BlinkX User Manual

CamDo BlinkX User Manual Index

  1. Introduction
  2. What's Included
  3. BlinkX Overview
  4. LED Status Indicator
  5. Powering BlinkX
  6. Connecting to WiFi
  7. User Interface
  8. Setting a Schedule
  9. Email Notifications
  10. Motion Detection
  11. Bullet Mode for Remote Triggering
  12. Custom Interfacing
  13. Updating BlinkX Firmware
  14. Specifications 
  15. Troubleshooting

1. Introduction

This manual describes how to get started with your CamDo BlinkX Time Lapse Controller for your GoPro HERO5 Black or Session camera. BlinkX is a low power, WiFi enabled GoPro time lapse and scheduler accessory that unlocks the full potential of the GoPro camera. BlinkX allows users to control when and how the camera will trigger based on a daily schedule, motion detection, or other custom made triggers. Configuration is handled through an easy-to-use web interface via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Read our Quick Start Guide to get started and this more detailed User Manual for further details. You can also view helpful instructional videos in the “Support” section.

2. What’s included

A. CamDo BlinkX
B. USB OTG Cable (for firmware updates)
C. CamDo Custom USB C cable
D. Velcro Strap

3. BlinkX Overview

1. Power (Micro-USB connection): You can power BlinkX through the micro USB port. See Section 5. Powering BlinkX for available power configurations. This port is also used for firmware updates (See section Updating BlinkX).
2. Camera (USB-C connection): This port is used to connect to your HERO5 camera. Connect the included CamDo USB-C cable from here to the USB-C port on the camera. The orientation does not matter since the cable is reversible. This is a custom cable - do not connect any other USB-C cable to this port as it may damage BlinkX or the camera! If you lose or damage your cable contact CamDo support to purchase a replacement.
3. LED: This provides feedback to the user during operation, as well as for firmware updates. See section LED Status Indicator for an explanation of the different LED indicators.
4. Port 1 (2.5mm jack): This port accepts a Wired Remote or other custom trigger. A Wired Remote can be used to turn BinkX's WiFi On/Off, as well as provide LED feedback during operation (if the CamDo LED wired remote is used). Note, unlike Blink, a wired remote is NOT required to turn BlinkX WiFi on. BlinkX has an in-built button - see item 7 below.
5. Port 2 (3.5mm jack): This port is used for Motion Detector Schedules and can be used with our X-Band Motion Detector accessory, or another 5V trigger signal such as a PIR sensor. (See section Motion Detection for more information). Do not connect anything other than the motion detector cable into this input!
6. Port 3 (2.5mm jack): This port is reserved for future features but is unused at this time.
7. WiFi Button: This button is used to turn BinkX's WiFi On/Off

4. LED Status Indicator

BlinkX is equipped with an RGB LED which provides the user with a full range of feedback. Below is a list of each LED flash type and what they represent. Under normal operation, the following LED colors/patterns apply:

  • Green flashes twice: When BlinkX has been connected to a power source.
  • Blue flashes continuously every 5 seconds: Represents that WiFi is on and the user is able to connect to the BlinkX Wireless Access Point (AP). After 5 minutes of inactivity, WiFi automatically turns off to conserve power.
  • Cyan flashes twice: WiFi turned off.
  • Cyan flashes three times: Initial turn on of WiFi.
  • Yellow flash: Motion detection trigger signal received.
  • Red flashes once: Error saving schedules to internal storage. Remove power and try again. If red flashes continue to occur, please contact CamDo customer support.
  • Red flashes twice: WiFi error. Remove power and try again. If red flashes continue to occur, please contact CamDo customer support.

During the firmware update, the LED will follow the following sequence:

  • Magenta flashes continuously every 0.25 seconds: Firmware from the USB flash drive is downloading to BlinkX.
  • Green flashes twice: Firmware successfully downloaded.
  • Magenta flashes continuously every 0.25 seconds: New firmware is installing.
  • Green flashes three times: Firmware successfully installed.
  • Red flash: Any number of red blinks indicates an error has occurred. Remove power and try again. If red blinks continue to occur during the firmware update process, try a different USB stick. Make sure it is formatted using the FAT32 format. If you have ongoing issues please contact CamDo customer support.

5. Powering BlinkX

BlinkX is powered externally by via a micro USB cable plugged into the power port of BlinkX. Your power supply should be rated for 2Amp output at 5Volts. BlinkX will then manage power to the GoPro camera. To conserve power, BlinkX will not provide power to the camera between scheduled or manual triggers.

