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one Inon Z240 producing less light

inon z240 issue inon z240 type IV capacitor magnet

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#1 Nicool

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 04:19 AM

hi guys,

 

Reading at the issues experienced by others on some Inon Z240 type IV strobes, i was glad not to have experienced any problem with my 2 strobes bought in 2011.

 

However during today's dive i noticed straight away that my left strobe wasn't producing as much light as the right one  :(

I trigger these strobes in manual mode both on same power, using Nauticam fiber optics, Nauticam housing on Nikon D500.

 

I've done a number of tests after rincing the housing on dry land:

-swapped the fiber optics, no change

-changed the flash output settings, i.e. starting with both at EV-2 and then EV-4 -> my left strobe still was noticeably less powerful

-and of course, i had made sure each time the pre-flash button was fully engaged

 

To make sure i wasn't getting tricked by what i was shootting at, i just aimed my camera to a white wall, shot subsequently with left and then right flash, could clearly see the shift in the histograms/

 

This looks like my left strobe has just become overall less powerful, very strange! I had just changed batteries before that dive so i am wondering if it could explain the problem, but i do wait for the strobe's red ready light to turn on before i shoot.

 

My question to the community: does anyone know what could be the cause of my issue? Any way to fix it myself? 

If it requires repair, does anyone have an idea of how long and how costly such a repair can be (i am in Sydney, Australia).

 

 

 

thanks and merry Xmas to all!

 

Nicolas



#2 ChrisRoss

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 01:52 PM

The only other step I can think of is to swap batteries between the two strobes and see if the problem moves.  And try it in TTL to see if the same thing happens.  You may be able to get the weaker strobe to trigger in trigger in TTL activated by the stronger strobe with the pre flash magnet pushed in.  A long shot but maybe you have a problem with the pre-flash cancel magnet, I've heard of them corroding.

 

Can't help you on cost, though I seem to recall that the dealer said Inon could be repaired here,  It's a long turnaround time if they go to Japan for repair apparently.  Maybe give Dive 2000 a call to see what the repair situation is?


Edited by ChrisRoss, 23 December 2017 - 01:56 PM.


#3 Nicool

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 02:14 PM

The only other step I can think of is to swap batteries between the two strobes and see if the problem moves.  And try it in TTL to see if the same thing happens.  You may be able to get the weaker strobe to trigger in trigger in TTL activated by the stronger strobe with the pre flash magnet pushed in.  A long shot but maybe you have a problem with the pre-flash cancel magnet, I've heard of them corroding.
 
Can't help you on cost, though I seem to recall that the dealer said Inon could be repaired here,  It's a long turnaround time if they go to Japan for repair apparently.  Maybe give Dive 2000 a call to see what the repair situation is?

Thanks for this Chris
Yes i'll give a try at swapping batteries but i believe that, even if batteries are weak on 1 strobe, that strobe should be able to maintain it's normal output - or just not show the ready light.
I can't test TTL with my housing: manual only.

Thanks for the recommendation on Dive 2000, although looking at Inon website it seems their only service center in Australia is seaoptics.com.au (located in SA), unless Inon didn't updatef their site?

Cheers
Nicolas

#4 errbrr

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 03:35 PM

Have a look at the tubes. If they are brown-ish on the weaker strobe, you've found your problem - overheating and burn-out. Steve at TFM in Melbourne has replaced inon tubes for me with success.



#5 Undertow

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 04:55 PM

Inons have 2 flash tubes. Perhaps one has blown.

#6 ChrisRoss

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 09:44 PM

I'm not so sure what Sea Optics is doing now they still have a small UW photo section on their website but it has shrunken quite a bit.   I purchased an INON torch from them a year or more back.  I did find this company from a link on Carey Harmer's website:

 

http://www.underwate...au/about_us.htm

 

they say they do factory INON service, have not dealt with them, just found them on the web.  Carey was associated with Sea Optics, he was my contact when I bought the torch.  There is no mention of INON service on Sea Optics website, so my guess is Sea Optics may have been an agent in the past, perhaps the above company originated there and INON has not updated their website?   I suggest giving a few of them a call in the new year to find out your options, talking to the actual service people may shed some light, if they can fix it here. 

