AC sockets on older flashes

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by olleorama, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    I've noticed that many of my older flashes has an AC socket. Is this for alternating current battery eliminators, or something else?

    If they are, are there any standards for this type of socket? Could I solder up one myself? Try find a replacement for a twenty year old flash, it's not easy.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    They were NOT for use with AC in any fashion. These are battery operated only even though the plug appears (and is) similar to an AC socket, the other end of the cord was a female two pin connector for a battery pack or other type of flash. I have several types of cords like this, and our local camera store still caries a few styles of replacement. I have the auxiliary units and slave flash units that take some of these odd cords. With many, the insulation is rotting.

    I never saw a battery eliminator as such back then. They did have big power supplies for studio use that these things could plug into. Usually though the studios didn't use flash bulbs, but they could accept the cords in the power units. Goodness, that goes back to the 40s.

    PE
     
  3. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    You sure it isn't a socket for a "household plug" flash-sync cord?
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, that is what it must be Mike. The camera had a 2 pin plug on the lens/shutter and the other end of the household plug was a female version to fit the camera. There were also acessories for this that used similar cables. I have a box of flash units, lenses and cords for this type of unit. I have had to get an adaptor so that I can put a modern flash onto some of my old camera/lens combinations. They make them.

    PE
     
  5. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Paramount Cords makes adapters for just about anything, to just about anything.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    By an "AC socket" do you mean a socket that looks like a AC wall socket you might plug your toaster into :smile:)) or a socket that you could plug in an alternate source of power for the flash?

    If it is the former, it isn't for power at all - it is a "household" style connector for flash synch (as noted above).

    The latter type of socket isn't found very often now, but I recall having a small Braun flash that had a socket that you plugged one end of a proprietary cord into, with the other end plugged into the AC socket in the wall, for power.

    The "household" style synch cords were both good and bad - good because they provided a strong and simple contact, but bad because they could be mistaken for something that plugs into a wall.

    Matt
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is very likely an "H"-type sync cable, which looks like an ordinary household electrical cord, but DON'T PLUG IT INTO AN ELECTRICAL SOCKET. Shutters that had bipost sync terminals could be connected to a strobe that had an H-type sync socket using an ordinary electric shaver cord. Paramount, as Mike mentions, makes other kinds of connectors, so you can connect a camera or shutter with a PC contact to a strobe with H-type sync. This is only a sync cord; it doesn't power the flash.

    Older and some current strobe pack systems like Norman (also Norman portable strobes) use this kind of sync connector, but it's become less popular, due to the obvious safety concern that someone could make the mistake of plugging a camera or shutter into the wall, but an advantage of this system is that it works with ordinary electrical extension cords and power strips.

    There are also slave triggers that plug into H-type sockets.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Some flashes, such as my Sunpak 555, have an accessory adapter that allows the flash to be powered by AC. However, you cannot plug the flash straight into the wall. On your older flash, I think what you are seeing is just an old style synch socket of the kind used on Graflexes, Heilands, etc. It is the same thing as a two-pronged wall plug. It is simply another type of synch connector, NOT an AC connection.

    Cables with these ends came in various combinations. I have two-prong to two prong male and two-prong to two-prong female (to be used as an extension cable and/or for rigging multiple flashes together), two-prong to bi-post, and two-prong to PC. I am sure there were others as well.
     
  9. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Hmm, I'm talking mid-80s flashes here. And the socket is labeled 'AC' with two pins inside the somewhat rectangular hole. Of course no flash could take the 240 I got humming in my wall socket.

    So, the consesus is that this is for sync and not power?

    I have also seen the hammerhead flashes that has sockets for battery eliminators, and I thought that these could be the same on my lame auto flashes. And it would kind of make sense since there's a tab connected to the battery on/off-switch which partially blocks the socket when set on 'on', and I thought it could be to prevent using to power sources. Well then, my plans for powering my armada of lame-o flashes indoors seems here by be put on ice.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    No. That is for an AC adapter. It is just like my Sunpak that I mentioned.

