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PIXIllate 3:45am, 21 June 2006
As a follow up to EssPea's post about the Ebay radio slaves I received mine in the mail today. One transmitter and three receivers. All from Gadget Infinity. The same ones EssPea bought. 6 days shipping from China to Canada is very good.

The units seem to be kind of plasticy but what do you expect for that much money. The only problems that I had is when I put all 4 receivers on 4 flashes (SB-26's and SB-600) and layed them next to one another. They went crazy and started randomly firing. As soon as I gave them about a foot or two between each unit it was fine.

I wanted to mention something about EssPea's problem with synching within 3-4 feet. Mine seem to work just fine at 1/1250th at about 1 foot. Any closer than that and the flashes don't fire at all.

Anyway I'm happy with mine for now. I'll try them outside if it ever stops raining here.

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PIXIllate 13 years ago
Here are some shots of these things for those who are interested:

The transmitter on a D70. It's really quite small:

Radio Slaves 1

Three strobes being fired with my D70 from about 1 foot away. The comment I made above about them not playing well together at close range is true but one of the four receivers seems to make things much worse so it's not in this photo:

Radio Slaves 2

At this seperation I didn't seem to have any kind of interaction even with the finicky one:

Radio Slaves 3

My old CoolPix 995 that I used to shoot the photo of the D70 with:

Radio Slaves 4

Two of the slaves in action lighting the above photo:

Radio Slaves 5

They seem to fire just fine from the other end of the house several rooms away. All in all I think I paid about $90 CAD for the whole setup (1 transmitter and 4 receivers). I'm sure they wouldn't stand up to pro useage but for hobbists I think they would be just fine and a LOT less money than pocket wizards. No more annoying pre flash from the D70 and one less reflection to worry about.

Joachim Guanzon 13 years ago
wow.. do you have the link to the exact ebay item? or anything similar? i think this would be a good starter/alternative for pocket wizards.
chadworthman 13 years ago
What would be nice is if the PocketWizard people decided to lower prices in response to these products being available for so cheap.
trimipi 13 years ago
kromaphoto 13 years ago
Thanks for the review PIXIIIate, it looks really tempting to buy. I wonder if it'll trigger my ancient Nikon SB-22 (from film SLR days).
PIXIllate 13 years ago
The link above are the ones I have. I would imagine they will fire just about any flash. You can put them on the hotshoe the receivers have or you can use a short PC-PC cord if your flash has an input.

For the money I would recommend them. I still need to try them outside to find out how they work at distances but for now I'm happy. I'm still not sure why EssPea had trouble synching at close range with his but mine seem to be OK.

Super Hanz Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Super Hanz (moderator) 13 years ago
I just ordered some of those. I have the other kind but I'm not too happy w/ them. I'll give these a shot. 30 dollars is not that big of a hit. also If I want another reciever it will only be 12-20 more dollars. im pretty excited now
Tim Shim 13 years ago
I just got mine today and tried it out with my Mamiya RZ67 (medium format film camera). It works great, even when I fire the camera from less than 1ft away from the receiver.

Compared to Pocket Wizards, the transmitter is smaller and I can just leave it on my camera all the time. The receiver is also smaller than its PW counterpart and can be mounted onto a Swivel Mount unlike the PWs.

The downsides of course are the features - the main ones being able to control flash intensity remotely and to trigger the flash via a Sekonic lightmeter. This is a barebones flash trigger and it seems pretty solid although being made of plastic. It shouldn't break too easily if dropped since it's very light. Only way of breaking would be if you smashed it against something hard.

Very great value. Does what we all need it to do. Small. Cheap. I like.
liam_the_duke 13 years ago
Probably a stupid question but I just want to make sure - is that a PC socket on the side of the receiver unit?
I only ask because i'm looking to trigger a couple of handle mount flashes (no hotshoe)

Keep on partying on
PIXIllate 13 years ago
Yes there is a (female I think) PC socket on the side of all of the receivers.

liam_the_duke 13 years ago
Cheers Chris - much appreciated
PIXIllate 13 years ago
No problem. If you get some let us know how they work out.

Roger Valdez 13 years ago
I ordered these same triggers, they should be arriving in a few days. I will also post up how they worked for me.
Jeffffd 13 years ago
I'm curious how well these work with the umbrella bracket the strobist recommends? It looks like the flash will be raised another inch or two which would cause it to point even farther away from the center of the umbrella.

Captoe 13 years ago
I tried mine out for the first time tonight. I had serious trouble with the setup failing to flash and failing to sync when it did fire. All told, I had correctly sync'd flashes only around 10% of the time.

I tried shutter speeds from 1/250s down to 1/20s.

(when I used the test button, I saw the red LED on the receiver light up)

Have yet to try all new batteries in everything, but I can't think of any other troubleshooting to try.

