Monday, October 29, 2007

GI Cactus V2s Modification Tutorial

What a first post, haha. Sit down for a good read, it may take a bit ;-)

And now I present to you, my tutorial for modifying the 'ebay' triggers.


This tutorial will outline the process involved in modifying a set of Gadget Infinity Cactus V2s triggers (one transmitter and two receivers). So far I have made three modifications; an antenna matched at 433MHz for the transmitter, a lanyard for the receiver, and an external 2xAA battery pack for the receiver. The reason for doing this is to increase reliability and trigger distance, hopefully making them a much better option for the financially challenged folks out there (such as myself).


Before I go too far though, there are a few things I need to mention. First (and probably foremost), I cannot be held responsible for any damage done to any transmitters/receivers while attempting these modifications. That said, there are certain skills required to do this correctly. Soldering being the most obvious and probably most difficult. I am no master at soldering, but make sure you know how to correctly solder before attempting this. Here is a good place to start learning or refresh yourself if you aren’t sure. You’ll also need to be able to drill steadily. Very important in that there are times when the drill will come close to the circuit board, and circuit boards don’t generally take well to spinning drill bits.



Next I’ll go over the supplies needed:



Tools:


-Drill


-Drill bits (I used a 3/16 and a 3/32)


-Soldering Iron


-Needle nose pliers



You’ll also need solder, wire (I used stranded copper wire), and epoxy.



For the actual modifications:


-433Mhz Antenna


I bought this from http://www.digi-key.com/, product #ANT-433-CW-RH, approximate price $6.32. It’s a 433MHz ¼ Wave Whip Antenna with an RP-SMA connection, allowing it to be connected and disconnected as needed so it doesn’t get snapped off in your camera bag. Because of this, you’ll also need…


-RP-SMA Connector


I bought this at the same site, product # CONREVSMA004, approximate price $3.22.


-Lanyard


I grabbed a lanyard for each receiver from random electronics around my house. They generally come with cell phones, mp3 players, and lots of other random small electronics (including many small digital cameras), so finding 2 wasn’t difficult for me. If you need to buy them, I know they sell them at places like Ritz/Wolf camera, but they’re probably ridiculously priced. You’re on your own for finding them though.


-2xAA Battery Holder


This I bought from the local Radio Shack. It’s an enclosed battery holder for 2 AA batteries. Technically you could use the 2xAAA battery holder too, but I really don’t see the point. The reason I got the enclosed case was for a more professional look. In the end there are no exposed wires, and the look is much nicer than the exposed battery cases. The price on these is right around $1.90 each I believe.



That’s all of the equipment/supplies needed. The antenna and connector came out to $15.59 with S&H (there’s a $5 charge for orders under $25), and I just picked up the battery cases locally. All told, under $20 for the supplies, plus costs of any tools and expendable supplies (i.e. wire, epoxy, etc.). This put my total cost with the transmitter and 2 receivers (plus S&H) at right around $82.



Now for the real meat of the tutorial. I’ll start with the transmitter antenna modification, as it is probably the most important in terms of the modification itself and the results it garners. Make sure to read through the whole tutorial before you start the work. And make sure to remove all batteries before as well.




To begin, you’ll have to drill the hole for the connector through the top plate of the transmitter. This seems simple, but in reality is probably the most difficult part for the mod, simply because there is limited room. If the hole is too close to the front, the connector won’t fit. If it’s too close to the back, it’ll hit the circuit board and again, won’t fit. Measure twice, cut once. It may help to drill a starter hole and move from there. I used the 3/16 bit, though in actuality it needs to be a bit larger hole than that. All I did was shave off small sections from the hole to make it bigger, so I honestly can’t tell you if a ¼ bit will work perfectly or not, but I suspect it would. I put the hole about 7/16” from the front, and 3/8” from the side with the 2.5mm jack. You can test the fit of the connector, but don’t yet mount it in.



