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FAST 200WS to 400WS battery strobes
Old 03-05-2003, 02:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Since the beach is close I use an APS batter/inverter and a 400 WS Novatron strobe pack when I need fill-flash on the beach. This works good as it gives me a sub 1-second recycle time at 200 ws, and under 2 seconds at 400 ws, and I get about 1600 flashes per battery.

However, I'm going to be shooting on some much more remote beach locations soon, and I want something lighter and more portable. I can live with fewer flashes per battery and just get more batteries, but I really draw the line at 1 second or less recycle at 200ws power.... that I really need. Norman 400b has a 2 second recycle at 200ws, so it is too slow.

Any suggestions? I'd especially like a thyristor based power circut that would allow bursting of 2 or three rapid frames.



 
 
this is of interest to me......
Old 03-05-2003, 02:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...as well.

I have begun to research what's available in the marketplace, and it seems slim.

Lumedyn has a system, I'm not sure how fast it is. I think they make a few models, some they call " Super-Fast". which I believe relats to the recycle time.

I'm not ready to shell out $4,000 for the ProFoto 7B . Though, if one was ready to go that way, ProFoto seems to have a great deal right now, whereby you get $1,500 in credits to buy
ProFoto accessories, like heads, etc., for every 7B you buy.

Keep me posted.



 
 
What I did
Old 03-05-2003, 03:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I also wanted fast recycle times for a battery system. I ended up building a larger 12 volt battery pack for my 200B and now get over 1000 (I've never run the battery down so I don't know how many it's good for) 200 w/s second pops from a single charge.

The 200B can use a car battery as a power source, it was one of the best made units that Norman made. I'm using 8 AH gel cells to power mine and get sub 1s recycle at 200 w/s.

 
 
Re: FAST 200WS to 400WS battery strobes
Old 03-05-2003, 04:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi there,

I have the Quantum Qflash system either 2x200 ws or 1x400 WS, battery powered..... very portable, TTL connectors for most camera systems and very very good.....

I would give it a look !
 
 
Re: What I did
Old 03-05-2003, 05:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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: I'm using 8 AH gel cells to power mine and get
: sub 1s recycle at 200 w/s.

That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Thank you!

I'm using some nice 36Ah 12-volt APS cells for my setup now. I can wire an adaptor for the Norman. I am suprised however, that simply using a larger batter improves recycle time with the Norman that much. They have a conventional variable inverter setup and those usually have current limitations built in so a bigger battery (at the same voltage) past a certain point won't help much. Once you have enough battry stamina to eliminate the voltage drop on the front end of the recycle, more battery won't help much. Usually you need a locking voltmeter to tell, but you can also put a VERY large cap on the battery (like the lowriders use on the power supplys to their huge bass amps in their cars) and see if that improves recycle. If it does, a battery that delivers more current with less voltage drop will help.

Now, bumping the voltage up a wee bit will always speed things up...at least until it makes the magic smoke leak out of the unit!
 
 
The 200B is different
Old 03-06-2003, 08:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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According to Larry Light (he used to work for Norman in Burbank and has his own brand if strobes) the 200B does not have a current limiting system built in. It can basically take whatever current you want to give it. That is why it will recycle so fast. He warned me not to try it with a 200C or 400 series. It will fry them.

The Cinch connectors for the battery in a 200B can be ordered from Newark Electronics http://www.newark.com as Cinch part number S-304-CCT and are about $2.50 each. The S means Socket (for the battery side) if you want the 200B side change the S to a P for Plug.
 
 
Re: The 200B is different
Old 03-06-2003, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That's very interesting. I thought the 200C was nearly identical, but just took the new and different sized Delta batteries. Glad you told me this.

Why would Norman make the 200b so differently? If higher current will fry them, why would they make the 200c and 400b without current limiting... that's cheap. Aren't thre adaptors for all of them to use a 12-volt car battery? That would seem to me to indicate they are built to handle high current.

There is nothing special in a flip-flop inverter circuit to make square wave AC power from a DC battery, feed it to a transformer or diode/capacitor network, and bump it up to 1kv. The only difference is in the size of the caps/diodes/xformers to handle the current load and dissapate the heat.

I built my own 800ws strobes when I was in college and was really shocked at how cheap they could be made compared to the prices they sold for. I built a variable-power limiting circuit that used thyristors to switch in and out a series of power resistors based on the rising voltage of the storage caps, so the current spike was smoothed out while providing about a 1.5 second recycle at the full 800 ws... and no 40 lb. transformer. I popped a lot of breakers until I got the switching points tuned just right [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
AC/DC Bowen\'s Travelite or a Visatec Litepac
Old 03-06-2003, 11:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I like the Visatec Litepac... it has the specs I need (speed and power) but is pricy.

I found a reference to an AC/DC version of Bowen's Travelite... but I can't find any specs on it. That sounds like exactly what I need.

Lumedyne has a new series comming out... battery pack at 400ws w/ 2.5 sec recycle ... but it is over $800, and my target is the $500 range.

I am now considering the alternative instead of the Novatron pack and an inverter/battery, getting a monoblock to run off the battery/inverter.... that will eliminate one thing I have to haul.
 
 
Excellent results
Old 03-23-2003, 12:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I got a 200b and checked the circuit. The two switching transistors (that carry the heavy load) are 2N3771 ... which are hefty. Rated for continuous 30 amp load. They are also heat-sinked to the case of the 200b. Well done.

I used by 12-volt 18Ah SLA battery that I was using for the inverter, and WOW. Recycle was under 1-second at 200WS.

This power circuit could EASILY be put in a monolight head and then all you need to power it is a 12-volt battery and cable. A jillion times more versitle than using the high-voltage Quantums or Jackrabits. If you want lots of juce - use a car battery. If you want lightweight, there are a bunch of different alternatives from led-acid, gell cells, NiMH, etc., at Batteries Plus.

Know anyone with some dead monolights I can buy to throw away the guts and keep the case?

A little math shows it is pulling about 400 watts, which is only about 16 amps for each transistor. Well within spec.

I'll do an adaptor for the Norman to fit a Novatron head since that is what I use in the studio and I have modifier and speedrings for them.

I may custom build me a case using the 200b power supply. Mount the transistors on bigger heat sinks and fan-cool them (maybe upsize to a 60-amp version in a T-03 package), and add more capacitors.

I ordered the Cinch connectors from http://www.newark.com ... Do you know which Amphenol connector the Norman uses so I can order some of those?

I remember seeing some older style studio strobes that were in a case sort of like a small piece of hand luggage in that they had a lid that open to reveal the controls, and a built-in lightstand on the side. That would be really nice for my project. Know where I might could get one to rip out the guts and use the case and controls?

Again, thanks for the ionfo about the 200b.
 
 
Anyone familiar with.....
Old 03-23-2003, 08:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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....the new "Vagabond" Battery Pack that powers the new White Lightning X-800 - 320 W/S unit ???

It seems like an economically attractive solution. Before I buy it, any more knowlegable feedback ??

Thanks,

 
 
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