Any hints from the crew, in case new batt's in the flash doesn't work?
Super Hanz Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Super Hanz (moderator) 13 years ago
normally new batteries will do it. mine is the other brand but i was having the same problem.

**i will be getting this hopeully w/in ten days b/c it shipped today. if it works out well, i will purchase mroe recievers. I am not too happy w/ the other ones i bought. too cheap and extra reciever are 30 bucks each.

might let go my toehr set if this set turns out to be better

**im really eyeing those pocketwizards though. but beign the amateur that i am these should suit me just fine
Marc Lacoste 13 years ago
Captoe > I bought yesterday an 80s flash, a Nissin 340T. With eBay slaves, I noticed that misfires occurs more often than with my Nikon SB600, and manual tuning is inefficient: always at max power. Perhaps their voltage (190V) is too high. What is your flash model?
Captoe 13 years ago
The batteries all tested good and the terminals all looked clean, but I replaced the batteries and cleaned the terminals (in the flash) with a pencil eraser anyways. All is fine now. Maybe it was the terminals in the SB-28.

The CR2 batteries shipped with the radio triggers tested OK,

The only misses I get are the flash going into STBY and needing a wake-up call.

Marc, My flash with the radio trigger on it is an SB-28, voltage shouldn't be an issue.

Jeffffd, the receiver definitely raises the flash foot an inch and a half or so. Not sure what the net effect on the light output is.

- Mike
PIXIllate 13 years ago
Did my final bootcamp shoot last night with the triggers. One of the receivers was acting up and randomly flashing when I first set it up so I swapped it out for another receiver and the whole thing worked flawlessly for the rest of the shoot. I was using three of them.

I'm still trying to trace down the exact cause of the random firing but they seem to work fine for me. WAY better than Nikon CLS optical triggering.

Stanley Chia 13 years ago
Hi all, got the same trigger some time ago (a friend went to china and bought a set for me). Just bought a used SB24 today and tested it working with the set, in case some enthusiast here need to know.

As the wireless set bought came with only one reciever I was planning to purchase another reciever for my SB800, figured out it was not necessary as I could set up the SB800 as remote SU4 mode and SB24 (key light) attached to the wireless reciever.

This way, both flashes get triggered with one reciever.

Now I am looking at purchasing an umbrella for the SB24 and deciding between a 32" and 48" one, hoping someone can shed some lights on the choices. My aim is to cover full body portrait shots. Thanks in advance.

bewildered grain [deleted] 13 years ago
i have a question. i have the canon 580ex, which has a receiver built in to work with canon's $150 transmitter. Does anyone know if buying just one of these chinese transmitters will trip a newer model flash's built-in receiver? or is it necessary to buy both the transmitter and receiver?
PIXIllate 13 years ago
I'm not a Canon guy but I think the Canon system is IR NOT RF like these triggers. So I don't think they will work together. Maybe some Canon people will chime in.

bewildered grain [deleted] 13 years ago
hi PIX....a quick check of the Canon site did prove that the transmission system of the Canon transmitter is infact Infrared.
The Canon system is similar to the Nikon CLS, AFAIK. These systems work by using small flashes of light to communicate between the master and slaves.

The usual process goes as follows. The master tells each group of slaves to fire a small, low-power "pre-flash". The camera then measures each of these and decides on how much each power needs to come from each flash for proper exposure. This is sent to each flash, again via light flashes. Then the shutters opens and a "fire" command is sent to all the flashes. Shutter closes, photo is taken.

The radio systems are different. The camera triggers the flash hot-shoe and sync port when it is time to fire the flashes. The radio systems detect this trigger and send a command via radio (very similar to a garage-door opener) to the receivers, which then trigger their own hot-shoe/sync ports. This fires the flash.

Advantages of the Canon/Nikon system are that it allows automatic flash metering and control of (all?) flash functionality from the master. Disadvantages are that they have limited range. The radio slaves can have much longer range, but you have to manually change the power on the flash unit.
I mentioned on the previous thread that I had a set of the radio triggers, and returned them due to problems with very frequent misfiring. I am using a Canon 430EX.

I returned the receiver to them. They tested it but didn't find any problems. They are sending me a second set to try out. I will also try using a decent brand of batteries for them, as I understand the cheap ones included with the set may cause problems.

My suspicion is that the Canon Speedlites are overly sensitive at the hot-shoe. When the radio trigger is connected, it pulls excessive leakage current under certain conditions from the trigger pin, which is what causes the random misfiring. I'm hoping that the only "certain condition" that this happens under is when dodgy batteries are being used. All will be revealed soon.
bewildered grain [deleted] 13 years ago
@kinglizard - thanks for your info in both posts. can't wait to see your results.
ekmai 13 years ago
Bought the same set today and had a hell of a time getting it to fire the flash (SB-800). New batteries installed in both units, but still only seemed to work when it wanted to. Not sure why it didn't fire the flash when I pressed the shutter, but when I pressed the test button on top of the sender unit it fired the flash every time. I guess it must be something to do with the hotshoe on the D200.
PIXIllate 13 years ago
I'm going to mention this again. Could it be what you have your internal flash set to in the menu? Is it on commander or TTL? I have mine set to manual 1/16 and everything seems to work just fine. The other modes might send the pulse to the hot-shoe too early.

