Dashcam and Sentry mode

Dashcam and Sentry mode

Educate me on the Dashcam/sentry batman.

So when I put a USB in the slot, a camera comes on with a red dot on it - indicating it is recording. I have the
option of holding the camera icon and it stops recording. But there is also a green check mark and a down arrow button.

How does it all work?

1) if I keep the camera with the red dot on, I think it is recording and saving to the USB continuously? every few minutes/secs???

2) If I hold the button and pause it, it stops recording anything, right?

3) Is the car recording continuously (even if the camera icon on screen is 'off')?? and I have the option to go back 10 minutes in time and save the recording?
If this is true, how does one record the last 10 minutes? which buttons to push?

4) So say, I saw something on the road 5 minutes ago and didn't have the USB plugged in, do I have a way to go back and save what the car saw 5 minutes prior?

5) Sentry mode - when it armed and I walk up to it, it says 'recording'. So where are the footages? how do I get to see them??

6) Will it record if someone dings into your car in the parking lot or does it just warm someone?

Thanks experts..

raffidesigns | 23 mars 2019

1. Yes. The Dash cam is recording. Per my dash-cam folder, it is recording every 60 sec.
2. Yes. Holding the camera icon until you see an animation means that the recording is paused/stopped. This will allow you to remove the USB.
3. Pressing the camera icon once, will give you a green check mark which means that the most recent 10 minutes are saved.
4. Without a USB connected, nothing will be saved.
5 & 6 I do not currently have the sentry mode update. However i have read that Sentry Mode and Dash-Cam footage are saved to the same folder.

Kary993 | 23 mars 2019

under the TeslaCam directory there are two directories, RecentClips and SavedClips. I think you can guess that if you were to touch the icon to save whatever it was recording you will get 10 minutes of video, front and left and right cameras saved to the SavedClips directory in another directory name formatted as YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM-SS
In that directory are the one minute groupings of the three files (front, left and right cameras) for the recent recordings up to 10 minutes worth.

I have sentry mode but have no real need to use it so not sure where those recordings go in the scheme of RecentClips and SavedClips. But there were some threads on this forum of people complaining that the USB drive filled up rapidly when using SentryMode. Mostly because they were using very small USB drives, meaning smaller than 32 GB in many cases. I have a 500GB solid state drive in there so I can go a long time recording, saving, and in sentry mode without missing something due to the drive filling up. Always keep an eye on the recording icon to ensure it is recording.

gmr6415 | 23 mars 2019

Sentry mode sets up new folders that contain saved footage when sentry mode is activated. I haven't gone back and looked, but some people say it actually saves files as far back as 9 minutes prior to activation from the front and both side cameras, which are referred to as repeaters.

tesla88919 | 23 mars 2019

Any third party apps to view footage from phone?

dave | 30 mars 2019

Hi I’ve just got my model S. Has 2019.5.15. I’ve found dash cam etc but no sentry mode?

Also my car can’t see music on the usb? Is this because of the TeslaCam folder being there too?

EVRider | 30 mars 2019

@dave: Sentry Mode isn't in 2019.5.15 -- I think it first appeared in 2019.8.x.

If you create a TeslaCam folder, the car won't use the same USB drive for playing media. The workaround is to format the USB with two partitions, one with the TeslaCam folder and the other with music. Or use two USB drives. If you want to try the dual partition trick, search for "usb partition" in the forum to find out how to do it (search tips here:

Carl Thompson | 30 mars 2019

"Sentry Mode isn't in 2019.5.15 -- I think it first appeared in 2019.8.x."

Yes it is. Sentry mode first came in 2019.5.4.

jjgunn | 30 mars 2019

Carl Thompson | March 30, 2019
"Sentry Mode isn't in 2019.5.15 -- I think it first appeared in 2019.8.x."

Yes it is. Sentry mode first came in 2019.5.4.
On Model 3 yes.
MS/MX it showed up in 2019.5.15

Yes I know this is the Model 3 forum.

