In this episode I’m taking a closer look at two RUIPU Power Banks, namely the Model 121 and the Q80. Both have the same 24,000 mAh rating, both have an accurate LED display for the remaining charge, both have an anti-slip design, yet there are subtle changes between these models. Let’s find out the differences.
When I do live streams on YouTube, I frequently forget to record my programme locally. I guess there’s just so many buttons to press in the heat of the moment.
Hence I was looking for a way to extract full 1080p HD footage from YouTube, ideally both for my own files as well as those from other users.
Right now (February 2019), YouTube only allows me to download a 720p version of my own clips, and a YouTube Premium subscription is required to download other users’ footage. Either way, my desktop streams are usually 1080p, and that’s what I’d like to download for local archiving.
I hunted around for a solution, and doing a quick Google search presented several contenders – many of which no longer work since YouTube have once again re-jigged some aspect of their operation. Most solutions, online and offline, can handle 720p for free, but again that’s not what I was looking for.
I’ve recently discovered an incredibly cheap HDMI capture device that promises 1080p60 capture for around $80. That’s quite a feat, and exactly what I’ve been looking for to get started with handsome looking game streaming. It’s known by several names, such as
ezcap U3 / ezcap 261
But does it deliver? How would it work? What’s the catch? Why isn’t this thing flying off the shelves? And are the occasional zero-star reviews telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
I had to find out for myself and ordered one. After much testing, firmware upgrading and more testing, I’ve ordered another one. Let me tell you the whole story in this article.
Audio is one of the most aspects of the videos I record with my GoPro. I wanted to get this because I record videos when I’m riding my bike and tell stories while I do. You can check them out on my other YouTube channel, and on the Super Survivor Podcast.
Before buying this adapter, I recorded a separate audio feed on my iPhone, which was additional faff I could do without. When I received a spontaneous 30% discount for accessories on the GoPro website, I bought this adapter – and was pleasantly surprised. I too had read the many bad reviews this gadget got, and I thought I’d give you my two cents on the matter.
What people dislike about the adapter
In essence, what people are commonly bemoaning is the fact that this thing is so big and bulky, and that it’s so expensive (about $50, which is a tad hefty indeed). I do agree with both of these complaints, but let me tell you that the size isn’t actually a game changer – at least not in the way that I’m using it.
From what I understand, this external box is so big because the GoPro HERO 5 and above no longer have an A/D converter built in, a component that converts the analogue audio from a microphone to digital data so it can be recorded. The HERO 4 and before had this integrated, so a simple 3.5mm to USB adapter could record audio.
One of the drawbacks of using the built-in system though was that the GoPro HERO 4 could not be powered externally while a microphone was plugged in. So with this adapter, I guess the company made the decision to not only separate the components out, but also add a functionality to use an external mic AND let the GoPro be charged/powered at the same time. That’s fantastic news for longer recording sessions that would exceed one full internal battery charge.
What I like about the adapter
While many dislike this approach, I actually welcome it. For interviews with separate mics this is great news. Due to the fact that the GoPro is a very power hungry puppy, longer recording sessions do need frequent battery changes – or the ability to be powered externally. This adaptor makes that happen.
The adapter is built very rugged and sturdy, it has a rubberised design with no gaps or openings. If it wasn’t for the actual sockets, it almost feels waterproof.
It has one USB-C output that attaches to the GoPro HERO 5/6/7 either way around, so the gadget will point flat up or down with its angled connector (see my video for details). That way, I find a cable does not interfere with the lens, which is important.
How to use this thing
There is no manual that comes in the box. This means some explanations are in order as to how this thing actually works. Here’s what I’ve found out after a few weeks of use and several tests.
As soon as you attach it, a new menu becomes available in the GoPro, namely under Preferences – Audio Input. You get there by swiping down from the top of the screen, select Preferences, then scroll all the way down until you reach the I/O section. Select Audio Input (which usually reads N/A) and find 5 new settings that tell the GoPro how to use the attached microphone.
Note that this menu does not unlock with inferior non-GoPro adapters, as suggested in some of the reviews.
The settings let you choose to connect the following microphones:
Standard Mic (regular 3.5mm non-powered mic)
Standard Mic+ (same as above, but boosts audio by 20dB)
Powered Mic (for active mics in need of Plug-In Power)
Powered Mic+ (same as before, but boosts audio by 20dB)
Line In (for audio equipment that does not need microphone pre-amplification)
The GoPro will remember your last setting, so it’s enough to simply attach the adapter again and your last choice to be active immediately. That’s a nice touch too. My ZAFFIRO Lapel Mic works great with the Standard mic setting.
