ext4 now supported for media and TeslaCam disks?

ext4 now supported for media and TeslaCam disks?

I saw a thread in the TMC forums that says ext4 is now a supported disk format for media playback and TeslaCam recording, in addition to FAT32:

Has anyone here actually tried that, and if so, which firmware version do you have? Since ext4 is more of a Linux thing, it probably won't matter to most people here, but good to know that there are other options. | August 21, 2019

Can't say I've tried it, but ext4 has been supported since 2012. Nothing new. The base OS is Linux.

reed_lewis | August 22, 2019

ext4 has journaling which makes the file system more resilient if power is removed when a write is happening. When the filesystem is remounted, the process should clean up any issues with the integrity of the file system.

I should reformat my sticks for my S and 3 with ext4 because it is much better than FAT32. The negative is that I usually plug the stick into my windows machine instead of my linux box to access video and copy music. I guess I could mount the stick on the linux box, and share it to the windows machine to copy files though. | August 22, 2019

Ok, I tried out ext4 today and it works fine. Records video just like FAT32. As reed points out it is a better file system than old FAT, but you'll need Linux or a special utility to access ext4 in Windows. I also use Windows more than Linux. I occasionally use the program Linux File Systems for Windows by Paragon I expect there are others, but for $20 (and a free trial), it's worked well for me. It can also format a drive to ext4 - but be careful not to format your OS drive!

One thing that's easy to forget, you need to unmount the flash drive (i.e. after creating the TeslaCam folder), or the folder will not appear.

p_dahlgren | August 22, 2019

Thanks for this thread. I'm glad to see ext4 supported and for media as well. Tesla should have mentioned that in the owner's manual. Ext4 causes much less disk fragmentation so less need for reformatting compared to fat32.

I run everything on Linux so for me it's convenient to plug the drive into my laptop and quickly browse through the recorded files using "mplayer". In general I feel much safer when I use ext*.

As @TeslaTap mentioned, you should always physically execute the unmount command before unplugging any drive or you may lose your last writes, which are typically cashed, or in the past there was a risk of even causing file system coherency errors. Maybe that is less of a risk nowadays in the newer more sophisticated file systems as @reed_lewis mentioned.
I don't know if this was needed but when I created the directory "TeslaCam" I changed the permission to "drwxrwxrwx" (writable/readable for all users) just to be on the safe side in case the video recording process is not running as root.

What I suppose we don't know is when the dashcam icon on the Tesla display becomes gray is the file system really unmounted (by explicit 'umount' call) or is it just that it stopped recording?
If it's just stopped recording, there is a risk that the last recorded files may be incomplete or corrupted.

As pointed out, to be able to view the recordings, ext4 is useful only for those who run Linux on computers and laptops, which should be relatively few compared to Windows, Mac users.

I wonder if an external ext4 formatted SSD drive plugged into an Android phone can be read. I will try that some time.


rxlawdude | August 22, 2019

When you create permissions on a removable drive, how does it know which "user" is accessing a directory when you plug the removable drive into another system?

It would be interesting to see what different permissions do to the Tesla's ability to access.

p_dahlgren | August 22, 2019

@rxlawdude, I'm just a user, not an expert.
I suppose it depends on how the mounting of removable file system is handled by the OS. ext4 has a more strict permission check than fat32. The permission associated with folders can be tricky for processes running with non-root privileges. Typically, if you create the file system on the removable drive on system A with read/write permission only for one user and plug it into system B, a process running under a different user ID on system B typically cannot access that folder.

One way to avoid that is to have all processes that can access external media to run under root privileges. If I don't know that to be the case when I move removable drives between systems I would give permission "to all" to ensure that it will work in all situations. Of course, it's not needed in cases where you have root permission.

rxlawdude | August 22, 2019

@P_dahlgren It's been a decade since I managed an AIX system, but I recall something about uids not matching in different systems causing a problem with portable media. I think all root accounts across different systems use the same uid.

NKYTA | August 22, 2019

@rx, you are losing creds as a lawyer if you are talking AIX.

Just sayin. ;-)

Uids != UUIDS

rxlawdude | August 23, 2019

@NKYTA, that was a long time ago. Two mirrored RS/6000s. Was a great platform for an inpatient pharmacy system in 2000.
UUID. Noted. For next time I'm managing a *nix system.

ggendel | August 23, 2019

I'll have to check this out for my music stick. I tried ext4 a couple years back and it couldn't see the media so I went back to FAT.

rhbohl | January 31, 2020

Is there a foolproof method of making the TeslaCam work. See my experience, below:

After being unable to use a previous datastick in any way (said to happen with small capacity datasticks), I tossed it and bought a big 65GB datastick (chip)?  It was a tiny chip, and I bought a connector recommended on a U-tube website of a Tesla user. (The adapter was supposed to allow me to read the Datastick with an i-Phone without removing it from the car.)  I created the TeslaCam directory, and found that it seemed to be recording well.  Then, one day, I noticed that the green indicator was not present but, as I recall, it was not red either.  Assuming that the stick had filled up, I turned off the car to get it into a mode where would be safe to remove.

I was able to read some dashcam clips, but I could not reinsert the datastick and get a green light.

I tried to reformat the datastick, and it allowed me to do so, using xFAT or something similar, said to be needed for large-capacity datasticks, but not FAT.  After creating the TeslaCam directory, I was unable to get a green light.

Somewhere, I read that Tesla could not read xFAT chips, and that there was a "free" program that would allow Windows 10 to create FAT-formatted chips on Windows 10.  I downloaded it, but was unable to find an option to use FAT on the datastick.  It tried to sell me some other program, so I gave up.

At the moment, I have no operable dashcam.

rxlawdude | January 31, 2020

There's PowerShell, a "super" command prompt (you need to run as Administrator) that's built in to Win 10.

Type "format FS:FAT32 [stick's drive letter, e.g., "F:"

I understand it is very slow, but it works. (I used a third party utility, which is very quick.) | January 31, 2020

Also here is my step-by-step guide to formating on both Windows and Mac, with screenshots to walk you through it.