(1 to 100 of 146 replies)
itsskin 5:34pm, 4 August 2012
I was tired to run around speedlights to make small changes and "developed" cheap and reliable system with manual flashes and remote control for them.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSSyfrM6Qt4

Any modern flash can be modified. The only thing to do is to solder several wires to power adjustment buttons leads and connect them to 3.5 standard audio jack. After this I use commercially avaliable radio trigger which can transmit half-press and full-press of camera shutter release button. Holding such a transmitter in hand gives you remote control over manual flash.

Trigger stays as is. No mod needed. Just a cable 2.5mm to 3.5mm which is connected to camera control port.

See below for modification example built around Phottix Strato II which gives you independent control over 4 flashes. Group control also possible.

Soldering inside YN-560II www.flickr.com/photos/itsskin/sets/72157630919678102/

Enjoy and sorry for my English :)



UPDATE:
Working prototype, 6 controllable groups/flashes :
20120906_223540 by itsskin



UPDATE 31/10/2012
Guys, I have around 10 prototypes here. Also people are asking when this will be available. So, if you are very interested - contact me, I'm willing to ship a small batch of remotes+flashes. It will take me around 2 weeks to mail your order. In return I ask to post your small review if you can.
Remote - 90 USD + shipping from Beijing.
Modified 560EXII - 110 USD + shipping from Beijing


Using controller in real life here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIM70VpPD7g

UPDATE 25/11/2012

Speedlights now support Zoom adjustment. See demo here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sh_wBHJujw

And big setup of 10 speedlights here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLF-w1NwoMU

Ilya
1
(1 to 100 of 146 replies)
elv0000 4 years ago
Man you are a genius!

I'm not sure which toy I Iiked better, but that is brilliant!


So we could use any cheap trigger with a group function!? and even YN-560 MK one?
itsskin 4 years ago
Yes, YN-560 MK one should be no problem at all. I didn't try them, but they seems very same design button wise. Actually, I soldered directly to buttons, which disabled them. But there are still right/left left, which change power in 1 stop.
elv0000 4 years ago
How does the shutter button work? half press is power down and full press power up?

I see you are using the side test button to go down, could the one (2 stage) shutter button do both power up and down?
LayerMask 4 years ago
Hey, that really qualifies as a Good Idea!

Very nice going, itsskin! Tx for sharing.
Ranger_9 4 years ago
This is a wonderfully clever hack/mod. Congratulations!
itsskin 4 years ago
Yes, you could use 1 button setup. Initially, I played with RF-602 transceiver/receiver. It worked like half press = UP, full press = DOWN. The big minus is that you need to press "full press" really fast, otherwise it will work like half-press and UP....

In my video half and full press work like UP. No difference. Actually, it should work like RF-602, but it does not. Which is a great thing, because you can't change it to wrong direction. So, I use half/full press for UP and TEST button for DOWN.
Kris This Is [deleted] 4 years ago
Holy mooing cow!

VG indeed.
Orthogonality 4 years ago
Definitely outside-the-box thinking. So, when are you selling modified packages? ;)
thorsten198 4 years ago
This is indeed brilliant!

But his also means, you do have to open the speedlight. drill a hole into it, built in a plug socket and solder some wires, right?
alohadave 4 years ago
But his also means, you do have to open the speedlight. drill a hole into it, built in a plug socket and solder some wires, right?

Yes, that is what needs to be done.
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
OMG you had the most clever idea i seen in a loong time...

the best part is you can modify any, absolutely any flash to do this, and if you wanna do it with even cheaper triggers you can just do a different channel for each one, i guess you using the groups to be able to modify the different flashes one by one or in groups.

but i think it could work the same way with any trigger with different channels ( flash 1 at channel 1 flash 2 at 2 etc.. ) then if we want to change power of flash 1 we set up the emisor on channel 1 and so on...

can you give more details on the modification of the flash? what do you need to solder on the flash for it to work?

i understand the jack has 3 positions .. the positive the negative and nothing, and i guess you solder the cables to the button to go more and to the button to go less power but im very bad in electronics and need a more detailed tutorial on how to do the electrical work..

last question, the flash still works normally?

thanks a lot! this is been what i been looking for for a very long time!
elv0000 4 years ago
@ The Kube Studio - You couldn't do it with any flash, only flashes that have a simple button press to push the power up or down. And not have to press any other button first to reach the power up down selection.

Channels should work instead of groups but you would want a simple channel selection on the Tx, (and possibly an "all channels" option as well like the cactus V5 for example).

