problem camera fills up thumb drive and then stops

problem camera fills up thumb drive and then stops

the camera just records until full and then stops. I thought it should record over the old pictures and continuously record. Any one else with this problem?

EVRider | February 23, 2019

Here's what the manual says:

"Note: Tesla recommends using a flash drive with as much available storage as possible; saving the most recent ten-minutes of video requires approximately 300 MB, and the hour- long video footage loop requires approximately 1.8 GB of free space. If your flash drive does not have sufficient storage, an "X" displays on the dashcam icon and dashcam may be unable to save video files."

If you're going to use the dashcam, use a USB drive with enough capacity. They don't cost much. The manual doesn't say what happens if you run out of space, but if you're not following their recommendation, all bets are off.

jlackey1948 | February 23, 2019

I was told at the service center that the dashcam couldn't use a drive larger than 32g . I was also told that when it filled up it started writing over the earliest recordings.

EVRider | February 24, 2019

@jlackey1948: I think you were misinformed. Other people have reported using the dashcam with drives larger than 32GB, and if the OP is correct (I don’t know if they are), the recording just stops when you run out of disk space.

That said, 32GB should be more than enough since the dashcam only uses about 2GB for video that you don’t save. I don’t know if Sentry Mode changes the requirements.

Passion2Fly | February 24, 2019

The 32GB limit comes from the FAT32 disk format under Windows. It’s designed to support up to 32GB disk partitions. There are, however, formating tools under Linux or MacOS which can handle disks above 32GB... it’s just not the norm...

blundell31 | February 24, 2019

Thanks for the info, I checked my thumb drive and it said 16GB. So, I guess i will go get a 32 GB drive and let you know if that works

jlackey1948 | February 24, 2019

Thanks for the info everyone.

EVRider | February 24, 2019

@Passion2Fly: FAT32 supports up to 2TB -- the 32GB limit was from Windows 2000. See for more information. I'm currently using a 64GB FAT32 USB drive to play music in our Teslas.

@blundell31: A 16GB drive should have plenty of space, so I don't think that's the issue with your USB drive. Is it formatted to use FAT32? It needs to be. It's also possible your USB drive is defective. Try reformatting it. | February 24, 2019

I concur with EVRider - doubtful the size of the drive is the issue. His suggestions are great. You also might just try another drive. Note that cheap no-name drives on eBay are almost always fakes and will have all sorts of problems. Buy only from reputable companies like Amazon, BestBuy, or the manufacturer itself.

I wrote this article a while back on USB drives for Teslas, more for music, but much applies to use as a dashcam USB drive: The section on how to detect fake drives may be useful too.

sloflo | March 7, 2019

replaced my 16gb thumb drive with this 500gb external drive

so far so good.

M3R | March 10, 2019

@sloflo, you just plug the USB cable into the car and that’s it?

wilborville | March 28, 2019

Older topic yet still important for the use of Sentry. Model 3 owner.

I see people plugging in more than just flash drives both on YouTube and discussions here.
Owner's manual for the Model 3 says only flash drives and not USB hubs. Yet folks are going beyond these anyway!

My question is what are the current limits for the front two USB ports? Specifications? I can't seem to find that information. I'd be concerned plugging a higher draw external SSD drive e.g. despite this sounding like a nice solution to capture all the video files.

I assume this 500G SSD gets it's power from the 5V output of the car's USB ports. Is the current draw for the drive easily, safely within limit for the USB port? Same questions with a hub powered by the USB port.

murphyS90D | March 28, 2019

The original standard USB port provides a maximum of 0.5 amps at 5.0 volts DC. If the device that is connected tries to draw more than that it is supposed to turn the power off. The USB 3 spec provides up to 0.9 amps.
There are lots of violations of these specs around. | March 28, 2019

I've tested the USB ports and the fronts are about 2.5W, and the rear around 3W. Most SSD drives are in the 2 to 5 W range, with larger capacity drives requiring more than 3W. What is not known it what the peak power needed, which occurs when writing. Some drives have significant power peaks during the write cycles, well beyond the USB port capacity. I worry that if you are in the middle of writing the file access table when a peak power is needed beyond what is available, the drive may miswrite and corrupt the table. I'd stay with USB flash drives unless you do quite a bit of research and testing. Be prepared for the SSD drive to be corrupted, possibly beyond the ability to repair.

