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Supermatic X, electronic flash and solenoid
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:41 pm    Post subject: Supermatic X, electronic flash and solenoid Reply with quote

I'm sure this is a stupid question, but I've searched all over and couldn't find an answer. I just got a Pacemaker Speed with a Supermatic X shutter and a solenoid tube mounted beneath the shutter paddle. I'd like to use the camera with a Vivitar 283 unit (I have a cord with the proper connections). Since the Supermatic X was made for use with electronic flash and since the solenoid is powered by the batteries in the Graflex bulb flash units, I'm assuming that the tube by itself is not going to delay the synch. Is this correct?
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not a stupid question, just one that needs to be clearly defined.

If your question is whether you can use the shutter and flash without using the solenoid, the answer is yes. Connect the shutter flash sync outlet to the flash with a cord and you are set.

However, you are missing some fun here. With the flash connected directly to the flash with a cord, you can STILL use the solenoid - as an electrical shutter release. If you can find a Graflite battery tube to connect to your camera, and an adapter to put on top of it to mount your flash, then you can connect your Graflite tube to the solenoid with the proper cord and fire the camera with the red button on the flash tube. I think it is an elegant way to operate the camera. The flash is up out of your way and your hands are once again free to correctly operate the camera.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, alecj. I have a Graflex 3-cell flashgun, not a Graflite but the earlier type, which I don't think has an input for a solenoid. My question had to do with the adjusting screw on top of the solenoid, where it touches the shutter paddle -- does this have to be set in a particular place for X synch?
I don't think it does, at least when I aim the flash unit at the lens and release the shutter I see the flash through the groundglass. I just want to make sure.
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your flash and lens are connected by a sync cord, the solenoid has no effect whatsoever with the process. It's sole function, in this case, is to trip the shutter, if you use it. If you don't use it as you have already described, then forget it is there.

Are you planning to just hand-hold the flash? With a 4x5, that's quite a man-sized job to handle the flash, pull the slide, focus, cock the shutter, compose the shot, then trip it.

If everything is on a stand or tripod, you're ready to go.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, alecj. I have a hefty flash bracket I'm going to try out and see how that works.
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah Ha. Then, you're ready to go. Good luck.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another question! As I said above, I have the older Graflex (chrome) 3-cell unit and I'm now thinking of getting some bulbs to do the real thing. The battery case has 3 connectors -- 2 male bi-posts and a household socket. I didn't think I'd be able to connect the solenoid to the flash unit. Is this correct or is there a way? Can the female bi-post connection on the solenoid be connected to one of the male bi-post connections on the flash unit?
If this would work, I'm sure Paramount Cords can supply what I need. I've read the post on adjusting the solenoid, so that should be no problem.
Thanks.
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Billy, I was just waiting for someone else to post a response because I don't have that model battery case. AFAIK, you cannot sync normal flashbulbs with a solenoid. You seem to have arrived at the correct conclusion yourself.
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DHF845



Joined: 20 Jul 2008
Posts: 93
Location: Hudson Valley Area, Upstate NY

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: flash bulbs Reply with quote

BILLY- Solenoids are made for synching standard flashbulbs (Press 40, #5, 11, #25, etc.). They perfectly match the ~20 millisecond delay that standard flashbulbs use. If your flashgun has 3 pairs of plug contacts, one set is 4.5 VDC out to a solenoid. When the flashgun was made, solenoids on front shutter were professional's way to flash synch the Speed Graphic.
Solenioids trip the shutter through DC output from 'gun to solenoid. Time it takes for 4.5 VDC to travel to solenoid and pull in electromagnet is same as delay on bulb (~20 ms.).
If you use the 283, connect it direct to shutter, which is x-synched (zero delay). Use solenoid to release shutter.
If you go trad and use flashbulbs, use solenoid to trip shutter. The button that releases the solenoid sends voltage to flashbulb at same time. That's how Weegee did it.
You'll need a 6 volt test lamp to find the output contacts on your flashgun, and to set up the solenoid to trip at correct interval.
_________________
Got first Speed Graphic at 15 (1976).Other kids were using 35mm SLR's. I ran around with flashbulbs and sheet-film holders, I wanted to be Weegee (#2084).
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 151
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to sound dense. but I need some more clarification about attaching the flash to and adjusting the solenoid for M bulbs.
1. Am I right in assuming that you need a male bi-post plug to connect to the solenoid? It looks like one of those would fit but I'm not sure -- is a special plug necessary?
2. I have an older 3-cell Graflex flashgun (the chrome St*r W*rs type) which has 3 attachment points -- 2 bi-posts and a household-type socket. Do I use one of the bi-posts to connect the flashgun to the solenoid or the household socket? (I've connected a Focuspot to the household socket with success.)
3. Now the big question. To adjust the solenoid for the 20ms delay needed for M bulbs, is this a matter of turning the small bolt on top of the solenoid over and over again and testing the delay each time by trial and error, firing flashbulbs until they synch correctly?
4. Smaller question. I assume that to fire an electronic unit I just attach the unit to the bi-post on the shutter and the position of the bolt on the solenoid makes no difference. Is this correct?
Sorry to be so wordy, but the price of flashbulbs being what it is, I'd hate to waste I don't know how many to find the right synch delay. If trial and error is necessary, I'll just use the bulbs with the Graphex shutter on my Crown 2x3, which has X and M settings.
Of course I could also set the shutter on Bulb, that's foolproof!
Thanks.
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can help with some of those. Since I don't have an earlier battery case, I don't know about the connections there.

