Paul C. Buff - Cyber Commander Interference

I was using Cyber Commander at a client location when my Einstein flashes started to fire intermittently.  I thought it must be the batteries getting low, so I changed them, but no change.  I then pulled out my backup Cyber Commander but that didn't help.  I then thought it was the hot shoe on my Nikon D4, so I swapped it out for my Nikon D3s.  Still no change.

So I switched to my backup Pocket Wizards and they worked fine.

While on the shoot it occurred to me that a similar thing happened about a year ago.  Both times I was at a client who was a high tech software consulting and programming shop.  My guess is that these clients have some very powerful wireless networks.  I have used the Cyber Commanders at dozens of low tech clients with no problem.

My assumption is that the heavy radio traffic at these locations was interfering with my Cyber Commander's radio frequency and that caused them to fail.  I didn't try to change the frequency of the Cyber Commander.  So I don't know if that would help.  Fortunately I had a backup system, I also have a sync cord in case all heck brakes loose and neither wireless system works. 


Einstein E640 Reliability and Firmware Upgrade on MAC

Einstein E640 Reliability

I have had two Paul Buff Einstein 640s fail (they just die and won't power on ) on me over the last six months. These units are less than 18 months old.  I had about eight other Alien Bees and While Lightning strobes from Paul C. Buff over the last 10 years and never had one problem with them.  I don't know if it is just bad luck, or a trend, but if another fails on me I will consider replacing them with another brand.  Other than that, I really like the units and the Cyber Commander interface that lets me control the strobes from my camera position.

I just received my a new E640 unit from Paul C. Buff to replace my dead one that I sent in a week ago.  I can't fault the service.  I just hope the Einstein's reliability is as good as their service.


On another note .... Paul Buff came out with a new Firmware upgrade (v31) for the Einstein units.  I bought a 2GB Micro SD card as instructed, it came pre-formatted as FAT16.  I downloaded the firmware onto my MAC, copied the firmware to the SD Micro card and when I put it into my Einstein it just went into an endless loop where the fan kept coming on and off.

I then reformatted the card in FAT16 using the MAC Disk Utility, but that didn't help.  I called support and they couldn't figure out what was wrong and offered to send me an SD Micro card with the firmware on it (for free).  In the meantime my wife brought home her Windows laptop from work.  I loaded the firmware onto the card using her Windows machine (the card that was formatted FAT16 by my MAC) and it still didn't work.  Then I reformatted the SD Micro card using the Windows Disk Management utility, and then reloaded the firmware .... IT WORKED! 

For some reason, unless you format your SD Micro card with the Windows Disk Management utility, it won't work.