GoPro Hero3 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

The snow is falling, and it's go time! GoPro time that is! Grab your boots, tighten your bindings, and strap on your helmets; this teardown is about to get gnarly.

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Edit Step 1 GoPro Hero3 Teardown  ¶ 

  • In addition to a sleeker design with more clearly-labeled buttons than the Hero2, the Hero3 is shredding some sick powder with the following specs:

    • White/Silver/Black Editions with video resolution up to 1080p30 (White/Silver) / 1080p60 (Black) and 4K (!) at 15 frames per second (fps) in the Black Edition.

    • 5/11/12 megapixel camera with 30/10/3 fps burst, respectively

    • 1050 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery

    • Up to 64 GB of external microSD storage

    • Built-in Wi-Fi

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • What is inside of you, small box of joy?

  • To our dismay, we could not examine the deep dark innards of the Hero3 through the lens. Time to crack it open!

  • Peeling off the water resistant port cover reveals the following ports:

    • Mini USB

    • Micro HDMI

    • microSD

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • With the simple press of a button, the back cover is free, allowing access to—what's this—a battery pull tab?

  • It's almost as if the folks at GoPro wanted you to be able to take the battery out of your HD Hero3. What a novel idea.

  • The Hero3's 3.7 V battery is rated at 1050 mAh/3.85 Wh, a 50 mAh decrease from previous models, presumably due to the device's smaller size.

  • As usual, caution labels on the back of the battery warn us not to store the battery in high temperatures, disassemble it, or dispose of it…with fire.

    • Thanks for the heads up, GoPro.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • It has come to that time in the teardown where we finally have to reach for a tool. Not just any tool, but the always-appropriate plastic opening tool.

  • A few clips and a little bit of adhesive are no challenge for our trained hands, and the front cover lifts right off.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • We are through the adhesive and on to some of our favorite little repair-friendly friends: Torx screws!

  • Four surprisingly-long (8.1 mm) T4 Torx screws hold the midframe in place, and are easily removed with the help of our 54 Bit Driver Kit.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • A little more prying, and the midframe and motherboard assembly is the next piece to practically fall off the GoPro. This is almost too easy.

  • We have always pushed for product design that favors repairability, but seeing it in action still makes us do a double take.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Two pieces of tape, one connector, four more screws, a little bit-o-prying…this device is coming apart pretty easily considering the small package and large recording ability!

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The image sensor pops off the motherboard assembly and can be replaced independently of the rest of the ICs. This Hero is gaining repairability cred left and right.

  • Our Hero3 Black Edition comes with a 12 megapixel image sensor with improved low light capabilities, a step up from the 5 and 11 megapixel modules in its other Hero counterparts.

    • While more resolution is great for stills, the pixel-crunching power that sets the Black Edition's video skills apart from the rest of the pack are in the image processor—more on that later.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • At the heart of the GoPro lies a Sony IMX117 image sensor.

  • According to our pals at Chipworks, the Exmor-R sensor features a "1.55 µm back illuminated design on a ceramic substrate"—cool!

  • The sensor supports 12 MP imaging at up to an impressive 35 fps, even though the camera advertises a burst rate of 30 fps.

  • Check out their teardown for even more info on the Hero3!

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • It's time for everyone's favorite segment: Science with iFixit! We decided to have a little bit of fun with the Hero3's lens and one of our iFixit Guitar Picks.

  • For this simple demonstration, we placed a guitar pick in front of the lens upside-down and looked through the glass. As you can see, the upside-down graphic has been flipped right-side up!

  • So, if the lens flips the image, why aren't all of the pictures from our digital cameras inverted?

  • Well, just like the lens of our eyeball, anything viewed through an optical lens appears upside-down until it's fed through a processor of some kind. For a digital camera, that processor is an integrated circuit. Our vision, on the other hand, utilizes the most advanced processor in the world to flip the image around: the human brain.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Another daughterboard flies off the main assembly; this time it's the microSD and accessory board.

  • If you've never used a GoPro, this large port might look pretty foreign to you. It's okay, you're not alone. The proprietary port is used for a variety of GoPro accessories, including a fold-out LCD attachment, extended battery, and various A/V adapters.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • No new tricks here, either. Removing the motherboard requires no more than a spudger and a Phillips #0 screwdriver.

  • Most components in the Hero3 use very little power and generate minimal heat. This light coating of thermal compound on the image processor is the most aggressive cooling feature in the device.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Chips on the motherboard:

    • ChipSiP CT49248NS962D 1 Gb NAND flash + 4 Gb DDR3 SDRAM

    • Ambarella A770 camera system-on-a-chip

    • Austriamicrosystems AS3713 system PMU with backlight driver

    • Freescale Kinetis SCK20DN51Z USB controller

    • Qualcomm Atheros AR6233GEAM2D 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 controller

    • AC3029

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • More tape, more screws, moar fun!

  • A few more Phillips screws stand in the way of pulling out the "ultra sharp ƒ/2.8 6-element aspherical glass lens."

  • Honestly, we just had a lot of fun looking at our guitar picks through this lens—here's another look through the Hero3's eye now that it's free of the motherboard.

