BLACK BOX, TUXEDO, ORDERING



THE BLACK BOX 
PHILSOPHY

The Black Box, the HD power pack was made for extended time range, heavy shooters in the wedding, event, sports, forensic, and commercial fields and are still made by my hands, soldered and built one at a time in the USA.

Parts are from the best component manufacturers  I can find which is a challenge these days with the influx of the Chinese Junk being the cruise ship of electronic commerce with eBay as its main port.

So I buy from Denmark, Taiwan, Germany and of course preferably US components.  Quality control has gone to pot (both quality and substance abuse at times) in the electronics industry.  I have been building packs and other equipment for the photo industry for close to fifty-five years, thus simple is best, less to faulter...

And thats the way it’s been from the beginning, we designed things for the professional, specifically for the guys who make or want/have/need  to make a living out of the Photography Business.  

Call me old school, actually thats an honor,  but old school works and new school gets thrown off airlines and starts fires.  Because of our Black Box designs, our power packs still hang in there since upgrades are more like simple maintenance.  I just rebuilt (we call it an upgrade) two black boxes over seven years old into the latest upgraded 2017model.

Using our system, that can be as much as 6000-plus shots at reduced power.   It does not include flash cables for your specific flash unit since stocking all the possible cables would be financially stupid.

No excuses, we build, you use, products work, you make money.  

Experience is a great teacher, so are disasters, but disasters are not so great, but can make a lasting impression.  If you have to reach for the camera manual when the bride is having a meltdown, go back to flipping burgers and have a cheese melt-down. 

This section deals with products I designed and built to be simple and rugged. My packs have survived a myriad of drops, crashes, bangs, dings, and dents, falls off of tables, barstools, and being driven over by cars and they still keep working. The Canon and lens in the bag that was backed over did not go so well nor did it stop the SUV. 

It easily handles a Wedding or sports event, a day in Forensics and other commercial applications. These are some of it’s features and benefits.

•   Double the capacity of most packs and add-ons.  

•   Upgrades for life, at super reasonable pricing.  2007 into 2017=$65.00

•   Airline safety caps, belt holder, shoulder tabs and a Euro Charger good anywhere with a simple plug changer included.

•   Sealed Lead Acid  safe chemistry.  Airline Compliant - SLA, no fires, no confiscations, no getting thrown off.

•   The longest run battery pack in flash power history and has been around in various incantations and upgrades for decades.

•   It is devoid of bells and whistles, it works time after time, hand made in the USA, fully hand assembled with OSHA components or/and hand soldered, permanent connections, field repairable with electrical tape if you happened to drive over it, (three instances) and very sturdy, made to work if damaged by negligence or dropping in a pool (two instances) off bar stools onto concrete. (One time)


NOT MY FIRST RODEO, NO BELT BUCKLE
THROWN OFF A FEW TIMES, GOT BACK ON
I started in the industry learning the camera business repairing strobes in the Camera District of Manhattan, NYC at seventeen when mechanical cameras and Joe Ehrenreich of Nikon and Marty Forschner were the top people in the industry. Chronologically  speaking...

•  The nine pound Graflex Strobe and pack, we called it the bowling ball mounted on the 4x5 and TLRs

•  It was soon followed by the Honeywell Stobonars; All seven models of it.

•   Within a year, later, the arrival of the Braun units, they were German made and they were known as the Tiger Tank of the flash world.  One almost got me killed.  Those were powered by #510 multi-cell batteries Eveready model 497, pushing 330 Volts right out the top.  They did it with myriads of 1.5 volt cells  batteries, button cells pressed together,  not needing a step up, direct feed to the capacitor, and with one shock, you flew across the room, two, and they removed you from the room.  I still get calls occasionally to see If I have any in stock. 

•   The next evolution in flash,  the best Wedding units over the years were the Pro Metz 45 and 60 series handle mounts.  Whats is there to say, in those days till today, just great units,  but a Wedding shooters dream especially shooting with 2 1/4 cameras.  If you could again afford METZ pricing.

