Solar & Dry Enclosure Set-Up Guide

Solar & Dry Enclosure Set-Up Guide

CamDo Solutions SolarX & DryX Enclosure Setup Guide

1. Introduction

This guide describes how to setup your CamDo solar enclosure. In addition to setting up your equipment, please make reference to our comprehensive time lapse guide, "How to Time Lapse" here. In particular, please make reference to Composition to make sure you are shooting what you want to shoot and the time lapse calculations and associated camera settings.



2. Package Contents

DryX with V44
Included with the DryX with V44
  1. DryX Enclosure
  2. 67mm threaded lens
  3. Muti-cable adapters
    -microUSB(BlinkX)
    -miniUSB(Blink)
  4. USB multi-cable
  5. V44 USB charging cable
  6. V44 battery pack
  7. V44 charging adapter (M5.5x2.1mm)
  8. External power wire
  9. USB-A adapter
Solar Panel Kit
Included with the Solar Panel Kit
  1. Solar Panel
  2. Ball-socket arm
  3. Splitter cable (2Fx1M)
  4. 1" ball mount (¼"-20 thread)
  5. Lock washer
Swivel Mount Kit
Included with the Swivel Mount Kit
  1. Mounting base with Swing Arm
  2. Ball-plate with 2.75" spacing
  3. 2x ¼"-20 Flathead screws
  4. Optional Replacement Nut for Ball-socket (width:9/16" thread:5/16"-18)
  5. Optional Replacement nut for Swingarm (width:9/16" thread:3/8"-16)


3. Enclosure Assembly Instructions

1. Activate the battery pack’s Always On Mode

When the battery is disconnected, press and hold the power button for 6 seconds to change modes. If the charge indicator flashes 3 times and stays lit for a second or two, you are now in Always On mode. If the charge indicator flashes 3 times and then goes dark, you are now in Auto Off mode.

2. Connect the output of the battery pack to the camera system. If using the V44, the camera system should only use the 2000mA USB port labeled "For Tablets". Blink and BlinkX are typically powered through the controller's USB port with the GoPro battery removed.
The power connection will vary based on the CamDo controller and GoPro camera in use. If using a HERO3/3+, it is recommended to use a H3 Battery Eliminator.
Solar Enclosure Internal Power Solution
3. Connect the CamDo Controller to the camera and follow the corresponding instructions here to program it to the desired settings. The CamDo Controller will be one of either the BlinkX, Blink, Time Lapse Intervalometer, or Programmable Scheduler.
4. Adjust the camera bracket to fit your camera model. See SolarX Camera Bracket Assembly Guide section for instructions on adjusting the auxiliary bracket to fit your camera model.
Note: our legacy (discontinued) Dry-H3 & Solar Enclosures do not have an auxiliary bracket and only fit the HERO3 & HERO4 cameras.
Adjusting the auxiliary bracket
5. Place the GoPro in the camera slot within the enclosure. Ensure that the velcro strap is fastened tightly to the back of the camera.
Securing GoPro Camera in CamDo Solutions' Solar Enclosure
6. Loosen the cable gland at the bottom of the enclosure to thread the solar panel cable through. Insert the desired length of cable before tightening the cable gland at the insert around the wire.

Note: If using more than one solar panel, refer to the section on connecting two solar panels.
Threading Solar Enclosure Cable Wire
7. Plug the solar panel cable into the battery pack using the appropriate adapter. The V15 battery charges with the "F3.5x1.1mm to microUSB" adapter. The V44 charges with the "F3.5x1.1mm to M5.5x2.1mm" barrel adapter.

NOTE: If using multiple battery packs, refer to the section on connecting battery packs in parallel.
V15 and V44 External Batteries for GoPro Cameras
8. Tighten the UV Lens Filter onto the threaded lens adapter on the front of the enclosure. Ensure the camera lens and enclosure lens are clean. A packet of desiccant can be placed inside the Enclosure to prevent condensation on the lens in humid environments.

