Saturday, 7 October 2017

My UCCNC Probe screen, version 3

Finally I managed to finish this version and is now available for download.

This is a major update and basically all the macros are rewritten. There are some significant differences between this and the older version, so I suggest to read the manual carefully before the first use. If you have installed the older version then I suggest a new, clean installation and not just pasting in the new macros. The new macros require some new values from the redesigned Probe tab screen, so just pasting the new macros won't help.

The new look of the Probe tab screen

 The major differences are that now there are several new parameters. These parameters are necessary to set up before the first use and in some cases even after. Please read the manual which explains every button and parameter and how to use it. Also, now with the new screen, no changes are made to UCCNC software, so the CAM tab is again available, and instead of taking the CAM tab, a new Probe tab is created.
(Click on the image for larger view)

Additional feature

 There is an additional feature offered, which is a slight modification of the RUN tab to better support the probe screen. This feature is not necessary for the Probe tab screen to work and it can be ignored if you feel you need the buttons and the DROs for B and C axes, or don't want to have access to any of the probe functions from the main RUN tab. On the other hand, if you decide to install the additional features then you must install the Probe tab first. The additional functions will not work without the Probe tab.
(Click on the image for larger view)

In the zipped file you will also find a pdf document with a complete user guide and installation instructions for both screens. I recommend to read the document before starting the installation and also to play with the Probe functions before first use. You must verify functionality on your own, I can not assist you with that. My motion controller is the UC300ETH and that is the only one I tested with, however, if you follow my instructions, I believe you will have no problems using it with other motion controllers. Installation takes something between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on how familiar you are with handling of these files. There is no easy and quick installation software, you must do some manual work, but I think it is fairly simple process, much simpler than the previous version.

My UCCNC Probe screen version 3 can be downloaded through this link:

Good luck.

Monday, 7 August 2017

The next generation of Nikon 1 flash adapter is the V3-F1A

I often get this question: "Do you still have this adapter available?" and my answer is always the same. I will continue making the adapter as long as there is interest for it.

My CNC project, a machine necessary to make the adapters, is ready and done for quite a while ago, and in fact it also went through a major upgrade since the introduction of V1-F1A, it enabled me to make the adapters in better quality than before and that resulted in the V2-F1A. Then after a while I upgraded the CNC even more and that resulted in the currently available V3-F1A, the third generation of the Nikon 1 flash adapter.

I will, even in the future, keep the manufacturing volume fairly low because this is only a hobby activity for me, so I have no possibilities to build up a large stock, but never the less, the adapter is available in a new, and even better version than the V2-F1A was.

The new version does not look 100% identical to the V2-F1A, but the design change is not very large, mainly aesthetic. The changes I made do not mean change in functionality, only in looks and of course, it resulted also in an even better quality.

Some information about this adapter

The V3 in the name of V3-F1A has nothing to do with the Nikon 1 V3 camera model, it is just a version indicator, V1-F1A was version 1 and V2-F1A was version 2 and of course, V3-F1A is version 3 of the functionally same adapter as the first generation.

This adapter is designed to be used as a flash adapter on Nikon 1 V1, or equivalent like the V2 and V3 camera models. It will allow the user to attach a small standard flash unit with a maximum weight of 120 g (4.2 oz), including batteries. A PC cord or a radio trigger must be used if the user wishes to use heavier flashes. By not complying with this, the adapter or the camera may get damaged due to the weight and the forces involved.

The hotshoe can be used to support a radio trigger. If you wish to trigger a heavier flash and don't have a radio trigger, you can use the PC contact on the side of the adapter to attach the flash to the adapter.

TTL is not supported; you must use the flash in manual or in Auto mode if the flash you are using has that mode. Most flashes, but far from all, have a thyristor automatic mode; check out the manual of your flash. As an example, the Nikon SB-300 and SB-400 don't have this mode, so they can only be used in full manual mode with this adapter. As another example, the Nikon SB900 has this mode and can be used with the adapter but still not in iTTL mode.

