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Old 03-17-2014, 05:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Camera Flash mod?

This is not eco modding related at all but you guys are pretty damn smart so I figured you would know the answer. I have a camera flash that I want to apply more voltage to, to decrease the recycle time. How much extra voltage can you usually give a device before damaging it? The flash uses 4-AA batteries and I want to somehow use my 18v Lithium ion battery pack for my cordless tools ( I have way more then I need) From what I have read there are battery packs for these flashes that give 300v and the biggest concen isthat you can pop the flash so fast it will melt. Any ideas?

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Old 03-17-2014, 07:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you know what you're doing, you can go in and charge the HV cap directly.

A typical flash has a high-voltage capacitor -- 300 to 450 volts or more -- and a circuit that boosts battery voltage to cap voltage in order to charge it.

Very expensive flashes have a way of applying 300+ volts directly to the cap (well, through a current-limiting resistor, to keep from frying things). This allows the minimum possible recharge time.

If you <i>don't</i> know what you're doing, I advise against this! There is potentially lethal voltage there!
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I dont think you can go from 6 volts to 18. Maybe 7.5 with an extra cell. You will generate too much heat too fast and melt something.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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12v pack -> inverter -> strobe light you will have to sort out the trigger, but the power circuits and recharge times are all there.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hmm getting it to sync to 1/200th of a second could be tricky
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're wanting to use the 18V battery pack, maybe you could drop the voltage with something like this.
LM2596 LED Voltage Regulator DC Buck Adjustable Step Down Converter Module NEW | eBay

I'd be wary about raising any rated voltage more than 25% without knowing what components the manufacturer has used in the first place.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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that would be perfect and i could dial the voltage up a bit at a time too. If I posted a photo of the components would you be able to give more insight?
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisgerman1983 View Post
that would be perfect and i could dial the voltage up a bit at a time too. If I posted a photo of the components would you be able to give more insight?
I'm willing to try, but I expect it would be hard to tell from a photo.

Thinking about this some more, as much depends on the duty cycle of the flash unit as the charge time/voltage.
At the end of the day, it's up to you how far you want to push the envelope. How expensive is this flash unit and can you afford to accidentally cook it?

In regard to P-hack's comment about strobes, I've seen slaved strobe units used in a photographic studio.
These were self contained, mains voltage units that were triggered by the flash of the camera. I can't give you any details though, I only worked there briefly, many years ago.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes flashes can be over heated if they don't have thermal protection. Below some recycle times based on battery chemistry and number of batteries.
SB-800
Number of batteries
Min recycle time
Alkaline-manganese
x4
6.0 sec.
x5
5.0 sec.
Lithium
x4
7.5 sec.
x5
7.5 sec.
Nickel
x4
6.0 sec.
x5
5.0 sec.
NiCd
(1000 mAh)(rechargeable)
x4
4.0 sec.
x5
3.5 sec.
Ni-MH(2000 mA)(rechargeable)
x4
4.0 sec.
x5
2.9 sec.
Fresh Batteries

As you maybe aware firing the flash at less than full power also increases recycle time. Can you just move closer. What type of recycle time are you looking for.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What exactly are you trying to do? Are you trying to make it a strobe light or take photos faster with a camera?

You can get cheap led strobe lights around halloween time.

For cameras you can also get better flashes. I have 2 for my 35mm camera alone with some lenses that are a few feet in length. I got one flash that is smaller in size and can shot off like a strobe light. I can zip through a roll of 35 mm film in a manner of seconds. If its night I got an ir feature too. The other flash is about as big as the camera and is freaking bright. It doesnt cycle as fast, but its bright and worked well for even outdoor pics in total darkness.

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