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scuba-tim

Ikelite TTL Troubleshooting

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Hi all,

I recently bought a used Ikelite 6801.71 housing for my D7100, in excellent condition, and paired it with used Ikelite DS160 strobes, also in excellent condition. 

I cannot get the strobes and camera to communicate correctly via the housing TTL circuitry. I've been in touch with Ikelite support for some troubleshooting steps, here are things I've already tried:

  • The strobe selection switch on the underside of camera tray is correctly set to DS160/161/125
  • The hot-shoe connector is fully inserted into the camera
  • The camera is in manual mode with the the flash control mode set to iTTL
  • Tried a camera to strobe communication test: camera set to 1/1250 shutter speed, turn on strobes, engage focus lock but the camera does not drop to the flash sync speed (1/250)
  • Opened the camera tray TTL circuitry compartment for inspection, there's no obvious damage or loose wiring

Ikelite's recommendation at this point is sending the housing in for inspection and repair.

The strobes fire reliably when attached with a dual Ikelite sync cable, so I can shoot them in manual mode and I'm comfortable with that having shot my Inon D2000's in manual for the past several years. However, I can't lie, the idea of reliable TTL strobe exposure is pretty appealing.

Any suggestions on further troubleshooting much appreciated, before I decide whether to absorb repair costs.


Thanks,
Tim
--
Nikon D7100. Ikelite Housing. Ikelite DS160 x 2
--
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hawaiidiveadventures/
https://www.instagram.com/timcdoherty/

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Hi Tim,

First of all, check if camera recognizes TTL circuit. If TTL protocol works, Nikon camera confirms it by the strobe symbol on the service screen.

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Thanks so much for your reply Pavel. I'm not sure what you mean by the "strobe symbol on the service screen". Do you mean the "flash mode" indicator in the control panel? It does not appear. Also the "flash ready" indicator in the viewfinder blinks, indicating the flash is not ready.

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Regarding the flash symbol, this will be about whether or not the camera recognizes a flash is attached to the system - the flash symbol flashing means the camera can see that a flash - in this case the Ikelte TTL module is attached.   It is not clear from the instructions if the system supports flash ready signal.  But the flashing symbol indicates it sees a flash attached.

Have you checked your cables for continuity?  this link gives some details:  https://www.ikelite.com/blogs/faq/wiring-diagrams-test-firing-strobes

You can see the functions of each cable - trigger, quench, ready, power and ground.  TTL requires all of these to have good continuity to work.  For example if you say that the flash symbol in the viewfinder keeps flashing it may not be receiving a ready signal.  You need a multi-meter to confirm each individual cable is good.

I assume you have checked serial numbers of your strobes with ikelite to confirm they are compatible?  The website mentions there are occasional issues of that nature.

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13 hours ago, scuba-tim said:

Thanks so much for your reply Pavel. I'm not sure what you mean by the "strobe symbol on the service screen". Do you mean the "flash mode" indicator in the control panel? 

The "FLASH" symbol confirms that camera recognizes Nikon compatible device on the HotShoe and TTL protocol works properly. You have to begin with this. The other details mean nothing for a while, until you get camera TTL protocol working.

Check all wires in system (5 wires from HotShoe plug to TTL circuit and power supply 2 wires: +6v/Ground from Ikelite strobe to TTL circuit). Check these lines also using measuring gadget, if available.

When you are sure that all wires and connectors are normal, you have to think about TTL circuit board. Ikelite old circuits fail quite often. I have a lot of them in basket after repairs of Ikelite housings. If the circuit is failed, you simply have to change it to new.

In common case, TTL system repair in Ikelite housing is not simple if you don't have necessary skills, better ask an engineer for it.

Nikon-screen-FLASH-symbol-20x13.jpg

Edited by Pavel Kolpakov

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Thank you @ChrisRoss and @Pavel Kolpakov for your detailed responses, very much appreciated. 

The serial number compatibility issues appear to be only earlier DS50 and DS125 models, I can't find any reference to unsupported DS160 serial #'s.

I'll run continuity checks on the dual sync cable per the instructions, and see if that gets me anywhere. I did try previously with a spare single sync cable, but it's certainly possible that both cables have continuity issues as they're both second hand.

Assuming I confirm continuity for the sync cord, then I'll decide whether to send it the housing to Ikelite for repair.

Thanks again!

 

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I checked the sync cable with a multimeter and continuity is good on all five pins for the primary (powered) strobe connection. Power and ready are not continuous on the secondary cable, as expected. I also tested the spare single sync cable and it has good continuity. Seems like a faulty TTL circuit. 

Thanks again for all your help, very much appreciated!

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