Store Tesla Sentry Mode & Dashcam videos on Storj DCS

Save videos generated by Tesla Sentry Mode and Dashcam Mode to Storj DCS with a Raspberry Pi, the teslausb open source software kit and your home WiFi

In this How To, we'll demonstrate how to automatically transfer Tesla Sentry Mode and Dashcam video clips over WiFi to Storj DCS and make room for more videos the next day. We'll use a Raspberry Pi (a small, low cost, low power computer) plugged into the USB port in the dashboard to store the video files. When the Tesla pulls into your garage at night, the Raspberry Pi will connect via WiFi and upload all the videos to Storj DCS, then clear off the drive for use the next day. This will also work for videos recorded in Track Mode if you have one of the performance models, and you can easily share any of the videos with your friends.

What you'll need

You'll need some hardware, some software and a Storj DCS account for this project.

Hardware required

All in, you’re looking at right around $60 of hardware to get going (prices as of April 2021). Here’s the hardware you’ll need:

Optional hardware for easier setup:

Software required

The code used in this tutorial is open source and uses, among other things, Rlcone which includes native support for Storj DCS. The GitHub Repository for the code is available at: https://github.com/marcone/teslausb and the project was originally described on the /r/teslamotors subreddit.

Storj DCS Account

If you have not yet signed up, please do so now.

Step-by-step guide

Using the software in the teslausb project with Storj DCS is a multipart process, we will accomplish the following:

  • Generate Credentials for Storj DSC

    • This occurs through the storj.io website

  • Configure your Raspberry Pi with the teslausb kit

    • Part 1 - One-step setup

      • This is done by flashing a preconfigured Raspbian image and then filling out a config file.

    • Part 2 - Rclone Configuration with Storj DCS via hosted Gateway MT

      • This is done by accessing the Pi via SSH and installing/configuring Rclone

Sign Up for a Storj DCS Account

If you have not yet signed up, please head here to sign up for the free tier.

Please consult Satellite Quickstart for details on setting up an account and using the Satellite Admin Console.

Generate Credentials to the Gateway MT

Navigate to the Access page within your project and then click on Create Access Grant +. A modal window will pop up where you should enter a name for this access grant.

Assign the permissions you want this access grant to have, (in this case, just select the default permissions) then click on Continue in Browser:

Enter the Encryption Passphrase you used for your other access grants. If this is your first access grant, we strongly encourage you to use a mnemonic phrase as your encryption passphrase (The GUI automatically generates one on the client-side for you, as shown below.)

This passphrase is important! Encryption keys derived from it are used to encrypt your data at rest, and your data will have to be re-uploaded if you want it to change!

Please note that Storj does not know or store your encryption passphrase, so if you lose it, you will not be able to recover your files.

Please save this Encryption Passphrase in a safe place as it will be required to decrypt and view your sentry mode videos from the web.

Click Next to proceed to Access Grant generation. Please then save the Access Grant in a safe place. This is usable for other integration paths not covered in this guide.

Click on the Generate S3 Gateway Credentials link above and then click on the Generate Credentials button as seen below.

Copy your Access Key, Secret Key, and Endpoint to a safe location. We will use this information later to configure Rclone with the hosted Gateway MT.

Now we have our credentials and can move on to configuring teslausb.

Overview of credentials collected

  • Encryption Passphrase

    • We will need this to view and/or retrieve clips in the browser later

  • Access Grant

    • Not used for this lab but please record it anyway for your reference

  • Gateway MT (S3) Credentials

    • Used to connect to the hosted gateway via Rclone

      • Access Key

      • Secret Key

      • Endpoint

Learn more about Access Management on Storj DCS and using Access Grants.

Configure teslausb

Teslausb is the open source software that will run on the Raspberry Pi to send your videos to Storj DCS. Now that you have your gateway credentials for Storj DCS, you need to set up teslausb on the Raspberry Pi and configure it for use with those Storj DCS credentials.

Part 1 - One-step setup

You'll find the one-step setup guide for testlausb in this GitHub repo: https://github.com/marcone/teslausb/blob/v2.5/doc/OneStepSetup.md

Quick Instructions

  1. Download the latest release of the pre-built image from the repository’s releases page: https://github.com/marcone/teslausb/releases/latest

  2. Flash the image to the SD card you plan on using in your Raspberry Pi. For this we can use belena Etcher (https://www.balena.io/etcher/) or any similar image flashing software, you can find some examples here.

