Trouble with SMDV safe sync

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by mukul_dube, May 7, 2015.

  1. Today I received an SMDV safe sync adapter, whose function is to reduce the often high trigger voltage of old flash-guns to a level safe for today's digital cameras. I put the adapter on my Sony A7 and tried, successively, Sunpak 1600A and Minolta Auto 25 flash-guns. Neither fired when I pressed the shutter button but both fired when I pressed the battery check button on the adapter. The check also indicates sufficient charge in the adapter's battery.
    My Olympus FL-36, which has a low trigger voltage, was fired by the camera both directly and through the adapter. This means that the camera is okay and that the adapter is letting a low voltage current get through.
    A friend had bought the adapter for me from Amazon USA. I wrote to Fotodiox, who sell these Korea made adapters in the USA. The exchange ended with them advising me to return the unit for replacement. That isn't possible, as the unit was bought a month ago and could only have been returned in the first fourteen days.
    But I came across this thread which describes the problems a user had with the same adapter:
    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/135665-anyone-tried-alternative-wein-safe-sync.html
     
  2. Having read through the Pentax post, this sounds like a case of you get what you pay for. $19 gadget vs. a $59 gadget. I have the Wein SafeSync and it works each and every time with every flash I have used it with including both older and newer Vivitars and studio strobes.
     
  3. Surely the 14 day returns policy only applies to functional goods on which you've just changed your mind, not on faulty equipment? A 14 day "warranty" is of no use to anyone.
    Anyway, it sounds like those devices are totally useless for their intended purpose, and as such you should be able to return them under common consumer protection laws.
    BTW, have you checked the trigger voltage polarity of those flashguns? There's almost no modern electronic trigger that'll fire a flash with a negative trigger; i.e. one where the hotshoe or P-C centre pin is negative with respect to the outer or hotshoe metal plate.
    Edit: For less than the $59 (What!) asked for a Wein Safe-sync you can get a reasonably modern used flashgun that'll have a safe and low synch voltage.
     
  4. Are you sure you really need a "safe sync" device?
    A lot of cameras for instance Nikons can handle at least 250V in the hotshoe as they trigger the flash.
    What does your manual say about maximum voltage for the hotshoe?
     
  5. Joe, I have half a dozen flash-guns which have given good service over the decades and which I'd like to use. I'm not stuck: my Olympus FL-36 works perfectly with the A7 in non-TTL auto mode. As for legalities and polarity, a loss of $12 won't get me to bother -- yes, I'm cheaper than Craig gives me credit for. Pete, the camera's manual contains this general statement: "Do not use a commercially available flash with high-voltage synchro terminals or with reverse polarity."
     
  6. I've had problems with the Weins' in recent years. Next time I'll try $19.99.
     
  7. So Mukul, what was the purpose of this thread? Since you've rebuffed all suggestions posted so far.
    Was it just to moan about a faulty product you can't even be bothered to return? To warn others about these triggers? Or what?
    Unless you've tried to resolve the issue with the seller or manufacturer by returning it for a replacement, it's hardly fair to complain about the item. Your non-working sample might have been an unlucky one in a thousand or more, as might the sample in the linked thread.
     
  8. I have not "rebuffed all suggestions". I cannot return the thing because too much time has passed since it was bought. So much should be clear to anyone who has bothered to read what I wrote. The users' reviews on Amazon suggest that the "bad luck" affects rather more than one in a thousand.
     
  9. Mukul, sorry to hear about your problems.
    What Rodeo Joe is trying to say is that since it is not working you should be able to get it repaired or replaced under warranty. This is different from returning a product you don't like within 14 days.
    Is it this one you got?
    http://www.amazon.com/Adapter-SM-512-Safe-Minolta-standard-SLT-A35/dp/B0054EOIJ6
    According to the page the warranty is 24 month. So if the unit doesn't work or stops working you could get it repaired or replaced with another within 24 months.
     
  10. Thank you, Pete. Good manners are always welcome. Here's why I won't return the unit. I am in India. A friend in Michigan bought the thing and sent it to me. Do I return it to him or to Fotodiox? Either way, I pay the post office. Then he or someone else pays the post office to bring the replacement to me. The unit cost $12 all told, and postage both ways will add up to a great deal more.
    Now to my reason for writing about the matter. It was a description of a problem I had faced and anyone who heard or imagined a whine needs to examine his ears or his head. Readers are free to make of it what they wish. The first response was the all too common "You gets what you pays for". Now it is not true that inexpensive always and inevitably means poor quality, but the view is widely held. What I had hoped for was advice on checking something I might have overlooked: because it's difficult to see what can go wrong with a product so simple. What I got was the "send it back" line, which too is neither original nor helpful.
     
  11. A safe sync is a simple device and the components inside costs almost nothing so manufacturing costs are very low for these things. So price is more of a marketing thing than the quality of the product.
    The fact that these units as well as Sony's own safe sync devices uses their own battery actually suggests that the design is more sophisticated than wein sync and other who operate on a small current drained from the flash.
    The problem with all these devices and also optical slaves is that the electronics is trying to emulate a simple switching contact. On old cameras the shutter had contacts that would short circuit the center pin on the hot shoe with the outside connector. The same thing with the pc sync connector that predates the hot shoe with decades.
    Unfortunately electronics don't work exactly the same as a switch, which is the source for compatibility issues. The fact that that the safe sync worked with a modern low voltage flash suggests that it's not broken and the problem is in fact compatibility.
    One compatibility problem may be the polarity of the hot shoe. Some devices require the center pin to be positive and the outside negative. Not all flash units are made that way however. Only way to check that is by measuring with a low impedance voltage meter.
    You could also see if it is possible to open up the unit and check the soldering of the components inside. On some optical slaves the electronics is unfortunately encased in plastic. And some units are glued together so they can't be opened up that easily but it is still possible.
    Another thing to try is to check the safe sync with some other hot shoe flashes, preferably older ones. Also check with optical slaves if you have one available.
    Also try to trigger the flash using the pc sync connector so if that makes any difference.
    You could also try and mount the safe sync to the flash and then short circuit the hot shoe on the safe sync with a paper clip.
    It is possible to fix incompatibility problems just as it is possible to build your own safe sync. Unfortunately it requires some tools and knowledge about electronics. For instance if there is a polarity problem you could open up your flash and resolder the connectors to the hot shoe.
    Keep in mind that the voltage on the hot shoe can be in the 300 to 400 volt range. It is not dangerous to touch as the current is very low but it may tickle a little. Inside the flash however there is a large capacitor that you need to stay clear of. It may not be lethal but it will give you a real electrical shock, like touching a spark plug on a running engine.
     
  12. Thank you, Pete. I think I have understood most of what you say. It seems to me that the two old flash-guns I tried did not work because of reversed polarity. The camera manual has a note on polarity, but I saw that too late. If polarity is in fact the problem, the adapter is not at fault. Perhaps its makers and sellers should include a note on the matter so that their product is not wrongly blamed.
     

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