AZDMD | 31 mars 2019

Last night I parked the car on a busy street and activated Sentry Mode. About 15 minutes later, I got a notification on my phone that an alarm had been activated. I went to the car and all was fine. When I got home I took out the USB and couldn't find any evidence of anyone messing with the car. I did see some clips which had a caption that the volume was 110% etc. Did traffic going by activate Sentry Mode? What does anyone think happened here?

jjgunn | 31 mars 2019

Interesting - could've been a loud car/bike or possibly loud sub-woofer from a car driving by.

Video doesn't reveal anything???!?!!? Weird

EVRider | 31 mars 2019

@Carl: You're right, I forgot Model 3 got it earlier. My wife's Model 3 got Sentry Mode with 2019.5.15, although it wasn't mentioned in the release notes. It's hard to keep track of which forum I'm responding to. :-)

@jjgunn: I didn't get Sentry Mode in my Model S until I received 2019.8.3. I had 2019.5.16 before that and no Sentry Mode.

AZDMD | 31 mars 2019

jj gunn- Nothing on videos that would account for the activation. Its also hard to find the right video. Can anyone decode the date stamp?

skchang_99 | 31 mars 2019

Anyone noticed the timestamp of the video is not correct? My mode 3 has the correct PST time but the video it recorded is not. I was going to file this as a bug.

apodbdrs | 31 mars 2019

@skchang_99, the video timestamp is in GMT.

robert4 | 17 avril 2019

When sentry mode is turned on, does recording start immediately and an until you cancel it or is there some sort of trigger that starts is such as someone walking near the car? I notice on the screen I get the 2001 Red Eye and a message that the car is recording.

Also, if some event takes place will I get notified on the app?

MoonDog | 18 avril 2019

@robert4, sentry mode is always recording video. When it is triggered it saves I believe the last 10 minutes spread through several 1 minute files. When looking at the files you can usually see the triggering event in the last (more recent) file.

ilikestuff | 19 avril 2019

@Kary993 Which 500GB solid state hard drive did you get? Did you use a USB hub, or just plug straight in? Right now I have a small thumb drive but I want to figure out the ideal set up wrt USB/storage (and eventually fast charging).

gdYx9 | 26 avril 2019

My Model X was manufactured on March 26, 2017. Tesla informs me that i have AP 2.0, not AP 2.5. As of today, I got firmware 2019.12.1, which has Sentry mode. I am running it right now. However, am I correct in that AP 2.0 does not support Dashc

gdYx9 | 26 avril 2019

My comment got chopped off. Am I correct in that AP 2.0 does not support Dashcam? Does that mean that I can't get the Sentry recordings?

EVRider | 27 avril 2019

@gdYx9: Correct, your X doesn’t support recording video on a USB. For you, Sentry Mode is recording video in the cloud, but as far as I know, Tesla hasn’t told anyone how they can access that video.

bas0902 | 1 mai 2019

I just installed version 2019.12.1.1 4b1dd29 on my X. I have not been able to get the Dashcam to work; however Sentry mode is recording videos to my USB under the TeslaCam folder. I too have AP 2.0, so not sure why I am unable to get the DashCam Icon to show on my screen, and thus enable recording from it, but am getting Sentry Mode recordings. Thoughts?

Patilatul | 1 mai 2019

Folks, i need your help. Let me know if i have to start a new thread for this.

I have M3 LR AWD and i am on 2019.8.5. Most of the time i get X icon for my dashcam even though i followed all instructions such as FAT32 formating, TeslaCam folder etc. Once or twice i was successful but it rarely works. Once i get X icon, i can't use that USB drive till i format it again. I tried 32GB & 8 GB drive so far. Any advice?


ShaunyD | 2 mai 2019

Are you pausing the dashcam before removing the usb?

bigdjshadows | 2 mai 2019

Dashcam video doesn`t record on my usb

EVRider | 2 mai 2019

@bas0902: If your X was made before August 2017, it doesn’t have HW2.5, which is required for recording video on USB. If that’s the case, you’ll find that the files Sentry Mode created on the USB are all empty.

