RadioPopper troubleshooting

My RadioPopper PX transmitters and receivers so far have been functioning great. Stuff that simply works is always a winner in my book. The only problem is that due to its usage of the 900Mhz ISM Band (902-928Mhz to be precise) it’s not available outside the US. This is generally due to GSM 900 being in used in many countries outside the US. GSM 900 technically spans from 890-921Mhz. RadioPoppers translate the e-TTL (or i-TTL) signal of your flash over radio instead of IR to allow the signals to go beyond line-of-sight such as behind walls, etc.

Anyways, I’ve never had problems using my RadioPoppers in Malaysia or Shanghai so… Most radio devices are also capable of working with the noise and I’ve used my RPs in a filled church hall, 100 feet from master to slave flash clamped above the gallery and they still work with full e-TTL and HSS (High-speed sync).

Realized I had the battery covers swapped – The transceiver is actually the receiver and vice-versa.

A friend had some issues with his RPs lately so I got hold of them and obviously, test them before I get one of my friends going to the US to get them sent in. So here’s how to check if your RPs are working fine.

Hardware Reset
First thing I do is to reset them. You do that by pressing X and then press P a couple of times until you reach the Reset menu. You’ll need to hold down the X till the countdown happens.

Reset, reset, reset!

After that, powering on the unit will display the firmware version. I then configure them to my usually preferences; Hardware mode: Canon, Brightness Level 1 (those darn LEDs drain power), Channel 9, Feedback Mode 2 (F2 – no feedback to allow 8FPS shooting). Don’t ask me why but channel 9 works for me all the time so far. Furthest range I’ve got is from the road to my backyard, approximately 130 feet with the whole house, truck in the driveway between master and slave.

Feedback Mode (F3)
Since I’m trying to figure out what was the problem, I set Feedback to ‘3’ which shows the the signal transmitted from master to slave. This code is displayed on master and slave. Easy to figure out if anything’s messing up or going haywire. This worked fine with numbers matching. So I dug out the rest of my RadioPoppers and then tried both the transmitter and receiver and all units synced up nicely. You will get a number, i.e. 11, 15, etc — it depends on your shoot settings but that number will be displayed on all receivers and transmitters. If it doesn’t match, you might have some issues.

Testing
Finally, the test was to test from 1/160 to 1/2500 with one, two and three slave flash units. Camera A is a 5D Mark II with 550EX as master and camera B is a 40D with 580EX as master. Slaves are 430EX IIs and 580EX IIs. Transmitters and receivers on channel 9. After 200+ shots, I got tired so, case closed. The shot below was taken from outside my house window, into the corridor with three flash units in each room. Distance to the last flash, 60 feet, 5D Mark II, f/6.3, 1/160, ISO 400, 105mm. You’ll need to look carefully to see the light from each flash. Anyways, test result shows that all transmitters and receivers work fine.

p.s. sorry about the silly bathroom rug 🙂