April 17, 2014, 06:36:42 AM

Author Topic: 580EX II Faulty by Design?  (Read 45495 times)

motorhead

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 05:29:09 PM »
PW should be congratulated for putting so much much effort into this research. Yes of course, it's driven by self-preservation, but they have gone well beyond proving that it's not their own product causing the failures without flinching at the costs involved.

Not all companies are like that, believe me. 

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 05:29:09 PM »

kettch42

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 05:32:36 PM »
Firstly it should be bourne in mind that this report is issued by a company accused by some of it's products damaging their equipment - it is not an unbiased & independant report.
I agree with you here. But I do not agree with the rest of what you wrote.

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It appears to have fooled some into concluding that the fault lies within the flash head - that is in fact far from the case.  What the report does is to report the symptoms of the failure, the components which fail and the way in which they fail.  If I connected a television to 30000 volts I could do the same thing - look at the components which failed, and how they failed - some would conclude the failure was as a result of poor design of the television.
They did more than report the symptoms of failure. They outlined a fairly detailed set of circumstances and design flaws that could be the cause of failure.
And they did zap the flash with a 11-12kV (although not 30kV) to test for ESD issues, and there was no effect (page 16). Not sure what you're saying here.

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There is no discussion about the potential differences in the E-TTL control of the PW when compared to Canons original (and undisclosed) software.
They did discuss the differences in HSS between PW and Canon, which is when most failures occur (page 14).

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There is no specific mention of why these failures do no occur with other triggers such as the ST-E2 or even the hotshoe.
The information is there... the failures occur while using a PW and when not using PW, ie hotshoe (I'll find a quote if you want). The problem is pinpointed to arcing, partly due to ozone formation. So whether the flash is in a hotshoe or on a PW, the problem remains the same.

Quote
There is no attempt to ascertain the time of the arcing in the flash head - for all we know it could well be caused post failure of the IGBT when it dumps a full power load, and have nothing to do with the actual fail state, just another symptom.
You must have missed pages 7-8.

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If ozone is a real problem (and I'm not convinced it is at these concentrations) then why is it not a problem when the flash is used with other triggers?
Arcing is the real problem. The arcing is caused by ozone lowering the dialectric strength of the air, and also by the position of the tube in relation to the backplane. The closer the tube is, the more likely the arc will happen. Note that the 430ex had the tube further from the back.

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The report unfortunately doesn't reach a firm conclusion - just a note that further tests will be carried out.
It seemed fairly firm to me. Not unbiased truth, but an excellent argument.

kettch42

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 05:36:35 PM »
someone above (credit goes to nmount) has already noted that the design of the 430 EX II is bound to be different than the 580 EX II because of their weathersealing requirements.

so ... the most convincing piece of evidence here isn't very compelling at all, actually.  I think this is going to need a lot more analysis before anyone jumps to conclusions.  I haven't had to slap PW's on my 580 EX II but I notice none of the arcing discussed in the document despite heavy use

That wasn't evidence, it was a conclusion. The evidence is in the arcing, the ozone, and the fried IGBT. You (and nmount) are right that the difference in design between the 430EXII and the 580EXII does not mean that Canon knew abut the problem and is covering up a mistake. But the evidence still points to a faulty design.

DetlevCM

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 05:38:09 PM »
A design change is not admission of guilt with respect to a "design error" before.

Design changes can occur for various reasons - it could even be a money saving feature.

Also, I'd highly doubt that Canon would sell a flash for years that does not work to spec on Canon equipment.
As some people have pointed out too, we would see a lot of reports of failed flashes if that were the case.

As Pocketwizards are a third party add-on and the flashes work according to spec on Canon bodies, maybe they should consider that they could be at fault.
Also, as other people have pointed out, if Pocketwizards enable the use of the Flash unit outside of Canon specifications you cannot really blame Canon.

-> The flash was designed for a certain "type of use" with Canon kit - it holds up to spec under those conditions, anything else is just an extra which is desirable but not guaranteed by the manufacturer. On this note, I believe all third party lenses carry a disclaimer just in case they break the camera exactly for this reason - it should work, but it cannot be guaranteed to be safe, even though it generally is.

fotoray

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 05:39:06 PM »
I sent Canon Professional Services a query and got following prompt (expected?) response:

Thank you for contacting Canon product support.  We value you as a Canon
customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

There are no problems when using Canon flashes with Canon cameras.  If
you add a third party product between a Canon camera and a Canon flash
and the combination fails, then the fault in design lies within the
third party product.  Canon does not collaborate with third party
manufacturers.  It is up to the third party manufacturer to make a
product that does not inhibit the functionality of the Canon product. 
Perhaps you should contact the manufacturer of the third party device
that you intend to use.

