How to Get Longer Running Times From Go Pros
Introducing the Anker Power Pack for Go Pro
Battery power and running times have been an issue for many with the release of the new HD Hero 3. I tested the running times and for a fully charged, out of the box HD Hero 3 (black edition). I managed to film for 1 hour and 9 minutes before it switched itself off.
That is not particularly good if you want to record long running events such as weddings or concerts. Obviously the Go Pro was designed as a wearable camera so many people reading this will think "what’s the point"?
Well, there are possibilities for adding power to various sporting activities. Also, there is a growing number of people like myself who use the Go Pro's for recording non-sporting events too.
You have two or three workarounds as far as I can tell and for me, number three works best.
This is one option if you need the camera running for around two hours at a time but at a premium cost
These are simply spare Go Pro batteries that you exchange when one runs out. This option works best for situations where you don't need to be filming constantly. I think this works well as you can endlessly charge one battery whilst the other is being used each time. Or having two or three spare batteries will mean you can stay on the slopes or hills for longer between charges.
One battery plus BacPac will last around 2 hours. The cheaper option of 1 battery (included with camera) plus two spares will run for around 3 and a half hours and cost you £10 less.
Until Go Pro release an "easy access" casing like with the Hero 2, this will only really be effective when using the camera "bare". Also with The Frame but it will work according to a few forums I read (you could always drill a hole in one of your casings too). It will require a couple of adjustments or rigging techniques, but for me this should be quite effective.
Anker Astro Battery Charger
Here is the Anker Astro Battery Charger and Power Pack I have just ordered through Amazon:
It is only about twice the size of the Hero 3 and even has a torch...joy!
Note: I have checked and the Go Pro 3 does record and function normally whilst charging. But, as to whether the camera overheats during use, that is something I will test soon.
The flat surfaces mean I can use one of the many sticky attachments from the Go Pro to attach it to. I am thinking one on top with the frame attached and one underneath with the tripod mount so it would, in effect, be sandwiched between the normal mounting process.
Obviously this would add bulk but for myself when I want to shoot weddings with a simple, unobtrusive and locked down camera. This is perfect.
I could attach the Go Pro HD Hero 3 to the suction mount and then onto the car as normal. Next to it, I could have the battery pack attached to my other suction mount for additional power. However, I don't see me filming myself driving for long periods unless racing or motorbiking across Africa again.
You could make a slight modification to the Hero 3's casing. Or by using the Go Pro HD Hero 2 and its skeleton housing (or using the frame whilst being careful not to get wet or dirty). You could attach the camera to your helmet and run the 70cm battery cord (supplied with battery pack) through to the battery pack in your jacket pocket. You could even attach the pack to your helmet.
I used the "non-waterproof" Contour HD camera on my crash helmet for a 1000 mile, off road, dusty and wet Enduro ride down to South Africa with no problems in 2009.
I am sure there are a number of ways to quickly and easily attach the power pack for every day use of the Go Pro when you need more power. Hopefully, Go Pro will manufacture longer lasting batteries in the future. For now, and for £17.99, this power pack is worth a punt!
If you are interested in this power pack for other uses such as charging or running mobile phones, iPads, iPods, PSP's or any other USB device, here are a few other sizes available:
Watch out for our full test of this product in the near future : )
Edit: Product now ordered, received and tested and it works! Check out the review here: Anker Astro 5600 Review
Update October 2014: I recently received another Go Pro accessory which may well compliment this battery pack quite well.
It is called the "battery eliminator" and will make tethering your Go Pro camera to and external battery pack (or car cigarette lighter/power source, or laptop, or computer, or wall socket) so much easier, safer and more durable.
Check it out: