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To Dashcam or not?

Jerryjal

Member
Jun 14, 2020
81
46
Portsmouth
I’m expecting my MS this month and will be coming from a 2016 Jaguar XF. In the XF I have a Thinkware F800 Pro dashcam which has been hard wired in, I also have the rear cam installed as well.

My question is, should I install something similar in to the MS or will sentry mode be sufficient?
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
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UK
Doesn't the Model S have the same built-in dash cam functionality that the Model 3 has? All I have is a 256GB Samsung T5 USB drive plugged in, that stores dash cam and sentry cam footage, and also holds all of my music library. Although I rarely use sentry mode, I've saved a few dash cam clips, usually with the "honk to save" feature, or just touching the record icon on the screen. This saves the 10 minutes of preceding video to the disk. I used the Samsung T5 really because it is reputed to have a longer life when used for this purpose, and because it seems that the Tesla can be a bit fussy about USB drives, and this was one known to work OK.

As an alternative option, I did use the Raspberry Pi Zero W Teslacam option for a while. That saves dash cam clips in the same way as using an ordinary USB drive, but transmits them back to your home server automatically when you get within Wi-Fi range. It also syncs up any music you may have stored on it, so you can edit your music list on a home server and this updates the music stored in the car.
 
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Jerryjal

Member
Jun 14, 2020
81
46
Portsmouth
Doesn't the Model S have the same built-in dash cam functionality that the Model 3 has? All I have is a 256GB Samsung T5 USB drive plugged in, that stores dash cam and sentry cam footage, and also holds all of my music library. Although I rarely use sentry mode, I've saved a few dash cam clips, usually with the "honk to save" feature, or just touching the record icon on the screen. This saves the 10 minutes of preceding video to the disk. I used the Samsung T5 really because it is reputed to have a longer life when used for this purpose, and because it seems that the Tesla can be a bit fussy about USB drives, and this was one known to work OK.

As an alternative option, I did use the Raspberry Pi Zero Z Teslacam option for a while. That saves dash cam clips in the same way as using an ordinary USB drive, but transmits them back to your home server automatically when you get within Wi-Fi range. It also syncs up any music you may have stored on it, so you can edit your music list on a home server and this updates the music stored in the car.
Yes, I believe that the S has the same built in dash cam that the 3 has however I have previously seen posts that have mentioned having a specific dash cam installed as well. Now they may have been from members of older Tesla’s that do not have Sentry mode but was curious as to wether anyone used both and if so then why and what would the advantages be? I will also be getting the T5 Samsung SSD that you mentioned as that seems to be the most popular.
 

Glan gluaisne

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Sep 11, 2019
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UK
I'm not sure that Sentry mode and the dash cam are connected, functionally (might be wrong). The dash cam functions all the time the car is being driven, saving footage in a continuous loop, with the oldest being over-written by the newest. Pressing the icon, or honking the horn, saves the clip permanently, and prevents it being overwritten.

Sentry mode has to be turned on and then only saves camera clips when an event is detected, usually movement around the car, and sentry mode only works with the car parked and locked, I believe.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,381
5,902
Surrey, UK
Tesla dashcam (and its sibling, Sentry mode) was an afterthought. Its better than nothing and with multiple simultaneous cameras it may be seen by some as being better, but compared with a dedicated dashcam you may find its recording limitations a problem and its features, image quality and reliability lacking. It has got better since its inception and hopefully this will continue, but still some way to go and I doubt it will ever reach parity. Nothing to stop you running both though.
 
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Glan gluaisne

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Sep 11, 2019
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I've used both 720p and 1080p dash cams in the past, so not super high quality like some if the newer models, but on the three occasions over a period of around 5 or 6 years when footage from them was needed the quality was fine for the purpose. The last time I used it was was when parked in Waitrose car park, listening to the radio whilst waiting for my wife to return, when the cam recorded a "hit and run", with extensive damage to a Mercedes parked around 100m or so away. The footage from that cam (a cheap Chinese 1080p model) was plenty good enough to both prosecute the driver of the other car and satisfy the insurers of the Mercedes owner.

The Tesla dash cam is only 1280 x 960 for each camera, but it has the big advantage of recording from four cameras, the front, both sides and a wide angle at the rear, so the coverage is massively better than with any internally fitted front and rear after market dash cam. For me, that wide angle coverage pretty much all around the car more than offsets the slight degradation in resolution, as effectively there are far more pixels covering the views, anyway.

The frame rate seems fine, my last dash cam was only 25fps, the Tesla cams run at 36fps, IIRC. The main downside is that sentry mode sucks power like there is no tomorrow, so if your main usage is recording when the car is parked then an after market cam may well save a lot of battery power. I'm not often worried about the sentry cam functionality, as we have pretty good CCTV at home, and whenever we're away on holiday somewhere it's either a location where damage to the car is unlikely, or one where the parking area probably has good CCTV.
 

