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Power for 200 flashes

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Stuet, Jun 14, 2016.

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  1. Stuet


    Jun 14, 2016

    We've had an arduino based system built that connects to 200 flashes. We use this system to fire off the flashes in different patterns to illuminate scenes/subjects in different ways (which we then film). Currently each flash is powered by AA batteries. We'd like to use a mains powered system to do this so are looking for someone/a company to help build this.

    The flashes are typically mounted up on a rig about 4 - 8 inches apart. We're thinking that it would be best have smaller 'distribution boxes' built that can power 10 - 20 flashes (and be mounted up on the rig). This way we don't need to run 200 power cables up to the flashes. This is the flash we're using:

    and this is an existing 3rd party product that can power one flash:

    Any thoughts on who can help build would be much appreciated. We're based in New York City.


  2. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

    Jun 21, 2012
    Are you sure the power supply you cited is compatible with the flash unit you cited? The flash unit will accept an external power supply to replace the internal batteries, but this would be a low-voltage power supply providing the same voltage as the four AA-size internal batteries: 6 V DC.

    OTOH, the third-party power supply product you cited produces 300 V DC that is applied directly to the energy-storage capacitor(s) in the flash unit. This requires a flash unit specifically made to allow this to happen. The Yongnuo product does not appear to support this. Each of your 200 units would have to be modified to accept external 300 V DC. Is it your intention to do this? Or replace 200 perfectly good flash units with 200 more that are equipped to accept an external 300 V DC power input?

    Rather than distributing 300 V DC to 10 to 20 flash units, it would be much easier as well as safer to distribute low-voltage, high-current, DC power to replace the AA batteries in the Yongnuo flash units. You should be able to build (or buy) a power supply that would occupy a volume about the size of a cigar box (roughly 5"x6"x2") and provide twenty amperes or so current at 6 V DC from a 120 V AC power distribution, daisy-chained with power cords between boxes. There would be two AC receptacles on each box: one male for power input and one female for daisy-chained power out to other boxes. Ordinary appliance extension cords connect multiple boxes. Each box should be equipped with twenty barrel-jacks and supplied with two-wire "extension cords" of appropriate lengths to connect to the flash units. Only problem might be to find at least 200 mating connectors for the flash units as you will want to assemble these connecting cords to your length requirements. Might want to assemble more cords than needed so as to have various lengths available for each setup. These are low-voltage, low-current, cord sets, each delivering 6 V DC at about one ampere (or less) to each flash unit.
    Alec_t likes this.
  3. Stuet


    Jun 14, 2016
    Thanks for the thoughts on this heavens1944. Yes - fairly sure that the YongNuo 560 mkIII can be used with the Tronix Speedfire. It's listed as being supported in the Tronix Speedfire page:

    Flash Gun Compatibility List

    Tronix SpeedFire for Other Flash Guns

      • Nissin Di866 / Di866 Mark II
      • Yongnuo YN 560 / 560 II / 560 III

    The flash has a dedicated (330 Vdc) port on it for this to connect to. It turns out that this only runs power to the strobe part of the flash and does not power the LCD screen or flash controls. Which is a major pain. So we are leaning towards doing something like the alternate approach you suggest. Using shims in place of batteries and powering the flashes through these with 3 V (for controls and LCD) and 6 V DC (for the strobe part of the flash) DC. This probably gives us slower recycle times on the flashes though (maybe 3 - 4 seconds as opposed to 1 second for the 330Vdc port). But it does seem crazy to build a power solution for 200 flashes but still need to have batteries in the flashes to drive the LCD screen and controls.

  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    that is exactly what you should expect.

    just fit the batteries to the units to power the electronics.

    hopefully, connecting the high voltage supply disconnects the inverter reducing the battery drain to almost nothing.
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