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George Simmons

Thwacking your strobes

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I've never seen this asked before so I didn't bother searching. Please forgive me if it came up last Monday or something.

Why would thwacking a non-functioning strobe cause it to start working?

I don't ordinarily go around thwacking my strobes, not even for sport. (Actually, I think almost everyone has things they'd rather be thwacking than strobes.) But nevertheless I was doing some testing of pole-top strobes before erecting the poles and one didn't work when it was plugged in. Xenon C9 curtain strobe, probably five years old... Before replacing it, just for the hell of it, I gave it a medium strength thwack and *Presto* it started working. Then, I noticed something odd - when the strobe's position was changed it might stop working again, or the fire rate might vary noticeably. Shaking and/or thwacking it again would again correct its errant behavior. Next time it was cycled off and then on again later it may or may not work properly.

By the way - in case you're wondering - the mountain weatherman didn't put me up to this - it's a genuine situation I encountered.

Now I certainly can't wander through the yard wearing my Santa cap and thwacking my strobes all evening. Nor do I wish to get into a discussion with some smart-alecky teenager over the differences between thwacking and whacking... I need a better solution.

I believe that in its own way the strobe is actually telling me that it would rather be in a landfill than atop my pole. Sadly, I've heard things similar to that before so I can probably deal with it. But I'd still like to understand what's happening. So, please - someone who knows more than I do (about strobes - not necessarily thwacking) could you kindly explain what component of the strobe might be failing to behave in this manner?

Thanks.

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The neutral wire is often just pinched between the plastic base and the metal threads. When you impact it you are causing the oxidized wire surface to rub slightly against the metal screw base, and make beter contact temporarily.. It is possible that you could pull the base, lightly tin the wire, and put it back together somewhat reliably for a while.

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More than likely klb nailed it. But also there can be a weak solder joint that finally went south or a cold solder joint that finally went bad. On the board that is.

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What would cause xenon strobes to slow down their fire rate as they get older? I've got about a dozen that flash so infrequently that they're all but worthless.

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What would cause xenon strobes to slow down their fire rate as they get older? I've got about a dozen that flash so infrequently that they're all but worthless.

That's rude! Are you as fast as you were when you were 20? We don't call you "worthless" (very often).

:P

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That's rude! Are you as fast as you were when you were 20? We don't call you "worthless" (very often).

No, I'm not as quick. And there are some who actually appreciated that. Or used to anyway...

But when it comes to strobes, doing it all night is definitely preferable to taking all night to do it. Anyone seen any Strobiagra ads anywhere?

Edited by George Simmons
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George- how are your strobes mounted? Vampire sockets or commercial socket string. If vampire sockets here an issue I encountered the first year of using them. Open the back of a vampire socket and note that one 'tooth' is at approximate center and one 'tooth' is close to the socket side(offset). If the SPT wire is hung vertically and the socket is installed with the offset tooth on top then the weight of the strobe tends to pull the offset tooth out of the wire and breaks contact with the copper core. If the vampire socket is installed with the offset tooth on the downside then the weight of the strobe will push the offset tooth into the wire. The center tooth is secure enough not to be effected.

Hope this helps.

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George- how are your strobes mounted? Vampire sockets or commercial socket string. If vampire sockets here an issue I encountered the first year of using them. Open the back of a vampire socket and note that one 'tooth' is at approximate center and one 'tooth' is close to the socket side(offset). If the SPT wire is hung vertically and the socket is installed with the offset tooth on top then the weight of the strobe tends to pull the offset tooth out of the wire and breaks contact with the copper core. If the vampire socket is installed with the offset tooth on the downside then the weight of the strobe will push the offset tooth into the wire. The center tooth is secure enough not to be effected.

Hope this helps.

That there is some good info :)

I was having a couple issues with C7 vampire sockets today, could have been related to this had I read this a couple hours ago.

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George- how are your strobes mounted? Vampire sockets or commercial socket string. If vampire sockets here an issue I encountered the first year of using them. Open the back of a vampire socket and note that one 'tooth' is at approximate center and one 'tooth' is close to the socket side(offset). If the SPT wire is hung vertically and the socket is installed with the offset tooth on top then the weight of the strobe tends to pull the offset tooth out of the wire and breaks contact with the copper core. If the vampire socket is installed with the offset tooth on the downside then the weight of the strobe will push the offset tooth into the wire. The center tooth is secure enough not to be effected.

Hope this helps.

Ditto, good info Jim. Something to keep in mind, as I just added a mega tree with 20 vamp sockets.

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Thanks Gents! As with most discoveries, that one was not discovered until my strobes were wound around the center pole of my mega tree and covered in M5's. (Murphy's Law is alive and well)

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George- the cheap capacitors used in the strobes don't charge as quick when they get older causing them to flash slower. I have also taken a few of my broken strobes apart and found the solder traces either pull off the board or they have cold solder joints- I have been able to fix about half of my broken units. I can take pictures of what I am talking about if you want.

Most of my strobes are from WOW Lights or CDI and look identical to each other.

-Logan

Edited by BrownOut

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George- how are your strobes mounted?

Got reading this thread again. And could not help quoting this reply again. But spot lighting this one bit. My answer is I hope that they are mounted from behind.

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Mounting from behind might work well for country strobes or farm strobes, but mine are city strobes and they prefer the more traditional positions.

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My doggie likes them when they blink, what does that mean?

Edited by TJ Hvasta
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My doggie likes them when they blink, what does that mean?

It means that your strobes are definitely the mount-from-behind type.

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George- the cheap capacitors used in the strobes don't charge as quick when they get older causing them to flash slower. I have also taken a few of my broken strobes apart and found the solder traces either pull off the board or they have cold solder joints- I have been able to fix about half of my broken units. I can take pictures of what I am talking about if you want.

Most of my strobes are from WOW Lights or CDI and look identical to each other.

-Logan

I have the Xenon I strobes, Does anyone know an easy way to disassemble them before I take my dremel tool to it?

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I have the Xenon I strobes, Does anyone know an easy way to disassemble them before I take my dremel tool to it?

All of mine just unscrewed where the clear part met the base. They used a small amount of silicone glue.

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