Slave Flash Trigger Circuit

This is the Richard R. Bucciarelli Slave Flash Trigger circuit, which can be built entirely from Radio Shack parts. It senses a camera flash and will trigger another flash that has some sort of input conection that one shorts to trigger a flash.

The Richard R. Bucciarelli slave trigger circuit is a very high performance one. If you want a simpler one, try this:

I call it the "Aaroncake" slave flash circuit!

This circuit (the Bucciarelli one) is designed to sense a sudden increase in light and does so extremely well. A few of these were actually built and tested and found to not trigger from normal room light. They sometimes malfunctioned if the phototransistors were aimed at fluorescent lamps at close range. They (units of the Bucciarelli design) have been known to sense even small camera flashes very reliably from 200 feet away and fairly reliably from 500 feet away. Your performance may vary depending on the qualities of your phototransistor and the brightness of the triggering flash.

It is recommended to mount the phototransistor in a small, narrow tube to shield the phototransistor from bright light.

This circuit was typed up very late at night Tuesday night 2/24/98 and is subject to error correction (mostly done late 2/25/98) and additional construction until mid-March 1998.

The four comparator stages are a LM324 quad comparator.
B+ is 9 volts. A 9 volt battery works. This circuit works approximately
from 6 to 12 volts.
Power supply conections for the 324 are not shown in this schematic.

    B+       B+                               |
     |       |  .047uF 2.2K    220K           >220K
   |/C       >  +-||-\/\/-+---/\/\/-+         >
PT |    220K >  |         | |\      |         >
   |\E       >  +gnd      +-|- \    | 1N914   |    |\
     |.0015uF|              |   >---+--|>|----+----|+ \
     +---||--+-----/\/\/----|+ /              |    |   >--+--------+
     |       |     2.2K     |/                >  +-|- /   |        |
     |       >     B+                    100K >  | |/    === 22uF  |
     |  100K >     >       +-------+          >  |        |        |
     |       >     >100K   | |\    |          |  |        >        |
     |       |     >       +-|- \  |        gnd  |        > 22K    |
     |      gnd    |    2.2K |   >-+-----/\/\/---+        >        |
     |             +--+-/\/\-|+ /  |      10K    C\| NPN  |        >
     +----+        |  |      |/    | |\            |---+--+        >2.2K
     |    |        >  |            +-|- \        E/|   |  |        >
     >    |   180K > ===.68uF        |   >-+     |     |  >        |
10K  >    |        >  |            +-|+ /  |     +-|>|-+  > 22K    |
     >    |        |  |            | |/    >     | 1N914  >        |
     |    |       gnd  gnd         |       >     +gnd     +gnd     |
    gnd   +------------------------+  3.3K >                       |
                                           |      +--|<|---+       |
                                           -  B+  | 1N914  |       |
                                      LED1 V   +--+-UUUU---+       |
                                           -       relay   |       |
                                           |       coil    C\| NPN |
                                         gnd                 |-----+
                                                           E/|     |
                                                           |       |
                                                           >       -
                                                   68 ohms >  LED2 V
                                                           >       -
                                                           |       |
                                                          gnd     gnd

Schematic is copyrighted (c) 1998 by Richard R. Bucciarelli.
Note 7/12/2018: +gnd is gnd; with + here being a corner / 90-degree bend, or where conductive paths connect. This schematic will be redrawn in the near future in GIF format. NOTES: 1. The relay is a Radio Shack 275-232 5 volt reed relay. Use the contacts (not shown above) to short the trigger contacts of the flash to be triggered. This is for use with a flash that is triggered by shorting the trigger input of the flash. 2. The phototransistor, labelled "PT" in the upper left portion of the schematic, can be an infrared or visible sensing type. If stray light is bright enough that enough current flows through the phototransistor to make the voltage across its associated 10K resistor exceed 2/3 of the suupply voltage, then you should shield the phototransistor. You can mount the phototransistor in a small tube aimed at the flash that this circuit is triggered by, or aimed at something illuminated by the triggering flash. 3. LED1 can be any type that works well at low currents but in Rich Bucciarelli's embodiment, it is a high brightness GaAlAsP type red. The dropping resistor can be reduced if power consumption requirements are not strict. LED1 glows if bright light is sensed by the phototransistor, regardless of whether this light increases in brightness rapidly enough to trigger this circuit. If the background or room light causes LED1 to glow, then the phototransistor is saturated or nearly saturated and this circuit's sensitivity to flashes may be impaired. Should this happen, it is recommended to shield the phototransistor from this light. 4. LED2 is a high brightness orange InGaAlP type. If any substitution is made, care must be taken to have a similar LED voltage drop for proper relay operation. If an LED with a higher voltage drop is used, then a higher value emitter resistor should be used for the associated NPN transistor. Use a lower emitter resistor if an LED with a lower voltage drop is used. LED2 glows when this circuit triggers. This circuit triggers due to a large and rapid enough increase in light being sensed by the phototransistor. LED1 does not necessarily glow. (This circuit has been known to sometimes trigger unintentionally from sudden dimming or shutoff of a bright light.) 5. It is recommended to have a non-electrolytic capacitor of a few tenths of a microfarad to one microfarad across the power supply leads of the 324 quad comparator, and in close proximity to it. Ceramic and "monolithic" types are best. In addition, it is recommended to have at least 10 microfarads of capacitance across the power supply anywhere in this circuit between the 324 supply leads and the battery, but on the board this circuit is constructed on. This capacitor can be electrolytic. 6. The 1N914 diodes can also be any similar type such as 1N4148.

This circuit was a project of and mainly developed by Richard R. Bucciarelli with some assistance by Don Klipstein. All questions and suggestions should go to Don Klipstein however.

Document was written by Don Klipstein.

Please read my Copyright and authorship info.
Please read my Disclaimer.