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UpBlink User Manual

CamDo UpBlink User Manual Index

  1. Introduction
  2. What's Included
  3. UpBlink Overview
  4. LED Status Indicator
  5. Powering UpBlink
  6. Connecting to WiFi for Programming
  7. User Interface
  8. Setting a Schedule
  9. CloudX Uploads and 3G/4G Hotspots
  10. Updating UpBlink Firmware
  11. Troubleshooting
  12. Framing the Shoot(Sony)
  13. Framing the Shoot(GoPro)

1. Introduction

Read our Quick Start Guide to get started and this more detailed User Manual for further details.

This manual describes how to get started with your CamDo UpBlink Time Lapse Controller for your GoPro* or Sony** camera. UpBlink is a low power, WiFi enabled time lapse and scheduler accessory that unlocks the full potential of the GoPro* and Sony** cameras. UpBlink allows users to control when and how the camera will trigger based on a daily schedule and when an internet signal is available, photos can be uploaded to our CloudX server. Configuration is handled through an easy-to-use web interface via a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

*(GoPro) UpBlink is designed for use with the GoPro HERO5 cameras. UpBlink can trigger the capture of the GoPro HERO 6/7/8 cameras but cannot access SD card footage for image uploads.

**(Sony) UpBlink is designed for use with the Sony RX0 series of cameras using "PC Remote" mode. Other Sony camera models with "PC Remote" or "PC Control" USB modes may be compatible.

Below is a full setup video for UpBlink with our outdoor enclosures and GoPro camera. You can also view other helpful instructional videos in the “Support” section.

How to set-up your UpBlink controller with a GoPro

2. What’s included

UpBlink-Included-Accessories

A.CamDo UpBlink
B.Micro-USB Power Cable
C.CamDo Custom USB C Cable* (for Sony or GoPro)
*GoPro cable pictured
D.GoPro Attachment Knuckle (optional use)
E.USB-A Extension (optional use)

3. UpBlink Overview

UpBlink-Features

1. Power (Micro-USB connection): You can power UpBlink through the micro USB port. See Section 5. Powering UpBlink for available power configurations.
2. Camera (USB-C connection): This port is used to connect to your GoPro or Sony camera. Connect the included CamDo custom USB-C cable from here to the USB-C port on the GoPro camera or multi-port (extended microUSB) on the Sony camera. The orientation of the Sony cable must have the checkmark symbol facing the UpBlink label, while the GoPro cable orientation in not spesific as the cable is reversible. This is a custom cable - do not connect any other USB-C cable to this port as it may damage UpBlink or the camera! If you lose or damage your cable a replacement can be purchased from our website: HERE
3. LED Window: This window provides LED 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. WiFi Button: This button is used to toggle UpBlink's WiFi Access Point for programming mode On/Off.
5. Strap Slot: This can be used to tether UpBlink to the camera, accessory, or fixture.
6. Port 1 (2.5mm jack): This port accepts a Wired Remote or other custom trigger. A Wired Remote can be used to turn UpBlink's WiFi Access Point On/Off from a distance, as well as provide LED feedback during operation (if the CamDo LED wired remote is used). UpBlink also has an in-built WiFi button - see item 4 above.
7. USB-A Port: This port is used for firmware updates using a USB thumbdrive. This port’s power output also becomes activated when an upload schedule is triggered, allowing it to be used to power a 3G/4G USB modem to provide an internet connection or power another accessory.
8. Screw Mounts: Two captive nuts (#6-32) can be used to attach the “GoPro Attachment Knuckle” to allow UpBlink to be affixed to the GoPro housing’s pivot mount.
9. Port 2 (3.5mm jack): This accessory port is currently not in use and will become available in future firmware versions.

4. LED Status Indicator

UpBlink is equipped with an RGB LED which provides the user with a full range of feedback. While the LED is flashing green UpBlink is NOT in capture mode and schedules are inactive. Below is a list of each LED flash type and what they represent. Under normal operation, the following LED colors/patterns apply:

UpBlink-LED
  • Green flashes twice: When UpBlink has been connected to a power source.
  • Green flashes once a second: When UpBlink is booting up the WiFi Access Point for programming.
  • Green flashes five times: When UpBlink activated the WiFi Access Point signal.
  • Green flashes continuously every 5 seconds: Represents that the WiFi Access Point and Programming mode are active and the user is able to connect to the WiFi network broadcast by UpBlink adjusting the programming.
  • Cyan flashes once a second: When UpBlink is searching for an internet connection.
  • Cyan flashes continuously every 5 seconds: Represents that UpBlink has not yet obtained an internet connection and will only perform the download procedure if an internet connection cannot be established.
  • Blue flashes five times: When UpBlink has successfully connected to the router and has an obtained an internet connection.
  • Blue flashes continuously every 5 seconds: Represents that UpBlink has an internet connection and is currently performing the download and/or upload procedure.
  • Red flashes five times: When UpBlink has failed to connect to the router and/or has failed to receive a connection to the internet.
  • Yellow flashes once a second: When UpBlink is ending a process and returning to capture mode.
  • Magenta flashes: UpBlink is currently processing a firmware update. DO NOT disconnect power when LED is flashing magenta.

