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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Dec 2010 (Thursday) 09:18
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Promaster 160A (Basic Studio Kit) Malfunction?

 
k8et
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Dec 16, 2010 09:18 |  #1

Last month I bought the Promaster basic two studio light kit (external link). I have barely used it, except to test it out when I first got it, and I used it last night for a photoshoot. About 15 minutes in, one light stopped working. It was still plugged in (and i tried another outlet) but stopped responding at all. A few hours later, the other did as well. The second flash has had fewer than 250 firings, the first one probably less than 50.

Does it stop responding when the bulb burns out? The modeling light didn't work either, no lights (even the indicator lights) would come on at all. That would not be what I expect to happen but I haven't tried changing it as I don't have a spare. (I would still be disappointed in the performance if they burned out so soon.)

I bought from my local camera shop, already sent them an email and will stop in this weekend to see how they can help me, but figured I'd see if anyone else knows what may have happened. Thanks!

Edit to add - these lights have a feature when they are overused/overheated and need some cooldown, they will beep. This never happened, and I wasn't firing that continuously, so I wouldn't expect it to be that. (170 photos over 2 hours)


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drdiesel1
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Dec 16, 2010 09:42 |  #2

I can't really help you the the technical problem, but I would recommend sending them back for a refund and put the money towards an Alien Bee unit and some good wireless triggers. PWII's are good.

The stuff that's cheap is exactly that ;) Using this type of equipment and expecting it to perform like the known high quality brand isn't a good idea, especially if you're using it for clients.

It will make you look bad every time and that's something you can ill afford to have happen in today's economy. Not to mention the money wasted on inferior goods.

Where did you purchase the kit from. I hope it's from Amazon, because they have the best return policy under the sun.


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k8et
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Dec 16, 2010 10:06 |  #3

The photoshoot was for a friend, I'm still building my portfolio and not charging yet.

I fully understand that these are not the best quality, but I certainly expect to get more than one evening of shooting out of them!! I got them when I was asked to run a photobooth last month, but that event was canceled. Because it was last minute (bought them the day before!) I got it from my local camera shop in town. They didn't have a huge selection in brands, and I know I could get better/cheaper online but we had the convenience of getting them immediately.

I am sure the shop in town will have excellent customer service, and I'm hoping they can make things right. I'm mostly confused about what happened, how they could break so soon.

Thanks for the advice. I know AB's are excellent quality, just didn't feel like I could afford them quite yet.


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drdiesel1
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Dec 16, 2010 10:07 as a reply to  @ drdiesel1's post |  #4

Looks like it has a fuse: #5

I would check that first.

(1) Power supply indicator
(2) Charge indicator
(3) Slave sensor
(4) General power on/off switch
(5) Safety fuse
(6) Synch cord base
(7) Output power setting for flash & modeling bulb
(8) On/off switch for modeling bulb
(9) On/off switch for audio signal
(10) Test button for flash
(11) Umbrella holder
(12) Angle adjustable handle


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k8et
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Dec 16, 2010 10:13 as a reply to  @ drdiesel1's post |  #5

AH! good eyes. I did read the "manual" (one page. grrr) but that never sunk in. Thank you!!

I have no idea how to check it. I'm sure the shop will help me though!

EDIT found them online, but will stop by the shop still. Awesome - thank you!


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drdiesel1
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Dec 16, 2010 10:19 |  #6

k8et wrote in post #11462794 (external link)
AH! good eyes. I did read the "manual" (one page. grrr) but that never sunk in. Thank you!!

I have no idea how to check it. I'm sure the shop will help me though!

EDIT found them online, but will stop by the shop still. Awesome - thank you!


The fuse should be a twist lock or just screw in. Remove it and have a look at it


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k8et
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Dec 16, 2010 12:17 |  #7

Popped in the shop during lunch, and they will gladly swap my whole kit or just the two flash units with the one they have in stock and send them back to Promaster. And I'm having them order fuses and replacement bulbs so I have backups of both on hand. YAY!


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Canon Rebel XTi, 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm 1.8 lens, 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8, 430EXII & 580EXII flashes
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drdiesel1
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Dec 16, 2010 17:12 |  #8

k8et wrote in post #11463460 (external link)
Popped in the shop during lunch, and they will gladly swap my whole kit or just the two flash units with the one they have in stock and send them back to Promaster. And I'm having them order fuses and replacement bulbs so I have backups of both on hand. YAY!



Did they look at the fuses ???


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k8et
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Dec 17, 2010 09:55 |  #9

No, I didn't have the flashes with me. I had to pick up prints anyway, so I talked with them about it. Will stop back probably tomorrow to swap out the flash units, but will look at the fuses before that.


