Thumb drive not recording in Sentry mode?

Thumb drive not recording in Sentry mode?

I took delivery of a Model 3 about a month ago and have been using Sentry mode religiously with a brand-new, formatted thumb drive popped into the port. Yesterday some jerk scuffed my front bumper so I took out the thumb drive to review the tape, and...nothing. The thumb drive comes up blank when I plug it in to my MacBook Pro's external USB port. Did I do something wrong or is this an issue with the car? Am I supposed to the car?

rachang5021 | 17 juni 2019

Did you do all the required setup steps to have your thumb drive recognized by the car?

1) It needs to be FAT32 format
2) there needs to be a "TeslaCam" folder in the thumb drive

After all that, there should be a camera icon with a red dot at the top right corner of your screen when you plug in your thumbdrive to the car. It usually takes about 5 seconds to pop up. Also, only the front two USB ports can be used for the thumb drive.

artfuse | 17 juni 2019

Well, heck. Nope. Didn't do that. Thank you for the detailed info! Where would I have found this setup info previously?

Techy James | 17 juni 2019

It's actually also in the online manual available for your car. Link:
Page 65.
Now hopefully when this feature is out of Beta there will be an option to setup any USB Thumb Drive for dash cam but currently you have to manually set it up the device for the feature to work.

rachang5021 | 17 juni 2019

It's on their support page!

Sentry mode video recording is actually a branch off of their previous software update where you can start recording video the car captures through the built in front facing camera while driving.

Also, I'd recommend getting an external harddrive if you're going to use Sentry Mode a lot. Thumbdrives aren't built for the constant writing and rewriting that the Dashcam or Sentry does. Though, if you do get one, you'll probably need some 3rd party software to help format it to FAT32. Windows can only format drives up to 32gb to FAT32

David.A.Ewert | 21 juli 2019

My thumb drive is formatted and has been working fine, but someone slammed their car door into my car a few days ago, leaving a huge dent, so I plugged the thumb drive into my laptop to see what happened and there are no recordings for the last two months! It apparently just stopped recording without any error messages. I double checked all the settings (sentry mode on automatically, etc.) I can't find an explanation.

raqball | 21 juli 2019

@David.A.Ewert Bummer! Sorry to hear that. People these days have no respect for others or their property....

I was going through my SSD today and I had a ton of Sentry Clips but no Dashcam vids. It been turned on so no clue... I reformatted the drive and put it back in and it appears to be working fine now.. I'll def be keeping a closer eye on it now though to make sure it's working...

I have a 500GB Samsung T5 SSD connected now. I was using SD sticks before and they worked fine so now I am wondering if my T5 SSD was the problem....

Magic 8 Ball | 21 juli 2019

If your saved files folder fills up the dash cam stops working. You must manually purge the saved files folder to get things going again. My 128G drive fills up with Sentry cam files within a week or so.

Clean up the files.

Resist | 21 juli 2019

Recently my dash cam with a SanDisk thumb drive stopped working. So I ended up reformatting it and now it works again. Prior to this it has also been acting odd...saving Sentry Mode recordings when there was no movement in any of the recording.

Resist | 21 juli 2019

So I looked at what Sentry Mode recorded and saved, again no movement in the video and there was even normal dash cam video saved that I never saved. What the heck?

EVRider | 22 juli 2019

@Resist: Sometimes I accidentally save dashcam recordings when trying to pause the dashcam before removing the USB, so maybe you did the same. Sentry Mode saves the last 10 minutes of video for each event, so whatever motion triggered the event will be at the end of the video.

Magic 8 Ball | 22 juli 2019

If you post issues with your "car" post your car version and firmware.

People were reporting that internal fan noise was keeping sentry recording and a subsequent firmware version addressed this. I cannot confirm this to be the case, just a possibility floated here on rumor mill.

Resist | 22 juli 2019

EVRider - I never once touched the dash cam icon on the display, so it wasn't saving video because of me. And again there was no movement in any of my Sentry Mode saved recordings.

EVRider | 22 juli 2019

@Resist: Was the saved dashcam video of you driving? If so, was that just before you parked where you used Sentry Mode? Since Sentry Mode saves the last 10 minutes, maybe it captured part of your drive.

If you never touch the dashcam icon, then you’re not removing the USB properly. You need to pause the dashcam and turn off Sentry Mode and then wait 10-20 seconds before removing the USB, otherwise you’ll likely corrupt the files on the USB. You need to make sure the car finishes writing to the USB before you remove it.

Joseb | 22 juli 2019

You can "pause" dashcam?? How?

My dashcam also suddenly stopped recording, eventhough the Dashcam icon was active. I just realized this yesterday, the USB stick had plenty of free space. I ran a "fix" (Windows prompted me) and re-created the TeslaCam folder and will try again.

EVRider | 23 juli 2019

You pause the dashcam by pressing on the dashcam icon for a second or two, which should turn the red dot gray. It takes practice, because half the time I try this it saves video instead (in which case a green checkmark appears). This is all documented on the manual.

MrSexyTime | 23 juli 2019

I learned (or maybe relearned) something the other day. Deleting files from my thumb drive via my mac was not enough. I had to plug it back in and clear the files from the trash also. Before the trash dump, the thumb drive icon would be gone every time I turned on the car. If I reseated the thumb drive, the icon would come back, but would be gone on the next start. The Tesla subdirectories would show empty, but it wouldn't work Works now.

raqball | 23 juli 2019

@MrSexyTime Yes the drive will fill up over time. The smaller the drive you have the more frequently you'll need to purge it.. And yes if on a Mac you need to empty trash before ejecting the drive from the computer.

