Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Camera and External Battery Modification

If your going to do a trip of this length of course you want to record it!!  Now I know people who can spend an absolute fortune on camera's devices etc..

Well my experience is that I have neither the knowledge or skill with a camera to justify thousands of pounds worth of camera, so I set off to buy a video camera that would meet my requirments of:

1. Sufficient record time
2. Easy enough to use
3. Not so costly that i would cry if a smash killed it.

Heres what I came up with:

Samsung SMX-K40

I purchased from ebay a second hand Samsung SMX-K40 that has the following specs:

  • Digital Zoom 2200 x (great if I need it)
  • Image Stabilizer Optical  (helps with shaking on the bike!)
  • Widescreen Video Capture Yes (great for capture on panoramas)
  • Supported Resolution 1080p (so looks good after on big screens)
  • Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card
  • Zoom lens - 2.1 mm - 109.2 mm - F/1.8
  • Optical Zoom 65 x  (again a great spec
  • Features Built-in lens shield (see pics below i added another shield)
  • LCD display - TFT active matrix - 2.7 in - Color
  • Type Microphone - Built-in
  • Microphone Features Wind noise reduction (brilliant for on the bike i also have another trick)
  • Connector Type 1 x USB , 1 x Composite video/audio output , 1 x DC power input , 1 x HDMI output  (the DC input is important you will see why later)
  • Expansion Slot(s) 1 x SD Memory Card  (standard cards easy to get)
This cost me £45.00 inc postage :-)

I went to my local camera shop in Worcester and asked for a UV filter lens to fit on for my project, they didn't have one in stock but the lovely young lady went into the back and said theres two secondhand ones you can have for £3.00  a BARGAIN!  (I won't tell you what the camera shop in Birmingham City Centre wanted to charge me...).   I added a 32Gb SD card.

The only downside with this camera was the short recording time, the battery just ran down to quickly and I knew on a long run this wouldn't work.  But I had a plan:


First of all, I am telling EVERYONE not to do this as I will not be responsible for any mistakes damage fire or injuries I am describing purely for my blog.

Because this camera has an external AC adapter that can be used to power the camera while it is recording I had the ability with some quick mods to add some serious recording time.  Here's how:


  1. Long life external battery with USB output  (I have a 2000 mAh battery) 
    1. outputs at 1 amp or 2.1 amps
  2. 1 USB cable
  3. 1 spare charger for this camera (bought from fleabay £5.00)


  1. Plug the charger in and using a multimeter work out which pin is negative and which positive.
  2. Cut the end of the USB cable strip all of the cables seperately and don't let them join
  3. Use the multimeter to check which one is negative and which one supplies the 5v mine had:
    1. 1 x negative, 2 x 3.3v and 1 x 5v
  4. Join the negative and positive from the USB to the Samsung Charger end. Insulate and join the wires.
  5. Plug into the external battery, and do a final voltage check on the samsung end to ensure your getting the right voltage and polarity.
  6. Plug it into the Samsung Camcorder

The results are that my camera now has the equivalent of an extra 20000 mAh battery so recording limitations are gone :-)  The other major positive is the fact that if i wanted to extend even further I can unplug the external and plug in another one uninterupted because the onboard battery remains charged and auto switches in between battery swaps.

This battery mod is both light and great value for money!!!

Again do not do this yourself, as i will bear no responsibility.

Total Cost = £60.00

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