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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Alien Bee 'flashing' by itself?
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08/12/2007 09:29:39 AM · #1
I'm still learning the ins & outs of my B400's, but have noticed something the last 2 days that I've used them.

Out of the blue one of my flashes will suddenly flash. It may do it only once or sometimes it will do it like 4 times. I've double and triple-checked the power & sync cords, they are fine that I can tell.

I looked in the manual, nothing. Figured I'd give AB a call tomorrow, but would ask here first, in case anyone has had similar experience, if yes, what did you do?

Thanks in advance! :)
08/12/2007 09:59:00 AM · #2
Mine did that for a time - confounded me to no end for about a month......

The culprit was my wireless security camera. As soon as I unplugged the wireless camera the lights were okay again. Look around for any wireless devices...... :)
08/12/2007 10:56:07 AM · #3
Originally posted by idnic:

Mine did that for a time - confounded me to no end for about a month......

The culprit was my wireless security camera. As soon as I unplugged the wireless camera the lights were okay again. Look around for any wireless devices...... :)


Hey you :)

Uhmmm.. the only wireless device around is the Radio Flash Trigger so that I can trip the flashes wirelessly. They came with my lights in the DigiBee setup.

I checked the site to see if there has been a problem, yes, but not with the receiver and transmitter that I have.

AlienBees - Remotes

I have the top two.

Even though mine aren't supposed to have problems, it actually started doing it when I started using remote. Didn't do it with wired setup. Hmmm..

Also, do you have to sometimes re-sync your channels? I've had to do that twice now.
08/12/2007 10:59:24 AM · #4
Do you use the wireless flash trigger? Mine is triggered by wireless keyboard/mice. When it happens to me, I just reset the trigger's channel (press red button on receiver and hold while pressing button on transmitter).

Edit: you posted while I was typing. I see you do use the trigger. Try resetting the channel.

Message edited by author 2007-08-12 11:00:15.
08/12/2007 11:02:43 AM · #5
My cell phone will trip my flashes sometimes if I have the wireless triggers set up. Ofcourse it makes funky noises over my stereo speakers too at times.

You've got some sort of radio interference. I wouldn't worry about it too much, but you can try different channels on your triggers.
08/12/2007 11:28:30 AM · #6
i have had one of mine do a continuous flash one time. I thought it might be our wireless router causing the problem.
08/12/2007 12:05:38 PM · #7
Thanks Louis, Leroy and Brian :)

I don't think it could be router for computer, lights are setup out in the garage, didn't have cellphone out there last night either, so it must be the actual transmitter itself triggering it. :)

I've reset the channels twice now actually, because for no reason one of the flashes would just not fire (not the same one that keeps firing on its own though, go figure!).

I'll try setting them up on a different channel altogether, see how that goes.

Thanks for thoughts and replies. :)
08/12/2007 12:10:53 PM · #8
I have had static electricity trip them (alot) when it is connected to the hot shoe adapter and sync cord. Also I have had the Infrared camera remote trigger them (or maybe static again....who knows)
Maybe they are just tellingus something....USE ME....MORE!!!!
08/12/2007 02:09:02 PM · #9
Garage door opener? Those sensors that stop the door from closing if anything's blocking them?

Or maybe it's aliens.... alien bees of course....
(sorry, I get like this when I haven't had my caffiene yet)
08/12/2007 03:17:14 PM · #10
Originally posted by Skyarcher:

I'll try setting them up on a different channel altogether, see how that goes.

Come to think of it, that's what I had to do when I first got them. They'd flash two or more times every second. Very alarming! I thought it might be synched to Alex typing on a wireless keyboard in an adjacent room. Anyway, I changed the channel by switching the dip switches and it was fine. Occasionally I'll have to reset the channel as I described earlier.
08/13/2007 03:57:06 PM · #11
Thanks everyone! :D

Well, went out to garage earlier to switch the channel on the transmitter. As soon as I turned the flash on... flash..flash..flash. Yes, Louis, is it very alarming when not expecting it! *laughs*

Switched the channel, reset the syncs for both receivers, it flashed once unexpectedly, but I had accidently bumped the stand.

So... because of how the cords hang down, I'll just do it them what I do on my telescope setup... tape those babies down with electrical tape. I have double, triple and quadruple-checked the cords to see if maybe I had not pushed them in all the way. They are in, but apparently not 'sitting' firm within. And I don't see how it could possibly be good for them to have the power cord pull like that on the connectors. Could have something to do with design or just funky batch, I don't know. Will update after I test the tape for a little bit.

:)
08/13/2007 05:43:52 PM · #12
I bought the wireless triggers so I could shoot wedding formals with a little more ease. Half way through the formals I had one light that would just flash every 5-10 seconds. It had the softbox on it (the other had an umbrella) and both had wireless receivers. I just unplugged the sync cord from the flashing one and let it trip via slave cell from the one with the umbrella. I though maybe it was the way the cords were hanging as well. After the wedding I got home and wanted to test them out to see if I needed to send one of the receivers back. I plugged them both in and had them sitting on the same table, not on their stands, and they both went CRAZY it was like I was at a techno dance party in my dining room. I realized it was because they were so close together, so I spaced them out about the room...and haven't had any problems yet. It just doesn't seem that the sync plugs fit as well from the receivers as from the sync wires that came with it. I don't know for sure what the problem was, but will keep investigating and reporting how mine are acting.
-drew
08/13/2007 07:03:59 PM · #13
Hmmmm... I'll check that out as well Drew, thanks. I had not thought about them being too close together, it is worth it to test this theory. :)
08/13/2007 07:13:12 PM · #14
These were sitting right next to each other when they went crazy. I spaced them maybe 10 feet apart and left them plugged in, hoping to catch one flashing when it wasn't supposed to, but nothing ever happened like it did in the church. I would guess wireless interference of some kind got mine a little wonky in the church.

