Flash Contact Voltage Regulation

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Ed Sukach, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Recently, I've acquired a Canon Elan EOS IIe - and I intend to hook this into the synch of my DynaLite MX1000 packs. After a great deal of research, I've found that the synch voltage of the Dynas is 10 volts, and there is some concern over whether the Canon is designed for, or will be affected by that much juice (incidentally, after shuffling my feet over a carpet on a dry day, it is not unusual to fire the DynaLite synch circuit via static electricity).
    The only advice I've been able to glean from the web is that the Canon's use with DynaLites is regarded as "Iffy".

    Wein has voltage regulators that will limit circuit voltage to 6 volts.

    Questions:

    Are the Wein regulators worth the money - to drop four (4) volts?

    Does anyone beside Wein make comparable regulators?

    Does anyone have any experience with these, or any other regulators?

    I have an idea that this will make a lively topic.
     
  2. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have seen a few designs out on the web for a diy approach - its not too tricky if you're handy with a soldering iron.

    In your case it would be even easier as most are designed to take the ~200V that old flashes can have at the sync terminals...
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Wein is cheaper than replacing the camera. I use it on the later cameras with my old White Lightning coffee can studio strobes, which work great other than higher voltage than newer units.
     
  4. archphoto

    archphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Location:
    Holland and
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    With full electronic camera's, whether they use film or otherwise, you have be verry carefull as stated.
    If a 10V sync would hurt your camera ? I don't know and don't want to try it.

    You got a couple of choices: the Wien Safe Sync, or radio or IR sync.

    In any case: better be safe than sorry.........

    Peter
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hmm. One thing I did notice was that the contact voltage for IR synch devices was generally higher ~ 15 to 20V, or so. Not quite the same as a passive circuit completion, the immediate result was to fire a relatively powerful burst of IR - or radio frequency.

    Yes. I would be interested in a schematic. Back in the day, I was certified by NASA for soldering, reflow soldering and welding. I think I could still make my way.
     
  6. archphoto

    archphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Location:
    Holland and
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Thanks for that info, Ed..... !
    Never realized this, good to know.

    Peter
     
  7. AZLF

    AZLF Member

    Messages:
    359
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Tucson, Az.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would suggest buying the Wein unit and going on about your business. That's what I did and I work with circuit board assembly almost every day. Your time (plus the parts) is worth a lot more than the $60.00 or so dollars the Wein unit costs. I know my time is. And yes, any voltage greater than 6 volts can damage the newer cameras. My Bogen mono lights have 80 volts at the sync point. My Sunpak 522's have 22 volts. The Wein unit handles it all without a problem.
     
  8. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have some bookmarks on another computer which I'll look up for you - if you don't hear anything in a day or two pm me a reminder.

    I just googled and found this which is plausible enough (no guarantees - test it first!) but in your case (and only if you're sure the flash voltage doesn't go above 10V) you could just use two back to back 5V1 zener diodes in series with the sync cable to drop the voltage the camera sees to 10-5.1-0.7 = 4.3V...
     
  9. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

    Messages:
    832
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Latte Land,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good morning, Ed;

    While we have had electronically controlled and fired flash circuits in our cameras for many years now, it took until 1992 for an internationally recognized ISO standard to be published. It specifies a maximum flash unit trigger circuit voltage of 24 VDC. Unfortunately, the camera manufacturers chose to interpret that specification literally, and many of them chose a lower level. For example, my Canon DSLR cameras do not want to see anything higher than 5 VDC applied to their camera flash control circuit inputs. This may be a case where there seems to have been some lack of communication between design teams in the two camps.

    Are the Wein SafeSync devices worth the money? Only if your camera objects strenuously to having a higher voltage applied to it. The cost of the camera parts alone is probably more than the Wein SafeSync. Then you add the $ 300 or so labor charge for the camera technician, and the Wein SafeSync begins to look even more reasonable.

    How do I know the current labor charges for electronics work in digital cameras? My main Canon is having its CF card socket replaced at this time. I have no idea how one of the pins was bent, and no clue whatever about where one of the other pins went. I have never had a problem like this when loading a roll of film into any of my cameras at any time in the past.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,197
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The last time I had someone work on my Mamiya TLRs and lenses was when I decided to have the entire kit and kaboodle checked, cleaned, Lubricated and adjusted (oh, I think they replaced a missing screw as well - not bad after up to 30 years of service!).

    The technician who helped me indicated they were getting a lot of work from people frying their newer cameras (mostly digital, but some film as well) by using slightly older flashes.

    We agreed that my old Bowens monolights and Metz 202s should only be used very carefully with anything created in the last 30 years.

    Matt
     
  11. OldBikerPete

    OldBikerPete Member

    Messages:
    369
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is the one I have also. I would use it even with on older camera that may not have a problem with higher voltages because I would think it might save any electrical arc from getting the contacts dirty. Just a thought.
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,470
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  14. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,014
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Useful info here: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

    I'd be more tempted to put the $s into radio slaves for their flexibility. And then there's always the option of using a slave on the main light with a small strobe (or built in strobe) on the camera.
     
