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Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

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Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby BriteStar » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:02 pm

GOPRO BATTERY INFORMATION - IT'S ALL HERE:

1. BATTERY DESCRIPTION

GoPro battery is a "smart" Li-ion (lithium iron phosphate -LiFePO4) battery:- it comprises a single Li-ion cell with a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts with a capacity of 1100 milliamps. Construction is an outer hard plastic case containing a foil envelope (the battery cell itself) & small circuit board. DO NOT DIS-ASSEMBLE OR PUNCTURE THE BATTERY.

Three gold plated terminals on the outer plastic case connect directly to the small circuit board within. Terminals are marked + T - These are Positive voltage - Temperature - Ground. The camera draws its power from the Positive & Ground terminals. A temperature sensor, mounted on the small circuit board (inside the battery housing) outputs a voltage relative to temperature. Heat is a bi product of the charging/discharging process.
    It is normal for the battery to become slightly warm during charging.
    It is normal for the battery to become quite warm to hot during camera use.
Un-regulated charging/ discharging can result in thermal runaway & catastrophic battery failure (a mini China syndrome). To prevent this, the camera monitors its operating temperature (via the sensor). Maximum operating temperature is limited to 60 degrees celcius. The GoPro will automatically switch OFF when its temperature exceeds 60 degrees Celsius (User Manual p.36).



Li-ion_smart.jpg
Li-ion_smart.jpg (143.45 KiB) Viewed 21893 times

Smart batteries incorporate a miniature printed circuit board (powered constantly from the battery itself) within the battery housing. This circuitry provides several functions.

1. Battery charging control - monitors the charging process
2. Battery discharge control - prevents the battery from discharging to below 3 volts
3. Temperature sensor – monitors the battery's temperature
4. Optional safety fuse – protect the battery against short circuit

2. BATTERY CHARGING - Feb. 2012

Charging requires a 5 volt DC/ power source rated between 500 ~1000mA (max) connected to the GoPro's Mini-B USB socket (User Manual p.34). Tests carried out by PandaGFX indicate that charge current is internally limited to 1000mA, using a higher rated charger (greater than 1000mA) will not charge the battery any faster & is not recommended for safety reasons. The battery is charged to a terminal voltage of around 4.2 volts, red charge indicator light is lit during charging. A flat battery will require 2 ~ 2.5 hours of charging; red charge charge indicator goes out when charge cycle is completed. GoPro should be turned [b]OFF before charging.[/b] This allows the battery to charge unhindered. Charging with the camera ON confuses the charger by depressing the battery voltage, causing undue battery stress and possibly compromising safety.

The time required to recharge the battery is determined by; state of discharge of the battery & the charging current. A 1000mA capacity charger will recharge the battery faster than a 500mA charger; it will also generate slighlty more heat. A fully flat battery will take 2 hours to recharge using a USB cable connected to a PC.

DO NOT REMOVE OR REPLACE THE BATTERY FROM THE CAMERA WHILST CHARGING
GoPro MUST BE OFF WHEN CHARGING USING USB to PC CABLE

Recommended charging procedure is to use either:

1. The USB cable supplied connected to a computer USB port, normally rated at 500mA
2. The GoPro 12 volt DC charger or equivalent rated at 1000mA
3. NEW GOPRO AC DUAL CHARGER see Rambo's Post new-release-gopro-branded-wall-charger-t6552.html


The Red Charge Light Doesn't Go OFF

This appears to be a common problem when attempting to recharge a battery that is near fully charged. If after 3 hours of charging the Red Charge indicator light is still on it is safe to assume that a battery is fully charged. Disconnect charger, switch on camera & observe the battery status indicator to confirm battery is fully charged.
This anomaly does not occur when charging a flat battery.


3. Battery Goes Flat When Camera Not in Use

GoPro draws considerable power from the battery while ever it is powered ON, even if it is not recording. Make sure that you are turning the camera OFF. The display screen on the front panel should be blank with all red leds OFF.
If you are in the habit of inadvertantly leaving your camer ON I suggest you enable the Auto Power Off option which automatically turns the camera Off after a period of inactivity (User Manual p.34).

4. EXTERNALLY POWERING THE CAMERA WHILE RECORDING

You can power the camera from an external power source connected to the camera's Mini-B USB port. The battery should be fully charged prior to use. In this mode the battery acts as a large storage capacitor, filtering the external voltage source.

Motorbike- Marine - ATV remote charging options

This weatherproof adapter provides a 5 volt USB configured charge circuit. It is designed for a 12 DC input & should be wired into the vehicle power circuit with a 3 amp fuse to protect against short circuit. For more information see here:
http://www.webbikeworld.com/r4/waterproof-power-ports/

usb-wp.jpg
12 volt Step down to 5 volt USB
usb-wp.jpg (111.83 KiB) Viewed 20448 times




5. WHAT ARE THE RISKS WITH USING OTHER CHARGERS


GoPro offer a range of charging products approved for use with their cameras, if you choose to use aftermarket, modified phone chargers or external battery packs you do so at your own risk.


Read this post.


hero2-goes-pop-t6195.html



6. HOW LONG WILL AN UNUSED BATTERY HOLD ITS CHARGE?

All batteries, regardless of their type (chemistry), suffer "self discharge", they eventually go flat even when not in use. Smart Li Ion batteries self discharge rate is 5~10% per month. The measured current drain on a Hero 2 is .05mA (milliamps) when switched OFF, with or without an SD card. GoPro battery is rated at 1100mA. On paper a fully charged battery should take 220,000 hours (2.5 years) to discharge. Realistically a fully charged unused battery should hold usable charge for up to 12 months. To maximise battery life batteries should be, top up charged prior to use & fully recharged ASAP after use. Never store batteries for long periods in a discharged state.



7. MAXIMISING BATTERY LIFE

GoPro camera is a high drain device, it draws a lot of current from its battery and like all other batteries it is a "consumable". The battery will eventually require replacement. Li ion batteries have a finite life, they loose capacity with age & use. The more you use it the quicker it will "wear out". Li ion batteries will generally show some loss of capacity after 500 charge cycles. There also exists a proportional relationship between the performance of the battery & it’s in service temperature.

• Lithium-ion batteries should be kept cool; they may be stored in a refrigerator.
• The rate of degradation of Lithium-ion batteries is strongly temperature-dependent; they degrade much faster if stored or used at higher temperatures.
• Avoid deep discharge and instead charge more often between uses, the smaller the depth of discharge, the longer the battery will last.
• Avoid storing the battery in full discharged state. As the battery will self-discharge overtime, its voltage will gradually lower, and when it is depleted below the low-voltage threshold to 2.9 V/cell, it cannot be charged anymore because the protection circuit disables it.


8. SDHC Card – POWER CONSUMPTION

SDHC cards are available in a variety of brands. Many are made in China & branded (re- labeled) for marketing purpose. Power consumption varies from one manufacturer/ brand to the next, but is generally in the range of 80mA to 500mA.
Your choice of VIDEO RESOLUTION MODE will influence battery life. High resolution/ fast frame rates put additional load on the camera’s image processing circuitry, producing larger volumes of data which must be written to the SD card.

Choice of SDHC card by manufacturer & card capacity may influence your GoPro‘s RUN TIME. Refer 8. below.




9. BATTERY RUN TIME

RUN TIME is the number of hours of recording available from a fully charged battery. Power is drawn from the battery by the image sensor & associated circuitry while ever the camera is switched “ON”, even when you are not recording. To maximise run time switch the camera OFF when recording is not required. GoPro features an Auto Power Off option which automatically turns the camera Off after a period of inactivity (User Manual p.34). This sometimes annoying feature can help you achieve maximum Run Time from the battery.

Battery issues are a common source of problems with portable electronic devices. Your GoPro battery is partially charged at point of manufacture to prolong its service life. It is recommended that you fully charge the battery prior to first using your camera; charging may take several hours.

If you suspect that your battery is faulty, not delivering the advertised run time, then carryout the following test. Recharge the battery, set the camera to video mode 720P 30. According to GoPro, a brand NEW FULLY CHARGED battery should provide up to 2.5 hours recording in 720P 30 mode (User Manual p.34).

There have been many posts by users complaining of reduced RUN TIME. To satisfy my own curiosity I tested my Hero2, purchased November 2011.