The hard part is 2 separate buttons for up and down, the Strato II used there has a second test fire button. I'd much rather be using those to trigger the flash though and a cheap trigger to change the power.
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Yeh right,

need the flash to be able to have a one button power change, but if the flash is in the right mode i think you can do that with sb24 and 28.. have to check with mine...

i guess if you solder on top of the normal contact it can do both things, the remote power and keep the normal functions...
sunnyUK 4 years ago
Wow, that is clever outside-the-box thinking. Simple once you've got the idea. Excellent!
itsskin 4 years ago
Guys, thx for nice words!
If you solder directly to buttons you will loose the button functionality. Just like I did. I will try to solder to leads of the buttons, but they are really small, so it's a big chance u can ruin the flash.

Also, I have a prototype build around RF602 TX and 5 602RX.

The plus is that it's cheaper and can handle 5 flashes
The minus - no group adjustments and a LOT of soldering :D
Kinematic Digit PRO 4 years ago
Wow, this is brilliant. I wonder if this could be done without modification of Canon Speedlites by switching the trigger orders around? I thought the Strato's had a pass through shoe that allowed some communications from the camera. Would this not in theory allow a dumb trigger to remotely fire through the pass through shoe?
itsskin Posted 4 years ago. Edited by itsskin (member) 4 years ago
Well, I really doubt that.

Manufacturers as Canon/Nikon push us towards their proprietary TTL systems.
YongNuo and Phottix developed their own system to work with them. But you still get a very expensive setup + system dependent.

I like the elegance of independence, ease of control and reliability with my setup. Would really like producers to include such a port by default. Even sell a remote for this.

Anyway, before they do this: here is my small prototype with cheap RF602 trigger www.flickr.com/photos/itsskin/7718623726/in/photostream
itsskin 4 years ago
The problem is that if I want to make it look cool and useble I'd have to pay for remote control box design and matrix.

What do you think about sellability of this?
Kinematic Digit PRO 4 years ago
How about the 580EX IIs that have the PC port? So the Strato on the hotshoe to control the power settings remotely, and then a PC radio trigger to fire it. Would that work?
itsskin 4 years ago
I have to reverse engineer TTL protocol. In this case U'd better buy TT5's.

The beauty of my setup is low cost. YN560II is like 50 US/PSC. Power and reliability is also supercool. I never shoot in TTL mode and really doubt many serious photographers do also.

So, why would we spend a fortune on TTL flashes?
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Hi itsskin thanks a lot for your idea,

Can i ask you for a photo of the inside modification of your flash?

Im trying to decide on doing it to my nikon flashes, sb25 or sb28 still not sure, but i would like to be sure how hard it is.. i soldered before but im not super good at it!

thanks!
itsskin 4 years ago
Np. I have one flash to modify to get 4 of them, so give me an hour :p
itsskin Posted 4 years ago. Edited by itsskin (member) 4 years ago
www.flickr.com/photos/itsskin/sets/72157630919678102/

Let pics speak for themselves. Start with LAST photo in the set. I tried some precise soldering and it did work. Even after 5L of beer :D. No lost functionality after this modification.

Plz remember I never soldered before.
breezo2002 PRO 4 years ago
I think you should buy lots of flashes, make the mods, and then sell them as a kit - along with the necessary triggers and cables. You could make a small fortune :)
itsskin 4 years ago
Yeah, small sweat factory, like Nike :)

I see the interest, so very likely I'll make it available to people. I'll also will talk to YongNuo about this port, it could make a big change in industry, if they accept.
Orthogonality 4 years ago
Contract someone to do the mods / QC / kit assembly / fulfillment. Could work. I don't know how one would protect the IP and keep the contractor from going independent - depending on where in the world it happens, a good lawyer would do it.
itsskin 4 years ago
If we would have such a standard port on flashes - it would be just awesome. With tendency of studio strobes doing digital - this seems even more cool.
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
That is really awesome...

Sorry to ask for more details but im useless in electronics..

I see you soldering 2 cables to the up and down contacts, but there is a third cable you soldering aswell.. where does it goes? trying to figure out so i can find on other model of flashes and not just on this model of yonguno.

thx!
rudy__ 4 years ago
It would typically be connected to the "ground" connection. Electrically to the side contact of the hotshoe. But each flash can be different (even though many are the same). It all depends on how the original engineer designed the flash.
elv0000 4 years ago
I'm just wondering if the original YN-560 would be better or not becasue it goes up and down with full stops. So you can always tell what power level its on buy clicking up to full power and then counting back. 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 etc. Thats pretty much how I do on the back of the flash now anyway.