•   And I still use them today in a special rig I call La Bomba. Using my perfection bracket and a pair of Metz 45’s, triggered by simple Yong-Nuo’s or Pocket wizards, lighting a hall room at events  is nothing, so was the price I had all the parts and the time.   We were doing what others think of today twenty years ago and longer in some cases.  2 x148 guide @ISO-100 = 296 or F16 at 20 feet. Those numbers are verified with a Sekonic 358.

•   Then 35-mm took over the market and the Cobra head strobes like the Vivitar 283-285 series that are still quasi-popular up to today.  It was smaller, lighter, and powerful enough even for the slow film of the day.  Though in realty those strobes are really ƒ8 and not what they told you.  Get a Sekonic 358 or similar and ISO 100, with the hood retracted and maybe ƒ8.5 at ten feet.

BIRTH OF THE PACK
Credit to Quantum Corporation for the marketing of accelerated packs though a few in the beginning went up in flames. And Quantum took over with accelerated flash battery packs and the race was on.  
For years with no competition,  they ruled the market because no one could fix or repair them and not only did they own the market, they owned the repair market too.  Big money in repairs since their basic premise is put the innards, all those electronics on top of the battery which gets hot charging or discharging.  Bad idea in my book. Short battery life, shorts in electronics. 

MY INSPIRATION:  
I had a Quantum drop dead in the middle of a Wedding.  I was one who moon-lighted on weekends with weddings.   As one who fixed them, I decided to make my own pack and I had my prototype with me.  Two things occurred to me, the first was why all those lights, they use juice, till the switched to LEDs  and in Quantum’s case need all those electronics to make those lights work. Bulb or LEDs need comparators to be accurate.

MY MANTRA
Later in life my association with the SOCOM taught me and reinforced my thinking.  Business is like a war, you have to plan, execute and learn.  I build items that are job applicable, item simple, affordable, but reliable, portable, field repairable and with lots of firepower.  Same thinking they use to plan missions with today. Good methods work, bad methods fail.  

EXECUTION
Though my idea crosses decades, the Black Box has been upgraded incrementally, which tells you, you always get the latest version updated and improved.  Older units may be upgraded to new standards with routine maintenance very inexpensively unless totally trashed or driven over.  

So far three met the rear wheels of the SUV they were driving.   Each month I get some from 2008-2010 in for upgrades, last week a 2004 and when they get upgraded, they look like, and wired, cleaned and rebuilt as a 2017. How is that for a captive investment and the flexibility of working with almost every strobe on the market.  
All for 65.00 and good for another five years.

Our mantra hasn’t changed, NO cheap parts, although the Chinese influence in landfill development growth is about the only thing they do right,  it doesn’t always offer choice but after a while you know which vendors are the good ones.  And I back it with the strongest warrantee in the business, the best prices and service, it behooves me to put quality stuff in.  
Folks on the web will tell you that since I rarely charge for labor repairs, I only charge for parts and return mail, and thats a bad theory in business, but not one dime for advertising in four almost five decades and a decent following, it worked for me. Upgrades and total rebuilds are petty costs.

No sales teams, rallies, parties, or trips for sales excellence, no corporate meetings, no stocks, no options, no employees, no headaches and few profits but at my age being busy and communicating with people in the industry I love is good enough. 

HIGH PRO CONTENT
Those who know light and how flash works care less about flashes with more modes than light was created for, and battery packs with more bells, horns and whistles than a LeGrange fire engine.  They impress newbies but don’t make better pictures.•   If you learn nothing, learn this, “Photography is the study of light, not the study of complex menus".•   What ever overpriced flash you buy for any amount of money, a simple five dollar capacitor and a flash tube will make light and placed side by side with that ProMotoAtomic 4000 will probably accomplish the same job if you know what you are  doing.  In running a lab, I look at flash pictures a thousand times and I can tell you, no one read the book.  On your camera “P” does not stand for Professional.
•   In the digital world the TTL menu and the camera scenic menus are a joke, yes a joke and most pros know it.  Digital cameras with a mirror cannot do TTL. The use as on Nikon a flash device on the front of the camera  to judge distance.
•  The real professionals focus is on the Bride or speaker and shoot in manual.  And many new to the game can’t afford 1000 dollar flashes and gear.  Good news we are affordable, can do 95% of what the expensive stuff does and will last longer and cost you less.
•   
Besides we can make almost any flash work, not limited just to some new models. Legacy units have value. I buy old units and modernize them.   Thus our battery fits more newer and older units.  
•   Our battery is Sealed Lead Acid, old school
but not on the FAA-TSA banned list.  