Yes, there is a special solenoid cord which connects from the battery case to those 2 female holes on the solenoid. I don't of an alternative for that cord.

I do know that the household plug, being hot all the time if you used a focuspot plugged there, will not be the place to plug the solenoid. It must be plugged in an outlet that becomes hot when you press a triggering device, such as the red button on that case which I believer you do have.

Performing the sync work without a tester is, indeed, trial and error. And the position of the pull-down bar (Q4) does make a difference. Those testers are hard to find. I do know Les has several, including one he got from me. Even with a tester, there are a lot of adjustments to make.

Since bulbs are so dear to you, I would renew my suggestion that you use the shutter sync (M) to connect to the flash with a cord. You can still use the solenoid to trip the shutter with another cord from battery case to solenoid. But, with sync through the first cord, the solenoid will have no effect on sync, just when the shutter was tripped - the same as if you tripped it with your finger, or with a cable release.

Hope that makes sense.
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mopar_guy



Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Washington, the State

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the older type battery case, if you want to have your shutter fire the flash, you attach a a cord to the bi-post on the shutter and the red button must be unscrewed and the other end of the cord is attatched where the red button was unfastened. Because the red button is unscrewed, you cannot use it to fire the soleniod as Alec suggests.

Dave
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave - I'm interested to know - do the older battery cases have plugs for solenoids? And, if the solenoid was set correctly, how did Anniversary camera users trip the solenoid? I must have misunderstood the use of that red button.
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mopar_guy



Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Washington, the State

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: Graflex battery case and cords. Reply with quote

Alec,
The older Graflex battery case has one household outlet and two round Graflex flash outlets on the front of the case. All three of these outlets have voltage when the round, red button is pushed. Also there is the Glass eye. I believe that there was a special cord that went from the socket of the glass eye to the Focuspot. Unscrew the glass eye, remove the bulb and plug the cord into the socket and the focuspot. This way you can use the small switch that would normally turn on the bulb in the glass eye to operate the Fucuspot.

I have an original Graflex cord that has a round Graflex Flash plug on one end and a solenoid plug on the other. To use a solenoid, plug this cord into one of the open outlets on the front of the battery case and the solenoid. Pressing the red button will fire the flashbulb and trip the solenoid. In this setup, the solenoid must be adjusted for the correct delay. With a Flash Supermatic shutter, if the shutter delay lever is cocked, it would create an additional delay and screw up the timing so don't cock the shutter delay with a solenoid.

Personally, I don't use a solenoid. I use the shutter to fire the flash. Unscrew the round button on the back of the flash and let it swing down out of the way. Connect a cord to the round outlet that is under the red button and the other to the shutter. I have a cord with a round Grflex flash plug on one end and a bi-post on the other end for this. I trip the shutter with my finger or a cable release. The shutter will fire the flash as if you had pressed the red button. The shutter delay lever must be cocked to synchronize this way.

Regards,
Dave
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mopar_guy



Joined: 07 Aug 2008
Posts: 126
Location: Washington, the State

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In looking at the original question again, I see that Bill has a Supermatic X shutter. To use flashbulbs he will need to us a solenoid as described above.

Dave
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