Polaroid cube (thoughts and a bit of diy)

I grabbed one, just before going to Gran Canaria this year. Main purpose is to shot some picture/videos underwater, as well as some on the bike using it as “action cam”. So this is more like review.

Some facts at first of all. Polaroid is no longer Polaroid as you might remember (at least some old buggers like me). Now is more like mid range Chinese electronic company, but I found quite a bit of sample videos on YT and comparing the price I decided to splash some money and have a go with it.

Camera does exactly what says on the tin. Recording video in 1080/720 (in 5 minutes chunks ~300Mb) and shooting photos in about 5mpix. On the back under small lid is SD card slot, switch 1080/720 and microusb port, on top one button which is used to operate camera (all functions).

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Sounds crazy but I think one button operation is brilliant. Whole thing reminds me of an lomo camera and lomography idea. Picture quality is acceptable lets say, and that’s why the connotation with lomography – which is more focused on series of pictures and catching a moment and mood rather than quality. Even among the accessories you can find pendant and have it always handy.

Camera itself is not expensive – about £75 in EU, and comes without any mount at all (apart from magnet on the opposite side to switch button). Adding the mounts, on the other hand, might be a bit expensive affair. Mounts usually £15-18 for strap, helmet, tripod, bumper case and bike mount. Waterproof case is about £20 version with suction cup around £25. So all together, mounts might double the price easy.

These I think, all available mounts at the mo:

In my case the camera been used mostly for taking pictures on a move, snorkelling, cycling and will be used for wind/kite surfing in the future. I decided to slightly cut the costs in terms of mounts. For me one strap mount looked like will do almost all the things I need. I can attach it to helmet, I can attach it to bicycle handlebars (after a bit of tweaking*), I can attach to stick, to boom, etc. Tripod mount? maybe but at the mo I don’t think I’ll need it, suction cup? thank you, but no thank you ;-). Don’t like the idea at all. Anyway, it was unavoidable buying waterproof case, but again I’m able to attach waterproof case to strap mount, sorted. Bumper case? Not really essential thing, but again a piece of inner tube plus carabiner and I’ve got same functionality. So I ended up with standard strap mount and underwater case, plus a bit of diy’ing and it’s covering all usage.

Some samples. (youtube unfortunately cut the quality I’ll try upload again in full hd in the future)

Polaroid CUBE Polaroid CUBE

Polaroid CUBE

Some underwater shots:

Cons
Is not really a con but after using it for two weeks I’m really missing intervalometer. I know that’s quite an ask for this kind of camera but anyway that will be quite nice feature. Just shot pictures every two minutes or so.

Camera needs quite a bit of light. Night shots not as nice as in daylight. For me that’s not an issue as it’s used as “action cam” almost exclusively. Haven’t got really a sample in poor light but that can be found on YT.

Pros.

Light and small. That’s what you need on a bike. Example shoots below. Quite a bit experimenting with different mounts, and I’ve ended up with simple solution attaching the cam underneath my Garmin with simple silicone band which is ultralight 😉

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Love the one button operation. Intuitive and functional.

Looks like is well build and Polaroid claiming it as “splash proof” which I think is true.

* To attach the strap mount to handlebars I had to make custom adaptor using black Suguru plus short strap which I believe might be even better option than clamp from original bicycle mount. Pictures will tell the story. Basically I’ve used cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebars and camera.

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Suguru + cling film + handlebar

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everything wrapped in cling film to prevent Suguru sticking to handlebar and mount

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a blob of Suguru squashed against handlebar

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desired shape with “center point” to prevent sleping the pad from underneath the mount

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after 24h hardening

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velcro sewed to strap

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ready to go

A bit About configuration. Once camera is attached to computer and clean SD card inserted the software is copied to the card as well as directory structure created. At first I was thinking that the only way to configure the camera is to run supplied software (Windows/Mac), but as I’m not using windows I found actually quicker way to do it. In root directory of the card there are two files: settings.txt and time.txt the only thing the supplied software is doing is changing content of those. I found that once camera is connected to pc by supplied cable settings.txt can be easy edited in any text editor and saved. All you need is change UPDATE to Y (yes) and save file.
Structure of the file is quite simple:

