Mecablitz 60 CT-4 back lit numbers on handle

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by james_smith|55, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. My "new" Mecablitz 60 CT-4 has several numbers on the back that are hard to read. I assume they are supposed to be back lit by an LED. The more I research it the more I realize that there were multiple versions of the Mecablitz 60 CT-4. Some manuals show controls that aren't on mine. Apparently there are some that emit an audible tone. Mine is dead silent... except a POP when it lights up like the Fourth of July :)
    So are these numbers suppose to be constantly back lit or do they only light up in a certain mode?
  2. I have an old Metz catalog, that came out when the Metz 50 MZ-5 was their newest top of the line flash. Not sure how I got it, I'm guesing I filled out one of those little cards inside a magazine to request more information. In any case, this is what the catalog says for the 60 CT-4.
    • Illuminated control center conveniently located for easy visibility under all shooting conditions.
    • Adjustable audible verification signal for flash ready status and correct exposure(60CT-4 only).
  3. Download the manual here.
    The numbers are supposed to light up when using auto apertures. Middle window is the maximum flash range for that auto aperture. Right window is ISO, which is controlled by the dial on the side right next to it. Lower window is maximum range with the wide angle diffuser on.
    Many photographers turned the audible signals off. As you are facing the flash, lift the flash head up entirely. On the lower left corner, there is a switch to switch on the audible signals--for exposure correctness and flash readiness. The red screw top controls the volume.
  4. Seeing as how the f8 aperture is lit up, I assume in the photo, you were in auto thyristor mode, so the other two windows to the right should light up. The lower one will light up if you put the wide angle diffuser in place.
    You can send the flash in to Bogen Imaging to be repaired, but they are expensive. I'd figure something else out. If you hold the flash so the natural light glints off the windows, you can see what is going on, as in your photo. I'd leave it that way unless it really bothers you. You can also figure out the ranges by using the calculator dial on top--the ones for manual mode.
  5. Nadine Ohara, nice work. Thanks for the info on the audio settings. The switch was right where you said it would be. I just had to slide the built in diffuser out of the way... Oops. Thanks for the assessment of the illuminated numbers as well. I thought something was screwy. I opened the unit to see if I could just solder some LEDs real quick and was confronted by a slightly more complicated task. I quickly reassembled the unit. Bizarre really, the unit has seen little or no use. I wouldn't think LEDs would fail. The capacitor is junk though. It takes forever to recharge after a full discharge.
    Yes, holding the unit at an angle towards a light source makes the numbers readable enough. I will just carry a pen light. I bought the whole setup for $150 new so I'm not looking to put a bunch of dough into it. I'm interested in what body part I'm going to have to give up to get a new capacitor.
    Does anybody have any idea where and at what price I can get the capacitor swapped out? And please don't say call Manfrotto. I can only imagine how much they would want to squeeze out of me.
  6. 60CT's have a decent output, but their recycle takes an age. Even with a new capacitor you might not see any improvement. The ones I've had all had long recycle times of about 8-10s.
  7. The capacitor is probably fine and just needs re-forming. A low output and long recycling after a flash has been unused for a while is perfectly normal and usually totally recoverable. Metz say that you should re-form the capacitor once every month or so if the gun isn't going to be used. The procedure they recommend is to fit a freshly charged battery, recycle and fire the gun a couple of times, then leave the flash charging for at least 15 minutes without firing it. It's also worth checking that the long recycle time isn't due to tired rechargeable cells - these are much more likely to expire with disuse than the capacitor is.
    I once had a Sunpak 3600 that had lain unused by a previous owner for [enter your guess here]. That took about an hour of charging from a mains power pack before it reached anything like its proper output, but after the capacitor eventually re-formed it was as good as new.
    BTW, you could try unlocking the settings by flipping the switch with the key symbol over it. That might make the LEDs come back on. Also don't expect to get the "rated" GN of 60 out of it. The guide numbers of ALL flashguns are inflated by about a stop, so I would expect a true GN of no more than 45 in metres @ 100 ISO.
  8. So here is what my flash has been doing. The SLA was DOA. No surprise there. I had four 1.5v AA batteries rigged up in a chassis I bought at Radio Shack and attached it to the terminals of the battery case with alligator clips. I did not know about the forming procedure for the flash. So I just switched it on and off until it gave me a flash ready light and I fired it off a few times. I also opened the battery holder/charger and checked out the capacitor to make sure it wasn't leaking. It looked fine to my untrained eyes, no leaks, no bulging, no acrid smell.
    Here's what's weird the red LED on top of the battery/charger would blink sometimes and stay solid other times. It was mostly solid though. The flash ready light would come on even if the red top LED was solid. Today I fire the thing up and the red top LED has been blinking (mostly) but the green flash ready LED has not lit up. I have not power cycled the unit because I wanted to leave it on for at least an hour to attempt to reform the capacitor.
    At this stage I've already fired the unit several times (on a previous day). I don't know if I have in anyway botched my chances of reforming the capacitor. Any thoughts?
    Check out by battery below!
  9. FWIW the Metz 60-38 Dryfit Battery Cell for the 60 Series Flashes is still available even though the 60-series flash units have been discontinued. USA Mfr# MZ 5320. Retail should be <$85.00.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  10. Update: I wandered by the flash and the green ready light came on. I'm not going to discharge it. I'm going to leave it on for another hour and see if this "reforming" thing works. The red top LED is flashing consistently now the way it supposed to.
    There is something I left out in my previous posts. The first day I got the flash and fired it up the AA cells got mighty warm. Today they feel room temp to cool. I don't know what that means. Maybe the initial reforming process drew a lot of current off the cells on day one since I did not have a resistor in the circuit.
    Rodeo Joe, thanks for your reply. You've encouraged me to just leave the thing on with the batteries attached and wait for the capacitor to reform. It's worth a shot. I think it will cost almost as much to get a new capacitor installed as I paid for the flash.
  11. This is getting maddening. Okay I finally decided to discharge the flash because I had to leave and I didn't want to leave it reforming unattended. Well now the flash won't fire. The red LED on the top is blinking. The green ready light is on but the test fire button won't set it off nor will the PC cord. Any thoughts?
  12. James--I do not know much about electronics, so I would not even fool around with using alternative power supplies in the 60's battery case. I don't know if that has anything to do with your troubles, but I would purchase the correct type of battery for the 60 and try to reform the capacitors using it.
    In the past, besides the Metz dryfit battery, I've used the Sonnenschein batteries (you can see them on e-bay) and they work great. A new kind is a li-ion one advertised in the thread below. $60 is a very good price for the battery, and I think--well worth it to try. The old dryfit and Sonnenshein batteries last for at least 3 years or so of good use.
    The 60 is definitely worth spending $60-80 on the battery.
  13. The four AA cells are 1.5v and should add up in series to the required 6v. I have a 6v SLA that someone else recommended on its way. I also have an N20 mains unit on its way. I just hope it's capacitor is okay. It hasn't been used... ever.
    Someone on some other forum mentioned using alkaline cells to run his 60 CT-4. I made that battery out of those cells just to see if it could be done. It is also a nice thing to have in a pinch. It seemed to be working okay yesterday but today the thing won't fire. I would be relieved if I discovered it was just the battery I designed when the SLA or the N20 unit shows up... but I doubt it. We'll see.
  14. If it is any consolation, I recently had problems with my Metz 76 MZ-5 which is a brand new model and had to send it back to get repaired. The problem you described sounds very similar to the problem I was having with the ready lighting blinking on and off, or not coming on at all. I think the problem was due to having stored the unit for about 3 months(maybe more) without activation during that period.