WIth 1/3rd stops it would be hard to know the power level (if you can't see the LCD) but you have more fine adjustments. Do you find this is a problem?

Regarding the RF-602 version, just tape 3, 4 or 5 Tx together, no soldering required ;-)
itsskin 4 years ago
Actually, there is 3 wires on this photo: www.flickr.com/photos/itsskin/7720281868/in/photostream

If you want to adjust in full stops just wire to Right/Left buttons. I just use 0.25 stops adjustments.
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Yes 3 wires, i was wondering what the third was but i guess it the ground.. correct?
itsskin 4 years ago
yes, correct
brettmaxwell Posted 4 years ago. Edited by brettmaxwell (member) 4 years ago
Impressive work. It would be hugely appealing to me if both power change and triggering could be done with just one transmitter and one receiver, can you see any possibility to mod for that, even if it was only for controlling one flash group?

edit: thinking about this a little more. if you had the same cord going from the Strato SR port to the flash, but also used the hotshoe of the same Strato for triggering, it would work, right? Only problem is that you'd trigger the flash with each power adjustment, right? If you wired it to the full-stop buttons that might not be too much of a hassle.
elv0000 4 years ago
One receiver for both would really make all the difference!

I don't mind the flash going off on power adjustment, I'm just wondering the other way around, would the power go up or down as you fired the camera (and flash)? Looking in the manual the Strato doesn't appear to fire other cameras at the same time as the flash, so this may well work.

(In other words is there a signal to the shutter release socket when you trigger the transmitter by the camera hotshoe/shutter button?).
petepixxx Posted 4 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 4 years ago
Truely this is awesome!

Looks like we can develop a *How-To* in pix & Utube of the list (and super! pix of connection points like the 560-II above) of flashes that are compatible. Some that have mini-plugs already could just have the wire connections re-soldered?

Is the Stratos the only controller that works? Will my car garage door opener and/or TV remote also change levels? What is needed in the switch to keep it stable?

FWIW- Some easy control tips may be helpful. For example, the LP160 defaults to full power. So turning it off/on gives you a stable starting point to set power levels.
itsskin Posted 4 years ago. Edited by itsskin (member) 4 years ago
@brettmaxwell

Yes, controlling and triggering with just only 1 trigger would be awesome!
Strato works like this if you have a flash on it's hotshoe and cable in SR port to control the power:

It you press TEST flash fires and power does NOT change. If you half-press the main button, power changes and flash do not fire. If you full-press main button flash fires and power goes up too.

Flash port and SR ports are linked together. So, when you press TEST button or full-press main button Flash port and SR ports are triggered.

So, I don't see how it can be done right now. Power change with every picture taken is not an option :D We need a trigger with 3 trigger channels, not 2, like Strato.

==============================================

@petepixxx:

The system is super easy. You can use any remote control, which can short two contacts. You short 1 and 2 = power up, you short 1 and 3 = power down. The reason I used Strato II is that it is very reliable small package.

If you want to default to full/lowest power in my setup - just press and hold TEST button or Main button. The power will go down/up until lowest/highest value on the flash and then stop, no matter how long you will hold the button.
alohadave 4 years ago
petepixxx 4 years ago
Hey! That blog guy is pretty sharp!
itsskin 4 years ago
Thx for sharing!
But they made a big mistake. All modern flashes can modified because they are digital. Mechanical will not work :)
nmacpherson PRO 4 years ago
@itsskin
David Hobby is only talking about a mechanical switch. Something that is physical and that you can solder to. Your mod will not work on a digital setting in a menu.
I guess the SB-900 would be difficult as you have to turn a wheel on that one.
itsskin 4 years ago
Absolutely the same :) When you turn the wheel it shortens the ground and contact A as many times as it clicks. You turn it other way - it shortens ground and contact B.

So, every modern flash can be modified.
nmacpherson PRO 4 years ago
Oh OK did not imagine it like that. Excellent. Thanks a lot !
:-)
fshipps 4 years ago
This is awesome! Any plans on making a video on making the mod, like how to solder wires and where to drill hole, etc.? Thanks again!
danbroadrick 4 years ago
Absolutely terrific ideas here!!!!

I use Cybersync for my triggers and receivers going into the AB's hot shoe for my Nikon Sb600's.

Just wondering if the device you suggest for the power adjustments could be used with them as well. Now I assume that I will have to add in your jack idea and solder it into my SB600's.

