Saturday, April 6, 2013

Problems I Had with the GoPro Hero 3 Camera, and Surprisingly Good Communications with GoPro's Customer Service

I bought a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition camera (from my favorite retailer for any kind of underwater camera gear, Reef Photo in Fort Lauderdale, FL) after reading some of its specifications and abilities, all of which are good if not ideal. 

Like many early adopters, I got a camera that did not work as it should.  I spent HOURS trying to get this camera working like it should.  I spent HOURS downloading and updating the firmware.  I could never get the wifi working.

However, when the camera actually worked (without using wifi to control it)-- it was GREAT!  It takes buttery-smooth slomo at 120fps at 720.  The GoPro site actually has a decent explanation of how to process the footage using software.  

I contacted GoPro before leaving, asking about the problems I was having with the wifi turning on, and I was pleasantly surprised by their quick response and good communications.  They took 24 hours to reply to my initial email contact, and gave me a textbook "you are a newbie and you should read the instructions" reply.  But after that, I was able to talk with a real live person at GoPro who has promised that he will handle the replacement camera upon my return from Hawaii.  I'll report on those communications when and if I get the camera replaced. 

For those of you with Hero 3 cameras, here are the communications that I had with GoPro about my problem.  Hopefully this will save you some time.  It's obvious to me that I have a defective camera that does not have proper working wifi. 

Here are my email communications with GoPro. 

    On 3/21/13 10:18 AM, GoPro wrote:

> *Update for Case #xxx - "can't turn wifi on GoPro"*
> Hi Norbert,
> Unfortunately it sounds like there could be a fault with the camera, and
> we'll need to go ahead with replacing your unit under warranty. To get
> the process started, can you please reply via e-mail with a copy of your
> purchase receipt to show you are within the warranty period, the
> camera's serial number located on the silver sticker inside the battery
> compartment, and also follow the below link to enter your return
> shipping info for the replacement camera:
> Enter Address Here.
> Once we hear back, we'll be able to provide you with a RMA (returns
> authorization) and returns instructions.
> Our apologies for the inconvenience, but we'll do our best to get you a
> fully functioning replacement as soon as possible.
> Many Thanks,
> xxx Y.
> GoPro Support

