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Inon z240 strobe failures and sea and sea ttl convertor III

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Three Inon z240s strobes have failed on this PNG live aboard. One of which I borrowed on the trip. My subal, d200 and dual z240s are 8 months old. On day 30 of my 43 days PNG adventure and I am strobeless.

 

Just before this trip a mate helped me setup the sea and sea TTL convertor III. We did a macro test dive before which was great, all shots well exposed. All OK I thought.

 

So I pack my 100 kg of gear and land in Rabaul PNG and we have had 10 days of the cleanest, clearest water blue, blue, blue water I have ever seen on our way to Walindi PNG. I take a few good shots and all is working well. I am very happy with the ttl convertor, a lot less missed shots when fast action is happening and easier to turn off for sunburst shots.

 

On day 20 my first z240 gets a green light on rear instead of a red. And the strobe does not fire. I checked batteries , connectors. All appeared OK. I borrowed a shipmates spare z240. She had two z240 fail on her last liveaboard.

 

On day 23 my second z240 fails same symptoms, except even when switched off the green led stays on. I call sea optics my dealer in oz on the very expensive satellite phone, My dealer advised to stop using ttl convertor incase there are compatibility issues causing the failures. So I disconnected it and borrowed another shipmates z240 and this worked fine.

 

On day 25 my first borrowed z240 died in style at 47 meters doing shots of the nose of the spectacular black jack, B17 bomber I noticed my 10.5mm shot was half lit, red light OK, no green light, turned it off on, no TTL convertor, still same problem. Then I turned it off there was a big pop and a last flash that came out of the rear of the strobe. It was still a great dive, but the trip was getting expensive. The boats engineer and most experienced photographer carefully checked the strobe, there was no water in the battery compartment or ttl connector. I have photos of this. Upon closer inspection the thread on the strobe where the electrical cable connects, is moveable a mmillimeter or two. We saw water extruding around the base of this thread. We looked at another non flooded strobe and there was movement at the base of that thread also. One would suspect this movement is unacceptable and a potential cause for a flood. Potentially the electrical cable is exerting pressure on this thread. This is despite cable ties properly supporting the cable on the strobe arms, specifically aimed to avoid this. This aspect of the strobe design looks suspect and only affects those using electrical cables. My colleague had two similar floodings when the thread disconnected from the strobe.while using the electrical connectors. She now uses the fibre optic connections and has had no problems since.

 

To my knowledge 5 inon z240 strobes have failed within the warranty period with no obvious user error. So far my dealer SEA OPTICSs and INON have been great, I have purchased two more z240s arriving today. I am hoping to claim back the cost of this under warranty.

 

INON Japan has purchased the SEA and SEA ttl convertor III and are testing it for compatibility with the inon z240. If you have the convertor III I would suggest waititng until its confirmed compatible or buying a few extra strobes if you are going on a long liveaboard just in case.

 

 

I am very interested in hearing from others who may have had similar experiences.

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Can you be more clear as to exactly what thread is moving and in relation to what other part of the strobe? On an Inon strobe, the threaded connector that takes the sync cord is an integral part of the component it attached to and cannot move. I'm looking at one now and can't imagine what your failure mode is. A picture might help.

 

A sync cord should not be able to put too great a stress for a strobe to handle unless there is a design or manufacturing defect. I don't see how that's possible with my Z240. I'm convinced the sync cord would break before the strobe would.

 

On any of these failed strobes is there a confirmed flood? Have the strobes been opened besides the battery compartments? How about the ones that show a green light? Are all the failure modes the same? How could a strobe show a green light after flooding?

 

Does Inon have any of these strobes so they can do a postmortem?

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Can you be more clear as to exactly what thread is moving and in relation to what other part of the strobe? On an Inon strobe, the threaded connector that takes the sync cord is an integral part of the component it attached to and cannot move. I'm looking at one now and can't imagine what your failure mode is. A picture might help.

 

A sync cord should not be able to put too great a stress for a strobe to handle unless there is a design or manufacturing defect. I don't see how that's possible with my Z240. I'm convinced the sync cord would break before the strobe would.

 

On any of these failed strobes is there a confirmed flood? Have the strobes been opened besides the battery compartments? How about the ones that show a green light? Are all the failure modes the same? How could a strobe show a green light after flooding?

 

Does Inon have any of these strobes so they can do a postmortem?

 

With reference to the 3rd failure on day 25

The black thread in photo moves a millimeter, its not rigid, we could see moisture around the connector.