  15. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ipswich, Mas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well, gang, Chapter II in the continuing saga ...

    Om my way from medical maintenance and support in Boston, I visited Calumet on Bent Street in Cambridge, MA., where I purchased a Wein "Safe Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe ..." etc., model SSHSHS.

    At first glance, this thing LOOKED good ... complete with a "test" button on the side, and my main area of interest, a PC connector right up front.
    As I stared, I realized that I was looking at something I had never encountered before -a raw, unprotected Printed wiring board serving as the piggyback connector, opposite the camera hot shoe foot. No plating - nada. To me that is a severe design no-no. Eventually (shouldn't be too long, either) wear and friction WILL cause that board to delaminate and fail.

    I was contemplating a fix by more or less permanently installing a run-of-the-mill unregulated Kalt Hot Shoe to PC adapter to the board, when the problem resolved itself. On the first try, this puppy was DOA- Dead On Arrival. No connection was possible between hot shoe contacts and either PC socket or raw PCB configuration. IT DID NOT WORK!!

    Calumet proved its integrity again. I returned this on my way to another Med Main and Supp session with NO question or any trace of a hard time.

    I have heard of quality problems with Wein before... Doesn't ANYONE manufacture a half decent Voltage regulation device in competition?
     
  16. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    must be too late. Keep hitting the wrong buttons.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2009
  17. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

    Messages:
    228
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wein's changed their design, it was better when it was plastic.

    I don't think that the difference between 12 volts & 8 volts should be a cause for much concern. I've been using them straight for a while, but hook it into the synch connection on the side,if you can, or you can always, use the Wein infrared, or Pocket Wizard remote slaves. This is what Dynalite says in a pdf instruction manual from their site.

    Sync/Slave/Infrared/Radio Operation
    The Sync Input Socket circuitry is I.S.O approved and operated and operates on 10 volts DC to avoid damage to camera flash contacts. Plug the sync cord into the sync terminal on the camera first, then plug the other end into the Sync Input Socket on the power pack, inserting the wide blade at the top. The three-pronged plug supplied prevents accidental insertion in to an AC outlet, but the socket will also accept a two-pronged plug.

    By the way, the Wein's probably won't work because they won't just drop 4 volts. That's not what they're designed to do. It probably won't fire.
    One final note; Wein changed their design. Originally, it was made out of plastic, with a locking ring for the hot foot.
    Yo do know, that the Wein's take a Nikon Screw-Lock synch cord, available from Paramount, to make good contact.
     
  18. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

    Messages:
    832
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Latte Land,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    [PARTONE
    QUOTE=Vanishing Point Ent.;793210] "I don't think that the difference between 12 volts & 8 volts should be a cause for much concern. . . . . "


    PART TWO
    "Sync/Slave/Infrared/Radio Operation
    The Sync Input Socket circuitry is I.S.O approved and operated and operates on 10 volts DC to avoid damage to camera flash contacts. . . . . "


    PART THREE
    "By the way, the Wein's probably won't work because they won't just drop 4 volts. That's not what they're designed to do. . . . . " [/QUOTE]


    RESPONSE TO PART ONE:
    Vanishing Point Enterprises, I cannot agree with you. In electronics, there is a large difference between 12 volts and 8 volts. If you have a circuit designed to operate on 8 volts and you select 10 volt rated components (such as electrolytic capacitors), the application of 12 volts to the circuit could cause a catastrophic problem with the circuitry. A 20 per cent rated tolerance in the component would be right on the edge at that point. Are you sure that you are putting in only 12.00 volts? I remind you that your nominal 12 volt automobile circuitry actually operates on about 13.8 VDC under "normal" conditions. It can go up to 15 VDC under some conditions.


    RESPONSE TO PART TWO:
    The ISO standard merely states that the trigger circuit voltage shall not be higher than 24 VDC. The designer of the input circuitry is perfectly able to design a circuit that will work on a lower voltage. It is up to you to read the manufacturers instructions and specifications and to select the equipment to use with the camera to insure that the specifications are not exceeded. One way to do that is to use only the accessories provided by the manufacturer to work with that camera. Then if anything happens, he should clearly stand by his warranty. If you are using other accessories, you should be prepared to answer any questions the manufacturer may have about the exact voltages involved with the use of those other accessories if you are requesting repair under his warranty.


    RESPONSE TO PART THREE:
    The obvious question at this point is your unstated implication of what the Wein SafeSync is supposed to do. If the Wein device is intended to accept a flash trigger circuit voltage ranging up to over 200 volts, and drop it to a level safe for the camera circuitry of no more that about 5 volts, then what is the comment about " . . . they won't just drop 4 volts." What is your understanding of what the Wein SafeSync actually does for a camera flash control circuit?