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Assembly and Operating Instructions for HiViz.com Kits

 

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Assembly Instructions for the Cables for the Multi-Trigger 2 Kit (MT2, all builds)

 

Assembly instructions for other kits

 

Contents

 

Preparing the photogate cables

Preparing the microphone cable

Preparing an external input cable

Preparing the flash trigger cable

Testing and troubleshooting

Operating manual (opens in new window or tab)

 

About the images: Clicking on any image will open a larger version on top of the page. If you prefer to have the larger images open in a different tab or window, right click on the image and make the appropriate selection.

 

Preparing the photogate cables

 

Your kit includes parts for two types of photogate cables. The variable-width cable has an individual emitter and detector. This is useful when you need large separations between the emitter and detector. The interrupter cable uses an interrupter, which houses the emitter and detector in a U-shaped plastic housing about 5/8" apart. This is useful for triggering on the passage of a drop of liquid.

 

Variable-width photogate cable
IR LED and PT

About the variable-width cable

 

IR LED/PT connectionsThe variable-width cable uses a separate infrared LED emitter and infrared phototransistor (PT). The LED is the component with a blue case, and the PT has a clear case, as shown to the left. For both components, one leg is shorter than the other. The shorter leg is positive on the PT, while on the LED, the longer leg is positive. The figure to the right, courtesy of a helpful DIYer, provides a visual display of the connections that you'll be making to the infrared LED and phototransistor.

 

Here are the parts you'll need:

  • 3-conductor cable, 3-ft length
  • Yellow hookup wire, 1.5-ft length
  • Infrared phototransistor (clear case)
  • Infrared LED (blue case)
  • 3/32" heat shrink tubing (HST), 4" length
  • 3.5mm stereo plug

stripping the 3-conductor cable

stripping the yellow wire

twisting the red and yellow wires

Stripping the wires

 

At one end of the 3-conductor cable, strip the outer casing back by 9 inches. This will reveal the three inner conductors, colored red, black, and green. Strip each of these conductors back by ¾ inches. This will expose conductors that will be wrapped around the appropriate component legs later. See Photo 1 showing the cable after stripping.

 

 

 

 

Strip both ends of the yellow hookup wire back by 3/4 inches. See Photo 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Twist the red wire and one end of the yellow wire together tightly, as shown in Photo 3.

adding the heat-shrink tubing

Fitting the heat shrink tubing and making connections

 

Cut the heat shrink tubing (HST) into four 1" pieces. Place one piece over each wire (black, green, jumper, red+yellow) as shown in Photo 4, and slide it back onto the wire. Be on the lookout for pieces falling off if wires are held upside down.

 

 

 

 

Make connections by wrapping the wires around the legs of the PT and LED. When wrapping, try to get at least two complete turns; more are better. Before twisting any wires together, make sure the HST for that wire is still present and hasn't fallen off.

 

Make the following connections by twisting the wires around the component legs.

  • Twist the green wire tightly around the longer leg of the PT (clear case) and the black wire of the 3-conductor cable around the shorter leg of the LED (blue case). (See Photo 5.)
  • Twist the combined red+yellow wire around the longer leg of the LED and the other end of the yellow wire around the shorter leg of the PT.

 

When done, your connections should look like those in Photo 6.

soldering the legs

Soldering the connections

 

Trim any stray wire strands on the connections so the heat shrink tubing will slip over them.


It's a good idea to place a metal clip to serve as a heat sink between the head of the PT or LED and the leg where you will be soldering. (See Photo 7.) This will help avoid damage from overheating. If you don't use a heat sink, complete the soldering quickly to minimize heat buildup.

 

 

 

The completed soldering job is shown in Photo 8.

 

slipping on the HST

Adding the heat-shrink tubing

 

After soldering, slide the heat shrink tubing over each of the solder joints so that the legs of each component are insulated from each other. (See Photo 9.) Keep the pieces about 1/8” away from the component heads to protect them from overheating when the tubing is heated.


 

Using a lighter or a match, move the flame smoothly back and forth along the entire length of the tubing, with the tip of the flame just beneath it. (See Photo 10.) If you hold the flame too long in one spot or too closely to the tubing, you will notice smoke. If this happens, lower your flame and continue moving it back and forth.