I suspect this is a design/production flaw. We could not see water in battery compartment, or ttl connector or its socket. No obvious water inside the front display, see photo. Even though I could not see evidence of flooding, this is what I suspect because of the pop and flash out the back of the strobe when turning off.

 

With reference to the 1st and 2nd failure on days 20 and 23. The main symptom is no red light as normal, its green and the strobe does not fire. And it stayed on after the strobe was turned off. Also the focusing light stayed once and would not turn off.

 

I sent the three dead strobes back to the Inon dealer yesterday with some friends returning to Oz.

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post-2636-1191402917_thumb.jpg

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It sounds like there is more than one failure mode.

 

On the strobe(s) where the sync cord connector moved, was the movement in relation to the knobs or did the entire assembly move inside the strobe? I ask because the sync cord connector is molded in black plastic integral to the control panel of the strobe. The entire strobe chassis may be one piece but there are two separate plastic colors.

 

In any event, I'd think that if the sync cord connector is loose then your strobe has already failed even if it behaves normally because it is dry. There may be a manufacturing defect or it may have been caused by shipping or rough handling. I can't see how that would happen in any of the strobes I've used.

 

As far as the strobes exhibiting electrical failures, who knows? I haven't seen anything like that either although that's possible with any device.

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the black thread moves in relation to the grey body.

the 3rd failu manufacting re strobe was 6 dives old, no scratches even, only used live aboard.

we observed this loose behaviour on a another strobe on the boat as well.

as I was borrowing it, I was very very careful with it, so I suspect defect.

I have read about other z240 failures on other forums, after much searching.

 

over breakfast today I heard it appears the z240 first batch had some quality issues .... has one heard about these

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I haven't heard of this but I'm not the one to ask.

 

If the black portion of the strobe containing the sync cord socket is moving relative to the gray portion, then there is clearly a manufacturing defect or catastrophic shipping damage. All I can tell by looking at the strobe is that there are two plastic colors, it's not clear there are two separate moldings. Apparently there are and you have strobes where the moldings don't fit together correctly.

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I had a bad bulkhead on my housing which caused the strobes to exhibit some of the same symptoms. It sounds like a short/flood somewhere. I haven't seen this connector problem on my 2x 240z.

 

Jack

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hi craig and jack, thanks for your comments. The liveaboard is going out now for 8 days, so no internet, when I get some update from Inon I will post it.

cheers, Peter

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Mechanical failure of the strobe body sounds grim.

 

I first thought that you might have a problem in the 5-pin connector, where Inon supply a little insulator to go over the bulkhead pins. The strobe could have been responding to incompatible electrical signals (the complexity of the Z-240 makes my head ache).

 

Then I thought of an internal problem. The "green light failure mode", where the strobe is getting a quench signal without having fired, happened to me a couple of years ago in a Z-220. Inon fixed it (though transfer back to Japan took a while). It was an internal short, I think.

 

Or is it the cable? This is, after all, the weakest link.

 

One reason why I've switched to optical cable.

 

Tim

 

B)

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Mechanical failure of the strobe body sounds grim.

 

I first thought that you might have a problem in the 5-pin connector, where Inon supply a little insulator to go over the bulkhead pins. The strobe could have been responding to incompatible electrical signals (the complexity of the Z-240 makes my head ache).

 

Then I thought of an internal problem. The "green light failure mode", where the strobe is getting a quench signal without having fired, happened to me a couple of years ago in a Z-220. Inon fixed it (though transfer back to Japan took a while). It was an internal short, I think.

 

Or is it the cable? This is, after all, the weakest link.

 

One reason why I've switched to optical cable.

 

Tim

 

B)

 

thanks tim, sent the strobes to the dealer and they have been forwarded to INON Japan where I hope I have an answer soon that I will post. But the investigation takes along time. At least someone else on this forum has seen the green light meaning sometype of failure, which is some relief.

 

My dealer SEAOPTICs was great, they were out of stock of z240s, but they still managed to get two recently sold z240s redirected to my dive buddies wife who was joining the livaboard for trip3 and I had two strobes that worked just fine. It was amazing service from a local Australian dealer and it meant I got some great shot at a very very rare dive spot called Egum Atoll.

 

According to SEAOPTICS, a little thread movement is ok. The thread has a large diameter internal O ring is inside the strobe.

 

Peter

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Is there any news about the strobe failures? I'm very interested in this thread because I'm currently a owner of a D200 with 2x Z240. I'm currently using the Sea and Sea housing and I'm looking for a TTL converter. I've been looking around at the heinrich external converter and the sea and sea converter. I'm still decided if it's worth getting one and which one to get.

 

When the converter did work, did it work well with the Z240?

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