Type of flashes the V3-F1A can be used with

 Use the V3-F1A only with flashes which are designed to be used on digital cameras. Don't take a chance with any old flash because you may cause irreparable damage to your camera, or in the best case, to the adapter. Old flashes can have several hundred Volts high trigger voltage, which would be directly hazardous on the Nikon 1 cameras, not only for the camera, but also for the users of the camera. These cameras are not made for those types of old flashes, so make sure you know your flash well. The adapter has a built in protection diode, but don't take chances, the protection diode is not a 100% warranty against far too high trigger voltages.

I have previously written about how to measure trigger voltage in case you feel confident about doing it on you own, read this article before you start.

It is also very important that you read some previously written posts regarding this adapter and the functionality. The two most important ones are the following:

You must also read the manual of not only the camera, but also the flash and the trigger, if you plan to use a radio trigger. I can not test every flash and radio trigger on the market, you must make sure you know how your trigger and flash is working. I am using the Youngnuo YN622N-TX controller unit and two Youngnuo YN622N transceivers. I also have several flashes, some are about 40 years old, and they all work well, but there is no way I can test everything and every combination. Here is a link to a post about the use of Youngnuo YN622N-TX controller unit and two Youngnuo YN622N transceivers, the post contains also a link to a Youtube video showing the use.

How to order

If you are interested, please send me a mail using the contact information below. Please don't pay in advance before I confirmed that I have an adapter reserved for you.

After I received payment, I will need one work day to pack it and to ship it to you, using registered, traceable post. I will use the Swedish Post and will charge you what they are charging me.

Please note that I will only sell this unit to buyers from Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, countries of European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Monaco, Aland, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Japan. Note that I make no exceptions made from this list.

Contact information

adapting(dot)camera at gmail(dot)com

Please note: the mail address above must be modified by you. You must replace the (dot) with real dots, the spaces before and after 'at' must be removed and the word 'at' must be replaced by @ sign. This is done to prevent internet robots from sending me spam mail. After your modification the mail address will look like:

Price and payment

I accept payments in EUR, USD or SEK only, no other currency. Payments must be made through PayPal, no direct money transfer, checks or any other means are accepted. You are paying the PayPal fee, payments without the fee will not be accepted. Currently the PayPal fee is an additional 3.9% + a fixed small sum on top of of the total costs. Shipping and handling costs will be added, this cost is not possible for me to predict, I will charge you what the Swedish Post charges me, which at this moment is 13 EUR or 15 USD for shipments outside Sweden. I will ship with registered, traceable post only.

The price for each unit is 84 EUR, 92 USD or 785 SEK, whichever you prefer. The price may change as exchange rates are changing. This price excludes the shipping and handling, the total price will be calculated when I have your personal data.

Prices and the terms are non-negotiable, if you think this is not acceptable for you or you think the price is too high, please don't buy it.

A final note about the V3-F1A

This is a do-it-yourself product. No warranty is given, other than that I guaranty I tested the flash adapter, not only before shipping it, but also during each stage the manufacturing process, and I guaranty that it is working on my Nikon V1 when I ship it. I have no possibilities to test it on the Nikon V2, V3 or any other future models since I only have the V1.

Please note also that the manufacturing marks and scratches on the adapter are the results of DIY manufacturing using a CNC mill. The marks and scratches are not defects and will not affect the functionality.

Remember also that a deal is a deal, if you bought it, it is yours. I will NOT take it back, not even for a reduced price. This may sound harsh, but I have bad experience and this is the "lessons learned" from that experience. It is up to you to decide to buy it, and if the conditions are not acceptable, please don't buy this adapter.


Apparently there are some false rumours created on the internet, at this moment I won't mention which site, saying that the latest firmware of Nikon 1 V1 camera, which is 1.40 at the moment, prevents the camera from triggering a non-Nikon flash. This "information" is a lie created by persons who have no clue, the adapter works fine even with the latest firmware. I keep my camera gear up to date to make sure I test everything with the firmware the equipment is recommended to be used with by Nikon. In other words, at this moment every firmware release works with this adapter and I honestly don't expect Nikon to ever create one which would stop this adapter from functioning on your camera, at least not until they start selling original Nikon flash adapters.

Please note that the images are click-able. If you are interested in seeing more detail, just click on the images and larger ones will become visible for you.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Modifying the eye cup of the Nikon D300s camera

Note that the below was written more than a few years ago, when I bought the Nikon D300s and jumped ship from Olympus to Nikon. I believe that the camera is no longer made but I decided to share this again, since I think there are still many users of this camera and also because I think Nikon is still using the same eye cup design in some bodies.

