Vivitar 283 auto thyristor question

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by j-dogg, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    How low can you turn the power down on these things? Thought about this or the 285.....in manual mode it would work well with my EOS system.

    I have a TTL cord that is universal I just need it to fire I rock full manual at night anyway. I like to use a lot of ambient light, 1/30th second with the bounce flash turned down a LOT.

    This flash would be used on an off-camera flash bracket
     
  2. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    I have a couple 283s and a little Quantum battery. They're all close to twenty years old and still work as advertised. Tougher than a Wollensak tape recorder. On the front, the dial thing with the color coding is a plugin. It can be pulled out and replaced with a manual-ish power level setting dial that goes down to 1/4 of full power. As you dial the power down the recharge time goes way down as well. You'd have to Ebay for one of these. I'm sure someone here can give you the actual name of this device. I certainly can't anymore.

    Good luck

    s-a
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The control that permits adjustable manual flashes from a 283 is, IIRC, an optional accessory.

    And if you are planning to use a 283 with a Canon EOS, it would be prudent to check whether or not it is one of the older ones with high trigger voltages.

    Look at this link for more info:

    http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

    Warning: this subject is one of some controversy!
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    For the 283 there was the VP1 (vari power module) that plugs into the front where the color coded thyristor control is now.

    The 285 comes with this feature stock.

    They don't make them anymore so the prices have gone up on used examples. They pop up on ePay almost every week without fail.
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    You can also build a vari-power module and get the max output power down a long ways. Google should find you the pages in a few minutes.
     
  6. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I'll check it out. It's for a digital application but if I can get it to work the way I want to I'll use it on my 35mm EOS system, maybe even my Nikon system as the Nikon flashes work on my EOS system with this cord.
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Maybe you can put something on the flash to diffuse the light.

    Jeff
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I can dig up my notes if you are at all handy with DIY electronics fiddling.

    You place a potentiomenter across two of the front plug in terminals, and then you can dial it back to anything as little as about 1/12 power repeatably.

    I just soldered stout wires onto the wiper and one track lead of the pot, and bent them to suit, and plugged them in.

    It stayed on the front of the unit from the friction fit of the two wires in their sockets.

    I added and old knob with pointer to the pot shaft, and fashioned a dial face.

    I marked calibrations on the dial face after firing the thing into a flash meter a number of times to figure out what the varied settings on the pot were giving me, light output wise relative to full manual output.

    All up about 1 hour of effort, and maybe $3 at the electronics wholesaler.
     
  9. rmolson

    rmolson Member

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    vivitar 283

    I have three units that go back to the 80s and they still work They were not called work horses for nothing In a pinch you might use an old flash bulb technique and toss a white cotton handkerchief (clean presumably) over the unit and loss about 1 to2 stops.
     
  10. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    This little trick works with ALL autothyristor type flashes. Except that you have to open them and solder the pot to the cables leading to the photodiode. Extremely worthwhile if you want an armada of manually controllable flashes.
     
  11. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I have a mint Varipower VP-1 module for 283 strobes lying around. PM me if interested.
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm holding my VP-1 in my hands right now. Although it may not actually reduce the power by 5 stops, it is marked on the front of the dial from full to 1/32 power (-5 stops). If you are planning to use a Vivitar 283 with either a very modern film camera with advanced electronics or a digital camera, I would highly recommend using it with either a safe sync, or via the PC socket. Don't use it across the hot shoe because they're highly likely to put out way too much juice and fry the TTL circuitry at a minimum.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'll go so far as to repeat this warning plus warn as well that some cameras may also be damaged if you use the PC socket. It seems that for some cameras that have a PC socket (relatively rare now) the PC socket is designed to handle higher trigger voltages than the hot shoe, while for others the trigger circuitry in the PC socket and in the hot shoe is actually the same, and it is difficult to tell which is which.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I think it's a myth that the pc socket can handle a higher voltage than the hot shoe. Why should it? It would be designed with the same circuit or a parallel connection.

    I think the reality is that some manufacturers are worried that in sliding a charged flash into a hot shoe, the centre pin might make contact with one of the other contacts and cause damage.


    Steve.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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  17. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The PC sync socket doesn't take higher voltage than the hot shoe. Only newer camera has lower voltage rating for the flash sync circuit and it's for both the PC connector and hot shoe.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    That was my point (well, half of it). PC socket and hot shoe will be the same rating... and it's usually 250 volts for most modern cameras.


    Steve.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I know I've read at least one Canon brochure or manual for one of their earlier, mid to high range digital bodies that stated that the PC socket was designed to withstand higher trigger voltages, and recommended using that rather than the hot shoe for older flashes.

    Unfortunately, I can't remember which model.
     
  20. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I test all my 283's and mark them although I only have a multimeter to test and have seen people comment you need more sophisticated equipment to get a true trigger voltage.

    Most of mine are under 8v. I usually radio trigger them anyway but a hot one could fry your radio receiver at the flash end.

    I like the 283 and have literally a bag full and run them off quantum turbos.
     
  21. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    More about the VP-1. I have three of them, each has its own 283. I also have a flash meter. If the VP-1's little knob is turned as far as it will go past -5 it will give a repeatable -6 stops.

    I've changed my mind about this, mainly because of the difficulty of setting a VP-1 exactly at a marked output level (or my ineptitude), but from -1 down they give a GN that is the marked number of stops down from the flash's rated GN (120, ISO 100/feet). At full power all of my 283s are a bit more than 1/2 stop down from rated.
     
  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    *Trigger voltage is what ionizes the gas in the flash tube. It doesn't influence the voltage at the shoe, that's the input voltage to the voltage multiplier.
     
  23. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Gotcha John,
    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  24. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    On another forum, someone suggested this was the case with the cheap Cactus radio triggers. I took mine apart and looked up the data sheet for the opto triac they use and found that it was rated at 400v.


    Steve.
     
  25. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I am beyond handy, IPC-610c certified and rework IPC-7721 certified. I'm game.
     
  26. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Without benefit of notes - here it is from memory-

    I worked it out with a VOM, and from studying the continuity of the connections at the remote sensor cord, with the sensor plugged in and also removed.

    Two (of the four I am recalling) of the contacts are the send and receive for allowing a hot shoe or PC socket connection made at the far end of the remote sensor cord to trigger the flash.

    One of them shows up as a short circuit using the ohm meter with the flash turned off, between it and the flashes' shoe return contact.

    The other of the four connection terminals for the sensor turns up at the same potential between center post contact on the hot shoe to edge connection.


    On the auto sensor the pair for flash send and recieve are shorted - zero ohms. You can confirm this by trying to fire the flash with the sensor pulled - it won't.

    The remaining two terminals on the remote sensor place different resistances across the terminals to vary the light output.

    The resistance between the normal sensor pair of terminals will be quite high when the sesnor eye is taped over and then will fall when pointed at a bright light source.

    Changing the ND filter by rotating the barrel changes the amount of light that gets at the sensor, hence the amount of resistance it presents to the flash duration circuitry inside the flash.


    So finding the resistance terminal pair should not be too hard.

    I think I used a 250K linear pot; there was a useless portion on the rotoation where the resisitance was too high. You may want to try a potentiometer with a lower resistance; I don't know how much less though.

    Happy experimenting.