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It probably means that the issue is known but I can not identify it through the provided description. We will need more details to diagnose the problem. I kindly ask you to write us an email so we can go through the specifics and find out what could be the solution. Please send a description of the issue to our email: info@retra-uwt.com

In general the Original Retra Flash (last produced in early 2018) are robust products and don't have any terminal failures. Since they were our first ever flashgun, that we built from the ground up, they have some quirks which need attention to keep them running smoothly. With an update and service they should all work without issues.

Since this thread is also watched by photographers who are looking to buy the new flashguns I must stress that the conversation above is about the Original Retra Flash which was produced until early 2018. With the later models we have naturally resolved all the quirks and significantly advanced with the technology. Here is just some of the technology that was not available on the Original Retra Flash and was introduced later: remote firmware updates and diagnostics, leakage detection, HSS, highly efficient charging and discharging, powerful pilot light, dual o-rings, fully circular flash tube, etc. The current Retra Flash Pro X and Prime X are the best underwater flashguns you can own today which is the result of our constant pursuit of improvement and innovation.

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Finally got my Prime X in the water.  They go through batteries like crazy.  On manual, rarely over 50% power, no aiming light use, no snoot.   I get two dives usually, maybe 100 or so shots.  Fairly new eneloop pro batteries.  On one dive they both began blinking red about 45 minutes into dive.  Is the supercharger basically a mandatory option?

Not really thrilled at the moment.

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I highly recommend getting a fresh set of eneloops. Note that all new NiMh batteries need about 1-2 cycles to get to full capacity and performance.

If your flashguns were not in use for a long time they may consume more battery during their first outing as the capacitors will be reformed.

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9 hours ago, Draq said:

They go through batteries like crazy.  On manual, rarely over 50% power, no aiming light use, no snoot.   I get two dives usually, maybe 100 or so shots.  Fairly new eneloop pro batteries.

I'd say this is about par the course. I have Pro (non-X) with superchargers, and I generally swap the batteries after 3-4 dives, with an average of a hundred shots per dive.

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Oskar:  I amnot sure exactly what you mean by first outing, but I did about 20 dives over 9 days with at least 3-4 battery recharge cycles on two sets of fairly new eneloop pro batteries.  Things did not improve over that time.  Are you saying it will take more dives than this for the capacitors to perform optimally?

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I thought you did one dive, we can dismiss that.

Please note that all flashguns will consume power in stand-by mode, when they are turned on. With 4xAA batteries it’s about 10-20% of battery capacity per hour depending on the condition of your batteries and the temperature.

Also please note that the use of the battery indicator is best done by turning off the flashgun for 30 seconds and then going to batt/test position. This will give a better indication, especially if you repeat it a few times. 

8 battery exchanges during 20 dives sounds normal when using 4xAA. If you want to double your battery life the Supercharger is the way to go.

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I probably did not state the battery cycles clearly.  Since I had two sets of batteries (16 batts), I did not need to charge them each night, but I learned to change out the batteries daily as they could not make it through two days (4 dives) despite only taking perhaps 20-30 shots per dive. I  think I need the superchargers.  

Also wondering if switching to powerex batteries might help.  i recently read a very favorable review of their performance in flash units

Edited by Draq

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4 hours ago, Draq said:

Also wondering if switching to powerex batteries might help

I've got both Powerex on the recommendation of Reef Photo and Eneloop Pro. Can't see as I can tell any difference.

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I forgot to add this earlier: When the battery indicator is showing fixed red you have approximately 25-50% battery remaining. This means you could have half of the battery remaining but of course you don't want to start the day like that and run out in the middle of the second dive or when something unique is happening in front of your camera.

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1 hour ago, TimG said:

I've got both Powerex on the recommendation of Reef Photo and Eneloop Pro. Can't see as I can tell any difference.

