Digital Photography Review

What Is The USB Port On The Blink Sync Module 2 For? How To Save Blink Clips To A USB Drive

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Blink Sync Module Reset

The Blink Sync Module 2 (Amazon affiliate link) is a one-of-a-kind device in the Blink line-up because it is the only one that can save your Blink Clips to a USB Drive so that you can have your own backup or so you don’t have to pay for a subscription.

As a result, there are a lot of questions surrounding the topic. Perhaps I’ve already given away the answer to the first question, but let me be a little more specific. What is the USB port on the Blink Sync module for?

The USB port on the newer Blink Sync Module 2 can be used to store clips to a USB Drive. The USB port on the original Sync Module currently has no function, but since 2014 Blink has stated that the USB port is for expanding capabilities of the sync module in the future.

Now that you know you can save clips to a USB drive, that brings up more questions. How do you install the USB drive? How do you view clips saved to the USB drive? And many more questions. I’ll answer the questions I see most often in this article.

Related Article: Do Blink Cameras Use SD Cards? Do they use USB Thumb Drives? Your Options For Local Video Storage

People hear the word local storage and that you have to use a Sync Module in order to save clips locally, so it’s not a stretch to think that the Blink Sync Module 2 has internal storage.

The Blink Sync Module does not have any internal storage. The newer Blink Sync Module 2 has a USB port that accepts a USB drive up to 256 GB in size. It can be used to store motion clips from Blink Outdoor, Indoor (2nd gen), and Mini cameras. A Blink subscription is required to store Live Stream clips.

If you want to save clips outside of using Blink’s cloud service, you will have to use a USB drive inserted into the Sync Module.

One of the first questions you’ll probably have after deciding you want to locally store clips is what kind of flash drive you will need.

Not all USB Flash Drives will work with Blink. The Blink Sync Module 2 supports USB drives between 1 GB and 256 GB in memory size that are designed to be inserted into a USB Type-A port, not Type-C ports. The Sync Module 2 uses USB 2.0 protocol, so USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and USB 3.1 drives can be used.

Here is a good option for a high-capacity USD drive:

USB Type-A ports are the big rectangle-shaped ones, whereas the USB Type-C ports are the slim ones where the jack can be inserted into the plug with either side facing up.

USB protocol is backward compatible, meaning a USB 3.0 drive will work when inserted into the USB 2.0 port. However, you will only get read/write speeds that USB 2.0 is capable of.

A lot of devices that store photos and video to external memory cards will use SD cards. Most phones these days use MicroSD cards. So, it’s common to get an SD Card mixed up with a USB flash drive.

Blink does not use SD cards or Micro SD Cards. The only Blink device that can store clips to an external drive is the Blink Sync Module 2, which can store clips to a USB Drive.

In case you are thinking about trying to insert an SD card into the UBS port, it won’t work. They are two different types of memory devices and require specific ports for each type.

Okay, so you have the USB drive now, and you are ready to start using it. Blink has made the process of installing the USB drive very simple. For most users, it will be plug-and-play.

Blink will automatically start saving clips to the USB drive when inserted into the Blink Sync Module 2. The Blink app will notify you if the USB Drive needs formatting before being used. The Local Storage page within the Blink app can be used to verify that clips are being saved to the USB drive.

If you have a Blink subscription, verify that Clip Backup is turned on from the Local Storage page.

The Local Storage page within the Blink app will tell you what percentage of storage is used on the USB Drive. If you have a Blink subscription, this page will also tell you when the last daily backup occurred.

If you do not have a subscription, the Local Storage page will list the cameras that are saving clips to the USB Drive. This will be all the cameras that are connected to that specific sync module.

If you have multiple sync modules, you must select your location from the home screen of the Blink app before tapping on the sync module.

Once you have Clips locally saved to the USB drive, you will want a way to view them. Since they are clips that Blink saved, many users expect that they can be viewed using the Blink app.

The Blink app can be used to view and delete clips stored locally to a USB drive inserted into the Blink Sync Module 2. The Blink Sync Module 2 must have an internet connection in order to view locally stored clips.

There are a few things I want to point out related to this topic. I mentioned having an internet connection being required to view locally stored clips. This is necessary because Blink would have no way to access the clips without the internet.

The part I want to point out, though, is that clips will still be saved to your USB drive even when the internet is down. If you solely rely on cloud service, clips will not be saved when the internet is down. This is one of the perks of using local storage or your Blink clips.

Now that you know what can be done using Blink and locally stored clips, you probably want to see how you actually view the clips.

Blink clips locally stored on a USB drive can be viewed remotely from the Blink app under the Clips tab, or the USB drive can be inserted into a computer. Clips are stored in mp4 format, which can be viewed on most computers.

Keep in mind that the Sync Module must be connected to the internet and the USB drive correctly inserted in order to view clips remotely through the app.

  1. From the Blink App’s home screen, tap on the Clip’s Tab at the bottom of the screen.Blink_App_Home_Screen
  2. If you have more than one Sync Module, select the appropriate one by tapping on its name at the top of the Clip’s page.
  3. Tap on the clip you wish to view. Blink will list up to 1000 clips, up to 30 days old.Blink_App_Local_Clips

Note that for clips that are locally stored, a thumbnail will not be displayed next to the clip. Instead, you will see a blue play arrow.

  1. From the Blink App’s home screen, tap on “Sync Module.” It is listed below your camera’s thumbnail views.
  2. Tap on “Local Storage.”
  3. Scroll to the bottom and tap on “Safe Eject USB.”Blink_App_Local_Storage_page
  4. Wait for the app to say “USB Disconnected.”Blink_App_USB_Disconnected
  5. Remove the USB Drive from the Sync Module
  6. Insert the USB Drive into a computer.
  7. Use your computer’s video player to play the desired clips.

Blink stores clips in a .mp4 file format. Most computers are capable of playing that video file type. If you don’t have a default video player, I prefer to use VLC Player.

In Summary

I hope this article has helped you figure out what you needed to know about storing your Blink clips to a USB drive instead of using a Blink subscription to store clips in the cloud. Blink does not use SD cards, and only the Blink Sync Module can store clips to a USB drive.

In the long run, using a USB drive will save you a significant amount of money over a Blink subscription, and you won’t have to worry about clips ever being deleted.

There is some maintenance of making sure the USB drive has sufficient memory. I see three main options for managing locally-stored clips. You could

  1. Insert a new USB drive every time the old one got full,
  2. manually move the clips to another storage drive using a computer if you want to keep your old clips
  3. Manually delete clips and only keep the new clips.

Keep in mind that Blink will not delete locally stored clips. It will simply stop saving clips when the USB drive gets too full.

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