More details at the end of this section:

wilborville | March 28, 2019
asterix007 | March 28, 2019

What hub should I use? Any recommendations here.

wilborville | March 29, 2019


Why I am here as you are. What can we really do and why or why not?
My first thoughts were current draw of USB ports. If exceeded, what happens?
Hmm, are there fuse protections? Heck, I haven't even explored if there's a fuse box yet on Model 3

I simply didn't want to take a risk of drawing too much current (power) and damaging car electrical system. brings up the peak current demands during writes and corruption of data. Significant.

Page 20:
Note: Do not connect multiple devices using a
USB hub. This can prevent connected devices
from charging or from being recognized by Media Player.

Page 110:
Note: To play media from a USB connection,
Model 3 recognizes flash drives only. You can
play media from other types of devices (such
as an iPod) by connecting to the device using

Note: Media Player supports USB flash drives
with FAT32 formatting (NTFS and exFAT are
not currently supported).

Note: Use a USB connection located at the
front of the center console. The USB
connections at the rear of the console are for
charging only.

CVTRVA | April 4, 2019

@wilborville - where did you get your referenced page 20 from?

p.c.mcavoy | April 5, 2019

@CVTRVA - the referenced page above is form the owners manual. I’m guessing it’s the Model 3 owners manual given the Model 3 reference in his content from page 110.

archon810 | June 28, 2019

This keeps happening, and I don't believe it's our fault - it's a bug in Tesla's code/logic.

I ran into the TeslaCam "X" issue with a 16GB USB 3.0 drive and my latest what I thought was bulletproof solution - a USB adapter with a 64GB (FAT32-formatted) Samsung PRO Endurance card.

Once the card fills up, the dreaded X appears, and it fails to record further.

Here are some photos/screenshots:

I haven't had recordings for 2 days until I finally pulled out the card, put it into my phone, deleted some space, and put it back. Now it's recording again.

Tesla, when are you going to fix this issue?

isy_b | June 28, 2019

I'm extremely upset with Tesla. I can tolerate updates but I bought the car for its features including the integrated dash cam and autopilot.

Yesterday, I had a maniac Lamborghini driver hit me in the UK and speed off at high speed weaving through traffic. No panic...i pressed the save recording button and thought I'd have the whole incident on my dashcam to report to the police. It was very frustrating to find that the dashcam hadn't recorded anything but stub records.

I now have expensive repairs to pay for all because the car didn't do its job and I cannot trace the Lamborghini owner!

@Tesla - Why would i bother continuing to evangelise this brand?

EVRider | June 29, 2019

If you’re unhappy with how the Tesla dashcam works (as many are), buy a real dashcam. No one is forcing you to use the Tesla version. You get what you pay for, and you paid nothing for the Tesla dashcam.

Many issues are caused by not removing the TeslaCam USB properly. You need to stop recording (both dashcam and Sentry Mode if active), wait about 20 seconds, and then remove the USB.

AZGLFR | June 29, 2019

Should have learned how set it up and test it to make sure it worked first . Huh?

EEPlasty | July 5, 2019

I am having the same problem as OP. I have tried multiple flash drives of different sizes and they all fill up and are not overwritten.
Does anyone have a solution?

EVRider | July 5, 2019

@EEPlasty: Sentry Mode does not overwrite old files, so if you use it the USB will eventually fill up. | July 6, 2019

@EEPlasty - Yep, known issue. Solutions:
- Erase sentry files every so often - before it fills up
- Use a larger flash drive - I recommend 128 GB. Doesn't fix it, but you don't have to erase files for 1-2 months.
- Don't use sentry mode
- Set Sentry mode off at home and/or work (which stores less files). Options in controls to do this automatically.

coreyyilmaz | July 25, 2019

3 terabyte external hard drive on eBay is like $11, I'll post an update to see if it works | July 26, 2019

@coreyyilmaz - I guarantee it's a scam drive if new. Assuming it has a USB connection, a hard disk will draw too much power from USB, so it will need seperate power. USB only provides about 2W of power. When you get it, run the tests I describe here:

Hopefully they have a return policy.

eemkam | July 29, 2019

I understand that with Sentry mode, the files are not deleted but when I delete everything, the drive I have still shows the space as used. I'm using a Mac. I assume this is not a Tesla issue, but any suggestions? The only solution I've found is to reformat the drive. thx.

