Adding (and Synching) a Second Strobe

In addition to being cheap, both the Starving Student Off-Camera Light Kit and the (included) Pro Synch Cord were designed to be expandable.

You start lighting things enough, and you'll get the itch to add a second light to your gear bag.

Getting the second light/stand/umbrella/etc. is easy enough. You just crack the wallet, take the hit, and go. And if you will be working at close range a Nikon SB-26 is an ideal second strobe, as it includes a decent optical slave to synch it to the first light.

But if one of your lights is not an SB-26, or you will be working at greater distances, or if you do not want others' flashes to set off your #2 light, you'll have to synch them via radio remote or hardwire. If you already have a set of Pocket Wizards, you can buy a second receiver separately for about half the cost of a full set. Problem solved.

But if you are working on a budget, the Pro Synch Cord is modular, and easily (and cheaply) expandable.

What you'll need:

• One more PC Male to Household Male synch cord: $5.95 at Adorama
• A three way AC splitter adapter: ~$2.00 at WalMart, Home Depot, etc.
• Two normal extension cords: $2.00 and up, depending on the length, at WalMart, Home Depot, etc.

If you have a couple of extension cords at home, you are out the door for less than $8.00. If not, these extension cords can do double duty at home for other uses. I saw a 50', heavy duty cord for $10 at Home Depot this weekend, so you can get your flashes far away from each other for very little money.

(You can also nix the 2nd cord by plugging your first PC Male to Household Male cord right into the splitter. Just ball bungee (or rubberband) the junction to your light stand for strain relief, just like we discussed on the PC cord page.)

The diagram shows what you need. If you have built a Pro Synch Cord, you already have everything in black. The blue stuff is the new stuff, and the diagram shows how it goes together. Click on it for a big version.

If it looks complicated, it's not. And cheap and reliable, too.

Three notes:

1) Feel free to snip off the grounding pin on the splitter (use needle-nosed pliers) so it will fit into your homemade female-to-female AC cord. Just do not use the splitter for actual AC appliances after doing that. Mark it with a sharpie to warn others.

2) Plug both of your PC/Household cords into the extension cords (or splitter) using the same orientation. This will make fore more reliabe synching, and be safer for your camera.

3) As always, avoid plugging older strobes (or big, studio strobes) directly into electronis cameras. They can fry the synch circuit. Nikon SB-24 and newer strobes are safe. Some older Vivitar 283's are not.

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