Tuesday, February 10, 2015


You have probably noticed some of the photos in my blog have part of the bike's cowling showing.  Like this:

Let me give you a clue as to why that is:

See that shadow on the left side of the bike?  (With the red circle around it, in case you missed it.)  That's what we are here to talk about today. 

You see, my wife gave me a GoPro HD Hero 2 for my birthday, year before last. 

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out a good way to mount it without using one of the adhesive mounts on my helmet or on the bike.  I didn't like the idea of using either, because the mounts are hard to remove, and the top helmet mount makes the camera act like a sail in the wind stream.

I finally came to the realization that I would have to pry my wallet open and get some other kind of mount.  After diligent study, I settled on a large suction cup mount to be attached to the plastic cowling of the bike.

AUCMT-301 Suction Cup Mount

I found a suitable place for it on the bike cowling, but was concerned that the mount would come loose after a period of time, so I suctioned it to the bike, and did my best to dislodge it by hand.  I couldn't do it without overstressing the plastic. 

I left it on for a couple of weeks, and it seemed to remain just as tight.  So far, so good.  Here is the mounting location, just below the "Ninja" lettering: 

I put the camera in the clear plastic case with the closed back that comes with the camera, and affixed some wire ties between the base of the camera case and the frame of the bike, just in case something let loose and came apart along the way.

Then I took a little trip with the camera running.  The video was fine, but the sound was disappointing.  The sealed case helps to reduce wind noise well enough, so that is not the problem.  The issue is that the vibration of the cowlings of the motorcycle creates a loud buzz at certain engine RPM.  The buzz is a well-known problem of the Ninja 650R, unfortunately. 

I have not fixed that yet, but I have taken several runs at calming the buzzy cowlings down in the past.  It will take a further concerted effort to find all of the places that hum and put some more foam rubber weatherstripping in each joint. 

Well less than a year after I got the little camera, I began to notice that it would not power on again when the battery needed to be changed.  Sometimes it would not power on at all, even the first time.  No matter what I did, it wouldn't work.  I tinkered with the spare batteries, and with the charger, and with the SD card in and out, and manipulated the shutter button in all manner of sequence with the on/off button, but to no avail. My camera was what they call "bricked" in England. 

By the time I came to that realization, the unit was out of warranty, so a Googling I went.  I found that MANY owners of this GoPro model had the same problem.  Website after website and forum after forum did not really give an answer: Only bits and pieces of possible solutions were found. 

So, here is what I did to make it work again: 

