A few years back I got myself a GoPro. It was something I’d wanted for a long time, and after it spent about 12 months sitting on a wish list (which you should be doing, too) I decided it was time to take the plunge.
Taking out the fact that their marketing team is on point, these things are just fucking cool. It’s such a damn tiny camera and can take some damn amazing shots.
Maybe the more astute of you can see where this is going…
A few months later it had been sitting on my table in front of me for quite some time, but not for the reason you’re probably expecting – it was faulty.
The photos and videos were coming out with a purple hue over them, which isn’t really in line with the cinematic look I was going for.
It was a shame but in fairness to GoPro support they pulled out all the stops and within 7 days I had a new unit sitting in my hand. Even more kudos to ’em for getting it to me in time for moving to Canada which required a bit of diplomatic prioritising on their part.
The next few chapters of this “GoPro and me” story could safely fall within the real life section of the book– the honeymoon period had worn off, but I was still using the thing on a somewhat regular basis. Enough for me to be happy knowing it wasn’t a total waste of money.
That was until the second problem cropped up – “SD ERR”. Essentially the issue this time was the camera having problems writing to the SD card. The worst part of it all though was that it was very intermittent; I could get away with an hour of recording problem free, or it could happen ten times in a minute.
So while I could get lucky on a particular day and not have a single issue, I could also get very unlucky and miss every shot I went to take.
I’d of course gotten in touch with GoPro support again, who had a long list of possible solutions and troubleshooting steps, but the end result was that the camera was faulty. A replacement unit wasn’t an option either, because at this stage the camera was out of warranty.
I decided that if the camera was already broke, messing around with it a bit wasn’t going to do any harm. And while I didn’t think that the problem was related to a botched update (which is one of the troubleshooting steps GoPro accounted for), I somehow got it into my head that it only started happening after an update a few months back.
So I tried rolling it back to version 1.0, the very first software version the camera shipped with, to see if the issue remained.
Three full SD cards and 4.5 hours of recording later I had no issues.
So I updated it to the latest firmware again to see if the fix remained, and now I am 1.5 hours into recording with no signs of issue.
So while I’m still apprehensive that I’ve actually fixed it (more testing will be needed to figure that out), there is a reason that I’m telling this story…
Technology and every day products have come on a lot in the last ten or so years. They’re quite advanced now and that can sometimes be a little scary when it comes to trying to DIY fix things.
But cases like this, cases of “Well it’s already broken and can’t be fixed, so breaking it more won’t be any worse”, are perfect times to try to learn something.
You might not be as lucky as I was – you might not end up fixing anything at all – but it will serve as a learning experience. You will come out the other side having picked up a few new skills or at least some new information.
So if you’ve got some stuff that’s sitting around the house, stuff that’s already broken or very outdated – mess with it, play with it, and take it apart. Don’t be afraid to get a screwdriver at it to see what make it tick.
Because while I’m not an expert at anything at all, most of what I know was learned from taking things apart and seeing what’s inside!
Side note: GoPro’s are still awesome and I wouldn’t hesitate in getting another one. I’ve just been quite unlucky with mind and most people end up with flawless devices. Plus, amazing customer service goes a long way in my book, and they’ve pulled out all the stops.