Tesla Dashcam Storage and Viewer

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Tesla 2020.12.5 has a cool feature. You can now view the Sentry Mode videos inside your car. That’s pretty awesome, but using an old USB Flash drive, you really do see how slow it is to bring things up.

When it was just batch, that wasn’t a big deal since you have to yank the USB key out and then view it separately, but now it makes more sense to have a real SSD for three reasons:

  1. USB Flash drives are not designed to be written very much, so you want a high endurance SD card or an industrial SSD that won’t just die on you.
  2. You can potentially have lots and lots of video and this is really useful for accident reporting, so suddenly it is mission critical to have to working. That also points to a real SSD so you won’t run out of storage when you least expect it.
  3. The main issue is that the ports there are only 500mA, so you have to find an SSD that doesn’t draw too much power.

Fortunately, Cammem and TeslaTap makes all that pretty easy, here are its recommendations:

  • Make sure you format your SSD to ExFat or Fat, but not NTFS
  • Make sure you have an SSD that draws under 6.2W for the Model 3/Y. This is a problem for 256GB and large SSD which consume way more than that. If you have a splitter, then there are more issues as the wireless chargers are also using power, so you have a very limited budget. You don’t want to being charging your phone, have an accident and then discover the SSD didn’t get enough power. Argh!
  • The second issue is that not all SSDs are rated for the temperature range of a car. For instance the SanDisk Extreme Pro is rated at 32-95F which.
  • The best choice may be industrial grade SSD that handles -13 to +185F and which are high endurance with MLC NAND.
  • If you use an SD card, then it’s convenient to get a SD to USB that also plugs into an iPhone so you can just read it. And which also has a traditional USB C or USB 3.0 plug like the Difini (although this has decent Fakespot reviews) with another choice being the Pin Yuan with USB C, Lightening and USB 3.
  • Then you want a larger system and a SanDisk High Endurance 128GB SSD is now $25. Incredibly reasonable given the storage and a good Fakespot review. And 256GB is just $50. Wow! The main problem is to watch for counterfeits. Buy from Amazon itself and not a third party seller for example.

Once you have this there are two configuration tips:

  1. Make sure you format this as an ExFat. Although you probably won’t need it, it doesn’t have the 4GB limit for single files nor the 8TB limit for drives that FAT-32 does.
  2. And you need a magic directory in the root called TeslaCam otherwise it won’t store anything.

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