SLAVE CONTROLLER KIT INSTRUCTIONS
RCDAVIS Slave Controller
Thank you for purchasing the RCDAVIS Slave Controller. I am sure you will be as pleased with the performance of this slave control board as I am. While I am not a board designer or programmer, I believe this board will be a viable product that will fill the needs of the homebrew community as far as slave builds go and now with the addition of the Single Flash Series, commercial game camera owners can benefit from adding a remote slave flash to their arsenal as well. I would like to thank the members of Hag’s House that were so helpful in the development and testing of this board. Bowgod02 and Mheimburg1 for starting this when working with the Picaxe chip. Firemanjim, Speed2spare, Whtlhntr, Sanford17 and Huntinggunns for their help with the field testing. Rick Gray for his dedication and expertise in developing the chip program that makes it all work. When this project was all but dead in the water, Rick stepped up and offered to do the programming and I believe we have a better product because of that. I want to also thank all the members of Hag’s House for backing me on this project. Without that support I would have likely given up on it.
WARNING: Flash boards contain components that could possibly carry high voltages. Modification to these electrical devices are done at your own risk and could cause serious personal injury, damage to the device or both. It is strongly recommended that you drain capacitors of their high voltage before attempting any modification. Modification will void the manufacturer warranty.
It is recommended that you test the slave flash after completing the modification to verify it is working properly before installing it in a build. Verify that the charging system is functioning properly and the trigger system is working. Use the same size batteries for testing that you will use in the build and make sure they are in good condition. Verify that the slave flash is capable of charging and triggering at the desired delay that you intend to use in the build. Failure to follow these guidelines could cause problems that could have been avoided. Take it from someone that has been there.
Please take time to read all instructions before beginning assembly. Since this is a Do-It-Yourself kit, there is no warranty offered or implied. I cannot control how the user completes this build. If you are not confident in your soldering ability to attempt putting this kit together, please get assistance from someone with the proper skill level. While it is not a difficult board to assemble, it may not be something that a novice should attempt. Use a fine tip on the iron when soldering components to the board. Soldering with an iron that is too hot or leaving the iron on the board for too long could damage the board, delicate components or both. Use just enough solder to attach the components to the board, there is no need for large blobs of solder and in some cases could cause solder bridges between components. Check all components for solder bridges before powering the board up for the first time. Failure to do so could cause permanent damage to the board, components or both.
Use ONLY a 6 volt power supply to power the board. Using more than 6 volts will damage board components. For the 2 Flash Series board, at power up the LED will blink twice, stay off for about 20 seconds and then light up for about 2 seconds and then go off again. The first 20 seconds after powering on, the chip is going through the warmup stage and charging the slave capacitor. Once warmup is completed and the LED has turned off, the board is ‘armed’ and ready to fire the slave when needed. On the Single Flash series boards the program runs a bit different. At power up the LED will light up a single time indicating that it is for 1 flash cameras. The chip will go through a warmup stage that which will last approximately 2 1/2 minutes. The LED will not light up again after warmup has completed but if the light level is dark enough the slave will be charged and the Slave Controller will be ready to fire the slave at this point. Depending on battery condition and slave capacitor and components condition, the board is capable of firing the slave as fast as every 5-10 seconds. It is recommended that a pic to pic delay of at least 15 seconds be used to give the slave capacitor time to recharge between events for best slave flash performance. Picture delays faster than 15 seconds puts an extreme demand on batteries to charge the slave capacitor fast enough and could cause missed triggers. This is not the fault of the Slave Controller board but rather it is the condition of the batteries or slave components that are unable to maintain proper capacitor voltage to initiate a trigger. If you are experiencing continuous chip resetting or missed slave triggers, check battery condition to determine if they need to be changed or change delay settings.
