I built the SJ1000 action cam DIY chest harness after seeing a review of the SJ1000 at TechMoan. But before we get to the DIY chest harness lets get a little SJ1000 background. The SJ1000 is an amazing HD action cam that competes with cameras 3 times the price. Price is one thing but it is totally shocking that this no name camera actually has all the features an action cam requires and it works. The old saying “you can have good, fast or cheap, pick two” does not apply to the SJ1000. You wont find the SJ1000 in any brick and mortar electronics super stores so you will need to order direct from China using eBay for about $85 the only problem is the 2 to 4 weeks delivery time. If you are too impatient to wait you might order the 2013 model SJ1000 from Amazon for $99 that has prime 2 day shipping.
There appears to be two models of the SJ1000. The camera is the same but the older models underwater case has 5 buttons but no on/off button. The newer models will have 3 buttons and one of them is a on/off button. The Amazon link above is for the new 2013 model and comes with the latest firmware Y130615. Why would you care about the underwater case if you never plan on going under water? The case is the most secure mount included in the kit and it can be used for any “action” type activities like on a bike, arm or chests.
The cam takes a micro SD card, I use the SanDisk Ultra 32 GB MicroSDHC C10/UHS1 Memory Card with Adapter (SDSDQU-032G-AFFP-A). The SJ1000 will only record a video up to 3.9Gig. This is a limitation of the FAT32 file system. However you can turn on “loop video recording” and set it to 10min the SJ1000 will record in 10min clips once the 32Gig card is filled up it erases the oldest 10min clip and keeps recording.
When you open the box you will be amazed at how many accessories are included.
But after a few seconds of playing with them you will realize that the mounting of the SJ1000’s is it’s biggest downfall. Many of the mounts require several pieces to be put together thus taking this tiny camera and turning it into a huge Frankenstein monster. The core problem is that the SJ1000 camera body has no 100% secure mounting points you must put the underwater case around the SJ1000 to get some secure mount points. The underwater case however, increases the size of the camera by 50% making it much more bulky and more visible. But as we will learn from this post it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Choosing the right color. Black would be the obvious choice as it would not stick out like a sore thumb when you are wearing it. However sticking out like a sore thumb is exactly what you want when you loose the SJ1000 on some single track in the fall with full leaf coverage. Based upon that experience I would recommend white or yellow for your color choice. At least you will have a slightly better chance to find this tiny camera if you were to “misplace” it.
Building the SJ1000 DIY Chest Harness
|DISCLAIMER: Build and use the SJ1000 DIY Chest Harness at your own risk. I will not be responsible or liable for any damages to your camera, loss of your camera, any injury, burning down your house or financial losses should you choose to follow these instructions. You would be crazy to strap a $99 camera to your body based on these instructions. You agree to these terms if you choose to proceed.|
With everything included in the box the SJ1000 is still missing a chest harness. I Googled around looking to buy one but turned up empty handed. There are two mounts that had slots for nylon webbing that looked like they would work, the helmet mount and the underwater case. The included instructions showed the helmet mount attached with a Velcro strap to the helmet. The best thing about the helmet mount is that it has slots for the 1″ chest strap and two 1/4″ slots for the shoulder straps. You will need 10 feet or more of 1-inch webbing and at least three 1-inch quick release buckles. I was lucky and found some old quick release buckles on a old backpack then I purchased a ratchet tie down from Home Depot just for the webbing. My total investment for the harness was $3.69.
|NOTE: I suggest you read this full blog post including Rev 1 and Rev 2 before you start building anything!|
DIY Chest Harness Rev 2
If you are looking to do any type of activity that is more then just walking around do no use the Rev 1 instructions. You will need to review Rev 2 and see if it will fit your needs. Rev 2 uses the underwater case. Once the SJ1000 is sealed in it you can use heaver looking bracket for a chest strap.The heavier bracket can be inserted two ways. From the top down or from the bottom up. I believe the bottom up installation will provide just a little more security. The photo shows the bracket installed without the chest strap. Do not do this! Install the chest strap before you install the bracket. As the bracket is very hard to remove, which is a good thing I guess.
Step 1. Wrap the webbing around your chest and add 12″ to it and cut for the chest strap. Thread the webbing through the underwater bracket. Install into the underwater case from the bottom up. Do not add the buckle at this time.
Step 2. Cut the remaining webbing in half (the left overs). Fold it around the chest strap, sew it to itself overlapping by 1/2″. Do this two times to create the front shoulder straps. Slide one on the left side of the chest strap and slide one on the right of the chest strap.
Step 4. Take one of the remaining webbing and fold it around the chest strap sew it to itself overlapping by 1/2″. Do this two times to create the back shoulder straps. Slide one on the left side of the chest strap and slide one on the right of the chest strap.
Step 5. Put a quick release buckle on the chest strap.
Step 6. Put a quick release buckle on the left shoulder strap and the right shoulder strap. do not worry about lengths of the straps. Just get all your buckles in place.
Step 7. Put on your JS1000 DIY chest harness Rev2. Cinch up all the straps getting the buckles positioned where they are comfortable.
Step 8. Cut off all the excess webbing from the straps. Leave 3″ to 6″ for adjustments.
If you don’t plan on getting wet you may want to remove the waterproof lens cover. I have seen reports of users complaining about the quaility of the video when shot in the case.