The D300s eye cup 

One of worst thing (or THE worst thing) which came with the Nikon D300s camera was the eye cup. This sounds maybe crazy, but Nikon designers certainly don’t wear eye glasses which is the only reason I can think of is behind the crazy design. The eye cup is too far inside and if one keeps the screen protector which is delivered with the camera than a person wearing eye glasses cannot properly see into the view finder without pushing the camera against the eye glasses, which in the long term causes damage to the eye glasses. In any case this is a very uncomfortable way of using such nice camera and it should not be so in a camera which is as expensive as this one. 

I see the light... 

Luckily there is a cheap and easy solution to this. Not only it is cheap and very easy to apply, but it also works very well and improves the usability of the camera. Especially with macro lenses, looking into the view finder and locking out stray light is very important as well. Having used Olympus E-3 before, I just could not understand why Nikon didn’t think of this problem, since as it seems, Olympus solved this a long time ago. Olympus uses the EP-6 eye cup on the E-3 which I tried once but I realized it won’t fit, so I gave up. I kept one such eye cup for “just in case I need it” after I sold my camera but it seemed impossible to fit on the D300s because it felt slightly smaller than needed.

The solution in sight 

One day, thinking about this problem again and reading some forum posts on DP Review I came across a thread saying one can indeed use the Olympus EP-6, which comes as a standard with the Olympus E-3 cameras. I posted a question asking for how to get it fit, but received no answer so again, left on my own, I tried it once again. Using more force I just pushed it on and voila. It sits tightly, maybe a bit too tight for some people, but I feel it is better this way than if it would sit as loose as on the E-3. I had no problems with adjusting the dioptre if I needed to, and the eye cup sticks out a bit outside of the screen protector, just enough to make it comfortable to look into the view finder, just as it was the case with my Olympus E-3. This is a perfect solution, which for me was free of charge but which is very cheap even if one has to buy one in a shop.

The Olympus EP-6 eye cup fits perfectly on the Nikon D300s and probably other models as well.

I don't know if the EP-6 is still available, but if it is then you should consider buying it. It has great advantages even for those who don't wear eye glasses.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Nikon 1 V2-F1A flash adapter on Youtube

Sharing a short clip

One of my customers made a short presentation video of the V2-F1A flash adapter I am making for the Nikon 1 V series cameras. Enjoy.

Actually, in the meantime I developed this product and took it a step further, now making the V3-F1A. The differences are mainly aesthetic, the new one is better looking. Functionality is the same as the the V2-F1A. I have not had time to update my blog yet since the new version is just a few weeks old and I was very busy. Never the less, if you want to buy the adapter it is available and the conditions and functionality is the same as described here:

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

UCCNC probing screen and macros

The flash adapters I am making demand a pretty complicated 3D milling. It may not look complicated to everyone, but each adapter is milled and/or drilled on five of the six sides, must be turned around several times and accuracy is very critical. To be able to turn around the same work piece several times during the milling and drilling process, as well as changing tools requires a number of setting changes on all three axes.

To be able to use UCCNC and almost fully move away from Mach3 I needed to create a number of probing macros. Mach3 uses Visual Basic and UCCNC uses C#, so all the macros had to be rewritten for UCCNC.

To make the macros more user friendly and not have to type in the macro file name every time I created a folder and buttons. This way I get direct access to the macros I frequently use.

Also added to the folder two user fields, one for the probe diameter and the other for the plate thickness values. These two parameters are used by most of the macros, so they are global values.

The new PROBE folder 

In UCCNC there is a simple CAM which I don't find very useful. I decided to removed it and replaced with the PROBE folder. I kept most of the window layout but changed the field labels and added buttons also for the offsets to be able to select which offset should get which probing result. Note that Z tool height is global, so all offsets are set to the value, regardless which offset is active at the time of probing Z.

Download and use as you like

If you are interested in having a look or using my Probe screen, buttons and macros then you can download the zipped file from this link:

There is also a file describing how to install the screen and also a few ssf files for some of the controllers. Please download this file:

Follow the instructions carefully, otherwise the installation may fail and you may experience problems. Start with taking a backup of your screen file, in my case the Defaultscreenset.ssf file.

