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Kelpfish

I am done with Ikelite

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As an industry person, I have to say that in my 30 years of diving and photography I have finally had it with Ikelite. Too many times have I purchased or upgraded strobes only to have to send them back for repair shortly after receiving them. The knobs on my new substrobes have no friction or mechanical lock so if they even so much as brush against something else in my ice chest they turn on. When I pull them out to use them the batteries are dead. I have to now tape the on-off knobs in the off position to make sure my batteries aren’t drained when I go diving.

 

The sync cords have plagued me for years and their quality forces me to purchase multiple units so I have some redundancy. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was how Ikelite responded to a recent problem I had with their cords. About 1.5 – 2 years ago I purchased four dual sync cords from Jean Brigham so that I had redundancy. When I received the cords I left them in the original boxes and put them in my ice chest, toting them with me on my trips as back ups to my back ups (unfortunately this is necessary with Ikelite sync cords). I used two of the four and after 1.5 -2 years both finally died. A few weeks ago I was doing a shoot and had to replace the last cord that failed with one of the remaining two unused ones. The first cord, never used and fresh out of its box, failed. In a panic, I pulled out the last remaining new cord (freshly out of its original packaging) and it also failed, leaving me with no strobe use on this assignment. Now Ikelite’s position is that these are more than a year old and therefore they are not subject to replacement. They might have that edge from a legal warranty standpoint, but the reality is that they sold me two defective cords and won’t stand behind that simple fact. They want me to pay to replace these cords that they have verified are defective (and were sent to me defective). Because I failed to do a functionality check when I received them, I am being held accountable for Ikelite’s incompetent quality assurance. They choose to place the quality assurance burden on the consumer rather than do the right thing in order to retain a once loyal Ikelite user.

 

The reality is that the only way for me to conduct a realistic examination of a sync cord’s functionality is to dive with them. What does this mean? It means that I’m expected to pay for a dive trip just to test their cords (and within 12 months) solely because they have a proven dysfunctional quality system? That is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to take additional measures as a consumer to validate that the cords function as intended (other than normal use). That in itself must be an integral component of Ikelite’s quality system. To receive 50 percent of my cords (2 of 4) in non-conformance condition says a lot about Ikelite’s current state quality system. The goal of any business must be to minimize external product failures and place emphasis on appraisal and prevention costs to catch problems internally before they reach the consumer. Why is this important? Because the cost of external failures is far greater than internal failures because the consumer now has had a negative experience and is likely not to purchase that product again (and I won't). I can’t go diving and have the confidence that their cords or strobes will work. I own seven Ikelite strobes (mostly for redundancy) and about 10 sync cords (also because of high failure rates) for redundancy. I simply cannot continue this way. Too time consuming, too expensive and the quality problems I’ve had add way too much risk to my dive trips. Not having functional equipment on a $10,000 dive trip isn’t a very good way to spend your time when the primary reason you went was to capture the ocean’s beauty with your underwater camera system.

 

It is for these reasons that I am abandoning Ikelite’s products. I will not promote them in my seminars, on my website, on my trips, or in the 2nd edition of my Catalina book. The way they have decided to handle this most recent dispute was the catalyst for my decision. I have to say that since Ike’s passing I personally am experiencing what I think is a decline in customer accommodation (doing what’s right for the business and the customer). Even though Ikelite has agreed to split the cost with me is unacceptable. It's like they are trying to negotiate themselves out of responsibility.

 

This being said I am open to any suggestions on strobe selection. I would prefer something small that would act as a macro strobe and a wide angle strobe so I don't have to own seven strobes. But I am open to any solid suggestions (Inon, Sea &Sea, etc.). I would like to hear your experiences on durability as well and any problems you have experienced with both the strobes and sync cords. I am fully aware that stuff wears out and I am not asking that kind of question. Just looking for a fairly robust strobe system that you have had positive experiences with, besides Ikelite.

 

 

Joe

Edited by Kelpfish

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I have been using Sea&Sea strobes for the last 10 years and have never had to use my redundant cords (I have tested them however but agree with you that the testing should be done prior to the manufacturer selling the item as any return is a PITA)

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Joe: First, I would recommend Inon Z240 strobes, small and so far (a couple of years) perfectly reliable for me.

