Problem with Strobes not firing

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Meysha, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Hi All,
    Well I finally have a proper reason to use my lights, but they won't work how I want them to.
    Could someone please let me know if I'm doing something wrong?

    I have a Canon 350D, and I bought an adaptor for the trigger cable - a Hama thing, and I have 2 x Elinchrom 250s.

    So I connected it all up to just one light, tested the flash works by pressing the pilot button. Booof! It works!

    So then I go back to my camera and take a photo - but the flash doesn't fire. :-( why not?

    My strobes will only work as a slave to my 430EX firing on the camera. Which is a real pain, because I want to hide my lights behind pieces of furniture to light up the room and it won't trigger off just light because it's too far away.

    What have I forgotten to do? or will it just not work?
    Let me know if you need more info...

    Thanks,
    Vicky
     
  2. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    hmm... re-reading that, I thought it might have been the cable itself that was broken, but I know it's not because I had a previous adaptor which I returned. And it was a bit loose on my hot shoe and kept triggering the lights.

    *booof!* *Boooof* *boooof*

    :-(
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds as though you need some cheap wireless triggers.

    Mine work well. ;)

    Failing that, do they work when in Line Of Sight to the on camera flash? If so you might try to run a cable from the optical slaves to the strobes and have just the opti-slaves LOS. Things shouldn't be too noticeable then.

    mike
     
  4. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Yep they work when in Line of Sight to my external Flash (on camera).

    I think the second option you described is what I was already doing. Except I have to run it from my camera's hot shoe, because my external flash doesn't have the plug.

    I'll look into wireless right now. I hate cables. Grrrrrrr.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hold up a minute while I look up where I got mine.

    Here you go, these people were the fastest shipping from China that I have dealt with and the products were working and in mostly good shape (one battery contact needed adjusting)- they're also the least expensive on the buy it now option-or at least they were...
    http://stores.ebay.com/jiakgong-DIGITAL

    mike
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Meysha, If you are doing this for profit as I assume you are, I would bite the bullet and get a couple pocket wizards if you can afford them. They are simply flawless. With up to a 1600' range, 4 channels to choose from and very conservative on batteries they really are a no brainier if you will need to depend on them long term. They are light weight and very well made. I keep adding more as my needs go up and I find more and more uses for them.
     
  7. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    Awesome! I'll look into those pocket wizards.

    Thanks.

    Although, I just did up a practise shoot in my house and they seem to work ok just firing off each other's light. I guess because my house is kinda small, compared to the big open rooms in some of the places i go.
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally I wouldn't justify the cost of pocket wizards even with a professional lighting setup unless you're actually a professional and can tax offset the cost. There's no doubt about it they are good but like all pro gear they are built tough and can be matched in performance, but perhaps not reliability with something much cheaper.

    Those cheap chinese ebay triggers while they don't look like much work reliably enough to use even on a professional basis. They don't offer some features like having repeaters, but have all the other features for 1/10th of the price. Downside is if you put two receivers within a few cm of each other they set each other off and don't fire >_<. Mind you I fail to see a setup where this arrangement would be required.

    That still doesn't help the problem though because the electronics in a flash trigger are very simple. Chances are if you can't get a signal down a length of cable I worry about the ability to trigger them with pocket wizards. The flash side is easiest to test electrically.

    ****BIG WARNING**** Check the manual before you try this if the flash trigger voltage is higher than 24V do NOT do this. Some older strobe units can produce more than 100V out of their sync sockets though this is doubtable since your 350 would normally fry, shorting the terminals could be fatal.

    To test the flash unit rather than hitting the pilot, short the centre ring of the sync socket to the outter ring. This will fire the flash.
    To test the cable, plug the adapter into the flash and short the centre most pin to the ground connections in the left and right hand side of the bit that holds the flash down.

    If both of these work then the problem is not the strobe but the camera and pocket wizards will not help you.

    /edit: My information says your strobe trigger is 9V and this would be safe to do. The warning stays in case someone decides to try this with their equipment.
     
  9. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    It's all good now. I've figured out what I'm going to do.

    After my big mish around the house setting up the lights and doing a pretend shoot. They seem to work fine just firing off each other without the cable. So next time I'm doing a shoot in a house, I'll just try it like that and see what happens. If I still have trouble in 'real-life' then I'll have to look at buying something else. ppffft.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Still before buying something else it may be worth checking if the camera trigger is at fault or not ;)
     
  11. DeadEye

    DeadEye TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I had a similar problem a wile back. I was trying to use a very old but goodie flash (vivatar) on the 400d. It worked good on any old SLR (dry contact) but would not work on a modern SLR. Problem was the trigger duration was to fast from a modern camera. In other words when you press the shutter on the camera a switch closes from the center pin on the shoe to ground to fire the flash. The old flash needed it to close for more than a few milliseconds in order to fire. Try an old camera to test the strobe for this.
     

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