Just a thought.

ekmai 13 years ago
I missed that. Cheers Chris. It was on commader mode. I'll give it a go in manual after work tonight.
Super Hanz 13 years ago
cant wait to get mine. it shipped today. now for the waiting game. I currently have the other ebay one and am havign no problems w/ it. just feels way too cheap. Hopefully this one is a little sturdier. If I like it I will purchase two more recievers. I will be using it w/ a d50 and d70. any tips anyone ?
Bigpikle 13 years ago
Can I just check something from a newbie point of view please....

I have a Canon 430EX and an old Vivitar 283 and also an old optical trigger. If I just get one transmitter & receiver and put the receiver on the 430, can I set the Vivitar to be triggered by the optical as well? I guess they are pretty cheap so an extra receiver is not a big deal, but it is a lot bigger....

Also, anyone have any issues using these with a Canon 5D?

ekmai 13 years ago
Switched my camera's internal flash on the menu to Manual and it worked flawlessly. :o) Cheers Chris
PIXIllate 13 years ago
Yeah I thought that might be it.

Let's say this again so others can avoid any problems.


That should avoid most of the mis-firing issues.

parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
I'll look into that when I get home.
PIXIllate 13 years ago

Your post is the one that got me to order these things in the first place. Hope it all works out for you. I love mine.

bewildered grain [deleted] 13 years ago
thanks to EssPea, PIX and all the rest, these posts caused me to order a trigger and receiver set from GadgetInfinity last night. 15 days shipping. can't wait.

i'm new to flash photography, my canon 580ex, and wireless but i can't wait to start learning and posting stuff soon for advice.

*tdl* 13 years ago
welcome to the fold! i did the same thing as you and just had my first experiment with off-camera speelites...

Eric & Rebecca 10
duanekeys 13 years ago
Just wanted to reiterate thanks to eEssPea, and PIXIllate, I ordered these ebay triggers and have been having a blast. I just got my stand and umbrella in last night, so I didn't make the assignment deadline, but I'm looking forward to participating!
Scott Hargis 13 years ago
Can someone clarify which Ebay triggers we're talking about? Is there a brand name or model number? I definately want to get wireless, and I'm on a very tight budget. But I don't want to go on Ebay and get the wrong trigger.
Captoe 13 years ago
There are at least three flavors of these things. You'll have to determine which is best for you, but it seems to me that the model pictured at the top of this thread "RF-604" is favored by many because the receiver has the hotshoe built in.

The ebay sellers often don't list the model number.

I bought from "Gadget Infinity" For the hotshoe and the ability to buy extra receivers.

Can't complain about the price. We'll see how long they last...

Marc Lacoste Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Marc Lacoste (member) 13 years ago
Guandong Jiangmen Yinhe Technology Development Co., Ltd :). As sold by Gadget-Infinity, but other eBay sellers have the same. (edit: huh, think refresh button)
iveal_t 13 years ago

I'm interested in the flash triggers sold by Gadget_Infinity too, and I was wondering if it's true that the receiver units use 4LR44 6V Alkaline batteries. I've looked at the other Chinese eBay flash triggers, and they either use 2xAA or 2xAAA, and I've read numerous reports about their needing fresh alkalines to trigger predictably. I'm hoping that the 4LR44 6V Alkaline batteries in these units will help me avoid having to buy fresh alkalines for every shoot. Thanks.
Jim Strickland Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Jim Strickland (member) 13 years ago
I got the Yinhe Technology Development Co. YHRD616 sixteen channel set, plus one extra receiver. Seems to work fine with my Vivitar 283s and my Pentax *ist DL. I haven't done any significant testing, though. I got them from magic_trigger on ebay.

darold.smith 13 years ago
Awww man! There goes the credit card again!
iveal_t 13 years ago
I've read that NiMH batteries are a no-go with these triggers. Has anyone tried them? How many flashes can one expect with rechargeables fresh out of the charger (~ 1.4x V)?

How often do you have to replace alkaline batteries? (After how many shots, days, etc.?) Has anyone tried lithium AA batteries? I prefer the portability of the battery-powered versions but dislike the inconvenience of buying/using/storing alkaline batteries or any nonrechargeable battery for that matter.

Would love to hear others' experience with especial regard to battery usages. Thanks.
Super Hanz 13 years ago
jsut got mine just like that one. It really beats the oher type that is floating around. Works seamlessly, no adapter needed. I already oredered another reciever
parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
I just got my SB-24 a few days ago and last night was my first attempt at two flash photography using this setup. It worked great and there were no misfires (except when my one flash went to sleep) and I was shooting close to the strobes and pretty far away as well.

