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Thread: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

  1. #1

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    Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

    While looking for Elinchrom light modifiers on eBay happened across two 404 flash power packs. These are rated at 4000W/S per unit, price was not resistable.

    Off with the covers to reveal:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Other than decades of dust and dirt. Mostly ok, except for the RIFA (swiss made) capacitors that have a proven history of failure.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Replaced them all.
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    The main capacitor bank with the bottom off.
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    Once the apparent dead parts were replaced-repaired, time for reforming ALL the capacitors. If not done properly, any of these capacitors can explode upon initial power up.


    Bernice

  2. #2

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    Elinchrom 404, Rebuild pt.2

    Setting up to reform the capacitors.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Once the capacitors were reformed, tested ok, covers went back on.. power up, both 404 units work.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Frame clip from iPhone slow-mo video, iphone imager got light over load.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Two flash heads produce ~f64 at 10ft using the 90 degree wide angle reflector.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now possible to do view camera images using once extremely common high power flash systems with light modifiers as needed.
    More than one project comes to mind.



    Bernice

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild pt.2

    Great job, Bernice!
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  4. #4

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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild pt.2

    Not a job for the unskilled... well done!

  5. #5

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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild pt.2

    Great find/Great job!!! Haven't seen that much light output since my studio daze, and nice in a smallish pack... Those wetplaters also like those power poppers...

    Are those a single or bi-tube head??? Plan on doing set-ups or AC friendly locations with it???

    You know what to do inside pack, but carefully, and stick to your plan to be safe...

    I want to dig out my pair of G/R 1531a high speed strobes + accessories to see if they still work... Weak output, but can be used cameraless direct to film... Interested in liquids... (When I get re-settled...)

    Hope you are better... Have fun!!!

    Steve K

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

    Yes, good work

    Long ago I sent a small pack to Montreal on eBay

    It worked well after
    image

  7. #7

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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

    Yes, this worked out good. 8000w/s was more than enough for the majority of indoor film view camera work.
    These days with digital cameras, that much flash power is beyond excessive due to the light sensitivity of digital imagers and the demand for short duration
    stop action flash images.

    Lighting is often not appreciated as to the importance of image making and easily applies to outdoor image making in ways that can be surprising.
    All sorts of view camera images that could only be made using this amount of flash power comes to mind. Kilo watt/second flash power might appear to be excessive until light modifiers are added. The light loss and larger area to be lighted eats up lighting power in the most remarkable ways. Been there, Done this one time too many.


    There appears to be an interest to use these vintage high power flash systems for wet plate images due to the slow ISO if wet plate. It's been done:
    https://pdnonline.com/gear/lighting-...ts-in-a-flash/

    https://fourtoes.co.uk/iblog/the-strobes-of-doom/


    Given the popularity of wet plate images, it is very possible, with not a lot of difficulty to get a light spectrum specific high power Xenon flash tube that fits the light spectral sensitivity of wet plate made for these vintage high power flash systems. This coupled with lenses that are designed to transmit the light spectrum needed for wet plate should go a good ways to reducing the amount of light needed to produce proper exposure for wet plate work.

    Add a proper light-flash meter and light modifiers specific to wet plate images are the beginnings of taking wet plate image making into using modern image making tools.



    Bernice

  8. #8

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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild pt.2

    Last time using multi Elinchrom 404 was indoor set images using a Sinar 8x10 with Fujichrome. Fun stuff back then. We would find a vintage location, get a group of friends together, do set matching costume, set up lighting, camera and all for 2-4 sheets of 8x10 color transparency film. Many good-fun memories from those times. Not quite possible today in the same ways that were not so difficult to do back then.. about three decades ago.

    Plan for now is to apply these 404's for still life or similar indoor images with diffused and other flash power eating light modifiers.

    If any one of those twin flash tube heads shows up, likely try for it as the X8 or X8000 allows 8000w/s from a single flash head. Kinda remember you'll get f90 at ~10-12ft with a Mola beauty dish with diffuser (these are better without the diffuser).

    GR and others made those flash units to study mechanical motion. Version of those are made today for mechanical study work and more. GR was the first to produce these a long time ago.

    Yes, these high power flash packs are instant death in a box. Do one wrong move, you're instantly dead. Great care and respect and focused attention must be applied doing work on these.


    Bernice




    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Great find/Great job!!! Haven't seen that much light output since my studio daze, and nice in a smallish pack... Those wetplaters also like those power poppers...

    Are those a single or bi-tube head??? Plan on doing set-ups or AC friendly locations with it???

    You know what to do inside pack, but carefully, and stick to your plan to be safe...

    I want to dig out my pair of G/R 1531a high speed strobes + accessories to see if they still work... Weak output, but can be used cameraless direct to film... Interested in liquids... (When I get re-settled...)

    Hope you are better... Have fun!!!

    Steve K

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    27

    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

    I have several of these with 8000w heads. Ideal for wetplate and needed when using modifiers.
    Servicing them is not for the faint of heart, the capacitors can kill easily.
    If my memory serves me well, the Rifas came from Sweden, but he units were assembled in Swizerland (close to where I live).
    Best
    Andreas

  10. #10

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    Re: Elinchrom 404, Rebuild

    Bernice, I have several Broncolor packs with Rifa madness, I’m hoping that I’ll have time to replace them this winter.
    Last edited by erie patsellis; 5-Sep-2021 at 05:12.

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