You need a regular TRS input, NOT a TRRS input
One super important thing that I’ve not read about anywhere else: you MUST use a 3.5mm TRS input for this thing to work. TRRS connectors WILL NOT WORK. It would have been nice to know about this, I nearly returned mine after testing several mics and didn’t make the connection.
So a TRS connector is one for regular stereo headphones (as in one Tip, one Ring and one… I don’t know ground or whatever S stands for). Whereas a TRRS connector is the one found on most smartphone headsets, one Tip, two Rings and one bit at the bottom. If you have a TRRS connector you’d like to use with this GoPro adapter, you need to use a converter for the sound to be picked up. This is especially important when connecting audio equipment.
From what I can tell, the audio quality sounds great with this thing – apart from the fact that by design, audio appears to be recorded 4 frames late by the GoPro (I’ve worked in television for over 20 years… I can’t help but notice such things). I wish GoPro would add an audio shift feature to the firmware of their cameras, or – dare I suggest it – care about audio sync more than increasing frame rates every year.
If you care about the audio you record with your GoPro and want to use external equipment to do so, this adapter is a must – unless you’re happy to record a separate feed. Speaking of which, if you do need a separate audio file in addition to what’s embedded in the video file, in the GoPro’s ProTune settings you can enable RAW audio. This will record an uncompressed WAV file alongside your video file.
I haven’t regretted the purchase, I don’t mind about the size – all I care about is that it works. I recommend this product for audio enthusiasts.
Buy the GoPro Adapter
Here are some links to get hold of this gadget on Amazon. I get a small commission if you buy via these links (if Amazon feels like it… which is not very often):
I can’t get enough of the RUIPU series of power banks. You can never have enough charged-up external batteries around, especially during hurricane season. Hence I’ve decided to invest into another model by the same company, namely the RUIPU Model 121 as pictured above.
Like my other RUIPU power banks, the 121 is a 24,000 mAh large and heavy external battery, with a micro USB input for charging and two USB outputs to power other devices. It’s about the size of an iPhone Plus / Max or equivalent smart phone with a 5″ screen, just over 1cm or half an inch in thickness. It weighs about one pound, so it’s on par with the other RUIPU models I own (such as the solar Q90 or the white quad-output Q80), maybe even slightly slimmer.
Ruipu have released a new 24,000mAh Power Bank. Being extremely satisfied with their other Solar Power Banks, I though I’d give this one a spin. It has some interesting features that I though were worth exploring.
First of all, the Ruipu Q80 is a thing of beauty: it’s made of white plastic with a faux leather pattern ingrained. It even has “stitches” embossed on the sides, as if it’s made of white leather. It’s not though – it’s standard plastic, but it just looks gorgeous.
The Q80 has FOUR USB outputs, and all of them can be used at the same time. That’s right! You can charge up four devices at once. Even better, ALL ports support fast charging, delivering up to 2.1A if a capable device can handle this much power. The iPhone 6 and above for example and several other gadgets all support fast charging.
After several months of use, here’s what I found out about the WD MyPassport Ultra external USB 3 hard drive. Mine is the White/Gold edition with a whopping 4TB of storage.
In the box was a matching white USB 3 to SATA cable, a leaflet with extremely small writing on it, and the drive itself contained some software to do backups and encryption – all of which is available from the Western Digital website.
I bought this drive in May 2018 from Amazon to exchange large amounts of data between my Mac and my Windows system. Therefore, I chose to format the drive in exFAT so that both operating systems can read and write to it without issues, and to accommodate long video files in excess of 2GB.
I was looking for another desktop USB microphone for my second desk. Currently I’m using a wonderful Blue Yeti with my Mac on my main desk (or Studio A as we like to call it), and every time I do a screencast or podcast on my Windows workstation (or Studio B as we’d like to call it), I have to bring over the Blue Yeti.
So I discovered the ZAFFIRO Desktop USB Mic, for over $100 less. I thought I’d give it a spin – and I really like it. Here’s what I found after a couple of weeks of working with it.
Last year, in September 2017, I ordered a RUIPU 24,000 mAh Solar Power Bank in preparation for Hurricane Irma here in Florida. I’ve had a whole year’s worth of experience with this gadget and decided to buy another one.
This thing rocks! Let me tell you all about it, and how to use it in this review.