Sentry makes the memory stick & dashcam useless

Sentry makes the memory stick & dashcam useless

Fyi, sentry monde will record and save ALL the video, therefore filling up the memory stick to maximum storage.

Had a accident where my Tesla was side's swiped by an 18 wheeler. State trooper (already in the area) took statement while I was trying to figure out why there was an X on the dashcam icon.

When I got back to the troopers car he already wrote down the accident report. I figured since I had the dashcam video I could prove I was right.


memory stick was full of saved sentry video since I park in NYC.

Will past pictures of accident.

P49X | March 17, 2019

Ouch! So sorry. We have the same wheels and color so are really empathizing.

There have been a number of reports that USB memory is being quickly filled by Sentry Mode and often catching the owner by surprise when Dashcam is X'd out. Seems like it could be managed better by the firmware, so hopefully improvement will come in time.

Our own experience has been different so far, though. Very little unneeded Sentry recording, perhaps due to little motion in view of the cameras when it's enabled. We use 256GB USB chips for the Dashcam and music. I try to purge the unwanted video from the Dashcam chip weekly.

ReD eXiLe ms us | March 17, 2019

Keep extra 128 GB USB sticks on hand. Change them out before activating Sentry Mode. Sorted. | March 17, 2019

@ALDONY - That sucks. Sentry mode is better than nothing, but it does have some issues. One solution is to get a real dashcam. Even if you had the Tesla dashcam images, they are not timestamped nor GPS location stamped, so may not hold up in court. There are some great third-party dashcams: which timestamp and GPS stamp the video. They also don't have any significant impact to range when parked.

In time, Tesla may be able to add features to work better, but that's not entirely clear that it is even possible to add some of the features most third-party dashcams offer today.

4barkie | March 17, 2019

Does an explanation of how sentry works exist? Something that tesla released? I am very confused about what to do or not do. Let alone trying to remember to turn it on whenever I park the car.

daikoncat | March 17, 2019

Checked my USB after seeing this post and the other about the same topic. Sure enough, my USB was full and stopped recording. The majority of the recordings were saved from sentry mode (even when it was toggled off it seems, but ill need to confirm). For now, we will need to make it a habit to clear up space until a fix is made. Really thankful for these forums as this would have also taken me by surprise had I not checked.

Carl Thompson | March 17, 2019

That sucks. Glad you're all right.

stopnair | March 17, 2019

I am a little confused ...Doesn't sentry mode have to be manually turned ON for it to save images? Also why do you guys have to turn it ON all the time? I am thinking I have a closed garage at home and office parking has security so I don't need to ever turn on sentry mode if I am in office or at home. Or do you guys frequently travel to new places as part of your job and park on streets?

Tropopause | March 17, 2019

Get a 256GB SanDisk from Was preformatted and works w/o issue with plenty of room for Sentry Mode saved files. Glad you're okay.

ALDONY | March 17, 2019

@stopnair, I park my car on the street on a daily basis. I park whenever I can in NYC. It changes every day, sometimes upper west side, some other times upper east.

I come back after 12 hours sometimes and I left sentry on just because it was there.

I think NYC is safe enough that I don't require sentry on constantly.

Plus, sentry HAS to be enabled every single time you park, so I wasn't really recording every single day.

I think that sentry alarm would be a good thing ONLY when you Park in remote areas, like a parking lot, or a place with little foot traffic.

Even with 256gb card, parking in a high traffic area would fill up the card in a week or two.

Passion2Fly | March 17, 2019

So, to clarify, Sentry doesn’t use a circular buffer erasing the oldest files on the USB stick when full??
Sorry guys, but if you have to manually clean your USB stick weekly it’s pretty useless... Also, it’s true that digital recordings need time stamps and GPS location to hold up in court... I learned it the hard way a few years ago after losing in court due to the lack of time stamp...

hector | March 17, 2019

Anti spam bump...

hector | March 17, 2019

Getting rid of spam by bumping threads

apodbdrs | March 18, 2019

@TeslaTap, the data in properties of each file contains the time stamp.

apodbdrs | March 18, 2019

The time stanp is in GMT.

mike | March 18, 2019

@Passion2Fly, it does do circular recording, but if it senses an event such as someone looking in a window, or walking close to the car, it dumps 10 minutes of recordings into a saved event folder. If you park in busy parking lots this can fill your memory stick up quickly. If nobody triggers it though, it'll just circular record like regular dashcam mode.

It's a good idea if using sentry mode to up your USB stick size. Especially since there are now 3 cameras recording in the car not just 1. I have a 128gb stick and pull it once a week to go through and clear out recordings I don't need. Getting mad at Tesla for this is a little silly. You are literally asking for your car to do this and then getting mad when it works as designed. If you don't want to perform basic maintenance on recordings, don't use sentry mode. Problem solved. But also don't complain when you didn't use sentry mode and it didn't capture something you wanted.

tom8959 | March 18, 2019

It would be nice is Tesla would add some indication of memory usage or smart memory management in a future release, but as long as we understand it's limitations, Dashcam and Sentry Mode can very useful!

info2 | March 18, 2019

@Tropopause (or anyone else). I bought a 256gb Sandisk usb. Are you saying this is already formatted to FAT32 and works on the Tesla out of the package?

