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Trouble with flash sync

 
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mpboden



Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: L.A., CA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,

I recently acquired a Speed Graphic camera off of eBay, Serial #829340, as well as a Graflite flash NO.2773 from a seperate auction. Basically, I'm having trouble getting the flash to sync with the shutter properly, and I was hoping someone might be able to help. Here are links to photos of the camera, lens, and flash. Please bear with the slow server. It's at my house and I don't have much upload bandwidth.

http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/camera.jpg
http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/lens.jpg
http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/flash_front.jpg
http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/flash_back_1.jpg
http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/flash_back_2.jpg
http://www.bodenzord.com/images/camera/graflex/flash_box.jpg

First off, the lens is a Graflex Optar f/4.7 135mm. The shutter says "Grafex" on it and that it's made by Wollensak for Graflex. It has a bi-post sync connector. The flash sync selector switch has M(in white), M(in red), F-X, and OFF. The shutter speeds appear to be acurate from 1/25 to 1/200 and maybe 1/400. However, the shutter is sticky from 1/10 and slower. So it definitely needs to be cleaned and tuned up.

Next, I'm using the Graflite 2773 flash, which is a 3-cell flash. Using a volt meter, I've verified that I'm getting 4.5 volts at the flash head when the "Shutter" contacts are connected with a piece of wire. Currentley I don't have a "real" sync cord yet, but I do have one on the way from Paramount. In the meantime, to connect the flash to the shutter, I've commandeered an old household appliance cord. To connect it to the bi-post contacts on the shutter, I'm simply using alligator clips. Also, the rotary switch on the flash is set to "N".

Alright, now what I find weird is that when testing the voltage of the flash head with the flash connected to the shutter as just described and tripping the shutter, I barely get over 1 volt. Furthermore, everytime I cock the shutter, I'm getting a spike in voltage as well. So my first question is, am I supposed to be getting a 4.5 volt output at the flash head when the shutter is tripped? Perhaps it's such a quick burst of voltage that the voltmeter cannot accurately read it. Anyway, is it normal for the voltage to spike when the shutter is cocked? There have actually been times that the flash bulb has gone off when I've cocked the shutter.

Moving on, even though the voltage levels don't quite make sense to me, I've actually shot several polaroid tests using GE#5 flash bulbs(I already have another 4x5 camera made by Toyo and a Polaroid 545 back). None of the Polaroids have been properly exposed.

Here's my test setup. I placed the camera on a tripod ten feet from a white wall at night with a framed photo and a mirror hung on it. There was one table lamp turned on in the room about 15 feet from the wall that really wouldn't affect the exposure, so I simply ignored this. My Polaroid film is rated at 100ASA, so according to the flash box information, my guide number at 1/100 is 220, and my test shot at 10 feet should be properly exposed at f/22. I set the sync selector switch to M(in white) and verified that the focal plane shutter was open. Unfortunately, the frame was completely black. So, I tried another shot at f/4.7 and this was black, except that I could see the flash in the mirror.

So, I thought that maybe the 1/100 speed was inaccurate. So I changed my shutter speed to 1/25, set the sync selector switch to M(in red), and tried another test shot. According to the information on the flash box, my new guide number at 1/25 is 280. Thus, a proper exposure at 10 feet should be f/28. Well, this was black as well. So I did another test shot at this shutter speed but with f/4.7. Once again, the subject was black except for the flash bulb light in the mirror.

Does anybody have any ideas as to what's going on? Is this shutter simply waaaaaay out of whack that it's not syncing properly? I have yet to try x-sync only because I don't have a proper cord to connect to my Metz-54MZ and I'm unwilling to cut the current one that I do have. Perhaps I'll order a PC-to-bipost cord from Paramount in order to do an x-sync test. But that defeats what I want to do, which is to use flash bulbs with this camera.

Alright...I'm sorry that this post is so long. It's just that I wanted to be as thorough as possible and to let you all know that I've really been trying to think this through. If anybody has any ideas that I'm possibly not thinking of, I'd really appreaciate the time in reading this post and responding. Thank you.

