This Remote Flash Power Control Hack is Genius

Some ideas are as brilliant as they are obvious—in retrospect.

With some minimal soldering skills, Strobist reader Ilya Terentyev (originally from Moscow but currently in Beijing) is using a cheap, auxiliary remote to control the power levels of a manual flash remotely.

It should be noted that the hack is only possible on flashes with a simple, mechanical switch for increasing and/or decreasing the power level. The discussion thread is here.

(Thanks to BudroWilson for the tip.)



Brand new to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos

Comments are closed. Question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist


Blogger 60/40 said...

This is great! Especially since these are the triggers I use. I have four that I have broken due to rough usage so I should attempt this and mod them.

Thanks for sharing!


August 07, 2012 11:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, another great video.
Quite ingenious really, would have saved me a bunch of money on my Flex TT5's, AC3 Zone controller and Canon 580EX II speedlites and AC7 hard shields.

definitely a game changer.

Allan (Samdiver74)

August 07, 2012 11:14 PM  
Blogger itsskin said...

Hi guys!
Thx for featuring the idea on the blog.

All modern flashes can modified because they are digital. Mechanical will not work :)

August 08, 2012 3:10 AM  
Blogger RoamingChile said...

I love that when he pulls out a Canon body to demonstrate, it's got a 300mm attached. YES!

Great hack... and maybe a lead on decent off-brand flashes? I've stuck to old Vivitar 285s since getting burned on some off-brand flashes.

August 08, 2012 3:19 AM  
Blogger JWphotography said...

Wow thanks for that!

A perfect break from study. . . and now I am wondering if this would work in cycling a LP160's power. . . . interesting :)

August 08, 2012 5:33 AM  
Blogger Brian Carey said...

This is awesomely cool! :-)

August 08, 2012 1:55 PM  
Blogger Simon said...


Now if the chinese could just do the soldering and fildling for us and provide the flash with the adapter...

August 08, 2012 2:05 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Great low cost alternative. Thanks!

August 08, 2012 2:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I think it would work with the LP160 and since it has 2 ports you could use one for trigger and one for power control.

August 08, 2012 2:33 PM  
Blogger adam said...

Very cool mod, however you can trigger the FlexTT5's with just about any camera with the latest firmware. I use the FlexTT5's on my Hasselblad H3DII-31 as well as my Fuji X100. Full manual control with the AC3 controller.

August 08, 2012 3:48 PM  
Blogger weathershenker said...

I hope Ilya comes to the US and throws a soldering party. I'll bring the beer!

From the discussion: "I tried some precise soldering and it did work. Even after 5L of beer :D."

Make that, a LOT of beer...

August 08, 2012 4:01 PM  
Blogger weathershenker said...

I hope Ilya comes to the US and throws a soldering party. I'll bring the beer!

From the discussion: "I tried some precise soldering and it did work. Even after 5L of beer :D."

Make that, a LOT of beer...

August 08, 2012 4:02 PM  
Blogger itsskin said...

Adam, please clarify how you do this. Because in order to make TT5's work on generic cameras you need to switch to standard channels from ControlTL and with this you loose AC3 controller functionality.

August 08, 2012 8:48 PM  
Blogger John Russell said...

I was thinking about this today and I think it may be possible to do this with LP160's and a single Cactus V5 on each strobe. I need to crack open one of my LP160's and do some testing with the V5's to confirm this.

I'll do the testing when I get home tomorrow.(I'm on the road now)

August 08, 2012 9:56 PM  
Blogger Vic said...

he lost me at "solder" lol

August 09, 2012 12:03 AM  
Blogger John Russell said...

So, this is possible with an LP160 without modifying the case, so you can connect the Cactus V5(or your trigger of choice if it supports AF over a 3.5mm stereo audio cable) with the standard 3.5mm audio cable. There are a couple catches though.

1) This is possible because the audio jack used in the strobe is a stereo jack. It looks like terminal nearest the edge of the PCB is the one you want to tap into to get the AF trigger from your Cactus.

2) There are 4 terminals on the power level button. Between two of the terminals is an ID stamp for resistor R6, if you jump directly from one of those terminals on the R6 side of the switch to the AF terminal with the Cactus V5 pugged in and on, then you will jump one power level when you make the connection, but thats it. The AF button on your TX Cactus will not trigger any other level changes.

If the Cactus will trigger tiny a solid state relay, or transistor, then you could trigger the relay with the AF output of the Cactus, then have that relay connect the right pair of terminals on the power level switch.

If anyone knows of a good TINY relay, or the proper transistor to use, then point me to it and I'll order it and give this a try. I don't think the relay should be any bigger than say 1/4" on the longest side, there isn't too much extra space in there.

August 10, 2012 5:15 PM  
Blogger itsskin said...

John, that's totally great!
If you could share it in the discussion thread it will be even more awesome. A lot of people interested and you can get help there I think.

August 11, 2012 3:50 PM  
Blogger John Russell said...

@itsskin, done and done!

August 12, 2012 4:25 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Could you do this on a Nikon SB-800? Wish somebody could put into a little better English, difficult to understand all of it.

August 12, 2012 1:12 PM  
Blogger n506 said...

Might have to be an option for all us 5DIII users who can't use FlexTT5s since upgrading :(

August 26, 2012 1:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home