Sky Pilot | March 18, 2019

@info2: No, it's likely formatted in exFAT, next gen from FAT32. Plug it into your computer's USB and run "Properties" on it. Anything over 32GB requires you to manually format to FAT32. There's a number of sharewares that will perform the FAT32 format.

info2 | March 18, 2019

Thanks Sky Pilot. I found this formatting app with a search: Anyone used this or have a suggestion for a trusted app? I’m a little nervous about using a malicious app.

nicktford | March 18, 2019

@info2 - That one is fine to use and works perfectly.

nicktford | March 18, 2019

@info2 - I wrote a guide to formatting the USB for both music and dashcam - search on my username in this thread

PhillyGal | March 18, 2019

I'm really sorry to hear this but thank you for sharing. I hadn't yet heard of this memory issue.

info2 | March 18, 2019

Thanks Nick found it. Speaking of searching, is there a search function on topics in the Tesla forum that I’m just not seeing?

grantjw | March 18, 2019

I must be missing something. I have a 4 GB memory stick that worked well for Dash Cam prior to the 2019.5.15 update. Never had any issues. Since the recent update the memory stick fills in about 50 minutes during my commute home. I have to delete the files from the memory stick after each trip. It appears dash cam video is recorded continuously until the device is filled up and does not write over in a recording loop. I never activated sentry mode.

gmr6415 | March 18, 2019

@grantjw, That's because during dash cam operation it's now also recording the left and right repeater camera video. So I think the front camera uses about 30 mb per minute, and it looks like each repeater uses roughly 22 mb per minute.

As a result it will take almost 3 times the memory for the 1 hour record cycle. | March 18, 2019

A new guide I wrote that some may find handy:

How to pick a dashcam USB drive that will work (many are unreliable), how to format and set it up. Tips on avoiding fake and counterfeit drives too.

eztider | March 18, 2019, very handy guide. I ordered one of the drives you mentioned.

kallian | March 18, 2019

If you guys have an old 256GB ssd lying around or even a 128GB, just buy a USB to SATA cable and plug in the SSD.
It will be much faster than any flash drive you can find. Plus you can make use of your old hdd.

charles.a.braun | March 18, 2019

Are the USB ports 1.1, 2.0 or 3.0?

matthew.mcknight | March 18, 2019

Tesla USB ports are 2.0

suddled | March 18, 2019

I had a 64 gig used for Sentry and Dashcam used it for weeks and still had space left. Just need to check it everyone once in a while I suppose.

Resist | March 18, 2019

Come on Tesla, clean up the video already, it doesn't even look like 720p, it's 2019 for crying out loud! Put a time stamp and GPS info on it too, otherwise it's useless as a Dashcam and security monitor.

ERIC.cheek74 | March 18, 2019

I have a USB hub plugged in to the USB data port in the car. Can anyone confirm that if two memory sticks are in use (properly formatted with TeslaCam folders) that they will perform properly? Or can the car only recognize one memory stick?

CST | March 18, 2019

I put a 128GB stick in a few weeks ago and only have 19GB of it used. I've been using Sentry almost every time I park somewhere. I'll keep an eye on it, but I assume it'll last awhile before filling up. I also have a micro-USB to standard USB adapter in my glove box so I can clear out the thumb drive with my phone on the road. Can use it to view videos as well. | March 18, 2019

@kallian - Clever idea, but be aware quite a few SSDs take more than the amount of power available at the USB port. Currently is it limited to about 2.5W. Looks like most larger SSDs (512 GB+) take more than 2.5W, and some smaller drives too. Here's one guide to power ratings while writing. Note that this is an average power, and peak power may be much higher. Anyway, no harm trying it - at worse it will not work or be intermittent. | March 18, 2019

On second thought, you may damage the SSD if there is insufficient power during writing. Hard to tell what the drive may do or what might be written when power is to low. Best to use a drive in the 1.5 to 2.0W range.

Mde0509 | March 18, 2019

I have the Samsung fit plus which I read is from 30 to 60 Mbps write speeds. The front video is fine but the two side cameras are distorted. Going to go with another USB with way faster write speeds.

bradbomb | March 18, 2019

@resist Tesla cannot make the cameras record at a higher resolution than they already support via software, it would need the CMOS sensors of the cameras swapped out.

determination | March 18, 2019

Just checked video quality for first time with all 3 cameras. Highly pixelated at the beginning, sometimes it would smooth out, sometimes it wouldn't. My Sandisk ultra Class 10 SDHC card looks to be write speed up to 48 MB/s. Just ordered a Patriot Supersonic Rage 2 256GB drive, up to 300 MB/s write, for <$50 so will see how that compares...

Mde0509 | March 18, 2019

So I was using the 64gb Samsung fit plus for Sentry mode, and the 128gb for music. I switched them, and now the issues I had are gone, and the camera footage is clearer. Tesla was right when they said to go as big as you can with USB since my 128gb Samsung fit has better write speeds than the 64gb version. I think the 64gb has around 30Mbps and the 128gb around 50Mbps.

amanwithplan | March 19, 2019

This is why I purchased a separate kit from Blackvue to act as my "sentry mode". It records 1080P in 1 minute increments and overwrites anything useless on the card. It's just a company that figured out how to optimally use the MicroSD storage space, eventually Tesla will get there too.

charles.a.braun | March 19, 2019

I wonder if the static, pixelated images and just overall frequently crappy images that the cameras capture have anything at all to do with the goofy things that AP sometimes does?

Phantom braking because the image sent from the camera to the computer got jacked up

Aborted lane changes because the image sent from the camera to the computer got jacked up


Mde0509 | March 19, 2019

I spoke too soon, in the day footage the half pixelated censor pops up. At night there are no issues.

jvcesare | March 19, 2019

I just installed a 490 GB SSD in a USB enclosure. Partitioned it in two for Video and Music.

Vsanva | March 19, 2019


Caught an accident today that I was able to tell the party I may have dashcam footage.

Gave my number and was contacted by police shortly after who I emailed the clip to.

I was a bit shaken up just being close to it. No one seriously hurt the big rig drove off.

I would post the clip but I couldn’t find the thread.

+1 to Tesla