Relay not working if V6 TX is more than about 4 meters away (about 13 feet) from camera

Hi,

I have quite a good experience with my Cactus equipments (5
V6 + 1 RF60) but the relay functionality is always troublesome. Let me explain...


 Test1:

    - A  V6  TX
in my hand (channel 16 / relay on)

    - A V6 RX on my
camera hotshoe (channel 16 / relay on)

    - A cord between
my V6 RX and my camera's shutter release port

    - A slaved RF60 (channel
16), located 20 meters away (65 feet) from my camera

If I stay close to my camera (less than about 4 meters) and I release
the shutter on the V6 TX in my hand, the camera takes a picture and I can see the RF60
firing 20 meters away (65 feet).

But if I go further than about 4 meters off of my camera and I release the
shutter on the V6 TX in my hand, the camera does not take a picture (and RF60 does not
fire).

NB: This behavior happened to me on several occasions but, for the
purpose of this "test1", I made sure the batteries were full.

 

Test2:

Same as test1 but without relay and one more V6:

    - V6 TX (relay off) --> V6 RX (relay off) communicate on channel
2

    - V6 RX on channel
2 is linked to camera with cord

    - The cord is stretched
so that V6 RX on channel 2 is about 20 cm away (about 8 inches) from camera.

    - Another V6 TX on
the hotshoe of my camera (channel 16)

    - A slaved RF60 (channel
16), located 20 meters away (65 feet) from my camera

 

So, slightly different configuration than test1 but the same
tests lead to the same results:

    - If I stay close
to my camera (less than about 4 meters) and I release the shutter on the V6 TX
channel 2 (in my hand), the camera takes a picture and I can see the RF60 firing 20 meters
away (65 feet).

    - But if I go further
than about 4 meters off of my camera and I release the shutter on the V6 TX channel 2 (in my hand), the camera
does not take a picture (and RF60 does not fire).


Any ideas / hints / solutions?

Thanks very much!!

David


Comments

  • edited June 2015 PM
    Your test 2 seems to indicate that the relay mode is not problematic but that you have difficulty remote firing your camera from longer distances.

    Check the V6 TX you are using as a remote shutter release whether it is has its work range set to "SHORT". It should still support roughly 30m in that mode but its range will be higher in the default "LONG" mode.

    I would also check whether you can test fire the RF60 with your remote shutter release, e.g., by temporarily setting it to channel 16 in your test 2 setup. If it can fire the flash, but not the camera then it would appear that the camera is somehow interfering with the radio signal. You could confirm that by swapping the camera and flash positions and checking whether you can still test fire the flashes but not the camera.
  • edited June 2015 PM
    Hi Class A,



    Thank you for your support!



    Here is some additional information / questions:

    - I have no problems of distance with my Cactus equipments as long as I do not try to remote fire my camera

    - The "working range" is set to "long" on all my V6. That is why I wanted to stretch the cord on test2 to avoid interference (even if the V6 RX (channel 2) linked to the camera with the cord is on a different channel than the V6 TX (channel 16) on the hotshoe)

    - I tried to test your suggestion for one hour before giving up. At the beginning, I had a miracle: test2 was behaving correctly. Wow! I then tried the test1 configuration: no luck this time! Back to the exact same test2 config again, not working this time. Changing the power, wow, working again. See what I mean? It was impossible to do twice the same config and obtaining the same results! A rough conclusion would be: Test2 was OK 50% of the time (and I could not explain how or why) and test1 was OK 0% of the time. These changes in configs require to be rigorous (3 V6s / 2 different channels / relay mode to be configured correctly when switching between the configs of test1 and test2) and I paid attention to those details... with no luck! As you asked me to do a test based on test2 and the results of test2 were so unstable, I could not perform your test.

    - My camera is a Canon 7D. Do you know if there are well-known cases of interference between 7Ds and V6s?

    - I do not have another camera compatible with my cord to test with (as a hypothesis was that the camera could interfere with the radio signal)

    - NB: Sometimes, the V6 connected to the camera with the cord (whatever the config: test1 or test2) becomes mad and made the camera fire continuously until I powered off that V6.



    Happy to hear your suggestions if you had some more!



    Thanks again for your support!



    David
  • Hi David,

    sorry to hear that you haven't solved your issue yet.

    Did you try to fire the flash with your in-hand, remote shutter release V6 by temporarily switching the channel?

    You can do that in both setups. In the test 2 setup just choose the channel of the flash directly and in the test 1 setup just increase the channel number you are using by one (in "relay" mode the respective V6 use a different channel under the hood, shifted by one channel down).

    Have you checked whether the V6 connected to camera with the shutter release cable really does not receive the trigger signal? Perhaps it is just the triggering of the camera that fails for some reason. Orient the V6 so that you see the green confirmation LED, when you try to trigger the camera.