I imagine I would simply leave the SB in the manual mode to adjust power remotely!!!

Also can you please list here the exact name of the adjustment devices for me? I am unclear which name goes with which box under your strobes??? I am asking about the name of the one with the white cord?

And where did ya get the white cord?

Maybe if you could post a complete parts list for us dummies? With links of course?

What a cool idea!!!! Thank you sooo much!
(BTW, If David Hobby likes your idea you are set!!!!!)
itsskin 4 years ago
Yeah, David is pretty amazing guy. :D He put me into strobism in the first place, so he takes a credit for this too :)

I didn't quite get what should work with what, but what I'm thinking is that it's not worth modify/risk SB600. The flashes I use are very-very close power wise and cost just 60 USD. I'd better buy bunch of them to play with. Because I killed of mine while experimenting and ufffff..... thx it was not SB600 :)

List of parts:
1. Flashes - YN-560II (www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Canon/dp/B...)

2. "Adjustment device" - Phottix Strato II (www.amazon.com/Strato-Wireless-Trigger-Set-Canon/dp/B0056...)

3. Trigger - YongNuo RF-602 (www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-Wireless-Trigger-Receiver-Shutter/...)

Well, actually, I use another set of Strato II in real life because they are much faster. 1/200 on 5d3 vs 1/160 and 1/800 on H3DII vs 1/320. In video I used another trigger just not to confuse people. So, speedlight trigger is your choice.

5. Cable. 2.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cable. Something like this (www.amazon.com/3-5mm-Stereo-Remote-Camera-Cable/dp/B003UE...)

I live in China, so I got all the stuff locally. Ironically, US prices for chinese stuff is sometimes lower :D
itsskin 4 years ago
@fshipps

Please, see this set: www.flickr.com/photos/itsskin/sets/72157630919678102/

If I'll make a video everyone will die of boredom instantly. I've taken pics of all important steps, so, if you want to do the same with YN560II - just follow them.
itsskin 4 years ago
I'm trying to finish soldering a remote on the base of RF-620. In theory it will give us 16(!!!) groups of control with much-much lower price then Strato II. But It requires A LOT of soldering and making a box to hold everything. So, "expensive" but fast way to start is Phottix, Really cheap one is RF-620, but plz give me some time to finish it.
KluZz 4 years ago
What's baffling to me is that the flash manufacturers haven't already built this into their flashes. If, say, LumoPro flashes came with a wireless trigger system that could also adjust power (4 groups would be sufficient), I would gladly replace all my Canon and Nikon strobes with LumoPros. I would love to get rid of all the extra electronics and wiring needed for remote triggering.
Brian Hursey 4 years ago
Nice,

To bad im on cactus series equipment :D
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Hi again...

great that this got into strobist, it means someone will make it retail soon :P

just to clarify myself i will write down my points...

First the flash needs to be modified so you add a port to connect the cable of the trigger to it, soldering the contacts of the buttons for power up and down to the port. I wonder if you could use the PC sync port for that, resoldering the cables to it... (of course making it not doing anything else anymore).

About the way to trigger, i think the perfect would be to use 1 trigger 1 receiver, but right now that may be a lot of mod. The system itsskin uses is 2 separate sets of trigger, 1 for the power control 1 for the trigger. But i wonder if it could be done with only one emitter...

So for example with cactus V5, you could set a channel for the power management and another channel for the flash trigger, so if you want to change powrr you set up your emitter to the channel of power, and if you want the flashes to go off you do the other channel.

For each flash you add, you set up its control on another channel, so flash one is channel 1 flash two is channel 2 flash three is channel 3.

That way you reduce the emitters and you just need 1 for up to ..15 flashes?

The only problem is the v5 only have 1 button wich is not good for this.

Now the question is... what triggers have at least 5 channels, and 2 buttons and are reliable?

On the flash side, what other flashes are cheap enough to do this ? don't wanna risk 400$ soldering arround :P

thx and keep it going!
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Btw,

you linked on amazon the 560 not the 560II
wingtangwong PRO 4 years ago
This is a great idea. I had thought to try this with the LP160 and similar manual flashes, however, the problem is that they lack an up/down and instead have toggles.

With these, you would need incorporate an MCU that will also either keep track of state or read the state via the LED indicators on the units.

This greatly complicates the remote management of the unit. :(
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Been looking and can't find any other triggers ( amongst the cheap ones ) that have 2 buttons...

All of them have just one with half click..

can anyone list wich trigger set-ups have 2 buttons ( one for test and one for fire )

thnx!

do the YN flashes go arround with power settings as the nikons? i mean from 1/1 if you push more power it goes to 1/64?