EVRider | July 29, 2019

@eemkam: I don’t know if you were the one who asked that question in another thread, but you need to empty the trash folder on the USB after deleting files to make the space available. The other option is to select the files/folders to delete, press the Option key while accessing the File menu, and select Delete Immediately, which bypasses the trash folder. You could also just reformat the USB and recreate the TeslaCam folder, if that’s easier.

ALSET | July 29, 2019

I use an Anker USB read/writer and a 128GB micro-SD card and so far it's worked flawlessly. You just have to format the card to FAT32. And any free program (ie. GUI Format) will do the trick.

ALSET | July 29, 2019

Oh yeah, and since these micro SDs are designed for cameras the constant writing and re-writing shouldn't cause them to burn out as quick as a USB thumb drive.

eemkam | August 8, 2019

@EVRider: Thanks! I figured out the trash issue, but didn't know about the bypass. Many thanks.

eemkam | August 8, 2019

@EVRider: Thanks! I figured out the trash issue, but didn't know about the bypass. Many thanks.

windrift | August 16, 2019

I have gotten no sentry alerts on my center dash display, and my brand new samsung 32GB is full after only 5 days. I too was told by Tesla service that I had to use a 32GB drive. I had been using a larger drive that would not record sentry - even though I got alerts - but would record dash cam with no problem. | August 16, 2019

@windrift - Strange issue. The current limit is 2TB, not 32GB. Quite a few owners use 512 GB to 1 TB drives. I recommend at least 128 GB so you can go 3-4 weeks without having to erase the drive. What drive/brand were you using? There are a lot of crap drives and counterfeit drives that cause all sorts of problems.

I've yet to find a USB drive that is specified for high temperatures. Some are only rated to 95F! Heres's my guide to suitable drives depending on your conditions: Keep in mind the car can get to 150 F easily when parked. It could explain why you are not getting sentry recordings.

windrift | August 19, 2019, I am using a Samsung BAR Plus MUF, which is supposed to be good up to 140 degrees. I wasn't getting Sentry recordings before, although it was recording dash cam fine. Now, it is sending a lot of the dash cam driving footage to the "saved" folder, and doesn't seem to be overwriting. Thanks for the flash drive link, I'll check it out.

BPSoCal | August 22, 2019

I'm done with USB drives, going to microSD card - I think I've tried every size and brand and they ALL suck. Kinda like the vacuum thread. ;) | August 23, 2019

Get two 32GB for ~ $10 each, use one and keep one in the glove box.
Before you drive, look at the camera to see if it is recording.
If not, swap it with the spare.

EVRider | August 24, 2019

32GB is too small — go for 128 or larger.

Boonedocks | August 24, 2019

256GB are dirt cheap now and work great

bonifp | August 26, 2019

I agree with isy_b. Offering an option to write over the oldest entry is so easy to do in software. I and most people, are only interested in the most recent sentry and dashcam videos when there's a need to such as an accident or break-in. It's ridiculous to get bigger and bigger drives only to prolong the useless task of having to continually swap out drives, plug them into my laptop to delete or format. A complete waste of time and hassle IMHO.
Cmon Tesla!

EVRider | August 27, 2019

@bonifp: Maybe you want Sentry Mode videos to be overwritten, but that doesn’t mean “most people” want that. Suppose you discover some damage to your car that you didn’t notice when it happened — I’ll bet you’d want the old Sentry Mode video then. You won’t have to “continually” swap out the drive if you get one that’s large enough.

bonifp | August 28, 2019

@EVRider I'm suggesting an option to overwrite the oldest video, not to hard code this for everone. This would allow others to look back as long as they wish, depending on how big a disk size you use. Sound reasonable?