    I am not aware of any incompatibility between the Canon 7D and the Cactus V6. I don't own this camera though and cannot perform any tests.

    Intermittent failure is not something I know from the V6. The radio frequency band used is the same as for cordless phones or wireless access points, but I never experienced any interference in the presence of such signals myself. You may still want to try different channels to see whether that makes a difference.

    Hope you get it sorted one way or another.
  • edited June 2015 PM
    I tried different channels ==> It does not help, same problems.



    I've just followed your advices and have carried on with more tests:

    - Config test2:

    - Me and my flash close to camera ==> RF60 fires. In that case, the light of the V6 RX linked with the cord to the camera does get green.

    - Me and my flash going away from camera ==> RF60 does not fire. In that case, the light of the V6 RX linked with the cord to the camera does NOT get green.

    - At that moment, changing the channel in the V6 TX in my hand so that it is the same as the flash ==> RF60 fires

    - If I let the RF60 where it is and go to fire the camera by hand (not firing the camera remotely but "normally") ==> RF60 fires

    - Config test1 (relay mode):

    - Me and my flash close to camera ==> RF60 fires. In that case, the light of the V6 RX on the hotshoe of the camera does get green.

    - Me and my flash going away from camera ==> RF60 does not fire. In that case, the light of the V6 RX on the hotshoe of the camera does NOT get green.

    - At that moment, increasing by one the channel of the V6 TX ==> RF60 fires

    - If I let the RF60 where it is and go to fire the camera by hand (not firing the camera remotely but "normally"), with the V6 on the hotshoe switched from RX to TX and after ensuring relay is off ==> RF60 fires



    During this set of tests, I had a "miracle" = everything worked perfectly, even away from camera. At that moment, when away from camera, I changed the channel on the V6 TX in my hand to a random channel and pushed on its release shutter. Nothing happened (obviously!). I switched back to the correct channel. The "miracle" had disappeared, meaning the light on the V6 RX did not get green any more (as I think it did 30 seconds before) and the flash was not firing any more.



    Thanks again for your support!!



    David

  • Since I have five V6, I have just tried to do test1 with the two V6 I hadn't used so far for test1 and test2 ==> Same problems happen.
  • edited June 2015 PM
    Sorry, David, I'm at loss what is happening in your case.

    The V6 are not know for any intermittent behaviour. Either they work with some equipment or they don't.

    I'm a bit confused by your statement "... Me and my flash going away from camera...". Is there another flash involved? Are you sure that no optical triggering is taking place sometimes? Have you tried just remote triggering the camera without involving any flashes? Have you tried a different mode (say "M") on your 7D? Does the V6 receiver stop receiving the trigger signal even when it is not attached to the 7D or in a different place?

    Perhaps someone from Cactus or another 7D owner could chime in. I only have Pentax equipment myself and haven't had any problems with remote triggering the camera.
  • @David we don't have a Canon 7D but we have a 5D and 6D, they all shares the same shutter plug in case that is what causing the intermittent triggering in Relay Mode.

    Just in case is it possible that you share a picture showing your setup?

    Thank you!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • edited July 2015 PM
    Hi Class A and Antonio,

    I've been abroad for some time and not been able to answer faster. Sorry for that!
    Thanks again for all your support, Class A! Thanks for joining in, Antonio!

    Here are my answers:

    Hi Class A,

    I'm a bit confused by your statement "... Me and my flash going away from camera...". Is there another flash involved?
    ==> I put the camera somewhere and I go away with the V6 TX in one hand and the RF60 in the other hand. Please watch the videos linked below (http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY) in answer to Antonio's question.

    Are you sure that no optical triggering is taking place sometimes?
    ==> I am the only one in the corridor (please refer to the linked videos: http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY). The only flash used is the RF60. I only use V6s which are radio signals ==> I am sure there is no optical triggering taking place.

    Have you tried just remote triggering the camera without involving any flashes?
    ==> Just now, to answer your request.
    ==> A V6 TX is in my hand. A V6 RX is linked to the camera with the cord. The V6 RX is NOT in the camera hotshoe. I made two tests. It worked twice. So, if these are not two lucky exceptions in a row, I do not have any problem to fire my camera remotely, provided that there is no flash to be triggered at the same time.
    ==> NB: I had never (or quite rarely) a problem when putting a RF60 far away and firing it with a V6 TX in my hand. This config (with the RF60 replaced by a V6 RX "corded" to the camera) seems to lead to the same (good) results.
    ==> NB: These config and tests have nothing to do with a relay problem but they will hopefully help the troubleshooting.

    Have you tried a different mode (say "M") on your 7D?
    ==> Yes. Same problematic behavior.

    Does the V6 receiver stop receiving the trigger signal even when it is not attached to the 7D or in a different place?
    ==> I'm not sure to understand correctly the question. The linked videos (http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY) in reply to Antonio's request might help. Tell me if not.