I like the idea of holding the button and get it to the lower power but not going arround, makes it easier to know at what power you sitting.
LumoPro 4 years ago
Fear not, I'm taking notes! Very cool implementation of phottix triggers. Now if only trigger manufacturers built in 2 buttons for open source purposes (like this!) but also had a test button and could trigger via hot shoe.
Miguel Y Griega Posted 4 years ago. Edited by Miguel Y Griega (member) 4 years ago
If, say, LumoPro flashes came with a wireless trigger system that could also adjust power (4 groups would be sufficient), I would gladly replace all my Canon and Nikon strobes with LumoPros.

What do people think of just an extra jack on the LumoPro to connect any trigger to the power level button ..... perhaps the LumoPro 160+ ... ?

MPEX? What do you all think? Would it sell? Would anyone buy it?
LumoPro Posted 4 years ago. Edited by LumoPro (member) 4 years ago
From the post and the response alone on this thread, it looks like a lot of you really like the remote power idea. Of course all of our flashes come standard with one miniphone port for sync- which has been very popular, and the idea of a 2nd one for open source purposes is being looked at.

Whether or not it would sell or if people would buy it would be of course something that is up to the market. If the idea is continually being screamed from the mountain tops like this, and statementslike this(which make me squeal like a little school girl):

"I would gladly replace all my Canon and Nikon strobes with LumoPros"

then I am motivated to work my hardest to push the possibilities. I can't make guarantees, but know if you all have an idea and its very much possible, we're going to put our best forward to find a solution for you. Our best products were made from the ideas of Strobists for Strobists and we'll happily continue to listen.

Bravo to all of you by the way, crowdsourcing FTW! This is exactly how a community shifts an industry.
KluZz Posted 4 years ago. Edited by KluZz (member) 4 years ago
Just add a wireless receiver to the flash itself, and design a trigger to control it. No need for an external reciever that breaks, runs out of juice, suffers from poor connectivity, and what have you.

It's what Canon's done, after all, with the new remote system...
LumoPro 4 years ago
Easier said than done. I'm not closed off to the possibility but it's a lot to ask those who have already established radio trigger loyalty to up and invest in a new system. I don't want PW users thinking "Great...not I have to get a new system to work with my LPs" or a RadioPopper user frustrated that their system works to adjust power, just not with this new one.

Sure Canon did it, but as David has pointed out, you're better off purchasing the Einstein and some accessories. As much as some people are ready to spend $1000 on a one speed light set up (not including stands or swivels) price is key too. If we decided to invest in the research and materials to manufacturer a similar system we would want it to enter at a price point similar to what one would pay for the LP160 rather than 10x the price.

As for the receiver that might break or run out of juice- if you're using phottix stratos and they break, it more than likely (not saying it wouldn't happen) would be due to a drop or water damage. Having used a set once or twice before I can say those are solid, well built radio sets. Accidents happen but investing in gear means proper care too. If the receiver was built into the flash that means the batteries would be eating the juice from the flash, meaning you might replace twice as often. So instead of incorporating it in the flash and having to replace the batteries twice as often, have the batteries in a separate unit (or receiver in this situation) In short on the batteries issue: you'd be robbing Peter to pay Paul. You're still going to use the same amount of batteries. If there are any power junkies in the house, correct me if I'm wrong.

Like I said, not closed to the possibility. Just like to keep these kinds of ideas out there.
KluZz 4 years ago
Oh, and if you do get around to adding remote capabilities to your flash, make group selection a single purpose button, with very clear indication on the display. When I'm out in the field, I really don't want to have to spend brain power trying to remember magic key combinations. That is all.
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
Oh now this is great...

Well if it helps anyway, i would rather buy a flash for a 100$ that has this port made by the manufacturer than buying the flash, modify it myself, lose the warranty...

Lumopro if you can offer a flash with good power, good size, a really good built quality, reliability and the posibility to control power of it remotely without spending 1500$ on a system as PW and with a price of arround 100$ you can send me 6 of them and i will sell my nikon sb28s-sb25s-sb24s etc.

period.
KluZz Posted 4 years ago. Edited by KluZz (member) 4 years ago
Those are valid points to a degree, but consider this:

Let's say you choose to add a second port for remote controlling power.

Currently, there are no viable trigger systems that support this directly, aside from the ones made for remote camera triggering (as seen in the video), and aside from the proprietary ones from the big lighting manufacturers, like Elinchrom, and Paul C. Buff.

