A couple of months ago I invested in a Go Pro Hero 2 video camera, intending to record some of my in-car exploits to go along with the reviews. While I was immediately impressed with the HD visuals recorded by the tiny camera, I quickly realised that the audio suffered from a terrible rattling noise. Watch the clip below for an example:
With the Go Pro mounted anywhere on a car, as soon as it was travelling at anything above walking pace there would be a constant rattle that dominated the soundtrack. At first I thought this was coming from the mount, so I made sure that everything was tightened up nicely and tried again. No, still rattling.
After a bit of head scratching and various experiments I thought it was just some movement of the camera within the Go Pro’s transparent mounting case and it was something I’d have to live with. I decided to start looking at alternatives for recording the audio.
However, I recently realised that the rattle was coming from inside the Go Pro itself, not the mounting case. Gently shaking the camera revealed a light rattle but when I pressed the top shutter button down the rattle went away. OK, so it’s a fault inside the Go Pro, but how do you fix it?
A bit of searching on the internet forums led to some advice. Basically you crack open the case, stick some sponge underneath the shutter button, and Bob’s your uncle – the rattling disappears. So here is my mini-tutorial on how to fix the infamous Go Pro rattling.
First things first – take some brave pills! This is going to invalidate any warranty your Go Pro may have and you run the risk of destroying it, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Next you need a jeweller’s screwdriver with a cross head and a piece of sponge. A normal car sponge will do, or some of that grey stuff you get in packaging.
Now open your Go Pro’s back and remove the battery. In each corner you will see a black screw. Very carefully undo the screws, but beware – they thread easily. I ruined one of them and that made this much more difficult. Also, make sure you note which screw comes from which corner. The left hand screws have a different thread to those on the right, so don’t get them mixed up!
Having undone the screws, now remove the grey sticker that covers the battery compartment. Now we come to a delicate part. Carefully prise open the case, starting on the right-hand side (where the memory card fits). You have to start here because on the left side is the ribbon cable for the Backpack and the wires to the speaker. If you simply rip the case open you’ll damage those wires.
Now that you have opened the case you can work on the shutter button. Gently pull the shutter button out of the case, swinging it out to the left. Now cut a thin strip of sponge and insert it over the white button and, while holding it in place, slide the shutter button back into place. Yes, this is a bit fiddly.
With the shutter button back in position make sure that it still operates and you can feel it clicking. If you can’t feel the button click it may be that you’ve packed in too much sponge, so cut some away and try again.
When you’re happy with the shutter button close the case back up, carefully screw it back together and then re-try the shake test. With any luck the rattling that could be hard before will have gone. Now for the real test – put the battery back in, load the camera into its case and get out on the road to try it again.
Hopefully your Go Pro audio will be a lot clearer. Check out the brief clip below for an example of my mostly rattle-free audio. It’s still not great, there’s another more subtle vibration on the audio track, but at least the sounds in the cabin are a lot clearer.