As for the Ikelite story, living on the other side of the problem (medical stuff) and talking to customers on occasion the Ike guys might have a point. If I sell you something that has a 1 year warranty and you say you didn't open the box for two years and when you did open it the gizmo was broken, how can I verify the story. What you are suggesting is that there should be an infinite or semi-infinite life time warranty on stuff that can break. From the guy on the phone's point of view, how does he know you are giving him a straight story? We never know what someone does to their equipment, but we have gotten back stuff that has mysteriously stopped working yet has tire tracks on it. Offering to split 50/50 I think is a reasonable compromise on something that is beyond warranty range. As for the general unreliability of Ike strobes, that might be true, I haven't used an Ike strobe in a long time so I can't comment. ON repairs issues they still seem to be reasonable but thankfully I don't have a lot of experience.

As for having to spend a bunch of money to test the strobe, you could test it in the pool or at Casino Point for a few bucks, NO?

 

Anyway, sorry to hear your troubles, I was looking perhaps to get an Ike housing but this might push me away from them.

 

Bill

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Great service is nice but only if you don't need it all the time. I want stuff that doesn't fail more than I want a vendor who will fix it happily.

 

I believe travel weight and redundancy are important. You can get wider, brighter, and warmer strobes than a Z-240 but you can't get them for anywhere near the size and weight, especially when you factor in custom batteries and chargers. You can travel with 3 Z-240s for less weight than 2 YS-250s, DS200 or DS160s and get redundancy plus a 3rd macro strobe for creativity and a 3rd WA strobe to help with coverage. The downside is triggering 3 strobes with wide angle but fiber offers a handy solution for that. The extra strobe arms blunt the weight advantage somewhat.

 

If I were only going to use one strobe and travel with it, I think the Z240 is the clear winner. I've been trying to justify a switch to DS200s or YS-250s for a while now but I just can't get over the power to weight ratio.

 

There's been a couple threads on the Z-240 and Eneloop batteries recently and I've been thinking about that. It turns out that if you consider battery capacity and recycle times, it appears that a Z-240 can pull 20+ amps out if its AA batteries during recycle. Eneloops have good high current performance, perhaps the best of all commonly available, rechargable AA batteries, and that explains the recommendation.

 

It turns out there's a high current AA NiMH battery rated for 30+ amps, the Elite 1700AA. I've ordered some for my Z-240s. I expect these to work great. There's probably only about 220 cycles per charge but that's no different than Eneloops. Recycle times should be the best of any AA battery.

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It isn't my place to comment on your specific issue, but I have as much experience as anyone in dealing with the Ikelite repair department.

 

I have to say that since Ike’s passing I personally am experiencing what I think is a decline in customer accommodation (doing what’s right for the business and the customer).

 

I deal with issues like these on a daily basis, and my experiences have not supported that conclusion. Support issues are handled efficiently, fairly, and in a more timely basis than ever before. New product reliability is getting better and better with each new release. I can't remember the last customer that needed a life ring because of a failed DS-125 on the trip of a lifetime, and there was a time 3 years ago when it seemed that was a weekly occurrence.

 

In my opinion Ikelite is a stronger company with a stronger product line now. Stronger than 2 years ago, and stronger than ever.

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I have 2 very well-used Inon's Z220's and a new Z-22 ring strobe and use them quite freuqently. I have never had a problem with the strobes, nor did the person I purchased the 220's from either since I bought them used. The cords are Sea & Sea, never had a problem with them either. What I particularly like about these strobes is that they all take 4 AA batteries. I use the MAHA PowerEx 2700 NiMH rechargeables, which I have yet to run out of juice, and charge in an hour.

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If I sell you something that has a 1 year warranty and you say you didn't open the box for two years and when you did open it the gizmo was broken, how can I verify the story.

 

Well, a manufacturer could (and IMO should) offer to receive back the item and then find the problem, which could be evidently a production fault (say a dry joint between cable & contact pin) and therefore not related to usage. Even if it could be related to usage the manufacturer could be able to establish how much usage the item has had (in the case of the OP presumably only one connection to the strobe & camera, so negligible wear on the contacts).

