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CRACE 2 for Hero 5/6/7 – version 1.1 – has subpar anodizing

$185.00

Coolant Resistant Action Camera Enclosure

Out of stock

SKU: C2-CRACE2-GPH5-Black-1.1-subpar-anodize Category:

The CRACE 2 fits GoPro Hero 5, Hero 6, and Hero 7 action cameras. Unlike ordinary, plastic action camera enclosures, the CRACE 2 is made from materials that can stand up to machining coolant. The anodized aluminum, Gorilla Glass, and stainless steel hardware are effectively impervious to coolant, and the o-rings are made from buna-n, which is highly resistant. The built-in air outlet at the bottom edge of the lens window is used to quickly blow coolant out of the camera’s field of view while the under-cut portions of the shroud prevent coolant from getting near the lens in the first place. It’s not a magical enclosure that makes coolant invisible, but it might be the next best thing.

The CRACE 2 does not have a warranty. Although it’s “coolant resistant”, I do not have the testing equipment or knowledge necessary to ascertain “how” coolant resistant it truly is. The following are questions I cannot answer…

  • How much pressure can it withstand? I cannot answer this definitively.
  • How long can it resist coolant, even at low pressure? I cannot answer this definitively.
  • How long will the o-rings last? I cannot answer this definitively.

It is not recommended to submerge the CRACE 2 or use it while diving.

There is a wire port on the left side of the CRACE 2 which allows access to the USB and video plugs on the GoPro inside. This port is sealed against coolant ingress by the wire port lid. Unfortunately, the wire port lid also prevents wires from getting into the case as well and removing the lid defeats the CRACE 2’s coolant resistance. In the future, I intend to design some kind of mounting block that will maintain the CRACE 2’s coolant resistance while simultaneously allowing wires to be plugged into the camera. I realize that some people may need/want to have that ability sooner than I can provide it, so I am also selling inexpensive replacement wire port lids for people who would like to try to to modify them for that purpose.

The CRACE 2 has several mounting options.

  • There is a 1/4-20 threaded-hole on the bottom of the CRACE 2 for use with tripods and other similar camera mounts. Behind the 1/4-20 hole is a shallow 1/8″ pin hole which can be used in conjunction with the tripod hole for alignment purposes. The 1/4-20 hole is ~5/16″ deep, the 1/8″ hole is ~1/16″ deep, and the center-to-center distance between the two is 1/4″.
  • On the left side there are two M3x0.5 tapped holes spaced 40mm apart vertically. They are ~7.5mm deep.
  • The top, bottom, left, and right sides of the enclosure are flat so that the CRACE 2 can be placed on any of these sides. The flat and parallel shape of the CRACE 2 (OK, I admit it, it’s boxy) makes it convenient to lightly clamp it in a vise.

The screen of the camera inside the CRACE 2 is visible through the LCD window of the rear lid. Being able to compose your shots with the LCD is very handy! Both buttons of the GoPro Hero 5/6/7 are accessible while the camera is being protected by the CRACE 2. Although it’s possible to see the screen, it is not possible to touch it, so any functionality of the camera that relies on the touchscreen will be inaccessible while inside the enclosure. The enclosure does not completely block the camera’s wifi signal though, so settings can be changed on-the-fly via the app using a mobile device.

Both the lens window and the LCD window are Gorilla Glass purchased from Edmund Optics. These pieces of glass are quite pricey, but I wanted them to be scratch resistant and strong. The lens window has had a coating of “Fusso” applied to it to make it more oleophobic. I have tried a few different oleophobic products, and Fusso is the best by far. I don’t know how long it will typically last, but I have been using the same windows on all my personal CRACEs (even most of the prototypes) and I have not had the need to re-apply Fusso to any of them.

A few notes that I couldn’t work in organically.