The enclosure is fitted with a standard 67mm threaded filter adapter (or 55m for the Legacy Solar-9W). Optionally, you can replace the neutral-density lens with your optical filter of choice.
Solar Enclosure Lens
9. Close the front door of the enclosure and fasten the clips to ensure a water resistant seal.

NOTE: Special care should be taken to ensure that cables or debris do not get trapped in the door when it is closed. The power-claw latches can exert extreme force, resulting in damage to the cable and the O-ring seal.
Solar Enclosure Fastening Mechanism
10. Screw the 1" ball with the lock washer to the top of the Enclosure and use the double ball socket arm to attach the solar panel. Repeat if using a second solar panel.

Alternatively, use another 1" ball mount such as our Tough Claw (purchased separately) to attach the solar panel further away from the enclosure for better sun exposure.
Solar Enclosure Double Ball Socket Arm Attachment
Tough Claw Mount for Solar Panel Arm Attachment
11. Use the ¼"-20 threaded holes on the back and/or bottom of the mounting bracket to attach the enclosure using standard tripod screws. Alternatively, thread straps through the slots on the back of the mounting bracket to attach the enclosure to a post. See our guide to Framing the shot by using the GoPro App for a live preview when adjusting the camera position.

We also offer a high-quality swivel mount bracket (purchased separately) that matches the 2.75" hole spacing at the back of the enclosure's mounting bracket. The swivel arm allows for full 360-degree rotation and the ball and socket system allows a 360-degree rotation for fantastic aiming flexibility when attached to a flat or round surface.
Mounting the Solar Enclosure for GoPro CamerasMounting the Solar Enclosure for GoPro Cameras
12. Adjust the solar panel for optimal sun exposure and tighten the double ball socket arm to prevent the panel from moving.

Check the Solar Irradiance Calculator for determining the optimal angle for your solar panel. The average Solar Irradiance varies throughout the year depending on the seasons. If your project spans over a year and you will not be occationally adjusting the panel angle, we suggest using the "Best Winter Performance" angle as the winter months will require the most solar collection since there is less light available throughout the day.
CamDo Solutions Solar Enclosure


4. Camera Bracket Assembly Guide

The SolarX and DryX are designed to securely fit the GoPro HERO3, HERO4, HERO5 and Session cameras. To fit the different camera sizes, the position of the auxiliary bracket needs to be adjusted to the specific camera model. The legs of the Auxiliary Bracket should be connected to the keyholes on the main camera bracket that correspond to your GoPro camera model as shown in the diagram below.
Auxiliary Bracket Legs
SolarX Camera Bracket
For GoPro HERO4, HERO3+ and HERO3 cameras
Slide the velcro strap to the edge of the Auxiliary Bracket. Use a screwdriver (PH1) to loosly connect the screw of the Auxiliary Bracket to the top flange of the main Camera Bracket. Allign the legs of the Auxiliary Bracket with the lower keyholes of the Camera Bracket that corrispond to the HERO4&HERO3 camera position before tightening the screw.
H4 Assembly
SolarX-H4
For GoPro HERO5 Black cameras
Slide the velcro strap to the edge of the Auxiliary Bracket. Use a screwdriver (PH1) to loosly connect the screw of the Auxiliary Bracket to the top flange of the main Camera Bracket. Allign the legs of the Auxiliary Bracket with the upper keyholes of the Camera Bracket that corrispond to the HERO5-Black camera position before tightening the screw.
H5 Assembly
SolarX-H5B
For GoPro Session cameras
Slide the velcro strap to the middle of the Auxiliary Bracket. Use a screwdriver (PH1) to loosly connect the screw of the Auxiliary Bracket to the bottom flange of the main Camera Bracket. Allign the legs of the Auxiliary Bracket with the keyholes of the Camera Bracket that corrispond to the GoPro Session camera position before tightening the screw.
Session Assembly
SolarX-Session


5. How to Connect the Swivel Mount Kit

Our Swivel Mount Kit can be used to attach the Enclosure to a wall or pole and easily adjust the camera's field of view. The swing arm pivot allows for full 360-degree rotation and the ball and socket system allows a 360-degree rotation with a 180-degree pivot.

