There is a lot of discussion about these products because they are cheap and often have problems. When they work they work great. When they don’t work, they suck. Here are two quick tips about these products.
Tip #1 – If it isn’t working don’t be afraid to open it up and look for obvious problems.
I want to point out an issue I had, or rather thought I had. I have two of the YN600EX-RT speedlites and the YN-E3-RT transmitter. Try saying that three times fast, ugh. One day I couldn’t get the transmitter to connect to the flashes. The link LED wouldn’t light up no matter what I tried. At that point it was already useless so I decided to open it up and look for obvious problems.
There’s not too much going on inside. There’s the main circuit board, the battery compartment, and a ribbon cable connecting to the screen and another to what must be the wireless part. Since the wireless wasn’t working I disconnected and then reconnected the tiny ribbon cable. Voila! It started working again.
I feel very fortunate. It easily could have been a fried chip, but it was a simple connectivity issue. I had nothing to lose and it ended up saving me $80.
Tip #2 – Be sure to check the basics before throwing in the towel.
The second thing that happened is the flash unit would turn on. It made a very sad sound like it was dying and the screen would only show half of its information. Once again I thought the thing was dead. It wouldn’t be surprising. I had purchased other Yongnuo flashes in the past and had them immediately get stuck firing at full power. I sent them back seriously questioning the quality of Yongnuo products.
So I opened up this flash unit, being certain there was nothing I could do. Here are some pics:
Seeing the inside of this unit made me marvel and wonder if this isn’t made in the same factory as the Canon ones. There’s a lot of technology and design in this thing. I don’t care if it’s a copy. It’s a well-engineered copy.
There wasn’t anything obviously wrong inside. I re-seated the ribbon and jumper cables that I could and put it back together. Here’s where it gets interesting. The flash unit worked just fine all along. I learned that my Powerex NiMH rechargeable batteries weren’t outputting enough voltage to properly power the flash. They only start at 1.2V. Four of them only reach 4.8V, which is 1.2V less than the nominal 6V it wants. I never suspected them because I had used them before without issue. Maybe then need a refurbishing charge cycle.
With a different set of batteries it worked just fine. The strange thing is the other batteries I tried were 1.2V NiMH rechargeable Eneloop Pro. If your unit behaves strangely try different batteries.