Sentry Mode / Dash Camera – What’s the best storage to buy? How do I format it?

Last modified: 24/05/2020
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Tesla recommends:

  • 32GB minimum
  • The flash drive must be USB 2.0 compatible. If using a USB 3.0 flash drive, it must be able to support USB 2.0
  • Use a dedicated flash drive exclusively for saving footage for your vehicle.
  • Tesla recommends to ‘Use a flash drive with as much available storage as possible, since video footage takes up a large amount of space’
  • The flash drive must have a sustained write speed of at least 4 MB/s

Recommended and confirmed as working SSDs / Flash Drives for Sentry

How to format:

The user manual is always the best place to find the most up to date information but here is a copy from April 2020:

Formatting the USB Flash Drive

To correctly save and retrieve video footage, your vehicle requires a properly formatted USB flash drive containing a base-level folder called “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks). In addition, the flash drive must be formatted: as FAT 32 (for Windows), MS-DOS FAT (for Mac), ext3, or ext4 in order to save videos. NTFS and exFAT are not currently supported.

For MacOS:

1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.

2. Navigate to Utilities > Disk Utility (or you can conduct a Spotlight Search for this).

3. Select your flash drive in the left menu.

4. Navigate to Erase in the top menu ribbon.

5. In the pop-up menu, select the correct format (MS-DOS FAT) and click Erase.

Note: Selecting Erase completely erases all content on your flash drive. If you have other content stored on the flash drive, migrate it to a different device before erasing it.

6. Once the flash drive is successfully erased, navigate to Finder and select your USB flash drive from the left menu. The flash drive should not contain any files.

7. Right-click in the empty space of the flash drive and select New Folder. A folder appears in your flash drive space.

8. Right-click on the folder, select Rename, and name the folder to “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks). Click “Save”. This folder will contain all recent and saved clips from Sentry Mode and dashcam.

9. Properly eject the USB flash drive from your personal computer.

For Windows:

1. Insert the USB flash drive into your personal computer.

2. Navigate to File Explorer.

3. Right-click on your USB flash drive and select “Format…”.

4. In the pop-up menu, under the File System section, select “FAT 32”. Note: You can also name your USB (under Volume Label) for easier recognition.

5. Check the “Quick format box” and click Start.

6. Go back to File Explorer, click on your flash drive, and right-click to create a folder, or select “New Folder” in the top

menu.

7. Name the folder “TeslaCam” (without quotation marks) and click “Save”. This folder will contain all recent and saved

clips from Sentry Mode and dashcam.

8. Properly eject the USB flash drive from your personal computer.


Once you have created the “TeslaCam” folder in your USB flash drive and ejected it from your personal computer, insert the flash drive into one of the front USB ports in Model 3. Do not use the rear USB ports, as they are solely meant for charging devices. It may take your vehicle up to 15 seconds to recognize the flash drive. When recognized, icons for dashcam and Sentry Mode appear at the top of your touchscreen (note that you may need to enable to Sentry Mode by going to Controls > Safety & Security > Sentry Mode). Your vehicle is ready to record video.

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