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Sea and Sea 110 Alpha's not Firing w 5dMII Aquatica Housing


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#1 meltdownman

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:29 AM

I have been searching through these threads on the topic of using Sea and Sea 110 Alpha Strobes, a Canon 5D MII and an Aquatica Housing and the forums are well over a year old so I thought I would send this out again with regards to troubleshooting my setup:

Camera: 5D MII with latest firmware update ( ~ camera 1.5 years old)
Strobes: Sea and Sea 110 alpha (Two ~ 1.5 years old)
Aquatica Housing for 5D MII (new)
Sea and Sea TTL Converter and battery for Canon (new)
Sea and Sea Sync Chords for strobes (new)
Aquatica 6 pin bulkhead Type C hot shoe assembly for Canon camera with 6 pins (new part number 18920.1): http://aquatica.ca/e...connectors.html


Problem statement:

The 5DM II will will not fire the 2 Sea and Sea 110 alpha strobes.

I have had Cathy Church's photography shop switch out the standard 5 pin bulkhead connection with the new 6 pin bulkhead hotshoe connection. Her and her technician worked on this for 2 hours and could not find the problem.


Troubleshooting so far:

1) Strobes worked fine during the week while using my Canon S95 and fiber optic cable setup
2) I have test fired my new 580 EX II Canon Flash multiple times and it works fine and all menus are reading normal
3) We have attempted to use both manual switch settings and TTL settings in accordance with manufacture's manuals (i.e. both up and down)
4) We have used a digital tester to check for continuity on each segment of the circuit/wiring from 6 pin hotshoe all the way to strobes
5) We have test fired the strobes manually in the shop by disconnecting the strobes from the TTL converter and going through the new sync chord.
6) We have verified proper settings on the back of the strobes
7) We have turned on the equipment in the following order: Sea and Sea TTL Converter, Sea and Sea Strobes, Canon 5D MII
8) We cleared all custom function settings for both the camera and the flash settings
9) We attempted to trigger the strobes while in Manual and AV mode on the camera settings but that did not work.

Noted the following on the Canon 5D MII Flash Settings when all was hooked up and turned on:
Under the "External Speedlight Control" in the camera menu, the flash settings could not be changed because the flash was not being recognized (i.e. the menus were "grayed out").



Questions:

Has anyone run into this problem with a 5D MII in an Aquatica Housing with Sea and Sea strobes and not had their strobe fire either manually or in TTL mode?
Is there a possibility that there is setting that I am missing on the camera that is not causing the strobes to fire?
Is there an issue with the circuit speed of the strobes is not compatable with the camera signal speeds/timing? I found the following issue on another forum with regards to using a Heinrichs Weikamp converter:
Sep 21 2009, 01:50 PMThe Heinrichs Weikamp converter will not work with the D700 and YS110 alpha's. The YS110 alpha timings (12000 us) are not quick enough for the D700 (7500 us). The only option for you is to use the sea & sea converter. As has already been alluded to, this will also require rewiring the bulkhead to use all 5 pins. IIUC, this means replacing the bulkhead on the aquatica housings.

While this is a different setup I am not sure if the same timing issue applies with what I have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The Meltdownman

Edited by meltdownman, 26 February 2012 - 08:29 AM.


#2 jcclink

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:40 AM

Does the housing use a hot shoe adapter? With my Nexus I had a problem when changing from YS90's to YS110's. The internal circuit of the adapter wasn't compatible with new strobes. An older model Nexus adapter did work thou. Just something else to check if you can. (I only shoot manual, not TTL.)

Edited by jcclink, 26 February 2012 - 08:41 AM.

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#3 meltdownman

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:07 PM

Does the housing use a hot shoe adapter? With my Nexus I had a problem when changing from YS90's to YS110's. The internal circuit of the adapter wasn't compatible with new strobes. An older model Nexus adapter did work thou. Just something else to check if you can. (I only shoot manual, not TTL.)


Hi,

Yes, there is a new hot shoe adapter put out by Aquatica, (6 pin) that I listed in the above (with link).

Thank you for your suggestions though and keep the coming.

#4 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 03:27 PM

Have you taken the strobe out of Slave mode?
S.

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#5 meltdownman

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 04:59 PM

Have you taken the strobe out of Slave mode?
S.



Yes as witnessed by Cathy Church herself.

Still scratching my head on this one.

#6 pmooney

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:32 PM

Can you get the strobes to fire by not having the Sea & Sea TTL convertor installed ?

Strobe / Bulkhead / Hotshoe ?

#7 BlurredPixel

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:50 PM

Are the four switches on the 18915 in the ON position?

#8 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:46 PM

Based on everything presented, Camera will fire strobes regular (non-TTL) connection, Strobes can be fired by other camera, Camera will fire Canon Speedlite, it points to the TTL Converter, have you tried another one?

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#9 Steve Williams

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:57 PM

I hope you unplugged the damn thing and are enjoying your time in Cayman shooting manual. Worry about it when you get home. I'm guessing that if Cathy and her people can't fix it it's broke hard.

Just curious, was it working when you tried it at home before you got to Cayman?