 

So no built in flash on the D500?  If you could get the low output Z-240 in TTL with the pre flash disabled to trigger off the good flash it should attempt to mimic the good flash and that may tell you something?  If it can't match it means the output on the problem strobe is truly limited.  If it can that might be a work around till you get it serviced.



#7 Nicool

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 10:14 PM

Have a look at the tubes. If they are brown-ish on the weaker strobe, you've found your problem - overheating and burn-out. Steve at TFM in Melbourne has replaced inon tubes for me with success.

Thanks for the tip Liz.

My faulty strobe's tubes don't look brown, however its tubes look like a bit of dirt is inside, say they are certainly not as clear as the ones on the good strobe, so i may have an issue there.

What's Steve's website / contact details? I coulnd't find on google.

 

Inons have 2 flash tubes. Perhaps one has blown.

Yes could be, with more tests and after swapping batteries, i can see my faulty strobe has about 1 eV or so less output than the good one.

 

I'm not so sure what Sea Optics is doing now they still have a small UW photo section on their website but it has shrunken quite a bit.   I purchased an INON torch from them a year or more back.  I did find this company from a link on Carey Harmer's website:

 

http://www.underwate...au/about_us.htm

 

they say they do factory INON service, have not dealt with them, just found them on the web.  Carey was associated with Sea Optics, he was my contact when I bought the torch.  There is no mention of INON service on Sea Optics website, so my guess is Sea Optics may have been an agent in the past, perhaps the above company originated there and INON has not updated their website?   I suggest giving a few of them a call in the new year to find out your options, talking to the actual service people may shed some light, if they can fix it here. 

 

So no built in flash on the D500?  If you could get the low output Z-240 in TTL with the pre flash disabled to trigger off the good flash it should attempt to mimic the good flash and that may tell you something?  If it can't match it means the output on the problem strobe is truly limited.  If it can that might be a work around till you get it serviced.

Thanks for the extra contact details Chris, really appreciated! I'll ping these guys.

Yes no built in flash on the D500, though i believe i definitely have an issue, not getting same light output from the strobes at same power output.

 

cheers

Nicolas



#8 errbrr

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 07:02 PM

Those little bits of brown dirt are burn out...sorry for your loss :-) 

 

The only "official" service available on a Z240 is complete replacement of the internals. Sea Optics has done one strobe for me themselves and sent one to Japan as well. While I appreciated that they could do it, in both cases this took a long time and many unanswered phone calls to them. 

 

Steve's website is here: http://www.tfmengineering.com.au/Full disclosure, he is a friend and dive buddy as well as a business owner. He did a fair bit of experimenting with one of my Z240s to find the right replacement tubes, and has since changed over four sets. It's nice to have full output out of them again.



#9 Undertow

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 12:06 PM

I mean you can shoot a photo of the front of the flash, put the flash on minimum power, use a small aperture, and you will easily see if one or both tubes are firing. 



#10 diggy

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 09:59 PM

Do check this page http://www.inon.jp/p...0/exterior.html

 

And then see if there is some issue with the advanced cancel circuit switch. It should be pushed in and locked. There may also sometimes be an issue with the magnet inside. This could be the problem.

 

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#11 Nicool

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 02:19 PM

Thanks Liz for Steve ´s details.
Undertow, ok i understand now, yes it makes sense.
Diggy, yes i agree this is a possible issue, but i do see the strobe producing varying amounts of lights so to me there is no ACCS issue.
Regardless, i’ll get it serviced due to the tubes looking damaged, and i don’t want to take chaces with 2 upcoming trips.
Cheers
Nicolas


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#12 maelstrom

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 08:40 PM

Given enough time and use, they can  lose power output.  Mine were tested at Backscatter in California after 8 years of heavy use, and were down to 50% and 37% output.  I had them refurbished, and they are much better now.  WIsh I had waited for the z-330s..