EVRider | August 28, 2019

@bonifp: You’re the first person I’ve heard ask for that feature, so it wouldn’t be reasonable to add such an option unless more people would find it valuable. People are already confused by Sentry Mode, so adding options would confuse more people. If you get a large enough drive, you can probably go for a couple of months without having to erase anything. I’m not saying what you suggest is a bad idea, but there are some more basic dashcam/Sentry Mode issues that Tesla should fix first.

bonifp | August 30, 2019

@evrider I'm sure there are others who would like to have this feature. I'm not the one who started this thread over 6 months ago. What other basic dashcam/Sentry Mode issues do you believe should be fixed first?
Maybe I should have asked, do you work for Tesla?

EVRider | August 30, 2019

@bonifp: No, I don’t work for Tesla. Why do you ask?

Basic issues that Tesla should fix, in no particular order:

1. When the drive isn’t full, recording should work consistently. Some people report missing or bad quality video files.
2. Provide an eject UI so people can remove the drive without losing or corrupting data. Some owners who follow these forums may have learned how to safely remove the drive, but most Tesla owners don’t come here.
3. Eliminate the “drive too slow” warning for drives that aren’t too slow.
4. Provide a way to view and delete video on the touchscreen.

bonifp | September 4, 2019

@EVRider Agreed that Tesla needs to improve the software that interacts with the USB drive. As someone else stated earlier (maybe you), the firmware on consumer grade USB drives is not adept to handling the high speed write workloads associate with video capture. I tried 3 different USB drives in my model 3 and all of them either had the drive too slow issue or just stopped communicating with the car even though it wasn't full. I switched to using a uSD with a USB adapter and have not had any issues, other than filling up a 32GB drive in 2 days. Pulling out a drive without flushing the cache will/should only result in the loss of in-flight data. The data already stored to flash "should" still be intact. Again, uSD firmware will do a better job at this vs. a USB.

Being able to view videos on the screen would be quite valuable in case of a break-in and being able to show a law enforcement officer real time. However, viewing and deleting videos on the screen will probably be painfully slow compared to doing this on my laptop, so will prefer doing that regardless.

I will probably get a larger 256GB card, giving me 16 days of video capture which is way more than I will probably need. I would have to get a 1TB drive to last a couple of months. But why do I need to save so much video that I would most certainly never look at? An option to overwrite the oldest files will eliminate any drive maintenance altogether, which I believe should be the ultimate goal. Most Tesla drivers won't want to deal with it and won't be capturing any video at all. | September 4, 2019

Perhaps V10 will offer some of these features!

@EVR on #3, I'm yet to be convinced the warning is wrong. I've seen too many drives that spec out great, yet have really poor continous write performance. It's likely made worse by the fact Tesla is recording three video streams at the same time. Even the benchmark tests don't seem the stress a drive the way Tesla does.

On the plus side, I don't hear of corrupted video anymore - perhaps because the drives that don't give the warning are actually capable of recording the full 3 video streams.

I expect some who thought the drive was working before Tesla added the warning, may be surprised to find the video files were corrupted because it really couldn't keep up. I doubt anyone looks at every file recorded.

dougk71 | September 5, 2019

If your car was just broken into or damaged the video taken has value. The value still isn't immediate since you have to take the drive with the recording elsewhere to view it.
If you car isn't broken into (the most likely state) then you are faced with the work of deleting a large number of false positive events. The deletion also must be done on another device.
The issue with false positives ( crying wolf ) is they often just get ignored like the public does with false triggering of car alarms.

EVRider | September 6, 2019

@TeslaTap: Regarding #3, some people using a particular USB are seeing the write speed warning while others using the identical USB are not, so I don’t think it’s entirely caused by the USB. I’ve wondered if the fact that I’ve never seen that warning in either our Model S or 3 is because we’re always playing music from another USB, so the media subsystem is already active.

By the way, this problem may get worse when they start recording the rear camera in V10.