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My GoPro hard wire setup and remote trigger.    I wanted a way to power my GoPro for long durations, charge its battery, and also give me a way to start and stop recording from the cockpit of my motorcycle.  There is no native way to do any of this.  But the GoPro HD Hero comes with a bus connector on the back that has all kinds of functions to exploit!  I am a bit of an electronics hack and have the tools to get this done so why not.

Tools needed:

  • Dremel (useful for cleaning up the iPod plug so it keys properly, and cleaning out the innards of the bacpac case)
  • Drill (mostly to drill the hole in the GoPro outside case, the inside hole for the wire I just did with the dremel)
  • Good soldering iron
  • 60/40 solder (lead free solder sucks, its too brittle)
  • shrink tubing and zip ties
  • Silicone or some other kind of sealant/adhesive
  • Donor USB cables (Male and female) – in this case I used a Kindle USB cable because it was thin and long enough for what I wanted.
  • and a couple iPod 30 pin connectors  (a couple so you can screw up on one).

I took a goPro Bacpac (extended battery pack) and destroyed it trying to hack it for this – we’ll spare the details on how that happened – so I kept the case, threw out the innards and mounted my own modified iPod connector hard wired via info found off this site:

And an even better source of pictures to help ensure you key things right is here: 

I wired it up so I am supplying 5v from a USB source, and also using the two USB data lines as trigger lines to operate the power/mode functions on the camera remotely.   I have a small push button that will be mounted on the motorcycle controls so I can turn the camera on and off as I want.

Pins 5+6 are +5v (from a USB power source),  pin 12 is the power/mode connection, and 1,9,27,30 are all ground lines that are tied together similar to the benlo link above.

The catch here is that the USB connection to the BacPac is now no longer able to be connected directly to an unmodified USB power source or a computer.  Since the data lines are now wired to the power/mode circuits on the camera,  the trace voltage and connections between those lines in a standard USB charging jack or a computer may cause issues with the camera or damage the USB ports on those devices.   So I have a small jumper to put between the bac pac wire and a USB source that disconnects the data wires and only passes through the 5v Power.

On the motorcycle side, I will have a USB jack, that has a lead to my push button on it, so this is able to be removed at ease.

Notes from the build:

  1. Once you verify the pinout (test the ground leads to ensure they are where you think they should be) pull out all the other pins from the connector.  From one of the pics above you can see that only the pins I need are there.
  2. The remote trigger only operates the power/mode button, so in order to get this to start recording when you turn the camera on you have to enable one button recording in the settings on the camera.
  3. You can probably see in one of the pics that there is something under the case where the wires go into the bacpac connector.  I hollowed out the entire area to the left of the bacpac of its former electronics, and supports, etc…  Then using a cut up stock iPod connector case I just put it in there, and it helps support the custom connection, protects the wiring, and keeps everything tidy.  I am going to fill in all the holes and such with silicone sealant to finish it up.
  4. Leave slack in the battery compartment so you can open the back of the case to remove the bacpac. I had to work out about 1" of wire that when closed is coiled up in the battery compartment but extends when I open the back.
  5. Work on your soldering skills before tackling this.  Its been a while since Ive soldered anything this delicate and took me a few tries (that’s what killed the original bacpac electronics).  and have a good soldering iron, I have a real nice Hakko don’t use a POS radio shack one as those never work well.
  6. Seal up the wiring wiht silicone or some acrylic glue to keep wires from being pulled against the solder points.  I still need to do this in the picture above.
  7. If you miskey the pins, or connect the 5v to the wrong pins, you will destory your camera.  just FYI.  I spent a good portion of last night just verifying I had it right, and it turns out I didnt the first attempt! (I had the pins reversed, I thought pin 1 was pin 30.)  Check, recheck, recheck again, verify the grounds are in the right spot, then you are good to go.

Overall I think this cost me ~$50 if you count the $44 battery bacpac, and now I have an extra battery, and a hard wired stock looking power source and remote trigger for the GoPro.  This means I can mount it on the bike and power it all day without needing to deal with the 2+hr limit on the stock batteries.

I got the iPod connectors from Sparkfun (which is located out of Boulder!), but you need to dremel out a small bit of plastic to key it correctly.

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