The tubing will visibly shrink and will be acceptably tight-fitting after only 10-15 seconds of heating.

3.5mm stereo male connector

Preparing to connect the 3.5mm plug

 

The photogate cable will connect to the project box enclosure with a 3.5mm stereo male connector. One is shown in Photo 11. The process of adding a connector to the cut end of the 3-conductor cable is described next.

 

 

 

Remove the jacket of the connector and push it onto the cut end of the cable as shown in Photo 12.

 

 

 

Strip the gray insulation back about 1/4" and the individual wires about 1/8" as shown in Photo 13.

3-conductor cable with ends stripped for connector

Connections to the plug

 

The terminals of the connector are numbered in Photo 14. The black wire will connect to 1, the green wire to 2, and the red wire to 3. If you have trouble getting all the strands through a hole, you can clip off the strands that won't fit.

Soldered 3.5mm plug

Soldered 3.5mm plug

Soldering the connections

 

Here are some important things to keep in mind about soldering. First, don't crimp the tabs of the shaft around the cable before soldering. If you do, the heat of the soldering can melt the insulation and create a short. Secondly, tin the tip of the soldering iron with solder to improve conductivity. Then hold the tip on the metal near the wire to be soldered. Touch the wire to the metal, not to the tip of the iron. If you don't get the metal as hot as the melted solder, then the solder will bead up rather than flowing, and your connection may not actually conduct.

 

Photos 15 and 16 show two views of the completed soldering job. Snip any stray, unsoldered wires and make sure that the three conductors do not touch each other at any point.

 

Connector with tabs crimped

Completing the cable

 

Crimp the tabs around the cable as shown in Photo 17.

 

 

 

Screw the jacket on to complete the connector as shown in Photo 18.

 

 

 

 

The completed cable is shown in Photo 19.

Mounting the cable

 

Photo 20 shows one method of mounting the emitter and detector. Three sections of 1/2" PVC pipe and two PVC elbows are used. (These parts aren't provided.) A 13/64" hole is drilled through each of the two upright sections of PVC. Then a 1/4" hole is drilled through just the outer part of each section. This allows the emitter and detector each to be slipped through the corresponding hole on the outside without passing all the way through the pipe. Hot glue is used to hold the emitter and detector firmly in the mount. The wires are taped to the horizontal section of PVC. One could also drill a hole through the center of the horizontal section for a mounting bolt for the assembly.

The SPG2 Cable

interrupter

PC board

About the SPG2 cable

 

For this cable, the IR emitter and detector are housed in the U-shaped piece shown in Photo 1. In addition to this piece, you'll need the following parts:

  • 3-ft length of 3-conductor cable
  • the PC board shown in Photo 2
  • a 2-inch piece of red hookup wire
  • 3.5mm stereo plug

stripping the wires

Stripping the wires

 

At one end of the 3-conductor cable, strip the outer casing back by 2". Then strip the individual conductors back 1/8". See Photo 3.

interrupterPlacement of the interrupter on the PC board

 

Photo 4 shows where the interrupter is positioned on the PC board. Two holes are circled in red as indicators. The interrupter is positioned to the right of these holes.

The numbers 1-4 are overlaid on the photo as a guide to orienting the interrupter. The numbers correspond to those on the graphic of an interrupter to the right. The symbols and refer to the LED and phototransistor (PT) respectively. Insert the legs of the interrupter into the board in exactly the placement shown in Photo 4. This is important to insure that the connections that you make to the board go to the correct legs.

 

Once you've seated the interrupter, temporarily tape it down for soldering.

 

Photo 5 shows the board from below with the pins numbered the same as in Photo 5.

 

Soldering the interrupter to the PC board

 

 

Solder the pins of the interrupter to the copper contacts. Since you won't be able to use a heat sink on the short legs of the interrupter, solder quickly to avoid overheating the interrupter. Or you can solder one leg and then wait a while to solder the next in order to give the part time to cool. When you solder, fill the hole with solder and make sure the solder flows onto the copper to bond with it. Be careful not to create a solder bridge with a neighboring copper contact. If you do create a bridge, run the tip of the soldering iron between the contacts as needed to remove the bridge or use a desoldering tool. The completed soldering job is shown in Photo 6.

