Unusual Wireless triger Problem

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by rdm, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. rdm

    rdm

    I am currently taking a photo lighting class and mid semester we were required to start doing projects involving using multiple (at least 2) off camera lighting strobes. All in manual mode no TTL or auto mode.
    Before this class I used only manual film cameras (Minolta x series) and after a few weeks into it purchased a Panasonic G1 Digital body with adapter to use all my lenses on. All my old dedicated strobes for my Minolta were low enough voltage and safe to use on the digital body. I also had one old SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 322 non dedicated strobe that had too high a trigger voltage so i did not try it, but i love that flash since it is a bounce swivel head and power control.
    Since i already had several strobes for my old manual film cameras i thought it would be better to buy an inexpensive radio trigger set instead of an of camera cable and hot shoe slaves. Because a ttl cable and a slave trigger shoe would end up costing the same and since they were all going to be used in manual mode anyway the radio trigger method seemed the way to go , since it also could be used as a camera remote.
    This is what I got.
    [​IMG]
    The Aputure Trigmaster set with 2 receivers and remote chord for the G1.
    I got the remotes and discovered a problem.
    SO let me list the flashes and that i have 1st to help with the following problem i will mention.
    (1) SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 444D for Minolta (TTL)
    (1) SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 322
    (2) Minolta auto 132x
    (1) Minolta 280px (TTL)
    SO my problem is that now that i have the Trigger set the only flash that works on the receiver shoes is the SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 322. All the other flashes work on the camera hot shoe in manual mode but not the wireless receiver shoes.
    I called the place i purchased them and it was suggested that maybe the trigger voltage on the flashes are too low . Is this possible and do i need to buy new flashes?
     
  2. Unfortunately it is not uncommon that some ebay trigger have problem with certain flash units. Quality control might also be an issue so perhaps you should try another set?
     
  3. rdm

    rdm

    These were not off eBay. I do not know if i can mention the name but, It was from a reputable camera store in Waukegan Illinois , that i often purchase things from because i feel they have good customer services, prices and tech support. As i said when i called they suggested the trigger voltage of my old flashes were too low. They had not solution to recommend besides new flashes.
    But for the cost of more expensive trigger system i could get another flash, maybe a better one with more features.
    Also the set is one trigger and one receiver; i purchased an extra receiver and nether receiver works with the other flashes besides the 322.
    Just to let you know i measured the trigger voltage of the flashes with my volt meter and the Minolta's were 1 volt or just under and the sunpak 344D was about 3.2V & The 322 was over 9V
     
  4. dan, how about trying another set: Cactus V 5 or some|one of Pixel offerings? Do consult the upper voltage range before buying. (I have neither that set nor any of the flashes that you have listed.)
     
  5. rdm

    rdm

    Well Parv, do you know of a place with a good price for one triggers and 2 receivers with shoes by them?
    Also i would have to see if i could get my money back 1st. I do not know if by then i will have enough to buy something else; right now i defiantly do not. I looked at Cactus and cowboy studio, radio poppers and others, and the trigger masters were the only ones that i could afford and also came with a shoe. The reviews i seen were good but i guess the people that wrote about them on the message boards i read used newer flashes.
     
  6. I've never heard of a problem with too low a trigger voltage. Anything modern should switch with a single solid state switch (an SCR or a FET) that will happily go down to 1v or lower.
    Now, the Sunpak 444D isn't working, so that blows apart the "too low voltage" theory. According to the flash trigger voltage database http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html that's about an 11.2v trigger (people measured 3 different units, and got voltages ranging from 10.8v to 11.5v). If it won't trigger that, it won't trigger anything. All current, major brand studio strobes: White Lightning, Alien Bees, Bowens, Profoto, even Elinchrom units are at 5v or lower. As are all Nikon, Canon, Minolta, etc. flashes going back 30 years. If the 444D doesn't work, something else is wrong.
    Oh, and here are the trigger voltages for your flashes.
    • 11.2v SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 444D for Minolta (TTL)
    • 227v SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 322
    • 2.2v Minolta auto 132x
    • 1.8v Minolta 280px (TTL)
    You've got receivers with Nikon/Canon universal shoes. Your Minolta flashes won't have their TTL contacts line up on those properly, and something could get shorted. When I "cross pollinate" flashes (usually Nikon flashes on Canon bodies) I tape over all but the big "trigger" contact on the flash, just to prevent that kind of stuff.
    Now, if the receivers aren't rated for 300v, that Sunpak 322 may have damaged them. I know that it's a high enough voltage to blow either the popular Yongnuo receivers or the more pedestrian QUantum Free X-wire. So, it is possible that, had you tried other flashes first, they might have worked, but now you're partially charbroiled your receivers so that only a high voltage flash will work. But I'd consider that unlikely.And it doesn't appear that Apurture puts their voltage ratings on the specs pages on their site.
    And Parv is right, the "Apurtur Trigmaster" is a flash commonly found on eBay or small dealers with Amazon ordering.
     
  7. While I know very little about electrical things compared to Joseph W., I think it is also unlikely that you damaged your triggers or that the voltage is too low. I agree that the contact pin disconnect may be causing problems. Try taping off everything except the center contact pins--either on the flash foot or on the triggers. It can get messy and sticky, but to test, just use masking tape. If you find this is the problem, you can construct a thin, plastic stencil, which can expose only the center contact.
     