Below is a list of each LED flash type when UpBlink's button is pressed and what they represent.

  • Green flash: UpBlink is powered and capture mode is active but not currently triggering the camera (waiting for next scheduled trigger). Holding the the button for three seconds will boot the WiFi AP in programming mode.
  • White flash: UpBlink is currently triggering a capture schedule. Holding the the button for three seconds will halt the currently active camera trigger before booting the WiFi AP in programming mode.
  • Cyan flash: UpBlink is currently triggering a schedule that requires an upload, but has not yet obtained an internet connection. Holding the the button for three seconds will halt the currently active trigger before booting the WiFi AP in programming mode.
  • Blue flash: UpBlink is currently triggering a schedule requires and upload and has obtained an internet connection. Holding the the button for three seconds will halt the currently active trigger before booting the WiFi AP in programming mode.
  • Yellow flash: UpBlink is currently in programming mode. Holding the button for three seconds will shutdown the WiFi Access Point and resume capture mode.
  • Red flash: UpBlink is using firmware older than v2.5.0 (released Feb1, 2021) and the firmware should be updated. UpBlink is currently triggering a capture schedule. Wait for schedule's trigger to finish before you may activate the WiFi AP in programming mode.

5. Powering UpBlink

UpBlink is powered externally via a micro USB cable plugged into the power port of UpBlink. UpBlink will then manage power to the connected camera via the CamDo custom USB-C cable.

PoE (power over ethernet) can also be used where available to power the UpBlink using a PoE splitter that can supply 5V 2A via a MicroUSB port. Data connections can be supplied using a USB-to-Ethernet adapter on the same line.

 


RX0-with-Battery

5.1 Sony camera battery requirement

The Sony camera's battery must remain inside the camera's battery compartment. UpBlink will maintain a charge to the camera's battery and can reset the camera to restore system functionality should any camera error be experienced.
RX0-with-Battery

5.2 GoPro camera battery requirement

It is strongly recommended to remove the GoPro battery for reliable long-term deployment. When the GoPro battery is removed, your power supply must be rated for at least 2Amps output at 5Volts. If your power supply cannot provide 2Amps, the GoPro battery can remain inside the camera to provide the additional power require by the camera and UpBlink will maintain a charge to the GoPro battery. However, the use of the GoPro battery will disable the *safety reset feature.

For long term GoPro installations, you must remove the internal battery of the GoPro camera to allow UpBlink to hard reset the camera that can restore system functionality should a GoPro camera error be experienced.

Remove-H5B-Battery

*Safety Reset Feature: Removing the GoPro battery allows for UpBlink to fully manage the power supply to the GoPro camera. Therefore if the GoPro camera becomes unresponsive, such as in the event of a camera crash, UpBlink can pull all power from the GoPro to force a hard reset to restore functionality to the system (similar to pulling and replacing the GoPro battery when the camera crashes). However, if the GoPro battery remains inside the camera, when UpBlink attempts to remove power from the GoPro, the camera will not reset since the GoPro remains powered from the camera battery.

5.3 External USB Battery Power

If using an external battery pack, ensure that the battery output has an "Always On" operation. It is important to note that most of the USB battery packs on the market have a standard automatic power saving feature which turns off the battery output if the battery pack is not constantly supplying power to a device (Auto Off feature). If the Sony/GoPro is powered off for more than a few minutes between scheduled triggers, the external battery pack might automatically shutdown due to inactivity. This automatic off power saving mode would result in the camera system becoming unpowered, while the large battery pack still has lots of capacity remaining.

Our battery packs are specially designed for use with the UpBlink controller because they have an Always On power output mode. Our V50 battery packs have the "Always On" mode enabled whenever a USB cable is connected to either of the USB output ports.

However, our (discontinued) V44 and V15 battery packs have two modes of operation, the "Always On" mode that is required for UpBlink as well as the standard "Auto Off" mode. With the V44 and V15, Always On mode must be manually enabled to prevent the battery output from automatically turning off since the camera system is drawing very low power between scheduled triggers. Below is a video showing how to confirm your V44 or V15 battery pack is set to the correct Always On mode of operation.


