Live Stream Underwater Video With A GoPro
Have a GoPro and a smartphone? Watch live underwater video using a GoPro and the GoPro app for well under $50.
Typically a GoPro will connect to the GoPro app and allow live streaming via a WiFi signal. Unfortunately WiFi signals are quickly absorbed by water making it unable to connect to the camera. With this simple and cheap build, you can watch live video from your GoPro up to 50' underwater. The trick is getting the WiFi signal from the camera up to your wireless device. This build is roughly based on a YouTube video seen here. The company CamDo makes a commercial product based on this idea. If your willing to shell out the extra cash, or don't want to build it yourself, check it out. They also sell a lot of great GoPro add-ons.
This build works by using two WiFi antennas to pass the signal from the GoPro to your wireless device running the GoPro app. While I used the items listed above, some of these items can be exchanged for other similar products. I would only advise that you pay attention to the compatibility between products (i.e. make sure the antenna fits into the housing and the cord grip will secure around the coax cable).
Step 1: Drill a 1/2" hole in the BacPac backdoor.
Step 2: Make sure the hole is free of any debris and install the cord grip. Tighten the nut on the backside.
Step 3: Run the coax cable through the cord grip but don't tighten it down yet.
Step 4: Solder the WiFi antenna onto the coax cable. This is the most difficult part of the build, only because the of the small, fragile cable on the WiFi antenna. To do this cut off the connector which comes attached to the antenna. Both the antenna cable and coax with have a main cable in the center and a shielding braid around the outside. These need to be soldered together. I found it easiest to tin all the wires with solder, then get a small bead of solder on my iron and use that to fuse the two. I used heat shrink to keep everything pretty.
Do this for both ends of the coax cable.
Step 5: Adhere the WiFi antenna to the inside of the backdoor. Clean up the wires and tighten the outer nut on the cord grip.
The GoPro end is now done. I found that I had to add a small piece of foam inside the backdoor to keep the GoPro properly positioned in the housing. Before you put this underwater I would strongly recommend that you test the housing before you add the camera. If there is a leak it is better to find out and fix it without the camera inside. I take no responsibility for flooded cameras. I have used mine several times down to 40-50'. I am not sure the exact depth rating of the cord grips. Additionally, I have only tested a 50' cable. Longer cables maybe possible depending on the attenuation of the WiFi signal.
Step 6: Set up your topside device.
This part is going to vary on the user and the device which they chose to use. For my build I used my cell phone (Motorola Moto G). As previously stated, any device capable of running the GoPro app should work.
Place the topside antenna behind your device. I found that I got a much better signal from the GoPro when I placed the WiFi antenna at the top of my phone
near the camera. I am assuming that this is where the WiFi chip is located on my phone. Remember to test this with the GoPro underwater. If the GoPro is out of water the WiFi
signal will be traveling through the air and you won't be able to locate the proper placement of the antenna.
For my application I bought a separate phone case which I glued the antenna to the inside of the case and epoxied the wires along the outside.
Once the GoPro is paired to your device via the GoPro app you are done!
Test it out, modify it and let me know how it goes!
You can even take this a step further and stream this live over the web via the periscope app (iPhone only at this point). Remember to check your cell phone data plan if you attempt this.