Mike

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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what's goin on. to eliminate other factors using the same set up, I'd try one polaroid at the proper aperture but set the shutter on bulb and pop the flash manually. This will eliminate the shutter, the polaroid back, etc. It's a pretty standard rule to cock the shutter before you put the flash bulb in just because cocking the shutter may close the contacts. The Synchro Compur shutters keep the contacts closed when the shutter is tripped, so if you try to change out the bulbs before cocking the shutter, you'll have a flashbulb with your finger prints in it and one startled photographer.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3158
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2005-12-26 19:24 ]
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mpboden



Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: L.A., CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, thanks for the replies. However, I think I'm dead in the water now. I came home from work to test out your ideas, and after everything was ready, I put in a bulb and BAM! The thing went off in my face and singed my fingers. So...after a little investigation, my shutter is shot because the bi-posts now have constant conductivity no matter what I do. Even if I turn the sync selector switch off, there's still condictivity. I ended up opening the shutter and my initial guess is that the insulator between the two copper strips is wearing through. Yet, that could simply be one of many problems that I'm not prepared or skilled to tackle.

Anyway, I called SK Grimes earlier today and they weren't very optimistic about the Grafex shutter. Apparently, they don't have any parts for them so rebuilding a Grafex is pretty much out of the equation. They suggested putting the lens in a new shutter, which I'm not a big fan of. My idea is to keep the camera vintage. So my options at this point are to find another vintage shutter to put this lens in or to find a vintage lens/shutter combination already together. Not sure what I'll do yet.

Thanks again. I'll try to keep you posted as to my progress.

Mike
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2005-12-16 01:30, mpboden wrote:
I put in a bulb and BAM! The thing went off in my face and singed my fingers.


I HATE it when that happens!! but be glad is was a bulb and not flash powder! Many a photographer got more than singed fingers when they hurried to get that next shot and the hot pan set off not only the powder the guy (always a guy) was pouring in the pan, but usually the bottle of flash powder too!
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1425
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, if you got the brush-off from Grimes then your next option is Fred Lustig. He has the parts and the know-how to fix
Graphex shutters. He isn't on the Web so you'll need to call him at 775-746-0111 (he's in Reno, NV). Many of us on the board have had Mr. Lustig work on our Graflex stuff and "he the man."
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mpboden



Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: L.A., CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the phone number to Fred Lustig. I'll be looking into that and moving forward.
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't give up on that shutter yet. I had to do a minor repair on the flash contacts on one shutter and it wasn't too hard. On mine anyway as I didn't have to disassemble the whole thing.

It just might be possibe that the contacts are stuck together or the thin sheild paper slipped out from between the two fingers.

As I remember, it's fairly easy to get to those fingers with only taking the front cover off.

If you want to give it a look, there's a service manual available at:
http://www.southbristolviews.com under gralfex manuals.

Another option would be Carol Flutot (sorry if that's misspelled). If you search here or on the net you'll be able to find the web address and contact info. She seems to have a great reputation for fixing and CLA of old shutters.


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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3158
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2005-12-24 20:59 ]
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mpboden



Joined: 15 Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Location: L.A., CA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Success!!!! Well....kinda...

For those that are interested, I thought I'd follow up on my story. Basically, I ended up calling Fred Lustig and sent him the shutter for repair. The good news is that he was able to clean and repair the shutter for accurate speeds. However, the insulator strip between the flexible copper flash contacts was broken, and he said that he's not able to repair that. So...I have a shutter that is working with the exception of flash capabilities.

But with that said, he said that he did have a spare Graphex shutter that he's willing to sell me. I said alright,. So he ended up cleaning that one and sent it to me. Success.

When I received the new shutter the other day, I placed it on my camera, loaded up a flash bulb and some polaroid film, and BINGO! My very first shot was perfectly exposed. I'm real excited now.

So that's it. Fred did a fantastic job and was a pleasure to talk to on the phone. I only wish that he worked a little faster, but I understand his situation and held my patience. In the end, everything turned out great.

Cheers!

Mike
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