For long term installations, we recommend removing the internal battery of the GoPro camera (HERO5 Black only) to allow BlinkX to hard reset the camera to restore functionality should a camera error be experienced.

6. Connecting to the BlinkX app

BlinkX is programmed entirely through a web interface using its own inbuilt WiFi signal. In order to connect to BlinkX's WiFi signal and use the app, follow these steps:

  1. Plug a 5Volt micro USB power source into the power port of BlinkX.
    BlinkX does not need to be connected to the GoPro camera to access the BlinkX App to program schedules. BlinkX should be connected to the GoPro camera via the CamDo USB C cable for triggering the camera.
    Attach 5V Power to BlinkX
  2. Hold the wifi button on the front of BlinkX down for 3 seconds (Alternatively, use a 3second press from a wired remote attached to port 1). The LED will flash cyan three times to indicate WiFi has been turned on. The LED will continue to flash blue every 5 seconds while WiFi is active.
    BlinkX WiFi Button
  3. With a smartphone or laptop connect to the WiFi network labeled BlinkX_XXXXXX, where XXXXXX corresponds to the MAC address of BlinkX. If prompted for a password, the default password is: 1234567890
    BlinkX WiFi Network
  4. Now navigate to http://192.168.1.1 with your standard web browser, such as Chrome or Safari. It’s important to include the “http://” as some web browsers require this.
    BlinkX UI URL

NOTE: Some phones and computers have WiFi settings that will automatically connect to a known WiFi network with the strongest internet signal rather than staying connected to BlinkX. Since connecting to BlinkX's WiFi network does not provide external internet access, some devices will not stay connected. You might need to temporarily adjust the WiFi settings on your device or remove any saved networks in the area for the period required to set up the new shooting schedule of BlinkX.

6.1 Controlling BlinkX WiFi

BlinkX flashes the LED blue once every 5 seconds to indicate that WiFi is on and can be connected to. Once BlinkX is setup, WiFi can be turned off to conserve power. This is done by holding the wifi button down for 3 seconds. A wired remote plugged into port 1 can also be used. The LED will flash cyan twice to indicate WiFi turned off and will no longer flash blue every 5 seconds. Pressing the wifi button down for another 3 seconds will flash the LED cyan three times and turn WiFi back on.

NOTE: After 5 minutes of inactivity, WiFi automatically turns off to conserve power.

6.2 Creating an iPhone shortcut

To make it easy to access the BlinkX app, we recommend creating a shortcut for your smart device.

  1. After you have connected to the BlinkX WiFi signal with your iPhone / iPad, navigate to http://192.168.1.1 in the Safari web browser.
  2. Click on the small box icon with an arrow pointing up. Then click on add to homescreen.

6.3 Creating an Android shortcut

To make it easy to access the BlinkX app, we recommend creating a shortcut for your smart device.

  1. After you have connected to the BlinkX WiFi signal with your Android phone, navigate to http://192.168.1.1 in the Chrome web browser.
  2. Click on the small triple dot icon in the top right corner. Then click on “Add to Home screen”.

7. User Interface

The following outlines the key features of the powerful BlinkX web based User Interface (UI).

A. System Status: Displays various information about BlinkX and the camera such as firmware version, battery life, SD capacity, time, and upcoming schedules.

B. Sync Time: Clicking the Sync Time button will push the local device time to the BlinkX and camera making it very easy to keep the system time up to date.

C. Manual Test Controls: The Manual Test Controls drop down provides a way of manually controlling the camera. These controls are typically only needed to test that the camera is communicating with the BlinkX controller.

D. Email Notifications: The email notification settings are stored here. For more information see section 9. Email Notifications.

E. Save All/Clear All: Clicking Save All will store the settings for all 9 schedules as well as the email notification settings. Important: Be sure to click this if any changes are made to the schedules. Clicking Clear All will reset all settings to their default state.

F. Schedule 1-9: These are the 9 Schedules which determine when and how the camera will be controlled. Each schedule can be hidden/revealed by clicking on the drawer. Each Schedule is comprised of a Date Window, Day Selector, Time WindowMode, and Action. Setting these 5 elements will fully define what the camera will do and when it will do it.

 

8. Setting up a Schedule 

  1. Turn on the camera and adjust the beep volume, LED, and AutoOff settings to avoid having to touch the camera once setup. If using the HERO5 Black, be sure to set the touch display brightness to 10% and the screensaver time to 1 min to conserve power. It is recommended to remove the GoPro battery from the camera after adjusting these settings to enable the safety reset feature should a camera error be experienced. (The HERO5 Session battery cannot be removed and some camera settings cannot be adjusted).
  2. Connect the camera port of BlinkX to the GoPro camera using the USB C cable that came with BlinkX.