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#10 bversteegh

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:50 PM

I hope you unplugged the damn thing and are enjoying your time in Cayman shooting manual. Worry about it when you get home. I'm guessing that if Cathy and her people can't fix it it's broke hard.

Just curious, was it working when you tried it at home before you got to Cayman?

Cheers,
Steve


The TTL converter will NOT work with a y cable feeding two strobes. Do you have an individual sync cord for each strobe?
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#11 meltdownman

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:10 PM

The TTL converter will NOT work with a y cable feeding two strobes. Do you have an individual sync cord for each strobe?



Yep,


The Tech at Cathy Church had two indvidual chords coming out of the TTL converter. Neither strobe would fire. I am thinking that it is with the TTL converter. I have left the housing and 1 strobe for them to troubleshoot. I did ask them to see if they could convince another customer that has a 5d MII that comes in the shop if they could use it test to see if their 5D MII would work. This would eliminate the camera issue as being suspect. So the housing, wirings, TTL and strobe will sit there until I get back in June. They are looking at possibly testing other strobes to see if they will work but will have to wait until a willing customer will allow their camera to be used as a test subject. :lol:


Really bumbed out on this.



Stephen

#12 meltdownman

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:23 PM

I hope you unplugged the damn thing and are enjoying your time in Cayman shooting manual. Worry about it when you get home. I'm guessing that if Cathy and her people can't fix it it's broke hard.

Just curious, was it working when you tried it at home before you got to Cayman?

Cheers,
Steve


Actually, I brought the new Aquatica housing down there to Cathy Church's shop and they shipped in the TTL converter from Sea and Sea and the 6 pin hotshoe from Aquatica and had them assemble everything down there in the shop. I did not want to install the wiring and bulkhead fittings myself, not having done it before. Unfortunately all the pieces and parts arrived on the day before I had to leave for home and I did not have more time to troubleshoot. The fact that the camera menu was telling me that it would not recognize the strobes was a concern that my camera was not working correctly. However, when I got home iI put a new Canon 580 EX II on it and it fired correctly with no problems indicated on the menus. Cathy had a concern that in some cases the Canon camera's will not work in certain modes with Sea and Sea strobes. For example my Canon S95 will not allow TTL functions with the Sea and Sea 110 alpha strobes. So we went through the various modes on the camera and none worked.

I did all my camera work prior to this with my S95 in a Recsea housing and the 110 alpha strobes. So I did get a lot of photography in on this trip albeit with a different camera setup. So I can't complain. It was great diving as usual.

Stephen

#13 meltdownman

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

Based on everything presented, Camera will fire strobes regular (non-TTL) connection, Strobes can be fired by other camera, Camera will fire Canon Speedlite, it points to the TTL Converter, have you tried another one?

S.


Stew,



I did find something interesting on timing issues with regards to strobes not working with the Heinrich Weikamp converters. However, they did not mention if this would show up as a camera error message in the Canon Menu section for external flash control:




Sep 21 2009, 01:50 PMThe Heinrichs Weikamp converter will not work with the D700 and YS110 alpha's. The YS110 alpha timings (12000 us) are not quick enough for the D700 (7500 us). The only option for you is to use the sea & sea converter. As has already been alluded to, this will also require rewiring the bulkhead to use all 5 pins. IIUC, this means replacing the bulkhead on the aquatica housings.



I am begining to wonder if there is an issue with the 110 alpha strobes timing so I asked the shop to look into another set of strobes and see if they work. Cathy did mention this in passing and thought that the "back engineering" attempt by the manufacturers might have missed this point. I don't know if the Sea and Sea 250's are any better or if they even have them in the shop. We shall see.

#14 meltdownman

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

Are the four switches on the 18915 in the ON position?


Switches were up, down and everything but sideways. I think I will ask them to try and take the TTL converter out of the circuit and see if it will work in manual mode. We actually were possessed like demons trying to get the system working that we failed to do this because we ran out of time for the day and I was leaving the next day. Doh!!!

#15 BlurredPixel

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:26 PM

Switches were up, down and everything but sideways. I think I will ask them to try and take the TTL converter out of the circuit and see if it will work in manual mode. We actually were possessed like demons trying to get the system working that we failed to do this because we ran out of time for the day and I was leaving the next day. Doh!!!


So the switches were flipped several times and we can eliminate the fact that they could be in a weird mid-position. Your system is in a good place at Cathy's shop, so let us posted with what they will find. Just one last question though: was the bulkhead orange connector plugged in the J2 or J3 connector of the 18915? Have you tried both? BTW I assume that your Sea&Sea converter is an 50106.

#16 meltdownman

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:42 AM

UPDATE 7-8-12

The Sea and Sea 110 alpha strobes would not fire at all. I had it down in Cathy Church's photo shop in Grand Cayman for months. We thought perhaps it was the Sea and Sea TTL converter but we tested the circuits for continuity. We finally decided to go pin by pin to and map out the circuitry to see what would fire the strobes. With a lot of communication with Aquatica and encouraging words to the staff down there they finally figured out the electronic wiring that came with the housing had its circuit board wired wrong. We received a new wiring harness from Aquatica and installed it. It appears to be working fine now. Even in full TTL mode.


Thanks to Aquatica and Cathy Church for the great support in troubleshooting.