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Another YN460 mod

FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 20 Apr 2010 (Tuesday) 07:13   
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dsvilko
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For me, an ideal strobist flash would be an extremely cheap manual flash that you can control remotely. Extremely cheap and remote control?! I am surely asking too much! But why is that too much to ask? It doesn't even have to be RF control - it can be IR. All that the manufacturer has to do is to add a IR demodulator chip (probably something like $0.1 when bought in large quantities) and make a slight firmware change to the flash uC (almost free). The Chinese IR remotes are something like $2-$3 so they could sell a remote-control-enabled flash basically without raising the price! When in 2010 someone like David Hobby, who is very passionate about the use of a manual flash and who can probably afford any flash he likes, has to walk a few meters and lower the light stand just to change the flash power.... and the cheap remote technology has been around for more than 20 years... it certainly seems like a huge missed opportunity.
To prove the point I have set out to build a cheap IR remote for my YN460 flash. Here is the result:

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=2osloXHi6eEexternal link

And here is my circuit diagram:

IMAGE: http://domjan.fizika.org/p/yn460-ir-circuit.JPG

As you can see, the circuit is extremely simple. It's based on the excellent picaxe micro-controller. Now, before you freak out that that is way over your head, know that I knew nothing about micro-controllers before starting this project. The picaxe is really simple to work with as it was basically designed for kids to use :) The manuals are excellently written with people that know next to nothing about electronics in mind.

Actually, the only part of the circuit that is YN460-specific is the solder points on the flash. If you have some other flash that also uses a two buttons to set the flash power level than it's more than likely that you can use this same circuit to remote control it. Solder points 1 and 2 are the positive side of the said buttons and the point 3 is the negative side. The circuit simply simulates the pressing of a button (any button you connect it to).

The parts for the whole project shouldn't cost you more than about $10-$20.

All the parts can be ordered from the TechSupplies:
Transistor: 3X http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...roduc​ts/TRT001external link
Picaxe: 1X http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...oduct​s/AXE007Mexternal link
Holder: 1X (8pin) http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...roduc​ts/ICH008external link
IR sensor: 1X http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...roduc​ts/LED020external link
Capacitor: 1X (4u7) http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...roduc​ts/CAP004external link
LED: 1X http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...roduc​ts/LED033external link
Resistors:
1X (10k 100pc) http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...lectS​ubProductexternal link
1X (33k 100pc) http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...lectS​ubProductexternal link
1X (470R 100pc) http://www.techsupplie​s.co.uk/epages...lectS​ubProductexternal link

These parts are not exactly the same as the ones I used but they should be compatible. The IR receiver TSOP1138 that I used is a bit too large (though it's probably a bit more sensitive). The one linked above should work just fine.

You'll also need some way to download the program to the picaxe. How to do this can be found in the picaxe manual 1: http://www.picaxeforum​.co.uk ...sheets/picaxe_manua​l1.pdfexternal link
Basically what you will need is another 20k resistor, either USB or serial picaxe download cable, a 3.5mm stereo connector and a breadboard though you could probably get away with only a DIY cable (if you have a serial port).

The trick is to try to solder the circuit to be as small as possible because there is not much room inside the flash so I don't recommend the PCB approach but a 'dead-bug' soldering style that I have used. Don't know about the YN460-II (it's got a slave detector in front) but on the YN460 you can get significantly more space if you make a large rectangular hole below a fake IR window.

Here you can download the BASIC program (firmware) for the picaxe:
http://domjan.fizika.o​rg/flash_remote-08M.basexternal link

If you have and problems with picaxe programming (after you have read the excellent manuals), this is a great place to ask for help:
http://www.picaxeforum​.co.uk/forumdisplay.ph​p?f=2external link

The receiver will respond only to the Sony TV remote (or any universal remote set to Sony mode). This is a picaxe limitation and can not easily be changed.
Some inexpensive remote recommendations:
http://www.dealextreme​.com/details.dx/sku.26​84external link - shown in the video
http://www.dealextreme​.com/details.dx/sku.26​63external link - this is the one I am currently using, though they have sent me a white version I so had to tape it with a black sticky tape so it would match my RF flash trigger. The IR remote's size is conveniently the same as the RF trigger's so I have it permanently mounted on top of it:
IMAGE: http://domjan.fizika.org/p/12052010.jpg

A few notes on the firmware usage:

One of the problems I have tried to solve is the circuit power consumption. As there is no separate power switch for the circuit, it's connected all the time to the flash batteries and will drain them eventually. It minimise this power drain I have made it possible to completely cut off the power to the IR demodulator and also put the picaxe in a low power state.
To reset the receiver to it's initial (standby) condition, open and close the battery cover. The LED should start blinking. You have 5 minutes to send any IR code to the flash (doesn't even have to be Sony TV code). If no signal is received in 5 minutes, the receiver will shut off at which point you would have to again open the battery cover if you want to use it.
Once the first code is received, the receiver switches to 'ON' mode in which it continually scans for the Sony IR remote codes. It understands these codes:
Vol + increase power by one stop
Vol - decrease power by one stop
Mute turn the LED off for 5 seconds (useful for programing some universal remotes)
Power put the receiver in the OFF state
1-7 directly set the flash power level
When a valid code is received the LED momentarily turns off and on again to indicate that the action has been taken.

The range I am getting is quite good - about 15-20m direct line of sight. In a typical room with a white walls no line of sight is required - a bounce from a wall works just fine.

It should be extremely easy to modify the picaxe program to use a different set of keys so you can control two sets of modified flashlights with the same mini IR remote (one set would use ch+/ch- keys).

