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Removing Subal hotshoe pins

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Hi all,

 

I saw a lot of interest in the topics about the D2x erratic flash problems with the Subal housing, but I see many people are hesitant in trying to remove Subal's hotshoe pins, or cutting the green wire as Alex suggested. I then decided to be the Guinea pig and removed the pins from the hot shoe of my Subal following Dave Marsh's (from wetpixel's sponsor uwphoto.com) directions, thanks Dave! Here is an account of how easy it is.

 

The problem: The D2x in Subal housings would erratically not fire the strobes or not save random images to the memory card. This is true for Subtronics and Sea&Sea strobes, but appears to not happen with Ikelite strobes.

 

Tools necessary: one small screw driver.

 

1) Remove the three screws from the top cover:

 

start.jpg

 

2) Remove the two screws from the circuit board:

 

board.jpg

 

3) The springs hold the pins in place, when you remove the circuit board, simply turn over the bottom plastic part of the hotshoe and the pins will fall. Be careful, they are small and you may lose them. Do it over a table or flat surface. Here is the bottom of the circuit board:

 

springs.jpg

 

Here is the hotshoe open without the pins:

 

open.jpg

 

And here are the pins:

 

pins.jpg

 

I decided to remove only the ready light pin, as shown below, and kept it in a safe place just in case some company decides to produce an iTTL UW strobe. I kept the other pins in the hotshoe to ensure a snug fit of the hotshoe to the camera.

 

final.jpg

 

I know I've pointed many of you guys to Ikelite's site, but according to Ikelite's instruction you need to cover the monitor pin, and that pin is already disconnected in a Subal with a 3 pin connection. So this is the real fix, and Ikelite's fix won't work for other strobes.

 

This was very easy and the entire process took less than 5 minutes. I recommend it even for the ones that are not very comfortable using tools.

 

Luiz

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Luiz, it strikes me that you have a rather inappropriate attachment to your hotshoe pins  :huh:  :D  :D

 

LOL! :huh::huh: Thanks for pointing it out Craig, I fixed it...

 

Luiz

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Luiz,

 

You're a gentleman and a scholar. I think even I might be able to do this without destroying the strobe wiring circuits in the housing. To sum up what I think I might now vaguely understand, what the Subal manual should have told us was that:

 

1. The two sets of internal strobe wiring can be switched from four-pin female connectors to the three-pin connectors.

 

2. For use with housed Nikon strobes (e.g, SB800), the strobe wires should be left in the 4-pin connectors;

 

3. Replacing the strobe wiring in the 3-pin connectors defeats the "monitor contact" pin and may be necessary (and sufficient?) for use with some strobes (i.e., Ikelite) in manual mode..

 

4. With other strobes (e.g., Sea&Sea, Inon, SubStrobe, ???) it is also necessary to defeat the "ready light" pin, which can be accomplished by removing the pin from the hotshoe or cutting the green wire.

 

Does this make sense?

 

Thanks again for the help, and esp. the photos.

 

Frogfish

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Yes Robert, that's it! And I am glad I could help. Now, everyone calls it 5-pin (you are calling it 4-pin), but that's because everyone counts the ground contact as a pin. Technically you are right, there are 4 pins + the ground contact in the hotshoe for a total of 5 contacts, hence the 5-pin connection.

 

Luiz

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Thanks Luiz, showing the "guts" of the system is really helpful. Glad you took the time to put this together. As a FWIW, I've never had this problem with my Inon Z220s. Frogfish, are you saying this has been an issue with the Inons?

 

Rand

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Is this a widespread problem? I just took my Subal D2X housing on its first trip doing about 80 dives with it, and I didnt notice any strange behavior.

 

Regards,

 

Cor

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I have the YS90DX strobes, and sofar had no problems on the first 80 or so dives. Just trying to figure out if this is a common problem or a rare problem with the Subal ND2 housing/strobe combos.

 

Regards,

 

Cor

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I have Sea&Sea YS-90 auto strobes, and they will not fire if the hot shoe is pushed all the way in, but it must be exactly 90% of the way in. I have to test it every single time. This is probably due to the same problem.

 

Hal

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I have Sea&Sea YS-90 auto strobes, and they will not fire if the hot shoe is pushed all the way in, but it must be exactly 90% of the way in. I have to test it every single time. This is probably due to the same problem.