Next, solder about 3 inches of wire to the bottom of the connector. Do this before you mount the connector, as it will be easier to keep from melting the plastic, unless you’re confident in your steady hand. I say 3” of wire because then you can cut to length before soldering the other end into the circuit board. When soldering the wire to the connector, you will probably have to solder it in a loop around the pin on the connector in order to allow the assembly to fit inside the transmitter, as shown.



Once the wire is soldered to the connector, go ahead and mount the connector to the top plate using the mounting nut that comes on the connector. After that, you’re ready to get the wire ready to be soldered to the circuit board. You’ll want to make sure you have enough room that it won’t be a stretch and won’t get in the way of the center post (where the top plate is screwed to the bottom plate), but not so much wire that there’s lots of extra in the transmitter.





Once you have the wire cut to length and the end stripped, go ahead and solder the wire to the open, tinned hole on the circuit board (near the front, opposite the side with the 2.5mm jack).


********EDIT********

Another Strobist follower, vaddzagg, came up with an alternative method for the internal wire used to connect the antenna to the circuit board:


He used a length of wire equal to 1/4 wavelength of 433Mhz, in order to make the entire antenna including the wire a 1/2 wave antenna. He found that this improved his transmitter a bit more, you can send him mail via flickr here.




*********************



With that complete, your antenna mod should be done. All that is left is to attach the top plate, and screw in the antenna itself into the connector. This modification alone should give you a great boost to distance and reliability.




The next modification will be the simplest, the lanyard for the receivers. All I did for this was to drill two small holes near the top of the receiver on the side opposite the PC jack. I used the 3/32 bit, and drilled the holes about 3/32” apart from each other. Be careful with the drill, as if you go too far into the receiver after pushing through the case, you’ll hit wire. I then threaded the end of the lanyard in one hole and out the other (using a wire leader to pull it through), and attached the lanyard as shown. Easy modification, and now you can hang the receiver from anywhere you can hang a Pocket Wizard.





The last modification is the external battery pack for the receiver. This will increase the life of the receiver during a shoot, and also decrease the cost of batteries for the receiver (2 AA batteries versus the $10 CR2 3V batteries). As an aside, I use regular AA batteries instead of rechargeable batteries, so I have no idea how rechargeable batteries will work. I can’t imagine it would make much of a difference, but I’m just letting you know.





The first step in the battery mod is to get the case ready to be attached to the receiver. To do this, begin by simply removing the cover with a small Phillips-head screwdriver. Inside you’ll notice where the two wires come into the case and are soldered to small metal plates at the top of the case. Use the needle nose pliers to gently pull the plates out of the plastic case. They’ll put up a small fight, but be gentle and they’ll come out easy enough. Once they’re free of the case, pull them both out with the wires attached. We’ll put them back in later.





Now the case is ready to be attached to the receiver with some epoxy. First, line up the case exactly where you’ll want it on the receiver. If you look at my photos, you’ll see that I’ve attached it to the same side as the PC jack, about half way down the side and flush with the front of the receiver. At this location, the hole that we’ll drill will be in a convenient spot so as not to interfere with the spring or the circuit board inside. Once you have the location you want, you’re ready to epoxy. Remember that you want to epoxy the back of the battery case, not the front where the screw is to open it. Epoxy is very strong stuff, so you don’t need to overdo it (read: A little dab will do ya!). Put some epoxy on both the receiver and the battery case, and hold them in place until they set a bit and you can let them dry on their own. Once it’s dried and cured, you’re set to move on to the next step.



Next you’ll drill the hole through both cases to allow the wires to move through from the battery case to the receiver. When you’re drilling the hole, remember again to measure twice, cut once. The hole needs to be far enough from the front of the receiver so as to not hit the circuit board, but not so far it’s outside the receiver altogether. I found that the best place for the hole just happened to be where there’s a nice little post inside the battery cover (just to the left of the center post where the screw for the battery case cover goes). So I managed to grab something to wedge the post out (it comes off/out pretty easy, just use a flat head screwdriver or something similar), and then used that mark to drill the hole. I used the 3/32 bit again, but it’s a pretty tight fit for the wires. It should work, you just may have to shave a side of the hole a bit to give yourself a little extra room. Go VERY slow with this drilling, too fast and once you push through the case you’ll push through circuitry. And then all is for naught. So BE CAREFUL.