6. Connecting to the UpBlink app

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

  1. Plug a 5Volt micro USB power source into the power port of UpBlink.
    UpBlink does not need to be connected to the Sony/GoPro camera to access the UpBlink App to program schedules. UpBlink does need to be connected to the Sony/GoPro camera via the included custom CamDo USB C cable for triggering the camera.
    Attach 5V Power to UpBlink
  2. Press the wifi button on the top of UpBlink (Alternatively, use a button press from a wired remote attached to port 1). Holding the button for three seconds will activate the WiFi signal. While booting up the WiFi Access Point signal the LED will flash green once a second. When the WiFi signal becomes active and available for connection, the LED will flash green quickly five times before continuing to flash green once every five seconds to indicate the WiFi Access Point signal is actively broadcasting.
    UpBlink WiFi Button
    If the LED illuminates yellow when the button is pressed, UpBlink is currently booting up or broadcasting the WiFi AP signal and holding the button will end the process to resume capture mode. See Section on LED Status for additional LED indications.
  3. With a smartphone or laptop connect to the UpBlink’s WiFi network that will begin with “UpBlink”. The default network name is labeled UpBlink_XXXXXX, where XXXXXX corresponds to the last 6 digits of the MAC address for UpBlink. However, the appended text of the UpBlink WiFi network name can be adjusted through the web interface. If prompted for a password, the default password is: 1234567890
    UpBlink WiFi Network
  4. Now navigate to the URL http://10.0.0.5:5000 with your standard web browser, such as Chrome or Safari. It’s important to include the “http://” as some web browsers require this.
    UpBlink 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 UpBlink. Since connecting to UpBlink's WiFi Access Point network does not provide external internet access, some devices will not stay connected to UpBlink. 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 schedule of UpBlink.

6.1 Controlling UpBlink WiFi

UpBlink’s WiFi Access Point signal can be turned on and off by holding down the wifi button on the top of UpBlink for 3 seconds. A wired remote plugged into port 1 can also be used as an alternative to the wifi button.

UpBlink-Hold-WiFi-Button

If the LED illuminates green when the button is pressed, UpBlink is currently in capture mode awaiting the next scheduled trigger and holding the button for three seconds will activate the WiFi AP signal. If the LED flashes white, cyan, or blue, UpBlink is currently processing a scheduled trigger and holding the button for three seconds will end the currently active process before activating the WiFi AP signal. UpBlink flashes the LED green once a second while booting up the WiFi Access Point and then green once every 5 seconds to indicate that WiFi Access Point is actively broadcasting and can be connected to using your smartphone/computer.
See Section on LED Status for additional LED indications.

Once UpBlink has been programmed, the WiFi Access Point must be turned off to resume capture mode. This is done by either pressing the "Restart in capture mode" button from the programming UI, or holding the wifi button down for 3 seconds. When the button is pressed, the LED will flash yellow indicating that the UpBlink busy broadcasting the WiFi Access Point and continuing to hold the button for three seconds will end this active process. While shutting down the WiFi Access Point signal the LED will flash yellow once a second until the WiFi signal has turned off. When the LED is inactive, UpBlink is now in capture mode and will trigger the camera at the programmed schedule times. When in capture mode a short button press will flash the LED green when not triggering the camera and white/cyan/blue if a camera trigger is in process.

6.2 Creating an iPhone shortcut

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

  1. After you have connected to the UpBlink WiFi signal with your iPhone / iPad, navigate to http://10.0.0.5:5000 in the Safari web browser.
  2. Click on the small box icon with an arrow pointing up. Then click on add to homescreen.

ios_addtohomescreen

6.3 Creating an Android shortcut

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

  1. After you have connected to the UpBlink WiFi signal with your Android phone, navigate to http://10.0.0.5:5000 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”.

Android-Shortcut

7. User Interface

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

UpBlink-UI-Labeled

A. Restart Button: UpBlink's capture schedules are inactive while the WiFi Access Point is broadcasting. Clicking the RESTART IN CAPTURE MODE button will shutdown the WiFi Access Point to activate the schedules in capture mode.