    I think a lot of the confusion is from the fact that mid-1980s is not generally what comes to mind when we hear the word "older"...especially in this crowd of many users of truly "older" cameras.
     
  11. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    they ain't AC

    i too, have a number of old flashes along the way - they are NOT for AC power - you may be very unhappy with the results of any time of connection to AC power!!!

    I have used the sockets though and soldered them into repair a broken connection on a modern flash - they are bigger, more solid and easier to solder in.

    connecting to AC power in any way is a no-no!
     
  12. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Any bearing on voltage and other specs? I have a few sunpaks too, and they seem to have the same kind of socket. So, if I find an AC adapter with the same specs I could solder a fitting plug and fire away?

    Just a small side note; in my world an AC adapter and a battery eliminator are basically the same thing. Difference maybe in application.
     
  13. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The voltage requirement is likely the same as what the batteries would provide. If you can figure out the polarity, then there is no reason you couldn't cobble something up.
    Note that some flashes may not isolate the batteries from the eliminator terminals. So if you have non-rechargable batteries in it, you might want to remove them.
     
  14. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Well, I have an old flash (can't remember the make at the moment but it's one with a gold coloured tube) which does have two pins and is intended to be powered by 240v AC. Mine is more mid 60s. If I can find it tomorrow, I will post a picture.


    Steve.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2009
  15. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have an old Braun Hobby EF300, circa 67 that has a recessed 2 pin connector, similar type of connector that goes to a bipost shutter sync terminal , but it is indeed a AC line socket.

    Adjacent to it is a turn switch to select 120 or 240. It will of a sort work like a battery eliminator, in that the oscillator will run without batteries, but the recycle time is something likel 6 minutes in this configuration. It is for strickly charging the batteries. I have fed it 4x 2V gelled lead acid cells, since the wet cells it was made for stopped production in the early 70's. I think I talked about the restoration in a long post here a couple of years ago.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I have found mine. It's a Sunpak GT9 and it has a two pin connector at the top. Next to it is a switch marked AC and BATT. In the battery position it moves a piece of plastic over the AC in area. This woulds prevent it being switched to battery if a mains plug was inserted.

    There is a second switch to set the voltage. 100-120v in one position, 200-240v in the other.


    Steve.
     
  17. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    My Honeywell Heiland model 65A 'potato masher' flash has two connectors.
    There is the one, that takes a plug that looks like a household plug, and has a PC connector on the other end. This goes to the camera PC socket, and is what triggers the flash. See the cord at the left in the picture below.
    The other connector is an oval recess with two pins. This takes a power cord that provides house current to the flash so it can be operated on 115/120 VAC, instead of the three 'C' cells.
     

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  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    What is a "battery eliminator"?
    I know thoughg, that there are electronic flashes that accept as an alternative to the standard low-voltage battery packs, `high´-voltage battery packs that feed the flash capacitor directly.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    The clue is in the words! A device which eliminates the need for a battery. Or just a mains powered power supply which gives a low voltage output to power the flash (or anything else).


    Steve.
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Here we call it a "mains device". Could mean anything too...
     
  21. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Sorry, this was my crude translation of a swedish word.
     
  22. well well well

    well well well Member

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    Don't plug it in ...Oops I did it SunPak GT9

    Well too late........I did and it works just fine. When all else fails read the settings/instructions on the camera flash. We got a real bunch of Boozoos here. I actually read on the camera flash Sunpak GT9 Solid state unit that it can be powered by 110V or 220V set the switch, plug er in and away ya go. Another dead giveaway is read what it says on the cord ..........125 Volts 3 amps. All these self proclaimed intelligistas don't have a clue about this unit. You can use ac or battery....
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Did you get a major shock?
     
  24. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I am supposing that the Speed Graphic was built for business.And photographers back then were very busy. And if you will notice, that even today as it was then--your electric shaver cord works like a charm on one. Photgrapher lost his flashcord--BINGO! the electric shaver cord to the rescue.
     
  25. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    When all else fails, read the manual.