Once the hole is drilled, we can put the wires back into the case. First push the ends of the wires (opposite the ends soldered to the metal plates) through the new hole into the receiver. Pull them through a little ways and then set the metal plates back into their positions in the battery case, just as they were before they were pulled out. They should stay put pretty well, but if you want you can put a little superglue at the corners to keep them there (I didn’t bother, they friction fit just fine by me). Once the plates are in, pull the wires in the rest of the way, being careful to make sure they sit in the battery case well. Now we’ll get the wires ready to be soldered in the receiver.



First, we want to make sure we’re soldering the correct wire in the correct place. The red wire is positive, black is negative. If you don’t already know this, put down the soldering iron and step away. Just kidding. But not really.





The black wire is going to be soldered to the top of the metal plate with the spring attached, and the red wire will be soldered to the opposite plate. Before soldering, cut the wires to a manageable length such as shown in the photo. Once the length is correct, you’ll simply solder the wires in place. This can get a little tricky as you don’t want to melt the plastic of the case or touch any other circuitry, but very doable. Just try to bend and place the wire so it sits on the metal plate on its own before soldering.



Once you’ve got the wires soldered in correctly, you should be good to go. Throw a couple AA batteries in the case, put both covers on, and that’s it!




That should be it for all three modifications. Just make sure to take your time and do it right, and I think you’ll be very pleased with the results. There may be more modifications in the future, I’m always trying to make the equipment I have better in whatever ways I can. I hope this helps, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. My Flickr account is ‘kuster’, and my email address is jeremy@jeremykuster.com. Let me know how it turns out (unless something goes wrong :-P).

128 comments:

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

I mean, well done!

Jacob said...

I no longer have the V2's, but I did do this mod to them which made them much more robust. I imagine if I had done the antenna mod and battery mod, I may have held on to them!

One other thing - if you do the battery mod as mentioned above, that will give you plenty of room for putting in the 1/8" plug, or filling the PC with epoxy.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157600352298821/?search=cactus+v2+epoxy

Jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacob said...

One note - you have to scroll down past my rants to see the modification I did..

kuster said...

Please excuse the horrible lighting for the photos, I just tried to get the tutorial up as fast as I could :-\

Mario Galán said...

Very nice tutorial. I thought the same mods but I haven't done them yet.

It's good to see that the antenna modification can be done.

Mike said...

Have you done real world experiments regarding transmitter distance? What I'm getting at is...how much farther than before does it work reliably?

kuster said...

I did actually, go here to see my results :-)

http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157602622255547/

jared josef said...

i was wondering why you have a pc-to-hotshoe adapter connected when there already is a built-in hotshoe adapter?

easymovet said...

whats the cord with the hot shoe attached, where do i get those? Thanks!

kuster said...

The built in hotshoe would require me to use the bracket for the receiver to mount it to a stand. The hotshoe-to-PC cord I find to be much more useful, I just mount the hotshoe to a stand and hang the receiver from the stand as well.

As for where I got the cord, I bought it a while back at a Ritz/Wolf camera I think, I bought both of them long before I ever thought about the triggers. I honestly don't remember how much they were though.

LuisBriones said...

Hi. Nice tutorial. I have one tips and one question. Do you try to put an antenna to receiver? This probably improves the range. Another thing is solder the mass antenna to mass transmitter. All antenna has to part and you only connect one of this.

Pip said...

Sorry for such a basic question but the gadget page left me a tad confused. I have 3 brands of flash. Vivitar285, older Metz CT-60, and Canon 580ex. Do I need to order different receivers for each of the flashes?

kuster said...

