View Full Version : Speedotron black line repair info?

4-Mar-2017, 21:02

Looking for information for simple repairs on Speedotron black line equipment, specifically 102 lights. The model light button on one of my lights is sticky, and the model light doesn't work. I removed the retaining nut and fiddled with it, but that didn't change anything. I want to disassemble the body and access the switch itself to see what is going on.

Is this an ill-advised idea? I am confident with my mechanical and electrical aptitude, but have not taken apart studio strobe equipment before.

Can the model light push button be cleaned and/or lubricated from the outside? Is any lubricant advised? The button feels sticky when pushed all the way in. The spring return does not return the button, it seems like there is crud at the bottom of the push button.

Thanks for any tips.

4-Mar-2017, 22:28
Personally, I would be very wary of taking any flash units apart. By the sounds of it, if the model light doesn't light up, it may be just the switch itself. If the switch is attached to the panel, you may be able to repair or replace the switch from that point. If you need to get into the bowels of the beast, I would not attempt it as the voltages (typically about 400-600 volts) and the rather large capacitors may have you cash in your life insurance policy early.

Tav Walraven
5-Mar-2017, 05:59

I have used Eddy at Ntronix here in Dallas for some 2400 and 4800 pack repairs. His garage is stuffed with Broncolor, Profoto and Speedotron gear for repair and parts. He works nights and gets home early AM so call him around 8am or so CST and he can most likely answer your questions on the 102 issues. If fixable, you can box it up and ship it to him UPS or better yet USPS Priority in the large box cheap. He's as good as it gets repairing Speedotron but he just might walk you through fixing it yourself. I would hesitate to work on or open up any of the power packs myself. My 4800 had been asleep for years and went off like a bomb last year when I turned it on. Eddy showed me the inside. I now have several blown capacitors that look like they rolled over a land mine and the mother board was toast. Here is his link and phone numbers. Again, try him in the early AM hours when he gets home as his Speedotron business is done on the side.


Peter De Smidt
5-Mar-2017, 06:36
I worked in a big studio with loads of Speedotron stuff. The studio handyman fixed that sort of thing one a regular basis. Do not open the power packs, as they can be lethal, but I don't see the problem with taking apart a head. I was just given two broken heads. If I have some time, I'll take one apart and report back.

Bob Salomon
5-Mar-2017, 06:54
Is your life insurance current, up to date and your beneficiary correct? What is inside that pack is lethal if you make a mistake!

5-Mar-2017, 07:36
Thanks folks. Yes I hear and agree with the multiple comments about working on a power pack. This is not my question.

To my understanding, the 102 light, or strobe unit, call it what you want, has no on board capacitors. My goal is to remove the model light switch and either clean/repair it or replace it. When the unit is discharged and unplugged from the power pack, I see no hazard in this other than the ever present potential for damage by the technician.

Peter, thank you. If you are able to shed any light (no pun intended) on this, I would be grateful!

Tav I will call Eddy, thanks for the referral.

5-Mar-2017, 09:13
I have the unit disassembled and the phenolic plate is loose, which holds the model lamp and flash tube. The internals will not come out of the main housing (can) because something is still attached. The two small screws on the side of the housing are removed.

I think everything is attached to the handle at the back of the unit. How do the screws on the handle come out? It looks like there are plastic covers on the screw heads. I tried prying (prising) them out but they are hard and not soft plastic/rubber. Is a more aggressive approach needed to remove the covers, or are the screws accessed by using a long screwdriver through the housing, from the flash tube end?

Tav Walraven
5-Mar-2017, 09:44
I've got 10 102's which all work great. If I have some time today, I'll work on one and see what's inside. My curiosity is at a peak now!

5-Mar-2017, 09:48
Got it apart. The two small screws on the side are the key. Also key was years (decades) of crud and dust that was jamming everything up. If it were not so dirty, disassembly would be very easy.

Two problems.
1. model lamp burned out (duh).
2. need to check continuity of the model lamp switch. Physically everything looks ok but the button sticks in the depressed position. This could have caused the lamp to burn out over time.

The switch is a metal pushbutton flat on 2 sides Leviton 3A-125-T. Similar to Leviton item 90679-002. $9.50 on Amazon.

Will post more progress as it's made.

Tav thanks for any input you can offer.

5-Mar-2017, 10:15
The push button switch is wonky. No continuity in any position.

I'll order some parts and get it going. Not critical because I have two other lights that are working.

Will update if/when I get it back together.

p.s. the strobe functions on this unit,just not the model light.

5-Mar-2017, 13:23
Got the unit reassembled and the strobe functions normally. Ordered a switch and replacement model bulbs. Hope to get it back in business when the parts arrive.

It would be nice to install a new cable gland/grommet/strain relief as well, will look into the connections when the model lamp is installed. I think the connections are soldered.

Tav Walraven
5-Mar-2017, 14:57
Congratulations !.......You're now a CERTIFIED SPEEDOTRON TECHNICIAN

Peter De Smidt
5-Mar-2017, 15:00
You beat me to it. Good job! I need to replace a modeling lamp switch myself.

5-Mar-2017, 17:26
Thanks guys. It is really quite straightforward, if you have intermediate electro-mechanical skills. The most difficult step relates to the thin metal can.

- clearance between parts is tight due to compactness, and dust and grime makes things sticky and not easily removable.
- the sheet metal can is thin and deforms easily, especially if it has been bent, dinged or dropped over the years, as mine has. This creates additional tightness in removing the innards.

To overcome these points, wiggling and going slow will deliver success. I cleaned everything up and upon reassembly I had to squeeze the can/body in such a way that the innards could be inserted. Hard to explain, easier to show.

When I get the replacement switch and new modeling bulb I will do a little sheet metal "adjustment" with a hammer and drift pin on the anvil of my vise. Hammer mechanics, unite!

The guts of the flash unit come out all in one go, after 4 screws and the model lamp switch are disconnected.

7-Mar-2017, 15:09

Model lamp new bulb $12.68 at a local electrical supply house. Bulb: clear quartz tungsten halogen Sylvania 250Q/CL/CD(ESS) 250W 120V BA15D NAED 58720

Model lamp new switch no cost at a (different) local electrical supply house. The gentleman at the counter said the switches are no longer available, but he had a box in stock from a showroom lighting display setup. Note: the switches are available online at Amazon and other places. Functional equivalent to Leviton 90679-1 single pole pushbutton push on push off 3A 125V. The ferrule/bushing protrudes a tad farther from the strobe body, not a big deal. Original knurled retaining nut can be reused. If I do another one of these I might go with a rotary switch as it requires less force on the strobe.

The housing was massaged back into better shape with some blacksmithery skills, a hammer (of course) and a round flat drift punch. The fan blade no longer rubs on the can/housing and is the quietest of my 3 strobes.

Strobe functions normally. Model lamp functions normally with both the switch on the power pack and the (new) switch on the strobe. All good.

30-Mar-2017, 06:23
Found the strain relief, can also be known as cable gland, ferrule, or bushing. These small plastic pieces make a secure connection where the power cable enters the metal housing of a 102 strobe light.

Heyco part 1254, SR 8N-2 black. https://www.heyco.com/Strain_Relief_Bushings/product.cfm?product=Original-Strain-Relief-Round-2&section=Strain_Relief_Bushings

Easy to install. Pliers are needed. I used a pair of small adjustable pliers. We call them channel locks in the US. Other pliers would work, and Heyco sells a pair of specialist pliers for this job.

With the new strain relief the cable is safer and looks much nicer.

Peter De Smidt
30-Mar-2017, 07:08
That's great! Thanks for letting us know.