Let's talk ascor strobe units

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Matt6886, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Matt6886

    Matt6886 Member

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    Yes they are still around. I would like to talk to any members who have had experience with the ascor strobes. ACSOR American speedlight corporation they made extremely powerful strobes with extremely short flash durations. Specifically the big ones. If you have used them you'll know what I am talking about. The B806 rapid power supplies and the sunlight master slow charger as they call it. These are used with large capacitor that weigh about 50 lbs a piece, and the heads are; one the sun gun as the called it and a A803 or 800 series light head.

    My interests are one to increase my knowlege them, find people who might want to sell them, and find people who may have had repairs done to them in the midwest.

    Hope to talk to members soon as this is my first inquiry as a new member.
     
  2. eric

    eric Member

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    Oh, you are bringing back memories. I don't know the answer to your question but in case people are wondering what these are like, I can share some anecdotes.

    I worked with a guy and we did mostly hot lights (Mole Richardson's). I worked there for the longest time and didn't pay much attention to the rear wall that was covered with muslin like material. One day, I came in and he said that he had a commission to shoot a portrait but he needed strobes. I was wondering "hmm, okay, I guess I'm going to Lens and Repro and be a pack mule and rent some Speedotrons". He proceded to unveil literally the entire back wall and these were Ascor powerpacks. Wiring everywhere but neatly stacked up. We powered them up and I KID-YOU-NOT, these things can power a small submarine! They made a serious vibration on the floor and when we fired them, it sounded like artillary. I was pretty scared shitless cause at first, they look like it can explode any minute. After working with them for a while, my mind changed and I said these were built like a tank! Needless to say, the packs stay where they were and as I recall, we ran wire to and from them. They were just way to heavy to move and he had a whole bunch of them. And I thought to myself, this guy is pretty cool, I didn't even know he can use strobes, he was a master at painting with hot lights. He was an older guy and he said "Ascors are the best strobes you can get son (he called me son cause I was young once)".

    Good luck on you search. I would start asking around some of the older photographers in NYC and perhaps some studios in Hollywood probably has knows where to get them.
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    OLD PHOTO RIDDLE

    Q: Why do Ascor strobes come with a broom stick ?

    A: To free your assistant when the packs arc.

    Memories. Brrrr !

    .
     
  4. Matt6886

    Matt6886 Member

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    Thanks for sharing the story have a good day.
     
  5. eric

    eric Member

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    Bwahh! I remember being blown a couple of feet by bad Speedotron handling (plugging light before discharging). I think that's why I was scared shit from those Ascors.
     
  6. Matt6886

    Matt6886 Member

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    Well I have been working with the ascors for about 7 years now and speedotron about the same. I have het to be attached to any part of a pack light you name it when it has decided to blow. Knocking on wood!!!!!!! Saw one of my ascor stacks arc once and wasn't pretty. Again I liked your story it made me laugh cuz I could relate. Check out our website if you have a second its what we do there is some fun stuff there. www.brutonstroube.com

    Matt
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Long, long ago folks didn't always have a clear understanding of just what a capacitor was and why it wasn't good to yank the plug from a pack before shutting it down and discharging it. Hence the joke.

    Things are a little safer today.

    .
     
  8. DIRT11nc

    DIRT11nc Member

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    Ascor Sun Gun

    Back from the dead this thread but , I was trying to explain to someone the other day the conception of unlimited strobe power. The Ascor Sun Gun was a tool that I can fondly remember when I was younger and working in NYC with a guy ( Chuck Fisbein ) that shot tabletop for the most part. This Strobe was phenomenal to use for depth of field was never an issue , did not have to worry about reciprocity failure , and it sounded like a small canon when it fired. Dangerous it could be as I remember the rumor of one of Albert Knigh's ( spelling ?)assistants not letting the unit totally discharge and the massive cable flew out of his hand hitting him in the temple and dead he was on the floor. ( I did not see this in person , just a rumor ) Albert then designed a powerful strobe that had a fail safe that would not let a charge stay in the strobe somehow. (I think he made a 20,000 WS and a 10,000 ws)The Ascor Sun Gun was something once you used it you would never forget the beauty of total power in the studio F128 or better all the time if you needed it , I believe if you hooked all of the capacitors ( we had four stacks of capacitors that were 6-8 feet off the ground each)up you could actually have something like 50,000 WS , I believe..... Memories , good memories ,,,,, I found this thread through Google tying to locate info on the Sun Gun , hope you do not mind.... If there is anyone with these units still in their studio I would love a picture of the unit .... Best regards David C
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2007
  9. mjperini