    NOTE: BlinkX will only work with the CamDo custom USB C cable. Using any other may not trigger the camera or damage the camera or BlinkX.
  3. Connect the power port of BlinkX to a micro USB power source and wait for the LED to flash green twice, indicating BlinkX is receiving power. The USB power source should be rated for 2Amps output at 5Volts. If using our V44 battery pack, make sure to enable the Always On mode.
    2Amp USB Port
  4. Turn on BlinkX's WiFi signal by holding down the wifi button for 3 seconds. The LED will flash cyan three times to indicate WiFi has been turned on. The LED will continue to flash blue every 5 seconds while BlinkX's WiFi is active.
  5. With a smartphone, laptop, or other wireless device, connect to the wireless network “BlinkX_XXXX”, where XXXX is the MAC address of BlinkX. Unless you have multiple BlinkX’s you will only see one wireless network to connect to. If prompted for a password, the default password is: 1234567890
  6. Open a web browser and navigate to http://192.168.1.1 in the search bar. You will be presented with the following interface. Remember to create a shortcut on your homescreen as described earlier in this manual.
  7. Click the Sync Time button to update the camera’s time with the local time on your browsing device.
  8. Modify a schedule to suit your capture requirements. In this example, we will create a schedule to take an image every 5 minutes, Monday through Friday, 8am till 5pm. To create the schedule, complete the following:
    1. Set the Start Date and End Date of your schedule.
    2. Tap the days of the week to enable the schedule for that day. As can be seen in the image below, M, T, W, T, F are highlighted in blue indicating they are active.
    3. Set the Start Time and End Time.
    4. Select “Intervalometer” under “Select a mode”.
    5. Set to your desired interval (5 mins in this example).
    6. “Select an action” - in this case a Photo during the Day is selected.
  9. That’s it! Follow the same procedure to set additional Schedules as needed.
  10. Once a schedule has been modified, be sure to click the “Enable” button. A quick way to tell if a schedule is enabled is by the dark blue colour of the drop-down box. If multiple schedules have been set, and there is a conflict between them, priority is given to the lower numbered schedule. For example, schedule 1 has priority over schedule 2.
  11. After making adjustments to any schedules, click the “Save All” button at the top of the UI. The page will refresh and your next interval scheduled should be shown in the status bar. The number in the brackets indicates the schedule number of the appropriate drop-down box. Clicking “Clear All” will reset all schedules to their default values and disable.

9. Email Notifications

BlinkX has the ability to setup a scheduled email notification every day*. In order to use this feature, BlinkX must be near an active WiFi network with internet access. This notification will send the following information:

  • SD space remaining
  • GoPro Camera battery life (does not display external battery capacity)
  • # of photos and video taken since last email
  • # of motion detection events since last email
  • # of camera on events since last email

To receive the email notification, click the checkbox to expand the settings. Input your WiFi network information as well as the email address you wish to receive notifications on. Adjust the notification time as desired, then click the "Enable Email Notifications" button so that the schedule becomes highlighted blue indicating that it is active. Ensure to click "Save All" after adjusting any schedules.

A sample email notification is displayed below:

*NOTE: Email notifications require a subscription in order to be activated. CamDo offers a trial subscription of 1 month when you first configure the notification. To obtain the trial, just enter the information in the BlinkX UI as normal and the device will automatically be entered into our system. Once this trial has expired, you will need to purchase either a 3 month or lifetime subscription.

10. Motion Detection

BlinkX can be controlled with an motion sensor to capture wildlife or act as a security camera. Motion detection schedules activate the GoPro camera to capture footage only when triggered by an external signal between a programmed set time of the day. The BlinkX's motion detection port (port 2) can be used with either our X-Band Motion Sensor (purchased separately) or another sensor with digital 5V input/output such as a PIR or accelerometer (not sold by CamDo).

10.1 Functionality

When motion detection is enabled (See 8 Setting up a Schedule for more info), the camera will turn on and process an action any time it registers motion. If the action is photo or multi-shot, the camera will just take a single image or burst images respectively. If the action is video, the camera will record when motion occurs and continue for programmed time once motion is no longer detected. If movement is detected before the recording time elapses, the recording interval will be reset to ensure you capture the entire motion event. The LED of BlinkX will flash yellow when a motion detection trigger signal has been received.

Motion Detector and Intervalometer schedules can overlap but priority is given to a currently active schedule. For example; if the camera is currently powered on from a motion detection schedule, the intervalometer will not be triggered.