Jaaahon | 23 juli 2019

Interesting, I have my USB 128 formatted at FAT32
Plugged it in, saw the camera / turned on sentry mode as I left.
7 events occurred. 2 hours later
Turned off sentry mode and pulled out the USB, there are no saved clips.

EVRider | 23 juli 2019

@Jaaahon: Did you pause recording before removing the USB? See my previous replies.

@MrSexyTime: Unless you have footage on the USB you want to save, I find it easier to just reformat the USB using the Disk Utility, though you do have to remember to recreate the TeslaCam folder.

Joseb | 23 juli 2019

Ahh good to know, I think pausing before removing is an important step here that I was missing :-|
The icons are tiny though, and the only thing that changes is a tiny dot, and for someone who is color blind, this is hardly perceptible.

personalprogrammer | 23 juli 2019

I am having trouble with my sentry mode and dash cam recordings. Sentry mode does not record at all. Dash cam records great when the vehicle is in motion, but when the vehicle is stationary the files are corrupted. The files will play back, but only an occasional frame is visible, whereas most of the recording is a pixelated gray image.
I am using a new ScanDisk Ultra CZ48 FAT32 USB 3.0 flash drive. I have used other drives with the same result.
To use sentry mode I am first disabling dash cam before leaving the vehicle and invoking sentry mode. Sentry mode recording is invoked properly when walking near the vehicle, but no files are created in the TeslaCam folder.
I have used several playback programs with the same result.
I am making sure to disable dash cam before removing the flash drive.
I received my Model 3 on May 31st of this year. At that time the dash cam was recording properly, but sentry recording has never worked.

Jaaahon | 24 juli 2019

@evrider Yes i did. Not sure how i fixed it but they do save now. Its just a matter of playing them now.

I have come to find out that at work either win 7/10 here won't play the files that finally started saving. My other issue is the error is HEVC.

I can play them at home fine.
So odd, why can't the files just play like a normal file anywhere.

Resist | 30 juli 2019

EVRider - Yes, I paused the thumb drive by pressing and holding the dash cam icon, the red dot turned grey.

ggooselaw | 30 juli 2019

I cycled through various well-known brands and capacities of USB sticks. Each became corrupt over time, likely because of the intense I/O that the memory is subjected to during normal use.

I read about using drives made with high-quality NAND MLC-type memory, which is apparently able to hold up over a longer period (we'll see). Transcend makes a one, as well as Mushkin. I'm running a Mushkin 256GB Impact USB 3.0 drive. It was a little cheaper than the Transcend. Running fine for about 90 days so far.

Rt1055 | 30 juli 2019

I recently received a fault not saying the thumb drive did not have a high enough write speed. I tried to replace it with a Sandisk extreme PRO USB 3.1. It was originally formatted exFAT (which Tesla says is not supported). I used a 3rd party app to reformat it to FAT32 and added the appropriate TeslaCam base file. But it still shows a fault when installed. Anybody have a similar problem?

Rt1055 | 30 juli 2019

Does Tesla recommend a USB thumb drive?

EVRider | 31 juli 2019

@Rt1055: Lots of people are reporting seeing the write speed error message even though they’re using fast drives. I think the code to detect write speed, which was just introduced in 24.4, is probably buggy. Tesla doesn’t make recommendations for third-party products.

Lorenzryanc | 31 juli 2019

My 128gb Scandisk drive has been working fine since I got that error w/ my PNY drive. I guess I found my new drive :/

sjjb_2004 | 31 juli 2019

I am having problems too. The USB drive will work fine for about 48 hours,sometimes less. Then a corrupt file is written on the USB drive and it all stops working. I know that it is not longer writing video files to the USB drive, when the camera icon appears with an "x" where the red dot usually is located.

4barkie | 31 juli 2019

When I used the dash cam for the first time I had some intermittent problems when I looked at the files. Some of the clips were pixelated across the bottom of the footage from the side cameras but not the front. At some point the right camera was not recording. I deleted all the files half way thru the trip and since then everything has worked fine.

VolleyballNE1 | 31 juli 2019

If you take the USB drive out and put it back, make sure that the red dot is on or else sentry events won't be recorded on it. Seems like a bug to me, but don't lose coverage by overlooking that fact. If you have the USB in, always verify that the red dot is there before relying on the dash cam.

personalprogrammer | 28 augusti 2019

The initial level of the Model 3 security system is Sentry mode, its main feature being the automatic video recording of someone passing in close proximity of the vehicle. The problem I have had for the three month's I since buying my Model 3 is understanding how it works. After dozens of hours of study and research, I finally understand the architecture. Sentry mode does not record, it SAVES. What does it save? The last 10 minutes of DashCam, the same as when you invoke a "SAVE" manually by touching the DashCam icon on the top of the main screen. My problem has been attempting to capture Sentry video while DashCam was OFF. The manual does not specify that DashCam must be active for Sentry video to be saved. Actually, there is no "Sentry" video - it's ALL DashCam video. When Sentry mode is triggered, it waits for one minute while DashCam is presumably capturing the activity around the vehicle, then invokes a DashCam video SAVE. If you were to look for a Sentry mode incident, you would find it in the SAVED folder of DashCam videos labeled as the time and date one minute AFTER the trigger occurred. So, while a Sentry incident can be triggered without DashCam being active, no video will be saved unless DashCam is ON.

rick.albertie | 3 november 2019

Sentry mode was working fine for me, but now all the videos show as 1kb (so nothing to see). Any thoughts and what would be causing this?