For the most part the two flashes were far from each other and there was only one instance when I was moving between loacations that I had them within about 2 feet of each other and one started firing like crazy.

These things are well worth the $60 I paid for one transmitter and two recievers.
kbroderick Posted 13 years ago. Edited by kbroderick (member) 13 years ago
I'm using the YHDC-B receivers, which do not have the integrated hotshoe.  I like this for these reasons: 
* they're smaller as a result

* I can use an umbrella holder (which is physically much sturdier than the 1/8" to hotshoe adapters that came with these; I don't know about the integrated-hotshoe model's sturdiness), and, relatedly
* the physical stress of holding the flash is not put on the receiver.  IMO, that's one of the points in the system most likely to fail, and I'd rather be able to just worry about replacing either an umbrella holder or a flash shoe (both of which seem to be readily available) rather than having to source another receiver from an eBay seller that may or may not still be around
* they also work with handle-mount flashes without the additional bulk (see first point)

With that said, I did also build some 1/4" mono to PC sync adapters to make my life easier.  (using Radio Shack part 274-340 and a short PC Sync cord; it's pretty simple, but I can post some more detailed directions and pics if that would be of interest.)

Re: AA's, I've gotten away with using MAHA PowerEx 2500 mAh batteries in my receivers and retaining full sync (up to 1/200 sec, which is slightly short of the rated speed on my 20D but equal to what I was getting with unused alkalines); I'd done perhaps three or four small shoots using the same alkalines prior to testing the rechargeables, and I have yet to encounter problems.  On the other hand, I have yet to use them outside, either.  I don't know if the increased distance between units outside is going to present greater battery challenges or not.
PIXIllate 13 years ago
If you're worried about the stress of having the flash higher just use a short PC-PC cord between the flash and the receiver. You can unscrew the rotating foot and then velcro the receiver to the flash directly. It will be very compact then.

EssPea - So you no longer have the problem shooting at close distances/misfiring issue. Did it turn out to be your internal flash setting?

parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
I don't appear to be having it and I changed my flash setting onthe camera to 1/1 manual.

I didn't do any tests before and after though, so I am not 100% that that was the fix.
futuristah Posted 13 years ago. Edited by futuristah (member) 13 years ago
Just got mine 4 channel transmitter + 2 recievers, they work pretty good (on a nikon D70, SB600 and a SB24).

Just the shooting range seems to be even wider than the 30 meters reported on the box.

I was at approx 45meters and both shot with the camera trigger. I wanted to test even further but flash batteries were gone (i've had to set the flashes not to standby otherwise they wouldn't fire at first shot after a lapse of time).
Of course it was a open space and the recievers were at about 1 meter from the ground.
It seems the higer they are from the ground, the better response they give. I suggest keeping them at about 1,20 m from the ground if you want to shoot form distance.

Sync wasn't a problem, down to 1/1250.

I just wish they weren't made in such bad plastic!
PIXIllate 13 years ago
I get 1/1250 reliably all the time but usually use 1/1000 just to give it a little leeway. Has anyone tried these with a D200 to see what kind of sync speed you can get? The D70 is kind of a special case with a partial electronic shutter.

annoyed frog [deleted] 13 years ago
The fastest a D200 can sync its shutter to a flash is listed as 1/250th - but you can fun it faster - I did a tests you can see here in a set

to sum it up though, you can push it to 1/320th without any problem, or 1/400th if you don't mind cropping the image slightly...

any faster and the physic's don't allow a shot to be taken without the dropping window to be caught in frame.
Roger Valdez 13 years ago
Has anyone been able to get these to work with the 430ex? Mine came in yesterday and when I plug my flash in it just repeadatly flashes. Ideas?
RLPhoto 13 years ago
Hi, new here.

I found this link to someone selling the triggers on a forum.

The only important part of the thread is ."Please note that Canon ex430 AND Sigma DG 500 ST do NOT work for this trigger"

It also claims:
"Tested and Working Units:

Canon ex420
Canon ex550
Canon ex580

Nikon SB26
Nikon SB28
Nikon SB600
Nikon SB800

Sigma DG500 Super"

I ordered these awhile back but haven't had a chance to try them. They shipped to my house, and i'm at school at the moment.

Has anyone paired them up with a Sunpak 383? I'm hoping to use my Sunpak 383 and a borrowed 580EX, and eventually maybe a Sigma 500 Super once I get around to purchasing another frlash.
Roger Valdez 13 years ago
Any idea why it is a no go with the 430?
malikmata52 Posted 13 years ago. Edited by malikmata52 (member) 13 years ago
I have a Canon 430EX and bought a couple of the 16 channel eBay radio slaves. I had the same problem of prefiring the flash unit when I first put them together but after taping the top of the hot shoe adapter with electrical tape and playing around with different channel combinations, the unit worked properly. I also let the reciever just dangle from the connecting cord. If the reciever is touching the flash unit, it somehow misfires.