 

Getting it back in for a 'look see' is hardly an onerous task; the alternative as has happened here is a disgruntled customer (at least), a lost customer (worse still) and bad publicity amongst your target market (even worse).

 

R

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Joe,

 

I would go with either Inon Z-240 or any of the Sea and Sea models. They are generally compact and both use the standard Nikonos 5-pin connection so both brands of strobes may be used with the same Sea and Sea sync cords. Also, service for both brands have been great over the years. I had a minor problem with an early Inon strobe two years back; not only did they -- Inon America -- quickly replace the item, but also sent me a loaner FEDEXed on their dime when I was headed out for a trip.

 

While I do carry extra sync cords and have tested them on local Northern California dives, I have never experienced a failure with any of them and have been using some of those same cords from my Nikonos days -- and they have seen some serious punishment . . .

Edited by loligo

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Joe: First, I would recommend Inon Z240 strobes, small and so far (a couple of years) perfectly reliable for me.

As for the Ikelite story, living on the other side of the problem (medical stuff) and talking to customers on occasion the Ike guys might have a point. If I sell you something that has a 1 year warranty and you say you didn't open the box for two years and when you did open it the gizmo was broken, how can I verify the story. What you are suggesting is that there should be an infinite or semi-infinite life time warranty on stuff that can break. From the guy on the phone's point of view, how does he know you are giving him a straight story? We never know what someone does to their equipment, but we have gotten back stuff that has mysteriously stopped working yet has tire tracks on it. Offering to split 50/50 I think is a reasonable compromise on something that is beyond warranty range. As for the general unreliability of Ike strobes, that might be true, I haven't used an Ike strobe in a long time so I can't comment. ON repairs issues they still seem to be reasonable but thankfully I don't have a lot of experience.

As for having to spend a bunch of money to test the strobe, you could test it in the pool or at Casino Point for a few bucks, NO?

 

Anyway, sorry to hear your troubles, I was looking perhaps to get an Ike housing but this might push me away from them.

 

Bill

 

 

Hi Bill,

 

You are right and I do point that out in my post that my warranty was expired. My point was that I have been having problems with these cords for years and I guess they expect me to conduct my own quality check. I think their offer is unreasonable given the fact that the whole problem is their products and their lack of quality systems. And they admit that they sold me bogus stuff. Thus, in this case to pass a burden of QA inspection onto the consumer given these facts and the breadth of business I do with them indicates a shift in consumer support. My point is simple. I am talking about customer retention for an issue that originated at their facility. If I were to remain an Ikelite customer I'd be forced into conducting my own inspections. My problem with Ikelite at this point is quality driven. If they offered a quality product I wouldn't have these problems. When you receive 50 percent of a shipment that is non-conforming to performance specifications you tend to lose confidence. Ikelite has every right to deny replacing the cords simply by the fact that the warranty expired. My point is that they are throwing their own quality problem in my face. They have a quality problem and refuse to admit or adress it. If they acknowledged that quality issues were common at Ikelite they sure should replace my cords and anyone elses. But at this point I am moving on. I believe that Ikelite is still a fairly reasonable company but they are just no longer a fit for me because of the on-going problems I have had with their equipment (strobes and cords).

Edited by Kelpfish

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I'm sorry if this offends anyone, as to each his own in equipment selection, but I totally agree with Ryan.

 

I've sold (and used ) hundreds of cords in the past few years in diving conditions all over the world from tropical diving to Port Hardy, British Columbia cold water ocean diving. Plus sold dozens of housings with Ikelite style cords in addition to Nik V to Ikelite strobes. All to customers happily out shooting pictures. As Ryan said, if this was as big of a problem as insinuated I'm sure I'd be drinking regularly each evening :P

 

Carlos Villoch, Dave Fleetham, Doug Perrine, Jean Bruneau and Mauricio Handler (Aquatica users of Ikelite strobes and cords) + Paul Nicklen and more use Ikelite cords and strobes....I could go on and on with names of Pros using Ikelite products for likely hundreds to thousands of dives per year. If I add in my pool testing time to my traveling I log a few hundred dives per year, too :)

 

I read here about people having failing cords and yet in my 30+ years of using Ikelite have had maybe 1-2 cords TOTAL go bad. The engineering mindset of some posters makes these things sound like Space Shuttle parts. What crappola'............Plug it in when you get it, fire your strobes and go use it.