>>   *Message History*
>>   -----Original Message-----
>>   From: xxx Norbert Wu
>>   Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 02:07 pm PDT (GMT-07:00)
>>   Subject: can't turn wifi on GoPro
>>   Dear GoPro: Thanks for the instructions, but I already tried them
>>   several times to no avail. I read your manual, I looked at YouTube
>>   videos, I checked your website, and I've now spent a good 12 hours
>>   trying to make the wifi on this camera work. The instructions that
>>   you just sent are basically the same as those elsewhere. The Hero3
>>   Black edition camera that I have simply is not putting out a wifi
>>   signal. I cannot see any wifi network on the camera with my ipad
>>   it won't pair with the remote. I can see the remote's wifi network
>>   on my ipad just as soon as I power it up. When I turn on the
>>wifi on
>>   the camera, the blue light blinks and the front LCD panel shows the
>>   very small wifi signal. However, it shows "wifi off" on the LCD
>>   bacpac. I believe after 12 hours of testing that this camera's wifi
>>   radio is not working. I am not a noob or an idiot. I have been an
>>   underwater photographer for the past 25 years
>>( I
>>   was trained as an engineer. I consulted for Apple Computer in 2005
>>   to develop their Aperture software. I know computers and
>>cameras, so
>>   I'd appreciate your not sending me a repeat of what you have in the
>>   user manual. As I stated before, I plan to use this camera for a
>>   trip to Maui from March 25-April 3. After April 3, I would like to
>>   return this camera for a replacement unit that actually works as it
>>   should. The camera I have now will work OK for the surf photography
>>   I am hoping to do in Hawaii. Thanks for taking this complaint
>>   seriously. Norbert Wu, cell phone xxx
>>   -----Original Message-----
>>   From: (GoPro Customer Service Representative)
>>   Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 01:42 pm PDT (GMT-07:00)
>>   Subject: can't turn wifi on GoPro
>>   Hi Norbert,
>>   Sorry to hear that you are having trouobles using the Wi-Fi,
>>   Can you expain what steps you are doing to use the Wi-Fi on the
>>   we are also going to send you instructions on how to pair the
>>   to the camera and to the GoPro App hopfully this will help.
>>   If your Wi-Fi Remote and HERO3 lost pairing.  They will need to be
>>   paired in order for your remote to control your camera.
>>   You will need to complete steps both on your Wi-Fi Remote and your
>>   HERO3 to get them paired.  Here’s how to pair your remote and
>>   To get started, make sure your camera and remote have full charge
>>   and are powered OFF.
>>   HERO3 pairing steps:
>>   1.  Power ON HERO3.
>>   2.  Press the Wi-Fi button on the left side of the camera with the
>>   lens facing you.  You’ll see a blue LED blink every couple of
>>   seconds to show that you camera’s Wi-Fi is turned on.
>>   3.  Now that the blue LED is blinking, press the Wi-Fi button one
>>   more time to show the Wi-Fi menu on the camera’s front LCD screen.
>>   Now that you’re in the Wi-Fi menu, you need to select some
>>     To navigate the menu, use the camera’s front (Power) button to
>>   highlight menu options.  Use the camera’s top (Shutter) button to
>>   make selections.
>>   4.  In the Wi-Fi menu, press the camera’s front button until “Wi-Fi
>>   RC” is highlighted.
>>   5.  Now that it’s highlighted, you want to select it.  Press the
>>   camera’s top button to select “Wi-Fi RC”.
>>   6.  On the next screen you’ll have some options.  One of them is
>>   “New”.  Press the front button until “New” is highlighted.
>>   7.  Now you want to select “New”.  Press the top button to
>>select it.
>>   8.  If you see “Detach current remote?”  Highlight and select
>>   After that, you should see two arrows moving towards each other on
>>   the camera’s screen.  This means that the camera is in pairing
>>   Now you have to get the remote into pairing mode white the
>>camera is
>>   still in pairing mode so they can find each other.  Note – the
>>   camera is in pairing mode only when its screen shows the two arrows
>>   moving towards each other.
>>   Remote pairing steps:
>>   1. With the remote powered OFF, press and hold the red Shutter
>>   button on the remote.
>>   2.  While continuing to hold the red button, press the white Power
>>   button once briefly.  The remote will power on and show two arrows
>>   moving towards each other.  You can let go of the red button at
>>   time.  Now the remote is in pairing mode.
>>   After one minute or less, the camera and remote should each show a
>>   checkbox on their screens.  If the Remote asks you to pair another,
>>   press the white button to highlight no, then press the red
>>button to
>>   select it.
>>   If the remote shows a radiating Wi-Fi signal after the camera shows
>>   a checkbox, press the red button on the remote.  This should make
>>   the Remote’s LCD screen mirror the camera’s front LCD screen,
>>   indicating that pairing was successful.
>>   Here are instructions on how to set up your HERO3 with the GoPro
>>   1.  Run any updates for your device’s OS, then download the GoPro
>>   App to your smartphone or tablet if you don’t have it yet.
>>   If you already downloaded the app, make sure that you have the
>>   current version.  You can find this information on your device in
>>   the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.
>>   2.  Power ON your camera.
>>   3.  Press the small Wi-Fi button on the left side of the camera as
>>   the lens is facing you.
>>   4.  Press the small Wi-Fi button again and look at the camera’s LCD
>>   screen to see the Wi-Fi menu.
>>   5.  Press the camera’s front Power button to highlight “GoPro App”.
>>   Note – if you don’t see “GoPro App” in the menu along with “Wi-Fi
>>   RC”, then you need to update your camera’s firmware before you can
>>   use the GoPro App.  You can update your HERO3 firmware here:
>>   6.  Press the camera’s top Shutter button to select “GoPro App”.
>>     This allows your phone or tablet to connect to the camera’s Wi-Fi
>>   network so that you can control the camera.
>>   Now that we have the camera ready to connect to the GoPro App,
>>   get your smartphone or tablet set up.
>>   1.  In your smart phone or tablet’s Wi-Fi Network settings menu,
>>   connect to the camera’s Wi-Fi network. You should find the name of
>>   your camera listed in your available Wi-Fi networks for you to
>>   select.  By default, the name will be something like “GOPRO-BP-….”.
>>   The default password is “goprohero”.
>>   Note – You may have changed the camera’s name and Wi-Fi password in
>>   “Step 3 – Camera Setup” when you updated your camera’s
>>firmware.  If
>>   you do not recall the name and password you set, you’ll need to
>>   manually update the camera’s firmware again.  If you need to do
>>   and are unsure how to, please let us know and we can send you
>>   instructions.
>>   2.  Once connected to your camera’s Wi-Fi network, open the GoPro
>>   App on your phone or tablet.
>>   3.  Tap “CONNECT + CONTROL”.
>>   You should now be able to control the camera and view preview with
>>   your smartphone or tablet.
>>   I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
>>   Many Thanks,
>>   xxxx.
>>   GoPro Support
>>   -----Original Message-----
>>   From: xxx Norbert Wu
>>   Sent: Tuesday , March 19, 2013 02:43 pm PDT (GMT-07:00)
>>   Subject: can't turn wifi on GoPro
>>   I have spent hours trying to get the GoPro wifi working. The blue
>>   light turns on, but it does not seem like the wifi is working on
>>   camera. I've tried updating the firmware twice, using a PC and a
>>   Mac. I've tried connecting the remote with the camera dozens of
>>   times to no avail. I can see the remote's wifi signal on my iPad as
>>   soon as I turn it on, but I cannot see the camera's wifi signal,
>>   ever. If I turn on the wifi button on the camera, the blue
>>lights on
>>   the camera will blink, but I don't believe that the wifi has indeed
>>   been turned on. If I have the LCD back on the Hero3 camera, it says
>>   "wifi off" even if the blue wifi light is blinking. I hope that you
>>   can help or let me return this unit for one that works

>>   3. Thanks, Norbert Wu, cell phone xxx

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