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*(^%#@$^ equipment! (or, is it me?)

Liz Steltzner , Apr 25, 2009; 03:49 p.m.

hi, everyone...I am STILL having problems with some aging Speedotron equipment that I was gifted a while back from a retiring photographer (...at least, at first I thought it was a gift...at this point, I'm beginning to think it's a curse!) Can anyone give me any hints as to what might be going on, here? I have a Speedotron blackline 2401A power supply, and 4 strobes. They are AT LEAST 30 years old. Maybe more. Here's the crux of the problem: I hook everything up, I shoot 6-8 shots, and they work just fine. Then everything stops firing. The ready light is on, and I'm not shooting rapid-fire, so I'm 99% sure it's not a recycle time issue. I am currently using a sync cord to my Nikon D80. It has been suggested that I turn the polarity of the household around, so I have tried that. No luck. I tried turning off the power supply, letting it sit a few seconds, and turning it back on. No luck. Today it happened (again) while I was doing a family mini-session. GRRRR! I ended up turning the whole thing off, and just using my hotshoe flash, which was the only other thing I had. I'll just have to edit out the shadows (I use them primarily for lighting the white backround, if it matters) later. As soon as the family left, I turned everything back on, put a teddy bear in a chair, and tried them again. Of course, they worked. What the *&^%$!? Additionally, and maddeningly, when I was using a radio-sync (before I got the sync cord), it did the same thing. Only, after about 10 totally black shots, all the lights went nuts and flashflashflashflashflashed. It was like somehow the box had saved up all the signals and spat them all out at once! Curiouser and curiouser....
So...any ideas, anyone? And if not, does anyone want to buy this equipment, super-cheap?!?!? BTW, I also fully recognize that it could just be my lack of technical experience, but I just don't have the time or patience to fool with it. If I can't figure this out soon, I'm going to just buy a set of alien bees and chuck this stuff in the dumpster!

Responses

Brooks Short - Tampa, Florida , Apr 25, 2009; 04:03 p.m.

"..I'm going to just buy a set of alien bees and chuck this stuff in the dumpster!.."

Or you can get the Speedotron pack repaired and have a professional lighting kit with more power than 4 of Alien Bee's biggest monolights. Repair shouldn't cost much. Call Speedotron in Chicago.

Liz Steltzner , Apr 25, 2009; 04:24 p.m.

so...it sounds to you like there actually IS something wrong with the power pack, and it's not just me? I HATE that I am so technically inept yet....I know it comes with experience, but am impatient! *sigh*

Howard M , Apr 25, 2009; 04:27 p.m.

the big charge capacitors have probably aged to the point they have to be replaced. they aren't 'lifetime'. I agree w/ everyone else, ship it to Speedotron and get a repair estimate.

John Tonai , Apr 26, 2009; 11:46 p.m.

If you are in Southern California, you might also try Flashlights. Robin Robal is a master of flash repair and customization. 323-466-2065

Nathan Stiles , Apr 27, 2009; 12:24 p.m.

I have two 2401A's (I bought from Brooks for a steal). One of them is perfect, the other I got for a song b/c it has a capacitor that's bad. I know it's over 15 years old. Everything else is fine, and it's a cheap repair to be able to keep very durable and powerful (and fast) boxes.

A. Davis , Apr 27, 2009; 01:17 p.m.

Don't chuck those lights-the 2401A is a great pack, and I'm assuming you have the 103 heads? Speedotron light heads are also great. You can probably get the pack repaired for under $400, which would only get you one Bee, with about a quarter of the power of your Speedo kit. Go to Speedotron's Repair Station List to find a shop in your area, and call them up. The guy in Maine is great, fixed both of my packs for about $350, and I had them back within a week.

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