Nikon CLS Slave Flash Trigger

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

This small project is a slave flash, which can trigger up to 4 camera flashes (non-TTL mode). It is meant for use with the Nikon CLS system, although it can probably work with other brands as well, as long as the protocol heuristics are similar. The heuristics of the Nikon CLS system are simple: there are a number of short pre-flashes, then a dela

Nikon CLS Slave Flash Trigger
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y, then the main flash. The algorithm I am using basically waits until it sees a flash, reads in any number of flashes which occur with less than the designated time between them, and when another flash happens which is between the specified min and max times, it fires the slave flashes. The Digital Photography Tips and Technique blog wrote an article on Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting, as well as an implementation of a slave flash using the Arduino. I used these resources heavily for understanding the protocol, although I chose to use a plain AVR instead of an Arduino for this project. The schematics are simple. I use an AVR (I am currently using an ATmega168, but in theory this should be portable to most modern AVRs with sufficient memory), with a status LED, photo diode (used in photo voltaic mode), and a few triacs for the actual trigger: The code is very simple. I use define statements for all threshold constants and port / pin definitions. I use my own libraries for the analog readings and the time counting; I plan to release these eventually, but they are not yet on my website; please feel free to email me with questions or if you would like me to send them to you. I put the entire thing into a small enclosure, on a breadboard (I love breadboards within enclosures - it gives the professional look of a real enclosure, with the ability to change things that is inherent with breadboards!) There is a power plug and...

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