PS: You’ll have better luck getting answers to Model X questions in the Model X forum.

bodo.te | 9 mai 2019

Sentry mode OFF , but my model 3 keeps recording while not driving. leads to 50km phantom drain per day even when i don't touch the car at all. Why is that ?

evan_li | 9 mai 2019

I have USB storage, I formatted to Fat32 and make a TeslaCam directory, but I do not see the Camera icon shows on my screen what is wrong,

My storage is 64 GB, I am not sure that one has things wrong here.

johntran | 10 mai 2019

For anyone still looking, this 128GB came already formatted and pre-added the TeslaCam folder. It works reliably too. I’ve been using it for a while. Compatible with ios, Android, Mac, PC. You just plug it in and start recording.

pwambach | 10 mai 2019

I had a 128 GB Samsung flash drive that wouldn't work either. Some USB drives won't format to FAT32 anymore on Windows 10 or Windows 7. The only option is exFAT which technically is not the same as FAT32. I found a solution by downloading and running RUFUS ( which I have used for years to create bootable USB drives from ISO files for Windows and Linux. If you download and install and run this tool choose the options (Boot Selection = non bootable, File System = FAT32). Make sure correct flash drive is selected as Device as it will format and erase everything on the drive. If you choose the wrong drive you will lose everything so be careful. Then click Start and it will format it correctly. Afterwards just create the TeslaCam directory and it should be good to go. This worked for me.

johnw | 10 mai 2019

Someone mentioned that Sentry and Dashcam record in GMT. On my car it's showing local time, so I don't think that's correct. It is military time though (1300 for 1:00pm).

I think I saw there is an iphone app/hardware combo you can purchase, but I don't have the link sorry. If you have a PC you can review the footage on a PC using my free software Sentry Keeper available here:

Shamrk1 | 10 mai 2019

I have a 15g usb drive in my 3 , but every 2-3 weeks I have to remove it and delete the files as it fills up. Isn’t it supposed to automatically delete/overwrite the videos?
Ant assistance is appreciated

finman100 | 10 mai 2019

dashcam footage will overwrite. Sentry footage will not. yet.

EVRider | 10 mai 2019

15GB is not nearly enough if you use Sentry Mode. Get a 128GB drive (or larger).

johnw | 10 mai 2019

@Shamrk1 15g used to be fine, but when the added the side cameras, the space requirement tripled and Sentry mode also uses all 3 cameras. Each 1 minute takes about 90 megs for the 3 cameras, so it eats space quickly. 128g Samsung drives are like $20 on amazon. | 10 mai 2019

So many are confused about dashcam, the kind of drive needed, and how to properly set it up, I wrote this extensive article with photos to guide you to a successful operation.

Also includes common Troubleshooting at the end.

As others point out, using small drives will end in major frustration if it works at all. A fast 128 GB or larger drive is strongly recommended if you plan to use Sentry mode. Avoid cheapy drives, as most are fakes or counterfeits. If the price is too good to be true, it's a fake. Article goes into far more details.

Shamrk1 | 10 mai 2019

@TeslaTap very helpful information. Thanks to all

KamiTesla | 30 mai 2019

I had a USB inserted with TeslaCam folder and Sentry Mode on last Saturday. I parked the car in an outdoor parking lot near the baseball park. When we got back, the driver's side door was open and the passenger side window was down part way. I had no notification if Sentry Mode went on. And when I pulled my USB drive out and looked at the recordings, they were all old recordings from a previous day (several days ago). I thought that it was supposed to re-record over old footage? And it was disconcerting seeing my car like that when we returned. Luckily it did not appear that there was anything stolen or misplaced. But I'd like to get this Sentry Mode recording thing working. Any advice?

wb808 | 30 mai 2019

@TeslaTap thank you very much for that thorough and informative write up regarding USB flash drives. After reading your article I followed your advice and bought the SanDisk Extreme Go 3.1 off Amazon. However I’ve noticed there are several instances (maybe 10% of the time) where the videos are only partially recorded and/or are distorted/pixelated (not to mention complete recordings of repeaters missing). Your article suggests this could be due to the write speed of the drive not being able to keep up with the data the car is throwing at it, but this recommended drive I have has write speeds of up to 150 Mb/s which surely should be enough? Although it’s from Amazon is it possible I got a defective one? It’s also plugged directly into one of the front ports and I always grey-out the icon (and wait a good 30 seconds) before pulling it. Any thoughts? Thanks!

billlake2000 | 30 mai 2019

I got a feelin that this sentry thingamajig is in beta.

johnathan.chick | 4 juin 2019

Hi guys,
Just want to chime in here quickly to confirm functionality of DashCam. I have a USB drive in, icon shows its recording -- all good.

