Powering a GoPro with External Power but Without Internal Battery?

Wondering whether you can run your GoPro with external power without having the internal battery installed? What’s known as pass-through power? In many models, yes, you can. Here’s a rundown.

Running a GoPro HERO6 Black Without Internal Battery
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You can’t run every model of GoPro with external power without an internal battery (i.e., pass-through power)–some models don’t have removable batteries. But you can with the Black models.

You can run the HERO10 Black, HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, HERO7 Black, and HERO6 Black with external power. The same goes with the HERO5 Black and HERO (2018). If you’re powering the camera from an external source via the USB-C cable, whether that’s a wall adapter, USB power brick, computer, or car adapter, you can remove the internal battery and run the camera via external power. The camera will continue to work normally. Doing this is known as providing pass-through power.

An advantage of leaving the internal battery in place is as a safety net in case the external power stops flowing. Without the internal battery, the moment that the AC power stops, the camera will turn off. It won’t turn back on automatically when the power source is restored. With the internal battery installed, it will switch over seamlessly.

But there are times when removing the battery might be a better option, especially for very long-term shooting such as time-lapse, or if you need to reduce the weight of the camera.

Water & Weather Considerations

An important consideration when doing this is that because it requires the USB port to be accessible, the camera will no longer be waterproof.

There are some accessories for the HERO10 Black and HERO9 Black to help with this. They don’t make the camera waterproof, as such–you wouldn’t want to submerge the camera–but they do maintain some water and weather resistance that makes them useful for outdoor above-the-water-surface shooting such as long-term time-lapse.

GoPro has recently come out with a USB Pass-Through Door for the HERO10/9 Black that has a USB cable attached to the replacement side door. You can then attach the cable (4.5 feet / 1.37 meters) to an external power source (it doesn’t protect the power source itself–that’s something you’ll need to handle separately).

And a third-party company called 3BR Powersports has a product called the X-PWR-H9 that provides much the same functionality, but it’s built into an aluminum cage mount. You can find them here. And while its name mentions the HERO9 Black specifically, it also works with the HERO10 Black (they have the same camera body and port layout).

External Power Indicator

Usually, when you connect external power you’ll get the charging battery indicator. Without any internal battery to charge, though, there’s a different icon on the front screen. It looks like this:

Running a GoPro Without Internal Battery

On the HERO5 Black, HERO (2018), and HERO6 Black, you get the same icon in the top right-hand corner of the back screen as well. On the HERO7 Black, you get a small “No Batt” message next to a red battery icon with a cross in it.

The Latest Model: GoPro HERO11 Black

Released in the fall of 2022, the HERO11 is GoPro's current model. Well, actually two models.

First, there's the flagship Black that has all the bells and whistles and sets the standard for action cameras.

GoPro HERO11 Black
  • Shoot 5.3K60 & 4K120 video at up to 120Mbps bitrate
  • Take 27MP photos
  • Waterproof to 33ft / 10m without a separate housing
  • Built-in mount point
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 In-camera Video Stabilization creates smooth video without a gimbal
  • Shoot up to 8x slow motion

A couple of months later, they released Black Mini. It's smaller and shares many of the flagship models capabilities, but it's also stripped-down in important ways. For instance, it doesn't have a touchscreen, its battery isn't removable, and it shoots video only (so no photo mode).

GoPro HERO11 Black Mini
  • Shoot 5.3K60 & 4K120 video at up to 120Mbps bitrate
  • Compact form factor
  • Waterproof to 33ft / 10m without a separate housing
  • 2x built-in mount point
  • HyperSmooth 5.0 in-camera video stabilization
  • Shoot up to 8x slow motion @ 2.7K
  • Built-in battery
David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been shooting with GoPros for years, starting with the HD HERO, and have owned and used every model since. More »

65 thoughts on “Powering a GoPro with External Power but Without Internal Battery?”

  1. I have a Hero 5 Black that I’m using for streaming/motovlogging and it doesn’t turn on with external power without the battery in. When you turn it on with only external power it beeps and flashes on then off. With the battery in and external power plugged in I can get about 5 hours streaming but then the battery dies and I have to swap it out.