  3. Mount the SD card to edit the initial configuration file located in the boot directory. Create a teslausb_setup_variables.confA sample config file is located in the boot folder on the SD card. The latest sample is also available from GitHub via pi-gen-sources/00-teslausb-tweaks/files/teslausb_setup_variables.conf.sample.

  4. Specifically, set the `ARCHIVE_SYSTEM` to `none`. This is because we need to boot the Pi to install some additional software to push our sentry clips in Storj DCS. Please also set your Wifi settings. Save the file when you are done editing.

Below is a small portion of the config file showing 'export ARCHIVE_SYSTEM=none' as well as the wifi settings.

# Variables for CIFS (Windows/Mac file sharing) archiving
export ARCHIVE_SYSTEM=none
export ARCHIVE_SERVER=your_archive_name_or_ip
export SHARE_NAME=your_archive_share_name
export SHARE_USER=username
export SHARE_PASSWORD=password
# the cifs options below usually don't need to be specified
# export SHARE_DOMAIN=domain
# export CIFS_VERSION="3.0"
# export CIFS_SEC="ntlm"
# Wifi setup information. Note that Raspberry Pi Zero W only supports 2.4 GHz wifi.
# If you are you are trying to connect to a network with a _hidden_ SSID,
# edit /boot/wpa_supplicant.conf.sample and un-comment the indicated line.
export SSID='your_ssid'
export WIFIPASS='your_pass'

Part 2 - Rclone Configuration

Now that Raspbian is installed and configured, it's time to set up Rclone, the software that will actually transfer the files from the Raspberry Pi to Storj DCS. (If you're not familiar with Rclone, it's Rsync for cloud storage.) Boot up that Pi and let' s keep it moving.

The Rclone Setup Guide for teslausb is available at: https://github.com/marcone/teslausb/blob/v2.5/doc/SetupRClone.md

The steps you need to follow are also provided below:

SSH into the Pi, become root and remount the file system's read-write:

sudo -i
/root/bin/remountfs_rw

Install Rclone:

curl https://rclone.org/install.sh | sudo bash

Configure Rclone with the settings and Storj DCS gateway credentials created above:

# setup rclone
rclone config
# select n (New Remote)
# name
storj-dcs-us1-gateway
# select 4 (4 / Amazon S3 Compliant Storage Provider)
4
# select 13 (13 / Any other S3 compatible provider)
13
# select 1 (1 / Enter AWS credentials in the next step \ "false")
1
# enter access key
<access_key>
# enter secret key
<secret_key>
# select 1 ( 1 / Use this if unsure. Will use v4 signatures and an empty region.\ "")
1
# enter endpoint (use your own endpoint, the example shows the Americas region gateway)
https://gateway.us1.storjshare.io
# use default location_constraint
# use default ACL
# edit advanced config
n
# review config and select default
# quit config
q

Create a bucket tesla-m3-cam for saving clips:

# make bucket
rclone mkdir storj-dcs-us1-gateway:tesla-m3-cam

Update your teslausb_setup_variables.conffile in the boot directory with the following information. Ensure your Wifi variables are also set. If your variables have any spaces, please put your variables in quotes like this: "variable"

# Variables for rclone archiving
export ARCHIVE_SYSTEM=rclone
export RCLONE_DRIVE=storj-dcs-us1-gateway
export RCLONE_PATH=tesla-m3-cam
# The following is optional
#export RCLONE_FLAGS=()

Shut down your Pi and plug it into your Tesla: If you are using a RPi4, you only need to plug the Pi via its USB-C cable into one of the Tesla's USB-C ports, this will provide power and data transfer. If using a RPi Zero W, you will need to use the usb/data USB port on the Pi.

To test that everything is set up correctly, you can navigate to the Pi’s web interface at <rpi ip address>:80. Enable Honk to Save Clips on your Tesla, and then under the Tools page of your Raspberry Pi’s web interface, click the Trigger archive/sync button.

Follow along on the Archive log page to see your clips being acknowledged and pushed to Storj DCS.

Finally, log in to your Storj DCS account and take advantage of the new file browser to manage and share your clips!