Adding a wire

 

Cut a section of hook up wire about an inch long and strip the ends. Insert the wire into the board as shown in Photo 7. Then solder the contacts from below.

connecting the 3-conductor cable to the PCB

connecting the 3-conductor cable to the PCB

Connecting the 3-conductor cable

 

Solder the three wires of the 3-conductor cable to the PC board in the locations shown in Photo 8.

 

 

 

 

The completed solder job is shown in Photo 9.

3.5mm stereo male connector

Preparing to connect the 3.5mm plug

 

If you've already prepared the SPG1 cable, the instructions that follow for adding the 3.5mm plug are the same as for that cable. They are repeated here for completeness.

 

The photogate cable will connect to the project box enclosure with a 3.5mm stereo male connector. One is shown in Photo 10. The process of adding a connector to the cut end of the 3-conductor cable is described next.

 

 

Remove the jacket of the connector and push it onto the cut end of the cable as shown in Photo 11.

 

 

 

Strip the gray insulation back about 1/4" and the individual wires about 1/8" as shown in Photo 12.

3-conductor cable with ends stripped for connector

Connections to the plug

 

The terminals of the connector are numbered in Photo 14. The black wire will connect to 1, the green wire to 2, and the red wire to 3. If you have trouble getting all the strands through a hole, you can clip off the strands that won't fit.

Soldered 3.5mm plug

Soldered 3.5mm plug

Soldering the connections

 

Here are some important things to keep in mind about soldering. First, don't crimp the tabs of the shaft around the cable before soldering. If you do, the heat of the soldering can melt the insulation and create a short. Secondly, tin the tip of the soldering iron with solder to improve conductivity. Then hold the tip on the metal near the wire to be soldered. Touch the wire to the metal, not to the tip of the iron. If you don't get the metal as hot as the melted solder, then the solder will bead up rather than flowing, and your connection may not actually conduct.

 

Photos 14 and 15 show two views of the completed soldering job. Snip any stray, unsoldered wires and make sure that the three conductors do not touch each other at any point.

 

Connector with tabs crimped

Completing the cable

 

Crimp the tabs around the cable as shown in Photo 16.

 

 

 

Screw the jacket on to complete the connector as shown in Photo 17.

 

 

 

 

The completed cable is shown in Photo 18.

 

Back to top

 

Preparing the microphone cable

 

The Microphone Cable (Version 1)

Photo 1

What you need

 

Here's what you'll need for the microphone cable:

  • 3-ft length of 2-conductor cable
  • 3.5mm mono plug
  • 2 inches of 3/32-in heat-shrink tubing
  • 3 inches of 3/16-in heat-shrink tubing
  • piezoelectric disc

Begin by cutting the 3/32" heat-shrink tubing into two 1-inch lengths and slip them onto the red and black wires of the piezo disc as shown in Photo 1. Then strip the ends of the wires about 3/4".

Photo 2

Stripping the cable

 

From one end of the gray 2-conductor cable, strip the gray insulation back 3/4". Then strip each of the red and black wires 3/4" as shown in Photo 2.

Photo 3

Photo 4

Splicing the wires

 

Twist the red wire of the piezo disc around the black wire of the 2-conductor cable. Likewise, twist the black wire of the disc around the red wire of the cable. See Photo 3.

 

 

 

Solder the connections. The result is shown in Photo 4.

Photo 5

Photo 6

Adding the heat-shrink tubing

 

Slip the heat-shrink tubing over the soldered wires and run a lighter or match flame under the tubing to shrink it but not so close as to burn the tubing. See Photo 5.

 

 

 

Slip the 3" section of 3/16" heat-shrink tubing onto the cable and over the spliced connections. Heat shrink it into place. The result is shown in Photo 6.

3.5mm mono plug

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 11

Photo 12

Photo 13

Connecting the 3.5mm plug

 

The microphone cable will connect to the project box enclosure with a 3.5mm mono plug. One is shown in Photo 7.

