DYI Vagabond II – Part Two

So here we go, the results.  And it’s not good news.

I got the setup hooked up and going last night.  I had some initial frustrations with fuses that were too small (7.5a) that were blowing very quickly.  After I got the right sized fuse in line I tried some test shots.

It is looking as though the 150w Samlex inverter will not be strong enough to power my two Elinchrom BX 500 Ri monobloc strobes.  When using the GFCI plug adapter the circuit on the GFCI plug trips before the Elinchrom can even initialize and charge up the capacitor before the first flash.

I took the GFCI out of the loop to narrow down the problem.  The Elinchrom would then initialize and begin the capacitor charge getting to the ready state as it normally would.  During this charge, the Samlex would beep briefly but everything would continue.  I could then fire the flash, and it would begin the cycle again, but the Samlex would beep every time.  After validating in the Samlex user manual (yes, I know, RTFM) it turns out that the unit will beep when the AC power is deeply drawn.  It seems as though it is squawking at you because it is struggling to keep up.  During all this the Elinchrom is also no quite itself as the power switch light flickers during charge and just doesn’t seem quite right.

My guess is that when the Elinchom is charging the power level drops too much in the Samlex which causes the beep, and in addition it is too low for the GFCI and it trips the circuit.  Obviously I would want to keep the GFCI on there for safety reasons.  I also want to be able to run both of my BX 500 Ris and I’m thinking that the Samlex wont even come close to keeping up with both of them drawing off of it.

So for now a bit back to the drawing board.  I’m afraid I may have to get an RMA on the Samlex and either get a bigger unit (300w or 600w even), or suck it up and get the Vagabond II inverter.  In this YouTube video there is a guy running my exact Elinchrom BX 500 Ri strobes off the Vagabond II so I know that it will at least work that way, although more expensively.

Has anyone else had any experience with these strobes and a Vagabond II or a DIY alternative?

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