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I fire an old Vivitar (not a 285 or even a 283) and a Canon 420EX with the same receivers (the V2s), so I wouldn't think you'd have to have different receivers for them. As for the Metz though, no clue. I'd just buy one receiver and see if it works on all three, then go ahead and buy the other two. More in shipping maybe, but a little peace of mind possibly.

Pip said...

Thanks, I'll do that. And thanks for a terrific blog.

Ben said...

Anyone in the UK can get the bits and pieces from Maplin on the highstreet, helical antenna (only with a screw thread) at http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?ModuleNo=24845&doy=1m11

Paul G. said...

Very well done

Chris said...

Great Tutorial. I was going to order a set of these, but I wanted to do more research on them. I found this and now I'm ok with it. Gonna order a set today. What kind of range were you getting our of them before the mods? Thanks...Chris

TinaRawatta said...

Hello,
very nice tutorial.
One question: how did you get the Hotshoe of the triggers, what did you use for that?
lg
Tina

McHliaba said...

Hallo.
I was wandering could we use two flashes on this setup.Could you try one flash at the pc-to-hotshoe adapter connected and one another at the built-in hotshoe adapter.
Thanks Very nice tutorial indeed

patrick said...

anyone know if this will work with the 16 channel? I'm assuming its all the same just want to know before i order.

VaddZagg said...

Great tutorial!
But I ran into problem with signal stability. In 50% of cases signal from antenna did not travel or travel to very little distance. My guess was that wire, which connects antenna and PCB modifies total antenna length, and it ruins quality of signal from transmitter.
I modified wire which connects antenna and PCB, to make it match 1/4 of wavelength, so, i used thin wire 6.82 inch long, twist it to spiral and put inside the body. Now I have antenna total 1/2 of wavelength (1/4 antenna by it self and 1/4 wire) and it runs flawless and shoot pretty far, and 100% stable. If you interested I may provide you a picture of this mod to update your write-up.

travisty10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
travisty10 said...

questions.. I have a 30d with 580ex, cactus v2 and new batteries. first, i did the antenna mod and it doesnt seem to work great at short distances. i get it to fire 70 percent of the time. It also fires on its own about once every five minutes. Is there something i should do with this mod for my canon gear to get better results.
Also, with high speed sync on my flash i used to be able to sync well over 250 shutter, when using the cactus v2, i only get 200.

travisty10 said...

vaddzagg, i would like to see a picture. what is your setup, canon, nikon, what flash etc..

Rob Oresteen said...

Thank you for the great post and mod. It is getting mentioned at NoBS Photosuccess.com as well.

I'm going to get a set of V2's now for sure.

VaddZagg said...

travisty10: here is the link to the
picture

kuster said...

travisty10: There shouldn't be anything extra for Canon shooters, as I'm a Canon shooter as well. But you might want to make sure you have the V2s, and not the V2, because they apparently updated something in the trigger to work with Canon flashes with the V2s'.

vaddzagg: I like your train of thought, and I'm glad it works so well for you :-D I don't know that I'll change the mod, as I have no problems with the short wire, but I may link to your photo as an alternative method if that' alright.

VaddZagg said...

kuster: please feel free to add my photo :)

Scott Paulson said...

Just completed mine--works great. Fantastic distance. I did mine as vazzdagg suggested--adding a 5.57" wire on the inside and connect to the antenna as kuster suggested to buy. Thanks!

travisty10 said...

scott -
do you have canon gear or other..
if canon gear, does it ever not fire or fire at random times.
thanks

Scott Paulson said...

Travisty10--I have the following gear:

Nikon D40
Gadget Infinity Cactus V2s
Nikon SB-800

I do not notice any misfires or random fires....Have you checked the discussion board on the Strobist group on Flickr? Maybe something there about canon

travisty10 said...

scott - doesnt vaddzagg suggest a 6.82" wire. You put down 5.57" in your post. im getting ready to add this wire now. thanks

Scott Paulson said...