    mjperini Member

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    ASCOR Sunlight Strobes

    Matt: I worked extensively with the ASCOR (American Speedlight Corp) system at a fashion and advertising studio in NYC in the mid to late 60's.
    We had both the standard charger and the rapid charger. I recall that when we installed the rapid charger it required a dedicated 50 AMP circuit.
    The typical system would consist of a charger, the Sunlight Head which was a very heavy duty socket for the single sunlight flashtube (3 inches in diameter and about 18 inches long. The only light modifier that I recall was an 8" diameter concave mirror which could be mounted on the flashtube housing. There was no modeling light. Power was regulated in modular increments by adding or subtracting capacitor boxes. Each 800 Watt-second box was about 8 inches square by about 24 inches long. These were oil-filled capacitors that as you pointed out weighed at least 50 lbs each. Each system had a 16 x 24" steel dolly that could support about 8 boxes. You regulated power by literally plugging or unplugging jumpers (Cables 18" long by perhaps 1 1/4 " in diameter)
    It was possible to connect up to 48 boxes in series -38,400 Watt seconds.
    I have never seen that done. Now I can't tell you how bright a single 800 WS flash was but it was far more powerful than any modern equivalent.
    Now the ASCOR's claim to fame was Quality of light AND by using One or two boxes the flash duration was VERY short . So these things were in high demand in studios that did "pour shots" & "Splash shots" because they could stop any motion. They were useful for fashion and dance as well.
    We had 8 boxes -4800 WS and the only times we had to resort to multi-pops would have been Tabletop, 8 x10 Deardorf f/32 or f/45 long bellows extension. The most I ever recall was 8 pops.
    I hope this helps.
     
  10. ChuckFishbein

    ChuckFishbein Member

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    Ascor 800 Sunlight and Albert Nye systems

    Hi all,
    I'm the photographer that dirt11 mentioned in his post. I owned and used both systems for several years. Had three different charger heads. A slow and a fast charger made by ascor and this custom unit made by Albert Nye. The strobe system had the capability of firing 50,000 watt seconds of light in one pop. Of course the more power you used, the longer your duration became. At full power is was down to about 1/750 of a sec.

    I bought my Ascor 807 fast charger from Joel Brodsky (the guy who shot all the Doors photos) and I believe photographer/filmmaker Melvin Sokolsky (famous in his day) had one that fired at 24 frames per second.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and I even know the location of one or two that is for sale.

    As the availability of parts and repair persons declined the strobes became a major headache. I eventually switched to Broncolor.
     
  11. DIRT11nc

    DIRT11nc Member

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    I never ever remember doing a second POP at Chucks studio

    Other studios I worked with yes but , never with the Sun Gun so Chuck must of had more capacitors as I said than you for I can remember shots with real long lenses and a bunch of bellows extensions with just one POP, or a loud POP and the shot was done... Great Memories...
     
  12. STEVE LYNCH

    STEVE LYNCH Member

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    ALBERT NYE STROBES

    HI ALL:
    RECENTLY I SAW AN ARTICLE RELATING TO ALBERT NYE STROBES. I WAS A NEW PHOTOGRAPHER IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1966 WITH A STUDIO IN A BUILDING AT 333 PARK AVE. SO. I RECEIVED A VISIT FROM ALBERT WHO SOON BECAME A CLOSE FRIEND. I BOUGHT A "PORTABLE" 1000 WATT SECOND UNIT THAT WAS ENCLOSED IN A PLYWOOD BOX AND WEIGHED ABOUT 40 POUNDS. I THEN BOUGHT ANOTHER UNIT THAT WAS THE SAME BUT ENCLOSED IN METAL. I STILL HAVE THAT UNIT. LATER ON I BOUGHT TWO TWO THOUSAND WATT UNITS FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER JERRY SHATZBERG {PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD} AND {PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK} THE 2000 UNITS WEIGHED MORE THAN 200 POUNDS AND THE CABLE FROM THE UNIT LOOKED LIKE A HOSE, BUT NOT THE GARDEN VERIETY, MORE LIKE THE FIREMAN TYPE. I BROUGHT THEM TO MEXICO IN 1970. EVENTUALLY ONE EXPLODED AND I SOLD THE OTHER. ANYONE INTERESTED IN MORE ALBERTO NYE STORIES PLEASE CONTACT ME.
    SALUDOS
    STEVE LYNCH
     
  13. Matt6886

    Matt6886 Member

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    Hi Chuckfishbein
    I would be interested in talking to you about the ascor packs that you know of that might be for sale. I haven't had many responses about people wanting to sell them so I look forward to talking to you. Thanks.... My email is mattw@brutonstroube.com
     
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  15. Richard A

    Richard A Member

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    Ascor

    This post is hysterical. Talk about bringing back memories. 8 Pops on the sun gun LMAO. I remember working for a guy on 17th street he used balcars god I hated those things and the repair guy on Madison as well. Well anyways shooting products Panasonic, Coors yada yada. Wood floors old loft the floors would move. Multiple pops up to 64 pops for f45 was a great time. I remember one time he was doing a shoot for Thomas English muffins. I was the 1st assistant this shoot for muffins was going on for days. And every morning I would get in around 6 am and we had thousands of muffins in the plastic packages ( you know it had to have the right ridges and dimples) and I would notice bites almost human bites out of the packages. I finally put it together and we had visitors at night eating the product. God did I laugh. I guess one told all his buddies at Union Square Hey there is a Muffin party on 17th Street and Broadway. You gotta love NYC rats. Back in the days of the Underground.