B. Settings Menu: Click the Settings drawer to open the UpBlink's settings menu. This menu provides selection of UpBlink's interfacing ports, including the camera control type (Sony or GoPro) and LED flash indicators. Also included in the settings menu is an optional text field allows you to change the appended text for the network name of UpBlink's WiFi Access Point.
UpBlink-Settings-Menu

C. Save All: Clicking SAVE ALL will store the settings for all schedules. Important: Be sure to click "SAVE ALL" if any changes are made to the schedules. The Status message box (D) will display if there are unsaved changed to the schedules. If any schedule errors are present, the SAVE ALL button will become grey and disabled, while the problem schedule will become highlighted red. Correct any scheduling errors to enable the green SAVE ALL button.

D. Status Message: This box will display information about your programmed schedules as well as communication status between your viewing device and UpBlink. The box will display Success if your device is connected to UpBlink's WiFi and the controller has accepted the issued command. If your device is no longer connected to UpBlink's WiFi or a communication error has occurred, the disconnection message will be displayed here.

E. Firmware: Displays the current firmware version of UpBlink and the Sony/GoPro camera.

F. Camera Status: Displays information about the Sony or GoPro camera including; the camera's battery life, SD capacity available, and if the camera is powered on with open communication to UpBlink.

G. Camera Time: Displays the time and date used by UpBlink when triggering the programmed schedules. This time and date will be automatically pushed to the GoPro camera when it is triggered by UpBlink making it very easy to keep the system time up to date. The Sony camera time is not synced, although UpBlink's timestamp is used in the file naming of any images set to upload. If Cloud uploads are enabled, UpBlink will sync the clock with an NTP server when connected to the internet to ensure the time always remains accurate.

H. Sync Time: Clicking the Sync Time button will push the local viewing device's time, date, and location settings (timezone) to the UpBlink.

I. Upcoming Schedules: Displays the time&date that the next Camera Trigger or Cloud Upload are scheduled to occur.

J. Manual Test Controls: This menu can be hidden/revealed by clicking on the drawer to provide a way of manually controlling the camera. These controls are typically only needed to test that the camera is communicating with the UpBlink controller.
UpBlink-Manual-Controls

K. Tool-tip: Tooltips are located throughout the UI and clicking on them can provide additional information on the feature.

L. Test Connection Button: Click to verify if an internet connection can be achieved from the network programmed in the Upload Schedule. If connected to the internet, UpBlink will also check if a newer UpBlink firmware version is available.

M. WiFi Network List: After a WiFi search, this drawer will update to contain a list of 2.4GHz WiFi networks located by UpBlink and the signal strength of each network.

N. Upload Schedule: To upload your images to the CamDo CloudX server, click the Upload Schedule drawer to open the schedule to enter your email address, router details, and upload settings. With the GoPro camera, the Upload frequency is set the same way as the capture schedules. With the Sony camera, Upload frequency is programmed in the capture schedule. For image upload capability, you must have either a "USB-Ethernet device" connected to UpBlink's USB port, or a 2.4GHz WiFi router/hotspot signal within the range of UpBlink to provide the internet connection. For more information see section 9. CloudX Uploads.

O. Capture Schedules: These numbered schedules 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 Window, Mode, and Action. Setting these 5 elements will fully define what the camera will do and when it will do it. For more information see section 8. Setting up a Schedule.

P. Example Schedules: Clicking the SET EXAMPLE SCHEDULE button will load the default schedule(s) selected in the dropdown selectors. The loaded example schedules will not become saved until clicking the SAVE ALL button. Refresh the page to reload the schedules that are currently saved to UpBlink's memory.

Q. Logs Page: Clicking the Logs Page link will navigate your browser to the Event Log page, which can be useful for troubleshooting.

 

8. Setting up a Schedule

  1. Adjust camera's settings.
    • GoPro)
      Turn on the GoPro camera to adjust the default settings (See section 8.1 below for GoPro capture mode information). To conserve power, set the touch display brightness to the lowest 10%, the screensaver time to 1 min, and disable voice control. The LED, beep volume, and GPS can also be disabled to conserve additional power if not required.
      H5B-Preferences-Menu
      It is strongly 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.
      Remove-H5B-Battery
    • Sony)
      Turn on the camera to set the Sony camera's USB mode to "PC Remote" to allow UpBlink control of the camera. The USB mode selector of the RX0 series can be set through:
      MENU → (Setup3) → [USB Connection] → [PC Remote]
      RX0-PC-Control-USB-Mode
      For UpBlink to confirm when the camera has captured a file, the Sony's Image Save Destination needs to be set to include "PC".
      MENU → (Setup3) → [PC Remote Setting] → [Still Img. Save Dest.] →
      • [PC+Camera] for saving to the camera’s SD card,
      • or [PC Only] to skip saving to the camera’s SD card.

