Solved -- Advice sought: RF-602 + on-cam SB-900 = problems triggering slaves

Jul 4, 2007
Redmond, WA
EDIT: Think I found the cause, at the bottom of this message.

I'm trying a set-up where I have an on-camera flash plus two remotes. I usually use the CLS/AWL infrared for this, but this location dictates radio triggering. I've been trying to get the RF-602's to work but ran into an interesting problem.

Mounted two SB-800's on RF-602 receivers' hot shoes. SB-800's on manual power setting.

Mounted SB-900 on camera. Connected SB-900 to RF-602 transmitter via PC sync cable. SB-900 on manual power seting.

Hit the test button on the RF-602 transmitter, and both remotes fire.

Shutter pressed, SB-900 fires -- but remotes do not.

Switched the SB-900 with one of the SB-800's. Shutter pressed, all three flashes fire.

Is there some difference in how the SB-900 signals flash triggering when it's mounted on the hot shoe?

Found this Flickr article but doesn't have follow-up on whether it actually worked for him -- and he was trying a similar set-up though with TTL with the on-camera flash.

Thanks in advance!

(EDIT: will also add that I'm using a D7000 which has no PC sync terminal.)


Think I found a more or less satisfactory answer.

Verified that there was nothing wrong with the SB-900's PC Sync terminal by connecting it off-camera with an off-camera SB-800, and hitting both flashes test buttons. Both flashes fired, ruling out a PC Sync terminal problem.

Verified that the remotes were not going into standby. RF-602's will wake the SB-800's but not the SB-900.

Seems like the set-up works with the SB-900 on-camera so long as I at least half-press the RF-602 transmitter before doing a bunch of shots. I normally do that to wake up the SB-800's when using the RF-602 transmitter on the camera's hot shoe. But I didn't think I needed to do it in this situation because the remotes were not in standby, and the SB-900 was active. Curious.

If I don't half-press the RF-602 transmitter, it doesn't matter if I click the shutter six times in a row. Each time the SB-900 will fire, but not the remotes.
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