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Programmable Scheduler and Time Lapse Intervalometer - Troubleshooting Guide

When things aren't working it can be difficult to sort through the many possible sources of the problem. This guide will help you to test your camera and controller to discover what is causing unexpected behavior.

Is the camera compatible with the controller you are using?

Make sure that the camera is a model that is compatible with the controller. The older -002 controller boards only work with HD HERO, HERO2 and HERO3 White models.

The -003 controller works with HERO3 Black and HERO3+ Black cameras unless the mode is changed to operate with the HERO 2 and HERO 3 White.

The controller boards marked -003AX and -004 work with the HERO3 Black, HERO3+, and HERO4 cameras unless the mode is changed to operate with the HERO2 and HERO3 White.

None of our controller board are compatible with the HERO3 Silver.

The controller is turning on the camera but not turning it off. Why?

This probably means you are using a HERO2 or HERO3 White camera but have not changed the camera mode from the script operating mode (HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO4) which is the default.

If you are using a HERO3 Black or HERO3+, it probably means you haven't installed the Super One Button Mode script that takes a photo and turns the camera off.

If you have installed the script, but the camera is turning on and not executing the script (taking a photo and then shutting off), consult the SOBM FAQ for possible reasons.

If you are using a HERO4 it probably means you haven't installed our custom HERO4 CSI firmware and script that takes a photo or video before turning off the camera.

When using scripts, make sure the SD card has a class 10 and U3 rating. Underperforming SD cards can prevent proper functioning of your GoPro camera's features. The reason the script operation has problems with slower SD cards appears to be in the timing of the boot sequence when the camera starts up. In some cases, the card is not ready to communicate with the camera at the time the camera looks for the script. As a result, the camera can crash or the script is not seen and the camera continues its boot sequence as if no script was present.


Prepare the Camera

The camera battery should be fully charged and running the most recent version of the GoPro firmware for testing.

Format the SD card now (Delete All) and test it by taking one photo. It is best if the card has been used enough that you are confident it is working. A lot of problems have turned out to be related to a bad SD card or one that has been corrupted. Formatting the card has often solved otherwise inexplicable problems.

The SD card must be in the camera. Some of the cameras will not respond correctly to the controller without an SD card in place.

Disconnect the charger or any other device connected to the camera. Let's get things working from a known common starting point. Bad chargers producing an incorrect voltage, insufficient current, or noisy DC can cause problems.


Set the Recording Mode

Set up the actions you require the camera to perform when turned on. This will either be the One Button Mode settings (HERO2, HERO3 White) or the script saved to the SD card (HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO4). Test the camera without plugging in the controller board to make sure it will do what you expect it to do. Use the MODE/POWER button on the camera to turn it on and watch what it does.

The HERO2 and HERO3 White will be turned on and off by the controller board. The camera function will be determined by the One Button Mode setting.

The HERO3 Black and HERO3+ will only be turned on by the controller board and turned off using a script saved to the SD card. The function the camera performs when it is turned on will be determined by the SOBM script commands.

The HERO4 will only be turned on by the controller board and turned off using the script.  Our custom firmware update allows the HERO4 camera to run scripts saved to the SD card. The function the camera performs when it is turned on will be determined CSI script commands.


Test the Controller

Set the dipswitches on the controller to 1010. Make sure you are holding it the right way up when you set the switches.

Turn the camera on.

Insert the board into the camera and observe the green LED on the controller board, or red LED on the Scheduler.

TL-002: The LED should flash 4 times and then go solid.

For HERO2 and HERO3 White cameras, the camera should turn off. The HERO3 Black and newer cameras will not turn itself off unless there is a script on the SD card.

TL-003, TL-003AX, TL-004: The green LED will go solid for 10 seconds.

PS-003, PS-003X, PS-004: The red LED on the Scheduler will go solid for 10 seconds.

Note: Your reset indication may be different if you purchased your controller before 2013. Check the appropriate manual for your product. 


Remove the board and set the dipswitches to 1011 to set the Camera Type.