10.2 X-Band Orientation

Connect the 3.5mm audio connector to port 2 of BlinkX. Then connect the 4 pin header as shown in the image below. The X-Band detects motion facing the opposite side of the sensitivity dial. Note also the mounting instructions below.

10.3 X-Band Sensitivity

The X-Band sensor comes with a sensitivity adjustment dial. On first run, ensure that the dial is turned all the way to the right. BlinkX is optimized to detect motion with the sensitivity of the X-Band sensor at it’s highest. If you notice the sensitivity is too high, you can dial it back until you find the best setting for your project.

10.4 Mounting the X-Band Sensor

The X-band sensor ships with a high quality 3M velcro strip on the detector side, which can be used to mount the sensor such as inside one of our weatherproof outdoor enclosures. Choose your mounting position, remove the protective covering and stick it down. Make sure it is oriented in the direction of detection as per the image above. The X-band works through our weatherproof enclosure with very little signal attenuation.

10.5 PIR/External Mode (Advanced Users)

BlinkX is also compatible with PIR sensors and external interfacing. This means that a schedule can be programmed to accept an external input to trigger an action. Unlike the X-Band which requires a set amount of pulses within a certain timeframe, PIR/External mode only requires a pulse for more than 250ms.

When BlinkX is set to PIR/External Mode, be sure to use a pull down resistor on the signal line to ensure false triggers are not detected. See image below for a recommended circuit. 

Note: The 5V line can source a maximum of 100mA for external peripherals.

11. Bullet Mode for Remote Triggering

The Bullet mode of BlinkX is available starting from BlinkX firmware v1.01. BlinkX can be switched between the Scheduler mode (blink) to Remote Triggering mode (bullet) using the dropdown menu at the top left of the web interface.

bullet mode is used to trigger the GoPro's power and shutter functions through port 3 of BlinkX and typically used with our wired remote (purchased separately). The push button remotes will be able to turn the camera on with a brief button press (~1 second). If the camera is powered on, a button press will trigger the shutter to take a picture or start or stop the recording. The action triggered by the shutter is dependent on the default shooting mode when the camera boots up and the default camera mode can be adjusted on the camera using the GoPro's menu. The camera will be turned off by holding the button for 3 or more seconds.

11.1 Triggering Multiple Cameras

A standard 2.5mm stereo audio splitter cable (not available from CamDo) can be used to trigger multiple GoPro cameras from a single remote by connecting the port 3 of each BlinkX set to bullet mode operation. It is important to ensure that all connections of the splitter are stereo (3pin), as a mono connection (2pin) will not provide the correct connections for the BlinkX controller.

12. Custom Interfacing (FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY)

BlinkX has a set of stereo audio ports that can be used for custom interfacing to lights, micro controllers, or other devices. Below outlines the outputs for the interfacing ports of BlinkX.
This section is for advanced users. You will void any warranty with improper connection to the interfacing ports of BlinkX.

12.1 Port1 (FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY)

The port 1 (2.5mm audio jack) of BlinkX is used to trigger the BlinkX WiFi signal by closing contact between the ring and sleeve for 3 seconds and typically used with our wired remote. The BlinkX WiFi signal can also be activated by using the push button on the front of the controller. - See the Connecting to WiFi section of the manual for details.

The port 1 of BlinkX input does not require additional voltage from the remote for triggering the WiFi signal. The remote only closes contact between 2 input wires. Therefore, the button remote can be replaced with a microcontroller or any trigger capable of closing the contact between 2 input pins.

When the GoPro camera is turned on by BlinkX, the port 1 is driven high to 3.3V 5mA between tip and sleeve. This output can be used for feedback on the status of the camera or for triggering an external device when the camera is on such as a flashlight.

12.2 Port2 (FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY)

The port 2 (3.5mm audio jack) of BlinkX is used for triggering the GoPro from an external sensor/input. - See the Motion Detection section of the manual for details.

The X-Band motion detection mode is only for use with our X-Band Motion Sensor. When a motion detection schedule is active in X-Band mode, BlinkX detects pulse frequency from the X-Band Sensor to determine if motion has occurred. The PIR/External motion detection mode allows for Blink to be trigger from other sensors with a digital high signal output between +3.3V to +5V to the trigger signal pin. The trigger signal can be provided by closing contact between tip and ring as shown in the diagram above. When a motion detection schedule is active in PIR/External mode, BlinkX will trigger the camera when the signal input is pulled high between ring and sleeve for more than 250ms.

When a motion detection schedule of BlinkX is active, the tip of port 2 is driven high to output 5V with a maximum 100mA. This output is typically used to power a motion sensor, but can also be used to trigger an external device between set times of day as programmed using a motion detection schedule. Be sure to pull the signal pin low to prevent false triggering when you are only using the 5V output.

