Flash Diagnosis: DEAD!

by camerarepair on

In case you haven’t heard, CRIS is the exclusive US service center for Manfrotto Distribution, which includes Manfrotto, Gitzo, Avenger, Elinchrom, Metz, Rotatrim, Lastolite, Kata, and National Geographic products.  For this post, we’ll highlight a complaint we receive somewhat commonly about Elinchrom power packs.  This is not to say that Elinchrom systems are problematic, but rather that some repairs we encounter can be prevented with one helpful little tip.  What’s that you say?  Read on…

Most consumers of Elinchrom lighting systems are professionals who use their gear daily or at the very least, weekly.  Sometimes, however, we receive what looks to be a back up power pack or maybe a pack that just isn’t used as frequently accompanied by a complaint about lack of power.  Often times we can trace back an issue of “no power” to infrequency of use.  Have you ever house sat for a friend who asked that you crank over his car regularly to prevent it from becoming a brick?  Same concept.  Inside of each power pack are several capacitors (as many as 32 in some packs!) that provide power to fire the flash head(s).  If not used, the capacitors lose their juice and the longer it sits unused, the worse it gets.  If your Elinchrom pack has the option to fire multiple heads but you customarily only shoot a simple one light setup, you may not notice this issue until you attempt to fire multiple heads at once.  While the pack may have enough juice to power one head, the lack of use of both (or all three) ports may result in insufficient juice to fire multiple heads in sync.

strobe power supply

Solution?  In order to ensure optimum firing power, dump a few flashes every couple weeks on all ports.  If this is a stretch, once a month will do.  It would be a shame to invest in a quality strobe system only to lose it due to non-use.  Like many companies’ paid vacation time policy: use it or lose it.

NOTE: This post was inspired by a recent inquiry from an Elinchrom customer.  However, this concept is applicable to strobe packs of ANY brand, not just Elinchrom.  Also, this isn’t to say that infrequent use is the only cause of lack of power.  This is just one example of possible causes and we trust that you will know when this is applicable to your specific situation.

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