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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 11 Jun 2011 (Saturday) 13:39
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EQUIPMENT REVIEW: Innovatronix Explorer Mini : Part 1 - Initial Thoughts

 
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Jun 12, 2011 14:45 |  #16

spacetime wrote in post #12580914 (external link)
I was wondering how easy it would be to change the battery and if the inverter were a sealed unit within the housing.

The battery is fairly easy to change. Once you pop open the top cover, the battery is easily accessible and user replaceable. The inverter is not sealed.

This is what the inside of an Explorer XT looks like. Scale it down with a plastic housing and that's the Mini. :)

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Jun 12, 2011 21:08 |  #17

So, is it a direct competition against PCB vagabond mini?


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Jun 12, 2011 21:39 |  #18

dchen99 wrote in post #12582601 (external link)
So, is it a direct competition against PCB vagabond mini?

No, not at all. It's an entirely different product.

The only thing about them that's the same is that they are portable battery solutions.


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Jun 12, 2011 21:51 |  #19

Probably the most significant thing is that the Innovatronix Mini is designed to deal with bi-voltage monolights. That is a significant contribution.

The PCB Mini is designed to offer economical power for PCB lights. They make no claims about compatibility with other manufacturer's units.

The fact that PCB mini works with other lights is a plus.

Three cheers for the Innovatronix Mini and its availability as a multi-vendor solution.


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Jun 12, 2011 22:00 |  #20

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Jun 13, 2011 14:43 |  #21

What's the weight of the innovatronix explorer mini? It seems to be using quite a bit of metal for it's outer shell, which might add a bit more weight to on location shooting. I am wondering if this inverter might suffer from using 2 bi-voltage strobes (like d-lites or calumet genesis) as the PCB mini does.

looking forward to part 2 as well


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Jun 14, 2011 00:03 |  #22

c2thew wrote in post #12586476 (external link)
What's the weight of the innovatronix explorer mini? It seems to be using quite a bit of metal for it's outer shell, which might add a bit more weight to on location shooting. I am wondering if this inverter might suffer from using 2 bi-voltage strobes (like d-lites or calumet genesis) as the PCB mini does.

looking forward to part 2 as well

The Mini weighs 11 pounds. The outer housing is a composite plastic. There is a metal framework inside and although it's not ultra-light, it's really solid and doesn't have a cheap plastic feel. The Mini is not being pitched as the smallest and lightest battery. It's marketed as a more portable, lighter, more efficient and more stable option to the larger Explorer's.

If you look at the specs and details of the Mini (and XT3) you'll see that these new batteries were designed for multiple bi-voltage strobes at full power.

Since I'll be testing the Mini with two BX500Ri's, and since the BX500Ri is Elinchrom's most powerful bi-voltage strobe, we'll know whether the others will work without a problem.


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Jun 14, 2011 09:32 as a reply to  @ TMR Design's post |  #23

I received my Mini yesterday, and I echo Rob's comments about the great build and small size. This will be useful!

I have Genesis 400's which are digital so I was waiting for the mini to become available. I just ran a quick test firing two 400WS Genesis at full power.

The first thing I noticed was that the flashes behave differently running from the mini as opposed to when they are plugged into a wall outlet. When running off normal AC wall power, the ready beep is heard only once. However, when running off the mini, there are multiple beeps 1-2 seconds after firing, then a final beep a few seconds after that. The strobes won't fire after the first set of beeps but are ready to go after the final beep. That first set of beeps usually consists of three in quick succession, but occasionally there would be two or four.

When the mini's battery is fully charged, the first set of beeps were finished in about 1.4 seconds, with the final beep at 5 seconds.

After 50 flashes, the first set of beeps was complete at 1.8 seconds, final beep about 5.9 seconds.

After 75 flashes, the first set of beeps was complete after 2 seconds, the final beep at 6 seconds.

The mini gave a battery low indication after the 85th firing. At this point the first beeps were finished at about 2.4 seconds, the final beep came at about 6.7 seconds.

The mini shut off after the 92nd flash.

It's on the charger now. I'm also going to test two strobes at half power, and a single strobe at full power. It'll probably take me a few more days to do those.

Rob, this is the first time I've ever used battery power for studio strobes. Is the multiple beep scenario I have ok? I'm not in danger of doing any damage to the strobes, am I?

I'm anxious to see what you get with the more powerful BX500Ri's!

Regards,
Jim


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Jun 14, 2011 10:28 |  #24

Jim,
I have a Genesis 300B and I tested it with my PCB VML. It exhibited similar beeping to what you are describing. I attributed it to the digital control circuitry which seems to be not very high quality considering how poorly it controls the power increments.


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Jun 14, 2011 10:32 |  #25

whitesell wrote in post #12591108 (external link)
I received my Mini yesterday, and I echo Rob's comments about the great build and small size. This will be useful!

I have Genesis 400's which are digital so I was waiting for the mini to become available. I just ran a quick test firing two 400WS Genesis at full power.

