I am writing to report a problem i have encountered with my 2 Inon Z240 type IV strobes. I have done a search on this forum for similar issues, but what i found was different, people were having issues in Manual, not in TTL, and this was due to corroded ACC (auto-cancel circuitry) button.
First, let me state that these 2 strobes have been purchased in April 2011, always used together, first with a Nikon D7000 setup (housed in Hugyfot), and since May 2013, with an Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera (housed in Nauticam NA-EM5). Always connected to cameras with optical fibres, produced by Inon (those which screw nicely on the strobes). I use them mostly in TTL, though occasionally i have used them in manual with my Olympus camera (in which case, i set the camera to shoot manually, 1/64th of flash power, so I should not be impacted by ACC whatsoever).
I never had any trouble with these strobes, until recently:
-21nd June: did 2 dives, strobes worked perfectly. In the evening, i changed the eneloop batteries in preparation for the second day.
-22nd June: from the beginning of the dive, the left strobe didn't work well, either not firing, or firing very weak. I did multiple configuration changes, from TTL to manual and back, unplugged the optical fibers from the housing side and plugged back. At the end of the dive it seemed back to normal (screwed almost the full dive...), but honestly i don't remember exactly what i could have done which worked eventually (had other gear issues and tried many many things). Needless to say i checked the stobes for water leak in the evening, there wasn't any.
-27th June: we go diving! and i have the unpleasant surprise to see my strobes are going mad again: first i am shooting TTL and then manual, the left strobe doesn't fire at all, the right strobe fires a tiny bit, not enough to lit. Then i switch to manual and it doesn't help, i don't manage to lit the subject... Apparently (my wife was observing) the left strobe didn't shoot, and the right one did (but was mostly very weak). However i randomly had some shots well lit (a bit over-exposed actually), which i presume were lit by the right strobe - it's been about 1 shot every 5, and then i got some series of 5-6 shots with right strobe firing... To conclude, the behavior of the right strobe was totally unpredictable, and the left strobe wouldn't shoot.
-28th June: i am back home and take the housing in the pool for some more relaxed testing (I hadn't opened anything). Same symptoms as before, so I try to switch the optical fibers (just the strobe ends), and miracle! my left strobe is now working, and the right one doesn't work. Of course i am guessing i've got 1 optical fibre problem, but just to see, I also switch the optical fibres on housing end and... both strobe work! both in TTL and manual..
Of course before each dive i would do a dry strobe test, which passed all times.
I would tend to conclude on fibre optics issues, but when I look at my fibre optics on strobe end i can clearly see the camera's flash light transmits well, on both.
I can't say I am relieved because i am still not clear on the root cause, so I don't know whether my strobes will spoil my next dive or not. It seems easy to blame the optical fibres, but why would the strobe manage to lit from time to time (27th June), whereas I haven't touched the optical fibres??
Does anyone see clearer in what happened to me? Could it be that my optical fibers got sort of ill-positioned (twice) and that would explain the whole problem?
Another thing that worries me is the call i gave to an Inon dealer on 27th June, to get his opinion on my problem. He's saying that it's not at all surprising that strobes stop working after 3 year of usage, because there are components which perish inside (e.g. capacitors, but also others). So he offered that i send the strobes to him for repair, and in the (likely) event that he wouldn't be able to fix them, he would ship them to Inon japan. He sais such a service has costed about 500 Euros (and one month waiting) to another customer for 2 Inon Z240s!!! I asked if there would be other strobe brand where you don't have to pay 250 EUR/strobe after 3 years, and he told me Inon were the most reliable ones in his view...
3 years of ownership for me should be about 150 dives, and i am sure there's plenty of much more active shooters around here. I am wondering if all have had failing Inon Z240s.
What is your reading of the above? Is it normal to go through costly repair of your Inon Z240 after 3 years of usage?
thank in advance for your help on this,
i am must stay i am quite puzzled/disappointed, but maybe I am just unaware that strobes are (expensive) perishable items.