I just had my first major problem with my VIO and am very disappointed. Of course the main reason I got it in the first place is I wanted to capture some footage from our day of cat skiing last week with Monarch Powdercats. Prior to that 6th day (with 5 at Telluride and CB), it worked pretty well all week. Naturally the cat skiing was epic, but at the end of the day I got almost nothing usable.
Partly my fault, and maybe entirely, but I'm not sure yet. The result at the end of our cat skiing day was that ~ 15 out of 25 clips I thought I recorded gave me "INVALID CLIP" when trying to view them. I'd had this problem a few times previously, but not often. Of course when I wanted it most, I got a day full of them.
Problem #1 was that as diligent as I was, on the big final day I forgot to put in fresh batteries. I realized that as soon as I turned it on for the 1st cat run but the batteries still showed about 60-75% charged on the icon. However, I found that the recorder just kept randomly shutting down on me. Sometimes only after a few seconds. But then I'd turn it back on and it would seem to be recording fine for several minutes. I'd take an epic run and then check afterwards and find the unit was completely powered off.
Still, the charge appearred more than 50%. It bacame a major irritation having to constantly check for power on, but I thought I captured a good number of clips anyhow. At the end of the day I was shocked at all the INVALID CLIPS. These clips (even though the camera was running for several minutes) all showed a file size of 0 bytes. Apparently, if the stop record button is not pushed and it powers down randomly, all clip info is lost. The Invalid Clip problem is a known issue on the VIO website. It can be related to an inferior SD card (mine was a good one), or low battery power and other rare issues.
So why the powering off with apparently good batteries? Best I can determine from another source is that with Alkaline batteries you have a linear discharge rate and their charge shows more accurately on the VIO display. However, when using NiCads, they will retain a somewhat lower voltage, for a longer period, but then voltage will drop suddenly as the charge begins to weaken. This might not show on the charge display, but could cause sudden shut offs and thus the Invalid clips.
I blew it by not starting the day with fresh batteries, but I'm not 100% sure all the invalid clips were the result of day old NiCads being used. I'm tempted to send the VIO back and say goodbye to it because it really let me down, but I think I'll have to do put it through some more tests first.
Hope the long diatribe is not too parthetic, but damn, I did have a great time on that cat trip anyhow.
Originally Posted by skier219
The reason the VIO gets such good battery life is that the recording unit holds four larger AAs, and you can keep it inside a coat for warmth. When I use my VIO for skiing, I run it continuously for a full day (7-8 hours) and usually have 30-40% charge to spare at the end of the day. For my usage, 3 hours of charge would not be acceptable. From a usability standpoint, I like having a super small, compact camera on my helmet and appreciate the long battery life. The downside of carrying the recording unit in a harness is acceptable to me (not any worse than an avy beacon). Bonuses are the wireless remote that makes it real easy to tag clips and control recording, and the screen that lets me easily review stuff on the go and access/set the various camera functions.