I hope this information is helpful to you.  Please let us know if we can
be of any further assistance.

Thank you for choosing Canon.

Sincerely,

Charles
Technical Support Representative

Special Note: Certain issues are very difficult to resolve via email. If
your question remains unanswered after you have received this email, you
may call our special toll-free number for email customers with
unresolved issues and speak to a technician by dialing 1-866-261-9362,
Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight ET, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. -
8:00 p.m. ET (excluding holidays).

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5D Mk III | 7D | 20D | EF-S 10-22 | EF-S 17-85 | EF 17-40 f/4L | EF 24-105 f/4L | EF 70-300 DO | EF-S 60 macro | EF 100L macro | 580EX II | RRS Series 2 tripod | plus many gadgets |

kettch42

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2011, 05:40:10 PM »
I am 100% convinced based on my own personal experience with THREE 580EX flashes ( 1 580 EX I, 2 580 EXII ) that the pocketwizards are the issue and that they are not taking responsibility for this situation. I will never deal with them again. Radiopopper has not only been completely reliability, but very communicative and helpful, I would encourage all of you to look in their direction when it comes to Radio based flash triggers.

Were you using HSS with the PW's? This is a functionality that Radiopoppers do not have, correct me if I'm wrong.

emtp563

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 05:52:30 PM »
My original 580 EX II failed with a blown flash tube.  After sending it to CPS 5 times for repair, they finally gave me a new "refurbished" 580 EX II.  I EXCLUSIVELY use HSS without any third-party intermediary device.  I'm not sure I can fault Canon on the first flash blowing out because I probably shot 10,000 frames on HSS- I think it was just it's time.  My issue is not the flash tube or circuitry, but the mounting mechanism.  My flash frequently loses communication with the body, exclusively when I'm using a battery pack (a Canon CP-E4), but that's another issue for another thread.

My point is, my 580 EX's perform as expected without PW's.

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 05:52:30 PM »

kettch42

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2011, 06:06:34 PM »
If Pocketwizard wants to prove their innocence and convince everyone that it's not their fault, they need to prove that these failures happen at the same rate when using HSS on other systems as the rate it happens on their own.

They pointed out that they have no way of determining if the problem is only theirs or if it happens with other systems. So they tried their hardest to find out why the problem occurs and then point out that the reason has nothing to do with specifically their system.

jonmarkphoto

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2011, 06:42:04 PM »
I am 100% convinced based on my own personal experience with THREE 580EX flashes ( 1 580 EX I, 2 580 EXII ) that the pocketwizards are the issue and that they are not taking responsibility for this situation. I will never deal with them again. Radiopopper has not only been completely reliability, but very communicative and helpful, I would encourage all of you to look in their direction when it comes to Radio based flash triggers.

Were you using HSS with the PW's? This is a functionality that Radiopoppers do not have, correct me if I'm wrong.

Yes I used HSS numerous times with the Radiopoppers and never experienced an issue. The Radiopoppers ( PX units ) DO have this feature, as they simply piggyback on the existing Canon Infrared system. My understanding is that Pocketwizards deliver this feature in a different way that they call "Hypersync" which is supposed to give you high speed syncing without the significant power loss of traditional HSS which exists in the Canon OEM system ( ST-E2 or 580EX (II) as master flash )

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2011, 07:46:01 PM »
I would think that the higher power output of the 580 EX II requires the best possible cooling.  PW needs those shields over the flash so their faulty control unit will work further than 30 ft away. 

Heat destroys electronics, and is likely taking its toll.

Fortunately, I stayed away from the new PW units when it became apparent that they would not work for more than a few feet, and that they did not work with the 5D MK II.  Eventually, they figured out how to make them work with a 5D MK II, but the blanket wrapped around the flash is pure hokum.

Flake

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2011, 11:15:22 AM »
Kettch42 Well I'm afraid I can't agree with your conclusions, but isn't that what blogs are for ??

I'll not go through the entire post, but seeing as you seem hung up on the arcing and the ozone issue I'll try to address that. 

In the report there is no indication of a time line of the failure no one knows if the arcing causes the IGBT to fail, or that the IGBT fails at some point and the next use delivers a full power dump to the tube causing the arcing.

The report states :

Even brand new flashes could fail.  We have ruled out heat buildup as a cause since several have failed within the first dozen shots after being pulled out of the camera bag. This is all based on verbal descriptions from customers.

