The New Project

October 28 2010

Great News! As of today it is no longer necessary to make any hardware modifications in order to remove that awful timestamp!

My new project is a software only project. No screws need to be removed, nor does the case need to be opened.

I am leaving the Old Project here for reference. It is a last resort in case it is no longer possible to un-brick a bricked camera. It is, however, cheaper to buy one or two new cameras than to buy the equipment needed for this project! But, if you already have the equipment, then please read on...

Newsflash January 2011: A Brand New type of camera, the #11, is now available. The video quality is amazing and is true High Definition Video. Unfortunately it only exists as a keychain (808) model so far, so please pester the seller, who is also the manufacturer and designer of this gem, if you want a H.264 GumPack model. I believe he will produce the GumPack model if there is enough demand for it - so please ask him! The more people ask for the GumPack HD, the more likely it is that they will produce it!

The seller supplies firmware to use the camera without the timestamp! Firmware update is an easy process, unlike the #3. The manufacturer also sells a so called "Emergency battery charger" which will let you charge the internal battery AND record at the same time. You can contact the seller directly at The seller is very helpful and has technical knowledge about these cameras. You can also view the HD H.264 camera in the seller's ebay store: Don't be misslead by cheaper offers from other sellers for fake HD cameras. These are NOT H.264 or HD 720P cameras!

The Old Project

One month ago (it's now late July 2010), I barely knew what everybody on Philippe's excellent site were talking about. But I was determined to get rid of that horrible timestamp!

Nobody has yet found a method of removing the timestamp without manipulating the hardware. This project describes a method where it is possible to reprogram the onboard SPI memory chip by desoldering or cutting only 3 legs. It is absolutely not necessary to desolder the whole chip. Note: This method is only possible because HOLD# (pin 7) is shorted on the board to VCC (pin 8). All credit for this method goes to eBay seller "user8012" who also sells the "Nano Programmer" which I use in this project. He is a most helpful person and very professional.

Today I can patch a GumPack in about 15-20 minutes. That is a total, relaxed time, including removing and replacing the 8 screws. I am not an expert and I have never touched SMD before. I believe that this method should work on all variants of the GumPack (808, MD80, Key chain cameras etc.) which incorporate the SunPlus SPCA1527A processor and use an 8-pin SPI memory chip and do not have internal memory for saving data.

The main problem with this project is the tiny size of the chip in question. If you can solder, then this project is definitely for you. If you have never soldered before, then I suggest that you don't attempt this project. The problem area is not the soldering, but rather the desoldering. However, it's possible to avoid the desoldering part by simply cutting the three legs on the memory chip instead of desoldering them. Of course, if you do this, you will have to solder the legs together again when finished.

If you can find 6 grabbers then you can do a very professional job indeed, with no trace of manipulation except maybe 3 better soldered joints. If you don't have the grabbers you will have to solder the wires onto the 6 legs.

I made my own harness for the grabbers and I wrote a simple patcher program which replaces the font in the extracted file with a transparent font. I have taken all the information from Philippe's site. The patcher program can be downloaded and used freely by anyone interested. It can be downloaded here.

In another project, I show how it is a fairly simple task to use an external USB battery pack or power supply so that it's possible to record about 7 hours of continuous video. Click here to see this project.

Tools Needed

Preparing the GumPack

Now things become a little tricky

A small dot on the top of the memory chip designates Pin 1.

There are three pins (1, 5 and 6) which have to be desoldered or cut. Cutting the legs is the easy method. If you decide to cut the legs, ignore the following instructions and go to the Programming section below. Using the pliers, bend a very small "U" at the end of a piece of varnished copper wire. Loop this wire around the back of pin 1 and carefully pull out the threaded end about 3 cm (1 inch). This is quite fiddly, and it may take a bit of time to ease the wire so that it fits around the bottom of the leg. You should use the thickest wire possible.

Once the wire is looped around the leg, hold the long end and apply the soldering iron to the bottom of the leg. As soon as the solder starts to melt, remove the iron and gently pull on the wire loop. It should break the solder joint between leg and pad. These two operations must be done simultaneously. If all is well, the leg will be separated from the pad on the board. The spacing between leg and pad should be barely visible. Check under the magnifying glass. If it failed, then try again a second time, but be patient. Don't apply heat too long because excessive heat will "lift" the pad from the board.

Once separated, carefully bend the leg upwards so there is at least a 1 mm gap between leg and pad. The legs are very fragile, you can't bend them more than once or twice or they will break off - I have warned you.

Repeat this procedure on the remaining two legs.

Programming the memory

I made my own harness using grabbers. If you don't have any grabbers you will have to use very thin wires and solder them directly to the legs of the chip. Refer to my diagram. I am sure that eBay seller "user8012" will make the harness for you if you send him the diagram below. I doubt that he sells the grabbers. They are difficult to find and are expensive. I was lucky to get mine for free.


I bought 3 of these gumpacks from the same seller at the same time. Every one had a different firmware. No. 2 shows a lot of differences and it only supported max. 16GB SD cards. I replaced all the firmware with the patched firmware from No. 1. This firmware supports 32GB SD cards and so far has worked very well. For those interested, I am including the three UNPATCHED (with timestamp) firmware versions. Download NoTimeStamp.exe to remove the timestamp from the files.

Cam No. 1 (32GB)

Cam No. 2 (16GB)

Cam No. 3 (32GB)


All credit goes to the gurus who really found out how to get rid of the timestamp and program the chip. What they have discovered is amazing. I have learnt a lot from them and have used their ideas and methods to make this project. I hope others will also appreciate their work.

To name a few:

Philippe, Chuck, Bill W., Spinner, David Sykes, user8012 and others

Useful sites

This project is based on information taken from these excellent sites.

I have written another article here, if you wish to record while the camera is connected to an external USB battery pack.

Thank you for reading.


Last updated: 5th November 2010