    I did not think much damage would be done, since I have other Metz units that have been sitting for longer periods of time without any issues. Lucky for me, my unit was still under warranty, so the seller replaced it rather than repair the unit. The Metz units are work horses, but they have very finicky, quirky and delicate capacitors.

    The manual for my CT-4 says you need to reform the capacitor every 3 months or so, which I try to do judiciously, but sometimes, I might miss a couple of months. I do this with my other flashes including strobes as well just in case, although I think this problem is more particular to Metz units.

    For example, recently I managed to find the first flash I ever purchased 25 years ago hidden in a bag in my closet. I inserted some brand new batteries in it and to my surprise, the flash worked perfectly recycling buzz and all.
    I also have a 15 year old Vivitar 283 which works fine no matter how long it has been sitting in the closet ?
  15. James, trying to run that flash on double-A cells is a waste of time; it'll just eat them up for breakfast and burp for more. You need the proper dryfit lead-acid or NiCd/NiMH battery for it. The dryfit has a capacity of over 4 ampere/hours, whereas a set of alkaline AAs will supply half of that if you're lucky, and with nowhere near the peak current capability.
  16. I agree with Rodeo Joe--maybe with the proper battery, the LEDs will light up.
  17. Thank you Nadine Ohara and Rodeo Joe. Perhaps you guys are right. My new SLA should be here in a few days and I'll give it a go. I'll also have the N20 mains unit in a couple of days. I'll keep you posted. Rodeo Joe, I'll post the N20 mains unit stuff you wanted to know in the other thread.
  18. I think you have created the last problem that your flash won't fire. When you took the unit apart you may have shorted the sync circuit. When the sync is shorted you may expect that the flash would fire all the time but it fact it won't fire at all. Your problem with not recycling fast enough has to do with your make do batteries. Best to wait for the correct battery. If I run the 60 on alkaline I would run it on D cells not AA.
    The first problem with the back light I think it has to do with the switching contact in the wheel that set aperture and M and TTL mode. When the flash is in M or TTL mode the other 2 numbers are off so there is a switch in that wheel to turn them on and off.
  19. BeBu Lamar,
    No shorts here. Just weak AA cells. I put some fresh ones in and everything worked as expected... sort of. Well it took longer than 8 seconds to cycle from a full power flash. I guess between the reforming and cells of unknown age I should have known. I also didn't take into account the battery's internal resistance. It's much higher than an SLA. Overall I am not convinced the AA setup is really a reliable option.
    The SLA arrived and it seems to work as expected. About 8 seconds recycling time. All numbers light up on the flash. I actually ended up getting a 6 volt SLA with about half the capacity. I have no need to take 400+ shots at one sitting. I wanted something cheap that I could just put on a charger and leave there for weeks at a time. I ended up getting a Tempest TR2-6 for $10. I also bought a BC-06-1250+ charger at the same time. It is a four stage charger that you leave your battery hooked up to when it's not in the flash. It charges and maintains it. The only thing I have to worry about is making sure I fire off the flash a couple times every three weeks to keep the capacitor formed. The battery and charger will take care of themselves. And if the battery conks out it only costs $10 to replace.
    Be forewarned. This was not necessarily much cheaper than buying the Li-ion battery. The charger was $28.00 and you need some wire and connectors to rig the batteries to the terminals inside the generator. The savings happen because of less battery maintenance headache and really cheap replacement batteries. It also isn't as pretty. I used wires with alligator clips. So I have to fiddle with the clips when I am hooking up the battery.

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