Suggested size for USB jump drive for Sentry Mode

Suggested size for USB jump drive for Sentry Mode

Any suggestios for the size I need to have for adequate storage. In addition, how does one "format" the drive? In the car?

Thanks! | July 15, 2019

@EVRider - Thanks!

Also consider using the option to automatically turn off Sentry mode at home. It may dramatically reduce the amount of video saved and extend the time before you need to erase the drive.

stevec195 | August 2, 2019

I have two issues with my Phillips 64gb 2.0 USB memory stick which I recently purchased to support the sentry mode:
1. The data never seems to overwrite. When the stick is full I get a round red circle with an exclamation point; that when touched says: unable to read memory device.
2. Over the course of a 16 hour trip over 36 hours, when I would insert the “full” USB stick in to attempt overwriting again I received on 2 occasions a failure of the autopilot and cruise control. This failure would last until I removed the USB and give the computer a while to sort itself out.
Any thoughts?

andy.connor.e | August 2, 2019

Copy the data from the flash drive onto a computer or other storage device and wipe it clean.

dmastro | August 2, 2019

I bought this on Prime Day and it's worked well for me so far. Took it out of the packing and it was plug and play. After about 10 days I think the drive was +/-60% full.

Sandisk 128GB USB stick

andy.connor.e | August 2, 2019


Be careful with that USB stick. Its writing speeds claim to be UP TO 15x faster than 4MB/s, which is only a maximum of 60MB/s. And you know for sure you're not getting the maximum ever. But its definitely a good value for the size of the stick.

dmastro | August 2, 2019

I'll use it for as long as it works, and then replace if it stops. As I mentioned, so far it's been fine.

I check every week or ten days or so to make sure it's recording and to delete the old files, so if it does fail I should notice it quickly.

CaliforniaMaki808 | August 2, 2019

You probably want a low profile usb. why do you want it sticking out?

tenchir | August 2, 2019

It doesn't matter if a thumb drive claims to have 10,000 write cycles. A SSD have controllers to handle wear leveling so all cells will have similar amount of write cycles. A QLC (the worst kind of cells after TLC, MLC, SLC)) SSD will still have 5-10 years of lifetime (assuming 10GB write per day), so a SSD can last the life of the car.

bjrosen | August 2, 2019

I have a 128G SanDisk. I formatted it using Gparted on Linux. You also have to create a folder called TeslaCam. Would be nice if they offered a way to format it in the car, seems like an oversite.

marc.e.marcsf | September 14, 2019

So I purchased the Samsung 256 Gb flash drive a while back. I have tried everything under the sun to get it to be recognized by my 2017 Model S TeslaCam application. I have formatted it on my Mac in Fat32 and ExFat multiple times. I have an old 1 Gb slow flash drive that works fine. The new Samsung (super fast) one doesn't seem to work even though it works fine in EVERYTHING else.

Any ideas out there since I specifically read on here the Samsung flash drives tend to work?

EVRider | September 15, 2019

@marc: Don’t waste you time trying exFAT — that isn’t supported. Needs to be FAT32 (or ext4, a Linux format). Did you remember to create the TeslaCam folder after formatting the drive?

billlake2000 | September 17, 2019

Tesla Tap, my Samsung PRO Endurance 128GB Micro SD coupled with the Rocketek Aluminum USB 3.0 Portable Memory Card Reader Adapter for Micro SD gets hot. I just bought them and plugged it in to test, Test went okay enough, but I noticed pulling the little guy out of the USB port, that booger was hot. Isn't that a recipe for early failure?

leo33 | September 17, 2019

@bill I stopped using the little Rocketek adaptor and picked up one of the adapters that TeslaTap listed. It still gets a little warm, but not nearly as.bad as with the Rocketek.

billlake2000 | September 17, 2019

Good to know. Thanks

Dan2bn | October 12, 2019

Need help please I have a extra HP M700 2.5" 120GB SATA III Planar MLC NAND Flash Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)...i would like to use this to record. Question is 1) would this work fine 2) if so what type of enclosure would i need to purchase to connect to tesla. Thx in advance

