Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dear Gary France, Mr H-D from the UK

Open letter to Gary France, USA Tour on a Harley Davidson (<-- click link) Gary has become another Videographer so now there are a few of us who have purchased Hero GoProHD motorsports videocams. We have been experimenting with various bike mounts and I ordered a few more bits


I have had good luck dealing with GPScity.ca in Calgary, AB and placed my order at noon Monday. They upgraded the shipping, at no additional charge to me, and sent it FEDEX 2nd day express, so I got it NEXT Day.


The main item that I wanted was this C-type clamp which I intend to mount on my GIVI crash bars. But then I needed another RAM mount base for my GoPro to replace the OEM one


The RAM mount is actually comprised of two parts. A Tripod mount and a RAM ball. From the pictures on the web it looked like one piece which I did not realize, and I also ordered a Tripod mount (PN: GTRA30), so now I have a Spare. I also ordered a spare battery (PN: AHDBT-001) .

GoPro have also announced a couple of new products, so I have them on backorder

(Battery Backpac)

I noticed from the instruction manual that if you removed the battery, then you lose your date and time and perhaps some other settings. The Backpac attaches to the rear of the GoPro and doubles the recording time. I also ordered the new LCD screen

(LCD Backpac)

I would imagine that you detach the battery Backpac and snap the LCD screen onto the rear of the camera. Presently with the GoPro you cannot see what you have recorded until you download to your computer. With the LCD Backpac you can view while recording and also playback what you have recorded. The LCD screen turns it into a full camcorder which is so small you could carry it everywhere


Last year when I was mounting my other CamCorder I purchased extra RAM extensions which are now coming in handy for my GoProHD . I intend to try mounting the GoProHD on my Crash bars, but on the left side.


but as it was getting dark I decided it was too much trouble to turn the bike around so I was just testing some mounting options to get some ideas


I put the long extension on to try to clear the front bodywork. It's too bad there isn't a way to turn the recording on with a wired remote. Also I want to be able to turn it on or off while riding, so I tried it on the U-mount I already had installed on the right mirror stem. With the long extension it clears the windshield, which is what I wanted.


I may have to move the mount to the left mirror stem so I can manipulate it with my left hand, but then I will have to move my GPS mount.


REVIEW: LENMAR OMNISOURCE UNI universal charger/moveable pin system:

Gary, you were also interested in some charger options. Using USB chargers can only charge Li-Ions batteries up to 3.7 V as USB output is 5V @500 ma . Li-Ion cells are in multiples of 3.7V. Your Nikon is a 2 cell Li-ion battery so requires 7.4 V which cannot be obtained using USB chargers. Last year I purchased a couple of Lenmar unisource UNI universal battery chargers


Input power can come from DC, 12V auto accessory plug, or AC auto sensing 120-240V


I have a 12 auto power outlet installed under the front cowling of my Suzuki V-Strom, and also a pigtail 2-conductor SAE quick disconnect plug which I also use for my battery floatlevel maintainer, or electric Vest. Both are capable of accepting my patch cords for charging on the go while on the bike. I also use this to power my automotive Garmin GPS


this charger is smaller than a package of cigarettes


and can also charge either AA or AAA in pairs


it has a moveable pin system to match up with most batteries with flat contacts. This unit can auto sense correct voltage and detect correct battery polarity. It is microcomputer controlled and will let you know when the battery is fully charged. This ONE charger is capable of charging every camera I carry, and also my Camcorder. It will also charge my phone battery. I have two of these and carry one for backup since if the one you have gets lost or broken then everything you have won't work when the batteries run out.


It's a good charger and I recommend it. (Rating: --> 4.9 ******** stars)


  1. How cool is this? I have never been sent an open letter before!

    Bob, you and I must have some sort of a psychic bond, because the parts that you have ordered from GPScity are almost identical to those I have ordered. However, the similarity ends there as you have had good luck with them with your delivery arriving the next day, whereas my order hasn’t even shipped yet. Can you believe they have a neoprene strip on backorder and they are holding up the complete $173.67 order for 2 items worth a total of $4.32!!! I paid $78 for them to ship the order to the UK by the fastest way possible and they hold the whole thing up for 2 strips of neoprene that I could get from many local places here. Needless to say, I was not best pleased with them and I await a call from them to try to put this right somehow. Rant over.

