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Norman and Speedotron Powerpacks!


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Have now fixed all my Norman powerpacks and have pretty much got the schematics worked out. Certainly gained a lot of experience with 850 volt strobe powerpacks :-)

 

Anyway, have had a variety of problems, and as such have gain a lot of knowledge of these units, so if anyone has any of these units and they fail, I can help you fix them.

I even fixed a problem with a Norman 800 unit over the phone, so the failures on one type are similar to another, at least the 800, 1250, 2000 and to some extent the 4000.

I have a collection of these Norman Powerpacks of various vintages, and various power capabilities, I.E. 1250 Watt secs, 2000 Watt/secs and 4000 W/s. Recently they have been dieing on me, my 4000 jst blew up, I have 2 blown up 2000's, am now down to just one 1250 and one 2000 at my studio in Hayward, and a 1250 up at the West point location. I have 2x 2000's in storage, but they have been dieing a a great rate.

 

Anyone else experiencing this?

 

One of the big problems with these is the design is 35 years old, and there are no schematics available for them. There are a few places that repair them, but they charge approximately $75/hour and most repairs take 2 hours plus parts, so at a minimum one is looking at a $200 repair, but the big question then is why? I mean you can buy a new Monolight for that same price as the repair, so it is not worth repairing them.

 

Since my background was electronics, I am in the process of reverse engineering the schematic, with the idea of redesigning these in the future. I have already determined that there are several weaknesses in the design, one of which is the use of big old wafer switches that arc and eventually cause imbalances in the system which blow up the diode protection board.

 

All new high energy switching is done today with SCR's. So simply replacing the switches which should never be switched with the power on, with SCR's would make these units more stable. The other area I have found that blows up is on the control board, and also the dimming circuitry for the model lights. The dimming circuitry is real simple and I have repaired several already, but the control board requires some more tracing of the schematic to determine the function of everything on it.

 

Now you may ask, why is Jeff going to the trouble to fix his old junk? Well it is simple, I can, so I do! :-)

It has been years since I had to do any repair work like this so it stimulates my old memory LOL!

 

If you have any of these old units and are interested in the progress of this project, just email me or PM me.

If anyone has any of these old units and would like to donate them as parts for the repair and redesign of these units, I would greatly appreciate them.

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I suggest you sit down with a few meters and meter things.

Is there an output from the base?

OK.

Then follow the output and see where it disappears,, it would USUALLY be in a RC circuit supporting the 3rd leg of a transistor.(Triac/ tyristor.)

 

And it would usually be the capacitor, being too old and burned, dead or leaked. You can smell it and see the spills.

 

Find it and solder a new one in.

 

Or simply check the fuse if there is one, just turn it around if you can see it isnt burnt.

 

Point is...If there is an output..It can be repaired, cheaply.

.

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Here you go Jeff a schematic for one you just need to search using the right search engine.

 

If this helps tell me more and i will see what i can find.

 

P2000D Modeling Light Circuit Schematic

 

 

http://www.westsidestudioimages.com/p2000d/p2000d_2.htm

 

Thanks Barry, but I have been talking to him already, he in fact does not have the complete schematic, but just bits of it. There is also another factor in that Norman seems to have had a quality control issue, in that I have three 2000 w/s units and each is a little different.

I actually have as much as he has done in terms of my schematic.

 

These things basically are not rocket science although the high voltage can kill ya.

They literally are only 2 voltage triplers (120-360) one negatively polarized and the other positively, followed by some switching diodes, some capacitor drain diodes, and giant capacitors - 2000 micro farads, ten of them which gives 2000 w/s, so 200 w/s per. This is followed by a flash tube, and off to the side is a high voltage 4KV trigger circuitry, with sensing, etc.

 

BTW Laurin, not interested in a yard sale, doing this as I said before just for the fun of it, and because I can :-)

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I sort of ½ understand how they are built.

Capacitors hold the charge that is let out by opening a triac. All is fed from 120v current. No batteries.

Right?

 

Is there triac controlling more capacitors or only one, you mention several big ones?

Because if so...

I would experiment with short cutting the triggering leg of the triac (with an appropriate current that could be taken somewhere else on the print via a resistor).

This experiment would find out if the capacitors can still fire or if they should be replaced.

 

(large capacitors are available from old washing machines and other 3 fased machines)

 

BTW... when playing with 120v or in our case 240v its always good to have a 120v -120v trafo, to sort of prevent too many fuses in the house to burn.

Been there, done that.

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BTW... when playing with 120v or in our case 240v its always good to have a 120v -120v trafo, to sort of prevent too many fuses in the house to burn.

Been there, done that.