Each time the Scheduler is plugged in with the dipswitches set to 1011 the configuration will toggle between One Button Mode operation (HERO, HERO2, HERO3 White) and Script operation (HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO4).

To change camera type, plug the board into the back of the camera with the 1011 setting. The LED on the board will flash to indicate the mode it is configured to operate using. If the LED on the board flashes twice, this indicates that it is now configured to operate using One button Mode. For Script operation, the LED should flash 3 times to indicate it is configured to operate with the use of scripts. If you are not in the desired operating mode, unplug the controller board and plug it back into the camera with the 1011 setting.


Remove the board and set the dipswitches to 1111.

Turn the camera off.

Insert the card into the camera. Turn the camera off if it came on when you inserted the card and the controller didn't turn it off within a few seconds. Wait for one minute.

When the camera is of, the LED on the controller board will flash briefly once every 15 seconds to indicate the card is operating.

HERO2, HERO3 White: After one minute, the camera should turn on for a few seconds and then turn off. If the controller board does not turn the camera off within 20 seconds, check the controller board setting (1011) to ensure it is set to One Button Mode operation.

HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO4: After one minute, the camera should turn on. The camera will only turn off if a script is installed on the SD card. Turn off the camera manually if necessary. A minute later it will turn on again.

Some camera and card combinations will turn the camera on as the card is plugged in. This is normal. The board should turn the camera off in a few seconds. Cameras running scripts from the SD card may need to be turned off manually after inserting the controller.

Controller LED flashing once a second

If the controller LED flashes slowly, it means the controller detects that the camera is on. For the HERO2 and HERO3 White models, the controller should turn the camera off at the end of the shoot time. For the HERO3 Black, HERO3+, and HERO4 models, a script on the SD card is needed to turn off the camera.


If the camera and card behaved as expected for the tests above, they are working correctly. If you are having trouble getting a feature to work, check the documentation again. Make sure you are using the correct manual for the controller you have. Several products have been revised and have slightly different manuals. If you have owned your controller for some time, it is possible that features added in a subsequent revision were not available at the time you purchased your controller.


If the camera and card did not behave as expected, there are more possibilities. Some cameras require recent versions of the GoPro firmware. Go to the GoPro site and check that you are using the latest firmware version for your camera.


Check camera firmware version

Before beginning, please follow the steps below to make sure your camera and SD card are ready to begin:

 

  1. Save all the photos on your SD card to another device.
  2. Turn on your camera and format the SD card using the Delete All function from the menu.
  3. Select the photo mode and take a single photo.

 

Your SD card should now be clean and ready to install custom scripts for operation when the camera is turned on.

Verify the firmware version on your camera:

  1. Connect your camera to your computer and turn it on, or insert the SD card in your card reader.
  2. Click Choose File below and open the MISC folder on the SD card, then choose the version.txt file.

Check Firmware Version


 

Reset the Camera

The quick way to reset the camera is to remove the battery.

To ensure the reset occurs, leave the battery out of the camera for 30 seconds.

Hard Reset. A more complete reset is possible for the GoPro HERO3 and HERO3+ by following these instructions:
  • Remove the battery.
  • Remove the SD card.
  • Press the Shutter Button and keep it pressed.
  • Insert Battery.
  • Press the Power on (MODE) Button while continuing to hold the shutter button.

This will reset all visible and hidden internal settings that may be affecting the camera operation to the factory default values.

Reset GoPro HERO4 To Factory Defaults:

  • Press the Mode button until you see the Setup Gear icon.
  • Press the Shutter button to select it.
  • Press the Mode button until Rest Cam is highlighted.
  • Press the Shutter button to select it.
  • Press the Mode button to highlight Reset.
  • Press the Shutter button to select it.

When the camera powers on, it will be set to all of the factory defaults.

 


Format Your SD Card

If your camera and card have been working well and now you are getting frequent freezes (lock ups), format the SD card. First, try formatting it in the camera with the Delete All option from the GoPro menu.