When installing the Slave Controller board into your build, place the board as far away from the slave capacitor, flash tube and slave board as possible to avoid RF interference that could cause resetting issues. Also make sure that wires do not cross over or come in contact with the chip on the Slave Controller board to avoid possible resetting issues. If you are using the board for an internal slave, place the PT directly in front of the camera flash and locate the CDS inside the case just over the fresnel hole opening for best performance. By adjusting the location of the CDS or simply by changing the angle so it is facing more towards the inside of your case, you can get the Slave Controller to fire the slave sooner in low light conditions such as early morning or late evening when extra lighting would be beneficial to your photos. Jim Sanders (Firemanjim) came up with a neat little trick for accomplishing this, he covered half of the CDS with a black sharpie and it worked out great. If you are using the board in a remote slave build, mount the Slave Controller board near but not on the bottom of the case and run the PT and CDS wires out the bottom of the case and through a 6” section of product such a Loc-line modular hose or similar product. Drill a hole in the cap of the small bottle (PURCHASED SEPARATELY) and insert the PT and CDS into the bottle. Connect the bottle cap to the end of the Loc-line with goop or a similar product that will provide a water tight seal.
I have tried to make the instructions as complete as possible but inevitably there will be some questions that arise that may not have been addressed. If you have any questions concerning the assembly or the use of your board feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or make a post on the Hag’s House forums and someone will be able to help with your questions or concerns.
Installing Board Components
Install components to the appropriate location following the directions on the last page.
Install the 14 pin DIP socket to the board. Avoid overheating the legs of the socket as it could cause the plastic socket to melt.
Install the ceramic disk capacitor just above the DIP socket. Push the legs of the capacitor through the holes until the capacitor is about ¼” from the board surface and bend the legs over to hold it in the correct position. Once soldered in place clip off the excess portion of the legs.
Resistors and Diodes can be installed in either a vertical (standing) or horizontal (laying) position, between the indicated soldering holes. Install the correct resistor to it’s corresponding location; R1 to R1, R2 to R2, R3 to R3, etc. *Proper orientation of D1 and D2 is critical. Install D1 with the gray color band closest to the Push Button ON/OFF switch. Install D2 with the gray color band closest to the 14 pin DIP socket. Once soldered in place clip off the excess portion of the legs.
Install the LED with it’s flat bottom almost touching the face of the board. To accomplish this, insert the legs in the appropriate holes (the short leg of the LED goes in the LED- hole) and while holding the LED just off the surface of the board, bend the legs over to hold it at the correct height for soldering. Once soldered, clip off the excess portion of the legs.
Install the SCR in the same manner as the LED. Make sure it is facing the correct way following the directions on the last page of instructions. After soldering clip off the excess portion of the legs.
Install the Opto to the corresponding location following the directions on the last page.
Install the Mosfet to the corresponding location following the directions on the last page. Push the
legs of the mosfet through the holes until the mosfet is about ¼” from the board surface. Once soldered in place clip off the excess portion of the legs.
Install the ON/OFF switch paying attention to the directions on the last page for proper orientation.
Install the wires for the PT, CDS, battery connections, slave connections and trigger connections. These wires are not furnished with the kit except for the battery connector. It is recommended that you use wire of at least 28 AWG for battery and slave board connections. Smaller wire can be used for the PT, CDS and trigger connections. Make sure you install the 0.47 ohm 2 watt resistor supplied in the kit between the Slave Controller slave + (positive) wire and the slave flash board + (positive) wire as detailed in the instructions on the last page. * If using a 6 volt SLA (sealed lead acid) battery to power the Slave Controller and slave, install a 1.0 ohm 2 watt resistor instead of the 0.47 ohm resistor.
Install the PT and CDS to the appropriate wires following the directions on the last page. The CDS is not polarity sensitive but the PT is. Install the PT collector (short leg) to PT+ on the board. Install the PT emitter (long leg) to PT- on the board. If the PT is not wired correctly the board will not function properly.
Now that all components have been soldered in place it is time to install the chip into its socket. Make sure the chip is facing the right way ( the little dimple on the chip will be in the top left corner facing D1,D2) and that the legs are positioned properly into the socket to avoid bending them. Once you are sure that it is going in correctly, gently push it down into the socket until it is seated in place.
CONGRATULATIONS! Your Slave Controller board is now complete and ready to go into the build of your choice.
*FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY---NOT INTENDED FOR COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS*
Follow the diagram below for component placement. Refer to the pictures at the bottom of the page for component comparison.