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These instructions are for preparing a flash trigger cord. The various cable kits covered are shown below.
For the PC/PC2/PC3 kits, the flash unit must have a PC jack
that will accept a standard PC plug. A typical jack
and plug are shown in Figures 1 and 2 below. For the FA/FA2/FA3 kits, it must be possible to discharge the flash unit through a hot shoe. The hot shoe adapter provided with the kits is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 1. Flash with PC jack on the side
Figure 2. Standard PC plug
Figure 3. Hot shoe adapter
Having the right tools will make the job easier. You'll need to provide your own. Here's what we recommend.
15-30 W soldering iron and solder
Wire stripper (photo below)
A small diagonal cutter (photo below) makes it easy to trim stray wires, but other kinds of snipping tools such as scissors may work.
Needle-nose pliers (photo below) make it easier to handle wires, especially if you have big fingers.
A magnifying glass is useful to inspect solder joints.
A lighter or matches to shrink heat-shrink tubing, if the project requires it
Wire cutters and
Be sure to solder in a well-ventilated area. Keep the tip of your soldering iron clean by wiping it against a wet sponge. Once the tip is clean, touch a bit of solder to the tip to tin it and improve heat conductivity. Inspect your solder joints to see if the solder flowed well to make good electrical contact. If it looks like the solder formed a bead, that's likely a bad joint and will not conduct. Reheat to flow the solder.
Connection to a flash unit or hot-shoe adapter
All of the kits require that a PC-type cable be prepared for connection either to a flash unit or hot-shoe adapter. The instructions for that follow.
Note: An earlier version of the PC cord has a copper sheath surrounding an insulated wire rather than the red and white conductors described below. If you have that version, see these instructions for preparing the PC cable.
What you need
Here's what you'll need for the PC cable:
3-ft length of 2-conductor cable
2 inches of 3/32-in heat-shrink tubing
3 inches of 3/16-in heat-shrink tubing
PC cord (male jack on one end and cut on the other). See Photo 1.
These parts will be used later: If you have a PC2 or FA2 kit, you'll also have a 3.5mm mono plug. If you have a PC3 or FA3 kit, you'll have an RCA plug. The FA, FA2, and FA3 kits also include a hot shoe adapter.
Stripping the PC cable
Carefully strip the black insulation a distance of 1 inch from the cut end. Then strip the red and white wires a distance of 3/4 in.
Preparing the 2-conductor cable
Strip the gray insulation a distance of 2 inches from one end of the 2-conductor cable. See Photo 3.
Cut the 3/32-in heat-shrink tubing into two 1-inch sections and slip them onto the red and black wires. Strip these wires back 3/4 in. See Photo 4.
Splicing the wires
Twist the red wire of the PC cord to the black wire of the 2-conductor cable, and twist the white wire of the PC cord to the red wire of the 2-conductor cable. See Photo 5.
Solder the twisted wires to make the connections secure. See Photo 6.
Insulating the splices
Slip the heat-shrink tubing over the splices as shown in Photo 7.
Use the heat from a lighter or match to shrink the tubing around the splices. See Photo 8 for the completed splices.
Finishing the connection
Slip the 3/16-in heat-shrink tubing over the 2-conductor cable and slip it over the spliced wires. Then use a heat source to shrink the tubing. See Photo 9 for the completed connection.
Connection to a trigger
The connector on the other end of the cable that you've just prepared will depend on which of the cable kits you have. See the instructions below for your kit.
All you need to do to complete the cable is the following:
Strip 2 inches of gray insulation from the cut end of the 2-conductor cable.
Strip 1/4 inch from each of the red and black conductors.
The completed cable is shown to the left.
PC2 / FA2 kits
For these kits, a 3.5mm plug is added to the cut end of the 2-conductor cable.
See Photo 1 for the 3.5mm mono plug that you'll connect to one end of your cable.
Remove the jacket from the plug and slip it over the cut end of the cable. The threaded end must be toward the cut end of the cable. Strip back the gray insulation on the free end of the cable about 1/4" and then strip the insulation on the red and black wires about 1/8". See Photo 2.
Insert the stripped wires into the holes on the terminals of the 3.5mm mono connector. The red wire goes in the shorter terminal as shown in Photo 3. Don't crimp the metal tabs around the cable yet, as this will cause the insulation to melt when you solder.
Solder the connections. Since there's so much metal, it will take some time for the soldering iron to heat the metal. Tin the tip of the soldering iron with solder first. Then hold the tip of the iron flat on the metal to heat it up in the vicinity of where you want to solder. Touch the solder to metal and wait for it to start flowing. This is the way to ensure a good electrical connection rather than a cold solder joint. The completed solder job is shown in Photo 4.
Clip off any stray wires and then crimp the metal tabs around the gray cable as shown in Photo 5.
The completed connector is shown in Photo 6.
The completed cable is shown to the left. The PC plug can be connected either to a flash unit with a PC jack or to a hot-shoe adapter. The 3.5mm plug will connect to these triggers: MT2, LT2, CPB2.
PC3 / FA3 kits
For these kits, an RCA plug is added to the cut end of the 2-conductor cable.
Remove the black jacket from the plug as shown in Photo 1.
Push the black jacket over the cable. If you find the fit too tight, snip off part of the sleeve that grips the cable. Once you have the jacket on the cable, strip back the gray insulation 1/4 inch. Then strip the red and black wires 1/8 inch as shown in Photo 2.
Important: Don't crimp
the metal tabs around the gray insulation before
soldering. If you do, the heat of soldering can
melt the insulation. Now thread the red wire through the
smaller of the two solder lugs and solder it.
Then solder the black wire to the longer lug.
This lug can take a lot of heating since there's
so much metal. Make sure that it gets hot enough
for the solder to flow freely. The metal takes
a while to cool down, so don't touch it for a
while. After you've finished soldering,
examine the connections for stray wire strands.
Clip off any that you find. Photo 3 shows
the completed solder joints.
Crimp the metal tabs around the
gray cable and screw the jacket on. The completed
connector is shown in Photo 4.
The completed cable is shown to the left. The PC plug can be connected either to a flash unit with a PC jack or to a hot-shoe adapter. The RCA plug will connect to these triggers: SK3, MT-PCB3, MT2 extended output strip.