1. Attach the ball-plate mount to the back of the Enclosure. The ball-plate connects to the middle screw hole and either the top or bottom hole using the included tripod screws (¼"-20).
2. Fasten the Swivel Arm's vertical mounting plate to a fixed surface. There is an insert on the vertical mounting plate to allow solid mounting to a rounded surface such as a pole or rail using hose-clamps or zip ties, as well as multiple screw holes for solid mounting to a flat surface.
3. Loosen the hand-knobs to adjust the angle of the arm. The hand-knobs can optionally be replaced with the included set of hex-nuts (9/16" width) for tamper resistance.
4. Insert the ball on the back of the Enclosure into the socket end of the Swivel Arm. Loosely tighten the socket end to anchor the ball while allowing for movement.
5. Adjust the angle of the Enclosure to frame the camera's field of view before fully tightening the adjustment knobs.
TIP: The GoPro App, allows for using the GoPro's WiFi signal to provide a live preview of your camera's view on your smartphone/tablet


6. How to Assemble SolarX with Two Solar Panels

Our Blink and BlinkX time lapse controllers conserve power by turning the GoPro camera off between intervals which can allow for the system to run continuously with the use a solar panel. However, if you are running a power intensive schedule (short intervals or recording video clips) or powering a peripheral device (mobile hotspot) you may require an additional solar panel. Connecting two solar panels can double your recharge rate, to ensure that on average you consuming less power in a day than can be collected from the sun.

1. Attach both ball mounts to the top of the Enclosure.
2. Remove the cap and grommet from the cable gland.
3. Thread the first solar panel cable through the cap of the cable gland and then through the cable gland grommet. Repeat for the second solar panel cable.
4. Thread the solar panel cables into the enclosure and insert the grommet back into the cable gland.
5. Insert the desired length of excess cable and tighten the cable gland cap.
6. If using a single battery pack, connect the two inputs of the splitter cable to each solar panel cable, and connect the output of the splitter cable to the battery charging adapter.
7. Connect the battery pack to the charging cable and CamDo controller.
8. Attach the solar panels to the top of the Enclosure.


7. How to Connect Two Battery Packs in Parallel

If your deployment area is frequently cloudy/raining resulting in longer periods without recharging, you may consider adding an extra battery pack to your system. CamDo's Outdoor Enclosure can fit upto two V44 battery packs or three V15 battery packs. Adding an extra battery pack to your system will increase your total capacity to allow for longer capture between charges. When using solar panels, the extra battery capacity gives you peace of mind, as it provides a deeper reserve to power your setup when the bad weather rolls in.

The V15 and V44 battery packs can be connected in series or parallel using the cables provided with each individual battery pack. However, connecting the battery packs in parallel is a more efficient circuit since it removes an extra charging circuit (one battery charging from the other) from the system which introduces an additional source of electrical inefficiency. The instructions below show how to connect your battery packs in parallel.

Connect the battery outputs
Connect the USB multi-cable to the output of each battery pack. If using the V44, use the 2000mA port labeled "For Tablets".

Use the splitter cable with two male ends to connect to each USB multi-cable. Connect the single female end of the splitter cable to the appropriate USB adapter for your CamDo controller. BlinkX uses the microUSB adapter, while Blink uses the miniUSB adapter.
Connect the Battery Inputs
Use the splitter cable with two male ends to connect to the appropriate charging port adapter for your battery pack. The V44 uses a (M5.5x2.1mm) barrel adapter, while the V15 uses a microUSB adapter.

Connect the single female end of the splitter cable to the external power cable. The external power cable can be connected to either a solar panel or USB wall adapter.

See our Guide to Connecting Multiple V15 Battery Packs for connecting three V15 battery packs in parallel.