    The Sony camera's battery should remain inside the and default photo capture settings should be adjusted before deployment (See section 8.2 below for Sony capture mode information). To conserve power, set the monitor brightness and volume to the lowest values, which can be set in the RX0 through:
    MENU → (Setup1) → [Monitor Brightness] → [-2]
    MENU → (Setup1) → [Volume Settings] → [0]
  2. Connect the camera port of UpBlink to the Sony or GoPro camera using the custom USB C cable that came with UpBlink.
    • GoPro)
      The orientation of the GoPro cable is not spesific as the cable is reversible.
      UpBlink_H5B
    • Sony)
      The orientation of the Sony cable must have the checkmark symbol facing the UpBlink label. UpBlink_RX0
      NOTE: UpBlink's Camera port will only work with the CamDo custom USB C cables. Using any other may not trigger the camera or damage the camera or UpBlink.
  3. Connect the power port of UpBlink to a micro USB power source and wait for the LED to flash green twice, indicating UpBlink is receiving power. The USB power source should be rated for 2Amps output at 5Volts. If using our V50 battery pack, the 'Always On mode' is automatic and no battery configuration is necessary. If using our V44 battery pack, make sure to enable the Always On mode.
    2Amp USB Port
  4. Turn on UpBlink's WiFi Access Point signal used for programming by holding down the wifi button for three seconds.
    While booting up the WiFi Access Point signal the LED will flash green once a second. When the WiFi signal becomes active, the LED will flash green quickly five times before continuing to flash green once every five seconds to indicate the WiFi Access Point signal is actively broadcasting. See Section on LED Status for additional LED indications.
    UpBlink-Hold-WiFi-Button
  5. With a smartphone or computer connect to the UpBlink’s WiFi network that will begin with “UpBlink”. The default network name is labeled UpBlink_XXXXXX, where XXXXXX corresponds to the last 6 digits of the MAC address for UpBlink. However, the appended text of the UpBlink WiFi network name can be adjusted through the web interface. If prompted for a password, the default password is: 1234567890
    UpBlink_Search_WiFi
  6. Open a web browser and navigate to http://10.0.0.5:5000 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.
    UpBlink-UI_URL
  7. Click the SYNC TIME button to update the UpBlink's time, date, and location settings with the local settings on your browsing device.
    UpBlink-Sync-Time-Button
  8. Open the UpBlink's Setting menu to select your camera control type. The currently selected camera control type is shown in the Camera Status container at the top of the UI.
    UpBlink-Select-Camera-Menu
  9. Modify a schedule to suit your capture requirements. In this example, we will create a GoPro schedule to take an image every 5 minutes, Monday through Friday, 8am till 5pm. To create the schedule, click on any of the numbered capture schedule drawers to complete the following:
    • Set the "Start Date" and "End Date" of your schedule.
      - In this example, the start date is set before the current date to begin the schedule immediately.
    • Click to highlight the days of the week for the schedule to be active.
      - As can be seen in the example image below, Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr are highlighted in blue, indicating they are active capture days.
    • Set the active "Start Time" and "End Time" for the day's schedule.
    • From the “Select a mode” menu, set the type of schedule.
      • For "Select your interval", set the length of time between each camera trigger. The minimum interval is 60seconds.
        - An interval of 5 mins between images in this example.
    • From the “Select an action” menu, set the type of camera trigger. UpBlink will switch the camera to the selected mode to preform the action. For more information on available Actions, see the next section 8.1 Selecting a GoPro Action or 8.2 Selecting a Sony Action
      - in this example, GoPro Photo mode is selected.
      UpBlink-Example-Schedule
  1. Follow the same procedure to set additional Schedules as needed. If overlapping schedules have been programmed and there is a conflict between a start time for any action, the priority is given to the lower numbered schedule. If a schedule is due to be triggered while another schedule is currently performing a task (recording/uploading) the new schedule's trigger will be skipped.
  2. Once a schedule has been modified, be sure to click the “Enable Schedule” button. A quick way to tell if a schedule is enabled is by the dark blue colour of the drop-down box.
    enabledisable
  3. After making adjustments to the required schedules, click the SAVE ALL button pinned to the top of the UI inside the status message box. The status message box will update to display that the schedules have been saved and the camera status box will update to report when the Next Active Schedule is due to be triggered when UpBlink's programming mode has been disabled and UpBlink resumes capture mode.
    If any schedule errors are present, the SAVE ALL button will become grey and disabled, while the problem schedule will be highlighted red. Correct any scheduling errors to enable the green SAVE ALL button to save your schedules. The page will refresh and your next interval scheduled should be shown in the status bar.
    UpBlink_Save-and-Restart
  4. To begin the capture schedules, click the RESET TO CAPTURE MODE button at the top of the UI page to end programming mode. Alternatively, hold the WiFi button on the top of the UpBlink controller for three seconds. While UpBlink is restarting, the LED will flash yellow once per second and the LED will go dark when UpBlink has resumed capture mode.

