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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I trigger my camera's electronic shutter with your circuits?

  2. Can I trigger a wireless controller such as a PocketWizard with a HiViz.com circuit?

  3. Can I trigger two or more flash units simultaneously from one output of a trigger circuit?

  4. What is the maximum separation of the emitter and detector of the variable-width photogate?  I'd like to have the circuit trigger on birds breaking the beam of the photogate.

  5. My flash doesn't have a PC cord. How do I connect it to the trigger?

  6. How do I get a trigger circuit to discharge a Nikon SB-600 flash?

  7. What's the difference between the various types of photogates?

  8. Do HiViz.com circuits output a voltage that can hurt my flash unit or camera?

  9. Can I use the crossed-beam photogate with the Multi-Trigger?
1.  Can I trigger my camera's electronic shutter with your circuits?

 

The project box kits (AstroSplash, Multi-Trigger 3/3+, Delay Timer, Sound Trigger 4, and Crossed-beam Sensor) all have outputs to trigger cameras. For our breadboard circuits, one option is the Opto Switch 2. This provides the best isolation between your camera and the circuit electronics.

 

2.  Can I trigger a wireless controller such as a PocketWizard with a HiViz.com circuit?

Definitely. Most wireless controllers are actuated by a simple short circuit. That's the output that HiViz.com circuits provide.

 

3. Can I trigger two or more flash units simultaneously from one output of a trigger circuit?

Yes, this is possible with some flash units. One method is to connect the flash units in parallel across the output. We've used this method with as many as 10 Vivitar 283s. This works best if using all the same make/model of flash. It's not recommended if using different flash units, and it's possible that it won't work for some models. And here's something to be especially careful of. There are two different versions of Vivitar 283s; the older version has ~300 V across the flash terminals. Connect one of these in parallel with a neter version that has ~10 V and you could have problems.

 

Another method which gets around the possibilty of one flash unit's trigger circuit affecting anothers is to use wireless transmitters and receivers, such as PocketWizards. Connect a transmitter to the output of the trigger circuit. Then put receivers on the flashes that you want to discharge simultaneously.

 

A disadvantage of wireless transmitters is that they tend to have a lag of a millisecond more. That may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference for events suchs as balloon bursts. In that case, optical triggers are superior. The Dual Light Sensor can be used as an optical trigger as well as a photogate.

 

4. What is the maximum separation of the emitter and detector of the variable-width photogate?  I'd like to have the circuit trigger on birds breaking the beam of the photogate.

With critical alignment and sensitivity adjustment, 12 inches (30 cm) is possible. For larger distances, a red laser pointer can be used in place of the infrared LED. The detector is sensitive to red light as well as infrared. When using a laser, you may need to place a pinhole aperture in front of the laser so that the beam on the emitter isn't too intense.  (This tip comes from Roy Marshall.) Note also that a red spot may appear on the subject so try to arrange things so that the red spot will be on the opposite side of the subject as the camera. Alternatively, you might be able to edit the red spot out of the photograph.

 

One problem with many laser pointers is that the pushbutton is momentary. If you use such a pointer, you need to clamp or tape the button down. Nowadays, it should be easy to find laser flashlights with buttons that don't have to be held down.

 

5. My flash doesn't have a PC cord. How do I connect it to the trigger?

If your flash unit doesn't have a cord, it must have connections on the foot for triggering it. We have hot shoe adapters available for our flash cable kits.

 

6. How do I get a trigger circuit to discharge a Nikon SB-600 flash?

First put the SB-600 in manual mode. Then you'll need a way to attach the SB-600 to the trigger circuit output. See the following link for a way to do that.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/12/easy-nikon-sb-600-sync-jack-mod.html

Thanks to Tom Denham for the information above.

 

7. What's the difference between the two types of photogates?

The variable-width photogate is more flexible than the interrupter style, because the emitter and detector can be positioned independently of each other. Objects of various sizes can pass through the photogate. The interrupter style uses the component shown to the right. The emitter and detector are fixed in position in a plastic housing. This is convenient for triggering on drops but is limited to objects that can pass through the gate. You can use either type of photogate with the same base trigger circuit.

 

8. Do HiViz.com circuits output a voltage that can hurt my flash unit or camera?

The outputs of our trigger kits are of three types: camera, flash, pulse. The camera outputs are optically-isolated and put out no voltage. The flash outputs are protected up to 400V but put out no voltage themselves. (The 400V protection is to prevent legacy flash units with high-voltage synch circuits from damaging the trigger circuit.) The pulse outputs are low-current, low-voltage (<9V) outputs. These are used to trigger devices that require a low-voltage puilse.

 

9. Can I use the Crossed-beam Sensor with a Multi-Trigger?

The circuitry for the crossed beam photogate is different from that in the Multi-Trigger. So you couldn't, for example, connect the PVC frame to the photogate input of the Multi-Trigger.


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