I was hoping to get some idea about what the misfire rate for studio strobe lighting is. Meaning how often on average do your studio strobes not fire when you take a picture? My Elinchrom Style BX-500 Ri seems to exhibit this behavior once every 15 or so pictures. I am also using the SkyPort wireless sync that came with the units. I am kind of 'new' to studio lighting and I chose Elinchrom because of the color shift consistency. I have already sent one pair back to the retailer because the failure rate was 5 failures for every 7 shots (more or less).

  • Have you tried eliminating the SkyPort wireless sync as a problem? That is, using a sync cord? Jan 16 '13 at 20:47
  • Shouldn't the question be How to eliminate it rather then How often to expect it?
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 7 at 19:59

There really shouldn't be any failures with a pro class system... Some things to think about though:

  1. Are you letting the system recharge between shots?
  2. Might there be some equipment interfering with the RF trigger signal?
  3. Does the transmitter have a problem (assuming you didn't replace it)
  4. Is the transmitter within range (probably far less than the spec'd range)

1, 2 and 4 are easily answerable. 3 can be tested by trying different group/frequency settings. Looks like a nice unit though...

  • 1
    on #1, the "ready" light does not mean "ready at full power specified" but rather "ready to fire at some power". Very few lights have a separate status light for "ready as specified". Maybe you are having serious radio interference? Jan 16 '13 at 20:47
  • Well the first set that I sent back I verified misfires by pushing the "Test" button on the back of the head. The power level would flash as expected but no light was emitted. After a few seconds the "Ready" beep would sound indicating the head was charged and ready to discharge again. I really haven't tried using a sync cord yet. But I will look into that soon. Basically that test would eliminate items 2-4. I know that I letting the heads charge to the full capacity because I can hear the "ready" beep about a second and a half after I discharge the head.
    – Mr. Young
    Jan 16 '13 at 22:38
  • 2
    @Mr.Young - are you sure that the trigger wire (the wire wrapped around the flash tube) is contacting the trigger electrode (the post-and-clamp thingy opposite the main electrodes) properly? If the clamp is sitting between the coils rather than contacting them, you won't get reliable arcing.
    – user2719
    Jan 16 '13 at 23:17
  • Useful information... Failure to flash using the 'test' button is an entirely different kettle of fish and points to a problem with the basic flash circuitry. Does the second set fail using the 'test' button as well?
    – BobT
    Jan 16 '13 at 23:41
  • Just adding to the conversation two and half years later. I have still been using the same heads at various on-site locations. Some of those locations have been clear out in the woods. I think the problem could exist with my Vegabond Mini's discharge rate. Although I think they are great when used with Alien Bees or Einsteins, I don't think they weren't built to handle lights 500W or more.
    – Mr. Young
    Aug 1 '15 at 23:35

I use elinchrom skyport triggers and usually I see misfires after approximately 200-300 shots without recharging the batteries.

  • If you recharge the batteries does the problem disappear?
    – mattdm
    Jan 16 '13 at 23:18
  • This would be expected as transmitter power drops...
    – BobT
    Jan 16 '13 at 23:40
  • After recharging, I see no issues
    – vspicture
    Jan 17 '13 at 15:13
  • I think the batteries might have something to do with the issue. I will use my lights on a/c power and test the misfire rate vs. when used on battery.
    – Mr. Young
    Aug 1 '15 at 23:36

I had a similar problem with Bx500Ri's. Every dozen or so times, the head didn't fire. The 'click' of the 12KV trigger voltage could be heard even when the head didn't fire.

In my case, the fault was due to the EHT trigger voltage arcing across to the metal reflector, in preference to ending up on the spiral trigger wire. This was because of a slight, almost invisible, defect in the ceramic pillar that insulates the EHT before it reaches the tube clip. The 12Kv trigger voltage managed to snake across the micro crack in the ceramic insulator far enough to then bridge the several mm gap between the reflector foil and the ceramic pillar.

Short of replacing the ceramic pillar which isn't really an option, the clearance to the grounded foil reflector can be increased several mm by carefully shaving metal off using a sharp heavy duty scalpel knife.

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