    • From your description, it sounds like the external power might be underpowered. Is it an old external battery, by any chance? Some of the newer ones have higher output.

      • When I use external I have a USB-c plugged in to a power strip tower. I was thinking that it might be underpowered but I’m not sure exactly what I’d need to increase the power output.

        • I wrote up details, long-story short, check the specs on the charger itself, or the manual for it. For most GoPros, to not run down the battery internally, your external power should provide at LEAST 1.2A output. I’d recommend a minimum 1.5A, and really recommend a 2A charger/battery bank (the price difference won’t be much).

    • some power banks will only charge up then power down after you need a power bank with a bypass button that allows the power bank to stay switched on to power any device you may be using

  2. David, yes this is a cage type mount, really easy to dismount the camera, as the adapter is under the camera the only connection is the adapter to the camera, backing up a bit to the crackling noise, one person said it is because the adapter sits below the camera and is picking up the interference?
    Can I also ask, what difference would a powered mic do with the GoPro, I have one but is supposed to be powered from the camera, change mic settings to powered mic, does not work, switch back to standard mic and works?
    Best wishes for 2021.

    • I have 2 brand new hero9. Tested both on external powersupply via USBC. Initially they both work. Then the both shut down after about 30 minutes. I tried both test with and without internal batteries. with internal batteries, both got really hot and shut down. Without the internal batteries, the also got hot but not as hot as the ones with batteries in them and shut down. So I challenged anyone who says the gopro hero 9 do work on external power. Cos I know they don’t. Only work for awhile.

      • It’s working for me. I just tested with a couple of HERO9 Blacks, one running off AC and the other from an external USB battery pack. Both had batteries in the camera, but they were low (one was about 3%–the battery won’t charge while recording). Filming at 5K30 with HyperSmooth on. A 512MB memory card in each. They’ve both been recording for 5 hours and counting. Yes, the cameras are hot, but they’re not overheating in the room temperature I have them (approx. 70 fahrenheit). A few possibilities come to mind that might be causing your issue. Not sure whether any of these are the culprit in your case.

        • The power supply isn’t providing enough throughput. This might be an issue with older USB external batteries.
        • The memory card might have trouble keeping up or might be generating excessive heat (some cards are more efficient than others).
        • If you’re maintaining a wireless connection to the mobile app, that requires more power.
        • The ambient temperature is high or the camera is in some kind of enclosure that won’t let it wick off heat.
        • So are you saying that you can leave the battery in and record for extended durations using an external source (such as a battery bank) even though the battery itself will not charge? My impression was that if the battery was in place, the GoPro would run off battery power no matter what external source was plugged in and thus still be limited to recording only as long as the battery had juice.

          I’ve always removed the battery when using an external source to record with my Hero 8 and although it works, it can be a royal pain in the ass as if the cable moves even a tiny bit, it cuts out. If I can leave the battery in and still rely on external power to record for more than the 45 minutes the battery is able to provide then that could potentially be a game changer for me.

  3. I’m going on a 5-6 hour bike ride and have a H7B. My issue is, to mount it on my bike I have to have the shell on the outside. That prevents me from plugging in the USB-C cable to an external battery pack which I would tuck away into a bike bag on my bike top tube. I have a friend that has the H8 and H9, and they don’t have the issue because they have the mounts on the bottom of the camera, and bought a special door in order to have the plug accessible. I’m wondering what type of accessory I would need to accomplish recording a 6 hour bike ride with my external battery pack? Thanks.

    • If I’m understanding correctly what you’re doing, the Frame should fit the bill. There’s a cutout on the side to allow access to the USB ports; you’ll need to remove the door from the camera first. The catch is that this will leave the port exposed to the elements (just as it would with the HERO8 and HERO9, for that matter), so you won’t have waterproof or dustproof protection.

      • There is another way, anAlunzi case which accepts the mic adapter and allows the power cable and mic to be plugged in and mounted where you wish and power bank tucked away in a convenient place, no waterproofing but use some Blue Tac or something similar around the plugs will help, Cheers

        • Thanks for the tip. I’m not familiar with that one specifically. Is that a cage mount? I’ll check it out.

  4. Plenty of good reading and advice, the issue of external power banks and not being waterproof has been solved by a Company in the States,,3BR Powersports have developed several items to keep your gopro running on external power and stay watertight.

