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GoPro Hero 4 weight loss plan

Discussion in 'Zenmuse H3-3D/H4-3D GoPro Gimbal' started by derrickduff, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. derrickduff

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    In my very unscientific attempt to get my H3-3D to work better with the new GoPro Hero 4 I am going to try to shave 10-14 grams off the camera.

    Armed with the very best analog food scale (Target, $5.29) I've managed to lose about 3g without harming the camera. I switch my camera often and have never been a fan of the semi-permanent mounting bar to hold the camera on the gimbal. I simply use a rubber band, which weights less than a gram. The two screws and bar weigh approximately 3g on my scale. If anybody has a digital scale handy I would appreciate a more accurate measurement.

    There are two locations I can see the GoPro can easily lose some weight: The battery compartment door, and the lens housing. I estimate the battery compartment door weighs in at 4g and maybe .5g for the lens housing. If my estimates are correct I've lost 6.5-7.5g at this point. Half way there!

    The next step is either to take the camera apart and identify any useless parts I can drop, and/or sand some of the plastic housing down.

    I'm wondering if anybody has tried this yet. If so what sort of weight loss were you able to achieve?

    I'm aware I could balance the gimbal to make it work a bit better with the added weight. However, I'm actually more comfortable with modifying the camera than adding more weight to the platform, small as it may be.
     
  2. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    The battery is probably the biggest source of weight on the GoPro 4. Wonder if it can be wired externally to a fixed location on the P2. Or if it is possible to find a smaller one that otherwise matches the same voltage output, etc.
     
  3. CactusJackSlade

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    Have you tried to counter-balance it? I use a pretty large ND filter that is pretty heavy and sometimes a polarizer which is even heavier.... I have several grams of counter-balance weight in various areas of the gimbal and it works just fine... I use the lead weights with the foam sticky back from the hobby store.
     
  4. paulajayne

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    Moving to power supply from the camera will make a big difference to the camera weight. Connection will have to be very flexible - ribbon cable?
     
  5. cokeaddict

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    Counter balancing is a much easier way.
    Its not hard to do, you have the scale so utilise its ability.
    Here is a link to my post with pictures, remember ...this was for my filters so the weigths im refering to work for the filter setup, yours will be slightly different but easily achievable.
    viewtopic.php?f=26&t=23290&start=10
     
  6. derrickduff

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    Genius! The USB connection to the GoPro is powering the GoPro. It works without a battery! That's 25g alone. I've just tested it and it and it works fine. If you're comfortable with having to turn the gopro on every time you power on/off or change a battery this is the way to get the weight off the H4. This puts the H4 11g under the H3 which means you can use a filter without the need to balance.
     
  7. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Now that is interesting. Have you done any test flights with it recording and no battery? Not only does that eliminate 25g, it means there's probably very little if any counterbalance which is even more weight savings.
     
  8. derrickduff

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    Yes, I've taken it up for a few minutes. I've recorded video and taken stills at 5 second intervals. The ND filter gets in the way when tilting the camera down on occasion but other than that it seems to work fine.
     
  9. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    At 4K, the GoPro should consume maybe 150mah in 15 minutes. That's probably about 15-25 seconds of flight time which you probably get back as result of the weight savings. I may have to try this!

    Will need to remember to stop the recording and shut off the GoPro before turning the Phantom off.
     
  10. gword256

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    I'd love to see a half or quarter battery which fits into the Hero4. Just enough juice to power up and run a few minutes before powering on the Phantom. I don't like touching the camera once the gimbal is on. It makes too many grumpy noises.

    I tried counterbalancing but not this exact method. My counter balance even with the weight of a penny made the gimbal whine. I am going to try your way to balance. But honestly my V2 gimbal hasn't had any problems without the counter balance.
     
  11. trance728

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    I just got my Phantom and Hero 4 in the mail today and was wondering if I should leave the GoPro battery in or out since the gimbal is powering it anyway. Glad I came across this post, makes more sense to ditch it and save the weight and balancing problems with the H4.

    Has anyone noticed any reason to not have the battery out?
     
  12. Cloud9

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    like someone said earlier, I also don't like messing with the camera once the gimbal is on..it whines and complains every time you touch it, not a good feeling.

    Tapping the record button gets less complaints than mashing and holding the power button. Gimbal doesn't like either one, but we've learned to compromise
     
  13. trance728

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    I just place my fingers on the backside of the gimbal behind the power button of the GoPro when pressing it and not moving the Phantom at all, seems to work fine without pissing off the gimbal.
     
  14. p fandango

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    does anyone know if you can remove the battery from a Hero 3 or 3+ (i've got both) & powered externally via the rear port
     
  15. quad2503D

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    Hi guys, have been using the hero4 with the zenmuse h3-3d for a while but the added weight even with balance keeps the gimbal resetting, so this method using it without the battery seems promising but just tried that and the gimbal almost balance without any added weight, the camera turns on and start recording but when I press the record button to stop the recording the camera turns off, after powering on again the camera repairs the file and looks like it does the job well, but I think that cant be reliable to be repairing the files each time we fly imagine loosing an important shot, anyone else using the hero4 in 4k mode without battery with he zenmuse is having this problem?
     
  16. Mako79

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    Looks like the USB port isn't supplying enough power when there is no battery present. I think the Gopro 4 have more processing power and requires a little more juice when finalising a video. Maybe try turning off the sound.

    Last option would be to hook a battery externally and wire it into the gopro via battery compartment. You could always Frankenstein it and gut out a spare aftermarket battery and solder some wires to an external battery.
     
  17. derrickduff

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    The same is happening for me if I shoot in resolutions above 1080. I will run some tests to see if it will work with protune turned off, as well as sound turned off.
     
  18. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Hasn't happened to me yet, thankfully. Been running without the battery for about 10 flights now. Routine is different but it seems to work. I turn the P2 on, wait for it to get course and home position, etc. and then just before take off, power up the GoPro and start recording. Landing, I'll shut down the motors, pause the recording and then power down the P2 which shuts off the GoPro.

    If it does turn out to be an issue, we'll need to find a smaller/lighter battery with similar characteristics and fab up something to make the right contact with the power connectors. The H4B is simply too heavy with the stock battery and an ND.

    BTW, I've noticed no reduction in flight times. If anything, they're longer due to less weight.