 

Do a search on equipment by name and you will find someone who has had gear fail, housings of any manufacturer flood, etc. To say Ikelite as a company is WORSE today is 110% false....

 

Not to put too fine a point on it but Joe, please post what EXACT housing, strobe and cord style you use as I'd like to know just for discussion's sake.

 

By the way, fiber optic isn't perfect yet either. I see folks with the small P&S systems having trouble once in a while, too. Plus you have to fire your own camera's built in flash limiting battery life (albeit a small amount with today's batteries.)

 

Not trying to be argumentative, but if this is a true open forum let's consider everyone's individual experiences. Of course as in all things in life, everyone's personal opinion is the most important :)

 

dhaas

Edited by dhaas

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I'm sorry if this offends anyone, as to each his own in equipment selection, but I totally agree with Ryan.

 

I've sold (and used ) hundreds of cords in the past few years in diving conditions all over the world from tropical diving to Port Hardy, British Columbia cold water ocean diving. Plus sold dozens of housings with Ikelite style cords in addition to Nik V to Ikelite strobes. All to customers happily out shooting pictures. As Ryan said, if this was as big of a problem as insinuated I'm sure I'd be drinking regularly each evening :P

 

Carlos Villoch, Dave Fleetham, Doug Perrine, Jean Bruneau and Mauricio Handler (Aquatica users of Ikelite strobes and cords) + Paul Nicklen and more use Ikelite cords and strobes....I could go on and on with names of Pros using Ikelite products for likely hundreds to thousands of dives per year. If I add in my pool testing time to my traveling I log a few hundred dives per year, too :)

 

I read here about people having failing cords and yet in my 30+ years of using Ikelite have had maybe 1-2 cords TOTAL go bad. The engineering mindset of some posters makes these things sound like Space Shuttle parts. What crappola'............Plug it in when you get it, fire your strobes and go use it.

 

Do a search on equipment by name and you will find someone who has had gear fail, housings of any manufacturer flood, etc. To say Ikelite as a company is WORSE today is 110% false....

 

Not to put too fine a point on it but Joe, please post what EXACT housing, strobe and cord style you use as I'd like to know just for discussion's sake.

 

By the way, fiber optic isn't perfect yet either. I see folks with the small P&S systems having trouble once in a while, too. Plus you have to fire your own camera's built in flash limiting battery life (albeit a small amount with today's batteries.)

 

Not trying to be argumentative, but if this is a true open forum let's consider everyone's individual experiences. Of course as in all things in life, everyone's personal opinion is the most important :)

 

dhaas

 

Hi David,

 

This is a personal decision based on continued quality problems. I have only scratched the surface on the quality issues I have experienced. It's not that Ikelite didn't replace the cords it's that they (IMHO) don't seem to improve their products over time. Thus, as you stated, "to each his own", but I have been doing the diving and photography gig long enough that, as it stands now, the glass is full, so to speak. My bubble of confidence has simply burst. They may still lead the industry in service but it's performance I need and I don't feel that I have that based on the continued problems I have had in the last decade. I can't tell you how may times I would have to send in a strobe only a week after getting it back because something wasn't fixed right the first time. I am simply frustrated and have made that choice to move on. This post was to place my experiences on the table so others can make an informed choice based on experience from a long-time diver and photographer. This isn't a new diver posting this experience, rather an experienced 30-year diver who has used ike products since the 1970's.

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I think to put this particular complaint in perspective, any one of us would be really pissed if this happened to us on a big trip. Sure, it's probably a good idea to test every new cord one gets, but who expects any product one purchases not to work right out of the box. Sounds to me like Ikelite could just have easily in this circumstance replaced the cords free of charge, repaired the faulty ones and had them back for sale with really minimal expense to themselves, and kept a happy customer. It's not like this was a major repair of an expensive piece of equipment.

Edited by loftus

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but if this is a true open forum let's consider everyone's individual experiences.

 

Ultimately not sure if that gets any further since we do not know total failure rates and the rest, no?

