Brighten Your Day with Studio Strobe Power Hack

large capacitor bank for flash circuit

[OiD] picked up a couple of cheap studio strobes off eBay and was not happy with the power control. So he rewired it. These lights are like supercharged flashes for professional photographers, and contain some very large capacitor banks. His first hack didn’t work out too well, and he wound up welding the innards of a switch together. He was successful however, in his second attempt to tame the large voltages.

He’s using two 1N5408 diodes, which are rated at 3 amps, for charging the capacitor bank. A massive 60EPS08 diode, rated at 60 amps with a Frankenstein worthy surge rating of 950 amps is used to separate the charge between the two capacitor banks, and allows one to discharge into the flash tube.

Consisting of just a handful of components, [OiD]‘s hack greatly improves the performance of the strobe’s power adjustment settings. He does an excellent job at documenting the hack for all to see. Be sure to check out his bog for full details.

Arduino PhotoLab


Droplet photography (link translated from French) often produces simple and beautiful images, but timing the exposure can be tricky. Snapping the photo too early or too late can cause you to miss the action, which only lasts a fraction of a second. EquinoxeFR (the people behind the Asus WL500GP audio hack) came up with a solution to this problem using a circuit with an ATmega168 running an Arduino environment. The circuit controls a syringe that contains a liquid and is triggered remotely to release a drop into a darkened chamber. A camera with the shutter open is attached to the chamber, and before the droplet hits, it crosses an IR sensor that triggers the flash to go off a few milliseconds later, capturing the unique crown shape of the impact. No schematic is available as yet, but comments at the bottom of the post suggest one will be coming soon.