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Author Topic: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system  (Read 4772 times)

Studio B

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Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« on: February 01, 2012, 06:36:16 pm »

I'm hoping someone here can help me identify an old flash system. In the mid 80's I worked as an assistant in a large commercial studio. I remember details of the flash system we used but can not for the life of me remember the manufacturers name. I believe it was made in England.

The gray/silver colored power packs were massive two part units on castors measuring approx 2ft wide and stood about 4ft high, power was about 8000 - 10,000 ws.  The lower half of the unit contained the capacitors while the upper section housed the switches and plugs for the heads.

Multiple flash heads were mounted inside vented metal softboxes which were mounted to dedicated cantilever boom stands also on castors. Raising and lowering the boom was achieved by a system of ropes and pulleys. I remember the softboxes having removable metal barn doors. We had various shapes and sizes of softboxes ranging from strip banks to large 4ft x 5ft units.

I've searched all over trying to track down the manufacturer of this particular flash system to no avail, was hoping that perhaps someone here may find my description familiar enough to chin in.

Thanks in advance.

Geo.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 06:38:35 pm by Studio B »
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 07:44:05 pm »

Sounds like the old Ascor Sunguns or Sun Guns. massive things. Did they have really thick pack to head cables and did the sound like a lighting strike or a shotgun when you triggered them?
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 07:52:52 pm »

I once knew A London based  photographer who specialized  in pours and splash shots  referred to the big metal light diffusion boxes you describe as "fish fryers". 
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K.C.

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2012, 09:59:08 pm »

Probably one of the most powerful and incredibly dangerous light systems ever made. Sun Guns had 40,000 WS when all the packs were on and a duration of 1/5000 sec.. Besides the incredible noise that could damage your hearing, they also created ozone when they went off.

There may still be some out there still.
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bill t.

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 12:20:43 am »

Would be very careful buying a truly high powered flash that was that old, if that's what you have in mind.

The huge capacitors in those things have limited lifespans, and when one blows up it's a pretty hair-raising event, which I have experienced personally from a much smaller but still potent Norman unit.  And of course the lethal shock and fire hazards are there.  Check the cables for stressed or abraded wires especially near the connectors and scrutinize the connector pins and sockets for burns.  I have to assume most of that stuff would be proprietary and possibly irreplaceable.  Etc.  And watch your fingers if you open one up, possible high voltage even if it's been off for a while.

Cool stuff, however.  ka-POW!  My biggest was only about 3,600 WS with all 4 heads plugged in and on Full.  Just enough to make people on the set twitchy.  You could feel something like shock or heat waves on your face.
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LenR

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 07:59:37 am »

We had a rule when you plug in a head with your right hand you had to put your left hand in your back left pocket.  That way if the plug should arc,  the current would pass from your right hand, through your shoulders and down to your left hand thus bypassing your heart. 
Be very very careful!
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Studio B

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2012, 09:12:53 am »

Thanks very much for the feedback gentleman. It wasn't an Ascor or Sun Gun, every bit as lethal however.

The topic came up the other day with a fellow photographer about what equipment we used "back then".  The name of this elusive flash system has been bugging me ever since, so don't worry there is no used equipment behind my request. I appreciate your concerns.

As an added note, the plugs were round, I don't remember the cables being exceptionally large in diameter. The unused plugs on packs had protective caps which dangled from chains when a head was plugged in. I'd have to guess the packs weighed 200+ lbs and resembled a large guitar amp on wheels. Yes when triggered they made a heck of a sound.

Ellis you may be on to something, we called the all metal softboxes "fish fryers" also. For some reason I remember the system was made in England.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 09:18:27 am by Studio B »
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Alto

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2012, 10:39:18 am »

Hi

It sounds like a Strobe equipment console 5000 a fantastic if scary piece of kit will the phrase "fish friers and swimming pools" strike a cord ?????????????

http://www.big-shed.co.uk/facilities


Jon

I still have mine and it frightens clients.
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Studio B

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2012, 01:49:08 pm »

That's it Jon!!! :o The Strobe Console 5000.

The image on the right is indeed the system in question, your gallery section has a wonderful close shot of six consoles which confirms it. The larger two part power console, the dedicated cantilever booms with the rope and pulley system, the fish friers with metal barn doors. Oh yes, it was a joy working with that magnificent system.



Those phrases do strike a very familiar cord. Our clients were frightened at times too, it did keep them at bay however. ;)

Thanks again to all those who chined in to help me out, thanks so much!!!

George

« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 02:43:27 pm by Studio B »
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MrSmith

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2012, 05:17:38 pm »

Strobe or strobex, i still use it in a studio belonging to a friend, it's a killer and nobody is allowed to touch it without instruction. the guy who repairs them has a hole in the middle of his hand from one. the fish fryer is a great light as a are the strips, the swimming pool is a bit OTT and most have been scrapped.
the city packs are black with '7ths' which are 1/3 stops, the older magnaflash packs are in half stops.
 you always have a light plugged in to X and then switch to A,B,C  and put the other 2k and 2x1k into whatever other light's you plug in. often you would switch power during exposure (all done in the dark) or multiple flashes when shooting 10x8 at f64.

i nearly had an 'accident' with a magnaflash because all the orange bulbs had blown and i thought the pack was powered down when i pulled a light cable out.  :o  they jump start your heart with 2k in hospitals, 5k will stop you dead.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2012, 05:25:33 pm by MrSmith »
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K.C.

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 12:56:57 am »

That's it Jon!!! :o The Strobe Console 5000.

The image on the right is indeed the system in question, your gallery section has a wonderful close shot of six consoles which confirms it. The larger two part power console, the dedicated cantilever booms with the rope and pulley system, the fish friers with metal barn doors. Oh yes, it was a joy working with that magnificent system.



Impressive looking lights, particularly the linear heads !

And it all looks much better built than the old Ascors.

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Studio B

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Re: Requesting help identifying and old commercial flash system
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 02:42:42 pm »

Strobe or strobex, i still use it in a studio belonging to a friend, it's a killer and nobody is allowed to touch it without instruction. the guy who repairs them has a hole in the middle of his hand from one. the fish fryer is a great light as a are the strips, the swimming pool is a bit OTT and most have been scrapped.
the city packs are black with '7ths' which are 1/3 stops, the older magnaflash packs are in half stops.
 you always have a light plugged in to X and then switch to A,B,C  and put the other 2k and 2x1k into whatever other light's you plug in. often you would switch power during exposure (all done in the dark) or multiple flashes when shooting 10x8 at f64.

i nearly had an 'accident' with a magnaflash because all the orange bulbs had blown and i thought the pack was powered down when i pulled a light cable out.  :o  they jump start your heart with 2k in hospitals, 5k will stop you dead.

If I remember correctly "X" did not have a protective cap on a chain like A,B,C. It was a reminder of sorts to always plug a head into it. We worked with them on a daily basis so it became second nature.

Pulling out a cable while powered up is something one rarely talks about....because your heart stops. Glad you survived it MrSmith.

After a little web search (thank you Jon!) I found this wonderful photo of the Console 5000. One thing I did forget, other then the name  ::), was the use of Joule, or "J" on the selector knob.

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/22780255@N08/3240313345/
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 08:34:54 pm by Studio B »
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