The GoPro Hero 3 is the newest series of the popular GoPro hero Camera which has already gained wide popularity for use in RC planes, helicopters and multicopters.

It is an amazing little camera with incredible video and photo capabilities and the WiFi up and down link and remote provide an excellent complement for our our RC / APM planes and copters.

It is the intention of this Blog to provide an ongoing forum for users of this camera to report their experiences and methods and for potential users to investigate the usefulness of this camera for their purposes.

Your responses can and should include what you like and don't like about this camera, specific information regarding mounting and stabilizing it and if possible pictures of your planes, copters, installations and mounts and even examples of pictures and videos acquired with this camera where practical.

Although I am going to start by reporting my early experiences with the GoPro Hero 3 Black I received on December 10th 2012.

I will add significant information from your posts to this main post as  can manage.

The GoPro Hero 3 is somewhat smaller than previous GoPro's and now incorporates the WiFi capability built in.

It is available in 3 versions, White, Silver and Black.

The Hero 3 Black is the top of the line version with better lens, faster video, lower light capability and most importantly a really wide range of video options up to and including 4K at 15fps pro quality cinema and 2.7K at 30fps which is fast enough to be useful.

In 1080P HD (up to 60 fps) mode it features wide, medium and narrow fields equating to a 3 tier zoom capability with no loss in resolution And 720P HD can be used at up to 120 fps.

The Hero 3 Black is fully capable of being useful in a professional film making role.

All the Hero 3 cameras are supplied with a ruggedized, waterproof case and the combination of case and camera are designed to be used continuously in conditions that would immediately destroy the vast majority of other cameras including many other "Sports" cameras.

The Hero 3 Black also comes standard with a separate WiFi remote that can also program the cameras various modes.

All Hero 3 cameras can also be connected to an Apple or Android tablet or phone and in addition to controlling the camera, they can provide a (limited) live preview.

At the moment the standard definition "Live Preview" option suffers two significant problems.

There is an approximately three second lag between what the camera is "seeing" and what the phone / tablet is displaying, so definitely not for FPV use.

Worse, as of the current release of their Android App they turn off the "Live Preview" screen while actually recording video (at least on my Black).

This was not the case for the Hero 2 with WiFi and is a devastating loss for the Hero 3.

I do very seriously hope a future App release will fix this.

While it is actually on the "Live Preview" does provide sufficient resolution and clarity to be useful even with the delay.

Even though the camera uses a typical 2 button menu set up on a tiny LCD display for a huge variety of options I found it fairly straight forward to set up as desired and the supplied remote mimicked the cameras setup methods exactly.

Because the GoPro is very small, many after market plane and copter mounts are available that will even accept it's ruggedized case and in the simplest use you can even mount one of it's supplied base plates to your plane or copter, right side up or upside down.

Pan and tilt mounts are available as are ones that incorporate yaw as well.

An inexpensive "FlameGear" mount is available for multicopters but at this time the $20.00 more expensive XP version is recommended over the one actually made for the GoPro as it has a wider landing gear and more rugged camera mounting system. A friend got the GoPro one for his DJI Flamewheel F550 Hex and thought it inadequate.

I will probably get the XP version for my DJI Flamewheel F450 Quad and will report back on it when I have had experience with it.

The APM, ArduPilot and Arducopter do provide for automatic stabilization and even automatic camera pointing with servo controlled mounts.

All this having been said, my GoPro Hero 3 Black arrived with a very serious malfunction and I am undoubtedly going to have to send it back.

Every third or fourth time I shut my camera off, the LED on the back of the camera comes on at about half brightness and the battery heats up quickly.

It will not turn back on when this happens and the only way you can get it to work again is by removing the battery and reinserting it.

Clearly something very bad is happening and the mostly shorted out Lithium battery is a very serious fire hazard aside from being really bad for the battery.

As this is from the very first real production batch of these "Blacks" I am sure this is a teething problem, but be forewarned.

You might want to wait a bit, they don't call it the "bleeding edge" for nothing.

Assuming they get it fixed and eventually get live preview to work during video recording, this little camera is a great place to start in setting yourself up for photography or videography.

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  • Darrell, Thanks for the info, at least, they fixed the main problem (locking up, dim led, battery heating up). The USB going to 1.0 might be a windows thing. Are you using a good quality 2.0 or 3.0 rated USB cable? I have had the same problem with 2.0 devices when I used a cheaper cable. When I use the 2.0 rated cable (it`s a bit thicker too, probably a better shield), the problem goes away. Just a thought.

  • Hi Josh, Not sure, within the past 2 to 3 days I guess, I was on their website around Xmas and didn`t notice anything, just went there today and it`s listed below the 30 day warranty blah blah on the main store page. I guess enough complaints flooded in and they got their s%$*t together. I still wonder if it solves that issue Gary and others have been experiencing. I almost ordered one then stumbled on this thread and decided to hold back.

  • Sorry to hear you're still having trouble with them Gary.