File contents

The file contains two folders, the MyProbeBMP with all the images and the MyProbeMacros folder with all the macro files necessary to run this function.

The MyProbeMacros folder contains ten probing macros, one for each button. These are commented inside the macro files. There is also the constructor macro. If you want to use my probing macros as they are, it is necessary to add those four lines to your constructor macro, otherwise the Plate thickness and Probe diameter fields will not be kept and updated after each start of UCCNC. Copy all the txt macro files into the folder where you have your UCCNC macro files for your configuration, for example \UCCNC\UCCNC_1_2037\Profiles\Macro_Myprofile folder.

The MyProbeBMP folder contains all the bitmap images necessary for the PROBE folder window to appear in UCCNC. Copy all the files into your UCCNC installation BMP folder, for example the \UCCNC\UCCNC_1_2037\Flashscreen\BMP\Defaultscreenset folder.

Also included some screenset.ssf, files for a few controllers. If you have never made any changes to your screens, you could just replace the contents of your controllers screenset with the one included and off you go, using my new screen. Note that you should not just rename the included file and call it Defaultscreenset.ssf because that will eventually lock UCCNC and crash the application. Follow the instructions below. Note also that the CAM will no longer be available after installation. Take a backup of your Defaultscreenset.ssf file before making changes.

Quick installation of the ssf file

Included you will find some ssf files for a few UCCNC motion controllers. If you find you model you can just open your user ssf file, for example the Defaultscreenset.ssf file, find the region for your controller, delete that section and place the contents of the section for your controller included here, for example the contents of UC300_5LPT_Defaultscreenset.ssf file, into the Defaultscreenset.ssf.
You can place it at the very end of the Defaultscreenset.ssf or at the beginning, or simply paste it after any //ENDREGION part in Defaultscreenset.ssf file UCCNC will find it at start. If the ssf file for your controller is not included here or you have made other changes in your own screen which you want to keep, then you have to follow the instructions below. Installing it this way is very fast, but it is not an automated process, takes maybe 5-10 minutes.

If your controller is not included

The second fasted option is to follow the Installing the Probe screen.txt installation manual. You will need to follow those instructions very carefully, letter for letter, otherwise you will/may end up with problems. The installation instructions have been tested many times, so if you carefully read and follow then after about 10-15 minutes you will have the Probe screen running.

Slow installation

The last and slowest way of installing is doing it through the screen editor. You need to add each image manually, using the UCCNC screen editor. This gives you the liberty to design your own layout if you wish to do that, but it takes a while. The screenset file is a simple text file, but unless you do it right, you might end up with trouble. I am not able to assist in this process or help out with the screen editor. Use and read the manual or contact CNC Drive support, or any of the discussion forums on the web if you have questions about the "how to..."

How to change some default parameters

The macro files have been created for my needs, so they may not suit yours. Also note that these files are written for metric units, so if you use imperial units then you MUST change in these files because the moves will be too fast and too large for imperial units. I will not be able to do all the changes, you have to fight your way through in that case.

However, I made a short video to demonstrate how to use the most complicated button and change the probing area for that button. Watch this and regard it as a demonstration and an instruction video.

A final note

This is offered in an "as is" basis. You are free to download, distribute, use or change it as you like. I cannot promise any support and no warranties are given. The macros work just fine for me in my installation, but I have no time in supporting it unless I have a need in doing a change or improvement for my own use. Please note also that I only tested with the UC300ETH_5LPT.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

CNC upgrade progress - Current status

DIY CNC is just another way of saying "work in progress". Work in progress because I make constant improvements when I have a new idea which I believe makes it better in some way. However, my DIY CNC upgrade is now as ready as planned plus some more, and the currently ongoing improvements are smaller and smaller, so it is worth to note the current status.

Materials used

The material used (mainly, but not a complete list) is 45x90 and 30x60 aluminium extruded profiles, 10mm, 12mm and 15mm thick aluminium plates, hundreds of stainless steel screws, T-nuts and bolts mainly in 5, 6 and 8mm diameters. The total weight is approximately 80-90kg, including wiring, motors and all the electronics and power supply.