Jens houses with actual fuses are like a piece of history anymore because we use circut breakers instead of fuses now.
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I'm more surprised that after opening this thread Google Chrome didn't offer to "translate" it........LOL.

 

It normally does when a foreign language is detected ;)

 

Let me translate this bit for you Meirion

 

"They literally are only 2 voltage triplers (120-360) one negatively polarized and the other positively, followed by some switching diodes, some capacitor drain diodes, and giant capacitors - 2000 micro farads, ten of them which gives 2000 w/s, so 200 w/s per. This is followed by a flash tube, and off to the side is a high voltage 4KV trigger circuitry, with sensing, etc."

 

 

他們從字é¢ä¸Šåƒ… 2 電壓 triplers (120-360) 一個負é¢çš„極化和其他ç©æ¥µï¼Œè·Ÿè‘—一些開關二極體〠一些電容器的排水渠二極體〠巨型電容器-2000å¹´å¾® farads,其中使 2000 w/s〠s æ¯æ‰€ä»¥ 200 w å部。這閃光管後, 跟,æ—邊是了高電壓 4KV 觸發器電路,與傳感等。

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I'm more surprised that after opening this thread Google Chrome didn't offer to "translate" it........LOL.

 

It normally does when a foreign language is detected ;)

 

Let me translate this bit for you Meirion

 

"They literally are only 2 voltage triplers (120-360) one negatively polarized and the other positively, followed by some switching diodes, some capacitor drain diodes, and giant capacitors - 2000 micro farads, ten of them which gives 2000 w/s, so 200 w/s per. This is followed by a flash tube, and off to the side is a high voltage 4KV trigger circuitry, with sensing, etc."

 

 

他們從字é¢ä¸Šåƒ… 2 電壓 triplers (120-360) 一個負é¢çš„極化和其他ç©æ¥µï¼Œè·Ÿè‘—一些開關二極體〠一些電容器的排水渠二極體〠巨型電容器-2000å¹´å¾® farads,其中使 2000 w/s〠s æ¯æ‰€ä»¥ 200 w å部。這閃光管後, 跟,æ—邊是了高電壓 4KV 觸發器電路,與傳感等。

 

I bust a gut over this Rudy LOL!

Laughing so hard my face hurts :-)

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I sort of ½ understand how they are built.

Capacitors hold the charge that is let out by opening a triac. All is fed from 120v current. No batteries.

Right?

 

Is there triac controlling more capacitors or only one, you mention several big ones?

Because if so...

I would experiment with short cutting the triggering leg of the triac (with an appropriate current that could be taken somewhere else on the print via a resistor).

This experiment would find out if the capacitors can still fire or if they should be replaced.

 

(large capacitors are available from old washing machines and other 3 fased machines)

 

BTW... when playing with 120v or in our case 240v its always good to have a 120v -120v trafo, to sort of prevent too many fuses in the house to burn.

Been there, done that.

 

OK jens, here goes

120 AC goes in fllowed by voltage tripler circuits, taking it up to around 360volts positive and 360 negative +720 volts, this is fed into 10 very large 2000 microfard capacitors, (5 on the positive side and 5 on the negative side), this give a total of 2000w/s for a single strobe light, or many lessser combinations to several strobe heads

Here a few images first the tripler stage, followed by where I have got with the reverse engineering of the rest of it, the 10 capacitors are in the middle of the diagram:-)

post-14141-14368343989925_thumb.jpg

post-14141-14368343990179_thumb.jpg

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Its a very smart setup, to multiply the voltage to get more Watts and still keep the voltage down over the single capacitors.

 

I just went out and looked in my collection of "large capacitors" and fount out that they are typically

100 - 200mF /300v. I thought they were more, since the yare big, but thats because when I work with 1000mF capacitors in 12 volt systems, the capacitors are much smaller.

 

Now, what are you trying to do Jeff, repair the "machine" or just finding out how it works?

post-46768-14368343990806_thumb.jpg

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jeff.. You have seen the pages lying behind the first?

http://www.westsidestudioimages.com/p2000d/p2000d_5.htm

 

1-2-3-4-5

 

There is a fine explanation of the whole system.

I would check Q9

 

Yes as I said I have talked to this guy, but he does not have a full schematic yet, nor a complete explanation of the circuitry, he is missing 90% of what is on the control board. That is the part I am tracking down.

He did have the trigger circuitry done.

I am following the two resistors that fried on one of my control boards through an opto copuler (MOC301), this is the device that triggers the gate on the Q2040C (triac) that basically allows AC to pass to the tripler circuit. I am guessing that since these two resistors fried, that the Triac/Alternistor might be fried, so am pulling it out to check next. the side of the optocoupler is drived by a couple of transistors, (one is a PUT no longer made, so am having difficulty finding a replacement.)

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so you have found out that it is in the control board.