  8. rdm

    rdm

    First off, thank you all for your replys and insight.
    OOPS.. that was a Typo on the one sunpak .. it should have been 344D, that was my Bad.. But that shouldn't matter anyway because i mentioned what the trigger Voltage was when i measured it .. I checked that page and i appreciate you listing the values that were measured by other people on other units listed on that page, but as i already mentioned, i measured my units already. I am an engineering student and very familiar with how to use the equipment for measuring voltage. However it is possible my meter could be slightly off, just as anyone else could be when measuring their strobes. But since it had been a month since i measured i will go and measure them again and post exact results for everyone here. I did also compare with the site and wanted to forward my results to him but found no easy link to do so. Joseph, yes, had Pete said that i had a trigger commonly found on eBay i guess he would be right. I didn't know if it was commonly found on eBay I never looked and that was never mentioned, he just said "some eBay trigger have problem with certain flash units" indicating to me he thought I may have purchased it from eBay from some overseas source that i could not deal with. I simply replied to correct that i did not purchase my trigger from that site. Sorry his statement wasn't as clear to me. In addition i should mention i had also thought about the multi contact points on the shoe and when i was on the phone with the technician, I asked about the functions of the contacts or if there was a pre-triger wake up or something of the sort, the technician opens up one of the units he had there from a return and told me that nothing but the center pin was connected.
     
  9. rdm

    rdm

    OK i just measured again,
    SO fresh from the Simpson Digital volt meter :)
    (1) SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 344D for Minolta (TTL) = 2.8V
    (1) SUNPAK Thyristor Auto 322 = 36.6V
    (2) Minolta auto 132x = 1.2V & 0.9V
    (1) Minolta 280px (TTL) = 1.9V
     
  10. Sorry to read of your problems, dan.
    Before I bought my little Elinchrom universal remote flash trigger set for about 180. off eBay last year, I used optical slaves on my shoe off camera on stand flashes. One for each flash. Small on camera flash pointed up at ceiling did it. Never had a failure, not with Wein optical slave gizmos, or Wein "digital ready ignores any IR preflash model gizmo....
    When I follow the forums the talk is often like so, " I been using an eBay RF trigger set for two years for chump change and it is just great..." When I read your personal experience I think that maybe they are not always so great.
    Radio tech device I would like to afford is this: I would love to have a distant and intervalometer release set for my GH 2 and also my E-3, set up to shoot from 15 feet or interval timed. But look and see this story below, dan. Is it a roulette business market? Dunno...
    True,I want no fuss or doubt if I got a friend model here and made up to pose for me. As Joe W. would likely agree, , the gear got to work. Trigger voltage be damned, the engineers deal with that variable; makes a stirring story from sellers tho....
    I have only one problem with my Elinchrom trigger set which is mid range priced. It is so tiny (good that) but I have fat fingers (not always so good with these little bugger switches). But RF is now the coming thing and I look to see more mid priced units out there and compatible with all the brands.
    Advice, I would say see if you can return them and go optical shoe to flash, tell them you checked the voltage and want another unit or money back... (Wein or any brand optical is good backup for no much money..) Latter until you got enough saved up for a better brand with a track record, I read the Amazon reviews to see the record in use.
    (Following bit is about the Meiko brand RF shutter release for Olympus 4/3 brand cable socket. Sure looks nice in the picture, but hmmm..)
    http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/showthread.php?t=65654
     
  11. Dan, if the flash works in the hotshoe and it doesn't work when attached to the trigger it is pretty obvious where the problem is -> the trigger.
    There are only two options here:
    1) The trigger units are incorrectly designed in which case it will never work.
    2) Your particular unit is broken.
    Unless you want to reverse engineer the electronics in the trigger there is only one way to find out -> get another set of the same triggers you have from the store and try them with your flash units to see if they work.
    If they do work you know it was you first unit that was broken. If they don't work you know that the triggers are incorrectly designed and you need to find another brand or model that works.
    Since you bought it from a reputable store you should be able to take your flashes with you and try it in the store.
    Hope you get it sorted out.
     
  12. Did you try taping off the pins? As I understand it, sync voltage damage is a gradual thing, so I wouldn't think it would suddenly cause the triggers to not work, if they work in the first place.
     
  13. rdm

    rdm

    Yes i did try taping off the pins. However the fit on the shoe is so tight it pulled the tape off as i slid the foot on.
     
  14. Well then, unless you want to make a plastic stencil, best to follow Pete S.'s recommendations above. I make the stencil from the kind of think plastic that is used in plastic bubble packaging. The reason the stencil might work (re tearing) is because it is slippery enough let the pins pass even though the shoe is tight.
     
  15. For a DIY isolator under the foot of a flash shoe, cut out a proper sized section from an old 120 or 220 negative.
    A piece from 35mm film will be to thick. The thickness can be easily reduced, if necessary, by scraping (skiving) the piece thinner with the edge of a sharp knife or razor blade, much like playing a scratch ticket for lottery.
    My personal experience with cheap triggers, (and mine are probably the cheapest), I've never had an issue with my flashes not firing, (except for exceeding their limited range), and I have a wide variety of flashes, old and new, with low and high trigger voltages.
    I have had some flashes that won't fire via the shoe, but they do fire with a sync cord, but that is an issue with the foot of an old/tired flash unit, not the wireless trigger's receiver.
    I will join others here, and advise you to return to the store where you purchased these triggers for relief.
     
  16. For a DIY isolator under the foot of a flash shoe, cut out a proper sized section from an old 120 or 220 negative.​
    See! Flim is not dead!
    I've also used it to make an IR filter for flash triggering with on-camera flash.
     

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