8.1 Selecting a GoPro Action

UpBlink-GoPro-Actions

By selecting the schedule's action, UpBlink will switch the GoPro camera to the selected mode but will use the default resolutions, frame rates, and Protune settings for photo, night photo, burst photo, and video modes that have been set from the GoPro camera. Ensure to set the desired image/video settings from the GoPro camera menu before deployment.

H5B-Image-Settings

Selecting the "Video" & "Camera On" actions require setting the active duration. Note that the duration selected does not include the additional time for the camera to bootup and shutdown when preforming the action. Ensure that your action's duration allows time for the camera to complete the shutdown before the next action is scheduled to be triggered.
For example, a 2minute interval for a 120second video action will only capture footage every 4minutes. This is because the camera is still preforming the current action when the next trigger is scheduled.

Scheduling a "Camera On" action turns the GoPro on at the scheduled time with no further action, such as switching camera modes or triggering the shutter to capture footage. This can be used for scheduling a USB download window, or for using the camera's HDMI video output signal rather than recording to the camera's SD card.

While UpBlink is typically used to automatically upload footage to CloudX via and internet connection, various options available for manually downloading footage from the GoPro during a time lapse when using our UpBlink time lapse controller are outlined on the following page: https://cam-do.com/pages/how-to-download-your-gopro-time-lapse-footage-with-blinkx

8.2 Selecting a Sony Action

UpBlink-SonyActions

By selecting the schedule's action, UpBlink preform the selected action and will use the default photo capture settings that have been set from the Sony camera. Ensure to set the desired capture settings from the Sony camera menu before deployment.

RX0-Image-Settings

Selecting the "Video" & "Camera On" actions require setting the active duration. Note that the duration selected does not include the additional time for the camera to bootup and shutdown when preforming the action. Ensure that your action's duration allows time for the camera to complete the shutdown before the next action is scheduled to be triggered.
For example, a 2minute interval for a 120second video action will only capture footage every 4minutes. This is because the camera is still preforming the current action when the next trigger is scheduled.

Scheduling a "Camera On" action turns the Sony camera on at the scheduled time with no further action, such as switching camera modes or triggering the shutter to capture footage. This can be used for viewing the camera's HDMI output signal rather than recording to the camera's SD card.

9. CloudX Uploads

For image upload capability (CloudX Pro), you must have a Sony (with PC Remote mode) or HERO5 Black camera. When used with other GoPro camera models, UpBlink can trigger capture events but not upload image files and will only upload camera status information (CloudX Lite).

9.1 CloudX Registration and Subscriptions:

Each UpBlink includes a free trial period to the CloudX upload service and remains unregistered until the first connection to our CloudX server. Upon the first successful connection to the CloudX server, the UpBlink will become registered to the CloudX account for the email address used in the programming interface. Once UpBlink is registered to your CloudX account and has begun the free trial period, you will then be able to login to your CloudX account at portal.cam-do.com to manage subscriptions and device settings. If the email address programmed in UpBlink is not yet registered in CloudX, you will be sent a CloudX account activation email within a few minutes.

See our CloudX User Manual for additional information about the upload service: https://cam-do.com/pages/cloudx-manual

9.2 Internet Connection:

To provide the internet connection to the CloudX server, UpBlink requires either a USB-Ethernet device connected to UpBlink's USB port, or a 2.4GHz WiFi router/hotspot signal within the range of UpBlink. If a modem is able to provide internet by broadcasting a 2.4GHz WiFi signal, or has an Ethernet cable output (that can be used with a USB Ethernet adapter​), or has a USB output that identifies as an Ethernet device when connected to a USB port, it should be compatible with UpBlink.

When an upload schedule is active, UpBlink’s USB-A port will supply power to the connected USB accessory allowing this port to manage power for a "MiFi USB hotspot router" (broadcasts WiFi signal) or "USB modem" (provides Ethernet signal over USB-data). See below for hotspot options.

The information used by UpBlink to connect to the internet is entered within the "Upload Schedule" drawer. The Upload Schedule is valid and enabled when the drawer is highlighted blue and icon displays a checkmark within a cloud symbol. Ensure you select the "Internet connection" type in the dropdown menu that matches your connection type.