This means that we would still need to get a different trigger system to make it work practically, ie. not having two different receivers for each flash.

Also, unless you're planning on retrofitting existing LumoPros with this secondary port, we would have to purchase new flashes to get the benefit of remote power.

I have no idea how many flashes you've already sold, but odds are you're planning on expanding your customer base. If things go as they should, you'll be selling a lot more new flashes than you've already sold.

Your existing customers already bought flashes that aren't remote directly remote controllable, and if they wanna stay with whatever triggering system they're using, that's not a problem at all. Their system of choice will still work perfectly well, even if us new customers elect to buy into the LumoRemote (tm) system (which also features Ye Olde PC connector)...

Personally, I'd much rather purchase an all in one solution (like I've done with my Elinchrom BX/RX studio strobes), that I know works, and I can get support for, than keep using the Canon/Nikon/CyberSync mess I'm currently suffering from.

If you sell starter kits consisting of two flashes and a trigger, I'll get two or three sets, if only because I like having spares.


EDIT: Oh, I forgot the power issue. 50% power drain to the receiver circuitry? I'm no electrical engineer, but that sounds rather excessive. Even if it drains 10% of the power, that just means I get 45 full power pops instead of 50. I can totally live with that, if it saves me from having to deal with extra spare batteries for receivers, broken cables, things that are dangling in the wind, cracks open when bumped (yes, CyberSyncs, I'm looking at you).
KluZz 4 years ago
The current LP160 is about $160, so hoping for a remote power controlled one for $100 is probably a tad optimistic. Wait, is that how it works? The model number is also the price?
The Kube Studio 4 years ago
yeh i wasnt talking about lumopro flashes but about the YN560II with the port needed for this.. 60 usd + extra for the port = 100 :P
Miguel Y Griega Posted 4 years ago. Edited by Miguel Y Griega (member) 4 years ago
Personally, I like the idea of the remote power being controlled separately from the flash using any trigger, rather than having the radio control being part of the flash itself.

Some manufacturers offer an all-in-one package (which has its advantages), some offer a mix-and-match-with others (which also has its advantages). I just happen to have such a mixed bag of equipment from different manufacturers .... camera from one ... tripod from another, flashes from 2 different ones, umbrellas from another, softbox from someone else, triggers from yet another .... (not to mention 26 full coloured glossy photos with circles and arrows on 'em and a paragraph on the back explaining each one)

As far as having 2 receivers on the flash ... well, that's not too bad. I wouldn't mind flipping channels to set the flash and then flipping back to trigger it. Each person, of course, is different.

It's just that yesterday, I was doing a "real-estate" shoot, (like strobist.blogspot.com/2011/09/mike-kelley-two-speedlight.... ) and kept walking back and forth to change the power levels, and wished I could have had that remotely controlled!!! (And then today I read about this hack. Arggghhghghghghghghgh!!!!)
brettmaxwell 4 years ago
wouldn't this be possible with one Strato II transmitter and two Strato II receivers?

you set the power adjustment receiver to channel 1 and the triggering receiver to channel 4 (or use the letter groups), then when you want to adjust power you set the transmitter to channel 1, and when you want to trigger the flash you set the transmitter to channel 4.

or am I missing somthing?
itsskin 4 years ago
Yes, it's possible, you are not missing anything :) Great idea!

Also great to see LumoPro reaction. Way to go guys!
Orthogonality 4 years ago
"Personally, I like the idea of the remote power being controlled separately from the flash using any trigger, rather than having the radio control being part of the flash itself.
[...]
As far as having 2 receivers on the flash"

Agreed - since "any trigger" includes optical, which also takes care of, in many circumstances, the issue of two receivers on the flash.

Once someone (... Lumopro?) starts making flashes with the port built-in, trigger manufacturers will respond and choice will multiply.
KluZz Posted 4 years ago. Edited by KluZz (member) 4 years ago
To illustrate what I've been talking about:

With built in receivers on my 6 speedlights, I would be able to replace this:

Many by KluZz


with this:

One by KluZz


...and I would have remote power control to boot.

This is basically where I'm at with my Elinchrom strobes.
CoreyWoodruff PRO 4 years ago
Brilliant solution, itsskin!

