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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:29 pm 
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I recently purchased a set of Commlite Comtrig T320 flash triggers. I understand that these are no longer being made, but you can still get them on Aliexpress and eBay. The Comtrig triggers are practically identical to the Camtraptions triggers. Having read the incredibly handy research from Greengrass on power consumption of the Camtraptions triggers, I realized that I needed to modify the triggers to accept external battery power instead of the standard AAA batteries if I wanted to get decent operating time in the field. I thought I'd share my solution with the community, in case someone finds it helpful.

As shown in the video on the Camtraptions website, the Camtraptions triggers have an on-board socket where external power can be plugged in, but it turns out that the Comtrig triggers do not have such sockets. In the photo below, I've highlighted the two holes where the socket should go. The top hole is for the positive lead.

Image

The pitch of the two connection holes allow a female 2 pin JST XH connector to be soldered on the board. That is the same connector present in the Camtraptions triggers. For the battery leads, a male 2 pin JST XH connector can then be used. I didn't have a crimp tool, so I got male connectors with leads.

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First, after opening the trigger housing, the entire PCB needs to be removed from the bottom half of the housing. Carefully remove the four metal screws and lift the PCB out of the housing. Tip: screw one of the metal screws back in, so that the hot shoe on the bottom of the housing stays put.

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If you've purchased male JST XH connectors with leads, check the polarity and the orientation of the female socket. The right pin in of the connector in the photo below (or the top hole in the first photo above) needs to connect to the positive lead of the wire that goes to the battery pack. Drop the socket in the holes of the PCB:

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Flip the PCB over and solder the pins of the female XH socket to the board. A cheap third hand or PCB clamp to hold the board in place while you solder is very helpful.

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After soldering, snip off the excess pins to make sure that the PCB fits flush back in the housing.

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After soldering the socket to the board, screw the board back into the bottom half of the housing. Guide the male connector through the hole in the battery holder of the top half of the housing and connect it to the socket. Loop the wires under the battery leads on the PCB, so that the trigger housing can be screwed shut again. This is a bit tricky, especially for the transmitter that has an additional small PCB in the housing. If you fold the wires out of the XH connector down and loop them under the battery connection points, the housing should close (see photo below). Take care that the on/off button and channel button on the side are properly aligned before closing the housing.

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I like modularity, so I've soldered DC connector pig tails to the other end of the wire. That enables me to use different battery packs of various capacity should I need that flexibility. I've filed down a small notch in the battery door with a metal file to guide the wires through.

Finished product:

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Although photography is my true passion, I really start to enjoy the tinkering that is an important part of DSLR camera trapping!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:03 pm 
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Hey Mattie, you did a great tutorial and nice job on the connectors. Couldn't one do away with the connectors altogether and just solder 2 wires directly to the board with a stereo plug on the other end? I thought that it would save you a step that's all.

I'm guessing that the external power source you added now negates the need to use the 2 x "AAA", would that be correct?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:25 am 
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Thanks! Yes, you could absolutely do without the connectors and just hardwire the battery leads directly to the board. But as I said, I like flexibility and modularity and using a connector allows me to easily revert back to using 2x AAA batteries if I somehow wanted that without having to desolder the wires. I run these triggers without the AAAs in place.

To further increase capacity, you could also use multiple 2xAA/C/D battery holders (that each have the batteries connected in series to get to 3V) and connect those holders in parallel like Richard has done here. But for my purposes, 2 D cells per trigger should give me enough operating time.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:29 am 
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Mattie wrote:
Thanks! Yes, you could absolutely do without the connectors and just hardwire the battery leads directly to the board. But as I said, I like flexibility and modularity and using a connector allows me to easily revert back to using 2x AAA batteries if I somehow wanted that without having to desolder the wires. I run these triggers without the AAAs in place.

To further increase capacity, you could also use multiple 2xAA/C/D battery holders (that each have the batteries connected in series to get to 3V) and connect those holders in parallel like Richard has done here. But for my purposes, 2 D cells per trigger should give me enough operating time.

OK, I understand, so how much run time are you getting with the externals now? I have to convert all mine over as well because the run time with the 2 x "AAA" is extremely short lived. I may look into leaving the 2 x "AAA" and run another external 3v power supply in parallel, if that's possible. I would like to utilize as much power and space as I can.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:45 am 
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I haven't put them to practical use yet but hope to deploy my new set later this month. Based on what Greengrass measured (http://camtrapper.com/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=12196&p=100270&hilit=camtraptions+trigger+battery+life#p100270), I'd expect to get around 8 weeks of operating time with 2 D cell batteries connected to the receivers. Transmitter draws much less, so I'm going to power it with 2x AA to save some weight.

With these operating times I feel that the speedlights' standby time would be limiting factor, depending on how much triggers I get. Much more than 8 weeks is not necessary for me anyway, since I try to check up on my set every 5-6 weeks.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:41 pm 
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Mattie wrote:
I haven't put them to practical use yet but hope to deploy my new set later this month. Based on what Greengrass measured (http://camtrapper.com/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=12196&p=100270&hilit=camtraptions+trigger+battery+life#p100270), I'd expect to get around 8 weeks of operating time with 2 D cell batteries connected to the receivers. Transmitter draws much less, so I'm going to power it with 2x AA to save some weight.

With these operating times I feel that the speedlights' standby time would be limiting factor, depending on how much triggers I get. Much more than 8 weeks is not necessary for me anyway, since I try to check up on my set every 5-6 weeks.

Heck, 8 weeks or even half of that would be okee dokee with me. Be sure to keep us posted with your results when they come up, that would be :awesome

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:13 pm 
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You did a really nice job with this! Pictures are clear and easy to follow. If someone reads this and no other posts about moding the triggers for extend battery life I'd just add that you only need to mod the triggers that listen (RX), as the TX section is sleeping until it triggers and then back to sleep. Nicely done!


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