 

This sounds like the bulkheads are plugged into the 5-pin socket in the front of the housing, instead of the 3-pin manual socket...

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Just came back from Indonesia, where I had this problem with ND2 and a pair of YS90DX strobes. So, I have now modified.

 

I have the YS90DX strobes, and sofar had no problems on the first 80 or so dives. Just trying to figure out if this is a common problem or a rare problem with the Subal ND2 housing/strobe combos.

 

Regards,

 

Cor

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Thanks for this info. I took my D2X and ND2 to Palau and had this problem on the first dive. Luckly I printed this article out and took it with me. Major save for my trip!

 

Thanks again......Jon.

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Welcome to wetpixel Jon, I am glad we could help. Just curious, what kind of strobe do you have?

 

Post your Palau photos when you can!

 

Luiz

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I was using 2 Sea & Sea YS-120's. I took about 6 shots, then it started acting strange. I found that turning of the strobes and camera, then turning on the camera only (a reboot) solved the problem underwater until I turned the strobes back on.

 

I was able to reproduce the problem topside as well. Once the pin was out, everything was normal.

 

Thanks again!

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Hi Luiz:

 

Looks like this is an old posting, but I would just like to say thanks. I could not get my two Ikelite flashes to fire on my new Subal D70s housing in TTL mode. The tec reps where I purchased the housing recommended placing scotch tape over the back two contacts on the hot shoe for a quick fix. Worked quite well.

 

I am 6'3", and with gorilla hands do not enjoy working with small parts. The fix was a snap and actually only took about five minutes with almost no cursing.

 

Thanks for taking the time to work out this fix!

 

Dan

Edited by danclem

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Luiz,

 

You're a gentleman and a scholar. I think even I might be able to do this without destroying the strobe wiring circuits in the housing. To sum up what I think I might now vaguely understand, what the Subal manual should have told us was that:

 

1. The two sets of internal strobe wiring can be switched from four-pin female connectors to the three-pin connectors.

 

2. For use with housed Nikon strobes (e.g, SB800), the strobe wires should be left in the 4-pin connectors;

 

3. Replacing the strobe wiring in the 3-pin connectors defeats the "monitor contact" pin and may be necessary (and sufficient?) for use with some strobes (i.e., Ikelite) in manual mode..

 

4. With other strobes (e.g., Sea&Sea, Inon, SubStrobe, ???) it is also necessary to defeat the "ready light" pin, which can be accomplished by removing the pin from the hotshoe or cutting the green wire.

 

Does this make sense?

 

Thanks again for the help, and esp. the photos.

 

Frogfish

 

 

ok, some more questions to make this clear now:

 

it seems to me that I also had this problem recently with the D2X/Subal ND2/Subtronic Nova flash in manual mode. it is true that in the subal housing the internal 2 connectors must be switched between manual and ttl shooting, which I did but still had some strange behaviour when shooting manual. what is now the best solution to this problem for manual shooting:

 

1. to take the pin out from the hot shoe connector

2. to cut the green wire at the hot shoe connector

3. to cut the green wire at the internal wire in the housing

 

what are the effects (besides solving the problem of not firing and writing to the card...) when the ready light is disengaged? what does that mean? if the pin is out (nr. 1) will it still work for ttl or do I have to change each time that tiny pin if I want to switch between manual and ttl ?

 

I will also ask both subal and subtronic about this problem and will post these answers asap. but it might take a while since they are on the boot-show right now. regards

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ok, some more questions to make this clear now:

 

it seems to me that I also had this problem recently with the D2X/Subal ND2/Subtronic Nova flash in manual mode. it is true that in the subal housing the internal 2 connectors must be switched between manual and ttl shooting, which I did but still had some strange behaviour when shooting manual. what is now the best solution to this problem for manual shooting:

 

1. to take the pin out from the hot shoe connector

2. to cut the green wire at the hot shoe connector

3. to cut the green wire at the internal wire in the housing

 

what are the effects (besides solving the problem of not firing and writing to the card...) when the ready light is disengaged? what does that mean? if the pin is out (nr. 1) will it still work for ttl or do I have to change each time that tiny pin if I want to switch between manual and ttl ?