  • The factory-installed “Protective Lens” must be removed from the GoPro before putting it into the CRACE 2. The Protective Lens is meant to be removed by pulling on it and twisting (twist either direction). There are a bunch of videos of how to do it on YouTube.
  • The door covering the USB and video plugs of the GoPro must be removed if you plan to use the wire port. Personally, I find that door to be annoying so I remove it anyway.
  • Like most action camera enclosures, condensation can form inside the CRACE 2. Many factors will contribute to whether condensation forms or not (humidity, temperature of the environment outside the enclosure, how warm the camera gets, etc.). Closing the enclosure with liquid water/coolant inside will greatly increase the chance of condensation forming. I’m including two reusable color-changing desiccant pouches with CRACE 2 v1.1 orders. These pouches are reusable and can be “refreshed” two different ways… 1. microwaving them on LOW power for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or 2. baking them in a 200º oven for 2-3 hours. NEVER put them in an oven over 250º. The number of times the pouches can be refreshed is not published by the desiccant manufacturer. The desiccant pouches can be put in the “thumb slot” inside the CRACE 2. Personally, I usually use my CRACEs without desiccant, but I have had my footage ruined a couple times by condensation as well.

This is version 1.1 of the CRACE 2. Although it is very good, in my opinion, it does have a couple issues, described below.

Bad anodizing
The v1.1 batch of CRACE 2s have flawed anodize which has small speckles all over it. Please see the photos and/or video to see what they look like. Because of the bad anodizing job I have dropped the price by $15 (the anodizing shop did not charge me for their sub-par work so I’m passing the “savings” along).

Rough threads for the thumbscrews
The subpar anodizing also ended up partially plugging the thumbscrews holes in the lid. I had to manually “chase” these holes with a tap in order to get the thumbscrews through. The box’s thumbscrew holes are also a bit rough. I’m disappointed that this is the case, but I don’t believe there’s a practical remedy for this.

O-ring sticking issue
Basically, the o-rings tend to stick if they’ve been left for a while (say, around a day). This really isn’t a big deal but, when it happens, it does make the rear lid a little more difficult to open than usual, causing the user to need to apply extra force to get it open. Because of the extra force required, when the o-ring in the lid unsticks, the box and the lid can separate rather abruptly. This abrupt separation can cause a few problems, particularly when the user doesn’t know it may happen. Firstly, if the rear lid is pivoted away from the box and if a thumbscrew is still inside the screw-hole in the box, the thumbscrew could get bent by the pivoting motion. Also, the sudden unsticking of the o-ring can catch the user by surprise, which might lead to them dropping one of the parts or even letting the camera come out. These problems are easy to avoid by using the procedure below.

If the rear lid is sticking, or if you simply suspect it may be stuck, the best thing to do is to only unscrew each of the thumbscrews two to three turns, then pull the lid to unstick the o-ring, and then unscrew the screws the rest of the way. For a little added protection, screw the thumbscrews a turn or two into the rear lid (so that they are no longer loose) before removing the lid.

I recorded a video (below) showcasing these issues, please check it out and consider if these issues are things you can live with…

The aluminum pieces of the CRACE 2 (the box, rear lid, LCD window retainer, lens shroud, wire port lid, and buttons) are milled by me, “Hirudin”, on my Brother Speedio S700X1 in my car hole in Albuquerque, NM, USA. It was designed and CAM-ed with Autodesk Fusion 360. About an hour of machining goes into each one, with approximately 300 milling operations across 16 separate setups using all 21 tools in the machine’s tool changer (including the touch probe).

Included…

  • 1x – complete CRACE 2 v1.1 (assembled)
  • 1x – pack of spare screws
  • 1x – Plastic Quick-Disconnect Tube Coupling
  • 2x – pouches of color-changing desiccant (they turn pink when saturated)
  • 1x – small tube of o-ring grease
  • 1x – pack of spare o-rings (one spare for every o-ring in the CRACE 2 other than the tube coupling o-ring(s))

Links to other things you may want…

Dimensions: 78mm wide x 63mm high x ~56mm long (including the thumbscrews)

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