Friday, February 13, 2015

External Power for a GoPro

The GoPro batteries don't seem to last very long at low temperatures. At least that has been my experience while making the Polar Bear Challenge (PBC) videos. Depending on the temperature, they last as little as 10 minutes. The wireless remote isn't much better. There are several solutions available including an auxiliary battery pack that fits onto the back of the camera ($36). But I like the idea of just powering the camera off of the bike and not using batteries at all. One of the simplest solutions is to just cut an opening in the housing and plug in a mini-USB cable. I really didn't want to drill a hole in my waterproof housing but a quick Amazon search brought up other options. The one I went is is picking up an off-brand housing for the GoPro 3 (I have the 3+). The housing is larger but is ⅓ of the price. There were some comments about it not being completely waterproof but since I was planning on drilling a hole in it, not really a problem.

It took a short time to cut a small opening in the side of the case and remove some of the rubber from an extra USB cable. Now, not only can I power the camera from the cable, I can download videos without taking the camera out of the housing. I still have the original housing for those times I really do need it. I plan to inject some silicone sealant between the USB plug and the plastic housing for just a little more weatherproofing.

I still need to install the weatherproof, dual USB socket in the sidecar. That I picked it up in the middle of November. Part of the delay is trying to come up with a little dashboard or something in the sidecar to mount it.

PBC #47 was made on Tuesday afternoon during my trip back home. I circled around the north side of town and cut back through to go by the university before heading home. Not the most direct route as I passed by our street on the way.


PBC #48 was made on Wednesday afternoon. It was overcast and looking like it was ready to snow at any minute.


10 comments:

SonjaM said...

I wondered when you'd come up with a power backup solution for the Gopro. Once a nerd... (I mean that in the best way)

RichardM said...

There were multiple ways to power it off of USB but this was by far the simplest. Plus, it allows the option of using an external microphone in the future. As far as a microphone, there is a Sena option but it's kind of expensive.

redlegsrides said...

nice mod RichardM.....were the two videos shot with the direct power option?

RichardM said...

Nope, I haven't tried it yet as I don't have the USB port installed on the Ural yet. There is one on the Beemer as it has both a Powerlet and a regular auto power outlets.

Trobairitz said...

Smart move buying the extra housing so you can run the usb cable

Your weather is looking mighty chilly. We have daffodils blooming, early even for us.

RichardM said...

I figured that I may have a need for a waterproof housing at some point so I didn't want to modify it. There were some other schemes but I went for simple.

Daffodils, are they those yellow things?

Canajun said...

Love this idea. Nothing more frustrating than running out of juice at a critical time - especially when you don't notice it. Now looking for an extra housing.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Just thinking here.....I've got devices that either 'run' or charge/transfer into USB, one or the other. I guess they're either MP3 players or my older Garmins.

Running off the bike's system sure sounds like a no fuss solution once you get it built.

RichardM said...

USB ports powered off 12v are readily available and the current is pretty low.

RichardM said...

It's been a hassle this winter since the batteries last minutes instead of hours when it's really cold.