Sunday, January 31, 2021

Using the Tesla Boombox feature on same USB Drive as Tesla Cam using Windows 10

I finally got a Tesla Boombox feature working on my Model 3, almost a month after release...maybe because of the cold or maybe just lack of time to sit with a computer and get it figured out. Anyways, I made a short instructional video on how to format a single USB drive using Windows 10 for both the Tesla Dashcam and Tesla Boombox. Well actually all three, when Tesla Track Mode is included in the mix.

There is a subtle trick because Windows cannot format two exFAT partitions consecutively.
Here are the manual instructions illustrated by screenshots:

The USB drive can be formatted in the Tesla via the built in format utility

Format a drive using the built-in utility

The model 3 will format the drive as exFAT starting V10 software

However, what will not work is simply putting a "Boombox" folder and putting 5 MP3s into the folder. It appears that a USB drive, or rather mount point, cannot be used for both writing DashCam footage and reading MP3 simultaneously. 

This will not work!!!

Plug the drive into a Windows 10 computer save the TeslaCam and TeslaTrackMode folders to the desktop if the content needs to be saved or restored. Launch Disk formatting utility built into Windows 10 by searching for "disk".

Launch the Windows 10 Disk Partition Utility

The drive will appear in Windows as an exFAT partition. (Note that changing the drive name to BoomBox also did not help either). Right Click on the Partition and click "Format..."
Tesla formats the drive as exFAT

Accept the warning. It would be a good idea to save the TeslaCam folder if any prior Sentry Mode or DashCam footage need to be saved or restored back.
Format the USB Drive

The TeslaCam partition will be created first and some space needs to be left for the Boombox, so the capacity of the disk is reduced by a few MB...say 30 or 40MB should be plenty for the mp3s.
Reduce Capacity of drive by a few MB

Any drive letter can be selected.
Drive letter doesn't really matter

What matters is the file system which needs to be exFAT and an appropriate volume label to distinguish the drive. "TESLADRIVE" is the default if it were formatted by the car. Quick is just fine.
Formatting exFAT filesystem
The summary screen is displayed:
Confirmation screen of the format wizard

Once the drive has been formatted the disk utility displays the drive as follows with some "Unallocated Capacity" at the ends of the drive
Space on USB Drive for another partition.
Right click on the Unallocated space and selected "Format..."
Formatting the free space

As can be seem here the remaining space is small, e.g. 10MB, which is what was left from  the previous selection.
Format the remaining Unallocated Capacity

Now there is a small problem, Windows 10 will not allow for a exFAT partition, which is the filesystem that is needed. But not to fear, simply format it as FAT or NTFS, as it can be changed to exFAT later.
No exFAT option, not a problem, just format it.

The remining space is formatted as an NTFS partition, and appears as this:
One huge exFAT partition and another NTFS...not going to work.

Now comes the tricky bit. Simply right click on the 10MB NTFS partition aka BoonBox and select format again and this time select exFAT which will be shown in the menu. This is a Windows limitation.
Format the BoomBox partition again and this time as exFAT

This time selecting the format filesystem to be exFAT, Default block size, and naming it BOOMBOX"
Reformatted the 2nd partition as exFAT

Now each partition can be "Explored" and the appropriate folders created. For boombox to work, a folder called "Boombox" must be created which will hold the custom MP3 sounds.
Open the partition to create a folder

The folder is created:
Folder Created for Boombox

 The folder can contain MP3s. Best practice is to not have any spaces in the name and keep them short.
Custom MP3 sounds loaded

To ensure that the Tesla DashCam works as well as the TeslaTrackMode, ensure that those folder are re-created on the TESLADRIVE partition or copy the files back which were saved.
Recreate "TeslaDash" folder

Ejecting, and pluggin in  the USB drive back into the Tesla should have both the dashcam work  as indicated by the little red dot on the Camera icon on the top right of the screen and also display the custom MP3 sounds which can be configured.
Both the DashCam and Boombox working from a single USB Drive.

Viola!!! Let the music fun begin.