Wow,  could not find anything that worked except the Eneloop Pro.   The powerex are also about 20% cheaper in Europe and maybe worthwhile a try then. (!).   Any other choice is welcome here.   I tried with no success Duracell Ultra and Amazon.  Lithium stil unsafe?

Edited by nudibranco

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3 hours ago, nudibranco said:

Wow,  could not find anything that worked except the Eneloop Pro.   The powerex are also about 20% cheaper in Europe and maybe worthwhile a try then. (!).   Any other choice is welcome here.   I tried with no success Duracell Ultra and Amazon.  Lithium stil unsafe?

The specifications of GP Recyko+ are close to Enerloop Pro. I used them on my old Sea&Sea's for years and always was satisfied with their recycle time and stamina.

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Wow,  could not find anything that worked except the Eneloop Pro.   The powerex are also about 20% cheaper in Europe and maybe worthwhile a try then. (!).   Any other choice is welcome here.   I tried with no success Duracell Ultra and Amazon.  Lithium stil unsafe?

I use some Ladda batteries from ikea, they are made in the same factory as the eneloop, cost 6 euros for a set of 4. And actually I had the impression they performed better than the eneloop pro on my last liveaboard.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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26 minutes ago, Draq said:

I found this interesting:

https://www.slrlounge.com/powerex-pro-aa-batteries-vs-eneloop-a-practical-review-for-photographers/

However it is of limited use due to comparing the "pro" batteries to regular

Yeah, the follow-on comments are almost more interesting!

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Also use Ikea Ladda, and not able to see differences with my Eneloop pros

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I may have found a contributing issue.  Back from my dive trip, and while soaking and rinsing gear, it occurred to me that perhaps my somewhat sophisticated charger may not have been doing what I needed.  Generally, the "better" chargers do more to maintain and protect batteries from damage.  I need to do some more research and perhaps testing, but I suspect my charger was charging the eneloops to about 90% and then switching to a very slow trickle mode, so the "full" batteries I was putting in the strobes were actually about 90%.  Not a huge issue normally, but where my ' shots per charge" rate is somewhat limited as in the Retra's, and coupled with losing 10-20% capacity per hour while in standby mode, I could possibly be down to perhaps 60% before I finish the first dive of the day.   I may need to to use a different charger.

Since I am ordering the superchargers, I am wondering if I should consider a set of wide angle diffusers and shark diffusers.  Anyone have comments after using these?

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I use the Amazon brand, the ones with 2400mAh. I am quite happy with them. But the Supercharger is a mandatory buy I think. With the Supercharger I can get a full day shooting (4 dives). If you buy the supercharger, I recommend buying a charger for 8 batteries. If you have only a standard one for 4 batteries it might become a problem as you need to charge 16 batteries in total for two strobes with two superchargers!

 

I also use the wide angle diffusors and the shark diffusors. For the wide angle diffusors I am not quite sure if I would buy them again, as for normal wideangle shots for reef etc, the light from the strobes without diffusors is quite pleasing and doesn't need the diffusors in my opinion. Without the diffusors, the strobes are also a lot more forgiving in regards of backscatter. I found myself more often use the strobe without the wide angle diffusors. But they might be a good solution for wide angle close focus. The shark diffusors are a different kind of story: I used them only at one trip so far in Socorro and I found them very good for big animals (sharks, manta rays), they give a pleasing light and color temperature. I do want to try them for reef shots, too. But I have to wait for the next trip to test them. The shark diffusors have however a loss of -0,8 stops of light.

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I am beginning to think I am just not supposed to be using Retras.  While working on the battery issue I decided to connect the flash units to the phone and look at trigger count and see if there was naything I should change in settings  Although just before the trip I checked and firmware said up to date, it now shows firmware 1.0 in red and says an update is available.  I went ahead and performed an update, and got a "successful" message but then firmware still shows 1.0 in red and an update option.  I have no recall of what the FW version was before.  Have now "updated" firmware 4 or 5 times on each strobe to no effect.

