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Old Dec 29, 2010, 11:01 PM
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Setting, Removing, and Replacing the Date/Time Stamp

Regardless of whether you like, hate, or could care less about the BIG date/time stamp on the HD video, there's something here for you.

Setting The Correct Date And Time

This should be done even if you plan to remove the date stamp from your videos, so the video file time/date tag agrees with the file creation date your PC generates. Though not mentioned in the instruction sheet that came with the cameras, the date and time can be set to your criteria similar to the method used for the old low-res key cam. Here's the details:

1. Create a plain text file (no font formatting) with just a single text line in the format "year-month-day hour:minutes:seconds" in 24 hour format like this: 2010-12-29 13:34:45

2. Save the file with the name "TIMESET.TXT" and copy it to the flash card root directory (the one that first appears when the card is recognized by the computer). This can be done with an external card reader or with the camera connected to the computer as a USB removable drive. A sample file is attached below.

3. With the card in the camera and the camera unplugged from the computer, turn on the camera. The camera will then read the file, set the date and time, and erase the file from the flash card automatically with no user interaction. Done!

Method 2
To automatically create a TIMESET.txt file in the root directory of your #11 camera flash memory card (copied from the date/time set on your Windows PC), download the excellent time setting utility crafted by Isoprop from this post. This has been shown to work on both XP and W7 (64 bit) PC's, and for PCs that use both mo/dy/year and dy/mo/year date formats. Once the file has been written to the camera flash card, follow step 3., above.

Removing and Restoring The Video Date/Time Stamp

As of the date of this post, all the cameras now being sold by the vendors previously identified should be able to remove and replace the date stamp by copying a new firmware file into the camera flash card root directory and simply turning the camera on, just like setting the date/time. BUT, if your camera was an earlier release version bought before the date of this post, attempting the date removal could "brick" the camera making it inoperative. So be aware of this if you cannot confirm when the camera was purchased. There is no way to tell from the camera's internal components. The risk of this should be low, but if it should happen, contact your vendor for resolution.

Please read through this entire section before starting this to be sure it is clear. Removing and restoring the date stamp is simple and the process is exactly the same for both, with the firmware file used being the only difference.

The latest Rlease 2 "remove time" and "recover time" firmware files are available for download here. They are in separate folders in a self-extracting zipped file because they all have the exact same file names (FW96630A.bin)! Do NOT change the file names! The exact file name is essential for the camera to properly recognize and install firmware.

Be sure your camera has a good charge on the battery before doing this. If the battery should die before the process is complete, you could brick your camera!

The procedure is:

1. Copy the appropriate firmware file (FW96630A.bin) to the camera's flash card root directory. The root directory is the one that first appears when the card is recognized by the computer in flash memory mode or when you click on the camera icon to open its contents folder. This can be done with an external card reader or with the camera connected to the computer as a USB removable drive.

2. With the card in the camera and the camera disconnected from the computer, turn on the camera with a brief press of the power button.

3. The camera will proceed to load the new firmware into its internal memory. The camera LED will NOT light up as it normally would during this process, so don't turn off the camera after you start this process thinking it's not doing anything. You could brick your camera! The yellow LED should turn on after a brief period (5 to 20 sec.) to confirm the firmware has been successfully loaded. If this is the case, ignore the rest of step 3 and got directly to step 4.

On some occcasions the yellow LED does NOT turn back on. If the LED still has not come on after a couple of minutes, the firmware may be properly installed, but the camera locks up. Disconnect the camera and see if it will respond normally to button presses. If it does not and appears dead, before you panic, do the following:
  • Plug camera into USB port, and the red LED should come on.
  • Push the camera "power on" button briefly, and the yellow LED should now come on, toggling the camera normally into it's flash drive mode. Delete the firmware file so it does not attempt to load again the next time the camera is cycled on. Once deleted, you can skip step 4 and go directly to step 5.
4. Delete the firmware file from the flash memory card (it is not automatically deleted). If you skip this step, the camera will again load the firmware the next time it is turned on! The file can be deleted in an external card reader, or with the camera connected to the computer as a removable flash drive. For the latter method, first turn the camera OFF, then plug it into the PC USB port (red LED turns on), then press the camera "power on" button briefly to toggle on the flash drive mode (yellow LED turns on) where you can delete the firmware file.

5. With the firmware removed from the card, the card in the camera, and the camera disconnected from the USB port, turn it on, and shoot a test video to confirm the camera is functioning normally and that your firmware modification has taken effect. That's it, I'm sure you did it correctly... you're done!
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Last edited by Tom Frank; Jun 27, 2011 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Added Method 2 for creating timeset.txt file