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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks, seeking the collective wisdom of the group.

I've got a number of GoPro cameras I'm using and the power situation with them is subpar to say it nicely. Does anyone have experience with alternative power setups (than batteries)?

My requirements:

1. Waterproof (or a solution that can be waterproofed).
2. Runs off of 12V input.
3. Makes it easy to remove the camera when waterproofed

I've been eyeing the Swiftronix systems, but it's not clear to me if they have a voltage regulator IN the battery compartment replacement since they have a number of input options (like USB plug, cigarette lighter, Powertap, etc). My guess is that the regulator is in the black box and not in the plug/connector itself.

Input and thoughts are welcomed!
 

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It's time for a sexy party!
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423 Posts
I've got 2 GoPros.
They are both pieces of Shit.
That's all I got.
 

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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Have Ron make you a cable :) I think he's made some for Matthew Conte and Matt Brandenburg.
I tried. Ron's too good to respond to my emails! ;)
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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2,225 Posts
Sean, why do you say that?

I use a Contour but have been looking at GoPros because of concerns about Contour's corporate viability.
 

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Jason McDaniel
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308 Posts
I agree with the crap evaluation of GoPros. We've put a dozen in the SAAB and none of them last longer than 20 minutes with the vibrations. Hell, even the Terratrip didn't fail. I'm no fan of them at all.
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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How do they fail? Do they just turn off? I presume they don't die catastrophically or you wouldn't have a dozen of them in the first place.
 

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Jason McDaniel
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308 Posts
I didn't buy them after the first pair. Jeff, Jeff's parents and Brianne bought the rest. And yes, they failed catastrophically and never turned on again.

The failure mode is that they are in the car, recording, and then we start a stage. Sooner than later they cut off, sometimes as soon as 20 seconds, almost always corrupting the recording file. And they never operate again, having been vibrated to death.

I'll still use them, as I consider them fairly disposable. But I won't put a lot of money into a fleet of them, or use them as our primary video.
 

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It's time for a sexy party!
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423 Posts
What Jason said.

Another problem regarding remote starting of the camera...unless you drop $500.00 or so for a new, "Black Go Pro" with a remote, you can't turn them on 10 seconds before a stage start if you mount them outside the car. You have to push a button on the camera to turn them on. Not easy when your strapped in and trying to explain to a stage start crew which button to push.
Looking around at SEMA, the Replay XD may be better, but building one off eBay parts may be the ticket.
 

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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I love the image quality of the GoPros. Hate the battery life.
The old drift cameras I previously used had a MUCH better battery life, but much worse image quality. It's all a tradeoff, really.
 

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NASA Rally Sport grassroots!!!
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2,835 Posts
If only there were a bunch of power options already designed for your camera system...


http://replayxd.com/products/power/



It's what Robby Gordon uses all over his Dakar truck:



But... this post is probably useless to you, unless you're thinking about FUTURE purchases. ;)

(I have one, it's super waterproof and tough, loads of different mounts... including METAL options.)

Anders
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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2,225 Posts
Another problem regarding remote starting of the camera...unless you drop $500.00 or so for a new, "Black Go Pro" with a remote, you can't turn them on 10 seconds before a stage start if you mount them outside the car. You have to push a button on the camera to turn them on. Not easy when your strapped in and trying to explain to a stage start crew which button to push.
Actually, that was something I was looking in to. I borrowed a Hero3+ and I can remote start it via a wifi command. The problem is, the Hero decides the wifi network info and I can't tell if there's any way to change it. So near's I can tell you'd have to have your wifi remote switch to each GoPro's network in sequence, rather than being able to send them all start commands at once. That's not that big a deal unless it takes a few seconds to negotiate each time.
 

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Dramamine is for DramaQueens
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4,813 Posts
I'm a big fan of the Drift Innovations cameras. While they are essentially one generation back from the latest and greatest go-pro, they are much easier to use. I had a friend build a 5v power converter with several mini-usb extenesons and I simply plug in the onboard cameras and run them on full time power. never have to worry about them going dead.
 

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Registered
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I'm a big fan of the Drift Innovations cameras. While they are essentially one generation back from the latest and greatest go-pro, they are much easier to use. I had a friend build a 5v power converter with several mini-usb extenesons and I simply plug in the onboard cameras and run them on full time power. never have to worry about them going dead.
This. I've used the snot out of an older Drift HD170 and now have an HD Ghost and love them. Hooked up to a hard wired 12V power and a 32gb card you've got 8 hours of solid remote-activated recording. Recorded every single stage at Targa Newfoundland 2011 without missing a single second, each stage its on video. Standard 1/4-20 camera mount for lots of mounting options. Rotating lens which is HUGE for mounting flexibility. The newer cameras don't need any special pigtails for audio input which is nice. They don't come with a true waterproof housing like the GoPro but for an in-car I don't care about that. The Ghost series have a two way remote which actually shows (via big can't-miss-it LEDs) recording status which is nice too.

I have started to power my HD Ghost off a 9000mAh cellphone booster battery rather than the hardwired power to eliminate alternator noise on the video. That could easily be resolved with better power wiring though. I have no idea how long the booster battery lasts but I've left it on entire days and not killed it so that's good enough for me.
 

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Jason McDaniel
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308 Posts
If you are having power supply issues due to alternator noise, you can use a power conditioner to isolate the sensitive electronics from the chassis wiring.

I've used this part from Navone Engineering. http://davidnavone.com/product/n-ip12a2-12-volt-dc-2-amp-isolated-power-supply/

I've got one in the SAAB for the rally computer and another in a street Miata to isolate the audio. They are expensive as far as isolators go, but they survive the vibrations of the SAAB and have been perfect.
 

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you can also try a really cheap noise filter designed for car sterio.. around $15 and should fix the issue, if not keep the receipt should be returnable.
 

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While it would be nice to free up the USB port to use it for plugging into the intercom, I don't like the idea of the Switronix product. The moment you stall the car or turn it off you kill the power to the camera because you've removed the redundancy of the camera battery. I have my 4 GoPros plugged in and charging with a USB cable that runs back to a hub. The cases outside are the sealed ones but with a hole drilled out just big enough for the cable to plug into the camera.
 

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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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1,216 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
While it would be nice to free up the USB port to use it for plugging into the intercom, I don't like the idea of the Switronix product. The moment you stall the car or turn it off you kill the power to the camera because you've removed the redundancy of the camera battery. I have my 4 GoPros plugged in and charging with a USB cable that runs back to a hub. The cases outside are the sealed ones but with a hole drilled out just big enough for the cable to plug into the camera.
Pics of that setup? How do you get the cameras in and out? Or do you just do USB transfer to get the data off of them?
 
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