In the Tesla Model 3/Y Owners Club group on Facebook, Tesla owner Hai Doan has recommended a great hack for your Tesla. Introduced in Software 9.0 was the ability to record from the external cameras to a USB or MicroSD card. More recently Tesla added the ability to have the cameras active when the vehicle detects motion or impact when off, known as Sentry Mode.
As you go about driving in the world, it’s likely you’ll capture some weird and wonderful things and in the event that something happens, you want to download that footage so it isn’t overwritten with future recordings.
To do this currently, its a very manual process, so understandably, creative developers have stepped in to provide a solution that really should be adopted by Tesla.
The current method available from Tesla requires you have to manually pop out the MicroSD card or USB thumb drive from the vehicle, connect it to a computer and transfer the footage, then remember to return the storage to capture the next drive. Now, there’s a better way, as long as your behaviour meets 2 critical assumptions.
- You park in range of your wireless network.
- Your wireless network is configured with WPA2 PSK access.
The GitHub project called TeslaUSB, the footage from saved Dashcam videos and Sentry Mode events can be automatically transferred to a NAS drive connected to a Windows machine.
Instead of connecting storage directly to your car, you connect a cheap Raspberry Pi Zero W (around A$15) via USB to the Tesla and attach a MicroSD card to the Pi. After connecting the Pi to your WiFi, when you pull into the garage, the footage will automatically be transferred to your preferred location on your network (typically a NAS drive). This could also write to a windows machine with a CIFS share, just not this was disabled in Windows 1709 and higher.
Doan details that he even gets a pushover notification on the phone when the footage transfer is complete (I assume this comes from the NAS). If you’re old school and still run your music collection manually, you can also have it sync a music folder of your choice, a location then available to the car to play from.
This is a really nice feature and one that Tesla should consider adding to the software in the vehicle. It has all the necessary ingredients including the ability to connect your car to your home WiFi. Most users aren’t going to be sophisticated or motivated enough to add a Raspberry Pi to their car, but if this was a feature simply available through their touchscreen, is suspect plenty would.