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
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:

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.

Text & Photos by 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 just about every model since. More »