Increased stability

The actual CNC is desktop size but has its own feet, not just placed on a table. Originally on industrial rubber wheels, these feet are now lowered to some wooden blocks to give maximum possible stability. Earlier it was just standing on four lockable rubber wheels for ease of moving around but the drawback is that this is only good as far as low speed and acceleration is used. At higher speed and acceleration the whole machine was shaking, even when those wheels were locked, and this cause some accuracy and vibration problems, so I decided to lower the machine on four wooden blocks, making it more stable and less prone to shaking. The rubber wheels are still there but to roll around the machine on them is now a bit more complicated because it must be lifted first to remove the blocks and lowered down to the wheels before it can be rolled. This solution is better and actually necessary due to the fact that the acceleration values I have now are much higher than before.

Speed and acceleration

The maximum values I can get now is 10,000mm/min speed and 900mm/s/s acceleration. On my fairly small machine I found this crazy and scary fast, so I backed off a bit and set the X and Y to only 9,000mm/min, the Z to 7,000mm/min speed and all three to700mm/s2 acceleration.

Short technical summary

  • Footprint (total area it is occupying in the room): 750 x 650mm
  • Table height from floor: 890mm
  • Y table size: 450 x 300mm
  • Weight of Y: 17,5kg
  • Working area: 310 x 270mm
  • Weight of X-beam: 13,7kg
  • Size of the X-beam (height x width): 500 x 540mm
  • Size of Z: 350 x 150 mm
  • Weight of Z: 8.5kg (this is increased due to a different, longer and thicker Z plate I use now)
  • Z clearance from table top: 160mm
  • Maximum speed: X and Y = 9,000mm/min, Z = 7,000mm/min
  • Maximum acceleration: 700mm/s2
  • Stepper motor data: NEMA23 2.7V/phase, 3A, 1.6uh, 0.9 Ohm/phase
  • Stepper motor driver: DQ542MA
  • Stepper drivers PSU: 44VDC unregulated supply, based on a toroidal transformer
  • Motion controller: UC300ETH
  • Spindle motor: 24,000 RPM 65mm diameter air cooled 1.5kW spindle
  • Spindle motor power supply: Bosch Rexroth EFC 5610 VFD
  • Spindle RPM control via Modbus communication
  • CNC software:  UCCNC from CNC Drive (a Hungarian company)

A never ending story

It was a long journey to get where I am now, but it was a very interesting and challenging one. Have a look on the right side, scroll down to "My CNC story" section to know more about it. The links in that section are pointing to previous posts about the progress, all the way from just a pile of aluminium to now with a fully functional nice machine, with both failures and successes documented and photographed. You will find not only textual information, but also many images and video films showing the machine in different stages and details.

However, this is not the end, since for me, DIY CNC means continuous changes and improvements so it is a never ending story, which will last as long as I find this hobby interesting.

Future improvement plans and other activities

This is just a short list of what I have in mind or working on for the moment. The progress is good, but I will not give out any details yet. Also, priorities may change as time goes by.


This is my own invention, or innovative solution if you want to call it that. It is a generic flash adapter for Nikon 1 V series cameras, allowing the camera to use standard flashes or radio triggers made for DSLR cameras. The very popular current version is called V2-F1A and of course the next one will be called V3-F1A or something similar. If you are interested in details, have a look on my blog. There are many posts about it. This innovative adapter was actually what started my DIY CNC project activity originally.

Anyway, follow this link for more details about this adapter:

Adding a 3D printer head

This is an idea I have but it is still early to say much about it. In my opinion it should be fairly easy to do it. My machine is now fast enough for the task but I have to look at it deeper. In any case, the Z is designed so that the spindle motor can easily be removed and replaced by a 3D printer head, or if I decide to do so, I could add the printer head by attaching it to the left side or the front of the spindle bracket, where I have a few drilled and tapped for optional accessory.

A high speed probe

Have all the macros written for this but need to develop the hardware and make a working prototype. I know how to do it and the work is started and the progress is good, but it is a parallel process and there are other things which pushed back the priority.

Shutter lag tester

This is a project connected to photography, not much to do with my DIY CNC except that like the V2-F1A adapter, my DIY CNC machine will be used for making it. I have a working prototype since several years which I have been using successfully but now it is time to make a commercial product out of it. This product is of interest for people and companies who technically test and validate cameras of different brand, either just out of interest or as a professional work. It measures the shutter lag with very high accuracy.

