Adapting a Norman 200b for radio slaves

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by anthony_mann|1, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Hi, rather new at this so I have a question about modifying a Norman 200b to use with my DSLR:

    What type of plugs do Norman flash heads use on their sync ports, and can one simply plug in a cord patch from a basic hotshoe radio
    flash trigger, or are there any voltage issues to deal with when doing this?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. The Normans use a household (2-prong) kind of plug in their sync cord. It looks like this:
    I've got fairly old Norman units (a 400B and 200B) and I've not yet had any luck yet getting a radio trigger to work with them. I haven't tried something high end, like PocketWizards, but I have attempted using the cheap Cactus units off eBay and nicer Calumet triggers, and neither one worked.
    I need to experiment a bit more, as they will trigger with the old IR unit I got with the Norman kits when I bought them, and also a two-prong optical peanut slave will fire them, so not sure why my radio triggers don't want to work with them.
  3. Pocket Wizards have the correct cable available and will work.
  4. Thanks for the responses, appreciate the input about PWs, Brooks. I will have to save that option as a last resort when
    all cheaper methods have failed. Bernard - I hope that your strobe will fire with a radio trigger, please let me know how
    that goes. In the meantime, I ordered a PC to HH prong adapter for my cheap radio slaves and will try that out, otherwise
    it sounds like I will have to go with optical peanut slaves as the next option. I will post my results here.

    Thanks, and have a great New Year!
  5. Just a thought. Check the trigger polarity of those flashes. The modern standard is to have the outer of the co-ax P-C plug negative and inner positive, or tip positive and sleeve negative for a jack plug connector. That's what most radio triggers are designed for and they may not fire a reverse polarity flash - i.e. outer or sleeve positive. Courtenay were fond of reverse polarity trigger sockets, and need a swapover cable to make them work.
  6. It might just be a polarity issue as Ralph mentions.
    One of the neatest solutions with the Norman heads is the integrated PW's as seen here:
    and available here:
  7. Y'know, Joe and Ian, you just might be right. It hadn't occurred to me to turn the household plug "upside down" (need to slap myself upside the head, lol) to see if it worked. I know my optical peanut slave has to be inserted in the proper orientation to trigger the heads, so the same thing probably will need to be done with the radio triggers.
    I hadn't bothered, as I'd had Paramount Cords make me a nice Nikon-to-phono plug sync cord for my Speedotron pack, and then I had a short phono plug female-to-houshold male plug for the Norman heads made, to insert that into, and it works fine when connected directly to the camera. I also had hoped to use the Calumet radio triggers, as they come with a phono plug (as do the Cactus triggers), into this short cable, but that's what hasn't worked--yet.
    It won't look nice, with the cable sticking out over the top of the head rather than hanging from the bottom, but it will probably sort out the polarity issue immediately. (I'm betting it will, and I'll find out soon as I get back to London. I'll report back when I do.)
    Now I've got to wonder whether it was because I was too stupid or too lazy to see that was probably the proper solution...neither one an attractive choice!
  8. Don't be so hard on yourself Bernard. We've all overlooked the blatantly obvious once or twice. If anything, blame Norman or the cable maker for being backward - if indeed it is a polarity issue.
  9. Thank you for the input her, you guys have been mighty helpful. I will try out my inexpensive radio trigger first with a PC
    to HH prong adapter, in both polarity directions, along with a Wein L8 optical slave trigger. Will post back here how the
    trials go.


  10. [​IMG]
    O. Winston Link and assistant, 1956
    The household plug is an artifact of the old flashbulb days. It enabled photographers to use electrical extension cords to hook up flash guns. When electronic strobes began to replace the Graflex handle-mount flash guns, it was natural for the strobe manufacturers to keep the household connector as the flash trigger connector. The Norman 200b was one of those flash units that many photographers bought to replace their bulb flash gun. I remember, as a kid in the mid-70's, getting cases of flashbulbs from camera shops that couldn't give them away. they were a lot of fun to play with! The gas-filled 25b's gave off a very, very nice light.
    I've been using 200b's since the mid-80's. Hard-wired at first, then with the Venca radio slave, now with PW's. The heads are not all wired the same, and I often have to reverse to HH plug at the head to get them to fire. Not a big deal. Same goes for the Dynalite packs.
  11. That's a great photo, Dan! I only recently discovered Norman's. Having never tried out more powerful strobes than my
    standard electronic flash before, it has added a lot of interesting potentials to my photos - I literally just bought one, so I
    am just starting out with it. It was fun back in those days when flash bulbs were around. I set off a bucket of them by
    accident once by having one start a chain reaction when I fired it-didn't know that could happen!
  12. Or if it all fails, take short trip to your electronic store (Radio-shack) or something along that line and get a Audio patch cable for around 3~5 $ max, and save yourself quiet few pennies, at least this is what I did and it works flawlessly.
    one thing I know with many systems, they do not like a long sync cable, and some of them act up, as this was my experience, also many units and designs misfire if you plug in the power line in reverse polarity, while it may not make a difference for many units, but often this is safety feature built into the units people often forget also there is line tester for another 5 bucks will solve that as well, I bought two and one is always in my camera bag, you never know what the electrician did in the place when thy laid wires, I had reversed polarity, NO ground and you name it.
    if you are handy and good with tools, you can easily modify what you already have, or even use adopters readily available and save even more.

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