This is the radio slave I got:
Jim Strickland 13 years ago
Weird. I velcroed my receivers to my 283s and plugged them in via the pc sync cords, and unless I get the receivers too close together, they only fire when they're supposed to. And I got the same set you did. Maybe the 283s are old enough and simple enough that they don't have some oscillator inside that is close enough to the frequency of the receivers to fire them.

For those following this and the previous thread, I'll add to the comments on the 430EX.

I just received my second set of the wireless trigger system (RF-604 and PT-04). The new receiver exhibit the same random wild triggering as the first set with my Canon 430EX. I have tried with both the supplied battery and a half-used CR2. I will try with a brand-new battery sometime this weekend, and failing this I have ordered a sync->hotshoe connector to see if this is a problem. I'll keep everyone posted.

@iveal_t: The system covered in this thread (transmitter RF-604 and receiver PT-04) don't use standard AA/AAAs. The receivers use CR2s which are 3V lithium and the transmitter uses a 12V of some sort. (Can't be bothered to crack it open at the moment)
Roger Valdez 13 years ago
Well. I picked up a 580ex and I have the same problem. Could it be something inside the flash triggering it? Would connecting it with a sync cord mabye help?
Well, it seems like a ton of people are trying to figure out particular problems with their radio slaves.

I for one am quite annoyed that I haven't been able to get mine to work, as I have everything else I need to get started on the assignments.

@Roger: I have a sync cord->hotshoe adapter on the way. I should know later this week whether this fixes it.

I suspect that the fault is from poor isolation of the radio frequency section of the receivers and its interaction with sensitive triggering circuits on the flashes. It seems that things like moving the receivers further away (both from the flash and from each other) and covering exposed metal bits with tape helps ameliorate the problem.

I will try hooking up my receiver to an oscilloscope sometime in the next few days and see if I can see anything. I've been very tempted to design my own radio trigger system...
Roger Valdez Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Roger Valdez (member) 13 years ago
Malik, what parts did you tape? Pic? Kingliz thanks for the helpful info. I thought mabye it would be something with the battery because it seems when I move the battery around that sometimes in will stop the wild strobing.

EDIT: Just noticed something. If I hold the entire recieve in my hand it stobes wildy firing. King I think you are right. I am going to try to insulate the receiver with some electrical tape. Will keep you guys and gals posted.

EDIT 2: Tape didn't work.
Bigpikle 13 years ago
Damn, this 430ex issue is annoying - I REALLY want some of these, so I hope a solution is easy to find! I can't stomach the price of the PW's at this point for the small amount of use and lot of learning I need to do.

Thanks for all the updates so far, I'm sure I'm not the only one watching eagerly for the outcomes ;-)
Tim Shim 13 years ago
Hey guys, sorry if this is a bit off topic but what do you call those flash shoe mount stands that you can put on the floor or flat surface? I've seen people using it mostly to light a backdrop.

malikmata52 13 years ago
My slaves's model are RD616. (see my link above) I taped the top of the hot shoe adapter where the flash sits just leaving the center of the contact point exposed. Instead of using the 1/8" phone jack converter that came with the slaves I bought another 1/8" converter with a 4.5 inch cord. Now the reciever dangles from the flash about 12 inches down. I also played with channel combinations; switches #1 & 4 OFF, #2 & 3 ON seems to work the best for my units.
flashyfeliz 13 years ago
Very interesting topic PIXIllate...
Just ordered my slaves and just can't wait... :-)
For that price I can give them a try...
My pocket is not deep enough to buy the pocketwizzards :-(
I hope I'll be posting my experience in 20 days from now...
tpuerzer 13 years ago
Oh my... what bad timing. :(

I just ordered several of the RF-604 units... for use with my Canon 430EX... oops.

Ironically, the reason I ordered these new units is that I was having the exact same problem with an older single-channel wireless unit.

Well, I'm going to end up with the world's largest collection of radio triggers that don't work with my flash... :) Looks like I will have to take David's advice and start stocking up on used Nikon flash units...

If anyone figures out a way to get these units working with recent Canon flash units I would really appreciate a posting.

To add to the mix - I've also tried using my 430EX on an optical slave and it exhibits an odd behavior too... it works flawlessly... once... then the flash just hangs up. You have to power the unit off and on again to get... one more flash.

Seems like Canon units are not the best bet for off camera flash using non-Canon parts.

Oh well...
Jim Strickland 13 years ago
To see if it's RF coming from the flash that's setting these triggers off, one might try wrapping the body of the flash with aluminum foil. Also, one might try making sure the antenna end of the receiver (the end opposite the batteries in the 616 models) is as far from the flash as possible. Heck, for testing you could wrap the receiver in aluminum foil instead, but it won't do good things for your receiver's sensitivity.

bewildered grain [deleted] Posted 13 years ago. Edited by bewildered grain (member) 13 years ago
GOT MY TRIGGERS in the mail today from GadgetInfinity! Ordered on Wednesday and got them Monday, July 3. Only 5 days shipping from HK....fyi.

i pulled them out and the trigger misfires. I figure though it's just in need of a fresh 12v battery.

