Greatly improve battery life on cheap action cameras

At one point, GoPro was valued at over eleven billion dollars. It’s now about to be a penny stock, because if surfers can make action cameras and video editing software, anybody can. Action cameras are everywhere, and one of the cheapest is the SQ11. It’s a scam of the Polaroid Cube, has a non-standard USB plug, a small battery, and the video isn’t that great. It only costs eight dollars, so [pixelk] decided to significantly expand the capabilities of this inexpensive camera for an entry for the Hackaday price.

The main drawback of the SQ11 action camera is the small battery. It would be a 200mAh battery, but the 1-2 hours of battery life shown is nothing like the real thing. The solution to this problem, like most things in life, is to throw lithium batteries at the problem.

[pixelk] disassembled the SQ11 action camera and 3D printed a much longer case meant to accommodate a single 18650 battery. There is a protection circuit, so it’s okay, but there is still a problem: the charging circuit of the battery. The camera is designed for a 200mAh battery – charging an 18650 cell would probably take a day. This is not a problem, as this case leaves the battery removable, for easy recharging in an external device.

Does that make the SQ11 a good camera? Marginally, yes. If you have to record video for hours and hours, you couldn’t do better than an eight-dollar camera and four dollars in spare parts.

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