Picture of Add an External Trigger Port to your Camera Flash
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Hey folks,

So, for people who are seasoned in photography, you'll probably know that when using Speedlite flashes on consumer-grade cameras, the camera can only synchronize the flash up to a speed around 1/160th of a second.  This is a problem if you want to do high speed photography, using an external controller and sensory input (such as a microphone or light sensor) so the solution is to add external flash control, to allow the controller to trigger the flash itself, instead of using the camera.  This mod also allows you to connect your flash off-camera, using a modified hot shoe connector.  It also doesn't compromise the on-camera functionality of the flash.

The modification is quite simple, requiring only a few tools and parts.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

  • Manual or TTL flash
  • 3.5mm mono or stereo jack
  • 4" lengths of 24AWG wire
  • 1/16" heatshrink
  • Drill
  • 3/32" and 17/64" drill bits (1/4" may work too)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hot glue gun
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder

Step 2: Disassemble Flash

Picture of Disassemble Flash
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For this modification, I used a Yongnuo YN460ii flash, which are about $55 on eBay.  They are full manual, so we don't have to worry about complications from TTL flashes.  To disassemble a YN460ii flash, start by removing the four screws that hold the hot shoe connector onto the base of the flash.  Once it is free, you will need to use a knife to cut through the stickers in the battery compartment that show battery orientation.  Now the two halves of the flash can separate.

Identify a location inside the flash that will allow enough free space for the jack to go in.  Its a good idea to leave a good safe amount of extra room near the jack so it won't collide with anything inside the flash.

Step 3: Drill the Hole

Picture of Drill the Hole
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Once you've figured out where to put the jack, mark the approximate location on the outside of the flash.  Use the small 3/32" drill bit to drill a small pilot hole into the side, and then test the positioning before drilling the full size hole. 

Same thing but with your smart phone


patdoherty4 years ago
that weird i did the same exact thing with almost the same flash, i had no idea there was an instructable for it though and i also used mine for high speed photography although i used an arduino to control mine
gavinzac4 years ago
Just so I get this - this will result in a flash that can be fired via the 3.5mm jack E.g. by one of the "EbayWizard" cheapo radio transmitter/receivers?

And still let it then be popped back onto the camera hotshoe if needed?

I get the feeling you intend it to be used for other projects, e.g. sensitive-triggered-in-the-dark high speed flash photograph, but it would also be useful for me to carry around a few less adapters for flash-to-radio.
mattthegamer463 (author)  gavinzac4 years ago
If the "ebaywizard" triggers use a 3.5mm connection, then definitely it can work. Obviously you can use any 2+ conductor connection, as long as you know how to wire it up for your specific application. I wired mine for the Camera Axe trigger ports, which use opto-isolators to short the pins of the pins.

This project does not diminish the functionality of the hotshoe, or normal flash operation. I don't recommend having the port plugged in when it is in your hotshoe though, I've never tested that and it could cause an issue.

Hope that helps. You can definitely eliminate all the hotshoe adapters you would normally need for radio flash operations.
colin3534 years ago
Once you get the camera axe going, post some high speed explosion shots!