Hope to post picts of my first ever off-camera shots soon.

gewitterkind 13 years ago
mine just arrived, and they work perfectly fine with a Olympus FL50, a Nikon SB-26 and my Olympus E-1.

Maybe we should start a compatibility list and a 'known problems' list ; )
emarc 13 years ago
Does anyone know if you can get these radio slaves (and PocketWizards - same problem) to work with Minolta 5600?

Minolta uses a non-standard hotshoe, but the 7D has a pc-sync, so the camera-end is no problem.
What I'm not sure about is the flash - it has some sort of sync terminal, but I'm not sure if you can get it to work with standard pc-sync, or if you need an adapter, or if it's doable at all...


Let me (attempt to) rephrase that for clarity: is it possible to trigger the Minolta 5600 HS (D) with a pc-sync cable, or using some sort of pc-sync adapter?

Right now I'm using minolta wireless, and It,s working fine, but as with all optical systems, it has limitations (range, line-of-sight, etc)
noisy rabbits [deleted] 13 years ago

Follow this link for the adaptor(s) you will need to find, no guarantee they will work with the "pocket wiz", they seem like the type of adaptor for that purpose with a 5600. I use the "FS-1100" with a KM-A2 to fire a SB-28 in manual mode from the camera.

iveal_t 13 years ago
Has anyone besides kbroderick had any luck with using rechargeable NiMH batteries with any variant of these ebay radio slaves? I'd really like to know what limitations to expect so that I can make an educated purchase. Thanks.
tpuerzer 13 years ago
Well, I just got the RF-604 units that I ordered off of eBay today.

- They arrived very quickly (shipped Friday from China, here in Canada on Wednesday)
- They don't work with my Canon 430EX flash

I tried all the various suggestions in this thread (new batteries, wrapping the flash / remote in foil, etc.) but all failed to keep the flash from triggering every couple of seconds.

The one thing that did work (ironically) was to connect a 20' PC-to-PC extension cable between the receiver (remote) and the flash (via a hot-shoe to PC adapter on the flash). Having the extension cord attached between the flash and the receiver seemed to calm down the flashing frenzy. Simply connecting the hot-shoe to PC adapter directly to the PC socket on the remote (with its very short cord) did not work. There's something about that 20' of cord that changed electrical (or RF) situation.

So, I can do wireless flash with the units and the 430EX - but only with 20' of rolled up cable hanging between the remote unit and the flash. Sheer embarrassment may keep me from exploiting this work around... :)

BTW - I also tried the remote units with some (very) old Vivitar and Canon flash units that I dug out of the closet and they worked flawlessly. So, the problem is just with the Canon 430EX unit.

That's unfortunate, because I had hoped to use the wireless units with the (much) more powerful modern-day Canon flash unit.

Has anyone tried the Canon 580EX with these units?


P.S. One more bit of Good News... the extra height of these hot-shoe style remote units is NOT a problem when you are using an umbrella. If you have a flash that has a tilt-head you can simply swing the remote unit on its bracket so it lies parallel to the shaft of the umbrella, and then swivel your flash head so it too lies flat along the umbrella shaft. This actually results in a much LOWER profile than simply placing the flash on the umbrella bracket without the remote unit.
Regarding the 430EX, I think I may have found the problem and a solution.

AFAICT the problem is that the 430EX are more sensitive on their sync pin than any other flash. This may be exacerbated by the low sync voltage of the flash, which I measured at around 4.2V. With the receiver connected, a small amount of noise (from the receiver RF oscillator) is coupled onto the sync pin, enough to randomly fire the flash.

tpuerzer found that a long (20 foot?!!) length of cord between receiver and flash fixed this, which seems to confirm the theory. The long cord would be acting as an inductor and capacitor filter to remove out the noise.

A preliminary solution, which is appearing to work for me, is to put a very small value capacitor (0.2uF) across the sync terminals. I tested this by attaching the PC sync cord and just holding the capacitor across the connectors on the mini jack. This appears to filter out the noise. A better solution is probably to replace the lead from the PCB to the hotshoe sync pin inside the receiver with a small inductor. Or perhaps solutions combined (an LC filter) might be required.

