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Thread: Phottix Cleon wireless remote repair and mod.

  1. #1
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Phottix Cleon wireless remote repair and mod.

    Years ago, I purchased a Phottix Cleon wireless remote for my D300, which desperately needed a decent remote, that's not quite as bulky as the Nikon MC-36(which I also have).
    So wanting something cheap and small, I also wanted it to have more features than a simple cabled remote.. which I have in the MC-36 anyhow.
    So wireless it had to be.

    Nice little remote, a bit plasticy in some aspects, but performance was both perfectly reliable and in a sense.. flawless.

    ....except for one major 'Gotcha!!'

    As with all 'el cheapo' consumer gear, there is always a small seemingly insignificant catch in the quality of the gear.... and with this, (and my other) Phottix remote, this lax quality is in the N8 type Nikon connector plug. I suspect other plugs may not be so affected by the problem I faced.

    The 90° plug is nice and compact, and instills(at least in me) a feeling of unobtrusiveness about it, which then lead to my lax method of storage. What I used to do is to leave the plug connected to the camera, with the remote receiver still snug on the hotshoe, which was a perfect example of speed in setting the camera up for the next shoot when the need for speed was called for.
    This unobtrusiveness and need for speed, had me leaving the remote attached on an almost permanent basis, but the problem developed that whilst packed in the backpack, much undue pressure was being placed on the connector itself, and it not being of a 'nuclear bomb proof' design.. meant that it was inevitable that something would go wrong.. which it did.
    My other problem was that I had an early model Cleon remote, which had a hard wired plug design, meaning that the wire to the plug end was soldered directly onto the PCB board. At some later point, Phottix changed this design and made the wire to the camera of a removable plug in type.. much better. But 1. this didn't help me, with my remote
    2. I initially had no idea on why the remote just stopped working for no reason.. and then started again, only to stop again.. and then start again.

    I eventually tracked the problem down to an intermittent connection at the right angled connector(Nikon Dxxx and Dx owners know what I'm referring too).
    There was no way to disassemble the N8 connector itself, and only a new cable would(could??) get it working again.
    So I browsed through the Phottix site to see that this cable I require was listed as an accessory.. bewdy!

    Just what i needed... except for one small glitch!
    Instead of ordering a $10 new cable, instead... I ordered the newer model Plato wireless remote, for about $50!

    Actually.. make that two small glitches, but more on that part later.

    New Plato arrived many moths ago, and have been wirelessly triggering all over again without a care int he world.

    ..... But! I still had that old Cleon sitting on a table somewhere on my back room, forlorn and just waiting to be rejuvenated with a simple, easy new wire reattachment .. and (I'm assuming) that all will be good again for that poor old little now unloved Cleon remote.
    So after watching months turn into years, and without any reason or rhyme.. I found myself ordering a new cable for the Cleon, I think simply to see if it was still going to work again. For 10 or so bucks... why not! ....

    1. The hard part:

    These wires are approximately 1mm thin. nigh on impossible to see let alone hold steady to solder onto a space only 1mm apart. machines do it easy.. non electronics people with the wrong gear, just have to rely on luck!

    2. The even harder part

    the hardest part is remembering that I needed to get myself a female 2.5mm stereo socket, to plug the new cable into the remote's receiver. That was the mod I needed to make. Wasn't sure if the plug(purchased at Jaycar) would even fit into the slim recess of the receivers body. fortunately it only just fit byt the slimmest of margins(to be electrically safe as well as the physical fit)

    3. marked for time
    markings where the new stereo socket was to be mounted. Would have loved to locate it at the front where the original hard wired line exits, but there was simply no room for it there, so an alternate plan was called into action...... exit stage left(or so to speak).

    4. snug as a bug

    in an over stuffed tin can full of sardines. While it looks like there's a ton of room, and there is, the fact is that the fit is tight in two important dimensions.
    It rests on the IC underneath it(long term possibility of failure) and the wires were close to a few other electrical contact points(insulated now of course.
    Note to the diagram behind the contraption. My theory of relativity!.. or reactivity or whatever!!?? Had to guesstimate as to where the white wire was supposed to connect too in Nikon's 8pin Dxxx/Dx connector type.

    5. Houston!!.... we have lift-off!

    This is actually image #2 of the test run, as I really wasn't expecting it to work, and that saying of 'Your guess is as good as mine' .. well it ain't!!
    (I guessed spot on, I reckon you other guesstimators out there may not have been as luck as I was).
    The first test image was a surprising capture of dubious value with little to no focus on substance or subject.
    This second capture is henceforth presented as the default initial acquisition of test data to determine the successful nature of the proposition, with much better clarity and subject determination and with drop of nail biting interest thrown in for good measure(enjoy!)

    6. All systems are go....

    That little green light is like Christmas all over again!
    The mod was simple. The memory required(from me) to acquire the minuscule part and the cable needed to complete the mod was almost insurmountable.

    So.. now I have two wireless remotes.. and two more wired remotes to boot!
    What to do with them all, and why would I need them. Especially when I am of the opinion that I don't(need them all). If anyone has any theories as to why or why not ... I'd love to hear from them.
    (all correspondence to be submitted only in writing, made in cuneiform type, chiseled out in solid granite sourced from the finest materials found in the Italian Alps, gold etched, and sealed in the stuff the Egyptians used on their mummys.. or even daddys, and sent by carrier pigeon to whackywirelessweekendwonders at one warhol way wandin valley.. west)
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  2. #2
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    Sometimes the female 2.5mm stereo socket, purchased at Jaycar & others, can be a shade too long for the male plug, circa 0.1 mm. So when you mount the female socket make sure the securing nut is not raised above the socket hole, otherwise the contact can be hit or miss. This can even happen when the nut is below the hole, because some plugs are a whisker too short & the female hole has to be filed to reduce its depth & the nut made thinner.
    You didn't seem to have this problem, but it can drive one to distraction for a long time if it happens
    Painfully learnt from experience
    Cheers
    Col

  3. #3
    A royal pain in the bum!
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    Thanks for the info Col. I did make sure that the securing nut was both at least flush with the socket and very tightly so too.
    I didn't realize or notice any issues with the length of either.. but I didn't really look hard. The type of female socket connector I found(readily) isn't idea for the small box, but it'll do for now.
    At least I'll have more of an idea on where to look if the mod gives me any problems too tho.. so thanks for the heads up.

    Nothing worse than finding out after lots of ..... .... investigations, that the problem is not where you originally thought it was.

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