DIY – hacking the sync outled for an ebay remote

Nikon sb800I finally got my slave flash from eBay. This is extra cool, because unlit now I had to choose between two alternatives – none was giving me the flexibility that I needed for my studio shots. (If you are in to optical, here is a cool slave that you can build @ home)

Studio Slave Flash Option #1 was to use my Nikon SB-800 speedlight set on Slave mode, utilizing Nikon’s CLS (Creative Light System). The benefits of this mode were exact flash output (Those guys at Nikon really knows what they are doing). The down side here was that I could only use one flash at a time and that I had an annoying “shutter lag” until the camera and the flash did their negotiation thingy. Now that was sad, because I often needed more then one speedlight, and did not enjoy the lag at all.

So Studio Slave Flash Option #2 came into play, which was setting all my flashes with sync cord. That was nice – I could hook up 2 or flashes and had no lag at all. The trouble here was that sync cord is A – expensive and B tends to get in your way. For awhile I use option #2.5 – One speedlight with sync cord and the other on optical flash (I set the Nikon SB-28 on sync cord, and used the built in “stupid slave” capabilities of the SB800).

I was not satisfied. So I got on eBay and got me a radio slave flash. The model I got is called RF604 and has 4 channels. Shipping was fast and I was satisfied. I also ordered an extra receiver, to attach to my second flash.

You can see the complete part list that I got here (Plus a bonus – my flash unit):


The problem was that the slave plugs did not work together to fit my SB-28. The slave came fitted with a headphone male jack or a female sync outlet. Alas, my SB-800 (and SB-28) also had a female sync socket.

The last piece of equipment was a converter cord: male headphone jack (bad, as the slave also uses male) to male pc-sync (good, cause it will fit in the SB28).

Here comes the hack, just after a little disclaimer. My friend, Tinku, would laugh at this and say that this is not a hack, it is merely a helper code (we are both in the software business). Since this is a very small addition/change – this time I would have to agree. But hey, you gotta admit – Hack sounds way cooler the helper.

So, the problem was that I had a male head phone jack, and I actually needed a female one. Luckily for me there is a product that delivers just this – a head phone splitter.

See this image for my final arrangement:


So the chain goes: SB-28 to little extender cord; Extender cord to headphone splitter; headphone splitter to headphone jack on slave. Simple enough.

If you follow the same route – I have one word of advice. Them splitters come in a variety of prices. Avoid anything that has the word iPod on the name. They cost triple. You can get them for less then a Dollar

The next step is to increase the range of the remote per babylonfive‘s instruction @

Superb SB800 image by Nikon