The first thing I noticed was that the flashes behave differently running from the mini as opposed to when they are plugged into a wall outlet. When running off normal AC wall power, the ready beep is heard only once. However, when running off the mini, there are multiple beeps 1-2 seconds after firing, then a final beep a few seconds after that. The strobes won't fire after the first set of beeps but are ready to go after the final beep. That first set of beeps usually consists of three in quick succession, but occasionally there would be two or four.

When the mini's battery is fully charged, the first set of beeps were finished in about 1.4 seconds, with the final beep at 5 seconds.

After 50 flashes, the first set of beeps was complete at 1.8 seconds, final beep about 5.9 seconds.

After 75 flashes, the first set of beeps was complete after 2 seconds, the final beep at 6 seconds.

The mini gave a battery low indication after the 85th firing. At this point the first beeps were finished at about 2.4 seconds, the final beep came at about 6.7 seconds.

The mini shut off after the 92nd flash.

It's on the charger now. I'm also going to test two strobes at half power, and a single strobe at full power. It'll probably take me a few more days to do those.

Rob, this is the first time I've ever used battery power for studio strobes. Is the multiple beep scenario I have ok? I'm not in danger of doing any damage to the strobes, am I?

I'm anxious to see what you get with the more powerful BX500Ri's!

Regards,
Jim

Hi Jim,

The beep issue you're having is specific to the Calumet lights. Did you buy them new and do you have the users manual? Maybe there is something that describes a feature, function or error that makes that happen. Offhand I don't know what the multiple beeps mean.

In the testing I've done so far with Elinchrom 600RX's I haven't noticed any odd behaviors.

I'll be testing the BX500Ri's tomorrow.

How are you measuring recycle times? I had been using a stop watch but in all honesty, it's a terrible way to do it. It's so far from accurate and allows for all kinds of human error. For something where fractions of seconds matter, I can't trust the human element.

I'm finding that it's better to make comparisons in real time. It's easier to say "this recycled faster (or slower)" because you heard the beep rather than attempting to time it.


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Jun 14, 2011 11:09 |  #26

TMR Design wrote in post #12591451 (external link)
Hi Jim,

The beep issue you're having is specific to the Calumet lights. Did you buy them new and do you have the users manual? Maybe there is something that describes a feature, function or error that makes that happen. Offhand I don't know what the multiple beeps mean.

In the testing I've done so far with Elinchrom 600RX's I haven't noticed any odd behaviors.

I'll be testing the BX500Ri's tomorrow.

How are you measuring recycle times? I had been using a stop watch but in all honesty, it's a terrible way to do it. It's so far from accurate and allows for all kinds of human error. For something where fractions of seconds matter, I can't trust the human element.

I'm finding that it's better to make comparisons in real time. It's easier to say "this recycled faster (or slower)" because you heard the beep rather than attempting to time it.

Hi Rob,

The lights were purchased new earlier this year. I'll ask Innovatronix about it since they say they are compatible. My guess is Calumet would just point to the battery as the issue.

Yes, I was timing with a stopwatch as well. I averaged the times I got and agree that it's only a close estimate - suffice it to say that recycle times increased approximately 1-2 seconds from fully charged to drained.

Regards,
Jim


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Jun 14, 2011 11:10 |  #27

whitesell wrote in post #12591694 (external link)
Hi Rob,

The lights were purchased new earlier this year. I'll ask Innovatronix about it since they say they are compatible. My guess is Calumet would just point to the battery as the issue.

Yes, I was timing with a stopwatch as well. I averaged the times I got and agree that it's only a close estimate - suffice it to say that recycle times increased approximately 1-2 seconds from fully charged to drained.

Regards,
Jim

But is there anything in the Genesis documentation that even mentions the beeps?


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Jun 14, 2011 11:25 as a reply to  @ TMR Design's post |  #28

Hi Jim,

If you could try something, this will help me and Innovatronix.

I believe you said you have the problem with the Genesis 400 at full power. Reduce the power by 1/10 stop and see if anything changes.


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Jun 14, 2011 11:28 |  #29

TMR Design wrote in post #12579294 (external link)
Hi Jerry,

The Photogenic PL600 has analog controls and is not bi-voltage, therefore there should be absolutely no problem whatsoever powering two or three of those strobes, assuming they're 400 Watt seconds. Technically, the Mini is designed to power strobes up to 1200 Watt seconds.

How's the capacity compare to the Explorer XT SE? That, and can you post recycle times with the two 600's. at full power at the same time? I'm wondering if one of these would be good for a 1200w/s Speedo blackline pack.


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Jun 14, 2011 11:33 |  #30

TMR Design wrote in post #12591700 (external link)
But is there anything in the Genesis documentation that even mentions the beeps?

Hi Rob,

I haven't looked at the docs since I purchased the strobes so I can't be sure. I'm away from them until tomorrow morning but I'll check and let you know.

Regards,
Jim


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