    Anyway, I too have ordered the camera mount but like you, I didn’t realise from their website that this also included the tripod mount, which like you, I also previously ordered, so like you, I will also have a spare. There could be a few more repetitions of “like you” in this reply!

    Like you (ok I promise not to say that anymore) I also bought a spare battery, one of the regular kind.

    I saw but didn’t go for the C-clamp, preferring instead a U-bolt arrangement that would fit on my handlebars. When the time comes to fit the camera to the crash bar of my Road King, I was going to revert back to GoPro’s own clamping system, but I have just realised there is no fine adjustment in that, so maybe the C-clamp would have been a good idea. Perhaps you could let me know how well the C-clamp works.

    I am intrigued to see how the Battery Backpac and the LCD Backpac work. I can see that they will both have good benefits, but somewhat limited in their use on a motorbike. This is because I suspect they will not be able to fit within the waterproof mounting case that is essential when on a bike. It not the waterproof bit that is essential, but the case is the only practical way of fixing the camera to a bike. I am sure that you will let us know how you get on with these. I think the LCD will be very good when using the camera off the bike. I agree with you about then being able to carry it anywhere.

    I am sure that like others, I am keen to see the results of what the view from your crash bars looks like. With such a wide angled camera, the view sometimes includes items that you didn’t expect.

    Like you (oops sorry), I would like to be able to turn the camera off when riding. Mounting on the bars will allow this, but we will both have to be careful to ensure the camera is either on or off, due to the fact that the control screen and recording indicator will be facing away from us on the front of the camera.

    Getting on to charging batteries, I might go down a different route to you. As you know, my preferred route is to use USB connectors for everything. I have even purchased special tiny adapter blocks that will allow both my cell phones (one US, one UK) to be charged via the same firewire USB cable that I will be carrying for the data connection for my camera. You quite rightly said that I cannot use a USB for charging my Nikon camera battery, so I have to find a different solution for this. I am likely to take the normal Nikon charger for this purpose as the only other charger I need. Personally I don’t like rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, so I think I can do without the Lenmar charger.

    I am going to order the Lenmar charger anyway, as I can use it at other times. I see that it can take the 240 volt input that we have over here in Europe, so that is a real plus. I don’t have as much need as you for charging on the go – I only power my Garmin GPS (surprised that we have the same? – not!) on the move and this is directly wired to my battery, via a fused lead.

    As ever, you give great advice and tips, which I will continue to benefit from as long as you keep posting them!

    Best wishes,

  2. Gary:

    from the GPScity.CA website:

    "Click it onto the back of the HD HERO for LCD screen convenience while filming, or just click it on at the end of the day to see what you got. Fits inside the HD Housing thanks to the patent-pending removable back door design."

    It appears to be able to fit inside the HD waterproof/underwater housing. I like the idea that I can see if it is recording or not. I have some idea with respect to "improvement" of this unit for bikers. Perhaps we could bombard Hero for revisions and get a protype for future testing.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  3. Bob

    I was thinking, should you rename your technoblog West Coast Weeing? I don't see much evidence of a "scooter" as it seems to be parked in your substantial garage facility (I'm so jealous)
    All the best, Nikos

  4. Dear Bobskoot:

    You may have found a new calling with this blog episode. This piece was as detailed an evaluation as I have seen anywhere, and you try sending it -- or a revised version that conforms to first rights for publication — to a motorcycle magazine for cash.

    You should bear in mind that the average rider might not be an authority on camera stuff and will be relying on your article as to what gear they should purchase. But I found this to be one of the most interesting pieces that you have written.

    Now you have me champing at the bit to get a system like this and it really isn't in the cards for a while. And If I was you, I'd imediately drop a like to the GoPro people about a remote switch. This was very well done.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • Reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. Bob - If the LCD screen fits thin the waterproof housing, that will make it a real winner. Lets both write to them..... if we both refer to each other, that might help...

  6. Bob, I use hte crashbars as my mounting camera mounting spot. I haven't had much luck, however, due to the vibrations. Have you noticed any vibration issues with the video shot from the crash bars? I have been drooling over the GoPro for a while. Perhaps I should take the plunge and buy one.

  7. Bobskoot--thanks to Gary France, I returned here to read your info on mounts and I've found this very helpful indeed. Thanks.