Is there such a product? AC-powered, high-voltage pack for Nikon SB-800

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by studio460, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. I find I'm using my Nikon Speedlights more often in studio-like situations. Instead of hooking up a Quantum Turbo to my Nikon SB-800 for fast recycle times, is there an AC-powered, high-voltage power supply of some sort so that I don't have to use (and re-charge) my Quantum Turbo batteries for when I'm using Speedlights near AC power?
     
  2. Perhaps there is no commercial device, but a High School grade simple project could do it.

    It was very easy to do in countries with 220 Volts AC househoold current. The device had a single diode and a single in-rush current limitter in form as simple as a 1 or 2 OHm/5Watts resistor. More elaborate project could have a full bridge rectifier with 4 diodes.
    The 220 Volts AC multiplied by square root of 2 gives rectified peak loading high voltage in vicinity of 310 Volts DC. Shoe mount flashes high voltage direct input need some 300 to 330 VDC.
    For the USA, you need to double the 110 VAC first, perhaps using a simple diodes and resistor network, or a stepup transformer, and then you need a high voltage rectified, half wave with a single diode, or full wave with a bridge rectifier.
    Preserving correct polarity of the output DC voltage connection is important.
    ...seems like a business opportunity for a venturous person, to make a commercial product, and become reach quickly.
     
  3. This looks like exactly what you're looking for: http://www.innovatronix.com/index.php/products/item/35-tronix-speedfire
     
  4. Just remember how easy it is to cook your flash gun when it's got that much power at its disposal. Those speedlights can overheat very quickly if you get lulled into no longer worrying about battery life and start blasting away. Just tread carefully!
     
  5. And after we get done watching the firefighters extinguish Frank's house, let's see what we can do to keep them from visiting yours.
    Why do you want to do this thing, grasshopper?
    A speedlight has
    • No modelling light.
    • Overheating problems. You're supposed to let the SB-800 cool down for 10 minutes after 15 full-power flashes (page 51 of the manual). That's, at best, 90 full power pops an hour, if they're evenly spaced.
    • Severe power limitations. Full power is 80 watt-seconds.
    • Light pattern limitations. It's focused to a 64 degree spread at the widest setting, and going past that requires power robbing diffuser panels or domes. It's hard to light a whole umbrella with a speedlight, and even harder to feed a softbox.
    • Bracket problems. You need extra gadgets to attach it to a light stand and add an umbrella, and even more complex things to add a soft box.
    The "Tronix" gadget is $135, and a basic clamp to put a speedlight on a stand is $20. That's $155. Spend another $70 and do things right. An AB-400 is a decent little studio strobe at $225. Get a couple of AB 400s. They have 2.5x the raw power of a speedlight, 100W modeling lights, mount directly to a stand and let you easily attach brollies or soft boxes, and can pop hundreds of times an hour. The tube is open, it feeds a softbox perfectly. Better light, more light, more reliability, and easier to use. What more do you want.
     
  6. Joseph said good things.
     
  7. The Metz handle mounts always had the option of letting you connect the flash to an AC oulet but you had to purchase the transformer...
     
  8. It would be a better idea to hook up the flash to an AC powered low voltage supply. Basically replacing the flash batteries with AC.
    A lot of people have fried their speedlights with the high voltage power packs.
     
  9. Joseph said:
    No modelling light . . . Severe power limitations . . . Full power is 80 watt-seconds . . .​
    The problem is I have too much light. My lowest-powered monolight, a 400 Watt-second Dynalite, even through two layers of diffusers, in a 5' Profoto Octa is still several stops too hot for large-aperture portraits. My current set of monolights are just too powerful for interior use (but I did buy them specifically for location exteriors).
    Speedlights are ultra-convenient for certain interior set-ups because they're small and light, and I can dial down the power to 1/128th (plus, I never use modeling lights anyway--overheating isn't a problem either, since I'm rarely on full power). I also have a Profoto speedlight speedring with a baby receiver, which allows me to attach any of my Profoto modifiers to any speedlight.
    Spend another $70 and do things right . . .​
    Well, I'm going to be spending a bit more than $70. I'm currently planning an all-Einstein E640 studio (mainly because they dial down to only 2.5 Watt-seconds).
     
