Tesla Sentry Mode and Dash Cam Depth Guide

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Tesla’s Sentry Mode and Dash Cam are valuable features that enhance driver security and protection. Whether you’re worried about theft or vandalism, or you want to document scenic drives, Tesla has you covered.

This blog takes a deep dive into Tesla Sentry Mode and Dash Cam modes.

Table of Contents

    What Are Tesla Sentry Mode and Dash Cam?

    Tesla’s Sentry Mode and built-in dash cam are innovative safety features that come standard on all new Teslas.

    Sentry Mode monitors your car’s surroundings when it’s left unattended. Using the vehicle’s cameras, it detects nearby movement and suspicious activity while the dash cam records your driving footage to capture any collisions or incidents on the road.

    How Do Sentry Mode and Dash Cam work?

    Sentry Mode uses the cameras around your Tesla to detect potential threats and activate alerts. When it detects suspicious activity around the car, it goes into “Standby” mode – recording footage of the event. If the threat escalates, Sentry Mode triggers the alarm and messages you.

    Dashcam continuously captures and saves footage from the forward-facing camera as you drive.

    Distinguish Between Sentry Mode and Dash Cam

    Sentry Mode utilizes the cameras installed in a Tesla to capture any suspicious activity. The feature can detect motion when activated. The car’s exterior lights will turn on, and the cameras will begin recording.

    But the Dash Cam is a feature that records video footage while driving. It captures footage of accidents, near-miss situations, and anything else that happens while driving.

    How Much Power Is Consumed a Day?

    Tesla’s Sentry Mode and dash cam features require power, even when the vehicle is parked. According to Tesla, Sentry Mode uses about 1 kilowatt-hour of energy every 24 hours. It’s enabled if no events are detected. The dash cam, which is always on when driving, consumes a small amount of additional power.

    How to Turn On/Off Sentry Mode (Dash Cam) in Your Tesla

    To turn Sentry Mode (also known as Dash Cam) on or off in your Tesla, follow these steps:

    1. Tap the “Controls” icon in the bottom menu on your touchscreen.
    2. Select “Safety & Security” from the list of options.
    3. Toggle “Sentry Mode” on or off. When on, your cameras will monitor and record video clips if sensors detect activity close to the car.

    To turn the Dash Cam feature on or off, tap “Dashcam” under the Sentry Mode option. When on, forward-facing cameras will capture video while you’re driving to record any incidents. The footage is saved to your USB flash drive.

    Tesla Sentry Mode (Dash Cam) Storage

    Tesla Sentry Mode and your vehicle’s built-in dash cam record footage of your vehicle’s surroundings while parked. This footage is stored on a USB flash drive inserted into your Tesla’s USB ports.

    Use a high-endurance microSD card with an adapter or a USB drive rated for high-volume video recording for best results. These storage devices are optimized for constantly rewriting data like dash cam footage.

    A standard USB thumb drive will work in a pinch but may experience decreased lifespan from the constant recording. It’s a good idea to format any storage device before using it for Sentry Mode to ensure maximum available space.

    The footage is recorded on a loop, meaning older footage is deleted automatically to make room for new recordings. For this reason, a larger storage device, between 64GB to 256GB, is recommended.

    Where To Find The Correct USB Port on Tesla

    USB flash drive placed in the glove box in front of the passenger, which can be opened via a touchscreen.

    How to View Live Camera on Phone and Computer?

    Ensure that your Tesla is in an area with a stable Internet connection to access the live camera feeds seamlessly.

    On Phone:

    1. Open the Tesla app and log in to your Tesla account.
    2. Tap on the ‘Controls’ tab at the bottom of the screen.
    3. Scroll down to find the ‘Camera’ section.
    4. Tap on ‘Launch Viewer’ to view the live camera feeds from your Tesla.

    On computer.

    1. Visit the official Tesla website and log in to your Tesla account.
    2. Once logged in, navigate to the ‘Controls’ section.
    3. Look for the ‘Camera’ section and click on ‘Launch Viewer’.
    4. A new window will open, displaying the live camera feeds from your Tesla.

    Dash Cam and Sentry Mode’s Video Quality

    Sentry Mode’s video quality is good enough to capture essential details in the event of an incident. The cameras record in 1080p high definition, even in low light conditions.

    While the quality may not be as sharp as a dedicated dash cam. It’s sufficient to capture license plate numbers or identify people involved in altercations.