 

I will also ask both subal and subtronic about this problem and will post these answers asap. but it might take a while since they are on the boot-show right now. regards

 

The best method to fix your hotshoe connector is method 1. It's really easy to do, and unlike the other methods does not involve damaging anything. Unless you really plan to do a lot of switching between manual and ttl strobes, I would go even further and remove all pins except for the trigger pin.

 

The ready light shows you when your strobe is recharged enough to do another full dump. It should still be able to do TTL if you dont remove the other pins.

 

Cor

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ok, some more questions to make this clear now:

 

it seems to me that I also had this problem recently with the D2X/Subal ND2/Subtronic Nova flash in manual mode. it is true that in the subal housing the internal 2 connectors must be switched between manual and ttl shooting, which I did but still had some strange behaviour when shooting manual. what is now the best solution to this problem for manual shooting:

 

1. to take the pin out from the hot shoe connector

2. to cut the green wire at the hot shoe connector

3. to cut the green wire at the internal wire in the housing

 

what are the effects (besides solving the problem of not firing and writing to the card...) when the ready light is disengaged? what does that mean? if the pin is out (nr. 1) will it still work for ttl or do I have to change each time that tiny pin if I want to switch between manual and ttl ?

 

I will also ask both subal and subtronic about this problem and will post these answers asap. but it might take a while since they are on the boot-show right now. regards

 

Now that's a new one, so, if you switch the new subtronic TTL to manual it doesn't work well? This isn't supposed to happen, I don't think, but I guess it would solve your problem if you remove the ready light pin (there are no effects on TTL as far as I know, so you can just remove it and leave it out).

 

You should be able to switch between manual and TTL during a dive with those, if when you switch to manual (with all pins connected) you have problems, as this should be an iTTL compatible strobe. For example, when I switch my SB800 to manual it works fine. I think that the strobe has a problem (either a design problem if all behave like that or an electrical problem if it is only your unit).

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Hi Juerg:

 

Just a quick note to say I contacted Subal about both removing the single pin and cutting the green wire. They were very tentative and indicated that they did not know if it was possible to fire two flashes in TTL mode, which of course is possible. They referred me to Ryan at Reef Photo (which is where I purchased my rig) in Florida for assistance.

 

Ryan has been very helpful, and was the individual who provided me with the temproary tape fix work around while I was on a dive in the Seattle area. Perhaps the Netherlands is on better terms with Austria than the US at the moment and you will have better luck with Subal.

 

Goed geluk!

 

Dan

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Now that's a new one, so, if you switch the new subtronic TTL to manual it doesn't work well? This isn't supposed to happen, I don't think, but I guess it would solve your problem if you remove the ready light pin (there are no effects on TTL as far as I know, so you can just remove it and leave it out).

 

yes, indeed, I think that was a problem recently when I was diving in Yap and Palau. I had another problem with one of the flash and the flash arm battery (Mike Veitch knows about it...) and therefore switched to manual shooting using one flash only. And sometimes, kind of erratic, my camera was kind of blocking (not firing, not reacting at all) until I switched off both the camera and the flash and after a minute or so it was ready again. But happened only sometimes...could not figure out what is was and was not aware that it might be the problem like described in this thread until I read yesterday this one again... so I will test again all kind of options next time diving (unfortunately not before April in the Bahamas with Jimmy...ha ha).

 

And for Subal, I am not surprised that they don't know... but I will check with Subtronic and will let you know

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I have tested this recently during my red sea trip in june. the subtronic / subal can be switched underwater from TTL to manual power (the housing-internal connector is always on the TTL-socket) without cutting any cables.

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Now for the reverse issue. Ikelite just came out with a TTL cable for their flash units and Nikon attachments. To make this work you need to reinsert the pin that was taken out per earlier instructions.

 

I am in the Galapagos, and it works fantastically. The TTL settings work outstandingly in a variety of challenging conditions. If you make this switch there is a single connection to the housing. Make sure you use the five pin plug.

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Now for the reverse issue. Ikelite just came out with a TTL cable for their flash units and Nikon attachments. To make this work you need to reinsert the pin that was taken out per earlier instructions.

 

I am in the Galapagos, and it works fantastically. The TTL settings work outstandingly in a variety of challenging conditions. If you make this switch there is a single connection to the housing. Make sure you use the five pin plug.

 

That's very good to know, I didn't know their new cable was in the market already. Please post some photos and maybe a quick review when you can!

 

Luiz

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