Travisty10--Yes, the correct dimension is 6.82, but I subtracted the length of the "trace" on the circuit board so that the combination of the "trace" on the board + my wire + the antenna is 1/2 wavelength.

shambrick said...

So, following this thread there appear to be 2 choices for the length of wire (excluding the antenna itself). Either 6.82" or 5.57".

The question remains - which is the best length? Logic says 5.57.

But I have just soldered a length of 6.82 to my transmitter, and I am nervous about trimming it back in case the signal gets worse and I have to resolder..

Does anyone have advice?

shambrick said...

So which length is best? 6.82 or 5.57"?

I just soldered in 6.82, so I can trim if someone can clarify, but I don't want to gamble on shorter if the signal might get worse again...

travisty10 said...

i ended up cutting my wire back to 5.57 and it seems to work better.

TQ Nguyen said...

I read through your post, ordered the parts, and tried the mod with 5.57 inch wire, and it works great! The setup is so much more reliable. Many thanks for creating the post, and thanks for putting up the part numbers as well. Much appreciated!

Brad Shearer said...

Thanks so much for this article.

I recently did this mod as well, based alot off of your post here.

I made a video of it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXdMv_1xKcQ

www.huruguen.eu said...

Hi, i'v just done the modification following your instructions and it works very well.
Here is what it looks like now : http://www.flickr.com/photos/huruguen/2423188728/in/photostream/

Here is the distance range : http://www.flickr.com/photos/huruguen/2419040959/in/photostream/

strobe monkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
strobe monkey said...

Hi Kuster, I just modded mine after reading your guide. But my mod is a mixture based on yours, as well as other's idea.
Its here:
http://strobemonkey.blogspot.com/2008/04/cactus-v2s-trigger-mod.html

Patrick said...

I'm trying to figure out which units output a higher voltage sync because I'm trying to hardwire a few of these receivers to some flashes I have. The ones labeled "PT-04 Receiver" work great however the ones labeled "cactus PT-04" and "Cactus V2s" do not fire the flashes at all.

Anyone know a mod to increase the voltage going out of the PC sync or know which triggers I need to buy to fire these flashes?

Tesseract said...

Nice set of instructions, I am going to do this mod with my V2s trigger.

pavel said...

I'll add my results.
5.75" wire plus antenna gives average distance up to 70 feet. +/- 30 feet (somehow depending on receiver). On short distances in closed area stability is also improved, so far haven't had any misfiring.. (~100 pictures taken).
So i do recommend this mod. :)

Rich said...

Thanks so much! I've done the transmitter mod so far and... WOW it really made a difference. I was getting 25ft distance before MOD and after well it's over 100ft! You did a great job on the tutorial.

BTW the 1/4 bit is PERFECT!

Rich Becker
www.richbecker.net

Roy said...

Curious about VaddZagg's 5+" wire addition. Does anyone know much about radio and using chokes (i.e. smaller inductor to electrically lengthen the antena? I used a small choke for an RC plane where I had to cut the rcvr antena wire and put a choke in-line.

Also, in close quarters, say w/in 15ft, what's the max sync speed most get way with Canon body and 580/430?

Thanks,
Roy

deciacco said...

Here is my experience with this mod. Lots of pictures...
http://www.deciacco.com/blog/photography/gi-cactus-v2s-wireless-ebay-triggers-mod/

Ricardo Büchner said...

I have a question...

If I want more reliability, avoiding misfires and unwanted pops, but at a distance at 30 feet (this is the farther that I would use it), do I REALLY need the antenna?

What happens if I just use just the inner part of the antenna (coiled wire) plus the 2xAA battery pack?

Will it make more reliable?

Roy said...

Alright, I just did the TX mod and I've got 4 videos in the works showing both the modification Jeremy performed and the before and after results.