FWIW, I am not interested in a speedlight with a built-in trigger system because I also use studio strobes frequently. I like being able to use my PWs with both setups, or if I am using rental gear/studio gear.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one. :)
KluZz 4 years ago
Built in receivers do not necessarily exclude other triggering options; you'd still have sync ports (for your PWs) and optical triggering available, just like you do with PCB Einsteins, Elinchrom, Profoto etc.
itsskin 4 years ago
I think the whole idea of this to have a standard open port on every flash and to be able to control it however you like. I see no problem in built-in triggers, if we still have the port.
erinohara73 4 years ago
Very interesting work around...I use a combination of Canon 580EXII, 430EXII, Yongnuo 565EXII and the Phottix Odin TCU and Phottix Stratto II receivers. The Canon flashes fire perfect every time with the Phottix Odin with full adjustments in TTL, Manual and Zoom but the Yongnuo can't be adjusted in (M or TTL mode) and are not 100% reliable to fire. Very frustrating as the only other option is to buy another two Canon 430 which are not cheap and lack a pc syc which again makes it hard to put in a softbox when connected to hotshoe of flash

Your work around its awesome! The stack of receivers will be hard to get your flash head into a soft box however I am very impressed with how you found the work around (canon/nikon) really don't have off camera shooters in mind and keep everything so proprietary that its hard to find the right solution that not super expensive. Thanks again for sharing the DIY work around
petepixxx Posted 4 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 4 years ago
Studio strobes all use rheostats so this power switch adjustment idea won't work with any of them?

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it. If I do try this out on a YN, while one has the YN 560-II open which cap(s), or resistors, or whatever is the weak link YN purchased from the lowest bidder that will need to be replaced to add some reliability?
alohadave 4 years ago
Not all use rheostats. Some use up/down switches.
petepixxx Posted 4 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 4 years ago
Up / Down as in still small enough to be able to be controlled with this little wire and switch mod? Hmmm. Could save a lot of steps and ladder climbing... This isn't quite as simple as RP Jrx Studio knob control on ABs, but it's close.

Come to think of it, the old ABs coffee cans used a three position on/on/off switch setup.
itsskin Posted 4 years ago. Edited by itsskin (member) 4 years ago
Digital studio strobes also can be modded, like old Bowens 750 Pro Digital and some modern Chinese flash.
dwbell 4 years ago
@LumoPro.

I have Canon gear, 4 flashes. If you could offer me 580EX power equivalent with integrated adjustable manual control I'd replace my canon units. If you could offer that at a very competetive price I'd probably buy more than I "need". i.e. - 5-8 units.

I wouldn't need this unit to have ANY ETTL behaviour, in fact I'd prefer it didn't.
itsskin 4 years ago
@dwbell
Oh, I'm so much with you...
Orthogonality 4 years ago

"The stack of receivers will be hard to get your flash head into a soft box "
Not necessarily - at least the controlling trigger can be simply tethered - hanging - from some part of the apparatus, not under the hotshoe. The "triggering trigger" might also work like this (I have done it with RF-603's to get the flash head further away from the side of an umbrella-style softbox).
KluZz 4 years ago
Shut-up-and-take-my-money by talhiise
itsskin 4 years ago
:D Give me a week or so. It will take some time to make a remote with 6 groups and it will be much cheaper then Strato II setup ;)
MichaelBass 4 years ago
@itsskin:
Great out of the box thinking!

I have done plenty of soldering directly onto circuit boards; it is definately not for the faint of heart!

Congrats!!
Michael
RealLuckless PRO 4 years ago
Personally, I don't want flashes with complex built in wireless settings and triggers.

I would much rather see cheap manual flashes with digital settings that included very simple interface designs so that the buttons and display on the unit are 'plugged in' to a primary control board that handles the actual settings.

What this would enable is another device to be plugged in as well, and that hooked into a wireless control instead. Have the option to slave them together as well, so that two or more flashes can be synced into one external interface.


Why go this modular route? It keeps things flexible, and allows you to purchase the parts you want or need. The same model and design of flash that I want as I'm just getting started and pinching my pennies can then still be useful after I've had more experience and have more demands on my equipment.

If we can get a standard interface across the LP and YN lines, as well as the larger studio style strobes, then hopefully the physical and logical interface can stick around for awhile. This means consumer and industry gets to keep lots of options and choices in what they buy or produce.

Keeping things modular is important for lower cost production methods due to the quality control issues. The fewer things hard wired and built into something means the fewer things that can go wrong and take the whole device down. I would rather be able to a spare controller and a spare flash that will fix two issues (A failed controller and one failed flash) than only carry a spare super-flash that will replace a single superflash.
alohadave 4 years ago
The fewer things hard wired and built into something means the fewer things that can go wrong and take the whole device down.