A new Z axis

In my opinion the Z can never be too good. I am happy with it right now, but I have several ideas about how to improve it even more. Never the less, it is very nice in my opinion and works well as it is.

A new X axis

This goes perhaps hand in hand with the Z axis. Maybe this is more important than the Z improvement. I think that if I can increase the rigidity of my X axis even more than my machine will be even more accurate and better, faster.

Replacing the steppers with servos

This is probably far off in the future, but would be fun to do it. I think that this change needs not only a simple replacement of necessary motors and drivers, but also improvement of the whole machine structure. I would be very disappointed if the huge increase in acceleration and speed could not be used fully because of structural issues, so the mass and the rigidity of the base, as well as the X beam, must go through a major upgrade before I invest in servo motors, but it is on my list of possible future improvements.

That's enough for now

I guess that the above, plus some other small things, will fill all my time for some years ahead. After all, this is just a hobby for me, and along with other hobbies and interests as well as a full time job and a family, it is enough for now.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The protective diode inside the V2-F1A

There is a protective diode inside the V2-F1A flash adapter. It's task is to protect the camera in case a user tries to attach a flash with high trigger voltage.

Can this diode cause a problem? Yes, in theory it can, but in reality it is very unlikely. Each individual adapter is made and assembled by myself. They are tested also by myself several times during the process of making and assembling, before they end up in the envelop for shipping.

Reversed diode

If the diode would be installed reversed because of a mistake then the tests would fail and no flash would be triggered on my desk, so the probability that a diode is reversed in a delivered adapter is zero, no question about that.

Broken diode

If the adapter would be exposed to extreme force so that the diode breaks than the adapter is crashed totally and it would be obvious that the adapter is useless in this case.

Bad soldering

If the soldering would for some reason loosen then the diode would get disconnected. In this case, the protection is no longer active as protection, but the adapter would work just fine, as long as the user is not connecting  a flash with high trigger voltage. If a flash with high trigger voltage would be connected to the adapter then the camera could get damaged without the diode, but a normal flash, made for digital cameras, would still work.

Damaged diode due to high voltage flash

If the diode is fully functional and a user would connect a flash with high trigger voltage than the diode would protect the camera from getting damaged but the flash would not fire. There is a slight possibility that the diode would get damaged in this case, even if my experience shows otherwise. When I experimented with the diode and a high voltage flash it never got damaged.

These experiments are documented on my blog in this post:

Note that I do not test each adapter with a high voltage flash because of the obvious risks of causing damage to the adapter or the flash. The above tests were only made as an experiment because another customer have reported problems, which later on turned out to be caused by the fact that he tried to use a flash which was a high trigger voltage flash.

Diode with unknown damage

In theory there is a possibility that a diode gets damaged at one stage, even if this is not likely.

It is easy to test the presence and the condition of the diode. Anyone with some very basic electronic knowledge and a simple multi-meter instrument with a diode measuring option can verify the diode is working or not.

Touch the outer (GND) part of the hot shoe with the positive lead and the centre contact with the negative (common or GND can also be called) lead, like shown in the picture to the left.

Check and verify that the voltage displayed by the instrument is about 0.7V, it can be some more or some less. Switch leads, now touching the hot shoe GND with the negative lead and the centre contact with the positive lead and verify that the display does not show any voltage. It should display infinite, OL or something similar, not 0.0V.

If 0.0V is displayed then there is a short inside the diode and the V2-F1A is no longer working at all. If no voltage is displayed at all during the first measurement then the diode is burned out and the protection is gone. In this case the adapter can still be used and it should work, but the camera is not protected any more against high voltage flash use.

The V2-F1A adapter with YN622N remote flash triggers

For more details about the V2-F1A flash adapter for the Nikon 1 V series cameras, please read:

Some background about my radio trigger

Until last week I used some 10 years old radio triggers to trigger external flashes. These are now replaced with a kit, consisting of a Youngnuo YN622N-TX controller unit and two Youngnuo YN622N transceivers. I am planning to buy more transceivers now that I know these work well.