UpBlink_Cloud_Menu

Once your connection information has been entered, it is recommended to use the "Test Connection" button above the "Upload Schedule" to confirm your UpBlink can connect to the internet using the information provided and that you are running the most recent UpBlink firmware available. The internet connection should be tested at the deployment site to confirm internet access is available at the desired location. If there is a weak WiFi signal, you may need a secondary(client) modem placed closer to the camera. If using a USB modem and receiving a weak internet signal, you may need to attach an external antenna to the modem to improve cellular signal, or contact your data provider.

Test_Internet_Connection

If the test connection was successful, UpBlink will display if the firmware is upto date or download the latest firmware if a newer version is available.

Test_Internet_Connection

If the internet connection was unsuccessful, UpBlink will display the error message. If attempting a connection to a WiFi network, clicking "View List of Located WiFi Networks" will display a list of the available networks along with their associated signal strength.

Test_Internet_Connection

9.3 Upload Settings:

All images captured by the GoPro will be saved to the SD card with the resolution set from GoPro camera menu. However, UpBlink provides the option to upload either the full sized image on the SD card or a smaller compressed image to reduce the upload file size.

UpBlink_Upload_Menu

The upload mode menu provides the option to either upload all images that have been captured after a specific date, or upload only the latest image that was captured before the upload schedule was triggered.

The Maximum Upload Duration timeout period is used to ensure the uploading of footage is stopped after a set amount of time has elapsed. The upload timeout can be set for durations as short as two minutes for uploading images between capture intervals. The minimum upload timeout period that is required to complete the upload of all footage will be dependent on the number of photos and router's internet speed.

The Maximum Reconnect Timeout period is the maximum amount of time UpBlink will spend trying to obtain an internet connection. This value can be increased from the default 2minutes if the modem has a slow bootup time or has a "low power sleep mode". This power/data saving mode is typical of modems using mobile SIM data when remaining powered for long periods of inactivity. If the modem is in a low power rest/sleep mode, the modem might be broadcasting the WiFi network so that it can be located and connected to but does not maintain an internet connection until a device has connected. Once a device has connected, the modem might take awhile for the router to "wake up" into the fully powered and internet connected state.

When the Upload Schedule is triggered, UpBlink will download photos from the camera's SD card before uploading the footage to the CloudX server. UpBlink will always attempt to download and upload at least one image per Upload Schedule trigger regardless of the timeout period set. If images have been referenced for upload but have not yet been uploaded to CloudX, the number of backlogged photos will be displayed in the UI. When photos have completed the CloudX upload, the backlogged photos will be removed from UpBlink's memory. Clicking the DELETE BACKLOG button will remove all backlogged footage from UpBlink as well as clear the reference to the latest indexed file. If using the Upload All Photos mode, ensure to adjust the cut-off date to avoid re-uploading the same footage.

9.4 Using a 3G/4G Hotspot:

To upload your images using a 3G/4G hotspot, just plug a suitable USB modem/hotspot/MiFi into UpBlink's USB-A port. UpBlink controls power to the modem via the USB-A port incorporated, therefore only turning on the modem when upload is scheduled to conserve power. We have some suggested modems listed here but generally any 3G or 4G USB stick hotspot that creates a WiFi network or identifies as a USB-Ethernet device will work.

Poor cellular signal?

Many USB modems have one or two ports to attach external antenna that may greatly improve the cell signal of the modem.

TS9-External-Antenna-Port The USB800 & USB730L modems (pictured above) have a TS9 antenna port for connecting an external cellular antenna.

Suitable 3G/4G hotspots

From UpBlink firmware version v2.0.1, we recommend the following cost effective modems. IF THE MODEM HAS NOT BEEN PURCHASED FROM YOUR LOCAL TELCO PLEASE MAKE SURE THE APN SETTINGS ARE CORRECTLY SETUP FOR YOUR TELCO's NETWORK. YOU WILL NEED A COMPUTER AND WEB BROWSER TO DO THIS. YOUR TELCO WILL NEED TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT SETTINGS.

  • ZTE MF70A
  • Huawei E3372
  • Huawei E8372. This modem is rebadged by many telco's around the world and is an excellent cost effective option.
CamDo provide the following guidance to setup the APN to assist however we cannot provide technical support for your modem, please contact your telco.
    • Plug the E8372 into your computer
    • Connect to the E8372 wifi network
    • Navigate to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.8.1 (this can vary between regions, please check the user manual)
    • Default username is 'admin'. Default password is 'admin'. Click login.
    • If you are asked for a PIN, the default is '0000'. Click 'Apply'. If this does not work, please stop and contact your telco to avoid being locked out from too many incorrect attempts.
    • Click 'Settings' from top menu bar.
    • Click 'Dial-Up' -> 'Profile Management' 
    • Make sure a Profile exists. If not, click 'New Profile' to create a new profile and enter the details from your telco for your network.

