Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 21 Apr 2008 (Monday) 09:07
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Modding the Vivitar 283

 
SolidxSnake
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 09:07 |  #1

So a couple months back my uncle gave me whatever gear of his that I could use (He had a film SLR setup but I decided to take only what I could use with my current camera). He happened to have a Vivitar 283 and a small PC sync cable (one end was the Vivitar Proprietary connector.

Now the flash itself is awesome. I modded it the first day I got it because my uncle didn't have the battery pack for AA batteries. Of course I needed a way to use it so I had to find out how to get it to work. Luckily the battery door has the perfect ridges for metal contacts to complete the battery circuit. I put some foil on the battery door and taped it down well enough to stick and now I can use AA batteries without that stupid battery clip.

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8340.jpg (external link)


Later on, I wanted to expand on my off-camera flash usage (because using a roughly 10 inch PC sync cable is ridiculous). I brought my PC cable to school, cut it up, and extended it (electronics class). I brought it home and tried to test it only to find that I broke the Vivitar end of the cable by detaching the internal wire from the plug somehow. I cut off the plug and thought of what I could do. I had plenty of 1/8" mono plugs, but no switched jacks. I found that I had an old pedalboard for my guitar, and that used 1/8" jacks to power the pedals. I popped it open and looked at the jacks. They were standard unswitched 1/8" jacks, one wire to tip and one to sleeve. The way the jacks were designed was to be expandable. The plastic casing had different molding and slots to accomodate different switched contacts, one for tip, one for sleeve. It even had slots to accomodate a ring. But of course, there were no contacts in the slots. So I did some handiwork. I grabbed another jack, ripped the plastic off the top of both, pulled one of the contacts out and bent it to fit the molding inside the original jack to act as a switch. I had just created a switching tip, normally-closed 1/8" jack, exactly what Vivitar uses for their proprietary connector (well, the switching part). Now I had to find a way to fit it in. It was a tight fit, but eventually I found that if I cut off the small PCB inside where the original jack connector is and resolder the wires, I'd be good. After an hour or so of surgery I got the jack in there as an extremely tight fit.

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8330.jpg (external link)


Now, the flash has no manual control. 4 automatic zones ftl. I needed manual control. Luckily, this site (external link) has a great list of how to make a custom variable power control for the 283. The main problem being that he is using it remotely and using fixed resistors in a large control box. I needed my solution to be mounted on flash. I read the resistances listed in that site and found that I'd need a 250k VR ideally. I had an audio-taper 250k VR laying around (from my guitar) and found that it was no good for me. It didn't fit inside the flash like I hoped (you can see it in one of the pictures glued inside the casing, that was before I realized it wouldn't fit) so I had to think of something else. I decided to switch the resistors to a 100k with a switch. The switch I use has one throw going straight to the VR, the other throw going to the VR through a 180k resistor. The reason I used this 180k resistor is because the 100k resistor only goes up to around 75k (bad tolerances). To reach full output I need 250k or greater. I would rather using only one pot and having no other controls to mess with but that just won't happen (due to tolerances being so loose in inexpensive pots) so the switch is necessary for me. Plus this mod was completely free for me, just grabbed a resistor and switch from school and spent some time doing the surgery :)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8331.jpg (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8332.jpg (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8339.jpg (external link)

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8336.jpg (external link)


In the end, I have a fully manual Vivitar 283 with a universal sync jack, not requiring the use for a stupid battery pack (there is no reason Vivitar couldn't have just used contacts in the door, they clearly made the battery holder to make some extra cash) and having fully manual control over flash power.

PHOTOBUCKET EMBEDDING IS DISABLED BY THIS MEMBER.
Photobucket sends ads instead of embedding photos from their free galleries.
Click the link (if available) below to see the image in a gallery page.

http://i291.photobucke​t.com …dxSnake13224/IM​G_8344.jpg (external link)

Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
scotch
Goldmember
1,516 posts
Joined Oct 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 09:13 |  #2

+1!! One of the transformers in mine gave up in mid-test :(!
I'm going to modify the photosensor such as I can pop it at the end of the extension cable (Vivitar one that fits in the front), so as I can adjust power while they're up on light stands
L




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SolidxSnake
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 10:19 |  #3

Psychobiker wrote in post #5373044 (external link)
+1!! One of the transformers in mine gave up in mid-test :(!
I'm going to modify the photosensor such as I can pop it at the end of the extension cable (Vivitar one that fits in the front), so as I can adjust power while they're up on light stands
L


Yup, Vivitar made an extender for it, it was basically a 5-conductor cable that plugged into the back of the sensor and into the front of the flash.


Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Lotto
Goldmember
Avatar
2,750 posts
Likes: 191
Joined Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
     
Apr 21, 2008 11:02 |  #4

Wow, that's what I call a complete and comprehensive job. Nice work!

I remember some project started with a simple concept, then turned into couple weeks of work. But being able to fix things yourself is very rewarding. :)


5D, 24-105L, 70-200L IS, 85mm Art, Godox

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
nadtz
Goldmember
Avatar
1,483 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Dec 2005
     
Apr 21, 2008 16:00 |  #5

Nice. My 283's are feeling envious =)




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SolidxSnake
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 16:44 |  #6

BTW, if anyone feels like tearing theirs apart I could give you some info on what you need (if you don't have enough at the moment). The 283 is a great strobe, very versatile after a few mods, mainly the manual power mod. I know vivitar sold the VP-1, but that's hard to find now, and an extremely expensive item for what you get. Plus, I'm fairly certain that a 250k pot allows for more adjustment.


Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lowcrust
Senior Member
Avatar
948 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Location: Scandinavia
     
Apr 21, 2008 19:23 |  #7

I'm a little confused here, why would you use a 180k resistor for full power on the switch and not a 250k?


~ BORN FREE - TAXED TO DEATH! ~

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SolidxSnake
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 20:59 |  #8

lowcrust wrote in post #5376764 (external link)
I'm a little confused here, why would you use a 180k resistor for full power on the switch and not a 250k?


I used a 100k potentiometer. The pot only goes from 0-ohm (no resistance) to 75k ohms, and not 100k ohms. This is due to the loose tolerances on the potentiometer. Likewise, I had a 250k potentiometer as well, but that only went to around 210k ohms. Both of these wouldn't allow full power. However, adding around 180k to 75k gives me around 255k, enough to use full power. The switch switches between 0-75kohm and 180-255k ohm. This allows for the complete range of light variability from the 283. I would like to use a single variable resistor for it but I didn't have any laying around.


Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lowcrust
Senior Member
Avatar
948 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Location: Scandinavia
     
Apr 21, 2008 22:48 |  #9

So if I had a good quality 250k potentiometer I wouldn't need anything else? Just plug it/connect it to the socket in front of the flash (using the correct two holes, of course)?


~ BORN FREE - TAXED TO DEATH! ~

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SolidxSnake
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
Apr 21, 2008 22:53 |  #10

lowcrust wrote in post #5378076 (external link)
So if I had a good quality 250k potentiometer I wouldn't need anything else? Just plug it/connect it to the socket in front of the flash (using the correct two holes, of course)?


Correct. Preferably you'd want a 250k, but you'll most likely need to go higher. That way, you would be able to control the whole range with just one pot. The higher the value, however, the more sensitive the control is. With a standard 250k linear taper pot, the pot will go from 0-250k smoothly, halfway will be 125k, etc. However, a 300k or such will have some dead space leaving the dial more sensitive to fine control. I can't seem to explain it well but hopefully you understand what I am trying to get across. :)


Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lowcrust
Senior Member
Avatar
948 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Location: Scandinavia
     
Apr 22, 2008 00:45 |  #11

Gotcha! Thanks! As I'm usually not firing these at full power I'd be willing to lose a little on the higher end.

A guy I know (and POTN member actually) have made this mod to his 283's but he's too busy to help out right now (baby on the way), so although I don't know much about things like this I'm gonna give it a try on my own.


~ BORN FREE - TAXED TO DEATH! ~

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
nadtz
Goldmember
Avatar
1,483 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Dec 2005
     
Apr 22, 2008 03:13 |  #12

I got lucky when I got my 283's, I got them pretty cheap from a young woman who was selling off an x boyfriends stuff after a bad breakup or what have you. Got 3 of them with vp1's for a song. I actuallly gave her more than she was asking for, she was ready to let them go for $5 apeice. I got some other nice stuff too and it was totally random, I happened to walk by a garage sale and I heard someone mention 'tripod' Normally I dnt do garage sales!




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lowcrust
Senior Member
Avatar
948 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Location: Scandinavia
     
May 01, 2008 05:33 |  #13

Just checking another thing... so it doesn't matter what pins on the potentiometer I use? So I can connect any pin to any of the two right holes in the front "auto thyristor" socket? What about the third pin on the potentiometer?


~ BORN FREE - TAXED TO DEATH! ~

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
SolidxSnake
THREAD ­ STARTER
Goldmember
Avatar
1,656 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Nov 2007
     
May 01, 2008 13:44 |  #14

lowcrust wrote in post #5439175 (external link)
Just checking another thing... so it doesn't matter what pins on the potentiometer I use? So I can connect any pin to any of the two right holes in the front "auto thyristor" socket? What about the third pin on the potentiometer?



Pots are made with three pins, two extremes and a center "wiper" You use either of the end pins and the wiper (center pin) to essentially make it a variable resistor. The pins you pick depend on which way you want to turn the pot to change whatever you want to change. For instance, the Vivitar 283 raises power as resistance is raised. If you want to have the power go up as you turn the pot clockwise, you want to have the pins that have more resistance between them as the pot is turned clockwise connected to the flash. They go into the two sockets on the right side of the connector, order does not matter.

Update to my 283: I recently found a guide where I could change the values of a potentiometer (involves taking the pot apart and changing the carbon track by either scraping off some carbon to raise resistance and adding carbon to lower resistance). I ended up making, out of my old A250k pot, a no-load pot and lowered max value to 170k. So the pot goes from 0-170k ohms, and then when turned all the way it goes to inf, which automatically sets the flash to full power.


Troubleshooting 101 (see also: LightRules,perryge):
1) RTFM.
2) Repeat Step 1.

Gear ~ DeviantART (external link) ~ My Heatware (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
lowcrust
Senior Member
Avatar
948 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Location: Scandinavia
     
May 13, 2008 11:19 |  #15

Thank you snake! I finally did this mod. Despite your useful help I managed to connect the potentiometer so that it raises power counterclockwise... I also had to install it in quite a large box so it looks a little clumsy (especially compared to my above mentioned friends mod). None of those things are a big deal to me, but I'm a little more worried about the flash output.

I just acquired a light meter because I found a Sekonic 308 on eBay for a could-not-resist price (less than a hundred bucks including shipping).

So I thought I'd ask in this thread as it's somewhat connected; How do I best measure flash output with the above lightmeter?


~ BORN FREE - TAXED TO DEATH! ~

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

19,144 views & 0 likes for this thread
Modding the Vivitar 283
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is edgar ssf
578 guests, 172 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.