I thought perhaps the problem was in the app, so I messed with that for a while, finally deleted the app, reinstalled it and checked it again for updates and it seems current.    No love there either. 

I am "this close" to just selling the things and going back to my Inons or getting something else.

 

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Wow, frustrating to put it mildly. Have you contacted Oskar? I’m sure they’ll help. 
 

All the firmware upgrades I’ve done have gone without a hitch 

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The latest firmware version for the Prime X is 1.0 and it's written in the "what's new" section in the App stores, Google and Apple. If the App has signalled that an update is available for the Prime X flashguns it's a bug and will get resolved with the next iteration. It seems the App just re-installed firmware 1.0. There is an update coming for the Prime X in the coming months...

Whilst on this topic I need to emphasise that there is absolutely no way you can damage the flashguns when connecting and controlling them with the smartphone. It is physically impossible to erase the firmware or install the wrong firmware.

P.S.: updates are available for the Pro X (2.17), PRO (3.13) and Prime (3.13) flashguns. If you don't have automatic App updates turned on just go to the App store and download the latest App. Here are the links: 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/retra-uwt/id1472741374

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gm5.solutions.retra_flash&hl=en

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OK, so firmware is up to date and the update notice is just a bug in the app.  That is good to know.  I do have automatic updates set.  It did not occur to me to check the what's new section for the app on google play, I assumed the app was correct in telling me there was  a firmware update available. 

Back to exploring battery issues.  I plan on ordering superchargers in the next day or two, but am also exploring battery chargers and am reconditioning my eneloops to see if that changes anything.  Maybe I have a battery problem.  The downside to the superchargers is having to take 32 AA batteries in order to have a fresh set when needed and managing the charging of 16 batteries each night on a liveaboard or hotel somewhere.   I just need to work out the best way.

Thank you.

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30 minutes ago, Draq said:

OK, so firmware is up to date and the update notice is just a bug in the app.  That is good to know.  I do have automatic updates set.  It did not occur to me to check the what's new section for the app on google play, I assumed the app was correct in telling me there was  a firmware update available. 

Back to exploring battery issues.  I plan on ordering superchargers in the next day or two, but am also exploring battery chargers and am reconditioning my eneloops to see if that changes anything.  Maybe I have a battery problem.  The downside to the superchargers is having to take 32 AA batteries in order to have a fresh set when needed and managing the charging of 16 batteries each night on a liveaboard or hotel somewhere.   I just need to work out the best way.

Thank you.

I just bought a charger for 8 batteries: https://www.ansmann.de/akku-ladegeraete/powerline-8

After the day diving, I change the batteries to fully charged ones. The first 8 batteries charge over night, the other 8 batteries charge during the day when I am diving. So in the evening I have a set of 16 batteries fully charged to put them into the strobes and the supercharger. I did not have any problems with charging on liveboard or hotel.

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I'm doing pretty much the same as ChrisH80.

I've got 2x of these from Amazon: 

EBL Smart AA AAA NiMH Rechargeable Battery Charger - 2A USB Charging Port 2 Hour Quick Chargers

With a USB charger they do the job nicely.

I thought the smaller 4x battery chargers slightly easier to pack than an 8x. 

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I have been taking an 8-cell charger.  it is slightly bigger than a 4 cell, but needing only one outlets has been good.  I may be able to change settings and have it work better, but its default charging method does not do the best job on eneloops, I think.  My research and experimentation continues.  Thanks for the suggestions.

This might be the way to go, exclusively for nimh AA and AAA batts.  BQ-CC63.  Unfortunately not available in USA.  I have to have it sent from EU or Asia.

cc63.thumb.jpg.c2bd2d598ef3d58bd25c585409f155a1.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Draq said:

I have to have it sent from EU or Asia.

John, I'm going to be in the Netherlands and UK for two weeks at the end of this month if I can help as a small parcel carrier.

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