Yes and no. It all depends on the design robustness. It's not something that you can categorically say about either design philosophy.
petepixxx Posted 4 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 4 years ago
I love how a single DIY mod of one flashes internal *switch* that can be hard wired to an external RF switch has evolved into a *generic modular* interface discussion so quickly. Having the innovative power houses of LP and Michael Bass paying close attention adds even more excitement! Whereas I expect Canon & Nikon will stay with proprietary and $$ and reliable flashes. Some beautiful clouds are brewing on the horizon!
LumbermanSVO 4 years ago
Here is my post on the Strobist blog:

So, this is possible with an LP160 without modifying the case, so you can connect the Cactus V5(or your trigger of choice if it supports AF over a 3.5mm stereo audio cable) with the standard 3.5mm audio cable. There are a couple catches though.

1) This is possible because the audio jack used in the strobe is a stereo jack. It looks like terminal nearest the edge of the PCB is the one you want to tap into to get the AF trigger from your Cactus.

2) There are 4 terminals on the power level button. Between two of the terminals is an ID stamp for resistor R6, if you jump directly from one of those terminals on the R6 side of the switch to the AF terminal with the Cactus V5 pugged in and on, then you will jump one power level when you make the connection, but thats it. The AF button on your TX Cactus will not trigger any other level changes.

If the Cactus will trigger tiny a solid state relay, or transistor, then you could trigger the relay with the AF output of the Cactus, then have that relay connect the right pair of terminals on the power level switch.

If anyone knows of a good TINY relay, or the proper transistor to use, then point me to it and I'll order it and give this a try. I don't think the relay should be any bigger than say 1/4" on the longest side, there isn't too much extra space in there.


@LumoPro, I currently have 2 LP160's, if you made a unit where this unused terminal on the 3.5mm jack could control the power level via the AF function of the Cactus V5(or comparable unit), I would gladly replace my current LP160's with the new ones. In the meantime, if you could assist with modding my units, that would be awesome.
brettmaxwell 4 years ago
I have a YN-565 I'd like to mod this way, how did you go about determining the solder points on the circuit board? Just follow the wires? Power it up and use a multimeter?
itsskin 4 years ago
Yes, just follow the wires with multimeter. No need to power up - high risk of electric shock :D Just find ground and try the contacts around while you press the button.
elv0000 4 years ago
If it will work with the LP-160 it would be ideal to just swap the PC sync port out for a second 3.5mm socket for sure. Say goodby to the PC port forever :-)
~Danish Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ~Danish (member) 4 years ago
@itsskin
Hats off, brilliant work!
itsskin 4 years ago
Just a small update.
I will need to confirm a board design tomorrow and after that I hope to get a working prototype in 1 week or so. It's just a draft but will look a lot like this. Will require standard RF-602 receivers to be connected to speedlights. This setup is much more cheaper and much more practical compared to Straro II system. We will get independent buttons to control 6 groups.

20120809_134042 by itsskin
Orthogonality 4 years ago
:) You will be calling it the "itsskin device"?
itsskin 4 years ago
I found that selecting the needed group and deselecting others is not practical. IMHO we need a military design which do NOT help you make mistakes. For example, often I forget to turn off unneeded groups on Strato II and because of this make unnecessary incorrect adjustments.

The main idea here is if I want to adjust THAT flash, I need to press only ONE button. No multy-layer interface is needed.
itsskin 4 years ago

LOL, that's a scary name. But why not? :D
Miguel Y Griega 4 years ago
+1

Multi layer menus may save a couple buttons, but when you're under pressure, you just make more mistakes and also waste time.

That's why on mixer boards (for sound reinforcement or recording) you have so many knobs and buttons. You need to get to something fast, and if it is buried under a bunch of menus, you just can't get there.
Orthogonality 4 years ago
"a military design which do NOT help you make mistakes"
Agreed. When designing, I take inspiration from "The Design of Everyday Things", by Donald Norman.
ai2tu Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ai2tu (member) 4 years ago
beautiful in its simplicity, any remote control device that sends 2 signals over multi-channels could be used - even a long cable initially to save costs.
only tricky bit is reassembling flashguns as they can be a bit fiddly, i'll be doing this the day my 560s arrive.

thanks for sharing, seems so obvious after you see it :)
petepixxx Posted 4 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 4 years ago
@ai2tu -- We sure like to see pictures of flash re-assembly!
mjkzz (a.k.a zwdeal) 4 years ago
@itsskin: well done . . . but can you use an existing RF remote? I have seen 8 buttons ones for cheap, like $3 . . . just a thought
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