Strobe Light circuits and info

Posted on Jun 8, 2012

The power supplies for electronic flash and strobe equipment operate at extremely lethal voltage and current levels. The energy storage capacitors in even the smallest disposable camera flash operating from a 1.5 V AA battery can be deadly under the wrong conditions. Line powered strobes have added danger of high power at high voltage AND are often non-isolated (no power transformer. Do not attempt to troubleshoot, repair, or modify such equipment without understanding and following ALL of the relevant safety guidelines for high voltage and/or line connected electrical and electronic systems.

For the most part, we assume that your are somewhat familiar with basic electronics and your intended application - be it for photography, measurement, or entertainment. Perhaps you are just curious about how all those flashing lights work! PART I provides a basic description of the characteristics and principles of operation of electronic flash and related devices based on the xenon flashlamp. Especially important if you intent to be working inside this equipment is the SAFETY information. It is all too easy to electrocute yourself on the energy storage capacitors or line powered circuits. PART II deals with troubleshooting and repair with emphasis on the kinds of electronic flash units found in photographic equipment - from tiny disposable cameras to high power studio 'speed lights'. PART III provides information on the design of small to medium size electronic flashes and repeating strobes including basic design guidelines, shortening or lengthening flash duration, power supply component selection. There is a detailed discussion on retrofitting an old camera to use a modern electronic flash. And, there are a variety of circuits for repeating flashes, trigger circuits, inverters, and more. PART IV provides over a dozen complete (well, very nearly complete, anyhow) schematics for electronic flash units from disposable cameras, external (Hot shoe or side mounted) strobes, higher performance line powered units, as...

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