Flickr (snapshots) - k8et (external link)
Portfolio - Katie Gould Photography (external link)
Canon Rebel XTi, 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm 1.8 lens, 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8, 430EXII & 580EXII flashes
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MSIGuy
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Dec 17, 2010 12:24 |  #10

k8et wrote in post #11463460 (external link)
Popped in the shop during lunch, and they will gladly swap my whole kit or just the two flash units with the one they have in stock and send them back to Promaster. And I'm having them order fuses and replacement bulbs so I have backups of both on hand. YAY!

I work for a shop that sells Promaster. The good thing about Promaster is they stand behind their product. Unfortunately I've seen quite a few 160a's fail, the shop should exchange them no problem, I know mine does.

Some Pro stuff is great, others unfortunately have higher failure rates like the 160a. Sorry to hear about your bad luck.


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k8et
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Dec 17, 2010 14:09 as a reply to  @ MSIGuy's post |  #11

Thanks! hoping that they will hold me until I start getting income from this hobby and I can upgrade. :D


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Canon Rebel XTi, 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm 1.8 lens, 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8, 430EXII & 580EXII flashes
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k8et
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Apr 04, 2011 16:15 |  #12

Update!

Back in December, I talked to the shop, they swapped my strobes with ones they had in stock (and returned mine to the manufacturer.) I also bought replacement fuses online - specifically these - http://www.amazon.com/​gp/product/B001VG55WA (external link)

I haven't shot much recently and didn't use them until this past weekend. When I set up the strobes, one wasn't working. Removed the fuse and it looked burnt out. Put in a new one, and the indicator light on top of the strobe flashed once, then no signs of life. Took it out and it was burnt out again! Tried with the second replacement fuse and same thing happened.

I emailed the shop and I'll work with them on the customer service aspect, but is there any way to know whether it was the fuse or the strobe? The least I expect is another replacement, but should I fight for a return/refund and buy something else?

Thanks!


Flickr (snapshots) - k8et (external link)
Portfolio - Katie Gould Photography (external link)
Canon Rebel XTi, 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm 1.8 lens, 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8, 430EXII & 580EXII flashes
Lomography film cameras: Fisheye and Colorsplash

  
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drdiesel1
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Apr 04, 2011 16:57 |  #13

k8et wrote in post #12156992 (external link)
Update!

Back in December, I talked to the shop, they swapped my strobes with ones they had in stock (and returned mine to the manufacturer.) I also bought replacement fuses online - specifically these - http://www.amazon.com/​gp/product/B001VG55WA (external link)

I haven't shot much recently and didn't use them until this past weekend. When I set up the strobes, one wasn't working. Removed the fuse and it looked burnt out. Put in a new one, and the indicator light on top of the strobe flashed once, then no signs of life. Took it out and it was burnt out again! Tried with the second replacement fuse and same thing happened.

I emailed the shop and I'll work with them on the customer service aspect, but is there any way to know whether it was the fuse or the strobe? The least I expect is another replacement, but should I fight for a return/refund and buy something else?

Thanks!

You should side step those and buy some Alien Bees. IMO bw!

Nothing like making yourself look foolish, with crappy gear that won't work when you attempt to use it.
Clients will never forget how you fumbled around while trying to get things to work.
I just talked with a new client yesterday that told me of someone taking two hours for one shot, then the camera didn't work bw!
They said this person looked like an idiot and wasted their time for nothing :o
Don't fall into that trap with low end equipment that's not reliable. You'll be known as the worst thing in the photography business.
An incompetent bungler  :p


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k8et
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Apr 05, 2011 10:49 as a reply to  @ drdiesel1's post |  #14

Thanks. I agree, however, I didn't have the money for them (this kit was a gift from my husband - I picked it out, however it's the only thing in the local shop and I wanted it for an event the next day.)

The event where it didn't work was simply a friend's costume party, I offered a photobooth type thing as a gift for her birthday. I used one flash, and I know they will be happy with the pictures (only I know how much better they would have been with both :P)

Right now, I would love to get a refund on this kit even if it means getting only one AB instead of two lights, but I am doubting the shop will offer this option.... But I can't afford a new set up. This is still a hobby, no money coming in yet for equipment.


Flickr (snapshots) - k8et (external link)
Portfolio - Katie Gould Photography (external link)
Canon Rebel XTi, 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm 1.8 lens, 55-250 F/4-5.6 IS, Sigma 18-50mm f2.8, 430EXII & 580EXII flashes
Lomography film cameras: Fisheye and Colorsplash

  
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Promaster 160A (Basic Studio Kit) Malfunction?
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