  • The article HD HERO2 Does Not Power On helped by describing how to power the camera on using a USB charger, but NOT using a USB cable plugged into a computer: You want a charger only.  Disconnect any BacPac accessories or cables from the camera and also remove the camera's battery and SD card.  With no battery in the camera, use the USB cable to connect your camera to a USB wall charger that outputs 5 Volts and 1 Amp or so.  Once connected to the charger, the red LED on the front of the camera should flicker.  Firmly press and release the Power button, and the camera should power on within a few seconds.  I had to do this several times before it worked. 
    My camera would still not power on with the battery in it after this was done, so onward..... 
  • I decided that the software in the camera needed to be updated.  After all, what did I have to lose?  The original software version that was loaded in the camera was HD2.08.12.70   (The version can be found in the file version.txt on SD card.)   The latest version of software as of today is HD2.08.12.312    This information is available on the GoProSoftware Update Release Information webpage
    To update, the software, I first tried to use the GoPro Studio program that is supposed to be a video editing tool that also helps with software updates.  It would not install on -- and in fact locked up -- my Windows XP computer, so I went to this page, Manual Software Update for HD HERO2 Camera
  • Next, reformat the SD card in the camera with the Delete ALL/Format function in the settings menu. See: Formatting an SD Card with the HD HERO2.  Remember that any data on the card will be lost. 
  1.  Power on your camera with the SD card inserted. (Using the USB charger, not a computer.)  You may have to do this repeatedly if the camera won't power on, disconnecting the charger between tries. 
  2. Press the front (Power) button repeatedly until you see the wrench icon on the camera’s screen.
  3.  Press the top (Shutter) button one time.
  4.  Press the Power button repeatedly until you see “MORE”.
  5.  Press the Shutter button one time to select MORE.  Next, you’ll see a trashcan icon.
  6.  Press the Shutter button one time to select the trashcan icon.
  7.  Press the Power button until “ALL/Format” is highlighted.
  8.  Press the Shutter button one time to select “ALL/Format”.
  9.  Press the Power button until “Yes” is highlighted.
  10.  Press the Shutter button one time to select “Yes”.  Your camera’s LED and the trashcan icon will blink to indicate that your SD card is being reformatted.
  • Using a computer, download the HD2 software .bin file.  The location of the newest HD Hero 2 software is located here.  Don't open the file once it downloads.  Instead, place the file in the root directory of the SD card. 
    Insert the SD card into the camera while the camera is powered Off. 
    Hold the Shutter button down on the camera, and press the Power button one time. The camera will power on and show a video camera icon.  (I had to do this many times before it would work.  In my case, I powered the camera with the charger, not the battery.)  While STILL holding the Shutter button, press the Power button 3 more times. The camera software update screen should show again.  While the camera is updating itself, you'll notice that it will power itself OFF/ON up to two times within the span of 3 minutes during this process. If the camera stays powered Off for longer than 20 seconds, power it back On. The camera will continue to update itself.  (I had to power on the camera manually.)  If you see the camera software update screen for longer than 3 minutes, remove and reinsert the battery.  (DO NOT remove or reformat the SD card.) 
    Power on the camera by pressing the Power button one time. In some cases, you may need to repeat this step.  The software update should complete in about 3 minutes. 
    Once the software update completes, the camera will automatically start up into video mode.
  • To verify that the software update installed properly, power Off the camera, then power On the camera. Once you do this, the software update will complete if it hasn't yet, and you will see the camera go into video mode.  Once it starts up into video mode, you'll know that the software update is complete. 
After that, my camera powered up OK and I was able to take some test videos and photos.  From then on, it has worked perfectly.

Fringe Benefits:

The software update solved the no-power-on problem, but it also installed a feature that helps with editing and better playback functionality on slow WiFi networks.  The new feature causes the camera to put not only the video file with the .MP4 extension, but also .THM and .LRV files.

.THM files are Thumbnail video files that are used to display a thumbnail image of the first frame of the video.  Rename the extension to .JPG from .THM in order to open it up as an image and view it on your computer.

.LRV files are Low Resolution Video files.  If you rename the extension to .MP4 instead of .LRV, it will be a lower quality version of the original video you shot.

See this and this reference.

The other purpose of .LRV files is to allow quicker and more headache-free video editing on your computer, which may not be powerful enough to handle high resolution video files. Refer to this thread for more info on how you can use .LRV files to edit your GoPro footage quicker

My First Posted Video:

I had no experience editing and posting a video, so back to Google to find something cheap, err...inexpensive that will load the .MP4 files that camera records.  Neither Windows MovieMaker nor Virtual Dub would load that file type. 

I found Wondershare video editor.  It is fairly easy to learn -- a good thing for me. 
The trial version of the software overlays an unfortunate Wondershare watermark through the entire video.  I will need to buy a license if I am going to continue to use it.  It costs $19.95 for a year and $39.95 for an unlimited time. 

I started with an old video that I had taken back on December 30 of 2013, while riding US-178 from Rocky Bottom to Pickens, SC.  That is one of the favorite twisty roads around here. 

It was a pretty day, and the road was clean. 

I edited in some titles and edited out some straight-road sections in the video. 

But, the annoying cowling buzz is in the audio.  (Turn the volume down to minimize the irritation.) 

This is the route, starting at the top: 

Click here for an interactive map. 

See what you think:



Albert said...

how long have you hold the power button??


Bucky said...

If you are referring to the power button press in the first bulleted paragraph, you should only need to press it for a second or two each time. Do note that I had to do this repeatedly using ONLY the charger to get it to turn on. Read the instructions carefully so you don't miss any details.