 

 

Remove the jacket from the plug and slip it over the cut end of the cable. The threaded end must be toward the cut end of the cable. Strip back the gray insulation on the free end of the cable about 1/4" and then strip the insulation on the red and black wires about 1/8". See Photo 8.

 

 

 

Insert the stripped wires into the holes on the terminals of the 3.5mm mono connector. The red wire goes in the shorter terminal as shown in Photo 9. Don't crimp the metal tabs around the cable yet, as this will cause the insulation to melt when you solder.

 

 

 

 

Solder the connections. Since there's so much metal, it will take some time for the soldering iron to heat the metal. Tin the tip of the soldering iron with solder first. Then hold the tip of the iron flat on the metal to heat it up in the vicinity of where you want to solder. Touch the solder to metal and wait for it to start flowing. This is the way to ensure a good electrical connection rather than a cold solder joint. The completed solder job is shown in Photo 10.

 

 

 

 

Clip off any stray wires and then crimp the metal tabs around the gray cable as shown in Photo 11.

 

 

 

 

The completed connector is shown in Photo 12.

 

 

 

 

The completed cable is shown in Photo 13.

 

Back to top

 

Preparing an external input cable

 

The external input allows the delay unit of the Multi-Trigger to be used with any HiViz.com trigger circuit or, in fact, any circuit that provides a short circuit output. The external input can also be used with a simple contact trigger such as the one shown here.

 

Parts for an external input cable aren't included in the kit. In order to prepare an external input cable, simply add a 3.5mm mono plug to one end of a 2-conductor cable like you did for the microphone cable above. The other end of the cable will connect to the output of your external trigger circuit. The connector that you use for that end will depend on the external trigger that you're using.

 

 

Preparing a trigger cable

 

The trigger cable isn't provided with the MT2 kit, because there are different methods of connecting to a flash unit. You may have purchased one of our trigger cable kits to use with the MT2. If so, follow the online instructions for your kit to prepare the cable. Three versions of completed trigger cables are shown below.

PC cable ready to connect to PCB Hot shoe adapter ready to connect to PCB Trigger cable for Vivitar 283

PC plug to 3.5mm plug

Hot shoe adapter to 3.5mm plug

Vivitar 283-type plug to 3.5mm plug

 

Testing and Troubleshooting

 

battery holder positoning in boxBefore testing, you'll need to position the battery holder in the interior of the project box. Refer to the graphic to the right. This is the view looking down into the interior of the box. When the lid is in place, the PCB would be located in the position shown by the dashed lines. There is more space to the right of the PCB than to the left. Therefore, you'll position the battery holder on the right. Use the sticky-back hook and loop tape to stick the battery holder down to the box. Stick one piece on the bottom of the battery holder and the other piece in the box in the location indicated to the right.

 

Make sure the power switch is in the OFF position. For the tests below, install a 9V battery in the battery holder. Now lower the lid onto the project box. Make sure that no wires are pinched between the lid and the body of the box. Don't screw the lid down until after you've completed testing.

 

Power test

Flip the power switch to the ON position to start testing. The LED to the right of the switch should light and remain lit. If, as you proceed with the tests below, you find that the power light flickers or loses intensity, that could indicate a short in the power circuit. Lift the lid and touch the battery. If the battery is quite warm or even hot, that indicates that something is draining it. One likely location for this is the 9VDC jack. Inspect it to see whether solder dripped down from the lugs and created a short with the base of the jack.

 

Photogate test

Turn off the Multi-Trigger first. Turn the PG SENS to the middle of its range. Plug in the photogate cable, preferably the interrupter cable, since you don't have to mess with alignment for that one. Be sure to push the plug in all the way. Now turn on the Multi-Trigger. The PG alignment LED should light indicating that the photogate is aligned and the beam is unbroken. Now run your finger through the interrupter. The PG LED should go out momentarily. If so, try the other photogate cable next. Tape the emitter and detector down to a table a few inches apart pointing toward each other. When you get them aligned, the PG LED will go on. Run your finger between them, and the LED will flicker off. Now try turning PG SENS clockwise. At some point, the alignment LED will go out. What you've done is actually make the circuit so sensitive that it triggers spontaneously. If you turn the knob back a bit, you can set the photogate in its most sensitive working condition. You'll find that this setting depends on the separation of the emitter and the LED as well as the ambient light. In order to see this, move the emitter and detector about 6 inches apart and readjust the sensitivity as needed.