CUBE-V1.01
UPDATE:N
FORMAT
LightFrequency:0
TimeStamp:0
CycleRecord:1
BuzzerVolume:30
——————————-
LightFrequency
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:60Hz  1:50Hz
TimeStamp
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
CycleRecord
0 ~ 1, def:0, 0:Off   1:On
BuzzerVolume
0 ~ 50, def:5

Four parameters to change and underneath the description.

Time.txt – same thing. Set up date and time in supplied format, switch UPDATE to Y save file job done.

Keep’em rolling

Adam

Problem Solvers

Long time no see… Don’t know why this website been undiscovered for so long by myself. Ladies and Gentleman Problem Solvers. As name suggests they might have answers for most “oh f***!” situations you facing, when you trying to customize bike. I love blog and diy stuff they have. Some of bits and pieces are absolutely brill. Couple of examples:

.. and many more.

Keep them rolling. Cheers

testing…

As with job change, my commute is stretched now to 25km, I decided to slightly upgrade my commuter. At first, tired Continentals been replaced with heavier but bulletproof Schwalbe Marathon 28Cx622. (I had actually a dilemma to choose between Conti Gatorskin and Schwalbe Marathon both 28mm) Done app. 300km, and must say I’m really pleased how they rolling, plus zero punctures so far. Also I needed a compromise. Something suitable for gravel and still rolling nicely on tarmac (so that’s why Conti’s lost to Schwalbe). Marathons doing the job nicely. 5/5 stars, big thumbs up.

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Next change was old Avenir pannier, which caught spokes couple of times and had holes all over the place. This time went for Ortlieb. Ortlieb got very good reviews on Internet and set up a standard in terms of “waterproofness”.

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The only problem people mentioning all over Internet is lack of internal pockets. So heavier stuff is slowly traveling to the bottom and at the end of a ride, you fishing out keys 5 minutes. I sorted it by sewing a pocket with edges stiffened by pieces of plastic from milk bottle. and then forcing screws (which  keep hooks) through the fabric/plastic to keep it in place inside. Job done in 40 minutes including “scratching head phase”. Quick and maybe not glamorous solution, but as is not visible I don’t care. Very pleased with pannier as well. Pictures below will help to understand what I’m talking about.

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The biggest suprise was actually pump from Lidl. Costs £3.99 (!). Got flexible hose hidden inside pump when not used, alloy body, both ends sealed by rubber cups. Overall, similar design to Topeak and Lezyne but for the 1/5 of the money. Bloody amazing thing, easily can pump 120psi! Very pleased, but hopefully won’t be used too much with Marathons 😉

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And now quiz. What is characteristic to all three things I mentioned?

answer

All of the made in Germany. 😉

Keep them rolling. Adam

What’s inside pedals…

Last week I’ve purchased new platform pedals for my commuter. Because of the price, I’ve chosen diamondback alloy platforms from wheelies. I’m always using the cheapest platforms for commuter, as I don’t want splash 50-60 quid on fancy pedals. Let’s be honest, if you’ll spend 60 quid on pedals how long they’ll last? 5 years? Ok let’s say 5 years. For half of the price, I have every two years, new pair of cheap platforms for ten quid. Anyway, the first thing I’ve noticed after unpacking box, was how tight the bearings are (but hey don’t be fussy, don’t expect 10 quid pedals be ready to rock out of the box). So, I pry the plastic cap and attempted to adjust bearings. Below you can find, what I found inside…

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Inside was plenty of alloy fillings (probably left after machining pedal body for dust cap). Just wondering how crap is the procedure that they greasing bearings before boring the hole?! Same both pedals. No comment.
First thing I wanted to do, is just send them back, but that’ll take longer than cleaning, greasing and adjusting…