 

Equipment sellers such as you and Ryan probably have the best handle who have a ton of stuff go through the doors. So if 50, 100 or 200 people here say they have had trouble, does that mean anything in the overall scheme of things or is the back and forth going to be the same?

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Joe,

 

Point taken and I respect your opinion. I started diving in 1969 so I have been in the sport a bit, too. Owned SubSea, Oceanic and early Ikelite strobes, too.

 

I only posted to also show how thousands of users especially since the digital revolution has taken off (2002 for me) are having different experience with Ikelite products today. I also know people look to experienced users for guidance was my main reason to post another user's opinion. As I said, to each his own........

 

I've been to your site, even seen your Catalina books, etc. So you have to be comfortable with what your needs are and that's fine.

 

I hope you find what you need product wise and keep shooting and producing books, really :)

 

Sincerely,

 

dhaas

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The knobs on my new substrobes have no friction or mechanical lock so if they even so much as brush against something else in my ice chest they turn on.

Joe,

 

Out of interest which substrobes do you have? I had 2 x DS125 and they both have a lock on the power switch. Looking at the Ikelite site, the DS160 do, too.

 

The reality is that the only way for me to conduct a realistic examination of a sync cord’s functionality is to dive with them.

Why is that? I am able to test my cords at home simply by hooking them up to the housing and strobes. In fact, that is something I do at home before every dive (usually the night before).

 

I'm not trying to talk you out of your decision to abandon Ikelite but simply trying to understand the full extent of the problem.

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It's not that Ikelite didn't replace the cords it's that they (IMHO) don't seem to improve their products over time.

Interestingly, I have seen an improvement to the cords.

 

I had my dual sync cord fail (at an in opportune time, too, while in the crystal clear water with 7 sharks). When I bought a new one, it was an improvement over the old one. The original cord failed because of the cable bending at the connectors. Now they supply the cords with cable protectors.

 

DualSync_HousingEnd.jpg

DualSync_StrobeEnds.jpg

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Joe,

 

Out of interest which substrobes do you have? I had 2 x DS125 and they both have a lock on the power switch. Looking at the Ikelite site, the DS160 do, too.

 

 

Why is that? I am able to test my cords at home simply by hooking them up to the housing and strobes. In fact, that is something I do at home before every dive (usually the night before).

 

I'm not trying to talk you out of your decision to abandon Ikelite but simply trying to understand the full extent of the problem.

 

 

Have you ever tested a sync cord on the bench (or boat) then had it fail underwater (without a cord flood)? Water pressure can affect the performance of a cord by repositioning pins. Had it happen several times with Ike cords. So bench testing is only good for testing the circuitry of the cord but not any mechanical extremes. Repositioning the pins is a PITA and requires some outpatient surgery on the cord. That's all I meant by testing it in the water (under pressure).

 

Look, Ikelite is a good product for most people. For whatever reason I seem to keep getting defective stuff and I am simply stating my facts, allowing others to assess my experiences and then they can make their own decisions. Certainly others will have a recipricol opinion and that's fine...that's what makes these forums effective.

Edited by Kelpfish

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Ikelite makes product improvements based on customer feedback. The bend restrictors shown in the photo above are a great example! Same goes for the "right angle bulkhead" that Ikelite started using when people had cord failures. They can be a bit slow to listen to customer feedback, but things eventually get fixed. The 8" dome and extension rings is also a good example.

 

Cheers

James

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Have you ever tested a sync cord on the bench (or boat) then had it fail underwater (without a cord flood)?

Joe,

 

Only the one time, and that was more because the cord was failing rather than a bench test versus underwater test (in my experience). It was the shark dive that I mentioned above. The strobe worked at home, but I suspect the cord was already on the way out because on a dive a couple of weeks earlier it failed 5-6 times (out of 80 photographs on the dive) and that had never happened before and never since. The boat trip out to the dive site was very rough (and I hadn't put the rig in a good place in the boat before we started). I suspect the rough ride hastened the demise of the cord.

 

Water pressure can affect the performance of a cord by repositioning pins. Had it happen several times with Ike cords. So bench testing is only good for testing the circuitry of the cord but not any mechanical extremes. Repositioning the pins is a PITA and requires some outpatient surgery on the cord. That's all I meant by testing it in the water (under pressure).