    So I went out on my own had a studio on 20th street and I used Ascor QC 1000's I had 10 packs and 20 lights. Loved them. Fast dependable ya ok the occasional arc here and there but Peter Lui always fixed them up. Traveled all over the country with this suckers on planes and not once did I get on location to have a problem with them. There where always rock solid. How ever my assistants hated hauling them around. Well thank you for fueling the memories.
    Ok now for this. after not being used for 15 years (I still have 4 packs) I have them plugged in charging. If you want to know what happens just ask. If I don't answer I think you will know what happend.

    Best to all and ty for stirring the brain with fond memories. Multiple Pops with floors that moved. WTF where we doing back then.
     
  16. CGahran

    CGahran Member

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    Ascor

    So did the units work? Can you post a picture or two?
     
  17. ktolman

    ktolman Member

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    ascor 800's

    I remember them well! First studio I worked in used ascor, back in the late 70's. I still have 2 800's, heads, accessories....tried to sell locally, but no luck, I don't think anyone knew what they were! I'll send pic. Thanks, Keith Tolman, Highland Mi
     

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  18. Ebraver

    Ebraver Member

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    Ascor sunlight system

    I have a collection of sunlight equipment that I have used extensively for over 25 years, always with aamazing results, and few , if any, problems. There is nothing that I know of that can supply the combination of short duration and power that this system provides. I also have a model A901 that I think was made on special order with two heads. I have shot extensively with this unit at 5-10 frames per second. I would love to talk with anyone who knows more about this unit or the sunlight system. It's all about to go into storage, unless someone out there wants to give it a good home. Maybe the Smithsonian.......
     
  19. lcostet

    lcostet Member

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    Ascorlight QC-8 Sync Cord

    My father was a freelance photographer in New York in the 60s and 70s and did some commercial work. He used an Ascorlight QC-8 Flash System for some location shoots, but I don't remember him having any issues with it. Fast forward almost 40 years, and needless to say, after reading all the stories about the Ascor units, I was a little nervous to plug in the power supply and test it with the flash heads. I am happy to report that it worked flawlessly. I am very impressed with its performance.

    I was wondering if by any chance someone might have the sync cord that is compatible with the Ascorlight QC-8 Electronic Flash System? I do not know what happened to it. According to the Ascorlight manual, it was a 9 ft. sync cord with microphone connector, Model #081-106. It’s described as having a locking ring on the microphone type connector. The sync socket on the QC-8 is 5/8” in diameter and threaded around outside with a 3/16” metal contact in the center.
     
  20. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    How about an instrument emporium? The mic connecter may still be in common use.
    Verify the connecter fits and solder a PC cord on the camera end.
     
  21. pdasilva

    pdasilva Member

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    Ebraver, do you still have the Ascor 800 series equipment? Looking for everything...controllers, condensers, heads cables and ESPECIALLY flash tube. Ft-623 a Ft-603. Putting together a system and looking for anything working or not. I've been rebuilding and refurbishing. Please advise what you have and if you are willing to part with them. Peter - 510-882-0941
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    This thread is almost a decade old, probably best to PM and possibly google people, might not be active here any longer. PS, I recommend Profoto personally, no risk of death by arc....
     
  23. Ebraver

    Ebraver Member

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    Older controller,6 condensers on dolly,2 stock and 1 modified 3200 ws heads, jumper cables,spider box (3 heads on 1 condenser, very fast), AC and synch cord, all in good condition, recently tested. Only missing part is metal travel cover for controller. Let's talk when I finish shoveling snow.
    Ed
    617-794-5835
    Boston
     
  24. N2IDU

    N2IDU Member

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    Hi my name is Pete and I am new to this site and I hope this is posting in the correct place. I collect and restore antique radio transmitters and receivers. Recently, I bought out an entire collection of an estate which included two Ascorlight Model A10 and also a metal tag marked Part B10. They are quite heavy and each has a chrome handle to carry them. I was curious to know what kind of purpose they were used for. They appear in good shape but very dirty.
    Thanks in advance.

    Peter
    Old Shincracker, Vt.
     
  25. GGiant67

    GGiant67 Member

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    Need to repair mine

    Peter, I have an Ascor QC1000 P/S that refuses to charge up. (no whine)
    You state you "rebuild" them. Do you have a source for schematics, etc?
    I would like to repair it for myself. Nobody here in So CA wants to attempt. - Karl
     
  26. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I doubt he would share those, if he's trying to run a business, he wants you to pay him to fix it ... He would be foolish to just hand them over, but anything is possible.