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TeslaCam Instructions and Observations

On version: 2018.50.5

Start TeslaCam Application

Inserting a memory stick starts TeslaCam application to record video. TeslaCam is a separate application from EAP (and likely the black box recordings). I know this because EAP remains active when the screen reboots, but TeslaCam is not active. TeslaCam is one of the first systems available at boot, though. In my video below, the screen reboots around 3m 52s. TeslaCam starts around 4m 18s, when the screen displays the Tesla logo.

Permanently Save Up to the Past 10 Minutes
  1. Tap the Camera Recording icon.
  2. Notice icon switch from Camera Recording icon to Downloading icon.
  3. Wait for Downloading Icon to switch back to Camera Recording icon.
Do not exit Tesla.
Do not turn off Tesla.
At this time, the system is copying/renaming the past ten 1 minute increments to the memory stick as "saved-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4". It takes time.


Observations

If you tap and hold Camera Recording icon for about 5 seconds, the camera turns off. This causes the system to save the recordings onto the memory card, but not permanently. The files are named "recent-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4". This means they are susceptible to being overwritten by whatever application decides this.

Ripping out the memory stick stops TeslaCam. Anything downloaded to the memory card at this point remains. I'm not sure the increments at which TeslaCam decides to download files to the memory stick. I'll need to do more experimentation at longer durations; and also hope for no screen reboots.

TeslaCam doesn't appear to write files as soon as a minute has finished. I start TeslaCam at 5m 34s, then rip the memory stick out over a minute later at 6m 57s. There is a 0k "recent-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4" file on the memory stick, but nothing else. Perhaps it takes over 23s to finish the file and download it to the memory stick?
 
Additional Observations

Gap in Video
Between each 1-minute video clip exists a short gap of about half-a-second.

Save Warning
If you tap TeslaCam to permanently save but remove memory stick before Camera Recording icon returns, you will potentially lose all 10 minutes of video. Upon experimenting, memory stick contained ten 0 KB files sequentially named saved-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4. Sadly, this is what we surmise happened to a fellow member that was in an accident; that post prompted these experiments and this post.

2019-01-28.png


Auto-Save Warning

Screen crashing, exiting the vehicle, or otherwise powering-off vehicle performs a force quit of TeslaCam. 2-3 minutes of video are lost. In the video below, the time from TeslaCam clip end to screen off (6s - 1m 21s) is about 1m 15s. To be safe, you should assume you'll lose the last 3 minutes of video when you don't save (either tap to permanently save or tap-and-hold to safely turn TeslaCam off).

 
Not sure where to put this so I will try here. Moderators feel free to move it to a more appropriate location.

With the new Sentry Mode how do you save the video evidence of an incident once Sentry alarm is activated? Assuming you have a zip drive properly formatted plugged into a port, is the footage automatically saved? If I am at work in my office and there is an incident I obviously can't immediately press the save icon to save the last 10 minutes.

Dan
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
15,437
28,932
NC
Tesla.com said:
Sentry Mode adds a unique layer of protection to Tesla vehicles by continuously monitoring the environment around a car when it’s left unattended. When enabled, Sentry Mode enters a “Standby” state, like many home alarm systems, which uses the car’s external cameras to detect potential threats. If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an “Alert” state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording. If a more severe threat is detected, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode switches to an “Alarm” state, which activates the car alarm, increases the brightness of the center display, and plays music at maximum volume from the car’s audio system.

If a car switches to “Alarm” state, owners will also receive an alert from their Tesla mobile app notifying them that an incident has occurred. They’ll be able to download a video recording of an incident (which begins 10 minutes prior to the time a threat was detected) by inserting a formatted USB drive into their car before they enable Sentry Mode.


It automatically saves the 10 minutes prior to the threat (and implies, though does not explicitly state) it'd keep recording/saving until turned off)
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Dan Detweiler
I have noticed that if I have been driving, then park the car, wait longer than one hour, then go pull the stick, it's completely empty... I suspect that what's happening is:
  • I do a drive, TeslCam is recording my drive in 1 minute recent-* clips
  • I park, TeslaCam stops recording, my drive's recent-* clips are still on the stick
  • Exit car
  • WAIT > 1h
  • Return to car, open door to car
  • Car powers on because I opened the door
  • TeslaCam deletes all of the recent-* files since they are now > 1h old
  • I pull stick
  • stick is empty
Expected behavior is that the stick will *always* contain the last 1h of "drive time" - where new recent-* clips would overwrite the older ones and this would occur ONLY when there was new space needed. The behavior I see though is ANYTHING older than 1 hour is deleted whether there is space or not. Hence, the instant the car is powered on, it immediately wipes the drive if it has been longer than 1h since you drove it.