If the cause was a breakdown caused by ozone, it'd have to build up incredibly quickly and flash units in normal use would fail with this fault on a regular basis.  In addition the concentrations of ozone measured after continuous use (not the fail mode described only) managed to create a mere 4.7 parts of ozone to a million parts of air - hardly something to worry about when the Canon triggers generated 7.7 ppm

The preliminary conclusions of the report are:

It appears that some combination of elements comes together to create the risk and increased
probability of an IGBT failure within the 580EX II.
‐ Sealed flash tube assembly (internal zoom carriage assembly)
‐ Misalignment of the flash tube within the reflector such that arcing is more probable
‐ Reduced optical feedback via the fiber optic sense cable in the flash head
‐ Dryer air where ozone can be generated more easily
‐ Electrical discharge through the reflector at a moment when the IGBT is turned off


So nothing firm, nothing that can be directly pointed at as the specific cause of the fault

Research will continue in trying to find solutions (if any) to reducing the risk of failures on the 580EX II.

Which is basically just what I said !

As a footnote having discussions about this with a US based test engineer he said they had a problem with a piece of kit, everyone in the company knew there was a problem and they soon found the cause, but everyone was told on pain of the sack not to release it to the public.  They never admitted any kind of liability but quietly repaired failed units and changed the design to make it more reliable.

smeggy

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2011, 04:01:22 PM »
If ozone is a real problem (and I'm not convinced it is at these concentrations) ...

The air inside flashheads usually isn't refreshed at 700ml per minute  ;)

As the report rightly stated, in normal use there is nowhere for any ozone build-up to go (unlike a TV). In that case, the levels would likely far, far higher than the ~10ppm measured during testing.

PW's test was highly invasive!
PocketWizard: if you’re reading this thread, please take note of the following:

What PW should have done (among other things) was to stop drawing air through, then set off the flash many times, then draw the air though (slower is better). Doing so would have given a much more representative measurement for normal use; they could have achieved >100ppm.

As flawed as PW's methods may be, their report made for a really interesting read and I'm very glad they released it for open scrutiny. I look forward to the prof's analysis.

Flake

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2011, 05:11:12 PM »
One of the things I did today was to talk to a specialist from the industrial gases industry, he told me that ozone is incredibly unstable it really wants to be O2 and even touching something is enough to cause it to revert.   Within 4 inches of the source it has decayed away (although you can still smell that sea side smell).

Not much use testing for it if the test equipment destroys the results Smeggy !  Of course that's not what happens and the system knows exactly how much air (and ozone) it has pumped in and measures the difference.

But again I come back to their initial statements that these failures appeared to happen in flashes within a dozen pops not those under heavy use.

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2011, 05:11:12 PM »

smeggy

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2011, 05:42:10 PM »
One of the things I did today was to talk to a specialist from the industrial gases industry, he told me that ozone is incredibly unstable it really wants to be O2 and even touching something is enough to cause it to revert.   Within 4 inches of the source it has decayed away (although you can still smell that sea side smell).
This may well be true and I'm in no position to dispute it. However, we're talking distances far shorter than that (the reflector conducts so that distance doesn't count).

In fact, your theory suggests the ppm level may be even higher than measured in that test. If you are right, I reckon it is likely that the length of the tube, and it's narrow internal diameter, would have caused the bulk of any decay. A shorter and wider tube would likely have resulted with higher ppm readings - if your theory is correct.

Not much use testing for it if the test equipment destroys the results Smeggy !  Of course that's not what happens and the system knows exactly how much air (and ozone) it has pumped in and measures the difference.
Do you know the effect of the dilution?
Do you know the effect of decay when drawn through the tube?

I'm not in a position to claim PW's tentative conclusion is actually correct; however, their other tests show there is merit to that theory. No one is in a position to be able to dismiss it.

I can only hope PW repeat the tests taking these factors into account, if only to make sure.

/dev/null

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2011, 09:20:12 AM »
The aim of this report is obviously to shift the blame from PW to Canon.

However, the technical evidence presented is quite impressive. In particular, the report clearly shows that there is arcing between the tube's high voltage circuitry and the reflector. That is just a shoddy design on Canon's side, nothing else. I am certain that all the problems will disappear if the arcing can be avoided.

If Ozone is indeed the problem, then the sealed units could be filled with an intert gas, such as Nitrogen or Argon. My personal view is that the Ozone is created by the spark, and thus is yet another symptom.

The easiest, most effective and safest way to correct the problem would be to increase the distance between the electrodes and the reflector, or to add isolating material (plastic) between the two.

The only question that is left is the following: Do PWs drive the flash in a way that produces more arcing than Canon's own cameras and controllers?

PWs in HSS produce higher light levels which probably means higher voltage on the flash tube. That would mean a higher probability of arcing.

It is possible that Canon deliberately limited the light level to keep the voltage down and thus reduce arcing. That would be engineering around the problem rather than fixing the root evil.

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Re: 580EX II Faulty by Design?
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2011, 09:20:12 AM »