  • Because why? Because science.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • There are only a few components left around the device casing.

  • Last on the midframe is the LCD and its soldered-on cable. Repairability takes a hit here, when we have to pull out a heat gun and metal spudger to loosen the adhesive securing this cable to the midframe.

  • The rear case's last component is the button/speaker assembly which is attached to the backing of the battery compartment. A couple of screws and some tape hold it in place.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • GoPro HD Hero3 Repairability Score: 7 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • The battery is intended to be easily replaced by the user, and requires no tools to access.

    • The entire device can be disassembled with readily-available tools.

    • Modular design throughout allows replacement of several individual components.

    • Minimal adhesive securing the front cover can be difficult to separate, but poses no real challenge to opening.

    • Fragile copper grounding tape can be difficult to peel and replace.

    • Because the display cable is adhered to the midframe, replacing the LCD requires use of a heat gun.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Metal Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Heat Gun

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Tweezers

$6.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

iFixit Lock Pick Set

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Inspection Scope

$39.95 · 50+ In stock

Frictionless Ratchet

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Portable Anti-Static Mat

$34.95 · 42 In stock

Popular Products

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iPhone 4S Replacement Battery

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iPhone 5 Replacement Battery

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Anti-Static Mat

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Love it! Thanks for the take apart!!

coasttech, · Reply

Could you include a slide showing how to extract the lens from the lens housing? I would like to perform a lens mod, and I need to know if the lens comes out willingly or grudgingly.

sparky, · Reply

Video of what needs to come apart to replace a lens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHtanRrO...

Troy, · Reply

Would it be possible to remove the lense from the casing and mount it and have the box somewhere else and to record?

Nick Angelopoulos, · Reply

Where can I find a replacement for the USB port daughterboard. My go pro usb port is broken and ive lost the lose port. :(

powermaxums, · Reply

the correct way to tear down a hero3 camera by RageCams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tUl-BzZ...

dennis, · Reply

Hi,

Can anyone recommend which components i would need to replace if go pro got wet. When i switch it on its switches off and on constantly and also says no sd card.

Thanks

Newton, · Reply

Got my camera filled with seawater a couple months back and just now decided to tear it apart (after being told gopro doesn't warranty water and buying a new one). I tried the rice trick as soon as it happened with no luck, all I did was use this guide to tear it apart, got a toothbrush and cleaned everything then again with isopropyl alcohol and so far it works! Thank you for a good write up!

Chris, · Reply

where can i buy the LCD screen?

josh, · Reply

Has anybody ever attempted to extend the ribbon attaching the camera lens and sensor away from the main camera body? Id love to hear anybody's comments if they have as its something ive been wanting to do for ages, can you mail me at rob@jdp.co.uk if you have any know how. Thanks, Rob

Rob Pilley, · Reply

That's not microUSB but miniUSB.

Dmitry Mikhailenko, · Reply

Duly noted. Thanks for the heads-up!

Fixed.

Miroslav Djuric,

It's easier to lift of the front if the camera was running for some time right before the teardown.

The heat produced by the components makes the glue a little less sticky…

But don't forget to take out the battery!

Kevin Schmitt, · Reply

When removing the front cover, be cognizant that the LCD may want to come with the cover and will sever the ribbon cable if allowed to to so. Just push the screen itself back towards the body when popping the tabs. Totally not from personal experience...

On an unrelated note, does anyone know where I can get a replacement front LCD+ribbon?

Justin, · Reply

Where I can buy original lens for gopro hero 3 black for replacement?

Thanks

rabijki, · Reply

Where can I get a front LCD screen? Mine is broken and I can´t get it here in Brazil!

Thanks

Ana Paula Mattos, · Reply

Great teardown!

Do you know what that cable port between the CMOS and the main board is called? I just learned its called a Flat Flex Cable, but the question is what is that port called.

I'd like to know if its possible to separate the sensor from the body.

Daniel Allen, · Reply

According to chipworks (and that part number)

ChipSip CT49248DD962D 1 Gb NAND flash + 4 Gb DDR3

which is right?

turbosix, · Reply

Thanks for catching that! We've updated that step with the proper identification.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg,

Hi Andrew. I have this hero3 and was moding it to use different lenses when I accidentally cut the ribbon that connects the motherboard to the LCD screen! Am i hosed here or is that something I can order and replace myself? I understand Gopro won't repair cameras that don't qualify for warrenty issues. Any advice would be great! Thanks, Brad

Brad, · Reply

Same thing happened to me. Did you find a resolution to this or a replacement part?

Eddie,

Hi,

was scratched my lens. gopro of course dont offer replacement. can You tell where I can buy lens for hero 3 black?

rabijki, · Reply

Hi , I will buy any broken Gopro hero 3 for $ 45.00 let me know if you are interested.

Frank, · Reply

How about a Hero 3+ Black, Frank?

DougVG,

RageCams sells the lcd replacements now.

dennis, · Reply

But only for the hero 2! We are talking about the hero 3. Iam locking for such a part but cant find one anywhere. Sombody has an answer?

Chris Blabla, · Reply

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