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Thread: strange idea for triggering flash

  1. #1
    Davey's Avatar
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    strange idea for triggering flash

    Been meaning to post this question for a while but with one thing or another not got round to it. Don't know if it is possible or if anyone has managed this already but here goes.

    I have invested in a cheap flash unit (a few in fact) with the intention of using them for lightpainting on long exposures. I finally picked up a tripod a few weeks ago (velbon cx540 for £11 inc p&p) and I have some par56 gels knocking around and thought why not. Thinking about it triggering more than one flash manually (ie. by hand with test button I mean) from desired angles in 15seconds could be tricky. I am limited to 15sec as only using a finepix 5600, prob be using this for a while since photography is just my hobby.

    I was wondering if I could trigger the flashes remotely using a mobile phone? I have access to working but old enough to trash phones so thought would look into it. Basically my thinking is can I pull the piezo wires on the phone and rig them to the flash trigger so that when I ring the phone it triggers the flash. An unusual idea for this but in theory it seems possible to me, does anyone have input or experience of doing this? I think when the flash's arrive I will be able to look into what voltage they require to trigger them and add whatever resistors etc to the circuit as appropriate and I should have working remote units.

    What's more it will be easy to do on a budjet, cheaper than dedicated IR triggers but with increased range, will work in any lighting and where IR might fail providing placed somewhere through which µwaves can pass and there is a signal available. Any feedback, suggestions, obvious reasons it won't work please share them.

  2. #2
    Raycer's Avatar
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    Re: strange idea for triggering flash

    never say impossible...
    what's the voltage coming out the cell phone?

    check out for trigger voltage for different flashes.
    [COLOR=white]http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

    also check out this set up. They use walky-talky to trigger shutter. Maybe you can do something similar with flash.

    [COLOR=white]http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-9318-9775

    and check out this for home made hotshoe
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/akeeh/2098252889/

    do let us know if you come up with something. It would be great if you are able to combine the shutter and flash into one common trigger.
    good luck!!
    Last edited by Raycer; 7th December 2008 at 06:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: strange idea for triggering flash

    I think phones usually put out approx 7v but unsure what goes to piezo but bit of messing and hookin up to meter should give more info. Not chosen a phone yet to get exact details, will do soon. Have a box full in the office and friend said take what I need and make small donation or something, just spares people given us when got new phone so they all work but are old which is ideal for taking to bits.

    Will delve into the box and find suitable looking phones and dig up exact info to pick most promising looking ones. I have done similar thing with a phone in past but for powering 5mm UV LED, long story, was for tricking solar sensor with variable settings to simulate daylight levels. That was part of how I got the idea. The piezo part I thought of from hearing about most modern terrorist bombs are triggered by mobile ring so presume it's piezo/rtone speaker wires that's rigged to blast cap/det. Any terrorists with info to share on this please do hehehehe.

    Will check those sites, maybe easily adapted. Failing that building a homemade IR trigger shouldn't be hard. My brother has a version 1 psp handheld (v1 has IR capabilities) and I have sorted IR shell on that, with custom pronto codes you could trigger anything with it using it like a universal remote. I don't own a psp so no good to me but anyone who does I think IRshell is handy program, it was written by a guy to use to control is camera IR functions I think but works with any IR device (keep meaning to meet with my bro and go round a large electronic shop turning up all the TV and HIFI volume, yeah childish but I need to get my kicks somehow). As for the hotshoe I am using a cheap compact with no hotshoe (not issue on long exp) but will look it up all the same as whatever I figure out might be useful for those who do.

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