Quick summary...distance about doubled; however, realiability only marginally improved...before I was getting a 30% failure rate with two flashes..i.e. from about 10' from the two flashes (they were about 4ft appart), 3 of 10 shots resulted in one of the flashes not firing. Also, I saw sporatic firing at a level of about 1 non-inititated fire ever 5 minutes.

After the mod, again distance when from about 60ft working distance to 120ft working distance, but realibility only increased a bit to about a 20% failure rate.

I doubt the AA battery mod will increase realibility since the install battery is 3.3VDC no-load whereas 2 AA's are only about 3VDC no-load.

More to come...

-Roy

Tuomo said...

I was going to mod this thing... The trigger was probably expecting it because it just stopped working the next day I got it. Worked fine for a while when testing it immediately, but when I was actually going to use them, nothing.. no test button, no flash bracket. led's not blinking.. Anyone got an idea?

G. Owens Photography said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the posting. I actually ended up doing the mod with 12.39" of coiled wire inside the housing since I already had everything laying around the house. Only thing that had been missing was time! If you can solder the mod only takes about 10 mins to perform. Most of that was waiting for the iron to get hot.

Mine made a big difference. I still have the occasional misfire but distance has been increased.

So until the radio popper jrs come out these are a great way to learn off camera lighting. Thaks again

Greg

Illuminate Workshops said...

Thanks for the inspiration and direction. I used your mods and made a small change to the receiver/battery alignment.

I've posted my test results, they're fantastic. 400 feet of useful sync-range. That's up from ~70 feet.

See the results: http://www.flickr.com/photos/illuminateworkshops/2699431034/

George said...

Has anyone tried this mod with the V2 models for Canon? I don't want to mess mine up.

yeshivawiseguy said...

Excellent Info. Did the mod on two xmitters. Range extended quite significantly, even through walls and floors. If I use my PocketWizard as the main xmitter and hook a PocketWizard receiver to a modified Cactus xmitter the range is just unbelievable. I can light practically anything with two Dyna-Lite packs, 2 SB-600's, an SB-50DX, and SB-28 and a Sunpack all firing together in a huge space. Thank You for the great work!!!!

Danny said...

Good write up. But...

I found a few problems with the second set up. Curling the wires that connect the antenna from the device does not increase range, but only does worse. Despite having the wire the specified 433 Mhz length, coiling it creates an inductance out of the wire. It will only reduce the power and range.

Your best bet is to have the wire as short as possible (both for signal and good connection!).

The BEST possible way to do this is to use coax cables that has the same impedance as the antenna. I believe yours is 50 Ohms. Space is limited though so you really can't do this unless you feed the antenna out the device haha.

Alban D.R. said...

Hey

Thank you for this article, but I have a question.
I can't find the RP-SMA connector on digikey, do you have the real reference or a link ?

thank you

Sébastien said...

Here is my tribute to your modification : http://destroyteam.free.fr/cactus-mod.php
The article is not totally written, i need to put more information inside, and also the link to this page !
Thanks for sharing this.
Hope my article will help the french people ;)

Danny said...

btw it is 1/4 drill for the antenna hole.

Kenny said...

Im looking for that pc sync things..where do I get them at?

Robert Wolterman said...

Just curious if you've noticed that the bulkhead SMA connector and the antenna are both male.

Robert Wolterman said...

Well crap, I'm an idiot and ordered the wrong antenna. I'm assuming the correct one is the female mate.

Dave said...

I did this mod on mine. I did a quick test and got a range of 160 feet.

Is the wire supposed to be a certain length inside the transmitter?

Dave said...

Also, when the battery is dying in the transmitter (which seems to happen every 2-3 days (is that normal? 75-100 shots each day) it won't fire with the antenna attached, but works perfect without it. Anyone else notice that?

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

If you are buying in the UK then you can find the antenna here and the connector here.

It took me ages to find these!

pompteam107 said...

hmmm
I did the modification as well.

before the mod i did a sequence of 79 photo's at 1/200 in my room and not a single misfire.

