'Old' (Primo) Broncolor questions

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by htroberts, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. htroberts

    htroberts Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    Medium Format
    I have several Broncolor Primo packs and flash heads. I've not used them in years, but was motivated to pull them out recently.

    I was a little anxious, having read about issues with leaking electrolytic capacitors, but everything seems to work okay.

    I've come up with several questions, though.

    - one head seems to have a dead flashtube. B&H has them listed, but they're quite expensive. Does anyone have suggestions for sources?

    - The manual online http://www.bron.ch/uploads/tx_bronar...imo-a-4_en.pdf suggests on page 8 that only the 'A' model Primo packs have a 'p3' position on the modeling light switch. Mine have the p3 position, but they're not marked 'A'. Does this mean they're 'A's and should have asymmetrical output power?

    - Operating voltages. The manual also suggests that it's possible to operate on different voltages. I don't care so much about this, specifically, but I would like to be able to use the brighter 650W modelling lights. Can I swap lamps? And is the pack power supply auto-switching (it is labeled 120/240V) My heads have the bi-pin lamp bases. Any idea what the lamp codes are?

    - I've seen comments about trigger voltages for studio strobes being dangerous for DSLRs. (last time I used these lights was with an RB67) Any idea what the trigger voltage is from Bron? and what's 'safe' for a modern DSLR?
  2. M Carter

    M Carter Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Medium Format
    I'm a speedotron guy, but nobody's piped in...

    If the flash tubes pop in and out (vs. soldering like a Novatron) it should be easy to suss out your flash tube issue since you have a known working tube - you don't want to buy a tube and find the head is shot. NOS tubes do come up on eBay from time to time.

    Since these packs don't have a symmetrical/assymetrical switch, you could verify it with a light meter and some quick tests (though you'd need two working heads). But it looks like the panel has the ratios printed by the cable jacks - I'd be surprised if the symmetrical pack has the ratios printed like that.

    If your modeling lamp socket is the bayonet type, with 2 pins on the bottom of the lamp - that's a pretty common 250 watt model lamp. The 650 watt for 250v may require a lamp designed for 250v though - I'd make sure a softbox can handle that kind of heat.

    You should be able to google up a way to check the trigger voltage with a multimeter (which you can find for like 5 bucks on line or at a harbor freight store). And google will tell you a lot about trigger voltages, safe levels, etc. The easiest way to get around this issue altogether is get a cheap radio slave (or a pricey one). Cowboy studio sells them for $30 or so - the 4-channel models have PC jacks on the receivers vs. only having a hot shoe.

    You might contact a few repair centers with specific questions - some places have helpful folks who won't mind geeking out a bit, and you'll find a good resource for service.

    Quality packs can last decades - I've got a speedo that must be 30+ years old. Regular use is good for their health! it's not a bad idea to have it looked at though, as the voltages involved are extreme.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2013