Powering flashes via mains

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Andy Davies
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Powering flashes via mains

Post by Andy Davies »

I would like to be able to recharge my Vivitar 283 without using batteries during long stacks. I have tried connecting it up to a 5V DC adapter via the pins that would have accepted the mains pwoer adapter but nothing seemed to happen. I did not have the battery pack installed with batteries at the same time.

I'd also like to adapt my Nikon R1C1 flashes to mains as well.

Any thoughts?

Saul
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Post by Saul »

How many A is power supply ?

mawyatt
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Post by mawyatt »

Andy,

Be careful with this. Long ago wanting to do longer stacking sessions I melted a YN622 using an external power supply even tho it was using a external battery pack. The batteries in the external pack were so hot they would burn you, and the YN622 lens melted and it's batteries were also too hot touch as was the case.

That's when I began to look into studio strobes, even 3 of these (cheap Neewer) failed and 2 actually exploded! The energy coupling capacitors were cheap and had too high an ESR which caused internal heat buildup with the continuous stacking use, eventually causing the caps to explode. I cleaned the strobe insides up and replaced all the capacitors with better quality ones and began a long journey looking for a low cost but reliable strobe that could survive this abuse. Eventually ending up a couple years ago with the Adorama Studio 300 Strobes (Godox). These have been abused and abused, now have 8 of them, and not a single issue with any.

Best,
Research is like a treasure hunt, you don't know where to look or what you'll find!
~Mike

enricosavazzi
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Re: Powering flashes via mains

Post by enricosavazzi »

Andy Davies wrote:I would like to be able to recharge my Vivitar 283 without using batteries during long stacks. I have tried connecting it up to a 5V DC adapter via the pins that would have accepted the mains pwoer adapter but nothing seemed to happen. I did not have the battery pack installed with batteries at the same time.

I'd also like to adapt my Nikon R1C1 flashes to mains as well.

Any thoughts?
An AA alkaline battery gives nominally 1.5 V, so four of them give around 6 V. 5 V might be a little too low.

I guess you already made sure that the polarity of the power supply connection is right.

Also, if you are using a USB power supply, it may cutoff if it senses a current higher than 1 A. A typical AA alkaline may give 2-3 A for relatively short periods, and the flash unit may require this current level when recycling.
--ES

Saul
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Re: Powering flashes via mains

Post by Saul »

enricosavazzi wrote: An AA alkaline battery gives nominally 1.5 V, so four of them give around 6 V. 5 V might be a little too low.

I guess you already made sure that the polarity of the power supply connection is right.

Also, if you are using a USB power supply, it may cutoff if it senses a current higher than 1 A. A typical AA alkaline may give 2-3 A for relatively short periods, and the flash unit may require this current level when recycling.
5v is OK (used a lot, rechargeables are ~1.2, so 1.2x4=4.8v).
But 2-3A it is not enough (depending on the flash), my 5A was screaming immediately after flash ...
Now I'm using 6v 16A .
mawyatt wrote:...Be careful with this. Long ago wanting to do longer stacking sessions I melted a YN622 using an external power supply even tho it was using a external battery pack. The batteries in the external pack were so hot they would burn you, and the YN622 lens melted and it's batteries were also too hot touch as was the case. ...
Mike is right - I have one Nikon SB-27 with melted diffuser (used at the full power), during another stack yogurt cup caught on fire (flash was too close and stack was too long :) )

Andy Davies
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Post by Andy Davies »

The supply is 5V 10A.

Flash overheating is a consequence of firing the gun with a short interval and I guess not a function of whether it is being powered by batteries of the mains.

Does anyone have any info on which terminal is positive on the gun?

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

I have been using Vivitar 283 flashes with Vivitar SB-4 power supplies (120V 60Hz 6W) for years on big stacks with no issues. The 4 AA batteries remain in the flash when the SB-4 is connected, but I think their only function is powering the flash ready indicator light. The flash output between discharges is far more consistent when using an AC source than when using the batteries alone, and the recycle time is considerably shorter.

There are numerous SB-4s on eBay right now at very reasonable prices. I'm not sure what additional converters you would need.

dmillard
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Post by dmillard »

I routinely measure the voltage whenever I pick up old Vivitar 283 units, and then I tag them with the value. Most have measured around 9V, but I tested a couple that were well above that.

Here's a site that has a schematic, and some suggestions for lowering the triggering voltage, but I've never found that necessary:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Taming ... vitar-283/

JKT
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Post by JKT »

Not knowing Vivitars, I have to ask what is the voltage of the mains adapter in that model? In many flashes, the mains adapter produces quite different voltage compared to batteries.


As far as current rating of the AC adapter goes, I've had interesting results, which may seem conflicting: 3A adapter works, though slowly, but 5A and 10A adapters don't. I'm proceding with the assumption that the 3A adapter doesn't have any safety cut-off, while the others do.

I'm thinking of adding simple resistor in series to limit the maximum current. For the 6V 10A adapter I intend to limit current to 8A so the maximum power is 48W. 20W resistor should do (or even 10W) as the max power is relatively short and occurs only on power-up (using 1/64 setting).

I have three flashes, so I'll split the power to three lanes with same resistor in all lanes. This should keep the voltage up for other flashes, while one is being powered on. I'll just have to turn them on one-by-one.

Does anyone see a problem with this?

Sorry if this seems like hijacking the thread - seems to me quite relevant to the original question.

Deanimator
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Post by Deanimator »

mawyatt wrote:Eventually ending up a couple years ago with the Adorama Studio 300 Strobes (Godox). These have been abused and abused, now have 8 of them, and not a single issue with any.

Best,
I followed your lead and have never regretted it. Those are great units for the money.

Andy Davies
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Post by Andy Davies »

Or is a better option to make a dummy battery? It looks like the SB-4 is 200v 4ma.

JKT
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Post by JKT »

Andy Davies wrote:Or is a better option to make a dummy battery? It looks like the SB-4 is 200v 4ma.
In that case you indeed need a dummy battery for the DC input ... or you might install DC socket to the flash as I did for my Yongnuos. It was relatively simple to remove PC socket and replace it with DC.

iconoclastica
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Post by iconoclastica »

Andy Davies wrote:Does anyone have any info on which terminal is positive on the gun?
If you still know how the batteries were to be inserted that is quite easy to see: the flat end of the battery is the negative pole, the 'button' positive. Beware though if the compartment accepts four batteries. Then there is a positive terminal in series with a negative one and zero-resistance connections go bang (oh experience...).

Identify which pair of terminals have zero resistance. These will short the power supply. If the power supply connects one of those with one of the remaining two, nothing happens at all. So, both of the remaining terminals is what you need.
--- felix filicis ---

JKT
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Post by JKT »

The resistors did the trick. Someone who understands electronics would have likely use a bit more sophisticated system, but the brute force approach works too. One version with 10W resistors...
Image
Image
...and another with 20W for heavy use.
Image
Image

The first one uses a top structure added over a standard box and the second is fully 3D printed.

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