The reason this is bad is if there is an incident, you're frequently not in the state of mind to remember to press save and/or manually stop TeslaCam and eject the drive (or maybe even physically unable to). But maybe you remember later, the next day (and the car hasn't been driven since), or after the car's been towed somewhere, etc.

Are others seeing it work this way as well?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blue in NC
hmm.... After reading all this twice, I'm still feeling dense about what I should do after an accident, but I'm thinking I have two options that will work:

OPTION 1 - Wait & pull
- Get in accident, & pull over
- Wait 2+ minutes (but less than an hour)
- Unplug USB thumb drive (ie. don't even mess with the TeslaCam button at all)

OPTION 2 - Save & wait
- Get in accident, & pull over
- Press (but don't long-press) the TeslaCam button when stopped
- Wait a minute or two
- Unplug USB thumb drive at your convenience (even if after an hour plus)

Will both of these options work (meaning that they'll capture the accident's footage)? I would hate to repeat what happened to poor /u/Kain from that one thread...
 
OPTION 2 - Save & wait
- Get in accident, & pull over
- Press (but don't long-press) the TeslaCam button when stopped
- Wait a minute or two
- Unplug USB thumb drive at your convenience (even if after an hour plus)

This would work only IF you press the save button more than 1 minute but less than 10 after the accident. In my experience, the file that is recording at the time you press the save button will be corrupt, so you will lose up to the the full minuted before you press the button.
 
This would work only IF you press the save button more than 1 minute but less than 10 after the accident. In my experience, the file that is recording at the time you press the save button will be corrupt, so you will lose up to the the full minuted before you press the button.
That has not been my experience but I have not gone back to test it. Usually if I am driving and something happens, it hit the record button within 5 or 10 seconds of the event then I keep driving. My files are fine and have not been corrupted. But maybe something has changed recently.
 
On version: 2018.50.5

Start TeslaCam Application

Inserting a memory stick starts TeslaCam application to record video. TeslaCam is a separate application from EAP (and likely the black box recordings). I know this because EAP remains active when the screen reboots, but TeslaCam is not active. TeslaCam is one of the first systems available at boot, though. In my video below, the screen reboots around 3m 52s. TeslaCam starts around 4m 18s, when the screen displays the Tesla logo.

Permanently Save Up to the Past 10 Minutes
  1. Tap the Camera Recording icon.
  2. Notice icon switch from Camera Recording icon to Downloading icon.
  3. Wait for Downloading Icon to switch back to Camera Recording icon.
Do not exit Tesla.
Do not turn off Tesla.
At this time, the system is copying/renaming the past ten 1 minute increments to the memory stick as "saved-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4". It takes time.


Observations

If you tap and hold Camera Recording icon for about 5 seconds, the camera turns off. This causes the system to save the recordings onto the memory card, but not permanently. The files are named "recent-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4". This means they are susceptible to being overwritten by whatever application decides this.

Ripping out the memory stick stops TeslaCam. Anything downloaded to the memory card at this point remains. I'm not sure the increments at which TeslaCam decides to download files to the memory stick. I'll need to do more experimentation at longer durations; and also hope for no screen reboots.

TeslaCam doesn't appear to write files as soon as a minute has finished. I start TeslaCam at 5m 34s, then rip the memory stick out over a minute later at 6m 57s. There is a 0k "recent-front-YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM.mp4" file on the memory stick, but nothing else. Perhaps it takes over 23s to finish the file and download it to the memory stick?

I am sorry but I am new at this. I have a model S 2019 delivered in February.
1. I don't know how to start a recording. I don't see the camera anywhere or how to start the TeslaCam application. I am using a properly formatted flash drive etc.
2. When I turn on the Sentry mode and trigger a response of the Sentry system it works properly showing a warning sign and alerting that the recording started. When I take out the flash drive after turning off the Sentry mode and waiting a prudent amount of time, the flash drive is empty.
I would very much appreciate any help.
 
I am sorry but I am new at this. I have a model S 2019 delivered in February.
1. I don't know how to start a recording. I don't see the camera anywhere or how to start the TeslaCam application. I am using a properly formatted flash drive etc.
2. When I turn on the Sentry mode and trigger a response of the Sentry system it works properly showing a warning sign and alerting that the recording started. When I take out the flash drive after turning off the Sentry mode and waiting a prudent amount of time, the flash drive is empty.
I would very much appreciate any help.
 

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