Studio Lighting – Cactus Slave Flash Cable Hack

Nikon sb800As you may know, I am a great fan of off camera flash

I’ve owned a Nikon SB-28 since my analog days and added a Nikon SB800 when going digital. Advised by Strobist, I added a third flash – a Nikon SB26.

To get all those flashes going off camera, I bought some cheapo Cactus (AKA Gadget Infinity) flash radio triggers – those can be found at eBay for just a few dollars. I initially bought two receivers and when I added the Nikon SB26 to my collection, I bought the third one.

I really like those cheapo triggers and up until now they were lots of fun (see this shot, I just can’t miss a shot at showing my son off). Of course, if you need high reliability, you should consider the big brother: Pocket Wizards.

Each of the receivers has a male phone jack connected, so it can be attached to high power studio flash. The full eBay kit also comes with a connector cable that has a phone jack on one side and a pc-sync (or x-sync) connector on the other.

So for the first flash unit, I used a headphone splitter. This was nice, but way to clumsy. I wanted something a bit more elegant for my next unit. (Besides, the third receive did not come with a connector cable).

So… I went to my local camera store and bought an ancient pc-sync cable. The jack on this one was a weird jack that did not fit any flash I know. I also got a female headset jack from my local electronics store. The next few paragraphs are an illustrated tutorial of how I made the oldie sync-cord into a female jack to pc-sync cord. (Click an image to make it larger).

Materials:
- Cheapo eBay Remote
- Female headset jack
- Oldie but goody Vivitar pc-sync cable

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Instructions:
First cut the oldie jack from the oldie pc-sync cable and expose the wiring.

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Then open the female jack and slide the plasticy part on the pc-cord. (This step has to be done now. After you connect the wired the plastic will not slide).

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Next connect the sync cable exposed wires to the metal part of the jack. In the jack I used I connected one wire to the “right” connector of the jack, and one wire to the “left” connector of the jack. I left the “front” connector untouched.

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Now slide the plastic and screw it back.

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Last step is to connect the cable to the remote flash trigger.

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The entire thing should take about 5 minutes.

More Flash Hacks:
- Flash Mounted homemade DIY Softbox
- 4 ways to bounce a flash
- Homemade Speedlite “Snoot”
- Pocket Wizard Mounting Device II
- The CD Spindle Ringflash