Best of luck,
-drew
08/13/2007 07:15:31 PM · #15
mine flash if i trip over the connection wire

my biggest problem is getting multiple bees to sink to each other in sunlight

:(
08/13/2007 07:25:05 PM · #16
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

My cell phone will trip my flashes sometimes if I have the wireless triggers set up. Ofcourse it makes funky noises over my stereo speakers too at times.

You've got some sort of radio interference. I wouldn't worry about it too much, but you can try different channels on your triggers.


That I can't see. The signal that your phone puts out is so slight that it couldn't do it. MAYBE if you held the phone next to the wire that receives the signal but I just can't see that happening. What kind of phone do you have??? At one time I was watching Mythbusters (eposode 14 season 1) where they tested the signal that came from a cell phone and it was like .09?? So for that to transform into something strong enough to shoot across the room would be crazy.

It could be from that radiation plant that you have next to your house out there in the stix.
08/14/2007 01:20:30 AM · #17
Originally posted by EvanH:

my biggest problem is getting multiple bees to sink to each other in sunlight:(

MattO and I had that problem at his MDA shoot (I tagged along to help out and brought my strobes). We had to use both sync cords, one through his PC outlet and the other on the hotshoe adaptor. There were wires everywhere. After seeing that mess I decided I HAD to go wireless, and I HAD to have two receivers (the sun was a little too bright and the slave cell didn't trip when using only one sync cord). So that's what I did.
08/14/2007 02:06:05 AM · #18
Originally posted by Lowcivicman99:


That I can't see. The signal that your phone puts out is so slight that it couldn't do it. MAYBE if you held the phone next to the wire that receives the signal but I just can't see that happening. What kind of phone do you have???


Let's just say if I'm close to my stereo I know about a second before the phone rings that someone is about to call. It's a Samsung Sync., but my old phone did it too.
08/14/2007 03:07:01 AM · #19
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by Lowcivicman99:


That I can't see. The signal that your phone puts out is so slight that it couldn't do it. MAYBE if you held the phone next to the wire that receives the signal but I just can't see that happening. What kind of phone do you have???


Let's just say if I'm close to my stereo I know about a second before the phone rings that someone is about to call. It's a Samsung Sync., but my old phone did it too.


Welcome to The Twilight Zone. ;)
08/14/2007 06:46:10 AM · #20
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Let's just say if I'm close to my stereo I know about a second before the phone rings that someone is about to call. It's a Samsung Sync., but my old phone did it too.


That is just so crazy. Sounds like I might need to send the Myth Busters a myth on this one.
08/14/2007 12:29:27 PM · #21
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Let's just say if I'm close to my stereo I know about a second before the phone rings that someone is about to call. It's a Samsung Sync., but my old phone did it too.

My speakers plugged into my PC grumble just before my cell phone rings if it is sitting on the desk. Also my cars' stereos (yes both the Tahoe's and Fusion's) will buzz, so both my wife and I will grab our phones...waiting to see which one will ring or get a text message.
11/05/2007 10:48:31 AM · #22
Just to revive an old thread on the subject...

I got my AlienBees (the DigiBee package with wireless triggering) last week, and have noticed the one strobe will randomly decide to flash on its own, like others have mentioned in this thread. I narrowed it down to being a bad receiver (if I switched receivers, it would trigger the other unit randomly).

I called AB this morning, expecting to go through the Automated Phone Machine Service From Hell, but was very pleasantly surprised to get an actual human being answering the phone, and she put me right through to a tech person.

And they said they'd just mail me a new receiver. I fully assumed that I'd have to either send the old one in and get the new one after they receive it... or at least have to send the old one in later, but she said, "Nah, just keep it or throw it out."

So needless to say, I've been impressed with their customer service (assuming they actually do send the receiver out in a timely fashion :)
11/05/2007 11:01:16 AM · #23
Alan, the same thing happened to me this Summer... two bad wireless receivers. I may have paved the way for you. Once we pinned down the problem, they sent me two new receivers just as they did with you, and the new ones work fine.
11/05/2007 11:11:35 AM · #24
yeah, thumbs up for the customer service. the snap on the internal baffle of my foldable softbox keeps coming off and i have to staple it together to get it to work. they are sending me a whole new unit (for the 2nd time) when they really only need to send the baffle.

both times they've been great to deal with.
11/07/2007 04:22:51 PM · #25
Well gentlemen, that is wonderful to hear! :-)

Only once in awhile do I still have problems with random flash, and that is when I have two flashes near each other. I never did give AB a call, I just moved them further apart, but that is not always feasible, depending on what I am shooting. So, I may give them a holler this week.

When I originally ordered, I learned then that they were great at listening and helping, so am glad that it carries over to if there is a problem. Not all, but most companies just want to sell, sell, sell, but the rep I talked to at AB wanted me to get what I actually needed. Yeah!
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