    The footage is captured on a continuous loop, so the newest footage overwrites the oldest footage. You can save clips to keep in your library for evidence if needed. Saved clips are dated and time-stamped for reference.

    Two Ways to Delete Video

    Individual Deletion

    1. Tap the camera icon on the top of the touchscreen to access your dashcam and Sentry Mode footage.
    2. Select the video clip you want to delete by tapping on its thumbnail.
    3. Tap the trash can icon in the screen.
    4. Confirm that you want to delete the video by tapping “Delete” or “Cancel” to keep the clip.

    Reset Deletion

    1. To delete all saved clips and reset your deletion history. Tap the menu icon (three dots) in the top right of the screen.
    2. Select “Delete all footage” or “Reset deletion history”.
    3. Tap “Delete all” or “Reset” to confirm, and your dashcam and Sentry Mode storage will be wiped clean and reset.

    How to Manually Record?

    To manually record video clips with your Tesla’s built-in dash cam, follow these steps:

    1. Tap the Dashcam icon on the touchscreen to begin recording.
    2. Press and hold the Dashcam icon for a few seconds until a menu appears.
    3. Select ‘Record Video’ to start capturing footage. A red dot will appear on the Dashcam icon to indicate recording is in progress.
    4. To stop recording, tap the Dashcam icon again. The red dot will disappear, confirming recording has ended.

    Tesla Sentry Mode (Dash Cam) Playback on a Computer

    To view and playback Tesla Sentry Mode footage on your computer, follow these steps:

    1. Remove the USB drive from your Tesla’s dashcam port.
    2. Connect the USB drive to your computer.
    3. Open the USB drive named “TESLACAM” in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).
    4. Double-click the most recent “SavedClips” folder.
    5. Double-click any .MP4 video file to play it.

    The footage is split into 1-minute clips for easier viewing and sharing. You may have many clips for a single Sentry Mode trigger. The clips are named by time-stamp so you know the sequence of events.

    How Long Can a Tesla Stay in Sentry Mode?

    When Sentry Mode is activated, a Tesla vehicle will lose approximately 1% of its battery charge every two to three hours.

    This means the vehicle will lose around 8% of its daily battery charge. And be completely drained after approximately 12. 5 days.

    But, Tesla drivers can track their battery status. and deactivate Sentry Mode through the Tesla app.

    Is Tesla Sentry Mode or Dash Cam always Recording?

    Tesla Sentry Mode and the built-in dashcam are not recording and uploading footage. They only save and upload clips when an event is detected.

    Which Tesla Vehicles Support Sentry Mode and Dash Cam?

    All Tesla vehicles produced since October 2016 support Sentry Mode and Dashcam. This includes Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y.

    What Circumstances Will Sentry Mode Automatically Turn Off?

    Sentry mode will turn off in a few specific circumstances.

    Pet mode

    When you enable Pet mode or Dog mode from the climate control screen. Sentry mode will turn off, allowing you to leave your pet in the vehicle without the cameras and sensors activating. When you turn off Pet mode, Sentry mode will resume its normal operation.

    Camping Mode

    By activating Camping Mode, the Sentry Mode will deactivate and the cabin will stay at a comfortable temperature. Furthermore, the interior lighting will remain illuminated and the audio system will remain on.

    However, it’s important to note that If the car’s battery level drops below 20%, Sentry Mode turns off to conserve energy.

    Is Tesla Sentry Mode Worth It?

    Yes. Sentry Mode uses your vehicle’s built-in cameras to monitor the area around your Tesla for signs of damage or intrusion.

    If a threat is detected, the Sentry Mode will activate the vehicle alarm, play music, flash the headlights, and display a message on the touchscreen to alert the public and scare off the offender.

    You’ll receive an alert on your phone immediately so you can check out the situation. It also records the footage from the incident.

    How to Customize the Setting of the Length of the Sentry Mode?

    To customize how long Sentry Mode remains on after you leave your Tesla. Open the Vehicle Settings and select Safety and Security. Under Sentry Mode, tap ‘Duration after last activity’. You’ll see options for the length of time Sentry Mode should stay on after the last recorded event around your vehicle.

    Our Verdict

    Tesla’s Sentry Mode and built-in Dashcam offer practical security and safety features for your vehicle. Sentry Mode monitors your car’s surroundings while parked.

    The built-in Dashcam records and saves footage of your driving to review and share as needed. Both features are available on vehicles with Autopilot hardware 2.0+, and a formatted USB drive to save footage.

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