The following specific modem models work for carriers in the US.

  • Huawei E3372h-510 (T-Mobile) - USB modem
  • Huawei E8372h-517 (AT&T) - wifi hotspot modem
  • ZTE MF70/A (T-Mobile) - wifi hotspot modem
  • Novatel USB730L Global Modem (Verizon) - USB modem
  • Inseego USB8L Global Modem - (Verizon) - USB modem
  • Inseego USB800 Global Modem - (AT&T) - USB modem

Any USB powered hotspot that plugs into a USB-A port for power (with no internal battery) and creates a local WiFi network or identifies as a USB-Ethernet device should be suitable, however there are some hotspots that are very power hungry and will not work such as the 'Jetpack' series of modems. UpBlink connects via WiFi/Ethernet to the hotspot to then upload footage. There are many hotspots available in different parts of the world and there are different models being released all the time. We would love to hear which USB modems you have used successfully. USB modems with an internal battery that can be removed may be suitable, but you will have to test if the hotspot automatically turns on, when powered via the modems's USB charging port. This is because UpBlink turns power off to the hotspot between upload intervals to save power, so the modem's battery would not consistently recharge and may become depleted.

Unsuitable 3G/4G hotspots

The following modems ARE NOT SUITABLE:

  • Alcatel Linkzone Mw40/41 - works with battery removed but too power hungry!
  • Alcatel Linkkey - M2M modem that requires help with different mode switch rules to be implemented

  • AT&T Unit Express 2 - made by Netgear (AC797S)

  • ZTE MF910 (sold by Telstra as a Hotspot - the "4GX Wi-Fi Plus") - doesn't work with battery removed
  • Huawei E5832 - wifi hotspot but does not work with battery removed
  • Huawei E5251 - wifi hotspot but does not work with battery removed

10. Updating UpBlink Firmware

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

11. Troubleshooting

Additional UpBlink Troubleshooting information can be found here.

What happens if there is a conflict between schedules?

If overlapping schedules have been programmed and there is a conflict between a start time for any action, the priority is given to the lower numbered schedule. For example, schedule 1 has priority over schedule 2.
If a schedule is due to be triggered while another schedule is currently performing a task (recording/uploading) the new schedule's trigger will be skipped.

What is the UpBlink Event Log?

When UpBlink encounters a problem, an entry is saved into the Event Log. You can access the UpBlink's Event Log page when connected to UpBlink's WiFi and using your web browser to navigate to the URL: http://10.0.0.5:5000/log.html or by clicking the Logs Page link at the bottom of the UpBlink programming interface.
UpBlink-Event-Log-Page-Link

 

12. Frame the Shoot with the Sony Camera and UpBlink

When UpBlink is used with the Sony RX0 camera (or another Sony camera with "PC Remote" USB control mode) a low resolution view of the camera's field of view can be loaded into the UI via the Manual Controls menu.

1.Turn on the camera to set the Sony camera's USB mode to "PC Remote" to allow UpBlink control of the camera. The USB mode selector of the RX0 can be set through:
MENU → (Setup3) → [USB Connection] → [PC Remote]
Pair GoPro
2.Turn on the UpBlink WiFi signal and close the enclosure before connecting to the programming web interface.
3.Open the UpBlink's Setting menu to select "Sony Control" from the "Camera Control Type" dropdown selector.
The currently selected camera control type is shown in the Camera Status container at the top of the UI.
4.If the Sony camera is not powered on, open the manual control menu and power on the camera. When the Sony camera is communicating with UpBlink, the camera's values will load into the camera status container and the additional Manual Controls buttons will become enabled.
5.Click the Video Preview button to load a low resolution view of the camera. The Video Preview button's icon will be red while the preview is active. Once the desired camera view is obtained, click the Video Preview button again to end the camera preview.


13. 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.


13.1 Framing GoPro's view with BlinkX and UpBlink


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/UpBlink WiFi signal and close the enclosure before connecting to the programming web interface. If using BlinkX, disable any currently active schedules and hit the Save All button to ensure that they will not interfere with the framing procedure. UpBlink does not trigger schedules while in programming mode
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/UpBlink 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. If using UpBlink, ensure to click the "RESTART IN CAPTURE MODE" button to disable UpBlink's WiFi and begin the capture schedules. Reference here for more details regarding BlinkX setup, or here for more details regarding UpBlink 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


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

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