    Sylvian, The I think with the Gopro3 model equivalents of the gopro2, you're mostly getting lighter hardware.  There might be a few new features, but personally if you don't want 1080p @ 60 FPS, I would snag a used or cheap gopor 2 model.

    Olivier, do you know when that update was posted?

  • Go Pro posted ''an important software update for the Hero 3'' on their website, I wonder if it resolves Gary`s issue?

    Anybody tried it? I am holding off on buying one until I know they fixed it, it is not cheap this little thing.


  • Thanck you Josh, that was what I was afraid of. The Gopro2 already had this issue but few peoples are aware. It and when I mentionned it most users and seller in shops told me it was the Video transmitter or I was wrong...

    Do you know if the Gopro 3 is better or worth or equivalent to the Gopro2??

    Anyway for  copter FPV is OK with Gopro 2 since the copter dos not goes too fast. in plane that is bigger issue...

  • Latest news in the Ongoing GoPro return Saga.

    2 weeks after returning the Camera, GoPro has not only failed to credit my account, but they show no record of anything happening to it after they received it two weeks ago although they do show the record that they did receive it.

    They guaranteed a refund within 5 to 7 days after receipt and two weeks after receipt this is their response.

    We have spent over 2 hours waiting to talk and talking to them about this and had been told previously that we would get  the credit within 5 to 7 days and now that it is well beyond that period that they have no idea what is happening but will look into it.

    Average phone wait to talk to them has been over a half hour each time and you cannot talk to the people who can actually resolve the situation.

    There are a lot of bad Companies out there, but GoPro is one of the worst when it comes to A. delivering a properly functioning product and B. Dealing with customers in a fair and honest way.

    I really like what this camera is supposed to do, which unfortunately it doesn't.

    But the reality is this Company is a disaster and should really be avoided at all costs.

    Right now they have my money and my new and completely undamaged camera and are not giving either back.

    I guess that makes them crooks too.

  • FYI, there is a small delay with the live output from the gopro, ~.5 - 1 second, it's not bad, but still flyable.  I still hold the opinion that it's worth adding a nice 600 line $40 CCD camera to go with your FPV setup.  The live output quality is rather poor compared to a decent CCD camera as well.

  • Hi Darrelll and Randy, I was initially planning on using my GoPro with the WiFi for video set up and filming use, but 2 factors disabused me of that idea, the 3+ second delay is pretty non useful but the fact that the 2.4ghz WiFi especially with video preview has a penchant for zapping 2.4 ghz RC communication pretty much ended that thought.

    I've got to say Darrell, your solution seems like the right way to do it, no lag and a transmitter you can stick on a completely different frequency band And you get to see what the camera is actually seeing as opposed to a second FPV camera.

    When they get the other problems ironed out (mine had the dreaded half on LED and high battery drain on turn off), I'll get another Black and give your setup a try.

    A bit more hardware, but a whole lot more satisfactory result and even good enough performance for FPV.

    Please let us know how it works out and if you don't mind, please feel free to publish a video of your results here.

  • Darrell,
    Let us know how it works out. I'm was thinking about taking the same approach but I was worried about video lag. I see 3DR has a cable for the GoPro. Is that what you are using?
  • Hi Josh,

    My Flamewheel is doing easy 15 minute flights and could go longer, but I tend to take it easy on my batteries.

    With my 11" x 4.7 GemFans, in a constant hover, you can barely hear it and they seem very well matched to this copter and very efficient. The DJI motors work very well with these on a 3 cell battery. If I were going to a 4 cell I would probably go for the 10" Graupners.

    Having used the Flamewheel for a bit now (I have a KKX525 and a Gaui X500 with Scorpions as well) I am not entirely satisfied with the Flamewheel arms. They are strong enough and although they are a bit heavy they are cheap and mechanically a good design.

    What I do not like is simply the flat plate area they represent directly under the Props.Smaller square aluminum tubing or better round carbon, fiberglass or aluminum tubing has a much lower interference with the prop wash and a much lower loss. Even though the DJI arms have vent holes the ESCs and the turbulence have got to result in virtually the entire area being a flat plate write off , plus induced turbulence. Could easily be a 10 percent or greater loss in efficiency. Versus a nice smaller round tube which could be as little as 2 or 3 percent loss.

    May not sound like much but I'm an engineer and it doesn't need to be that bad. One Chinese company even makes a carbon quad frame that isn't too expensive with a vertical symmetric airfoil section on the motor support tubes. Thats the direction we should be headed in.

    That having been said, longer Flamewheel style arms could be useful. I have seen an example of using some aluminum sheet (top and bottom) to extend the existing arms and you could probably also use G10.

    I am actually thinking about doing a tube conversion for my Flamewheel Arms. Ive got a mill and carving a clamp out of Delrin should be pretty straight forward. (2 long outside screws will go all the way through). As for the motor end, simple plate on the motor and aluminum strap under the tube. I need to spread my arms further apart to accommodate my QuadroQuad idea. (See my other Blogs). And with tubes I kill 2 birds with one stone.

    I'll keep you posted.

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