneous voltages on a pin that it is not expecting.
     
  12. Saghost

    Saghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2013
    Messages:
    6,703
    Location:
    Delaware
    Is cabin overheat enabled?

    The cabin can get pretty hot in the summer without it, probably even up where you are - and that heat is hard on electronics.
     
  13. AdamHLG

    AdamHLG Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I have a SanDisk 128 GB USB drive. It was not working properly (but it used to work) and I ordered a replacement - only to have the same problem right out of the box with the replacement USB drive. I was having big time reliability problems where there would be a grey x instead of a little red light, or other times, it would just not be recognized.

    I figured this is either a Tesla firmware problem or some other problem. It turns out it was "some other problem".

    In my case, I am using EaseUS Partition Master Professional Edition on Windows 10 as a program to format FAT32 drives. I ended up buying this software because, well, ahem, I didn't know there was freeware available to format FAT32 partitions on USB drives. Anyway, when selecting the USB drive to format it, it asks about file system and I select Fat32. But it also asks about Cluster Size. The choices are 2kb, 4kb, 8kb, 16kb, 32kb, or 64kb. Not knowing what this meant, I had always been choosing 2kb because that was the default value. I looked up "cluster size Fat32" on Google to see if it mattered and found this:

    https://www.techwalla.com/articles/what-cluster-size-should-be-used-when-making-large-fat32-partitions

    I changed the setting to "4kb" instead of the default "2kb". The article says I should have really selected "32kb". However, when I changed it to "4kb" and formatted the USB drive and created the TeslaCam folder, it suddenly started working flawlessly in my Model X - and it has not failed once. The other USB drive that I had replaced because I thought it was faulty also works now.

    Anyway - you may want to look into this aspect of formatting of the drive. I am not a computer tech but I know my USB drive started working OK after I made this adjustment - - so maybe cluster size does matter.

    Good luck!
     
    • Like x 1
  14. tomot

    tomot Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2019
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    vancouver
    I have stopped using anything with the name SanDisk in my Model 3 . I have had issues reformatting and rewriting MP3 files, and then relying on the Linux Tesla OS to read the information from those SanDisk USB drives.

    I also think its asking a lot for USB drives to perform constant rewrites of video information without errors. Nothing technology has made will preserve your information. The only thing You can do is spend the time to make your own backup. You also have no guarantees you Cloud based backup is going to be available for you in the future.

    So currently I'm using an USB/SSD. which is more reliable, then Standard USB drives.
     
    • Like x 1
  15. Scott7

    Scott7 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2016
    Messages:
    215
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Seen my car get at high as 133F inside and still no issues with my Sandisk SSD. SSDs are extremely cheap these days too. I’ve seen 120 GB drives for a bit more than $20. My flash drives would all get very hot from the constant writing whereas the SSD doesn’t heat up at all.
     
  16. Daisame

    Daisame Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2019
    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    Sicklerville NJ
    I use a dual SD/MicroSD USB adapter/hub with multiple USB ports as well. I really don't need the hub, since there is nothing else that the Tesla currently needs access to. I have a Samsung and SanDisk MicroSD card plugged in. One is for music and the other for TeslaCam. Have had 0 issues in the 2-3 weeks I have been using them. They are hardened SD cards though, designed to resist heat and other more extreme conditions. I use the same MicroSD card model in my Blackvue 900s dashcam with great results.

    On a side note, I found a USB stick that has two micro SD card slots in it, about the same size as a larger USB memory stick. It has USB3 on one side and USBC on the other. So I will probably move to that. So I can pull the drive out and plug it into my phone if I need to view dash-cam videos from my phone very easily.

    Thanks @AdamHLG for posting that info. I had not considered cluster size to effect if the car can ready it, but if the OS does not support smaller sizes, I could see how that would cause problems.

    Cluster size is how efficiently you can store data. Your drive stores data in clusters. So if you had a Cluster size of 32KB and stored a 20K file, you would effectively be loosing the rest of the cluster, or 12k of space. Setting the file size to a small value is only recommended with a lot of small files. Setting the cluster size to a larger value is better for large files, as it is much faster to pull the file index off the drive. Since dash cams are writing in megabytes or gigabytes, a bigger cluster size would be more efficient.
     
    • Like x 1
  17. jboy210

    jboy210 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    1,377
    Location:
    Northern California
    #17 jboy210, Jul 16, 2019 at 12:43 PM
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019 at 12:50 PM
    My video has never failed to record, but the images appear splotchy. I assume this is because write speed of my USB stick drive is too slow so I am looking to upgrade.

    I am thinking about using a Samsung T3 500GB SSD drive I have lying around. Has anyone else tried a T3 or T5 in an X. Is there enough power from the X USB interface? If so, does it work well, and how did you mount it? Maybe really short USB 3 cable and velco?
     
  18. Daisame

    Daisame Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2019
    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    Sicklerville NJ
    I would suspect your thumb drive's speed as well. If it cannot keep up, it is going to not record well.

    If you go with an SSD, make sure it has a decent write speeds with it. Just like other memory mediums, they can differ significantly. I don't know what speed would be minimum, but suspect anything that can be used in a decent camera, suitable for 4K video, would be sufficient. That is what I went with to make sure it can write to the drive fast enough. I use microSD cards that are rated for use in DLSRs or other 4K video cameras. And so far it has been great.

    You can also fudge more power to your SSD by using one that has dual USB power. That is, where one USB connection is for data (and maybe some power) and can be supplemented with another USB power. Then just get a cigarette USB power supply and plug into that for the extra power.

    That is how I supply supplemental power to my USB hub with dual SD card reader.
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC