I’ve owned a lot of cameras in my day and never have I held something in my hand wondering what to do with it. I’m not sure if this is the general feeling about GoPros out there, but I’d say they are not very intuitive. I recognize that one of the primary appeals of this type of device is the small and compact size, but sometimes, I think I’m just balancing a little gray brick on my palm, twirling it around like it’s a toy.
GoPro cameras have revolutionized the capturing of video in a way this planet has never seen. They offer very few moving parts, they can capture incredible footage under water and their battery life can, at times, last only around one hour. Well, I guess that last one isn’t really a great feature, but I felt like mentioning it since this post is about charging the GoPro battery.
Overall, I really do love these cameras. I see more video filmed on GoPro cameras than any other type of camera. I never thought I’d see the day when a 13 year old kid could take video from the side of his skateboard, upload it to Youtube and make a living. That sort of thing makes me a little annoyed that I was born so long ago. Boy, if I had these types of electronics back in the day.
This post is about charging the battery on, pretty much, the whole like of GoPro cameras. While you may think this is a simple thing to do (and it is), there are a few things you should know. Especially when it comes to the last method – so be sure you read that one. I’ll go through them one by one below.
By the way, if you’re interested in how long a GoPro battery lasts, check out these specs:
As you can see, there are definitely a lot of variables that can have a profound effect on battery life. This is why it’s so important to learn about the various methods for charging – so you don’t get caught being “drained.”
USB Cord From Camera to Computer
This is the most simple method and probably the most popular for charging the battery. All you need to do is attach the included USB cord to the port on the back of the camera and then to whatever type of computer you use. The computer will send out current, which will, in turn, charge the battery.
If your camera is on and you’re charging it, you’ll see some data on the front screen as well as the small battery icon blinking and displaying the level of charge. If the camera is off while it’s charging, you won’t see any of that, but what you will see is the orange light on the front of the camera illuminated. That light will turn off when the camera is fully charged, so that’s a handy indicator.
The GoPro BacPac
This is an interesting method for charging a battery. If you decide to purchase the BacPac to extend the battery life of your camera, you should be aware that the BacPac will also have an effect on the battery that’s inside the camera. While it won’t give it a full charge, it can help during precarious situations.
The thing is, when batteries are connected to one another, they pass their respective charges between each other. This is sort of like the glass half full or empty question. Does the battery with less of a charge drain the one with more of a charge or does the battery with a greater charge fill the one with less of a charge? I’m not sure it really matters. Let’s just say that if you have a dead GoPro battery and your friend has a full BacPac attached to his camera and the two of you are out in the woods together shooting film, you can take a break and attach the BacPac to your camera for a little while and steal some of the charge. It’s worth trying out.
The Wall Charger
By now, everyone on earth has seen a cell phone wall or car charger. They’re all over the place. Even GoPro sells something like this that enables us to charge our GoPro cameras if we don’t feel like tying up the ports on our computers or if we don’t have a computer handy. And the really cool thing about the wall charger that GoPro sells is that it has two USB ports available, so if we have two cameras or if we’re with a friend, we can charge twice as fast.
I want to offer you a word of warning regarding wall chargers. This is important if you don’t want to damage either the BacPac, the built in battery or both. GoPro cameras require a charge of 5V and 1A. That’s 5 volts and 1 amp. This is the specification that the chargers offer that GoPro sells. If I were to pick up any old charger and plug it in, I may be causing myself a headache. Let’s take a quick look on Amazon for this type of charger.
The iClever BoostCube offers a charge rate of 4.8A at 24W. If you understand how electricity works, you know that amps x volts equal watts. So, 24 watts divided by 4.8 amps equals 5 volts. If you were to use this charger, you’d be overcharging the GoPro camera. It may work, but I’m not sure how long the battery’s life would be.
Let’s find another example. The RAVPower Dual USB Wall Charger offers a 2.4A charge at 24 watts. If we do the same calculation for this one, we’d end up with 10 volts. That’s too many volts (and amps). Remember, volts equal the measure of electric potential and amps equal the rate of flow for that electricity. It’s critical that these rates and measurements to compatible with the piece of equipment you’re using.
Interested in what GoPro has to say about chargers? Check this out:
I know this post may seem simple, but I really wanted to get it out there because many of us plug stuff into anything. With the prices of some of the GoPro products, I wouldn’t want to see anyone fry a battery and ruin a camera.
If you have any questions, please let me know down in the comment section. Thanks!