Sunday, June 27, 2010

diy_quadra_cables



The Elinchrom Ranger Quadra comes with 2.5 meter cables in the kit, or when you buy a new head. There is also a 5 and 10 meter cable, but the 10 meter is currently 140 USD without shipping, a ridiculous price for a cable. I managed to hunt down the supplier of the end connectors, the US supplier is Binder USA, and create my own do-it-yourself Elinchrom Ranger Quadra cable. If you want the straight ended male and female like I have used in this cable, you order parts:
99-4226-00-07 Series 693-2 Connector (both images are incorrect on the webpage, but these are definitely the correct part number for what I ordered, copied from my invoice)


Anyone interested in the hunting process, read this paragraph, if not, skip to the next. I asked around as to what these type of cable connectors are called, 7 pin amphenol connectors with a semi-round master key. I google image searched this phrase, and browsed till I found similar images to mine. In these pages I found a reference to a swiss manufacturer of Amphenol connectors, and as Elinchrom is swiss I figured I might have a lead. I then googled for this manufacturer plus amphenol in google image search and found much closer images and found the US dealer. The actual logo on the OEM quadra cables is of this dealer, so I knew I had a hit. I ordered a male and female connector for 12 USD each, plus 3 dollars shipping to a friend who was coming to iceland and brought them.

After I took delivery of the cables, I asked my father in law to create a 7.5 meter cable for me. I wanted to be sure the part worked before I blogged about it. I did a full shoot with it plugged into both A and B ports, using the modeling light, and doing multiple full power pops. It's a perfect copy of the official cable for 30 USD. (he scrounged a cable, and your price will vary based on length, the longer the length that you make, the more you are saving on the official version). He used a cable where the interior wires were the same diameter as the solder points, but since he did it, I'm unsure of the exact wire diameters or if they are multi strand or solid core. The cable has to be 7 wires (6 plus ground) and they are exactly 1 to 1 in connection (meaning male pin 1 connects to female hole 1).


Here are both OEM and my ordered cable ends next to each other.

Again, showing they are identical.


The straight ends are different than the L ends, but they connect, and the straight end looks exactly like the connector on the Quadra power pack itself. These cables use the exact identical part number as the OEM versions, for a fraction of the price if you can solder or know someone that does. They plug into each other, and into the pack itself. I can plug all 3 of mine in for a total of 12.5 meters (7.5 + 2.5 + 2.5). Apparently the only length with no light loss is 2.5 meters. I count this as a benefit as you can bleed lower than the lowest 8.2 watt setting with all 3 plugged together. If you need to use a long cable plus one at full 400watts, just use the 2.5 meter to your 400 watt head, and use your extension cable to get to the 2nd head. This should also give closer to a 3:1 or even 4:1 ratio rather than 2:1 giving you more control over ratios even when you don't need extra length.

*edit* After testing, using just the 7.5 meter cable loses you .2 stops of light. Adding one stock 2.5 meter cable for a total of 10 meters gives you .3 stops of light, and adding another stock 2.5 meter cable for a 12.5 meter length gives you .4 stops of light.

There you have it, a diy quadra cable of any length for a fraction of the cost of the stock cables.


24 comments:

  1. Excellent! Thank you for posting this! I've been meaning to research this for MONTHS and haven't gotten to it before! THANKS!

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  2. Great! Looking forward to making one.

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  3. Thanks Ben, I intend to do this. How much power do you think you're losing with 10m total length?

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  4. Richard, I appended the post with the light loss info.

    After testing, using just the 7.5 meter cable loses you .2 stops of light. Adding one stock 2.5 meter cable for a total of 10 meters gives you .3 stops of light, and adding another stock 2.5 meter cable for a 12.5 meter length gives you .4 stops of light.

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  5. Did you have to order the pins seperately or did they come with the connectors, as I'm thinking of having a go at this. I've not long converted a ringflash to the ranger and that was, well, interesting to say the least.

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  6. Pins are part of it. All you need is the wire and these connectors.

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  7. fantastic work. could you provide more info on actual cable to use please? and do you know if anyone in Europe is supplying these yet? thanks

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  8. Thank you, but I cannot provide more info on the cable, as my father-in-law sourced the cable from his company warehouse. You should be able to take the heads once you have them, to any good electronics store that carries heavy duty cables and ask for one that has 7 wires (6 plus ground), and show them the connectors. They will easily be able to help you.

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  9. mr_chompers, you are the MAN!

    Richard-Los Angeles, CA

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  10. Wish this post was around before I bought my cable, but meaning to get a second 10M cable. Now I just might make one instead.

    Only worry I have is the reports of arcing that people have had with some units and cables. Not sure if it's the cable or the head unit. But I know enough electricians in the cinema biz that is comfortable wiring this kind of stuff that should make a to spec copy.

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    1. It's been around for a while! :-) I have not yet had any arcing and used all combos of length so far. Happy DIY-ing.

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  11. You the man!

    Thanks from the UK

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  12. Very grateful for your blog post! I ordered one male and two female plugs. Called the manufacturer and they were very helpful in finding a source for the cable itself. You can get it from allied electronics here in the USA www.alliedelec.com part # 70144360, and yes they sell it by the foot. I made a y splitter and can now connect two heads to one port for a 50/50 power ratio. My preliminary test showed a difference of 1/10th stop between heads at times, but I only have one meter so can't test them simultaneously to see if that was a difference between heads or both heads firing at - 1/10th. The hardest part was worrying if I was soldering the right cords as they are all black, but each wire is labeled so it wasn't too difficult.

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    1. update: I found a better source for the cable https://www.globalindustrial.com item # WGB496937 sells for $1.43 per foot.

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  13. Great info Harry! Did you use anything special for the Y splitter?

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  14. Nothing special. I cut three 6" lengths of cable and soldered three of them together to make the Y circuit. It isn't pretty but it works. I based this on speedotron having a y splitter for their brown line. Still, the Manfrotto tech couldn't give any advice or suggestions. Flash Clinic seemed to think it should work. I was thrilled when I turned the pack on and didn't get any error code. I think there might be some back and forth communication between the pack and head (or so I am led to believe) so I was concerned this wouldn't work at all. So far it has.

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    1. How has your Y-splitter held up over the past year? Would it be possible to get a photo of it; I'm not sure I understand why you have three lengths of cable involved....

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  15. The links above for the connectors do not work anymore. Can you update?

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    1. I have fixed the links, thanks for the update. In the future if the links ever break, search for the part numbers, the numbers starting with 99-, that is how I re-found them.

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  16. Awesome blog and grate problem solving.
    I was also wondering if you would know what colour wire goes to what number pin as I can not find anything about that.
    Thanks

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    1. The colors do not matter, only that you keep them the same. So if you attach yellow to pin 1 on one side, you must also attach it to pin 1 on the other side. 1 to 1

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  17. Hi, would you know, for the wire, do you get a 7 core cable, or a 6 cores cable with mesh, and connecting the mesh to the earth (which is the middle pin)? I am asking because when I build Audio XLR cable, I was told to connect the mesh to the ground/earth pin. Thanks

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  18. I used a 7 core, but I am guessing 6 with wire mesh would work, but I am not electrician, sorry.

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