    • These look like very interesting products, but unless I’m missing something, they don’t seem to solve the waterproofing on the power source end. They just add waterproofing while still allowing use of the camera’s USB port. Which, don’t get me wrong, is itself useful.

      • Most of the users of the gopro camera I know are motorcyclists therefore the camera is out in the open the power source connected to the Gopro is safely tucked away in a waterproof jacket pocket, this also helps keep the battery warm during cold weather, lithium batteries as we know do not function too well in the cold, I use lithium packs in my electric model aircraft, winter here in the UK is a challenge to get the best from our batteries, from warming gloves to heated containers , so a warm pocket for a gopro power pack is ideal, your information on your page is very helpful, many thanks for your time and effort.

        • Interesting, thanks for sharing. Not a motorcyclist myself, and it’s always good to hear more about the different ways people are using them.

        • Hi David, enjoyed the conversation on batteries and how we use our gopro, a question please, my Hero 8 on start up keeps asking to update time and date as well as some other updates, how do I stop this occurring?

      • Agreed. But technically they don’t add waterproofing, they add splash proofing. In addition, they nullify any kind of external audio solution as they don’t allow for the media mod on a Hero8 at least. For splash proofing one of the best and cheapest solutions is “Mack’s Silicone Putty Earplugs” or the more expensive version “YOLOtek’s Silicone Rainproof Putty”.

  5. I’m using a power bank with a Go Pro 8 with the battery out but when I try to update the mobile app I get a low battery warning. The power bank works fine with the camera and connects to the app. What’s the solution?

  6. I use an external power source on my Hero 8 with no problems but am trying to determine if I would lose the ability to use an external power source if I attached a Rode wireless microphone system to my gopro- do you know?

  7. Does anyone have tried all/max features working (with gopro app/remote) simultaneously like vlogging with mic & LED’s using external power source without a battery installed? How long it lasted for different power bank mah? mine is ulanzi BG-2. Thanks.

  8. So I’ve got a power bank plugged in to my GoPro, with no internal battery. I cannot seem to “control my GoPro” from my app when using an external power source. Any tips on how to fix this?

    For reference I’m a crane operator, and I’d like to mount it somewhere with a cool angle for a video time lapse. With my current settings it will only record for ~4 hours before I have to (now) manually go out and hit the button again

  9. Sorry but it doesn’t work for me.
    My back screen goes off when I try to record with the battery out on external power.
    I had a chat with GoPro about it who asked me to take and post a video and post it on YouTube, which I did, but nothing back after I was told my case would be esculated.
    Here’s the video I did for them: https://youtu.be/tC_nv4edhAE I haven’t hear anything from them.

    • Mark,

      Try to power something else with the external power supply then you will know if it’s the power supply or the GoPro.


      • My powerbank works fine with everyting else including my iPhone, iPad, Helmet comms unit and a load of other thing, so it’s not that.

        • Double check that the power supply is firmly connected. If it is then it must be a GoPro problem with the connection or something not connected to the battery power system. That’s all I can think of. Anyway that the particular external power pack you have is not compatible with that particular GoPro? That’s a strange problem you have.

  10. My Hero7 Black cameras (2) run fine with the internal battery removed on an external battery (Nocqua 10ah) driving two USB connections. In fact, if the internal batteries are not removed, mine overheat out in the FL sunshine. The issue I ran into and have a question about is can anyone run a Hero7 Black without an internal battery but attach the 3.5mm mic adapter? I thought you could plug the external power into the USBC of the mic adapter and run just fine, but you can’t it seems….it won’t even power up the camera.

    • For a DIY solution, I’ve used a SuperSuit housing, drilling a hole in the side large enough to take a USB-C plug, sealed it up well with silicon sealer, and run it to a Pelican Case housing the battery. It’s pretty cumbersome and there are potential weak links, but it’s work for me in storms. There are also some off-the-shelf waterproof batteries; I have more about them here.

  11. Has anyone had success using the external microphone with an external power source? If I take the internal battery out the camera will start to record and then stop within seconds. If I leave the battery in then I have to disconnect the external power supply for the ext microphone to work (note the ext microphone is selected in the preferences but there is no audio recorded).

