And so it happened! As I was ascending from my final dive in Guam, I saw salt water inside the waterproof housing of my gopro camera!!! But after some water damage control on the GoPro, it still works! How did I do it? Read on...
Steps On What To Do When Your GoPro Camera Gets Soaked!
1. Take the camera out of the housing.
2. Take out the battery and SD card (VERY IMPORTANT!!! if you have any gopro extensions such as the LCD backpack, take that out too)
3. Soak the GoPro and other components that got wet (except the battery) in clean freshwater for 30 seconds to a minute to prevent corrosion inside. (do this step if soaked in seawater)
4. Drive out the water from the insides of the gopro by swinging it. (goal here is to use centripetal force to move water out through openings such as the sd card slot.)
5. Let it dry... Remember, there are many ways to dry... *I put my gopro inside a car on the dashboard for 3 hours during a hot day on it's side with the SD card slot facing up so that the water would evaporate and steam would exit out of it. It was summer and it was pretty hot. Do not ever turn on your camera if you suspect there is water inside... you can fry the circuits inside!
(If the climate is pretty cold where you live I would recommend putting the GoPro in a tight sealed box with some silica packets for several days. The silica packets should absorb most of the moisture from the inside of the camera.) If you don't have desiccants, try using rice or pasta as some have recommended in the comments below.
6. Take the camera out of the car and let it cool off in a dry place at room temperature and don't touch it for 24 hours.
Because saltwater can cause severe corrosive damage to metallic components inside your camera, try to do the following above as soon as you can. Speed is the key. I rescued and soaked my camera approximately an hour after getting it wet in the ocean.
An Important Note About Wet GoPro Cameras
Although I think I was very lucky, this may not work for everyone. But if flooding occurs while you're diving, surfing, or just doing anything in the water, you may try what I did with your own discretion. Remember, I won't take any responsibility, I'm just sharing what I did so you could save your electrical devices if it ever gets wet especially with sea water! Plus I really like electronics so I like experimenting with them once they become spare parts!
Btw, remember to NEVER TURN ON YOUR CAMERA IF YOU SUSPECT THAT IT IS STILL WET! Give it time to dry.
(I've noticed some blog posts and videos out there copying my exact same methods that include changing words around and claiming it's "their" method. It's all good to spread the word but I would appreciate it if you give some credit to this blog which I dedicate a lot of effort to anyone interested in electrical gadgets including the GoPro camera! Please note the date of this post!)
How did my GoPro Flood???
Before I go any further, for you to realize how stoked I was when mm camera filled with water, please see some of videos I have made with only the GoPro!
Now to continue to my story...
As I surfaced to complete my dive, I noticed that water partially filled the inside of the waterproof housing!
Usually, if there was a problem with the O-ring, a leak would occur during the beginning and deepest part of the dive and if that was the case that meant the O-ring wasn't secured properly...
However I always check my O-rings (on my camera gear, flashlights, tank valve, and my regs) and I do a leak test before every dive. If you own a hairy GSD dog that sheds hair year long, hair gets on to everything and so it is imperative that I check my gear esp. when large amounts of money and your life depends on it!!! .
Theory to how it leaked: LCD Extension Housing
Anyway, I'm puzzled with the water breach because the leak happened during the end of my dive. I put in over 50 dives with the GoPro Hero during my time in Guam and the only difference with this dive is that this is the first time I'm using the LCD bacpac extension with the LCD housing... I'm starting to think that the additional extension caused the leaks because of the additional airspace from the LCD Housing. But no one will never know what really happened. The latch was always secured, the housing remained shut, and all I did with the GoPro was film!
What hurts more is that this Gopro is my second brand new gopro that I bought with the LCD just weeks ago. So both the LCD screen and the brand new GoPro camera got soaked in salty sea water. Even the Class 10 32 GB SD card that I had in it got wet.
Doing some math, I just busted around $450 on a single dive... I think it's a sign that its time for me to purchase the new Go Pro HD HERO 3.
Salt Water Damage Control
My camera was definitely wet with a lot of salt water but never losing hope, I took out the camera, LCD screen, and the battery. I dried what I can with a towel and checked the camera. As I got back home, I contacted gopro and told them about the leak I had.
Within 30 minutes, GoPro sent an email back informing me that their warranty doesn't cover water leaks. I was like fffuuuuuuu!!!... but they would like to see pictures of the gopro housing, specifically the O-ring. I took some pictures of my gopro and I sent the pics via email . At least they didn't abandon me with "We don't cover water leaks... period". Kudos to GoPro support for at least trying to help out!!!
So assuming that I wasn't going to get a replacement, I soaked my camera in clean fresh water to wash out the salt water. I dumped my camera in the biggest beer mug I had full of fresh water for up to 30 seconds.
I then took the camera out and swung it as hard as I can with my hand, making sure the water would exit through the SD card slot from the side of the camera via centripetal force.
Next, I put my gopro and LCD extension screen inside my car which was pretty hot but not too hot to damage it. The goal here is to use some heat to evaporate the water from the inside of the camera. This was all a gamble but I felt that this could work!!!
(I heard of people putting their digital cameras and other electronics in stoves but I totally do not recommend that. Actually cooking your camera is stupid and is not the same as heating it inside a semi-hot car... If it's winter, I would just leave the camera in a tight sealed box together with some silica packs for several days. The silica packs will definitely dry out the camera. Remember the main goal is to take out the salt to prevent rusting. The second goal is to dry it. As long as you do the first step well, you should be okay. Update: according to a comment below, you can also try using rice!)
After several hours, I took the camera out of my car and put it in a dry area in my room to cool it off. I waited a whole day until I felt that there was absolutely no water inside. By this time, contrary to what GoPro stated earlier, they issued an RMA (RETURN MERCHANDISE AUTHORIZATION) and said that I could return the camera so they could check it... Pretty cool service right there.
But the best part is (drums rolling), after I popped in a spare battery and pushed the power button, the gopro beeped to life!!! IT STILL WORKS! The LCD screen works too but I could see some fragments of water within the screen. I tested its recording capabilites and everything functioned like nothing happened. Timelapse, HD video, Audio, EVERYTHING! I had to compliment GoPro for making a tough little camera... just couldn't believe it! For that gopro... anyone reading this, I totally recommend you get one from them their site. They even have a new GoPro... the GoPro 3.
Because saltwater can cause corrosive damage to metallic components inside your camera, try to do the following above as soon as you can. Speed is the key. I rescued and soaked my camera approximately an hour after getting it wet in the ocean.
If you don't fit in that criteria, don't give up hope! I have heard others who have tried the steps above with success even after a day of getting their cameras wet.
Finally, I'm happy that the above worked well for many gopro users who have read this post!
Thank you for your interest, comments, and most of all your determination!
If you have any questions... feel free to ask below!
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