If that does not help, it is worth doing a full format on your computer. Not a Quick Format. Use FAT32 if the card is 32 GB or smaller, and ExFAT if a larger SD card is used. There are users on the forums who have solved their problems by formatting on the computer and others who have solved them by formatting in the camera. Try both. Personally, when an SD card shows any signs of corruption, I format it on the computer with a full format, then do a Delete All on the camera.

Note that when the camera does crash and freeze, it is very likely to corrupt the data and formatting on the SD card. Although the card may work when almost empty, it is possible that the corruption will cause problems as it fills up and starts to write to areas that have not been tested before.

If you have recently done an update, remove the files used for the update. The camera will check the update.cmd file each time it starts. This does not bother normal operations, but it takes time. So the controller is more likely to turn the camera off before the job is finished.


Try a Different SD Card

If you are seeing the camera freeze, requiring the battery to be removed, or if the camera is rapidly draining the battery, try using a different SD card. The HERO3 and HERO3+ seem to be quite sensitive to which SD cards they want to get along with. For testing, try a smaller card. Use the fastest card you can find. Do not assume that the cheap SanDisk Class 10 card you bought on eBay really is what it says it is. There are lots of cheap counterfeit cards on the market right now. Some of them don't even have as much memory as they say they do. Many are not as fast as they claim.

Many GoPro users reporting on the discussion forums have had problems using the camera with high capacity SD cards. We don't recommend the use of a card not on the list that is larger than 64GB without proper testing. A proper test includes using the card when it is nearly full.

If you have already had problems with your GoPro freezing from time to time. The Cam-Do controller will not fix the problems you are having with the camera.

GoPro regularly updates their Recommended SD Cards list on their web site and their latest firmware release has taken steps to reduce previous incompatibilities. Note that formerly recommended cards, such as the SanDisk Ultra, have been removed from the list for good reason.

Never use a SanDisk Ultra SD card with the GoPro camera.

Some SD cards have the same product name as the ones on the list and only have a U1 rating. Make sure your SD card has a class 10 and U3 rating. Underperforming SD cards can prevent proper functioning of your GoPro camera's features.

The reason the script does not run on slower SD cards appears to be in the timing of the boot sequence when the camera starts up. In some cases, the card is not ready to communicate with the camera at the time the camera looks for the script. As a result, the camera can crash or the script is not seen and the camera continues its boot sequence as if no script was present.

Check the SOBM FAQ. As new quirks are discovered about running scripts on SD cards, information is added to the SOBM FAQ.


Try a Different Battery

If you don't get as many shots as expected, and it does not appear that the battery was drained rapidly by one of the other situations caused by an SD card failure or short shoot time, it is possible that the battery does not have the expected capacity.

As batteries age, their capacity reduces, so the number of shots possible on a full battery will be less and less. Batteries purchased from suppliers other than GoPro may not be of the same quality. We asked a battery manufacturer if they could supply us with higher capacity batteries like ones we have seen advertised. The response was clear. For an order of 200 units they would print the label with the capacity we wanted. For fewer units, we would have pay for the label printing. The battery itself would be the same. External factors such as light available to the camera and the Temperature can also affect the battery capacity.

Depending on how often you plan to trigger the camera, you might require external batteries. We advise all customers to calculate their battery needs due to the many variables. We have a Table of Power Consumption Rates of each GoPro camera in different operating modes as well as a Time Lapse Calculator to be used as a guideline to calculate how long your battery should last.

If you are using a HERO3 or HERO3+ camera with external power, we strongly recommend using a H3 Battery Eliminator. The coupler style Battery Eliminator replaces the GoPro battery to bypass a problem that some users have had with the GoPro charging logic causing the camera to freeze and require a reset.

Most external batteries on the market have an automatic power saving feature which turns off the battery if it is not constantly supplying power to a device.  If the GoPro battery is fully charged and powered off between triggers by a CamDo controller board, the external battery might automatically shutdown. Often, this feature is not even mentioned in the battery description, and only discovered when you find the camera's internal battery is dead, even though the high powered battery is still fully charged.

Since our controller boards turn the camera off between triggers to conserve battery, our external batteries are designed for operating for extended lengths of time because they can be used in an Always On mode. If you are using a V15 or V44 Battery, make sure you have disabled the Auto-Off function.