#13 makar0n

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 12:59 PM

Nicool,

 

Had similar problem, with one strobe weirdly being less powerful, sometimes more, sometimes less...turns out ACCS was kind of a stuck..even though button appeared de-pressed. Turns out there was some salt build up inside these...try to soak strobes for about 24 hours in warm (not hot, but warm water dissolves salt better), clean water with some soap and from time to time press the buttons to make sure water penetrates inside. Did a wash myself and all works fine, there was no need for service :)

It could also be an issue with a corroded magnet, apparently Z-240s have this problem quite often. You can open the button and check - don't remember the link but search forums, there was a topic about it.

 

Good luck!



#14 Nicool

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:44 PM

Nicool,
 
Had similar problem, with one strobe weirdly being less powerful, sometimes more, sometimes less...turns out ACCS was kind of a stuck..even though button appeared de-pressed. Turns out there was some salt build up inside these...try to soak strobes for about 24 hours in warm (not hot, but warm water dissolves salt better), clean water with some soap and from time to time press the buttons to make sure water penetrates inside. Did a wash myself and all works fine, there was no need for service :)
It could also be an issue with a corroded magnet, apparently Z-240s have this problem quite often. You can open the button and check - don't remember the link but search forums, there was a topic about it.
 
Good luck!

Thanks makar0n!
The strobe is now gone for servicing, but are you saying that you did get varying power outputs (not only very low power) due to your ACCS issue? I reckon when ACCS is depressed it would just give me a very low constant output.
Anyways, thanks for your advice which i’ll use next time, i just hope my strobe returns on time for some action-packed weekend trips which i have scheduled shortly :-)

I wish there were no ACCS button on thee strobes, it caused problems to so many people!

#15 ChrisRoss

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 10:14 PM

The Advanced cancel circuit as I understand is a touch more complicated, it tells the flash to expect 2 flashes, the first one it reads and boosts to a brighter level so that the main flash will be reduced (improving recycle) on camera.  However the flash knows what it did and plans to adjust the flash to get the right exposure for the second flash.  So you should get a low powered pre flash if the ACCS is enabled which just looks dark.  How long it remembers the pre flash I don't know, maybe it sometimes gives the pre determined exposure on a second shot done soon after the first?  Probably unlikely, I've forgotten to push in the ACCS button a couple of times and the exposures seemed to me to be uniformly dark and the brown bits certainly don't look promising for the flash tube.   Unfortunately the ACCS a necessary evil if a flash is to have TTL or manual - ideally switching to manual flash should automatically disable the ACCS?? 

 

I'd hate to be without a flash ATM, vis has been pretty decent the last few weeks.   Let us know how you go with your chosen repairer, be useful information for Australian members.



#16 Nicool

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 07:09 PM

Will do for sure, so many missed wide angle opportunities in the last dive
I have stopped using TTL for 2+ years so this ACCS thingy is really not doing me any good.


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#17 Nicool

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:44 AM

Hi folks,
Good and bad news
Good news: i got a great service from Carey Harmer (http://www.underwate...rvicing.com.au/) based in South Australia, for a good price.
Carey was quick, responsive, clearly knows his stuff, and even got me a reduced price by salvaging parts on a faulty strobe he had aside.
Turns out the magnet was corroded AND the tubes were done. I tried the strobe at home tonight (preparing for tomorrow’s dive) and all seems fine.

What’s not call at all: now it’s my second strobe - the one which kept working fine - which is faulty now! Whatever the strobe output level (even in full power) it triggers the same very low output!
If i understand ACCS well it doesn’t look like it, still i have no other idea so i am letting it soak for the night in soapy water and crossing fingers...


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#18 Alison Perkins

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:43 AM

Did you take the button off and take a look at the magnet?

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#19 Nicool

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:33 AM

Did you take the button off and take a look at the magnet?

Hi Alison,
I didn’t, though after a night soaking in soapy water the button now operates very smoothly.
Still it doesn’t work: my strobe produced the same amount of light no mattrt the power i set and no matter if the ACCS is pushed down or not.

Does it look like the symptoms you’ve exprienced in the past?
I am not sure i have the tools (tiny screDriver needed i guess) to take the button off, but if i could, any chance it’s self repairable?

Cheers
Nicolas

#20 bvanant

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:50 AM

Remove the button (it screws out) and see if the magnet is still there. Ofen they simply corrode to mostly just brown specs.

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