12.3 Port3 (FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY)

Port 3 of BlinkX is used to manually trigger the GoPro camera's power and shutter functions when set to operate in "bullet mode" and typically used with our wired remote. - See the Bullet Mode section of the manual for input details.

The port 3 of BlinkX does not have an output signal.

12.4 Triggering a high powered device from BlinkX (FOR ADVANCED USERS ONLY)

Although the ports of BlinkX only output a low power signal, a solid state relay or a MOSFET circuit can be used as a power switch using the trigger signal provided by the BlinkX's low current outputs to supply power from a high current/voltage source. The switching circuit can be connected between the power source and the external device while only closing the circuit to supply power to the device when BlinkX is providing the trigger signal. The Sparkfun MOSFET Power Control Kit is one of many simple boards with a RFP30N06LE MOSFET capable of switching up to 60V at 30A using a low-current trigger input from our controller boards. Below is an image of an N-Channel MOSFET switching circuit for triggering a load from the output of BlinkX.

NOTE: Connection of custom circuits to the interfacing ports of BlinkX is for advanced users only! You will void any warranty with improper connections to BlinkX.

13. Updating BlinkX Firmware

Occasionally CamDo will release firmware updates for BlinkX to improve performance as well as unlock additional features. Follow this procedure to ensure BlinkX is updated properly. The currently installed BlinkX firmware version is displayed in the top of the programming User Interface. To ensure you have the most up-to-date firmware, click here.

  1. Download the blinkx_update.bin file and transfer it to a USB flash drive. The USB flash drive must be using the FAT32 file saving format (default format for PC).
  2. Connect the flash drive to one end of the USB OTG Cable and the other end to BlinkX. BlinkX should not be connected to the GoPro camera during the firmware update process.
  3. Finally connect the last end of the USB OTG cable to a power source such as a mobile phone USB charger/USB battery pack/Laptop, etc.
  4. BlinkX will start the update immediately. During the firmware update, the LED will follow the pattern below.
    1. Magenta flash continuously every 0.25 seconds: Firmware from the USB flash drive is transferring to Blink storage.
    2. Green flash twice: Firmware successfully stored.
    3. Magenta flash continuously every 0.25 seconds: Firmware from internal Blink storage is installing.
    4. Green flash three times: Firmware successfully installed.
    5. Red flash: Any number of red flashes indicates an error has occurred. Remove power and try again. If red LED flashes continue to occur during the firmware update process, please contact CamDo customer support.
  5. To verify the update, turn WiFi on and check the firmware version in the system status box. If updating the firmware from a version previous to v1.02, see the section below.

Note: The USB flash drive must be using the FAT32 file format to be able to perform the BlinkX firmware update and Blink does not support partitioned drives or other formats. The FAT32 file saving format is the default format for PC and used with most USB flash drives under 32GB. Large capacity flash drives might be using the exFAT format which is not compatible with BlinkX. If you are using a MAC, the following link explains how to format a USB flash drive to FAT32.

For updating from a BlinkX firmware version previous to v1.02: Once the BlinkX firmware has been updated from a version previous to v1.02, the schedules and logs must be cleared from the web interface.

  1. Connect to the BlinkX WiFi signal and navigate your browser to the the BlinkX web interface.
    BlinkX UI URL
  2. Navigate to the Event Log by scrolling to the bottom of the menu and clicking the link.
  3. Click on the DELETE LOGS button to clear the log file.
  4. Navigate back to the main Control Page by clicking the link.
  5. Click the RESET SCHEDULES button to reset all schedules to the default settings before re-programming your desired schedules.

14. Specifications

Table 1: BlinkX Power Consumption (v1.00)

 BlinkX Mode Power Consumption (W)
WiFi On .52
WiFi Off .0025
Motion Detector Active (WiFi Off) .12

15. Troubleshooting 

Additional BlinkX Troubleshooting information can be found here.

What happens if there is a conflict between schedules?

If multiple schedules have been set and there is a conflict between them, priority is given to the lower numbered schedule. For example, schedule 1 has priority over schedule 2.

What is the BlinkX Event Log?

When BlinkX encounters a problem, an entry is saved into the Event Log. You can access the BlinkX's Event Log when connected to BlinkX's WiFi and using your webbrowser to navigate to the URL: http://192.168.1.1/log.html or by clicking the Event Log link at the bottom of the standard BlinkX programming UI.

Status code information is outlined on our BlinkX troubleshooting page.

Back to Top