February 24th 2012 - temperature 30°C- indoor test
Camera Hero2 (purchased November 2011) / Firmware version "HD2.08.12.58"


GoPro charged via USB to PC until the red charge led went out. Battery voltage measured at 4. 14 volts. Camera powered On, SDHC card class 10 (by Delkin Devices Japan) formatted in camera, video mode reset to 720P 30

Ambient Temperature 30°C
Start Temperature GoPro 30°C (camera off)

a. 16:00 Recording Started - battery indicator 3 bars
b. 16:10 Camera temperature 52°C - CAMERA NOT IN HOUSING
c. 16:30 Camera temperature 52°C - CAMERA NOT IN HOUSING
d. 16:30 Camera mounted into housing door closed
e. 16:40 Temperature inside case 54°C
f. 16:50 Temperature inside case 56°C
g. 17:00 Temperature inside case 58°C - Camera removed from housing to prevent overheating
h. 17:00 Battery indicator 2 bars
i. 18:00 Battery indicator still displaying 2 bars
j. 18:36 Recording ended when Camera shuts down due to low battery

Camera left OFF for 15 minutes to allow recovery of battery.

k. 18:45 Powered ON – battery indicator 0 bars – camera shut down after 30 seconds, battery voltage at 18:50 = 3.48 volts.
l. 18:50 to 21:00 - GoPro charged via USB to PC until the red charge led went out - charge time 2 hour 10 mins.


RESULTS:

TOTAL RUN TIME @ 720P 30 = 2hours 36 mins
Problem with the accuracy of battery indicator, software fix required.
Operating temperature, great in winter not so good in summer.




10. ASSESSING BATTERY CONDITION @ 720P 30 :

2 to 2.5 hours run time .........battery in near new condition
1.5 hours runtime ...............battery in average condition
less than 1 hour .................replace battery

Potential Battery Problems:

Bad contact between the battery & the three spring loaded terminals in the camera’s battery tray can result in intermittent connection. Moisture can also cause corrosion. Opening the waterproof housing outdoors in a cold moisture laden environment should be avoided as this will allow the ingress of moisture inside the case & camera. When operating under such conditions additional care should be taken when replacing the battery or SD card. The case can be opened indoors to allow natural drying.

Solutions:

1.Cleaning of the battery contacts & the three spring loaded terminals in the camera’s battery tray can be done using a cotton bud & isopropyl.

2.Make sure that the battery is fully seated into the camera’s battery tray

Repeat the run time test above. If your new battery runs less than 2 hours it is most probably faulty.
Battery substitution is the only way to confirm that the problem is with the suspect battery & not a camera related issue.


11. Battery Testing with a Multimeter:

Recharge the battery until the charge light goes out. Immediately remove the battery from the camera & using a multimeter set to 20 volts DC range:- Connect the red probe to the + battery terminal & the black probe to the - negative battery terminal, (the two outside terminals). A fully charged GoPro battery will be around 4.15 volts DC immediately after charging. If the voltage is below 3.3 volts the battery is no good, if the reading is 0 volts the battery is totally rooted.
The voltage on the T (temperature) terminal will be in the range 0.5~3 volts depending on the battery temperature.

12. MY CAMERA GETS HOT WHEN SWITCHED ON

THIS IS NORMAL. Internal circuitry (image sensor & other) generate heat whenever the camera is powered ON & is not a result of the imaginary "heating circuit" mentioned by other contributors. The camera monitors its operating temperature most probably using the sensor inside the battery, avoiding unnecessary circuit duplication. When operating in cold climates this “self warming” is an asset however in hot climates, exposed to direct sunlight & sealed in the airtight housing the camera may overheat. Don't worry the smart people in the GoPro design department have included an auto shut off feature for when the camera overheats (refer User manual page 36).


MINIMISING OVERHEATING

Fitting a finned black anodised heat sink to the camera housing (using skeleton back Door) will assist in reducing the camera's operational temperature. Suitable heat sinks can be salvaged from an old PC. Cut away as much of the back door as practical to give the flat face of the heat sink maximum exposure to the interior of the housing. Secure the heatsink to the door by drilling & tapping 3mm SS bolts. Use light smear of silicone to make junction to back door waterproof.
GoPro_H-Sink.jpg
GoPro_H-Sink.jpg (17.09 KiB) Viewed 21330 times




