16 August 2009

CTR-301 Radio Receiver / Ebay Trigger Mod for Sony/Minolta/Compatible Flash Guns (HVLF58AM/HVLF42AM/HVLF36AM/HVLF56AM)

As a photographer ... its inevitable that you will go into strobes one day and being a poor photographer ... like always I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives which gives the same results compared to those the big boys toys but at a fraction of the price.

I would prefer wireless coz I do not like the ideas of having wires crawling all over my house, after extensive researches i decided to get some CTR-301 trigger (also more popularly known as the Ebay Trigger / Yong Nuo CTR-301 Trigger/ Octopus Wireless Trigger), but outta so many names ... why they call it ebay trigger? (your guess is as good as mine).

I also bought a 2 units of used Sunpak flash guns (which is meant for Canon mount and its effing cheap) from ebay prior to that. Plus the HVLF58AM and the Made in China Sony mount Yinyang Flash i got 4 flash guns altogether.

My problem would be ... with the Sony HVLF58AM and Also China Made Yinyang Flash with Sony mount. the CTR-301 totally refused to work with SONY HVLF58AM and its only good until 1/25 shutter speed with the YinYang China flash, so ... again i searched the net for help and Templar gave me a link which helped me solved this problem. A simple mod on the CTR-301 receiver!

At the time of this article, the mod were done and it works like a charm! So here am doing a step by step guide on how to mod the CTR-301 / Ebay Trigger to make it works with your Sony/Sony compatible flash guns.

This is the few tools that you need ...
  1. A long nose plier
  2. Small screw driver
  3. 10cm of thin wired (with both end exposed) - photo below
  4. Solder and soldering iron (pls ignore the antique-ness of the soldering iron ... i borrowed it from my oldman)
  5. CTR-301 Rx (receiver) of course! No mod required on the Tx (transmitter) unit.

100mm = 10cm


1. Remove the 4 screws holding the bottom from the top casing.

2. While you're at it, dont forget to remove the Battery too ok?

3. This is what it looks like after you opened it ... I actually missed one step which i forgot to take photo ... its the removal of the white color small "plug" (the one attached to the top casing on the right side of the photo) with the long nose plier. No sweat tho ... just use the long nose plier and pull it out gently ... its not that difficult.

4. Soldering ... In the below 2 photos you could find the spot where you are suppose to solder on both pointed with the red arrow.
Red arrow marks the spot which you suppose to solder, thats the battery metal plate where the (-ve) side of the Battery is located. If you are not sure which side is (-ve / negative) assembles back the top casing and look at the indication thru the Batt compartment.

Red arrow marks the spot which you suppose to solder

Soldering in progress, I will not cover the basics of how to use a solder gun or how to properly solder something coz i aint great with this kinda things myself. If you do not know anything about soldering or you never handle a soldering iron before, i would suggest that you either ask a friend who is familiar with this kinda stuffs or pay someone qualify to do it. The SOB is effing HOT when its ready!!

The bottom part is a bit tricky .... but the way they made the casing actually will work to your advantage. There is a very narrow empty line between the plastic case and the (-ve) metal plate. Slide the other end (the unsoldered end .. there is only one now ... if there is 2 then you must had done something wrong somewhere! LOL!) into the line and it will hold it in place for you.

All you have to do is to solder it without having to worry about how to hold the wire in place while you trying to solder the wire to the -ve metal batt contact point.
5. Put everything back where they belongs, attach a hotshoe ( yea you still need a hotshoe to use a Sony Flash mount kinda flash to the radio because they havent came out with any CTR-301 receiver units that is specifically made for Sony flash mount yet) and get ready for the test ... attach a Sony/Minolta/Vivitar/3rd Party flash onto the receiver and test it out.

The Results
Photo taken at 1/160|f8 - before the modification this barger (Sony HVLF58AM) wouldnt even fire!

Photo taken at 1/160 | f10 - before the modification this China made Yinyang flash is only good up to 1/25s before suffering some terrible curtain sync half dark photos kinda problem.

The reat news is, this modification do not affect those flash guns which were working fine with the CTR-301 prior to modification! Those flash guns (Sunpaks) is still working like the way it should after this mod!

Max shutter speed depends very much on cam body too! The best i can get out of my Sony A200 is 1/160s before getting half dark crappy photos and yet when i tested this mod on my buddy's Sony A700 his photos is good up to 1/250s shutter speed.

Now come to this question ... why do I wanna do this mod?
  1. Save me lotsa $! 2 used Sunpak flash guns + 1 CTR-301 Transmitter + 2 CTR-301 Receivers cant even buy 1 units of Sony cheapest flash gun (HVLF42AM - brand new of coz)
  2. I dont need line of sight signal transmissions anymore, unlike the Sony built in wireless flash system whereby the camera body will send infrared signals to sony flashguns and these falsh guns need to be in the line of sight or else it will not trigger but with the radio waves i do not need line of sight in order for it to work. I placed a sunpak flash + CTR-301 hidden inside a covered carton box and inside a semi translucent plastic container and it still works. I reckon ... you could hide this thing under a big fat ass and it will still work! LOL!
  3. It works over great distance! I do not know exactly how far it would go but far enough for me ... so far! lol
  4. The CTR-301 Rx (receiver) even comes with a built in optical trigger, so if you screwed up the Tx (transmitter) you still can use your Rx with the built in flash of your cam. Hows that for versatality and value for money?!
  5. 4 congifurable channels to avoid interuptions when shooting with your buddies.
  6. Bottom line ... CHEAP! comparing to other alternatives.
The only thing which is not to my liking is the max shutter speed. @ 1/160s on my SonyA200 is kinda inadequate on certain situation ... i.e.: freezing water droplets or capturing exploding balloons etc etc ... but for the kinda price i paid for, its almost close to perfect!


  1. ehhh ... donno leh ^^

    when i need it fast above 1/160s on my A300. I would just detached the Flash42 and hand held it, pre-manual focus before shooting the droplet of water. Wireless+ Manual mode would work best for me, saves $$$ too and no blink blink blink blink ...flash!!


  2. Seems like u r getting too depending on flash now days.

  3. @ Kenny Ng

    hehehe... got mehhh
    i really seldom use flash one leh
    even nite time outdoor i push it to ISO1600. Sometime I did felt reali PekCek(Hokkien) kakaka

  4. eiei.... why u so senang can find cheap lens kat ebay wan,.

    i find find also cannot get wan :(

    ada apa tips ka lobang ka?

  5. huwahhhhh wingz, respect wei. hahaha i also suppose to mod my cheap wireless trigger but until now haven't. but seriously, damn jeles you got 4 flash guns ! and i love your sony flash, the way it can move around :P


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