Try Different Time Lapse Settings

One cause of freezing, requiring the battery to need to be removed to regain control of the camera, results from camera operations continuing at the moment the controller turns the camera off. The early HERO3 cameras were unstable when connected to a charger, but recent firmware releases seem to have resolved those issues. HERO3+ cameras still have issues with USB charging while operating affecting stability.

If the camera's internal time lapse is set to 5 seconds (HERO2 and HERO3 White), try setting it to a longer time, such as 30 seconds, so that the camera does not try to take a second photo just as the timer tells it to shut down. For Black models, turn off one button mode and do not use time lapse mode when using the Cam-Do Intervalometer.

Another option for changing the exact moment the controller turns off the camera is to set the controller for a longer Shoot Time than the default 5 seconds. This only applies to the controllers working with the HERO2 and HERO3 White cameras. For the HERO3 Black, HERO3+ and HERO4 cameras, lengthen the script’s sleep time before the shutdown command.


Try Different Camera Settings

It has been reported that using the spot metering option solved occasional freezing problems encountered with a HERO3 White camera. It is possible that changing this setting resolves a possible long exposure time that resulted in the camera taking longer than the programmed shoot time to take a photo.


Manually Re-Install the Firmware

Some users have reported that a firmware update done over the web has left their camera not working properly. Symptoms such as random freezing, short battery life, overheating, corrupting SD cards and not working with the Cam-Do controller have been resolved by re-installing the firmware manually.

Full instructions for manually installing the current firmware release, or returning to a previous firmware release are on the GoPro Website.


Temperature Related Issues - Overheating

The GoPro camera, like all electronic devices, will only function within a certain temperature range. Some GoPro cameras are particularly prone to overheating. If a temperature greater than 60°C is detected by the camera, the LCD will show a thermometer and the camera will stop functioning. If not detected by the camera, the camera will "freeze" and may corrupt the SD card.

The battery, the SD card, and the Cam-Do controller can all be affected by high or low temperatures. The battery has a safety shut-off. If the internal battery temperature exceeds 60°C, the battery will disconnect. When the temperature cools down, the battery will reconnect. However, the instantaneous removal of power may have corrupted the SD card or affected the controller programming.

The choice of SD Card can affect the temperature of the camera. This video shows how a camera with a SanDisk Ultra card overheats in 39 minutes, while the same camera with a different card in the exact same conditions did not overheat.


USB Charger and Cable Issues

USB chargers and cables are not as simple as they look. Chargers designed for different equipment may be coded for that device in a way that the GoPro camera is unhappy with. The cable may be designed for a different device. If the camera freezes intermittently, and there appears to be no other explanation, it is worth trying a different cable and a different USB charger or power supply.

If you are operating a HERO3 or HERO3+ camera with external power, we strongly recommend using a H3 Battery Eliminator. The coupler style Battery Eliminator replaces the GoPro battery to bypass a problem with the GoPro charging logic causing the camera to freeze and require a reset. The HERO4 is much more reliable when being operated while it is changing and can be powered using the camera's mini-USB port.

A Battery Eliminator allows the camera to run cooler by eliminating heat generated by the charging circuit and the internal battery as well as bypassing the USB issues above. The HERO4 Battery Eliminator is used mostly for recording long videos or when the weight of the camera is an issue and the battery needs to be removed. When using a Battery Eliminator, make sure that your power supply is capable of supplying 5Volts at 1Amp.


Frequently Asked Questions

The time lapse runs fine for several days and then stops, even though the battery has enough charge and the SD card is not full.

This can happen with some SD cards. As the card fills up it can take longer to write the images to the card. If the controller is set up with insufficient time to complete the process, an incomplete image may be written to the card, the camera may end up frozen, or the SD card could be corrupted. Changing to a faster card or lengthening the Shoot Time set by the controller or script on the SD card should solve the problem.

GoPro regularly updates their Recommended SD Cards list on their web site. Some SD cards have the same product name as the cards on the list but not the same product code and only have a U1 rating. Make sure your SD card has a class 10 and U3 rating.

