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Using adapters to fire a remote hot shoe only flash

Discussion in 'Studio Lighting Forum' started by Ricklb55, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Ricklb55

    Ricklb55 Member

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    Wanting to use my three hot shoe only electronic flashes while not attached to a camera's hot shoe I thought a hot shoe adapter would be the trick, so I acquired a used Hama Hot Shoe Adapter from Ebay, and when that didn't work, a new Medalight (elsewhere aka Kalt) Hot Shoe to PC Adapter from B&H. These adapters do not work either way: when mounted to a hot shoe to fire a separately mounted flash (not really what I wanted) or when mounted on a remote flash to receive a flash signal from the camera, either via hot shoe by way of a Nikon AS-15 adapter or PC synch cord. My flash units all work when not using the Hama or Medalight adapters. The Nikon AS-15 works when not using the adapters. It's difficult to believe I received two broken adpaters. My flashes are a Sunpak 544 (no hot shoe), a Promaster FTD 5700 with a Canon base, an Automatic 17-A, and a Diana flash. Am I missing something?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  2. Snips

    Snips Always on Premium Member

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    Not 100% sure on the question but if you set the off camera flashes to Slave 1 then they'll pick up the light off the flash from the camera and all trigger together.

    Not quite sure if this is answering your question though.
     
  3. Ricklb55

    Ricklb55 Member

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    Thanks for the reply. My setup is not sophisticated. There is no ability to set anything to Slave. I could solve all of this by purchasing a flash with a PC synch cord input, but darn it I have plenty of flashes already. Surely there is an adapter to do what I want.
     
  4. Snips

    Snips Always on Premium Member

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    Again, I'm not 100% sure but do your flashes have a manual mode and a slave mode? If you set the two not on the camera to Slave mode then the camera flash will trigger them.
     
  5. Peter Glynn

    Peter Glynn Active Member

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    What flashes do you have
     
  6. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    My flashes are a Sunpak 544 (no hot shoe), a Promaster FTD 5700 with a Canon base, an Automatic 17-A, and a Diana flash

    Some older units and I think problematic using certain modern remote triggers.........
     
    tenchy likes this.
  7. Snips

    Snips Always on Premium Member

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    Three:

    Canon 550 EX (quite old now) - this tends to sit on the camera when I use the three

    Yongnuo 460-II (not brilliant but a good basic)
    Yongnuo 560-II - bit more powerful :)
     
  8. Ricklb55

    Ricklb55 Member

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    My flashes, listed in the first post, do not have a manual or slave mode. None of them are intended for studio work. I want the hot shoe flashes (no PC sych input) to fire off the camera and I am having problems getting them to do that.
     
  9. Peter Glynn

    Peter Glynn Active Member

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    Could you not invest an a couple Yongnuo 685's they have a built in receiver and all you need is the controller
     
  10. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    You have a set of old flashes they will work to a degree and depending how you connect them I am not sure how would be the best way ...........They do have manual mode at least the sunpak and sears one do you can probably trigger them with an optical trigger .........the type I sued on a PC connector to sync mine in the mid 1070's you have to have one flash fire to trigger them though.

    your est bet is to sell the ones you have on ebay and get some modern ones...............if you check the ones you listed above they are all "VINTAGE" in the ebay listings.

    Another thing to consider is that old flashguns where designed to work with film cameras the connection to the camera is purely to close a switch in the camera to trigger the flash ...........the old flash units had high voltages on the trigger which didnt matter in the day ...........BUT is liable to fry the electronics in a modern day camera.
     
    tenchy likes this.
  11. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    I'm in agreement here with Paul, as trying to use a set of old lights is a kludge and a pain in the backside; and then there's the incompatibility issues as well as modern cameras are a lot less tolerant than old stuff to voltage even on a modern camera's PC-Sync (on my Nikons, sticking a meter on to that, it only seems to be in the order of single digits). With you trying to get them to fire off the camera, first thing I'd be looking at here, now would be in this testing have you already cooked the trigger circuit on the camera, because if nothing else is working then is the source working as expected; so grab a modern flash head, stick that on and try.

    Other thing is, before running round trying to find a solution to a problem is to make sure the things are working as expected to start with; one common thing I've seen time and again is folk will go out and start to try something new with older kit, add more kit to that and find that it's not happening so instantly think it's the newer stuff in which the problem lies but in turn it's the older stuff that wasn't working right previously but not discovered because it was being used differently.

    As for the remote triggers and that, that could be one of three things if trigger pairing has been done right and the channels selected correctly (as I've encountered personally, there could be more); the first is that depending on the flash mode being used on the camera may not be right to switch the trigger, first time I used a remote unit I was left scratching my head for a while and it ended up that I'd got the camera set to fire TTL instead of manual.

    Second one, the hot shoe of the flash head may not be the same dimensions as the trigger's hot shoe port; that again, I have a flash here that I was sent to test out, and the pins are all slightly off where they would correspond to on an OEM unit or the face of the hotshoe. In that the flash needs to be moved backwards on the trigger (in this case) by about 2mm to make contact with the terminals to form a circuit.