Artiste

Member
Jun 17, 2019
440
360
Lancashire
I find the Tesla dash cam to be so unreliable I would never depend on it. I have a Nextbase 612 GW that records in 4K and blows the Tesla dash cam out of the water as far as image quality goes. It also GPS stamps location and speed, and records audio. I still use the Tesla dash cam, so if I need other camera views I’ll just have to hope it’s recorded reliably.
 
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LongRanger

Active Member
Jan 11, 2020
1,317
1,215
Wales
I need to read up fully on how dashcam/sentry works and config options - have just installed USB3-cardreader and fast SD-card combo, it all seems to work but I don't want Sentry on all the time.

sentry handy for leaving on when charging at public places, even superchargers I guess if you leave the car for any period of time.
 

TessP100D

Member
Jan 15, 2018
482
516
La Quinta, Ca
I installed a hardwired dash cam and it saved me big time. A lady in a truck backed into me in a parking lot as I was getting ready to move into an open stall. She asked me if I was backing up and hit her? Really? I told her I had the entire accident on video and could produce it. I told the insurance company this as we both had the same provider. Saved me from an argument.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,910
UK
The only time I was asked to send dash cam footage to the police (June 2019), they were unable to accept 1080p files, and needed them downsampled to something below 720p, just because they had pretty stringent restrictions on the maximum file sizes they could handle. I ended up faffing around editing the file down and reducing the resolution before they could accept it. Makes me wonder what the advantage might be in having something like 4K resolution. My guess is that most of the CCTV videos the police view most probably aren't much better than the old VGA resolution, with perhaps a few as good as 720p. I'm part way through installing new network cabled CCTV here at the moment, and even those cameras are only 1080p, mainly because with several cameras hooked up to a subnet anything better than about 1080p at 25fps really starts to hit the available bandwidth of ready available NVRs.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,381
5,902
Surrey, UK
A higher quality video would allow you to pick out better detail, such as a number plate at greater distance. If this was a hit and run, I would never have been able to retrieve the number plate of the vehicle with TeslaCam, but I would on a better resolution dashcam.

screenshot-253-png.465550


I never added dashcam on our insurance even though it would have given a small discount. Its simply too unreliable. Nothing to do with the media, its non contiguous recording no matter what media you use. Whether its been fixed recently with the new 'honk the horn' function I don't know, but 9/10 if you hit the save button too soon after the incident it would have missed the critical moment. A bit hard to explain without raising suspicions with any insurers that you had the whole thing on video except the moment of impact. In the photo above, the next frame (below) was the incident totally passed. Thankfully no one hurt. But the several seconds of unrecorded video could have been critical if there had been.

screenshot-254-png.465551
 

Artiste

Member
Jun 17, 2019
440
360
Lancashire
The only time I was asked to send dash cam footage to the police (June 2019), they were unable to accept 1080p files, and needed them downsampled to something below 720p, just because they had pretty stringent restrictions on the maximum file sizes they could handle. I ended up faffing around editing the file down and reducing the resolution before they could accept it. Makes me wonder what the advantage might be in having something like 4K resolution. My guess is that most of the CCTV videos the police view most probably aren't much better than the old VGA resolution, with perhaps a few as good as 720p. I'm part way through installing new network cabled CCTV here at the moment, and even those cameras are only 1080p, mainly because with several cameras hooked up to a subnet anything better than about 1080p at 25fps really starts to hit the available bandwidth of ready available NVRs.

Lower resolution is useless if you can’t see enough detail, such as the number plate of a moving vehicle. If the crime were serious enough the police would find a way to view any video in any resolution or format, and they can also use image enhancing techniques to improve poor quality.

Given the availability of reasonably priced high quality CCTV systems I’m constantly amazed at the outdated crap people use. I’ve just self installed an eight camera 8MP (4K) networked system, replacing a 1080p system, and there are no problems with bandwidth at highest quality and 25fps. It’s made by Hikvision so no doubt the Chinese are spying on me, but then they’re spying on everyone.
 

Daverh

Member
Jul 7, 2019
273
188
Newcastle
Lower resolution is useless if you can’t see enough detail, such as the number plate of a moving vehicle. If the crime were serious enough the police would find a way to view any video in any resolution or format, and they can also use image enhancing techniques to improve poor quality.

Given the availability of reasonably priced high quality CCTV systems I’m constantly amazed at the outdated crap people use. I’ve just self installed an eight camera 8MP (4K) networked system, replacing a 1080p system, and there are no problems with bandwidth at highest quality and 25fps. It’s made by Hikvision so no doubt the Chinese are spying on me, but then they’re spying on everyone.

I've used Hikvision for years but have blocked their external access so no concerns about them phoning home.

I'm part way through installing new network cabled CCTV here at the moment, and even those cameras are only 1080p, mainly because with several cameras hooked up to a subnet anything better than about 1080p at 25fps really starts to hit the available bandwidth of ready available NVRs.

Dashcams tend to record at up to 30-50Mb/s whereas your typical home CCTV camera will be closer to 10Mb/s hence dashcam recordings will be 3-5x larger than the equivalent CCTV camera.
 

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