    Hi Antonio,
    Thanks again for joining in!

    "Just in case is it possible that you share a picture showing your setup?"
    ==> Better than a picture, here are 4 consecutive videos first showing the set up and then the problem.
    ==> As it is impossible to upload videos bigger than 2MB here, you can find them at: http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY

    Thanks for your help,
    David
  • @David, did you attach a picture? At least I am not seeing any images or attachment here.

    Thanks!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • @Antonio, I made 4 videos in a row to better demonstrate the problem. They are too big to be uploaded on this forum. They are available here: http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY

    Thanks for your help,
    David
  • Thanks @David for shooting and posting the videos.

    Just to confirm, the camera lens was set to Manual Focus already, right?

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • "Just to confirm, the camera lens was set to Manual Focus already, right?"
    ==> Yes
  • David said:

    "Just to confirm, the camera lens was set to Manual Focus already, right?"
    ==> Yes

    Got it, thanks!

    I will keep you posted as soon as we can.
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • edited July 2015 PM
    David said:

    @Antonio, I made 4 videos in a row to better demonstrate the problem.

    David, have you tried this at some other place?

    I'm not an RF expert, but the metal railing on that stairwell could be problematic in terms of radio transmission.

    I suggest to try the same test somewhere outside without any metal structure like this nearby and without the height difference. Turning the camera on the side (portrait orientation) so that the V6 on top of it has a different orientation regarding your in-hand transmitter may already help, but the particular environment you are in may just make it impossible to have good radio communication.

    You could try to see whether the camera plays any role, by turning it off and removing the cable from it. Then try to trigger the V6 receiver from far away (either you can see the green confirmation light from a distance, or just attach a flash (in local mode) to it). If that does not work either then it is definitely the particular environment that represents a challenge for RF communication.

  • @David we tested a few Cactus V6 units in our studio on a Canon 5D Mark III and we are not getting the results as seen in your videos.

    Before trying your setup again, first switch off the Relay Mode (on both TX and RX unit) and simply use the V6 as remote shutter release. Class A raised a few possible causes, but for the purpose of this test, try again at the same place as seen in your video at the staircase. This way we can rule out any internal factors first.
    1. V6 in RX mode connected to camera by shutter release cable (you may place the V6 on the camera's hot shoe, or just on its side)
    2. Another V6 in TX mode in your hand, as a remote shutter.
    3. See if you are able to release the shutter of your camera when you climb up on second floor at the staircase.
    Let us know how you get on and we can go from there.  Thank you!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • edited July 2015 PM
    Hi Antonio & ClassA,

    Do you know why on this forum:
        - my short messages are usually immediately visible (e.g. the last one I posted a few hours ago)
        - some of my longer ones get visible some days after being posted (e.g. message of 15th of June if I remember correctly)
        - other longer are still not visible (e.g. message of 7th of July)

    Thank you,
    David

    PS: Tested on Firefox & Chrome
  • Why can't I see the message I have just posted 15 seconds ago here above??
  • edited July 2015 PM
    Hi Antonio,

    I already did the test you have asked and gave the results in my post of the 7th of July. At that time, it worked correctly twice.

    Unfortunately the forum shows that I posted something but not the text. By the way, do you know why I can't see the text of my 7th of July post? Can you??

    I have done again the same test right now. No problem! This means that I was able to walk until the last (4th floor) of the building without any problem wherever I was: I could fire the camera remotely.

    Hi ClassA,

    David, have you tried this at some other place?
    ==> In my street ==> Same problem
    ==> In place St Marc in Venice with a customer of mine ==> Same problem. Sigh...

    I'm not an RF expert, but the metal railing on that stairwell could be problematic in terms of radio transmission.
    ==> I do not think the stairwell is a problem since it worked for the test I repeated for Antonio (mentioned here above).

    I suggest to try the same test somewhere outside without any metal structure like this nearby and without the height difference.
    ==> Already done in Venice and in my street.

    Turning the camera on the side (portrait orientation) so that the V6 on top of it has a different orientation regarding your in-hand transmitter may already help,  but the particular environment you are in may just make it impossible to have good radio communication.

    ==> The camera fires correctly in the stairwell until the last floor if the relay function is not activated. It does not work correctly only when the relay is activated (http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY)
    ==> I have rarely had a problem to trigger my flashes with the cactus system (except in case of relay, of course...).
    ==> The relay function did never work correctly whatever the environment (e.g. Venice, my street)
    ==> Consequently, I do not think the environment is the cause.

    You could try to see whether the camera plays any role, by turning it off and removing the cable from it. Then try to trigger the V6 receiver from far away (either you can see the green confirmation light from a distance, or just attach a flash (in local mode) to it). If that does not work either then it is definitely the particular environment that represents a challenge for RF communication.