  10. Matt said:
    Just remember how easy it is to cook your flash gun when it's got that much power at its disposal. Those speedlights can overheat very quickly if you get lulled into no longer worrying about battery life and start blasting away. Just tread carefully​
    Yes, thanks for the warning. These are mostly for careful set-ups, not machine-gun fired sessions. But I'll definitely make a mental note to keep that in mind.
     
  11. Pete said:
    A lot of people have fried their speedlights with the high voltage power packs.​
    I've used Quantum Turbos for years without any problems. I do know two people who have fried an SB-800 or two, but these are Getty shooters who fire full-tilt, non-stop. Still, it's a rare occurrence in my experience.
     
  12. I've used Quantum Turbos for years without any problems. I do know two people who have fried an SB-800 or two, but these are Getty shooters who fire full-tilt, non-stop. Still, it's a rare occurrence in my experience.​
    Those I think of are wedding and event shooters. But yes, it's those that shoot full-tilt to get the image that fries their flashes. It's not the high voltage battery pack per se that fries the flash, just the ability to shoot a lot faster than Nikon intended.
    Since you have one you know of course that a high voltage pack also need to use the batteries in the flash to keep the electronics running.
    With a low voltage power supply you just insert an dummy adapter instead of the flash batteries. If you can solder you can make an AC to SB800 adapter for less than $20. For a more ready made unit you can combine an AC/DC adapter with a dummy battery from Quantum, but the Quantum part is unfortunately expensive.

    For example:
    http://www.mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=B4sXYbYweUoWRrcMhUw9Ug%3D%3D
    together with
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/316569-REG/Quantum_Instruments_MKZ3_MKZ3_Locking_Module.html
    Cut of the connectors and solder the leads together with some heat shrink over.
     
  13. Pete's recommendation is best, if the SB800 is concerned, unless you have a pile of money to purchase proper studio flash set.
    The SB800 had old problem when internal baterries were low, and external high voltage power adapter was strong.
    For this reason, some of external high voltage power supplies from Nikon are recomended for SB800. Some are recommended for SB900 and even have a different plug/connector that would prevent inserting it into SB800 since it is recommended for SB900.
    There was a lengthy post about it few month ago.
    Supplying external low voltage to the SB800 inner circuit, as described by Pete, is the safest.
     
  14. Ralph: when you do get into those Einsteins, you're going to be a very happy camper. Just set up another rig of four of them with Buff's CyberCommander and remotes - what a great way to operate.
     
  15. What's wrong with the SD-8A or a simlar pack from B&H or Adarama? The after market units are about $75. I use them all the time and the batteries last a very long time. Plus no cords to trip over or special batteries to buy. I've done the internal low voltage thing as well but I like the SD-8A much better.
     
  16. Jim said:
    What's wrong with the SD-8A or a simlar pack from B&H or Adarama?​
    I already own a couple of Quantum Turbos, so I don't need an SD-8A. Plus, I get super-fast recycle from the high-voltage Turbos. I just thought if I'm near AC power, why not get an AC-powered, high-voltage DC supply for my SB-800?
     
  17. Matt said:
    Ralph: when you do get into those Einsteins, you're going to be a very happy camper. Just set up another rig of four of them with Buff's CyberCommander and remotes - what a great way to operate.​
    Oh, I can't wait, Matt! Yes, I plan to go all-CyberSync for my home studio. I'll probably get nearly every accessory PCB makes as well--they're so affordable! Two 7' PLMs (both, soft silver and white), two sets of honeycomb grids, a 22" white beauty dish + honeycombs for that, etc.
     
  18. Make sure you get their beauty dish carry bag -- best value out there. I have one for my Kasey dish and it's top-quality.
     
  19. Peter said:
    Make sure you get their beauty dish carry bag -- best value out there. I have one for my Kasey dish and it's top-quality.​
    Thanks for the tip--I will! All of my PCB/Profoto gear will stay in the house, permanently "installed" in my "home studio." But I do have 22" and 18" beauty dishes for my location monolights. I never knew how to conveniently transport those darned things!
     
  20. Well, I'm getting tired of re-charging my Quantum Turbos just to power my SB-800 just to shoot these tests. Guess I gotta order at least one Einstein E640 next week!
     

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