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Thread: Speedotron repair question

  1. #1

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    Speedotron repair question

    Anyone know anyone in Maryland or DC who repairs Speedotron packs, specifically the 4803? The Speedotron website does not list anyone anywhere close to me and I would prefer not to spend a ton on shipping to/from and a repair (specifically replacing the 3 prong power input plug) that I know can be made for very little $. I contemplated doing it myself since I know how to make/fix a 3 prong plug, but keep thinking better of it due to all the warnings of opening a pack with 4800joules in the capacitors.

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    My first question would be why do you want/need to replace the plug ???

    My second question would be why do you need to open the pack to replace the plug ?

    What do you think is a reasonable price for such a repair?

    Is/was the pack working properly?
    How long since it was last used?

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    So the pack has the rectangular Speedotron plug? If so, you can simply buy a new power cord from BHPhoto.
    "Poverty is the biggest cause of poverty." Rutger Bregman

  4. #4

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    I don't think I was clear enough on the issue. It is not the power cord (the one that plugs from the wall into the pack) that needs replacing, it is the 3 prong power "input" on the pack itself (where the power cord plugs into the pack), that needs replacing. I just received the pack (used, obviously, and no warranty) and the first time I tried to plug the power cord into the pack, the 2 flat prongs pushed back into the pack. Assuming that the plug is constructed like a normal plug, it appears that the pins that keep the input plug head itself together and attached to the front of the pack are broken, allowing the prongs to sink back into the head. There is no way I can see to fix it without opening the head. I know the pack was working properly prior to being shipped to me, and that is the last time that it was used, which was approximately 7-10 days ago. I don't know what a "reasonable" price for repair would be, but I would imagine that the repair would likely be somewhere in the range of $100-$150, though I have never had a pack repaired, so I don't know. While that price isn't bad, I would have to add the cost of shipping each way for a 35lb pack, which would add another $150-200 easily, bringing my total to probably $500 at least. Obviously, if I could rebuild the plug myself with what I imagine would be less than $10 in parts (a few screws/pins to fix the head and secure it to the front of the pack again) that would be preferable in terms of both money and time.

    While I am not an expert in electrical engineering by any means, I do know that the packs are constructed such that all the capacitors are on the bottom of the pack, while the top half contains all the circuity as well as the plugs for the power cords and lights, and that they are easily separable and easy to work on individually. Knowing that I have a problem that is isolated to the plug itself and that it is nowhere near the circuit boards or capacitors (it is in fact the part that sticks out of the pack and can be/is touched with bare hands when plugging a power cord in) I would imagine that I could safely and easily replace the plug, however knowing how much power is in the capacitors and heeding everyone's warnings about opening packs, I am still obviously worried about the dangers such a self repair could pose.

  5. #5

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by robertraymer View Post
    I don't think I was clear enough on the issue. It is not the power cord (the one that plugs from the wall into the pack) that needs replacing, it is the 3 prong power "input" on the pack itself (where the power cord plugs into the pack), that needs replacing. I just received the pack (used, obviously, and no warranty) and the first time I tried to plug the power cord into the pack, the 2 flat prongs pushed back into the pack. Assuming that the plug is constructed like a normal plug, it appears that the pins that keep the input plug head itself together and attached to the front of the pack are broken, allowing the prongs to sink back into the head. There is no way I can see to fix it without opening the head. I know the pack was working properly prior to being shipped to me, and that is the last time that it was used, which was approximately 7-10 days ago. I don't know what a "reasonable" price for repair would be, but I would imagine that the repair would likely be somewhere in the range of $100-$150, though I have never had a pack repaired, so I don't know. While that price isn't bad, I would have to add the cost of shipping each way for a 35lb pack, which would add another $150-200 easily, bringing my total to probably $500 at least. Obviously, if I could rebuild the plug myself with what I imagine would be less than $10 in parts (a few screws/pins to fix the head and secure it to the front of the pack again) that would be preferable in terms of both money and time.