    The third, is self-reseting fuses. If the trigger voltage is too high, then regardless of anything else the trigger won't close the line to the flash and drive it because it's protecting itself. I've only seen this on one type of flash trigger, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are others out there that have a similar thing to stop them turning in to a big smoking mess.
     
  12. tenchy

    tenchy Rain maker Administrator

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    I would think something like yongnuo rf-603s would do it with a cable into the flash trigger port. I think they have a port for that on them (yes they do I use them to trigger studio lights)

    However Paul and Sean make valid points. Yongnuo make some great and cheap units which would make your life a lot easier (and safer for electronics)
     
  13. Ricklb55

    Ricklb55 Member

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    Thanks for all the assistance. I should mention that all the cameras I want to use with these flashes are vintage: Canon A-1, Bronica SQ, Contaflex I, Voigtlander Vito B, Nikkormat FT2. I would like to do two things: fire a hot shoe flash mounted on the cold shoe on the PC Synch only Contaflex and Voigtlander; fire multiple remote flashes on the Canon, Bronic and Nikkormat via the hot shoe and the PC Synch. Without purchasing additional flashes with PC Synch.
     
  14. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Old Hand

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    There are little optical triggers around, that sense a flash going off & trigger the attached unit at the same time. The one I have operates the flash via a PC cord, but I'm fairly sure there are hot shoe types as well. I'd expect them to be available under £10 each. The first I saw was: https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/?iid=28085...9&device=c&campaignid=707291931&crdt=0&chn=ps :)

    They don't work well with modern TTL flash units as the pre-flash sets them off - but this shouldn't be an issue for you.
     
  15. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    I have tried similar with mine the best I have is one I bought in the 70's all work on PC connection I have a trigger as your link above the one I have is a simple hotshoe optical and it works fine on my canon 550 flash as its modern but does not work on my old 70s flash gun I do have one that works but you wont be able to buy one nowadays

    [​IMG]20170419_194525 by Paul Magyar, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  16. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Is that one of the old Sonia types Paul? I don't think it'd be too hard to put one together if you do wear it out!
     
  17. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    No name on it cant remember where I got it from or for how much consist of an LDR cap transistor and a couple of resistors....may not be an LDR as there is no batteries reqd...........its late and 40yrs since last did anything with a transistor :)
    Doh an off would be fine the pc connection would supply more than enough from an old flash to work the circuit
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  18. lundrog

    lundrog Active Member

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    Have you considered something like the cactus trigger system? A wireless transceiver on the hot shoe, and each flash gets a transceiver. Now this doesn't give you tls, but you can do hss with the newer model and some flashes. This system however is fairly low cost and easy to use and setup different zones with etc. search YouTube.
     
  19. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    It's a phototransistor in there, just creates enough current shift to open the transistor junction. As for power, that's coming off the pc-sync itself; just measured it off on a modern flash and that was (as I could see before I dumped 1/1 in to the eyeballs as with still being on single figures of coffee I'd forgot that the meter would trip it) about 3v on what I've got.

    If I could remember the values of the cap and the resistors I'd post the circuit up as whilst these are not that easy to get hold of now they'd cost less than a quid to put one together.
     
  20. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    I will have a look and see what I can get from it as the circuit board and components have been potted in some clear resin .........I wasnt sure that the light affected component was a resistor didnt seem right. old age and gout and a pulled tendon helped confuse me....Could it be a photodiode
     
  21. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Don't blame that for your confusion... I'm still young, and I get confused. T'other night I came home, wandered up stairs and thought "Why the hell did I come up here?" I live in a first floor apartment!

    I'll have a rummage in my bits box later, and see if I can remember how to build one and then put the diagram up if I remember it.
     
  22. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Old Hand

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    My meter doesn't trip any of my flash units. If yours does I suspect it's a low impedance type that might give low readings!

    FWIW the trigger voltages of my (many) flashes are between 2.5V & 75V, I've heard of some old units using in excess of 300V!
    Opinions seem to vary on what voltage is safe for a modern camera, The ISO standard seems to cover 0-24V but a Canon source has apparently claimed over 5V can damage their cameras...

    When set of via an optical slave the voltage will only be applied to the slave (no chance of damaging your camera)
     
  23. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Yeah, the one I used is... Couldn't be bothered going to the basement to get the big one out so just got the one I keep on the desk to check batteries with. It's accurate to about 25 millivolt and that's enough for what it needs to do.

    I've seen the safe voltage for Nikons quoted at 6v as well.
     
  24. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Old Hand

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    Using a low impedance meter allows current to flow, which can in turn cause a significant voltage drop. You're only measuring the dropped voltage to 25mV accuracy. If the voltage drop is 10V you could be getting a very misleading result.

    Some of the websites I've browsed looking for trigger voltages recon the impedance of the meter used can make a very dramatic difference to the results.
     
  25. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    If the voltage drop was worth worrying about, it'd have been the proper meter anyway; 25mV is fine enough for what purpose (or one of the two, the other is to keep the brother-in-law away from the Fluke 117) it serves.
     

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