I will report back when I have soldered the capacitor in, probably tomorrow but it may not be before Monday. Fingers crossed, but I am 90% sure this will work.
Roger Valdez 13 years ago
Update, I attached the reciever to the flash with a pc-sync cord+hot shoe adapter that is about a foot long and everything works great now. This is with the 580ex.
tpuerzer 13 years ago
kinglizardjosh - thank goodness for the EE types in the world! Let me know how your mod works out - I bet you have nailed the problem...
Bob Sam Posted 13 years ago. Edited by Bob Sam (member) 13 years ago
kingLizar ... while you are looking around inside, see if you can ident the antenna. the lack of an external antenna is one of the reasons for the limited range vs. PWs. The actual power of the units is probably very similar due to fcc regulations. I bet if we could patch an antenna into the receiver/xmitter we would get a lot better range for us sport shooters (longer distance between camera and flash).

boonerodriguez 13 years ago
So Roger Valdez, your 580ex wasn't working when you plugged it into the receiver's hotshoe?

I was wondering if it would work to only buy one receiver and use that with the 580, as well as use the 580 as master and 430 as slave?
Roger Valdez 13 years ago
Yeahboone, it worked but it would repedeatly fire for no reason. It works great with the sync cable. You have a good idea going, however I am not sure if it would work. Remember though that you must have line of sight between the 580 and the 430 for canons ir system to function properly. It seems by doing this however, you are losing one of the cool features of canons ir system, the capability to still use ettl.
kbroderick 13 years ago
When I tried to fire my 420EX as a Canon slave to my friend's 550EX, which was slaved on a YHDC-B radio slave (via hotshoe to 1/8" adapter), there was a significant delay between when the shutter went off and when the 420EX fired (there may have also been a delay between the shutter and the 550EX, but I don't recall for sure right now).
I soldered the capacitor in, unfortunately it has no effect. I am waiting now on both a miniplug to hotshoe adapter and cord, and a Canon Off-Shoe Cord. I will report back on whether these work to fix the problem or not.

@Bob Sam: The antenna is the small length of copper on the top of the tiny daughter board in the receiver. I'm sure it could be modded to add more distance but it's not something I'm keen to do, as I just want to get them working first. It's also probably got more to do with transmitter power and receiver sensitivity than the antenna.

More updates on my progress after the weekend.
boonerodriguez 13 years ago
we should have a canon strobist group... ;)

sb what?! 580ex please!
Rafa Barbera 13 years ago
yeahboone, wen you want, you can join us at www.flickr.com/groups/speedlite/ :-D :-D
Tim Shim 13 years ago
I've been using the GadgetInfinity triggers for the current StrobistBootCamp assignment and it seems one major problem with these triggers is reliability.

After about 2 hours of shooting, the triggers weren't as responsive and did not fire all the time when my camera shutter was released.

Also, I've found that hooking up the transmitter unit to the hotshoe works fine sometimes and not some other times. The solution when it didn't work for me was to use the provided miniplug-xsync cable to connect the transmitter to the lens and it would work. Until about the 2 hour mark I mentioned above, then things get a bit screwy.

I'm definitely thinking of investing in some Pocket Wizards now though I dislike the bulk of the PWs.

I still shoot film so to me, every frame counts and missing frames due to strobes not firing isn't too fun. More importantly, I'm missing moments that may have made a great photograph.

Anyone else here having problems with your GadgetInfinity wireless triggers??
parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
Mine are working great and have much more than 2 hours shooting on them.
trimipi 13 years ago
Mine have been working great. Tim, are you sure your batteries in your flashes are fresh?
Tim Shim 13 years ago
The batteries in the flash I am using (Sunpak 555) are definitely working fine since the orange test light is lit up and ready to fire. I'm not saying that the triggers stop firing altogether after 2 hours - only that it goes off unpredictably towards the end of my shoot (about 4th roll in). I'm confounded myself as I have checked everything but it seems the only possible problem would be with the wireless triggers.

Just to check, would there be any problems if I were to remove the transmitter cable without turning off the flash/receiver? I usually forget this and the flash pops whilst I'm changing lenses and plugging out the PC cable. Could this have caused some sort of malfunction? Or another possibility I just thought of is a problem with the cables. Only cables I use in my setup are one Household-PC cable for my Sunpak strobe to the receiver unit and the other is the provided Miniplug-PC cable from the transmitter to my camera lens.

How long have you guys been using your triggers and do they fire 100% of the time?

I will try to use it some more the next few days to see if this behaviour persists. Thanks, guys.
iveal_t 13 years ago
Tim Shim, would fresh batteries in your receivers help?
backhousestudios 13 years ago
I got my RF-604 today and threw them on my 622. Set the camera for -1 EV and started shooting. Love how intuitive shooting against ambient is. But I'm not sure I like the warmth of the ambient. I'll keep playing. Thanks for the thread.

annoyed frog [deleted] 13 years ago
I couldn't resist - I just got myself a set of four receivers and a transmitter - lets hope I don't get any lemons.

Its just …. they are so cheap - and the BUY IT NOW button looked so good, I had to press it….