Aren't you suggesting then, that Ikelite take each and every sync cord for at least one dive before selling them? How much would this add to the cost of each cord?

 

Note that I'm not trying to defend Ikelite. The design of the sync cord was flawed from the start and they took a long time to do anything about it. While the bend restrictors will certainly help a lot, there are still other areas on the dual sync cord that can fail. e.g. the splitter:

DualSync_Splitter.jpg

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Interestingly, I have seen an improvement to the cords.

 

I had my dual sync cord fail (at an in opportune time, too, while in the crystal clear water with 7 sharks). When I bought a new one, it was an improvement over the old one. The original cord failed because of the cable bending at the connectors. Now they supply the cords with cable protectors.

 

DualSync_HousingEnd.jpg

DualSync_StrobeEnds.jpg

 

I agree with ATJ on this point. I have had two failures and recently on a komodo liveaboard, had another guy with a failure on his dual cord. Luckily he had a spare! He promptly used teflon tape and black electrical tape on the new one at all three ends to stiffen the area as thats where most failures seem to occur. He did not have the protectors. My latest dual cord has these cable protectors on the end where they go into the strobes BUT not at the end that goes into the camera. (Well probably part of their sales plan :) ) Anyway with the protectors in place, which is a great improvement, i am sure there will be minimal failures. Time will tell.

 

Cheers,

 

Diggy

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I have had one Dual-Cable failure in 5 years. My original D70 housing had the flush (180 degree) cable mounting and inevitably the camera would be placed on it's back stressing the cord. They later changed the design to the 90 degree connector and the problem was solved for me. I argued that they changed the connector design due to its cable killing tendancies and Ikelite was kind enough to give me a free replacement. (With a little polite insistence on my part)

 

Since then I have had no problem at all with either of my housings, strobes, or cables. Compared with some of the other housing design flaws we see (floods cause by non-removal of EyeCups or Screen Protectors) I think this is not such a big deal.

 

And as with anything related to diving, always have a spare!

 

 

I agree with ATJ on this point. I have had two failures and recently on a komodo liveaboard, had another guy with a failure on his dual cord. Luckily he had a spare! He promptly used teflon tape and black electrical tape on the new one at all three ends to stiffen the area as thats where most failures seem to occur. He did not have the protectors. My latest dual cord has these cable protectors on the end where they go into the strobes BUT not at the end that goes into the camera. (Well probably part of their sales plan :) ) Anyway with the protectors in place, which is a great improvement, i am sure there will be minimal failures. Time will tell.

 

Cheers,

 

Diggy

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I have been through more synch cords than some Indonesians have had hot dinners. Sadly, they seem to be the weak point and suffer poor handling when your camera is taken from you and placed in the rinse tank by helpful crew or other helpful passengers put their stuff on top. That includes cords by ALL the manufacturers. I carry spares but I rotate them. In fact I don't know which is the most recent one I bought but I sure know when they stop working!

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Joe: First, I would recommend Inon Z240 strobes, small and so far (a couple of years) perfectly reliable for me.

Bill

 

I agree with reliability, and size, and I love mine...

 

... but: I sent Z220 for repair and it took nearly six months to return from Japan to the UK...

 

I used Sea&Sea cables until I switched to fibre-optics, but, curiously, whilst I have never had a cable fail, I have had to trim a fibre-optic after it kinked.

 

The Z240s are a little under-powered, and I have taken to warming the light with straw-coloured filters. I use 200ASA a bit more often than I would like in W/A photography.

 

On the plus side: I took a Z240 into a swimming pool without fitting any o-rings and it functioned perfectly for an hour, despite a wet battery!

 

Tim

 

:)

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It turns out there's a high current AA NiMH battery rated for 30+ amps, the Elite 1700AA. I've ordered some for my Z-240s. I expect these to work great. There's probably only about 220 cycles per charge but that's no different than Eneloops. Recycle times should be the best of any AA battery.

 

I have been using ikelite products since the mid 70's. The current design for cables looks to be much improved. More than once I had to wiggle an acute bend in a cable to get the strobes to fire. Finally put heat shrink electrical insulation on the cables to stiffen the connect points. I have also had performance problems with one of the A100 strobes. In all cases, ikelite service was very responsive.