So, please clarify the frequency it is recording and the overwritting interval and when I need to download. Lets say I am involved in a traffic incident, will I need to go download the video with a certain time? Or has it already recorded it to the drive? If I continue letting it record to the drive, will it overwrite after a certain time (an hour?). If that is true, then I guess it makes sense to after you have collected footage of importance, to remove the drive so you dont risk overwritting?

Clicking the camera button saves the most recent 10 minute clip from what I can see. So the 10 min clip then is saved on the car I assume until I download it? Why would I want to save a 10 minute clip if the car has also simultaneously been saving the past hour?

Kary993 | 4 juin 2019

@johnathan.chick - I really suggest that you read the manual as all your questions are answered there. Briefly though, you tap on the icon to save the recent 10 minutes of video when an event occurs you want to save. You do this because the dashcam is writing over the buffered video which most of the time we never need or ever look at.

cbr11et | 4 juin 2019

Sentry mode works and as many have posted video of break-ins etc. However, just a matter of time before thief's realize the video is stored on that very easy to get to USB stick and they just grab that too. Tesla needs to be looking at a way to push this into the cloud or have some more difficult to get to storage option.

SEN | 4 juin 2019

I have the formatted USB in my Model 3, and it's properly recording onto the USB. I use Sentry Mode when the car is parked, and have returned to the car with notifications that there were 'events' logged on Sentry Mode. When I look at the files on the USB however I can't figure out which of the videos are the ones where Sentry Mode was triggered. Does anyone have advice on this?

KamiTesla | 4 juin 2019

I ordered a large capacity usb drive. I used GUI version of FAT32 Format by Ridgecrop Consultants to format it to FAT32. I put it in my Tesla and it recorded footage. But when I click on the files to play, nothing will play. Do I now need a new player to be able to watch these video clips?

El Oso | 5 juin 2019

With flash drive inserted, dashcam records fine. When Sentry Mode is activated, it fails to record. The computer screen displays the red circle and says it is recording, but isn’t. When we try to set off any of the alarms in Sentry Mode , total silence. Anybody have an idea?

sanjeev.suri | 6 juin 2019

So here is a strange one, unless I am missing something. BTW, got my M3 LR AWD last Saturday.
IF Sentry mode is activated, the footages are recording nicely from all 3 directions, no issues. However, before I start driving, I make sure Sentry mode is off and the camera icon with red dot does appear while driving, so the front camera is acting like dash cam as it's supposed to do. BUT, when I pull out the USB to check the recordings, I ONLY get the sentry mode recordings, whether I switch the mode ON or OFF.
The dash cam recordings ONLY appear when I format the USB and DO NOT use the Sentry mode. I just don't know what to do..

sanjeev.suri | 6 juin 2019

Update.. I apologize.. Checked the recordings all over again and dash cam and sentry mode are working as designed. Please ignore the previous post.. I feel like an idiot :)

motonosh | 6 juin 2019

I need some clarification, every time I ask a tech I can't get a straight answer.

The manual says regarding recording:

"The dashcam temporarily
stores approximately one hour of
the most recent video footage on
the flash drive before new video
begins overwriting old video."

My problem is it never overwrites old video. The system records until the drive is full then displays an x in the upper right corner of the camera. After a few minutes of that the camera icon disappears completely.

It took me some time to figure out my drive was at max capacity which was causing the problem. I remove the drive, wipe the files, and replace it in the car and it works again.

So my question, is the system supposed to over write those files and I have a bug? Is anyone else noticing their drive recording to capacity and not over writing automatically?

motonosh | 6 juin 2019

UPDATE: I was speaking via chat to support and was told:

it may be a firmware issue. I see you are on the 250KW update. This one would not be able to write over the data correctly.

Hopefully that fixes it.

Shesmyne2 | 6 juin 2019

El Oso
When Sentry mode is on alarm is off, oddly enough.
Controls>Safety & Security bottom of the screen.

Still Grinning ;-)