The Cam-Do Programmable Scheduler and Time Lapse Intervalometer are powered by the camera. When the camera has a problem, the controller loses power or can be underpowered. This can result in a blank LCD or LCD with broken characters on it.

If you are using a V15 or V44 Battery, make sure you have disabled the Auto-Off function. This Auto-Off function is an automatic power saving feature which most batteries have that turns off the battery if it is not constantly supplying power to a device.  If the GoPro battery is fully charged and powered off between triggers by a CamDo controller board, the external battery might automatically shutdown. Our external batteries are designed for operating for extended lengths of time because they can be used in an Always On mode.

The time lapse runs fine during the day, but at night it stops and discharges the battery. The camera gets very hot. 

This is the same as above. The camera is taking longer to take a photo in low light conditions and the controller or script is turning the camera off before it is finished processing and saving the image. The SD card may be corrupted or the camera "crash". Increasing the shoot time on the controller or lengthening the script’s wait time before the shutdown command should solve the problem.

Sometimes this problem shows up as photos that are incompletely written to the SD card. The camera shuts down during the write process, so only part of the photo shows up. The solution is a longer shoot time, or a faster SD card. Some cameras seem to be slower than others for reasons known only to GoPro.

The worst camera we have seen would not take a photo with the lens cap on. It would beep once and never finish taking the photo. To regain control of the camera, the battery had to be removed.

The green LED on the controller is flashing on and off very slowly, about once every ten seconds.

HERO2 and HERO3 White cameras only. This means that the controller is trying to turn the camera off, but is detecting the camera as being on. Sometimes this happens when the camera freezes. That can be the result of a timing incompatibility between the camera time lapse interval and the controller time lapse interval. Change one or both and see if this continues to occur.

The LED on the controller is flashing once per second.

HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO4. This indicates the camera is on. If the camera is not on and the LED is flashing, this often means the camera has frozen or is malfunctioning. It may be necessary to remove the battery from the camera for 30 seconds to reset it.

When I connect the USB charger, the red LED on the camera flashes.

The camera is not happy with your charger. It may be out of the correct voltage range. Try a different charger.

When I connect the USB charger, my HERO3 Black will not execute the SOBM script reliably.

The camera firmware must have at least version HD3.03.03.00, released July 29, 2013 or a more recent firmware to execute scripts with a connected charger. If your firmware is up-to-date, try a different charger and/or a different cable. Some chargers do not correctly identify themselves using the USB protocol for charging devices. Some USB cables, designed for other specific devices, have missing or differently wired connections.

We have encountered some HERO3 Black and HERO3+ cameras that don't reliably execute scripts when the camera is charging the battery. It seems to stop as the battery reaches full charge. At that point the camera comes on but does not take a photo or turn off under script control. Users with this problem have solved it by powering the camera with a battery eliminator.

It's still not working. Can I contact you?

Yes, of course. Please tell us which product and model you are asking about and which camera and edition you are using. For example, “Programmable Scheduler PS-003 with the HERO3 Silver camera”. A lot of time can be wasted if we make incorrect assumptions. Please tell us what you see when you try the 1010 and 1111 tests above.

Send your enquiries to support@cam-do.com

General GoPro Tips

Some general tips that will help you to avoid problems and make things go smoother with GoPro cameras.

Press the buttons slowly. If you attempt to press the buttons too quickly, it is possible to crash the camera. Most crashes can be resolved by pulling the battery for 30 seconds. Sometimes it is necessary to re-install the firmware.

Never press the Power/Mode button while the camera is processing a photo or writing the SD card. Corruption of files on the camera or SD card may result.

Never insert the SD card when the camera is on. Never remove the SD card when the camera is on.

Use a high quality USB charger that outputs 5.0 volts at 1 amp or more and does not have noise on the DC signal. If the voltage is high, or the output is not clean, the camera LCD display may break up or display strange characters. This is an unstable situation. Although the camera may appear to function correctly, it is more likely to lock up from time to time.