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Thread: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differences

  1. #1

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    What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differences

    Hi all

    I am in the process of getting myself a group of Speedotron 105 light units, both the quad light 4 cable and bi-tube 2 cable units, and while Im based, and work, out of the UK (England and NI) I am having to troll the American second hand market for these lights and subsequent power supplies as the European market for used Speedotron equipment is scarse at best (trust me, ive tried). As such, as a working-class freelancer restricted by a realistic budget, new kit is just to pricey for me. I have family in the states, so shipping can be easily arranged if needs be, and having spent years out there in the past, I love the US, the people & the culture, and the secondhand market there is far superior to anywhere else - makes sense as Speedotron is based out of Chicago

    My enquiries are simple - how can Speedotron 105 units (or Speedotron light units in general) be powered without the packs made by Speedotron, or another large capacity pack manufacturers if the lights have been modified? Does any one use these packs powered by any other means? How is it best accomplished? Is main power an option? Or fuel powered generators with sine wave protection?

    Second part of my enquiry, as I am not an electrician, and have very little knowledge regarding electrical matters, it seems obvious to me that if I am successful in procuring these US Speedotron units, I wouldn't simply be able to plug them into any UK/Euro power supplies (be that the main power or UK/EU packs) because of the variation and differences in AC/DC power, voltage, frequency, hertz and overall power output... I know there are things that need to be taken into account, so what are the main considerations when buying kit from other countries whose power specificiations will be different to the power output where you will be using them? Is that why dedicated packs from the same country of orgin as the lights is the best way to go? I know there are adaptors and convertors that can easily be fitted to power supplies to alter the output to suit the needs of the unit it will be powering, but Id much rather get this info from someone who knows far more than I and has already tried and tested these methods, so I dont blow my lights up as soon as I experiment with what will power them!

    And finally, in terms of power - say I had four lights, each with a capacity of 2000ws each, thus requiring 8000ws to power to use all lights at full power, would a generator such as a Honda EU2000i (2000ws) be able to produce enough power to fully charge all the light simultaneously, or is a massive 8000w generator a minimum needed to power these lights? As I havent had enough interaction with these things in my day to day, I just assume any wattage output source would charge these lights, but the capacity would only affect the charge/recharge time...

    Apologies for the noobie questions. I simply need some help Any experience, recommendations or links to documents, articles or books on this topic will be very helpful!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2

    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    There was a guy on eBay that modified Norman units (another US strobe) to work with Speedo heads. That said, the power in these boxes terrifies me (and should terrify you) and messing with them is just a bad idea. As an aside, I helped a friend in Russia purchase a 105 quad head and two 4803 boxes, and the shipping was more expensive than the purchase.

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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Greenberg Motamedi View Post
    There was a guy on eBay that modified Norman units (another US strobe) to work with Speedo heads. That said, the power in these boxes terrifies me (and should terrify you) and messing with them is just a bad idea. As an aside, I helped a friend in Russia purchase a 105 quad head and two 4803 boxes, and the shipping was more expensive than the purchase.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Agreed - definitely don't want to be messing around with that amount of power (or any power). 'To experiment' was more a flippant statement
    I know the shipping is bad - I've experienced this many time before. But as I said, I have no other choice. Its better to have the light I want and need, and pay for the shipping, than comprimise and half-ass it. Just the nature of the beast and a necessary evil, so to speak, to get the end result I crave!

  4. #4
    John Olsen
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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by njrfoto View Post
    Hi all

    And finally, in terms of power - say I had four lights, each with a capacity of 2000ws each, thus requiring 8000ws to power to use all lights at full power, would a generator such as a Honda EU2000i (2000ws) be able to produce enough power to fully charge all the light simultaneously, or is a massive 8000w generator a minimum needed to power these lights? As I havent had enough interaction with these things in my day to day, I just assume any wattage output source would charge these lights, but the capacity would only affect the charge/recharge time...