 

I think Craig makes several good points. I now use Z240 strobes with fiber optic connections. Also, I have an S&S cable for back up. Except for the custom camera batteries, all my u/w camera gear runs on rechargeable AA batteries. Using a smallish Nexus housing, D80 camera, and Inon strobes, I have reduced the size and weight of my u/w photo gear.

 

I plan on purchasing a third Inon strobe for back up next year, so I am interested in possibly using “eneloop” batteries with their faster recycle time. May be Craig will give us one of his definitive reports and post it to the Rechargable [sic] Batteries thread.

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Although this discussion seems to be hung up on sync cords, I am saying that cords are only a part of my disattisfaction with Ikelite (although cords in general are probably the first thing to go in most camera arsenols.)

 

So I will answer ATJ's question about should Ikelite test all sync cords. If pressure is a critical performance factor that affects form, fit or function of the cords, then my answer is YES. Ikelite should develop a quality test procedure (like they do for their housings) and test to that critical performance factor. They should not HOPE that pressure won't affect performance, rather test to it or design pressure effects out of the product.

 

 

Here are some other examples of real-world problems I've had with Ikelite products that have contributed to my decision to abandon them. Some on here like David Haas seem to think Ike products are invincible and my experience is evidence that they are not.

 

 

1. My wife has an Ikelite housing. For it to work it needs a large rubber band, duct tape and 1/4 of a tampon (yes a vaginal insert)!. The camera (an Olympus 5060) does not align with the knobs and levers so the camera has to be forced into a certain position and them locked in place these items. The hotshoe cord slides off the camera with the slightest vibration during a dive so we have to strap it on, using the lend of the camera as the holder of the rubber band. This is the way it still functions today. If you want, I can post an image I sent Ike (when he was alive, bless his soul) of this. His response was basically, holy shit, send it back to us as soon as you get back from Indonesia. I never did. Too frustrated.

 

2. Not too long ago I purchased four new battery packs for my DS125's. When I tried to put them on the strobe the interlocking forks snapped off because the battery pack connectors were not assembled onto the pack itself correctly by Ikelite. Again I was in the field when this happened.....again I should have conducted my own quality check when I received the batteries. Had to take the time to send back to Ikelite for repair.

 

3. I had strobes (DS125's again) fail when the electronics faulted. And this has happened many times to my frustration and dismay. The last time it happened and I got them back the knobs were so tight that you could not turn them with one gloved hand. You had to cradle the strobe in your lap to push down on the strobe to gain enough friction to turn the knobs. By the time I composed an image with any moving animal, I would lose that animal because I'd break my composition and stillness by having to change power the way I just explained. Again, I had to send the strobes back to Ikelite to have them repaired once again.

 

4. As I explained in a previous post I also have DS50's that I purchased not too long ago. I have to tape the on-off knobs in the off position when not in use because the knobs have no mechanical or frictional lock, so they turn on during normal transportation and drain my batteries.

 

5. And of course you have read my sync cord experience, so no need to rewrite that again.

 

If you are pro shooter who does this for a living and are spoon fed Ikelite equipment these problems may seem inconsequential to you. Thus my experiences aren't meant to change the minds of the David Haass's and his list of other pros who use Ikelite, rather it is meant to share a factual experience that I have had with Ikelite and allow others to use my 30 years of experience with them to make more informed equipment purchasing decisions. If you choose to go with Ikelite, that's your call, not mine. And you'll never hear me flame Ikelite, either. Virtually everything I have posted here is factual, not fabricated. I have refrained from injecting emotional parodies in the hopes that my posting this is a fair assessment of Ikelite based on my personal experiences.

 

This is not a two or three issue frustration. I have enough data points from 30 years using Ikelite products that I could probably run a predictive model using regression analysis to determine my future Ikelite failures rates were I to stick with their products. I made the decision to scrap Ikelite knowing that I would have disagreements from people like David Haas (whose work I respect and admire by the way), knowing I would have personal emails siding with me, knowing I would have personal emails bashing me, but the bottom line is I expected it. We are all entitled to our opinions (me and you folks). And it's not about sync cords alone, please don't forget that. It's about my overall experiences with Ikelite.

 

Joe

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