Got more info on pc cords and DSLR use?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by melissa_eiselein, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Hytham Saati's Aug. 28 post mentioned the chance of frying the
    circuitry of a digital SLR such as the 10D when using a PC cord. It
    got me worried, so I went on a search--and came up with

    I either got a ton of irrelevant posts, or when I used the
    keywords "digital pc cord fry" (or frying) I came up empty...which
    seemed odd because they were in Hytham's post. I guess it takes
    awhile for Google to catch up. Grrrrrr...

    Anyway, I'm not quite sure what a pc cord is but I'm guessing that I
    own one. My Alien Bees came with a "sync" cord that plugs into the
    unit using a small male plug. The other end has a plug that is a
    male inside a sheath of metal, making it almost appear that it's
    both male and female. (sorry, I'm not doing very well at explaining

    My other "connecting" cords are your basic Canon hot-shoe extension
    cords such as the Canon Connecting Cord 60 (2-footer) and 300 (9.8-
    footer). These have little plug ends with six tiny holes that match
    the plugs in Canon's hot shoe adapter and Canon TTL distributor.

    Can anyone tell me if either of these types of cords are the deadly
    PC cords? And if they are, what precautions I need to follow to
    safely use them with my 10D. Or, are they not recommended for use
    with a digital SLR at all?

    BTW...Pocket Wizards would be nice, but I'm no longer in a financial
    position where I can purchase additional photography equipment. Now,
    I've pretty much got to make due with what I have or I need to sell
    what won't work to fund something that will.
  2. The 'Deadly PC cords' are the synch cords that go between your studio strobes and your camera.

    They are not deadly as such, the deadly bit is the voltage running through them from the strobe unit, which can be very high. This can be a problem with some modern cameras, and especially Canon, which can be damaged by trigger voltages greater than 5v.

    If the voltage is high enough it can 'fry' the electronics immediately - and if it doesn't, it can cause the damage over a period of time, because the damage is cumulative.

    The safe alternatives, which were discussed in a recent Weekly Lighting Theme, are:

    'Safesync' - a voltage limiter that fits between the camera and the synch cord

    Radio triggering, such as Pocketwizards or Pulsars, which use a radio transmitter to send a signal to a receiver. The receiver triggers the flash

    Infra red triggering, similar to above but using an infra-red transmission

    Infra red triggering, similar to above but without using a receiver, they send their signal to the flash sensor fitted to/in the flash head

    Small portable flashgun, preferably covered with a deep red gel and pointed at the ceiling to avoid affecting the shot. Works the same way as above.

    Hope this helps
  3. Here is the Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe Mounted High Voltage Sync Regulator that will protect your DSLRs from the unlikely event of being fried by studio strobes:
  4. Thanks guys. That means it's my AB800s that I need to worry about.

    I can probably turn down my 550ex and cover it with a small piece of red gel and use my ABs in slave mode. If that doesn't work out, I'll look into a safesync. (I'd read about it in posts but never knew what it was) Maybe I'll be able to get a set of Pocket Wizards with my next year's income tax refund.

    At least I know that I can use my off shoe cords without any problem.

    Thanks again for the quick replies.
  5. I just found good news, for me at least, on the Alien Bees site:

    "AlienBees Flash Units use a low sync voltage (approximately 5 volts) which is safe for use with any camera having a hot shoe or pc sync connector."
  6. Yup! Sorry I didn't see this sooner!

    In true geekster form, I checked the voltage coming out of my brand new AB800's and if it makes you feel any better, I can verify that the voltage is below 6v. As a matter of fact, both of my lights tested at 4.5v.

    I've got one light connected to my Digital Rebel through a generic (not-safe-sync) hotshoe adapter and have had no problems.

  7. Hi Melissa, The 10D and "The Bee(s)" get along fine with a standard PC synch cord. I must've shot a bazillion flashes with no problems. Well, other than tripping over the &#^@ cord all the time. ;-)
  8. This is a very useful site that was mentioned in some post long time ago:
    FYI, I searched for "strobe voltage chart digital damage" in and it came right away.
  9. Melissa, I primarily use Pocket Wizards, though my studio strobes have a sync voltage of less than 6v. However, for DSLRs, I'm shooting D100s, which don't have PC outlets.

    If you are using lower voltage strobes and don't need the safe-sync protection, but do need a hot shoe to PC adapter, the Nikon AS-15 adapters are only $19:

Share This Page