    Thanks in advance
    About the generator question: The smaller generators (3000W or so) don't have very good voltage regulation. The surge from charging your Speedos may cause a big voltage drop that may suck a harmful amount of current into the Speedo. The 5000W generator works well with the big Speedotrons; just don't go smaller.

    My recommendation is that you should buy equipment designed for UK power sources. If you're not an electrical wizard, this could be dangerous. If Speedotron doesn't offer UK-friendly units, then stay away from them.

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    I have Speedotron gear, and I agree with John. Are there really no used strobes made for the UK market that'll do what you need?
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter J. De Smidt View Post
    I have Speedotron gear, and I agree with John. Are there really no used strobes made for the UK market that'll do what you need?
    I can get Bowens or Profoto - they are the only, made for UK kit that I have managed to find that have the high powered heads that I require. The massive pull to the Speedotron units is the fast flash duration which I also need, so they are the only realistic option at this point. Since reading your guys posts, and hearing your concerns, I have written to Speedotron EU in the hope they can assist me.

    Despite my lack of electrical knowledge, I have worked in studios internationally as an assistant and as the primary photographer, so have been around varied and copious amounts of equipment to know my way around and not be stupidly naive enough to "put things where they ought not to go". My grandfather is a life long electrician and all my previous strobe kits have been from the States, so I feel comfortable and certainly not deterred from using these lights whatever solution I finish with. After working in darkrooms for nearly 10 years since I was a young teen nothing can scare, nor prepare me more for taking all essential precautions necessary to ensure I, my clients and family are all covered and safe - that is first and foremost my priority.

    Anyway, thank you guys for caring and your concern. I feel this thread has deviated somewhat from helping find me a viable and possible solution to my proposal, into a safety talk, but its all useful feedback nonetheless

    If all else fails I will complete my purchase of the US lights and corresponding packs, and I will use my converter kits to charge the pack from our mains power when back on UK soil.

    Thanks guys.

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by John Olsen View Post
    About the generator question: The smaller generators (3000W or so) don't have very good voltage regulation. The surge from charging your Speedos may cause a big voltage drop that may suck a harmful amount of current into the Speedo. The 5000W generator works well with the big Speedotrons; just don't go smaller.

    My recommendation is that you should buy equipment designed for UK power sources. If you're not an electrical wizard, this could be dangerous. If Speedotron doesn't offer UK-friendly units, then stay away from them.
    The Honda eu2000 is on loan from God himself. It does not have voltage drop or bog down, it just makes the power it says it will. Very quietly while sipping daintilly on gasoline in a lightweight sleek case. Whether it makes the power needed for the proposed flashes I don't know.

    An option for electrical (or even car mechanics) would be to have a big deep cycle battery hooked to a 120v inverter of suitable capacity. Charge the batteries with a 230v input charger meant for your own electrical system. If they are sealed (AGM) batteries you could use them inside too.

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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by njrfoto View Post
    The massive pull to the Speedotron units is the fast flash duration which I also need
    .
    then putting the heads onto a different pack would defeat the purpose..no?

    it's the pack that gives the flash duration...not the heads

  9. #9
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Have you contacted these people? : http://www.speedotron.eu/Home.html There is also a list of dealers. Not only might they have a lead on used or rental equipment, but some of them might know what has to be done to US spec versions to be usable in Europe. They might even offer a modification service.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

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    Re: What'll power Speedotron Lights besides their own packs? & Regional Power Differe

    Quote Originally Posted by DrTang View Post
    then putting the heads onto a different pack would defeat the purpose..no?

    it's the pack that gives the flash duration...not the heads
    Surely that cant be the only contributing factor of the flash duration... If it was, then why does a Speedotron 105 2 cable have a flash duration of 1/1175 seconds at 2400 Ws, and a Speedotron 206VF has a flash duration of 1/350 seconds at 2400 Ws? Both 4800ws units, both can be powered by a 4803 (4800ws) unit, so surely the flash duraion is also dependant the types of bulb and the interior make up of the model of light... If you have evidence and any official Speedotron documentation which state the effect of certain packs I would be very interested to read that.

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