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Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:16 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:53 pm
Posts: 6

Hi,
I have used my new cyber commander (CC) several times during the last month. The system performs beautifully. But yesterday, I had the unpleasant experience of having my 4 Einsteins firing sporadically by themselves. Important note, all slave cells were ON. If I'm not mistaken, the units react to both the radio and the light signals, whichever comes first, when configured this way: so I have no idea if several or one unit was triggering the whole set up. My only clue is that yesterday, the only unusual thing was that we were 8 persons crammed in a medium size room, all carrying a cell phone. Is there any possibility that the maelstrom of radio waves in the room have something to do with the spontaneous firings ?
I have not been able to reproduce the problem today, all by myself in the same room.
Anybody experienced a similar situation?




Last edited by jean b. on Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:19 pm

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:18 pm
Posts: 10

I have had something similar happen to me, but in my case, it was a CST low battery that caused it. You can read the following thread if you happen to of been using a CST with your cyber commander:

http://www.paulcbuff-techforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4277




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Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:03 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:53 pm
Posts: 6

Optical_Man wrote:
I have had something similar happen to me, but in my case, it was a CST low battery that caused it. You can read the following thread if you happen to of been using a CST with your cyber commander:

http://www.paulcbuff-techforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4277



Thanks, I will examine batteries. I edited my original post in order to mention the commander is the CC model (not the CST one).




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Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:24 pm

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:44 pm
Posts: 13

With any CC error I would suggest a battery swap, mine gets really funky when the batteries go down. Also make sure you are not using rechargeable batteries.




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Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:30 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:53 pm
Posts: 6

oducks wrote:
With any CC error I would suggest a battery swap, mine gets really funky when the batteries go down. Also make sure you are not using rechargeable batteries.


thanks, I will definitely look into the battery department. Fortunately I can take precision readings here. Sounds too simple, frankly, but, a possibility I cannot brush aside. The CC is supposed to warn-indicate when batteries are low...but if it misbehaves early, then it is worth installing new batteries before every important session.




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Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:34 pm

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:44 pm
Posts: 13

I have had mine go both ways, sometimes I get the warning and it was still working fine, other times it has started to do the rapid strobe flashing with no warning. Might have to do with the type of battery too. I always keep a couple sets in my bag. Got caught without spares once, and had to use the slaves with my speedlight to get through the shoot.




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Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:47 pm

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:53 pm
Posts: 6

oducks wrote:
I have had mine go both ways, sometimes I get the warning and it was still working fine, other times it has started to do the rapid strobe flashing with no warning. Might have to do with the type of battery too. I always keep a couple sets in my bag. Got caught without spares once, and had to use the slaves with my speedlight to get through the shoot.


Usually, looking like a fool in front of finicky clients is a case of the flashes not firing. A stroboscopic behaviour is as nerve wracking to the photographer as it is to the clients !




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Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:11 am

Site Admin
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

Batteries are a possibility. A corrupt SD card in the CC is also a possibility, but unlikely if everything was otherwise working OK.

This resulting from radio interference from a bunch of phones is highly unlikely, if not impossible.

Not knowing the environment, I would wager a cause could be a failing/flickering fluorescent light flickering at the right frequency and intensity triggering one light and that triggers the rest.

Quote:
Important note, all slave cells were ON. If I'm not mistaken, the units react to both the radio and the light signals, whichever comes first,


In this case, the radio will always get there first. Since it is being broadcast alone, it will reach the closest light first (since there is no flash accompanying it). This closest flash would fire then potentially trigger the other lights, travelling at the speed of light. However, the radio waves from the transmitter are also travelling at (effectively) the speed of light, and were already underway to the other receivers and would have already arrived by the time the closest light fired.

All of this to say, by having both active in close proximity is unnecessary, and active slaves can cause undesired effects in certain locations, with no benefit. I would suggest turning of the slave eyes. If nothing else, it will prevent potential problems, and if this rapid fire problem arises again, it will be easier to trouble shoot by seeing how many lights are affected.




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Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:42 am

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:53 pm
Posts: 6

Technical Support wrote:
Batteries are a possibility. A corrupt SD card in the CC is also a possibility, but unlikely if everything was otherwise working OK.

This resulting from radio interference from a bunch of phones is highly unlikely, if not impossible.

Not knowing the environment, I would wager a cause could be a failing/flickering fluorescent light flickering at the right frequency and intensity triggering one light and that triggers the rest.

Quote:
Important note, all slave cells were ON. If I'm not mistaken, the units react to both the radio and the light signals, whichever comes first,


In this case, the radio will always get there first. Since it is being broadcast alone, it will reach the closest light first (since there is no flash accompanying it). This closest flash would fire then potentially trigger the other lights, travelling at the speed of light. However, the radio waves from the transmitter are also travelling at (effectively) the speed of light, and were already underway to the other receivers and would have already arrived by the time the closest light fired.

All of this to say, by having both active in close proximity is unnecessary, and active slaves can cause undesired effects in certain locations, with no benefit. I would suggest turning of the slave eyes. If nothing else, it will prevent potential problems, and if this rapid fire problem arises again, it will be easier to trouble shoot by seeing how many lights are affected.



Thanks for the explanations. Flickering of fluorescent lights in the room are suspected, although I know first hand that the tubes are all low mileage, but who knows.
As to radio waves, I know they travel at the speed of light, but the reaction time of the electronics involved is seldom well documented for the general public. I'm surprised the radio signal will trigger before the slave cell do. I always thought a slave cell is virtually instantaneous.
I use to leave the slave cells ON even when syncing with radio, although it does not allow for firing of individual lights for measurements. Kind of a "belt and suspender" approach. But it left me whithout clues as to which flash units were firing spontaneously (or all of them...).
I'll stick to radio-only and fresh batteries for the moment, and see if it ever happens again.




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Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:52 pm

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 5266

jean b. wrote:
As to radio waves, I know they travel at the speed of light, but the reaction time of the electronics involved is seldom well documented for the general public. I'm surprised the radio signal will trigger before the slave cell do. I always thought a slave cell is virtually instantaneous.


Yes, there are longer delays in the electronics of a radio remote vs that of optical triggering. But, there is no optical trigger involved until after one light already receives a signal which is processed by the receiver. By the time the flash fires, the other lights have also processed that initial radio signal and are already being triggered.

If the signal was being relayed from transmitter to receiver to receiver to receiver, etc, then the optical triggering would be faster.

In any case, please let us know if you have any further questions.




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