 

If the photogate test didn't work, the first thing to check is the plug. First make sure the plug was pushed in all the way. If so, unscrew the plastic jacket on the plug and inspect it to make sure that the wires are connected to the correct terminals and that none of the wires are in contact with each other. If the plug looks ok, you can check for the operation of the photogate circuit without the cable in place as follows. First remove the cable and open the box. With the power to the box turned on, touch the ends of a wire between terminals 2 and 3 of the photogate jack. If the PG alignment LED comes on, that indicates the photogate circuit is working correctly and narrows the problem down to the photogate cable. In that case, check all your wiring for the cable. If, when you short terminals 2 and 3, the PG alignment LED doesn't come on, that indicates a problem with the photogate circuit. Check to make sure that the 555 timer has the correct orientation in the socket on the PCB and is fully seated. Make sure that you've soldered all connections to components on the box lid and that the connections are good. One way to check for bad connections is to wiggle the wires while the unit is on to look for erratic behavior. Also check connections of the jumper wires to the PCB and check that the alignment LED is connected with the correct polarity. You can check the polarity of an LED by using a 9V battery in series with a resistor and the LED. If you didn't use the extra 1k resistor in building the PCB, you can use that resistor for this test. You'll also need some clip wires. First, turn off the box. Then connect the positive terminal of the battery to the resistor and connect the resistor to what you think is the positive leg of the LED. Then connect the other leg of the LED to the negative terminal of the battery. If the LED lights, then the polarity is correct. If the LED doesn't light, then the easiest thing to do is replace the LED rather than trying to rewire it.

 

Even if the photogate test didn't work, you can proceed with the delay unit test.

 

Delay unit test

Turn the COARSE DELAY pot all the way clockwise. Flip the INPUT selector switch to MIC and the DEL/10 switch to OFF. Insert the microphone cable into the MIC jack.

 

Turn the Timeout all the way clockwise. Push the Test button. After a delay of about a little less than a second, the TRIG LED should turn on and stay on for about a second. Now rotate the Timeout all the way counterclockwise. When you push the Test button, you'll get the same delay as before, but the delay unit LED will flicker briefly. It won't be bright. The TIMEOUT pot adjusts the amount of time that the circuit is inactive after a triggering event. The range is from about 0.01 to 1.0 seconds. That's how long the TRIG LED remains on.

 

You can try adjusting the FINE DELAY; however, you probably won't notice a change in the delay. The greatest change possible with the FINE DELAY is less than a tenth of a second. Of course, a difference of that much would be quite noticeable in a high-speed photograph.

 

Now flip the DEL/10 switch to the 0.05s position. When you push the TEST button, there won't be noticeable delay. Flipping the switch had the effect of dividing the delay by 10. There's still a delay, though, and it would be noticeable if observing high-speed events.

 

If pushing the TEST button didn't actuate the TRIG LED, there is likely a problem with the delay circuit wiring. First check that the 556 timer has the correct orientation in the socket and that the chip is fully seated. Check all connections as described previously for the delay unit. Check that the electrolytic capacitors on the PCB have the correct polarity. Check the trigger LED for polarity.

 

You'll need to have a functioning delay unit before proceeding with the remaining tests.

 

Photogate with delay test

If the photogate and delay unit tests each worked separately, plug in a photogate cable again and flip the INPUT selector to PG. Now breaking the beam should actuate the delay unit the same as pushing the TEST button. If this test doesn't work but all previous tests did work, then the problem is most likely with the input selector switch. Inspect the connections between the switch and other components. Try to wiggle the terminals of the switch. If there's any motion, that can indicate that an internal contact has been broken. This can happen if the switch is overheated during soldering. In that case, you will need to replace the switch.

 

Sound trigger test

If the previous test revealed a bad switch, then you'll need to replace the switch before moving on to the following test. Once you get the photogate working with the delay unit, you can test the sound trigger. Remove the photogate cable and connect the microphone cable. Flip the input selector to MIC. Turn SND SENS to the middle of its range. Snapping a finger should trigger the delay unit the same as using the TEST button.