Note that this post is not intended to be a review of these units, just some information that these units work very well, not only on my D800 in iTTL modes, but also on the Nikon 1 V1, V2 and V3, which can use these together with the V2-F1A flash adapter, but of course, only in manual mode, since TTL is not supported by the adapter.

Two major reasons why I bought this kit

One is that my old triggers are far too old and deserves to be replaced. There is not much to write about this reason, other than of course, my new triggers are miles ahead in functionality and build quality, compared with the old $15 triggers I used before. No surprise there, I would be very disappointed otherwise. I will not compare them or discuss all the new functions, just a short summary that with the D800 the triggers in iTTL mode support not only normal TTL, but also high speed (Super FP) mode. Both the YN622N-TX controller and the YN622N transceiver has also built in AF assist LED and this works very well also, as opposed to the AF assist LED in the Nikon original SB-900 I also have. Of course, none of these functions are available if the triggers are used on a Nikon 1 camera because iTTL mode is not supported by the V2-F1A.

The other, even stronger reason why I bought this kit for is that I received a report from one of my customers complaining about the V2-F1A and saying that it is not working on his V3. Fortunately I know now that these work very well with the V2-F1A adapter. Though I still at this moment have no idea why he has some problems, since it seems that the problem is not very high on his priority list, so he is not very active in self help. Never the less, I decided to buy a kit just to make sure I can test it and see the problem for myself if there is one.

The video below shows how to use the V2-F1A and YN622N remote flash triggers on a Nikon 1 V1, V2 or V3 camera.

I am convinced that the problem this user sadly experiences depends on something else, not caused by these triggers or the V2-F1A, but without his assistance I can't solve the problem. The V2-F1A adapter works on the Nikon 1 V3, just as well as on the other two models, this is confirmed by several other Nikon 1 V3 users. The YN622N as said before, works on my camera and since all the other camera models trigger the flash the same way, I have no reason to believe that they would present a problem for the YN622N.

Error description

When I put a flash trigger on the V2-F1A (when on the V3) and make a picture, I see that the remote trigger gets some kind of signal. But it doesn't fire the flash. When I push the test button on the trigger on the V2-F1A, the flash does flash.

There is one condition when the YN622N kit behaves this way. This situation is shown at the 1 minute 20 second mark in the above video. At this time mark I turn off the group and Group A does not have a mode allocated to it after that. When the shutter release button on the camera is pressed the transmitter is triggered, the receivers sense the signal and the LEDs will flash normally but the flash on the triggers are not fired. When any of the Test buttons are pushed the flashes will fire normally.

This is not an error

It is a normal condition. If the user does not select  a mode for a group than that group will not be triggered. The LEDs in the transceivers and the transmitter indicate that something is going on, a trigger signal is sent/received but they also look at the "address" the signals been sent to, and they interpret that the trigger was not meant to be sent to their flash, so they don't fire the flash.

The solution

Normally it is enough to select the right mode for that group again and the flash will fire. If the units end up in an unknown state it is best to reset to factory default condition. All groups are set to TTL and everything ends up in channel 1 as default. In this condition the controller will send the signal to all transceivers and they will trigger the flashes and everything should be fine after that.

Please read the manual

This can not be emphasized enough. Unfortunately it seems that we live in a world with more and more complicated equipment but less and less interest for reading manuals and understanding the equipment we spend money on buying.

It is very important to know the equipment we use, which is why I try to convince everybody to read the manual, and which is why I include a short manual with every adapter. This is the case, not just for the adapter, but also for everything connected to it. Though it is not always easy to understand every manual, it is important to understand every equipment. It is in the best interest of each user of any equipment, otherwise the equipment can be damaged, or in some cases even personal injury can occur. Some manuals are longer than others, some are harder to understand than others, but never the less, that is where most information is gathered and that is where we can learn the basics about the equipment we use. Some parts of a manual are more important than others, but there is a reason for why the writer spent time in writing.

Important points in the manual of V2-F1A

  • Always read the manual of the equipment before use.
  • Always attach the flash or the trigger to the adapter first, before pushing the adapter in the camera hot shoe.
  • Always attach a heavy flash via a PC cord.
  • Never put anything heavy in the V2-F1A hot shoe.
  • Never exceed the maximum weight of 120 g (4.2 oz) in the hot shoe, including batteries
  • Never use a high voltage flash.
  • Always attach the PC cord before pushing the adapter in the camera hot shoe if a PC cord is used.
  • Always handle the adapter with care, especially the contact which is used for triggering is very delicate. Nothing I can help, since the original Nikon design does not allow stronger, more robust contact. 
Not following the above may result in damage of the adapter, the flash, the trigger, the camera or any other equipment connected to it.


