Quick and dirty radiopopper mod for Canon strobes (that won’t void your warranty!)

I love my radiopoppers. They are just super-awesome and make doing off camera strobe work sooo much easier. The only problem is that (by virtue of design) they are rather clumsy to use – you have to position the bead in front of the sensor, have some way of holding it there (tape? ugh…) and then affix the actual receiver body so that it won’t jiggle the bead off the sensor etc…

I’ve been playing around with a few different mods to affix the popper without drilling holes in the case or covering my flash with tape/velcro. So far this is the best I’ve come up with. It works extremely well, allows you to attach the popper super quickly and securely, and is dead easy to do (no actual “modding” of the unit required.) The one compormise is that it involves putting a little velcro on the flash body, but there is even a workaorund for that 🙂

So without further ado:
you will need the exact same materials described in my DIY snoot/bouncecard

  • velcro wrap (the kind that is hooked on one side and looped on the other (so it can stick to itself, often used for wrapping computer cables)
  • a small piece of self-adhesive velcro (loop side, this will form the mount points for the
  • “Foamies” craft foam (thin sheets of flexible foam, available at craft/art stores (pearl etc..))  If possible get the sheets that are self adhesive on one side, which allows you to skip the next ingredient 🙂
  • glue (optional, if you didn’t get the self-sticky foamies)

the procedure is simple.  Cut a strip of velcro wrap long enough to reach halfway around your flash body, with a little extra.   Take 2 small pieces of the self-adhesive velcro, and mount them on each side of the flash, these are the “mounting points” for the popper/strap.  Cut 3 pieces of foam with an x-acto, the width of the velcro strap, and long enough to go across/cover the IR sensor.   On one of the pieces of foam, cut a “channel” about the width of the radiopopper bead, splitting it in two.  Now stack the 3 pieces together and glue (with the “channel” piece on top obviously).  Hot glue works well for this, or if you got the self-adhesive foamies that will work too.   Once done the whole assembley should look like this.

And that’s basically all there is to it!  Now simply slap the body of the Popper on the still exposed loop side of the velcro, and loop the fiber optic over placing the bead in the channel.  Position the whole shebang on top of the sensor on the flash, and attach the loose ends of the strap to the velcro mount points on the side of the flash body.  The channel in the foam hold the bead securely in place, while the thickness provies a “cushion” that makes a flat/secure surface for the popper body to mount on.  I find that this is a very stable/secure method of mounting the poppers – once on I don’t have to worry about the bead coming loose or the body flopping around.  (I cut the fiber optic in half to make it “neater” but you dont have to)

a few caveats:

  1. because of the position of the IR sensor this will really only work for Canon strobes (nikon has the sensor on the side of the body, not the front).   I use it on a canon 580exII and a 550ex – it may work on others or not depending on the location of the sensor, as always YMMV.
  2. when mounting the poppers this way, make sure you rotate the flash head around 180deg.  (pointing “backwards” from it’s normal orientation)  The RadioPopper folks have pointed out that the electromagnetic pulse from the front of the flash head can damage the RP units if it is in direct proximity – as long as you turn it around it should be fine.

Hope that helps all you RadioPopper folks out there.  I’ve been very happy with this mounting system so far!

3 thoughts on “Quick and dirty radiopopper mod for Canon strobes (that won’t void your warranty!)”

  1. This looks like a clean solution. I’ll be anxious to try this when my poppers arrive next week.

    I know comments (on many blogs) usually go without response from the blog’s author, but I have a question.

    Is the reliability compromised in any way by mounting it like this?

    I would assume it is more reliable. Just curious what your experience has been.

    And thanks for sharing the idea!

  2. Hi Danny,
    I have not noticed any reliablity issues – as long as you have the bead positioned properly, it seems to work as well as the recommended “black gaffers tape” solution, but I’ve only been using them like this for a couple of weeks, so we’ll see how it goes.

  3. OK, I need to share my experience – now that I’ve tried your solution.

    First let me say I am probably not the craftsman you are because I left the unit attached to the back of the flash and, when I came in this morning, the radiopopper had fallen to the floor. In the process, it removed the little plastic tubing with the bead in it. So the fiber optic cable came apart from the little tube with the bead.

    I was able to put it back on and it seems to work just fine, but I don’t feel that my version of your design is secure.

    So I opted to mount the radiopopper on top of the flash head with strong velcro. This feels more secure because gravity is helping and the surfaces are flatter, resulting in a more solid feel.

    I do still use the strap for securing the cable to the sensor portion of the flash though, and the ‘channel’ for the bead keeps it perfectly in place – thanks to you.

    Also – the fiber optic cable curves more naturally over the back of the flash and the length is perfect. So there’s no tension caused by the cable.

    IMPORTANT : I am willing to not use the swivel functionalities of the flash (Canon 550EX) because it’s on an umbrella mount. Since the umbrella mount swivels back and forth 180 degrees, that’s better than the 90 degree (up/down) adjustment on the flash anyway. And if I want to swivel left or right, it’s easier to adjust the stand than the flash head. I consider it a win/win.

    Thanks again for sharing your idea, Ed!

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