After the mod i was able to shoot from a 275 feet distance with a 50% failure which is good.
However.. when doing this same sequence in my room again i found a much higher rate of failure.
Actually 4 misfires out of 20.
And it sure isn't my flash!

could it be that this antenna mod gives more resistance?
Maybe the 12V batt isn't powerfull enough since i have been using that for half a year. Anyone ever replaced the 12V battery?

Westside Service Resource Council said...

I all for cheap, but with all the hours that you would put in the modifications and all the material the final price will come up the same as buying a pocket wizards,,, i will rather spend my time I guess.. shooting

kuster said...

pomp, two things: One, if the receiver is right next to the transmitter (within a foot probably), I've noticed problems with reliability. But that's only if it's really close, a couple of feet and it usually doesn't matter. Not sure if that helps, but it's a thought. Also, definitely replace the 12v battery, especially if you are using the original battery that came with it. Battery life in both the transmitter and receiver seem to be key to reliability and affect the outcome pretty heavily. Even so, you shouldn't have to change the 12v very often, I think I've gone through 3 or 4 in a year and a half.

And Westside, 30 minutes and an extra $20 does not equal a pocket wizard. In fact even if you're really taking your time and take 2 hours and you manage somehow to screw up an entire transmitter/receiver set and have to buy another set and do it again, it's still not as much as pocket wizards. But thanks for the constructive criticism :-D

TauriainenJ said...

I just did this mod to my V2s. My flashes keep firing off randomly every time i put my Kaiser PC/Hot shoe cables on. Was wondering if anyone else had this issue.

pwh said...

Thanks for the great info! I just did your antenna mod with the 5.57 wire and it works amazingly well. Went to the corner of my basement with my wife in the opposite corner on the second floor and my 580ex fires everytime!

For those with a drill press it makes drilling the hole much easier. I gently clamped the base of the unit in my drill vise and lined everything up on the drill press. Then I simply put the top cover on without moving the base in the vise and drilled a small mark with the press. Then removed the base unit and drilled the hole in the top cover.

Still much cheaper than a pocket wizard setup as the parts only cost me $25 and besides, it was a fun little project.

HEROIC said...

Great tutorial! Very informative in how well worded and descriptive you were! You know they say that if one knows how to describe what they want really well, then life is just as good as how you describe it :)
Its great for people who feel like time is running against them and then land on your blog and feel like a whole burden was just lifted off of their shoulder.. I admire and respect people who take
time to make it easier for others.. Thanks a bunch! :)
Dell Notebook Battery

Darkender said...

Great post and great mod too

However I've just finished it and when I plug the antenna its range decreases to inches and I don't know why because the battery is ok...so I'll keep investigating

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Wow, you have made it look like simple. But certainly, it is quite difficult for first tmers like me. Nevertheless, I shall give a try.
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LakerFan said...

So what is the final consensus on the wire length inside the transmitter? And what is with the one person who is finding higher failure rate up close after the mod? Do you think it has anything to do with battery life?

On another note, has anyone tested results under varying interference levels from household equipment (wireless phone, cell phone, router, etc) to see if it affects the signal?

northboy said...

i see a lot of discussion about additional wire etc. Its not so difficult :-) A small antenna as used in this mod and some others is a helical type 1/4 wave. It needs a groud to function best. A 1/2 wave antenna does not need a groud. So, transmitting on 433 Mhz is about 70 cm (sorry, i'm european, 27,5 inch?). A half wave would require about 13-14 inch. Perhaps it is possible to add some plexible alu inside the house to compensate for the lack of ground when using the small 1/4 whips.

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dmcantrell said...

Hello,

I found my way here from flickr. This is a great write-up. I did this today and it has greatly improved the range and reliability of my cactus V2x triggers. Before the mod, I could barely get one to work more than a few inches from the transmitter, and the other was iffy over about 3-4 feet. Now, they both work reliably up to about 15-20 feet which is enough for my needs.

dmcantrell said...

Sorry, that's supposed to read "V2s" triggers.

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