If you’ve been using your GoPro for a while, how to charge it is going to seem pretty obvious. But if you’ve only recently picked up a new GoPro, it might not be quite so self-evident. Different camera models have different charging options, and there are different types of chargers available. And with some cameras there are different options that work better in some situations than others.
How to Charge GoPros
- USB wall charger. The standard for most GoPros is 5V/1A. The HERO7, HERO6, HERO5, HERO (2018), and Fusion models take up to 5V/3A for fast charging.
- Connect via USB to a computer.
- External USB battery or powerbank.
- Multi-port AC USB hub.
- Car charger.
- Solar charger.
- Separate battery charger.
You can find more detailed information on these options for charging your GoPro below.
Power Sources for Charging GoPros
First, though, there’s the matter of a power source. All GoPros charge with the USB standard. What that means in practice is that there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to a power source.
Most GoPros use 5V / 1A, which is standard for most AC adapters. The HERO7, HERO6, and HERO5 models can take up to 5V / 2A.
You can use a standard USB wall charger. If you don’t have the one that came with your camera handy (or if it didn’t come with one), the one you use for your phone or tablet will most likely work. If you want to get a new one, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but most of the new ones will work.
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You can plug it into a USB port on your computer. It’s generally more reliable to use one of the ports on the main computer itself rather than in a peripheral USB hub; sometimes the hubs don’t provide the same throughput charge. And if you’re plugging it into a laptop, make sure to have your laptop powered by AC. Many laptops throttle down the USB output charge when they’re running off battery power as a power-saving measure.
You can use powerbanks. Most external USB powerbanks (or powerbricks) can output at least 5V and 1A. Some of the newer ones are able to output 2A, which charges the HERO5 models more quickly. If you’re looking for some ideas on powerbanks, I’ve put together some of my favorites here.
You can use a multi-port USB AC hub. The one I currently use when traveling is this this Anker one because it has a Type-C USB output built in alongside the regular USB output; that makes it handy for charging the newer GoPros that use USB-C as well as for powering and charging Macbooks.
You can also use an old-fashioned car charger (they also used to be known as a cigarette lighter adapter).
And while they’ll often take longer (but not always if in direct sunlight), you can also use a solar charger for true off-the-grid charging.
Which Type of GoPro Charging Cable to Use
There are a few different cables that various GoPros have used over the years. Here’s a quick summary of which GoPro models use which type of USB plug.
- GoPro HERO8 Black
- GoPro Max
- GoPro HERO7 Black
- GoPro HERO7 Silver
- GoPro HERO7 White
- GoPro Fusion
- GoPro HERO (2018)
- GoPro HERO6 Black
- GoPro HERO5 Black
- GoPro HERO5 Session
- GoPro HERO Session
- GoPro HERO4 Session
- GoPro HERO4 Black
- GoPro HERO4 Silver
- GoPro HERO3+
- GoPro HERO3
- GoPro HERO+ LCD
- GoPro HERO+
- GoPro HERO (2014)
- GoPro HD HERO2
- GoPro HD HERO Original
It would be nice if all cables were created equal, but unfortunately, they’re not. Particularly if you’re using the newer models with USB-C, the ideal is to use the 3A cable that came with the camera. But if you’ve lost that or don’t have access to it, there are other options. I routinely use other aftermarket ones and don’t run into too many issues, but I do sometimes. So it’s worth being aware that it is possible to come across substandard aftermarket cables. So whichever model you’re using, if you go with an aftermarket cable it’s a good idea to test before heading away on a trip to make sure it works as expected. Even better, take a spare.
How Long Does it Take for a GoPro to Charge?
How long it takes to fully charge your GoPro’s battery depends on whether it’s fully depleted, the battery’s overall health (ie. how old it is), and what method you use for charging. The charging tends to be fastest at the beginning and slow down for the last 20 percent or so.
If you’re using a power source with a low current such as a computer’s USB port, it can take up to 4 hours to fully charge your GoPro’s battery.
If you’re using a standard AC wall charger, it shouldn’t take longer than 2 hours. It should be at about 80 percent after 1 hour.
The new USB-C SuperCharger for the HERO5 models are faster still, but precisely how much improvement you see in practice varies by specific model of camera or accessory; GoPro claims it can range from 20 percent to 70 percent faster.
How to Charge GoPros with Removable Batteries
This includes the HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, HERO (2018), Fusion, HERO5 Black, HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, and HERO3 Black. Something all of these cameras have in common is that you can remove the battery. That adds flexibility.
Option 1: Charge the Battery in the Camera: You can charge the battery in the camera.
- Power the camera off
- Connect the camera to your power source by using the USB cable
- Wait for the red light to go out. If you don’t see the red light while it’s charging and only see charging bars on the front screen, you’ve probably still go the camera powered on which slows the process because it’s still drawing power to run the camera.
If you’re using the HERO5 models, the fastest in-camera charging is by using a high-current USB-C port such as those on GoPro’s own SuperCharger.
Option 2: Charge the Battery in a Battery Charger: There are some very useful advantages to being able to remove the battery.spare battery and go right on filming.
For another, you can charge multiple batteries at once using a multi-slot battery charger. It’s worth noting that there are specific batteries for each generation of GoPro, so make sure to get the right charger for the kind of batteries your GoPro uses.
And if you’re using one of the recent Black models (that is, the HERO7, HERO6, and HERO6 Black), you can also take advantage of the faster charging capabilities of GoPro’s USB-C Dual-Port Battery Charger paired with a high-current USB-C port such as those on the GoPro SuperCharger. But don’t forget to get both–the cradle and SuperCharger are sold separately.
How to Charge GoPros with Non-Removable Batteries
With any of the Session models, the battery is enclosed in the camera and isn’t removable. That obviously means that you have to charge the battery directly in the camera itself. This includes the HERO7 Silver and White, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, and HERO4 Session.
So there’s only one option here:
- Power the camera off
- Connect the camera to your power source by using the USB cable
- Wait for the red light to go out. If you don’t see the red light while it’s charging and only see charging bars on the front screen, you’ve probably still go the camera powered on, which slows the process because it’s still drawing power to run the camera.
International Travel Adapters
If you’re traveling overseas, you can use any of the usual international travel adapters. Some of the newer ones have integrated USB charging, such this one. Some of these support up to 2.1A output, but it varies by model. You can of course still use an adapter that doesn’t have built-in USB by plugging the USB wall adapter into the travel adapter.
Because GoPros use the USB standard there’s no need to get a voltage converter–you can just use a simpler adapter that works with the local power plug system.
Another option is the SuperCharger. It’s an official GoPro accessory that includes a dual USB-C output as well as clip-on adapters for several international plug types (US, UK, Europe, and Australia). These chargers aren’t inexpensive, and they make the most sense with the newer models that can take advantage of the fast charging by using the higher output.
Wifi. It’s a good idea to turn the wifi off before charging. Even with the camera powered off, the wifi function drains battery power.
Disconnect Power Accessories. To simplify matters, it’s often a good idea to disconnect any external accessories related to power. That includes things like the BacPac accessories.
Charging While Using. In most instances, you can continue filming with the camera connected to external power, but the charging actually stops while you’re filming and will resume once the recording process is stopped. An exception is when the camera is connected to a computer, in which case you won’t be able to record while it’s connected.
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