 

If the sound trigger test didn't work but you know that the delay unit works by itself as well as with the photogate, that indicates a problem with the sound trigger. Test the microphone cable first. Unscrew the plastic jacket around the plug and check whether the wires are coming into contact with each other. If the plug looks ok, check the internal wiring of the box as described previously. Also check that the LM386 chip is oriented correctly and seated completely and that the capacitors have the correct polarity.

 

Output tests

Important: If your flash unit has a high-voltage trigger circuit (greater than 80V), don't connect it to the outputs on the lid. Modern flash units typically have low-voltage trigger circuits but older units may have voltages of 200-300V. For example, Vivitar 283 units manufactured before 1984 have high-voltage trigger circuits. Vivitar 283s manufactured after that date have low-voltage trigger circuits. You know if your flash unit has a high-voltage trigger circuit, because it will sting you if you touch the output terminals. If you want to trigger a high-voltage unit with the Multi-Trigger, you'll need the Output Extender Kit. By the way, if you do use a high-voltage flash with an output on the lid, you'll burn out an optocoupler. It's not a big deal; they're inexpensive and easily replaced. See this page for the PS2501 optocoupler.

 

You can test the outputs as long as the delay unit works with the TEST button. Be sure one of the three input cables is connected first. If testing with a flash unit, connect the trigger cable from either the INSTANT or DELAYED output of the box to the flash. You may need to use the 3.5mm to RCA adapter depending on the type of connector that you have on your trigger cable. Note that the position of the REVIEW/FOCUS switch is unimportant when using a flash unit. Now, when you push the TEST button (be sure the INPUT selector is in the MIC position unless you're using the photogate with the delay unit), the flash should discharge. Check both outputs. If the flash doesn't discharge from either output, check the flash cable for continuity. Disconnect the cable from the box but not from the flash. With a wire or other conductor, short the plug terminals on the trigger cable together. If the flash doesn't go off, then your trigger cable may be faulty. It's also possible that your flash unit isn't set correctly. Some modern units (examples are the Nikon SB600 and the Canon 430 EXII) must be put in manual mode in order to trigger them through a hot shoe. If you have a continuity checker or multimeter, you can also check your trigger cable for continuity by unplugging it from both the box and the flash and checking each wire for continuity between the ends.

 

If one of the outputs set off the flash but not the other, that indicates a problem with the one output. Open the box and make sure the PS2501 optocouplers are oriented correctly and seated completely. Check that the connections between the output jacks and the PCB are good.

 

In order to test the outputs with a camera, first make sure the REVIEW/FOCUS switches are in the REVIEW position. Use your camera shutter cable to connect the camera to an output. Set your camera for autofocusing mode for this test: Turn on the camera and flip the REVIEW/FOCUS switch to the FOCUS position. The camera should autofocus or attempt to. (If the subject is too close, the camera may not be able to lock in a focus point.) Try this test with the other output as well. Note that the REVIEW/FOCUS switch functions whether or not the Multi-Trigger is turned on. All the switches do is perform the shutter half-press operations of your camera. Some camera makes such as Nikons require that the half-press operations be performed--whether or not you're actually in auto-exposure/focus mode--before the shutter can be actuated. Other camera makes such as Canons do not have this requirement, so the position of the REVIEW/FOCUS switch may be unimportant for such cameras. Note also that for Nikon camera, the REVIEW/FOCUS switch must be in the REVIEW position in order to view images on the camera's LCD.

 

To continue the camera test, set your camera for complete manual operation. Flip the REVIEW/FOCUS switch to the FOCUS position unless you know that doesn't matter for your camera. Now when you trigger the Multi-Trigger, the camera shutter should actuate. Check both outputs.

 

Using the 9VDC adapter

If you have a 9VDC adapter, the battery will be bypassed if one is installed. This conserves your battery so that you can leave it in the unit all the time, available for when you need portable power. Plug in the adapter to make sure the box functions with that power source.

 

This completes testing. If you have problems that you were unable to resolve, you may contact us and we'll do our best to troubleshoot by email.

 

Operating Manual

 

 

 


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