The Youngnuo YN622N-TX controller unit and the Youngnuo YN622N transceivers are very nice pair. Easy to set up, very reliable in use and the only thing to watch out for is that the right group must be set up on both the transmitter (the controller) and the receivers (also called transceivers), and that there are fresh batteries in all the units.

A few words about batteries

I no longer use rechargeable batteries because they all, regardless of brand, cause trouble sooner or later. Also, they have lower voltage, and actually not suitable for equipment which consumes low current, like these remote triggers. They can also discharge without warning and the self discharging is always a problem. This is not the case with ordinary high quality alkaline batteries, and my advice is always to use alkaline batteries, especially in remote controllers or other low current consumer products. Personally I prefer always to use alkaline, even in the flash guns.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Milling aluminium on my DIY CNC

I have a low profile centre gripping aluminum vise, which is excellent for plastic and PCB works or other things which need a shallow grip. Centre gripping is a good idea in some situations, but not always. Sometimes I wished it was a traditional type with one of the gripping ends fixed, because that allows better repeat-ability since it provides a fixed reference point or line, and that line remains the same even after changing the work material, so the items made with the help of this type vise can keep the same, very accurate references. With the centre gripping type both of the jaws are moving and due to the backlash of the screw there might be some differences when the work piece is changed.

After some considerations I decided to make two small modifications. One for the fixed end gripping mentioned above and the other was to make the fixing bolt pockets a little larger than the original ones.


Fixing new vise jaws

Never really milled aluminum on my CNC, so I was a bit pessimistic about the performance and also not wanted to cause any damage, so my idea was to use a BF20 I have access to also. It is not mine, so everything is not set up as I would like to have it set up, but I considered to try out, took off one end of my vise and milled one track on each piece. The results were good, but not good enough, it needed some fixing due to some slight parallelism error. This was best done on my own CNC. At the same time I changed my mind and decided to try out my machine, see what it can do with aluminum, after all, aluminum is not much harder than the Delrin I am normally milling, and my upgraded CNC is now so rigid that it should work.

Milled two new jaw traces at the other end of the vise on my own CNC and was very happy with what I have seen. Excellent finish, very nice and even edges. No lubrication, no cooling, not even air was used, only dry milled. With the right speeds it is not necessary to use anything. The tool or the work piece not even heated up to any sensible temperature and everything worked fine, no melting.

It was a really satisfying feeling to watch the aluminum chip spray flying away from the tool and to see the results when the machine stopped. The pre-milled jaw pairs were also fixed on my CNC to get them as good as possible.

The bolt pockets

The original pockets were too small and only the bolt head would fit in them, no washers. I take this as a design flaw of the manufacturer because it is not a good idea to omit the use of washers, especially not in aluminum, since the bolt eats its way inside the material when tightened hard enough. It is nice to be able to bolt the vise down firmly to the bed, much better than before.

Final steps

I made a vise fixture plate out of 12mm thick aluminum sheet which I will keep it permanently installed on. This gives it much better rigidity and is also easy to remove from the CNC table if I wanted to.

Once everything was as good as I could make it, I assembled and installed the vise, squared the sides on my CNC table and made another final milling run on the jaws to make them absolutely parallel, or at least as good as I could make it. I measured the parallelism error to 0.003mm from one side to the other, over a total width of 140mm, so that is 0.0214mm per meter error, which is good enough for me.

For those who are interested, here is a short video about the modifications I made.

This was the first time I milled aluminum with my upgraded DIY CNC. I am a bit surprised with the results, very satisfying and nice in my opinion. I know some people will disagree with me, but I will continue dry milling aluminum without any lubricant. For now, I see no problems with dry milling. Of course, the speeds must be right, but it seems to work just fine. Perhaps tool ware is much worse, and perhaps the results would be even better with lubricants, so it is a compromise, but at least I don’t have to handle chemicals and inhale the fumes.