    ==> I think we can now safely rule out the possibility that a particular environment is the problem.

    Thanks for your help to both of you,

    David
  • @David, was it a copy & paste from another source? If they are texts, try pasting them first in Notepad / Text Edit, then cut from that and pasting it here. Otherwise you can also try uploading images.

    Thanks!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • Hi ClassA,

    Are you a moderator of this forum and, as such, could you make my last posts visible?

    I did not keep a copy of all of them since the first ones I posted, that were not initially visible, were eventually visible. Were you the wizard that made them appear? :-)

    Thank you!
    David
  • edited July 2015 PM
    @David our forum admin copied and pasted your original texts in Plain Text format so they are visible now.

    On your notes below, in our tests, with or without Delay Mode activated, we were able to achieve the same results in whatever oritentation of the camera / transmitter and reciever. It also worked with our flash. 

    FYI, we only tested the distance on the same plane in our office across a distance of around 30 meters, all V6 in Long Range mode.

    EDIT: One thing we noticed during our tests, by turning off our office WiFi Router is much more stable when we were at the furthest distance from the camera.

    Can you try on an open field?
    David said:


    ==> The camera fires correctly in the stairwell until the last floor if the relay function is not activated. It does not work correctly only when the relay is activated (http://bit.ly/1dJQKKY)
    ==> I have rarely had a problem to trigger my flashes with the cactus system (except in case of relay, of course...).
    ==> The relay function did never work correctly whatever the environment (e.g. Venice, my street)
    ==> Consequently, I do not think the environment is the cause.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • Hi Antonio,

    Thank you for your message. I guess you meant "Relay" and not "Delay" in your last post.
    As previously mentioned in my posts, testing in an open field has already been done in (a) St Marco Square in Venice and (b) in my street.

    On my part, here is a short status so far:
    - I have been posting 12 times on this forum
    - My camera is (nearly) always able to fire flashes remotely ==> OK
    - Following test suggestions on this forum, I was able to remotely fire my camera 3 times out of 3 (without any flash involved) ==> OK (unfortunately, I do not need this functionality)
    - Remotely firing the camera with flashes (aka "Cactus Relay") does NOT work as you could see on the videos.

    For your facility, here is a summary of results gathered so far in my 12 messages on this forum:
    - During all the tests, my lens does manual focus.
    - The "working range" is set to "long" on all my V6.
    - Since I have five V6, I tried to do the relay with two V6 that I hadn't used so far for the tests ==> Relay did not work with two other V6.
    - Setting my camera to M or Av did not help ==> the relay function did not work.
    - Trying the relay in different places (e.g. St Marco Square in Venice or in my street) did not help even if all the Cactus equipment were on the same horizontal plane ==> Relay did not work

    So the results so far are: the cactus equipment works correctly with my camera except the relay feature which does never work whatever the testing conditions.

    Please tell me where you want to go from here (additional tests or ... ?)

    Thank you for your support.
    David


  • HI David,

    We did another round of tests and there was one occassion where we could replicate the situation illustrated in your video.

    That is, while pressing the Test Button the V6 TX unit, we accidentally press one of the group buttons and switched the group A off, which is the group set on the V6 RX unit. After we switched the group back on, the triggering only works in short distances around 7-10 meters.

    After restarting all the V6 units, the system functions normally again and we were able to trigger in Relay Mode over 30 meters (our studio wall-to-wall, from our printer to the kitchen sink).

    In our Tests, the V6 RX unit were set to Group A, and the RF60 set to Group B, and on the V6 TX unit Group A and B are activated.

    Could you test again in your staircase, set the RF60 and V6 to different groups, and maybe even have all 4 groups activated on your TX unit.  And while you test, do not switch on/off any of the group buttons. Also, you can leave the RF60 near the camera (not too close so it would still capture the wireless signal from the V6) and not having to hold it in your hand.  Let us know if setting them to different groups helps.

    Thank you!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • Hi @David please don't test it again yet!

    We have literally just identified the root cause of the problem and it will be fixed on the next firmware release.

    Thank you again for your continuous support and understanding.
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
  • Hi @Antonio,

    Happy to hear that the root cause of the problem is identified!

    Do you have an idea when the next firmware will be released?
    Approximately in about a day? Or a week? A month? A year?

    Thanks for your support.
    David
  • Hi @Antonio,

    I have found another Canon 7D than mine. Of course, I had to the "Cactus Relay" on that one!
    ==> It did not work either; I mean the exact same problem happened on a different 7D.

    Do you have an estimation date for the release of the new firmware?

    Thank you for your support,
    David

  • @David  new firmware was released just before the weekend. Sorry didn't report earlier!

    Open the Cactus Firmware Updater and click "Check for Latest Firmware".

    It's version 1.1.013.

    Thanks for the wait!
    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
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