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my own DIY fiber optic trigger (for strobe)

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself - DIY' started by gesguerra, May 7, 2011.

  1. gesguerra

    gesguerra Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Philippines
    56
    6
    after a week's worth of scouting for materials, gathering inputs and suggestions from fellow diver/photogs (PPD forum), i finally came up with my own fiber optic cable to trigger my strobe. didn't think it would be as easy peasy as this, since i'm new to the underwater strobing thing. thanks to the useful tips from CoolTech, Ramsy, herbdb, Divernoob, prandyulo!

    experts, your inputs/comments are greatly appreciated.
    newbies to UW strobing (like me), hope this may be of help.

    here are pictures of the DIY process...

    [​IMG]
    fiber optic audio cable from Ace Hardware (one-thirds the price of an OEM underwater flash trigger)

    [​IMG]
    one end directly in front of the camera flash, i made sure the light goes through the cable and reaches the other end.

    [​IMG]
    intova iss2000 underwater slave flash

    [​IMG]
    using black duct tape, i covered the slave flash's sensor/s, only allowing a small space to insert one end of the fiber optic cable into. taped a piece of metal tube that came with the fiber optic cable, to serve as holder.

    [​IMG]
    olympus c360 in a pt-017 underwater housing

    [​IMG]
    the other end of the fiber optic cable goes directly in front of the camera's built in flash. this should "catch" the flash from the camera, sending the light down through the cable, and flashing the sensor on the strobe, triggering the strobe to simultaneously flash.

    [​IMG]
    i then covered the camera with black duct tape, for two reasons: 1. to make sure all the light from the flash is not scattered and wasted and is only "forced" onto the end of the fiber optic cable attached to the camera, and 2. personally, i would like my photo to be illuminated with only one light source, which would be the strobe, so this also prevents the camera's built in flash from flashing onto my subject.

    [​IMG]
    downside: camera looks like trash after being covered with duct tape!

    [​IMG]
    another one of the metal tube pieces is attached to the camera, to hold the cable in front of the flash.

    [​IMG]
    finally, the base tray & flex arm for the camera and strobe.

    [​IMG]
    and here's the finished project!

    it would be very helpful also to understand how to set the pre-flash setting of the strobe, since different camera makes & models have differing pre-flash intervals. in my case, pre-flash setting #1 works.

    tested the rig in a pool, and so far the results are better than having no flash or using the built in camera flash...

    i'll post sample/test photos taken in the pool soon...

    can't wait to dive...
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  2. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    9,681
    2,443
    A couple of thoughts.
    First off, there is no need to cover the camera like that. My 5050 housing has a similar design. All I do is cut a piece of plastic that is the same basic shape as the diffuser on the housing and attach it in front of the diffuser with a plastic clamp that also serves as the fiber holder. The small amount of scattered light that comes out of the housing is so small it's not a problem.

    The next possible issue I see is the angle of the fiber itself. It will work better if the flash light enters the fiber directly into the fiber instead of at a 90 deg angle. You may have issues with the strobe intermittently working. The mount for my Inon has a 45 deg deflector to redirect the flash directly into the end of the fiber. You may need to come up with something like this to improve the reliability of the connection.
     
  3. herbdb

    herbdb Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Allentown, PA
    1,241
    284
    I don't think this will be an issue at the camera end. I use this set up for my strobes, the end for the camera (white) attaches at a 90 degree angle. About 1/4 inch of cable is exposed in the white tab.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. gesguerra

    gesguerra Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Philippines
    56
    6
    thanks for the inputs herman. i might consider trying out covering only the camera housing diffuser part with the duct tape. camera really looks like trash when i covered it all the way. hehe

    herbdb, i tested the setup in a swimming pool, and yes the strobe works everytime, even if it's in a 90 degree angle with the camera flash. i guess the "duct tape all the way" helped with concentrating the flash onto the receiver end of the cable??? i might try herman's suggestion of blocking out only the camera housing diffuser part to see the difference.

    anyway, here are test photos i took in a swimming pool...

    [​IMG]
    taken without flash

    [​IMG]
    taken using the strobe
     
  5. chile7236

    chile7236 Instructor, Scuba

    1,329
    118
    where can this be picked up at? or did you piece this together yourself? i want to try this with an old YS-200 and YS-50....
     
  6. prandyulo

    prandyulo Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines
    218
    25
    Didn't know it was locally available; now I know where to get my next DIY project.
    Thanks!
     
  7. gesguerra

    gesguerra Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Philippines
    56
    6
    same here. the audio FOC from ACE actually works great, the cable is much thicker than the OEM cable... only tradeoff is that it isn't coiled, but i'm happy with it... never fails to trigger!
     
  8. gesguerra

    gesguerra Registered

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Philippines
    56
    6
    some samples using the strobe/FOC from my last dive in Puerto Galera, May 2011...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. herbdb

    herbdb Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Allentown, PA
    1,241
    284
    You can get it here.

    ULTRAMAX E N T E R P R I S E S I N C .

    Sorry for the late response.
     
  10. prandyulo

    prandyulo Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines
    218
    25
    I read in another forum somewhere you can coil the FO cable using a heat gun or hair dryer to soften it and coil it around a pipe. worth a try.
     

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