  12. I am not able to control my Hero 7 via wifi when I have a power bank plugged into my hero 7. When talking to support they said most power banks are not compatible to allow this function. Is there anybody out there that knows what power bank will allow me to operate via wifi when plugged in

    • Did they give you any spec information for what to look for? I’ve just now tested with a HERO7 Black and 9 different external batteries. With and without GoPro internal battery installed. With both GoPro Smart Remote and GoPro Mobile app. All are working as expected for me. Different brand and spec external batteries. A few from Anker, a couple from Photive, and others from RAVPower, Unifun, Zendure, and FosPower.

  13. Curious if a similar procedure would work with the Hero7 SILVER. I realize the battery is internal and cannot be removed in this model, but curious if an external USB-c power bank could be my solution to a much longer filming time on the silver model. If not, I guess I’ll have to splurge on the black.

    • Yes. You obviously can’t remove the battery, but you can power it with external power via the USB port while filming. And because the internal battery remains inside and connected, it gives you some buffer to switch out the external power supply if you want to swap it for a new external battery (I mention this because with the main topic of this post–running the camera without an internal battery–the recording stops immediately if you disconnect the external power source). It won’t charge the internal battery while you’re actually filming–you have to stop recording to do that.

      • David — you write that it won’t charge the internal battery if it’s connected to an A/C source or external battery. That is not my experience.

        I’ve found just the opposite. External batteries DO charge the internal battery, even while recording, until the internal battery until it is full,, and then it keeps it topped off by periodically sending more juice to it. Of course, that only applies to an actual A/C power source, or an “always on” external battery — otherwise the external battery turns off once the camera is topped off and full and the power would run down until the camera is fully discharged (e.g. stops recording).

        • Interesting. That’s not what I’m seeing. I just tried it with a HERO7 Black and HERO7 Silver with external USB powerbricks and an AC charger. I’m not seeing the battery charge while recording video or time-lapse video–only between shots when shooting time-lapse photo. The manual is also pretty explicit: “RECORDING WHEN PLUGGED INTO A POWER SOURCE: . . . Even though your camera is plugged in, the battery will not charge during recording. It will start charging when you stop recording. You cannot record while charging with a computer.” I’d be curious to know what combination of camera model, video mode, and power source you’re using.

    • My main goal is to have recording available throughout a 4 to 5 hour mountain bike event, not necessarily record throughout the entire event but potentially through 75% of it. From the replies, it appears I can do this with my Anker 26800 power brick and a usb-c cable.

  14. Hi, I’ve just bought the Go Pro 7 Black to shoot Time Lapse. The project is over three days and I’ve tried with an external pack (PNY 5v 2.1 – 5,200mah) and after a couple of hours it switches off. Now I know you’re going to ask which switches off the battery or camera? Well thats difficult to test as they go off together. Suffice to say the battery has loads of charge in it still. I’ve updated firmware and plugged into mains it has run for 18 hrs plus with no problem. My assignment has no available 13amp power, have you got any suggestions? Is it the power bank doesn’t have the grunt? look forward to your thoughts.

    • It doesn’t have to be designed specifically for GoPros–any USB external battery should work. A very small one I’ve found to work well is this one. Or there’s a slightly higher capacity variation like this one that’s a little bigger but still fits in a pocket. There are also significantly slimmer versions that are often marketed as phone power backup batteries.

  15. This begs the question, what is the max length of video that can be saved on the internal card? At varying resolutions of course…

  16. I tried to take out the battery and power the hero 7 directly using ac adapter. then I have problem controlling the device through the gopro app. the device can be turned on but whenever I started video recording, the connection failed immediately and also the recording stopped. and I can no longer connect to the device through the app unless to switch off the ac power supply and on again. does that mean if I need to remote control the device I must have the battery inside the device ? do u have this problem also ?

    • I haven’t run into that issue, and I tested it just now. It’s working normally for me with a HERO7 Black. I’ve removed the battery, connected the camera to external power, and can do all of the usual functions through the mobile app like record video and take photos, etc. The connection is stable for me–it’s not disconnecting. So basically I’m not running into anything different that would be due to the battery being removed. I’m using an H7 Black with firmware v.01.70.00 and the GoPro mobile app running on an iPhone. I’m able to shoot as normal in modes like 4K60 w/HyperSmooth, etc.