    While I am not an expert in electrical engineering by any means, I do know that the packs are constructed such that all the capacitors are on the bottom of the pack, while the top half contains all the circuity as well as the plugs for the power cords and lights, and that they are easily separable and easy to work on individually. Knowing that I have a problem that is isolated to the plug itself and that it is nowhere near the circuit boards or capacitors (it is in fact the part that sticks out of the pack and can be/is touched with bare hands when plugging a power cord in) I would imagine that I could safely and easily replace the plug, however knowing how much power is in the capacitors and heeding everyone's warnings about opening packs, I am still obviously worried about the dangers such a self repair could pose.
    If you just need a plug repair any local electronic supply store can recommend local people with the knowledge to repair a plug.

  6. #6

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    I know how to repair a plug and how to open the pack. What I don't have is a way to test/discharge the capacitors. Im 99% sure that it would not matter based on how everything is wired, as I cant see how current from the capacitors would get to the +, -, and ground wires for the plug, but 4800joules is a lot of current for the other 1%.

  7. #7

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by robertraymer View Post
    I know how to repair a plug and how to open the pack. What I don't have is a way to test/discharge the capacitors. Im 99% sure that it would not matter based on how everything is wired, as I cant see how current from the capacitors would get to the +, -, and ground wires for the plug, but 4800joules is a lot of current for the other 1%.
    But an electronics guy will know how.

  8. #8

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    I wouldn't mess with it myself. If you just received the pack, can it be returned?

    These packs can be lethal. I would spend the money and ship it to a competent repair person. They can not only fix the plug, they can check other aspects of the pack.

    And, I wouldn't assume that's the only problem with the pack. What this pack needs may be over your head. Better to recognize that, then to end up under ground. It's not worth the risk.

    Once, I was interested in a used Norman 4000. In checking it over, I merely turned off a switch. That pack lit up like a Christmas tree. While the pack was dead, I was still standing.

  9. #9

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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    I wouldn't mess with it myself. If you just received the pack, can it be returned?

    These packs can be lethal. I would spend the money and ship it to a competent repair person. They can not only fix the plug, they can check other aspects of the pack.

    And, I wouldn't assume that's the only problem with the pack. What this pack needs may be over your head. Better to recognize that, then to end up under ground. It's not worth the risk.

    Once, I was interested in a used Norman 4000. In checking it over, I merely turned off a switch. That pack lit up like a Christmas tree. While the pack was dead, I was still standing.
    Many, many years ago I was the Administer of Studio Lighting for Rollei of America when we were introducing their new radio controlled E 1650 power pack strobe that had revolutionary features for the very early 70ís.
    It had continuously variable output with constant flash duration.
    It had UV coated flash tube with a truly proportional quartz modeling light both covered with a frosted dome.
    Most importantly, for that time, it had a lamp cord that could be plugged into or removed from the pack at any time and at any state of charge without creating a short.
    Lastly it was fired, if desired, by a Rollei radio remote.

    The night before the PMA show where we were introducing it someone stole our two radio remotes. And whoever did was apparently trying them out by continuously pushing the open flash button which would cause our demo packs to flash unexpectedly.

    Part of the sales demonstration was to pull the lamp cord out of the pack when it was fully charged and then put it back in. Showing that it was perfectly safe. Doing this with an Ascor, Norman, Speedatron system would have created a massive short. With the Rollei the only way to short the pack was to hit the open flash button while unplugging or plugging in the head.

    So, my associate was on one side of the booth with a customer demonstrating this feature when their was a loud clap, a big cloud of smoke, a terrible smell and the connector of the cord in his hand had all of the metal contacts melted off! He and the customer were staring wide eyed with open mouths at the connector.

    Then I demonstrated to my customer how safe it was by pulling the cord in my hand out of my pack and the same thing happened!

    We never found those stolen radio transmitters but whoever got them is still probably pushing that damn button!

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Speedotron repair question

    Authorized repair center
    Pro Camera, Inc.
    618 Forest St
    Charlottesville, VA 22903
    434-979-1915
    sin eater

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