Plus - its worth the risk in trying them out, before plunking down the money for that many pocket wizards...
Bigpikle 13 years ago
are there any updates on these triggers with the 430EX using an off camera lead etc?
parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
Update: I've run into some problems syncing with them after extended periods of use. At the start of my shoot I was syncing at 1/1250th and by the end I had to be all the way down at 1/250th (half my camera's normal sync speed) to get consistent syncs.

Luckily I was inside so getting rid of ambient light wasn't a problem and I didn't have to crank my strobes up.
m0nni Posted 13 years ago. Edited by m0nni (member) 13 years ago
I got mine yesterday (one transmitter and two receivers) and they seem to work fine - though I've gotten a few extra firings for no apparent reason.

Considering the price I'm pretty happy with them. Before getting them I could use only one Canon flash but now I can use that and my boyfriend's Nikon flashes too. And even though I have lots to learn in using just one or two lights I ordered two more receivers.. let's see how that goes! :)
annoyed frog [deleted] 13 years ago

Interesting - what variables do you think could have been effecting them to change the ability to sync?
parched agreement [deleted] 13 years ago
MathewS: I don't know, I was working with a tight snoot on the one that wasn't syncing, so its possible that the subject had moved out of the blast of the flash and I just didn't notice and attributed it to not syncing.

I'll do some more tests tonight to see if they aren't syncing fast anymore.
Okay, I'm back with my (hopefully) final report on the use of Ebay radio slaves with the Canon 430EX.

I finally got the system working to my satisfaction, but it required the use of a hotshoe adapter, PC sync cord and the Canon Off Shoe Cord. So, not a cheap solution.

The following photo shows the setup. (For the photo I connected the transmitter to the camera's PC socket and used on-camera flash to fill in.)

The receiver connects to the hotshoe adapter via the PC sync socket. The OSC camera end is connected to the hotshoe adapter. Finally the OSC connects to the 430EX via its hotshoe.

Ebay Radio Slave Trigger with Canon 430EX Speedlite

I also removed the capacitor I had soldered in before (see previous post), as this stopped the setup from working consistently.

Next step? Might try to design a radio ETTL system if I get around to it... ;)
kromaphoto 13 years ago
Thanks for the report on 430EX kinglizardjosh, I also have the Canon system (20D + 580EX + 430EX) and two other non canon flashes. Even though I'm currently using the 580 to trigger the 430 now but was thinking about getting these radio triggers to trigger all my flashes.
Do you know if this is the only way to trigger the 430 (using the OSC) ? How do the folks with pocket wizards trigger there 430EX, do they also have to use the OSC ?

tpuerzer 13 years ago
@kinglizardjosh - thanks for following up with your post on your mods.

I have a simpler and cheaper solution that I have been using on my 430EX with the eBay radio triggers.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have simply connected the flash to the radio trigger via a "long" (between 10' and 20' - I've not measured it) PC extension cable. The cable is simply what I was using for off-camera flash prior to getting the radio trigger (e.g. a cord with a male PC connector on one end and a female connector on the other).

Now, since the 430EX lacks a PC socket, you need to get a hotshoe-to-pc connector. Again, this is exactly what you would have to do if you were using the traditional "wired" solution rather than wireless.

The good news is that you can simply roll up the PC extension cable into a fist-sized ball and just hang it next to the radio trigger. Also, because the hotshoe-to-PC adapter has a hotshoe base, you can simply "stack" the connector (in exactly the way you have done with your solution).

Now, I'm not sure if you really need 10+ feet of cable to make this hack work - that's just what I had laying around. I do know that simply connecting the six-inch cable from the hotshoe-to-PC adapter will NOT work. That seems to be too short.

Perhaps I'll try out some shorter lengths of cord at a camera shop... or perhaps some other frustrated 430EX owners could do the same. To be honest, I'm not too interested in this approach anyway as I am now taking Mr. Strobist's advice and picking up some used Nikon (gasp!) flash units to use with my Canon setup. For the price of a single (new) 580EX I can get 5 used Nikon units.

Oh, and by the way, the hack I'm describing is exactly what I used to take this photo for the most recent Strobist assignment. So, it does really work. :)

Night Garden - Outdoor shot

QUESTION: For all you EE types out there. Why is this length of wire working? Would it also be possible to put a filter / choke (I have no idea what I'm talking about here) on a shorter length of cable for the same effect? I'm thinking of something like those little cylinders that contain a maget that many computer mice cables (and some Cat-5 cables) have on them to eliminate electrical / RF noise. I know that the 430EX emits about a 0.3 Hz "blap" of RF that you can hear if you place it next to an AM radio. Perhaps that's what's "setting off" the radio trigger?

Tony Puerzer
backhousestudios Posted 13 years ago. Edited by backhousestudios (member) 13 years ago
I've got the same problem as EssPea, I just noticed not being able to sync at 1/250th after about 360 exposures over a weeks time. This particular session was only 18 exposures and a 5-minute wait until I noticed it. I'll go pick up some fresh batteries and report back.
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