If you've got any questions, feel free to ask either in this thread or on the picaxe forum.

Post #1, Apr 20, 2010 07:13:51


1000d | 18-55 | 50mm 1.8 | 55-250mm | reversed 50mm f2.8 Zeiss + 50mm f2.8 as additional macro lens, $10 macro tubes | DIY robotic macro railexternal link | YN-460, YN-460II | Blazzeo PT-04 triggers
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=731733

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Jmark11207
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Any details on how its done?

Post #2, Apr 20, 2010 07:24:44


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dsvilko
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It's in the video description. It there is something else you would like to know, just ask.

Post #3, Apr 20, 2010 07:35:10 as a reply to Jmark11207's post 10 minutes earlier.


1000d | 18-55 | 50mm 1.8 | 55-250mm | reversed 50mm f2.8 Zeiss + 50mm f2.8 as additional macro lens, $10 macro tubes | DIY robotic macro railexternal link | YN-460, YN-460II | Blazzeo PT-04 triggers
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=731733

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Seanzky
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That is pretty slick!

Post #4, Apr 20, 2010 07:40:22


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joebob23
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This is amazing and I would love to do something like this on mine

Post #5, Apr 20, 2010 07:58:23




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mabviper
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woo, I was thinking of doing something like this with cheap manual flashes. Didn't think about doing it w/ IR. I thought it would be cool to use bluetooth and make a cell app on Android or something. It's overkill but bluetooth is everywhere now a days, heh.

Anyways, how did you hook up the controls? Did you just latch onto the switches from the back?

Post #6, Apr 20, 2010 08:51:07


7D | 15-85mm IS | 30mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 | 580EX II | 430EX II | YN-560

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dsvilko
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mabviper wrote in post #10029924external link
woo, I was thinking of doing something like this with cheap manual flashes. Didn't think about doing it w/ IR. I thought it would be cool to use bluetooth and make a cell app on Android or something. It's overkill but bluetooth is everywhere now a days, heh.

Anyways, how did you hook up the controls? Did you just latch onto the switches from the back?

No way you would be able to fit a bluetooth board in the YN460. Also, it would probably cost a few times more than the flash itself while I have spent something like $10 on parts (including the micro-controller).
Connecting the controls was surprisingly easy. YN460 pcb has easy-to-soldier contacts precisely for those two buttons! :) I trigger the buttons with a two transistors. You have to dissemble the flash body, though. The tricky part was making the circuit small enough to fit inside.

Post #7, Apr 20, 2010 09:08:44


1000d | 18-55 | 50mm 1.8 | 55-250mm | reversed 50mm f2.8 Zeiss + 50mm f2.8 as additional macro lens, $10 macro tubes | DIY robotic macro railexternal link | YN-460, YN-460II | Blazzeo PT-04 triggers
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=731733

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elitejp
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Sorry but I cant access youtube. Can somebody briefly describe the coolness?

Post #8, Apr 20, 2010 09:51:46 as a reply to dsvilko's post 43 minutes earlier.


6D; canon 85mm 1.8, Tamron 24-70mm VC, Canon 135L Canon 70-200L is ii

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joebob23
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elitejp wrote in post #10030258external link
Sorry but I cant access youtube. Can somebody briefly describe the coolness?

1 - Turn on flash
2 - aim tv remote
3 - adjust flash power with buttons on remote
4 - ??
5 - Profit

Post #9, Apr 20, 2010 10:18:32




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dsvilko
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elitejp wrote in post #10030258external link
Sorry but I cant access youtube. Can somebody briefly describe the coolness?

Controlling the power level of YN460 flash with a universal TV remote (IR). Useful if you want to quickly change the flash ratio of a two OCF setup.
Maybe I'll even get this:
http://www.dealextreme​.com ...u.2724#open%20full%​20viewexternal link
and mount it on top of my RF trigger :) IMHO, this is the kind of functionality that YN flashes should have out-of-the-box.

Post #10, Apr 20, 2010 10:19:46


1000d | 18-55 | 50mm 1.8 | 55-250mm | reversed 50mm f2.8 Zeiss + 50mm f2.8 as additional macro lens, $10 macro tubes | DIY robotic macro railexternal link | YN-460, YN-460II | Blazzeo PT-04 triggers
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=731733

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riokid
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I have to remember this.

Thanks :)

dan

Post #11, Apr 20, 2010 11:14:24


Mostly Canon stuff

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watt100
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interesting mod, can you post some more details on how you did it?

Post #12, Apr 20, 2010 18:21:35




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kay188
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Without specific instructions, you're just showing off. :(

Post #13, Apr 21, 2010 00:05:31


Ricoh GRD4 | Canon 1Ds, 1D, 1D2, 1D2n| Canon XTi | Tokina 11-16 F/2.8 | Canon 16-35L I | Canon 24 F/2.8 | Canon 35 F/2 | Canon 50 F/1.8 I | Canon 135L | Sigma 24-70 EX DG Macro | Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 APO EX DG | Sigma 30 F/1.4 |Sigma 50 F/1.4 |Sigma & Kenko 1.4x TC| Canon 580EX II | Sigma EF-500 Super | 2x Vivitar 285HV | RF-602 Triggers |

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Jmark11207
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I read the description

I was more looking for a step by step break down of your mod
Where did you get the parts
What did you have to cut
where did you cut it


Details MANNNNNN!!!!!

Post #14, Apr 21, 2010 03:57:36 as a reply to watt100's post 9 hours earlier.


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klr.b
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awesome stuff!

a write up with pictures would be greatly appreciated.

Post #15, Apr 21, 2010 04:30:33


gordon
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