•   Our battery is higher capacity and lasts a lot longer, less expensive and our pack will last a lifetime. Our battery will not burn up your camera case if the Lithium lights off. 

•   Ninety percent of the Weddings occur in two parts:
     Part One:  The formal Ceremony with those on their most pious behavior encompassing varied religious rites and customs (much yawn) and then:
     Part Two:  The Celebration encompassing, hysterics, jealousies, past affairs, emotions, hissing, decorum collapsing, booze, food and the occasional riot, required mooning or worse, an exposed penis, which sometimes happens if it is  female photographer.  I have for two nice ladies who do weddings, aided by Photoshop, taken the male members and reduced them by 50% in the photo and they made sure the entire wedding party got a copy.  In the wedding guide I show you how to handle this process which has gained due to alcohol and drug consumption in droves.
 •   Our techniques imply Simplicity, Redundancy and Preparation, not the latest BS on the flash box or forums or the web.  Maybe to a noobie, all of those features and benefits on the New  Master Dominator IIID Mark 45 will get him through the event, not really.

•   The professional on the other hand knows light and his flash and makes one simple adjustment with the right answer.  Many PRO’s in the game as a livelihood, not a weekend gig, making a decent living year after year shoot in total manual. It’s in the brain, not on the camera, a control thing. 

•   The control of light is called Photography.  Someone who has mastered the control is called a Photographer.  The rest, well they are hobbyists.  Fans talk about camera brands, models and features like I-ttl, integrated circuits blah, blah and blah.  Pros talk business development and light.

Nikon, Canon, and others, more than you think,  use SONY chips and motherboard components.  But brand idolization starts more wars on forums than anything else.  Surprising enough but the word idolization contains the letters for the word IDIOT at times.  That new Nikon or Canon just got a chip, the SONY user had a year ago.

For the products I build and sell, I like it simple, I give you knowledge and ideas to help you survive in the photographic industry.  My goal is to get you thinking, simplify the job with easier gear and perhaps helping you to make some money.
And most of my clientele are in the field earning money and need to capture 1500 plus images without time for battery changes.  Many also use the Black Box for variable flash fill for outdoors sports and my units serve well indoors with remote Canon and Nikon strobes where you want your recycle times as fast as the mains and for the popular three light portable setups.

In fact our shooters did over 5000 shots at the Oscars, another captures 14,000 with Black Boxes at a marathon, the big one.  I build for advanced amateurs and pros.  And we now ship worldwide since the United States Postal Service (USPS) made it that easy.  Most important of all our products are all made from RoHS certified parts and acceptable for overseas shipping and use, and our prices are for product and shipping are better!  Lots better.  Our chargers (standard) for shipments to the U.K., Euro countries, Australia, New Zealand and other worldly locations are compatible.

Our products are used by Wedding Photographers, Paparazzi, Forensic labs, very large ones, CSI and Data Units, Fire Departments, First Responders,  Photo-Journalists, Marathons, Triathlete Events, Sports shooters on all levels of play,Model, Fashion, Any color carpets world wide.  Also Serious amateurs looking to step up, not step out, loved by Birder’s, and nature shooters using remote setups.  We also power Motion sensor triggers, and IR devices, found on bikes for long night rides, cycle riders, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Military. We have turned out custom packs for Spelunkers, cave exploring dwelling enthusiasts who offered to take me along and I declined since there were no bathrooms.


NOTE ABOUT FORENSICS
We use one really reliable quality brand heavy duty battery for forensic work.  Longer life on site created a market with forensic labs though most of the subjects and objects they shoot are inert or well into rigor-mortis but in forensics you can possibly be on scene for a long time.  The victim is rarely complaining you took too long.  It’s an eternal thing.   

Since we do not use any type of acceleration or secondary capacitors which must be fed, the box is not eating it's own fuel nor reactive voltages. Long on-scene times are handled easily by the Black Box and less chance of sparking.  Have purchasing call me. i take care of those who take care of others.

NEXT:    The Black Box Specifications  … START HERE