      So the functionality is there. I’m not sure where to start with troubleshooting why it’s not working for you aside from the usual things like current firmware, healthy and fast memory card, etc. Other possibilities might be a low-throughput AC adapter or faulty UBS-C cable. Beyond that, I’m not sure what could be causing it.

      • I had the same problem yesterday even with internal battery installed and trying to use external battery. Using App just shutdown all recording. I had success with this before. Not sure what changed. Maybe a bad cable.
        I had no problems when un-hooking external battery.

        • I’m not using any particular product to do it–just a USB cable and USB power source. I’ve just now checked with a HERO9 Black and HERO8 Black, with both regular usage and remote through the GoPro mobile app–and both are working normally for me. Right now, I’m using a RAVPower 90W wall charger and USB-C cable, but I’ve also used several other chargers to do it.

    • You’re not alone. Searching the GoPro forums you will realize that it is a common problem with the Hero7 stopping recording randomly on its own. GoPro support will remind you to use only certified SD cards and have you re-flash the firmware (which is silly.. really it is!).

      End-users have found success by disabling auto-low-light and possibly the auto-rotation feature. Ultimately, it seems that some units are more prone to lock-ups and stopping on their own, than others — if possible and necessary, RMA return the unit for another and keep repeating that until you get one which is reliable and won’t stop on you like that. (this is the wisdom I gleamed from hours of reading tonight)

  17. Tried connecting a power brink to my Hero 7 Black with the internal battery still installed, hoping the external battery would power it when the internal failed, but it did not.

    It seems odd to remove the internal battery completely just to use the camera for more than an hour or so, but I’m glad the option is available.

    • It should work with the internal battery still installed, but the behavior in that case doesn’t bypass the internal battery–it keeps topping up the internal battery. But when you say the internal battery failed, do you mean due to a fault in the battery simply running out of juice? If the latter, the normal behavior is for the external battery to run out first, because that’s what’s topping up the internal battery. If it’s a fault, I can see how that would interrupt the normal behavior since it wouldn’t bypass the battery.

      • I thought it was odd as well, but the battery just ran out and was never topped off. I used it again last night without the internal battery installed and connected to the brick and it worked fine.

        This is a good solution for me since I can use that battery in my other camera. Still, I wonder if it would top off the battery in my 6 Black…I’ll have to try.

  18. Can a gopro (any model) be set to turn on when USB power is applied (assuming battery is not installed)?

    Can the newer models be set to automatically connect to wifi upon powering on?

    • Not as far as I’m aware–at least, not without something like the hacked firmware that CamDo uses for their time-lapse setups on the HERO4 models. I don’t recall that particular firmware script providing that functionality–I’m just pointing to it as an indicator that it is possible to trigger the power on/off system externally.

      You can have the cameras ready to receive the wifi connection, but the connection is initiated and controlled on the phone or computer side of things. By default, the camera can’t itself connect to a wifi network or router. I’ve heard of people trying to jury rig setups with routers running DD-WRT or using a Raspberry Pi, but I don’t know how successful it is or what’s possible with them.

    • A USB-C cable with any standard USB wall charger should work just fine to power it and charge at standard speed. If you’re looking to take advantage of fast charging, you’ll need a higher-output USB-C charger like GoPro’s Supercharger. You can find more options here. (That post is focused on the HERO5 models, but it applies equally to the HERO6.)

      • I use my iPhone wall charger and gopro cable and it works fine.
        Also, I run my gopro 4 black off of an I/o gear power bank/charger. I take the battery out of the gopro then
        attach the gopro cable to the I/o gear power brick.
        It will run it for hours or it my case until the 64 gb card fills up in just over 4 hours. That is recording on 720p. After it is finished I disconnect the I/o gear brick, put the gopro battery back in the gopro and that is all there is to it. I don’t see the need for a battery eliminator cable since my card fills up way before the need for any longer recording time than the I/o gear brick will furnish power to it. PS: You can also use wifi and the lcd tough screen at the same time.


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