8. Frame the Shoot with the GoPro App

The GoPro App, allows for using the GoPro's WiFi signal to provide a live preview of your camera's view on your smartphone/tablet. This live preview can be helpful to assist with perfectly framing your camera's position for your shoot. Ensure to turn off the GoPro's WiFi after securing the camera to conserve power.


8.1 Framing GoPro's view with BlinkX


1. Before deployment, download the GoPro App, and pair the GoPro camera with your smartphone or tablet.
BlinkX cannot activate the WiFi signal of a GoPro that has not yet been paired with the GoPro App.

Camera pairing instructions can be found on GoPro's website here.
Download GoPro App
Pair GoPro
2. Turn on the BlinkX WiFi signal and close the enclosure before connecting to the BlinkX web interface. Disable any currently active schedules and hit the Save All button to ensure that they will not interfere with the framing procedure.
3. Open the manual controls menu to power on the GoPro camera and activate the GoPro's WiFi signal.
4. Open the GoPro App, select the Camera menu to locate and connect to your GoPro camera.
Camera Available with Capture
5. If the GoPro App does not display the live preview, use the power button in the GoPro App to switch the GoPro off then on again so that the live preview of the camera's view becomes displayed in the App.
6. Viewing the live preview on the GoPro App, make any fine adjustments to the enclosure angle as necessary to ensure the camera is capturing the correct frame. Fine adjustments to the enclosure angle are made easy using our Swivel Mount Kit.

Once the perfect shot has been framed, ensure all fasteners are tightened and the enclosure is secure.
Capture view
7. Reconnect to the BlinkX WiFi signal and use the manual controls menu to turn off the GoPro's WiFi network before turning off the GoPro camera.
8. Enable any required shooting schedules and hit Save All. Reference here for more details regarding BlinkX setup.

Optional: Open the enclosure to turn off BlinkX's WiFi. To conserve power, the BlinkX WiFi signal will automatically turn off after 5minutes of inactivity.
Turn Blink WiFi on using remote

8.2 Framing the GoPro's view with Blink


1. Before deployment, download the GoPro App, and pair the GoPro camera with your smartphone or tablet.

Camera pairing instructions can be found on GoPro's website here.
Pair GoPro
2. Open the GoPro App on your smartphone or tablet and select "connect to your camera".
Connect You Camera with Capture
3. Open the enclosure and turn on the GoPro camera's WiFi by holding the settings button on the side of the camera.

Within a few seconds of turning the GoPro's WiFi on, you should see your camera's WiFi network is available to connect to on the GoPro App.
Activate GoPro WiFi
Camera Available with Capture
4. Select your GoPro camera to view a live preview of the camera's view with the App.
Capture view
5. Close the enclosure lid, and loosely mount the enclosure to a fixed surface that will point in the direction of the shot.
Loosely Mount1
Loosely Mount2
6. Viewing the live preview on the GoPro App, make any fine adjustments to the enclosure angle as necessary to ensure the camera is capturing the correct frame. Fine adjustments to the enclosure angle are made easy using our Swivel Mount Kit.

Once the perfect shot has been framed, ensure all fasteners are tightened and the enclosure is secure.
Fine Adjustment1
Fine Adjustment2
7. To conserve power, open the enclosure and turn off the GoPro camera's WiFi by holding the settings button on the side of the camera. Your GoPro App should lose connection to the camera to confirm the GoPro's WiFi has been turned off.
Open to turn off GoPro WiFi
Camera Unavailable with Capture
8. Turn Blink's WiFi on to ensure the schedules are set, then turn Blink's WiFi off once confirmed. Reference here for more details regarding Blink setup.
Turn Blink WiFi on using remote
Check Blink shooting schedule
9. Close the lid and make any final adjustments to the solar panel angle for optimal sun exposure.
Adjust solar panel angle


9. How to Download Footage

There are multiple options for downloading time lapse footage from your GoPro camera outlined on the following pages:



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