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Connecting Multiple strobes

John Larson , Jul 05, 2005; 03:30 p.m.

I just got a couple of studio strobes and tried them out over the weekend for the first time (first exposure to strobes).

I connected one strobe to my camera via the sync cord and relied on the built-in slave on the other strobe. A few times I had to fire the main strobe (the one with connected sync cord) just to make sure the slave was in fact firing. I think this kinda sucks as I'd rather just get them in sync without firing the flash a few times to see if the slave is in fact firing.

The strobes I own are Alien Bees.

QUESTION: How do I connect more than one strobe to my camera using sync cords? (NOTE: there is only one sync connecter on each strobe.) Is it possible to daisy chain them and if so do I use a specific cord to do this?

Eventually I may go wireless but I don't want to empty my wallet before I first learn a thing or two and then I'll allow that experience to dictate what I get later. But for now I think I'll stick with using sync cords.

thanks john

Responses

Ellis Vener , Jul 05, 2005; 03:56 p.m.

You shouldn't have to wire them together if you are working in a fairly normal room. One trick is to use a piece a small piece of aluminum foil as a reflector to make sure the slave eye on the secondary units are seeing the flash from the hardwired synced strobe.

Steve Levine , Jul 05, 2005; 04:23 p.m.

I think you are missing the point of the built in slaves. The idea of not having wires to trip over is a wonderful thing.

Unless you are working outdoors, in a soundstage or an airplane hangar, the slaves should trigger when the wired light fires.

R Miller , Jul 05, 2005; 09:32 p.m.

John,

I don't disagree with prior comments, but if you want to wire them, its pretty easy. I wire 4 of the older Ultras and a couple of X3200 as follows. Get a "Y" adapter (2 receptors into one plug) the size of your sync connector (Ultra are 1/4" phono), I believe the Alien Bees (AB) have a mini plug (1/8"). Make a connecting cord(s) of appropriate length(s) with a male plug on both ends. Sync cord from camera goes into the Y adapter and the Y adapter goes into the first AB. One end of the cord with both male plugs goes into the Y adapter and the other end goes into the second flash. If you get another AB, get another Y adapter and another M/M cord. Basically, you can conenct as many AB's together as you want. If you have any questions, call their tech support, as they are very helpful.

Best regards,

Skip Douglas , Jul 06, 2005; 07:27 a.m.

I would highly suggest that you NOT try to parallel wire several strobes to a camera. You run the risk of ruining the trigger circuitry in the camera - not because of the voltage, but because of the increased current through the camera's switching circuitry.

If you really insist on a wired connection with the AlienBees units, spend just a hundred bucks and get their 4-channel wired remote. It not only lets you trigger up to four strobes with a single camera connection but also lets you adjust the power levels of all the connected strobes from a single location.

John Larson , Jul 08, 2005; 05:34 p.m.

Ahhh...the Y sync cord/connector! I should have guessed.

I checked out B&H and didn't find such a connector so I then went to Alien Bees' web site in hopes they would have something that would help. And in fact they do. They sell "Sync Hardware Kit" that allows you to connect 3 flash units together and they sell it for $30.

thanks Mr. Miller.

I realize that the cords will get in the way but I got tired of using low flash power and triggering the main over and over again just to see if the remote fired or not. Like I said earlier, I do plan on using some sort of remote device to eliminate the cords but for now I think they are best for me in my 2 light set up. Although, I'll have to remember the aluminum foil idea.

thanks -john

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