 

First check if the TRIAC fires, else replace it. They are cheap. I have tons, I used them for incubators.

 

If its on the control side before the optocoupler, then just make your own control system or replace it with one you already have, from some alarm or measuring system, just add a potmeter before the gate of the Triac or on the leg that triggers the optocoupler, so you can calibrate the output to the triac. Control systems pretty much have a standard output since they are all designed to trigger the common high V triacs.

 

Both optocouplers and triacs are cheap.

And transistors can usually be replaced by a standard one with approximately the same specifications.

 

When Im in deep trouble with electronics I call in the repair men:

stock-photo-little-men-repair-a-computer-47543953.jpg

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so you have found out that it is in the control board.

 

First check if the TRIAC fires, else replace it. They are cheap. I have tons, I used them for incubators.

 

If its on the control side before the optocoupler, then just make your own control system or replace it with one you already have, from some alarm or measuring system, just add a potmeter before the gate of the Triac or on the leg that triggers the optocoupler, so you can calibrate the output to the triac. Control systems pretty much have a standard output since they are all designed to trigger the common high V triacs.

 

Both optocouplers and triacs are cheap.

And transistors can usually be replaced by a standard one with approximately the same specifications.

 

When Im in deep trouble with electronics I call in the repair men:

stock-photo-little-men-repair-a-computer-47543953.jpg

 

Yep I have 20 Triacs, 20 Thyristors, planning on using them for another idea, and opto-couplers all on order:-)

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Probably just some bugs in the circuitry.

 

LOL!

 

Well here is an update!

Bypassed the control board, tried to trigger the triac, but suspect since the capcitors are creating an inductive load momentarily, it kept fying the resistors I was using between the gate and the MT2 terminal.

 

So next I tried by passing the triac completely, and Viola! Capacitors (all ten of them), charging diodes and drainage diodes all work fine as does the voltage tripler circuitry (more diodes and caps), the Modelling light circuitry is alll now working, (I fixed one), and the ready light is working, so now have more than 50% proven to be OK.

 

I installed a modern style equipment (square) socket/line filter to improve that aspect as well as the aesthetics of the unit.

 

Since I have also disposed of the offending knife switches, that seemed to arc and be a root cause of some of the failures, I have rewired the output sockets, such that instead of one group of 4 outlets tied together, and one of two, I now have 3 groups of 2.

This means that two pairs of sockets will have 400 W/s each, meaning I can by plug in two light have 200/ws on each light, or plug in just one light and use the full 400 w/s on these two banks of caps.

 

The final pair of sockets will have 1200 W/s on the two sockets, so one light of the full 1200, or 2 strobes of 600W/s each.

 

I removed the seventh socket that these units have.

 

Since I also wanted the modelling lights to be independant on the three pairs of sockets, I am adding a third modelling light circuit.

 

On reflection I think I should have kept the seventh socket, put 400 W/s there and made the one pair of sockets with 800W/s instead of the 1200. Fortunately I am still in a position that I can do that since I think it makes more sense, as I am more likely to use the 800 W/s as background lights and the other pairs of sockets as foreground, it leaves me another 400w/s to use as a independant rim/hair light or whatever.

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Thanks for the update Jeff.

Now... what do you use it for?

Strobes, right.

 

But the strobes I know are fed from a wall outlet.

 

The strobes you know are called monolights, and are complete in that they contain their own power supply voltage triplers, capacitors, etc.

 

The Norman, and other manufacturers make strobe heads that plug into a Powerpack (the thing I am working on). The advantage of the Powerpack idea is that it provides 2000w/s of total power which can be spread out over several strobe heads. The other advantage of these systems is that each head is capable of 2000w/s, and since the powerpack is the guts of the system, these heads are lighter than monolights.

So, I can plug in one head and get 2000w/s or plug in as many as I need spreading the power over many lights.

post-14141-14368344089039_thumb.jpg

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Having repaired one P2000 last week, and since I am waiting on a Alternistor Triac for the second P2000, I thought that I would try and find out what is wrong with the third unit. I Also wanted to make the negative and positive sides look alike, One had this unidentifiable device an R402, some kind of diode array).

Anyway, installed 3 new diodes and then checked out the voltege tripler, only to find that a Mallory 150Mfd 450v capacitor is leaky, and was not doing the job, so needs to be changed. Checking around to find this cap proved challenging. Still don't have one on order yet. Anyway this may turn out to be the only thing wrong with this unit. I have checked both control cars (the one from this unit and the one from unit #2, all diodes, transistors, and triacs seem to check out OK as does the transformer in the trigger circuit.

Also checked out the P4000, and found diodes blown on the distribution card, so will be replacing them, and repairing the board itself (traces blown).

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