13. HOW TO EXTEND CAMERA RUN TIME

The safest method for novices is to carry spare fully charged batteries.
GoPro users have also utilised external battery packs with dumb USB outputs, connected to the camera’s mini USB port to extend Run Time.
A typical example being products like Trent iCruiser which has an internal battery rated at 3.7 volts with a capacity of 11.1 amps (11000 Ma), approximately equivalent to 10 GoPro batteries. These devices incorporate a boost voltage converter circuit, which as the name suggests, boosts the battery's voltage from 3.7 to 5 volts available on the device's "dumb" USB output socket. Boost circuits are around 70% efficient which means that the device will only deliver 7.5 amps (7 GoPro batteries) worth of usable power before it is discharged.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Only use external battery packs that have a maximum supply current of 1000mA
2. Do not charge the external battery pack while connected to the GoPro camera

READ RAMBO'S POST BELOW universal-battery-charger-li-ion-safety-warning-t5711.html#p32276
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


WARNINGS <<<<<<<<<<<<<< DANGER WILL ROBINSON >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Connecting a second battery in parallel is not a good idea as there is no load sharing circuitry & the good battery will simply discharge into the low battery placing excessive load on it a maybe blowing its fuse or worse.

Don't hack old batteries, make dummy batteries or connect one or more batteries in parallel .

DO IT YOURSELF MODS:
As you remove that first screw from the GoPro case remember that you have just voided any warranty. The camera’s internals comprise several small printed circuit boards, flexible connectors & a glass LCD display. There is no room for error when reassembling & it is only a matter of time before you break something.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




EXPERIMENTORS POWER SUPPLY SUGGESTION FOR 1 to 24 GoPro ARRAYS

Using a standard USB cable (and who hasn't got heaps of those lying around) cut the cable in half and strip to expose the wires. Normally the red wire is +5 volts (pin 1) & the black wire is ground negative (pin 4). Check them with a multimeter just to make sure.

Sparkfun Electronics make a neat little 5 volt switch mode power module about the size of a matchbox http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10104 which provides 5 volts output up to 3 amp & operates across a wide input voltage range 8 ~ 42 volts. This module is 95% efficient which means it wastes no energy as heat, unlike a typical voltage regulator. You can power it from any DC power source between 8 ~ 42 volts, 6 AA batteries / 12 volt SLA rechargeable battery/ cigarette socket on your car/ NiMH battery pack................to obtain more run time than you can poke a stick at. The camera is designed to run while being charged via its USB port so you can leave this mod connected while the camera is in use & get unlimited record time. Recommend including a resistor in the + red lead to limit the charging current to around 500Ma.
Last edited by BriteStar on Mon May 07, 2012 1:48 pm, edited 105 times in total.
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby peter nap » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:50 pm

That was a darn good 4th post!
Looking forward to more.
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby ambroseliao » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:14 pm

Great post!

I couldn't find "LMW214203" at Sparkfun.com. Can you post a link to the switch mode PS?

Thanks!
Last edited by ambroseliao on Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tidalforce Electric Bike rider with GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsport Edition, LCD BacPac with optional handlebar mount and tripod mount. Also, Sanyo Xacti Stereo Sound Recorder ICR-XPS01M. My GoPro Blog: http://goprohduser.blogspot.com
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby BriteStar » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:35 pm

GoPro_psu.jpg
GoPro_psu.jpg (16.31 KiB) Viewed 22212 times


USB cable cut to show connections. Red = +5 volts // Black = Gnd the green + white are data lines insulate & do not short. The shield wire can be ignored unless it is operating in an electrical "noisy" environment in which case it should be grounded to a central earth point.

Sparkfun module can be found here: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10104

The pcb is 25 x 40 x 6mm after soldering the input & output wires it can be waterproofed by painting with "liquid electric tape" put in a small platic box & potted in silicone rubber. PCB generates no heat so there is no problem fully encapsulating it.

Corrections:
1. Actual output rating is 3 amps not 1 amp as previously stated.

2. Input voltage range is 8 to 42 volts DC


DRover.jpg
DRover.jpg (16.27 KiB) Viewed 22212 times


GoPro Pan Tilt - DRover RC surveillance vehicle.
Fitted with two LiPol battery packs 11.1 v 7 amp hour capacity to power forward looking camera, GoPro, Pan tilt, wireless video TX, control circuitry. 7.4volt 10 amp hour battery (2 5amp packs) to power drive motors, steering & RC.
Last edited by BriteStar on Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby TheSwift » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:15 am

Sorry talking electronics is like talking chinese to me :/ ..Just bought this of amazon recently and its been doing the job well,,, but will it have any damaging effects in the long run?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004CHMP50
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby BriteStar » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:48 pm

Trent iCruiser has an internal battery rated at 3.7 volts with a capacity of 11.1 amps (11000 Ma), approximately equivalent to 10 GoPro batteries. It incorporates a boost voltage converter circuit, which as the name suggests, boosts the battery's voltage from 3.7 to 5 volts available on the USB output socket. Boost circuits are around 70% efficient which means that the unit will only deliver 7.5 amps (7 GoPro batteries) worth of usable power before it is discharged.