EVRider | October 13, 2019

@Dan2bn: I don’t know if it would work, but you’ll probably spend more on an enclosure than you would on a new 128GB microSD card and USB adapter, which would definitely work. You might find this article helpful:

jrweiss98020 | October 13, 2019

$10 for a simple USB-Sata adapter. I use one to connect my movie drive to my home router:

glassr | December 29, 2019

yes, they must be formatted with FAT32.
although there are articles saying exFAT32 is better or more widely compatible, the SanDisk CZ600 Cruzer Glide USB 3.0 256 GB Flash Drive I got from Costco for $33 was not recognized after formatting and creating the DriveLetter:/TeslaCam directory. Win10 diskpart took ~ 8 hours to attempt formatting as FAT32 but after watching those percentages go up to 100% it gave me the proverbial "unable to format this ..." failure. Then I used AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Addition (free). It only took ~ 5 minutes to convert it from exFAT32 to FAT32, set up the directory, plugged it in and Voila - ça marche! Read some not so good reviews on the subject model USB stick. We will see if any of those negatives matter when used as a TeslaCam. So, just a heads up before you go out and buy a SanDisk CZ600 Cruzer Glide. I'm not giving any performance review on this particular memory stick.

pnagy | December 29, 2019

Here is a snippet from the owner's manual about sentry video getting full:

"Note: If your USB flash drive is getting full, the oldest footage in Sentry Clips will be deleted to make room for new footage. Once the older footage is deleted, you will not be able to retrieve them. When the flash drive is full, Sentry Mode and dashcam can no longer save video footage to your flash drive."

So I'm confused. It's supposed to over write oldest video with newest video so the drive never gets full. So why does it get full and not run in a loop like Dashcam's 60 minute loop?


EVRider | December 29, 2019

@pnagy: Even though both the dashcam and now Sentry Mode will overwrite old clips, they won't overwrite anything that you've explicitly saved (the clips in SavedClips). So, it's still possible for the drive to become full, but much less likely now that Sentry Model will overwrite old clips.

pnagy | December 29, 2019

Ok. Does that mean as more videos are manually saved, the size of the Sentry video loop get smaller and will continue to loop until it gets unreasonably too small and declare the drive as full?


jrweiss98020 | December 30, 2019

Yes. Solution is to transfer videos you save to a computer, DVD, or other backup device.

michael.notte | January 21, 2020


I bought a SanDisk Ultra Fit USB stick - 128 Gb. Formatted it to FAT32 and plugged it in my Tesla. However when in Sentry mode, I keep receiving the warning message that it is not meeting the 4 mb/s writing speed. How is that possible? This model was recommended by other bloggers / forum that are using it in their Tesla (smaller size though). Can max size of the USB stick impacts negatively the writing speed?

Thx in advance.

andy.connor.e | January 21, 2020

Did you make sure the UBS stick you bought has a sufficient write speed?

LostInTx | January 21, 2020

There's been several instances where anything over 32GB that's not SSD has given the error michael.notte describes.

I went through various USB's including a high-end Samsung 256GB 3.1 USB - and still got the error complaining about write speed.

Spend the $75 or so and get a 512GB SSD drive, format it properly, and you'll never have the speed writing error again. | January 21, 2020

@michael - You didn't state the brand of drive. Most no-name and ones you never heard before are garbage drives no matter what the specs say. Even some of the brand names are not close to the "rated" speed. For example, the SanDisk Extreme Go is rated for 50 MB/s, but you'll find it can't handle 4 MB/s.

I recommend 20 MB/s as a minimum write speed. Then there is the temperature problem. I've yet to find a USB drive or SSD drive that is rated for temps encountered in your car. Only micro SD cards are rated for working in a car. Use an adapter and a good micro SD card and you should be good to go. Here's a list I've made of drives that work (all types), but be aware of the temp range issue too:

jmccpa | January 21, 2020

After seeing so many postings regarding issues with the USB drive and having my own problems on a Windows 10 computer getting a drive formatted, one has to wonder why Tesla does not simply send all images to a cloud service which can be subscribed to by those interested.

I ended up just buying a 128GB drive pre-formatted for the Tesla.

michael.notte | January 22, 2020

Thank you all for the feedback. The USB drive I mentioned is this one (the 128Gb version):

Anyway, it seems that having the recording working fine with a USB stick is not that easy as it seems :(
Will look into the SSD solution as recommended.

NorthValley | January 22, 2020

I use this:

I just remove the drive and plug immediately into my iPhone to see any activity before I leave the place I am parked.

birchofengland | January 22, 2020

I've used a 64GB SanDisk 'High Endurance Video Monitoring Card' for 6 months, with no problem at all (previously I had experienced regular write speed issues on other 'standard' cards/flash drives). It's specifically for continuous video monitoring applications. Amazon $16 :-)

Fredvanngo | January 22, 2020

I am using the Sandisk Connect or Ixpand USB 32-64 G which can be WIFI or plug into Iphone to view without the Laptop or desktop and they are working well. Format to FAT32 and create new "TeslaCam" folder (case sensitive) so it can be recognized on the screen for camera symbol on the top right.