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optical trigger

FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 20 May 2006 (Saturday) 14:29   
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ahmadof
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Joined Jun 2003
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I just bought an optical trigger to use with a 420EZ flash. It will fire once properly if I fire a flash with my 550EX. After that, though,it does not fire again unless I turn the flash off or take the trigger off and put it back on. Am I missing something? I have tried all the setting I know (full manual) etc. Is this how they are supposed to function?

Post #1, May 20, 2006 14:29:07




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PacAce
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Nope, you're not missing anything. Evidently, the Canon Speedlite flashes have some current flowing through the hotshoe after it's been fired. Other flashes that work fine with optical triggering units do, too, but the current flowing through those is not as high as that of the Speedlites. The characteristic of an SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier, which is the component in the trigger unit that basically acts as an electronic switch turned on optically) is that once it is triggered, it will stay turned on for as long as the minimum holding current required to keep the SCR turned on is flowing through it. So, the net effect of the higher current flowing through the Speedlite hotshoe is that the SCR does not turn off. If it doesn't turn off, then you can't trigger it again to fire the flash until you disconnect and then reconnect the flash or turn off the flash and then turn it back on again.

I just spent an hour and half this afternoon with my Speedlite connected to my home made optical trigger with a digital multimeter connected across the sync wire and ground (to mearure voltage) and an analog VOM connected in series with the sync wire (to measure the current through the sync wire). That's how I came up with the above observation.

Post #2, May 20, 2006 17:00:22


...Leo

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ahmadof
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
Joined Jun 2003
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wow, thanks. I guess all optical triggers won't work then. I was going to try one of the more costly ones (i have a$14 ebay one). Which is a shame as I think that was the only peice of the puzzle keeping me from going pro :)

Post #3, May 20, 2006 17:06:53 as a reply to PacAce's post 6 minutes earlier.




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Curtis ­ N
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Joined Apr 2005
19,130 posts
Northern Illinois, US
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ahmadof,
See if you can pickup an old flash unit at a camera shop, pawn shop or wherever. Better if you can get one with variable manual settings. They usually go pretty cheap and most will work fine with a slave trigger.

Post #4, May 20, 2006 22:19:43


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RLRiley
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Joined Oct 2005
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Santa Clarita, CA
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I had the exact same problem with my 420 and optical triggers, fortunately I have several old flashes that will work just fine with them. Still, I wish the 420 would work, but at least thanks to PacAce's description above, now we know why they won't work more than once. That was the part that always confused me, why they would fire one time correctly, but never again unless you turned it off and then back on.

Post #5, May 21, 2006 03:32:33


"Knowledge, Sir, Should Be Free To All"
Harcourt Fenton Mudd--- I, Mudd

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akiwi
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Joined Jun 2005
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Munich, Germany
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Metz has an optical trigger that works.
I tried it out at my local camera store a few weeks ago and it worked perfectly. Other tests with Hama triggers didn't work.

Post #6, May 22, 2006 07:05:56


Peter
www.PeterHansenPhoto.d​eexternal link
Gear:: Canon 7D & 350D :: EF 24-70 F2.8L :: EF-s 17-85:: 50mm 1.8 ::70-200 F4L ::100 F2.8 Macro:: Sigma 10-20 :: 580EX:: Elinchrom studio lights:: loads of other bibs & bobs.

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optical trigger
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