If it has been working satisfactorily with no overheating of the camera occurring I would surmise that it is going to be OK. But I make the following recommendations:

1. Disconnect iCruiser from the camera when not in use
2. Don’t recharge the iCruiser while it is connected to your camera
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby dgerrard » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:21 am

I have seen many suggested mods that use the bus port to apply backup power to the camera. To my mind a much safer option is to use the USB port which provides much more robust connection.

Using a standard USB cable (and who hasn't got heaps of those lying around) cut the cable in half and bare the wires. Normally the red wire is +5 volts (pin 1) & the black wire is ground negative (pin 4). Check them with a multimeter just to make sure.


I am curious why you are opposed to using the bus port? Isn't those connections identical to the power connections on the USB port? The reason I ask is that I prefer to not drill the watertight housing but I have lots of extra backs to hack... Would using the Sparkfun board connected to the bus port connections have the same effect?

Your Gopro camera has a built in battery charging circuit normally powered from 5 volts derived from the USB port on a computer. Charging circuit requires a 5 volt input & charges the battery to a terminal voltage of around 4.2 volts then it stops charging. If the battery is charged above 4.2 volts or discharged below 3 volts its service life will be reduced, it may also overheat & be damaged.


Also, if the GoPro has the built in charging circuit, how could the external power harm the battery? I realize a linear regulator may not be efficient but other than efficiency, why wouldn't a 5V linear regulator do the same thing? It can't damage the battery or camera could it? I'm also looking at the $35 price tag vs a chip that is under a dollar. Thanks,

Doug
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Postby TheSwift » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:56 am

BriteStar wrote:Trent iCruiser has an internal battery rated at 3.7 volts with a capacity of 11.1 amps (11000 Ma), approximately equivalent to 10 GoPro batteries. It incorporates a boost voltage converter circuit, which as the name suggests, boosts the battery's voltage from 3.7 to 5 volts available on the USB output socket. Boost circuits are around 70% efficient which means that the unit will only deliver 7.5 amps (7 GoPro batteries) worth of usable power before it is discharged.

If it has been working satisfactorily with no overheating of the camera occurring I would surmise that it is going to be OK. But I make the following recommendations:

1. Disconnect iCruiser from the camera when not in use
2. Don’t recharge the iCruiser while it is connected to your camera


Thanks alot, definitly taking this onboard!
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Re: Universal battery charger & Li ion Safety WARNING

Postby BriteStar » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:34 am

Doug,

The Bus port has 3.7v output pins for supplying power to add on devices - LCD screen/ WiFi back. In the absence of a circuit diagram for the camera you would need to confirm that the Bus pin + connection is contiguous with the +5 input pin on the mini USB socket.

This can be done by removing the battery. Using a multimeter on lowest ohms setting read the resistance between +5 volts out pin on the bus port & the +5 volts in on mini USB socket. Reverse the probes & repeat the reading.
If both readings are "0" ohms then it should be reasonable to charge via the Bus port.
If either reading is greater than "0" ohms then it is not OK.

Once you have taken the readings please post the results in a reply.

Linear regulators are wasteful of battery power & their use in portable battery powered devices ended last century. I provide backup power via the Sparkfun module to my Night Vision/ GoPro from a 12 volt sealed lead acid battery this allows me to operate all night (10 hours).

Yes the Sparkfun module is expensive, but I find it more economical than designing etching & assembling a custom switch mode PSU (something I did for 15 years). Component costs + time would well exceed the $35 price. The SF module also offers the 3.3 volt output at the flick of a switch or for the more adventurous you can tailor your own output voltage by changing a single resistor. I have infact removed Li Ion batteries from other cameras & replaced them with the SF module trimmed to 3.7 volts NOT ADVOCATING THIS ACTION FOR GOPRO’S.

The linear regulator is as safe as the switchmode version, the only precaution I would recommend is to include a current limiting resistor in the + 5 volt line to limit charging to 500 to 750mA.
Last edited by BriteStar on Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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