There are as many cables in photography as stars in the sky. Most driven by proprietary interests which means making more money with selected accessories for the manufacturer.
The first cables were mainly made for synch connections, not power supplies. The oldest, the household style, the PC style and the locking PC are still around added to the modern designs on transceivers like the 1/4 and 1/8 inch audio jacks (monaural), and the useless barrel connector which pulls out.
There was power for flash, power for camera, power for static lights, printers , monitors, transceivers, and this is basically why wireless became so popular.  But, wireless has faults and when it fails, you wish you had cables.  I use both for redundancy. These are the cables you will need, one per strobe.


This is the kind that looks like four batteries on one end and an RCA male on the other. This is the kind we use. The MB-A MB5, MB2 and the MKZ3 are the most popular styles and models. This list is ever changing, but these have been the most popular down through the years.

If you do not see your brand on our chart, we have access to over one hundred other models and some may be modified. Email me for the correct fit. The MKZ3 shown on the left is the most popular and we call it an inline. Four fake batteries in line like a single file formation.

catlite.tpl.jpgQTMMB2.jpgTwo other layouts are possible to which four batteries may be arranged in.  Most common layouts are either inline, square, trapezoidal or "drunk rectangle.

The inline (MKZ3) fits quite a large percentage of Nikon, METZ and Olympus, flashes. It also fits a lot of compact tape recorders.

These next two are very common on the Canons.  The four-square is the MB2 used on the 600RT, 580EX II, 430 EX and 430 EX II and the trapezoidal is used on the older first born 580-EX older series.

The MB2 works on the METZ 50 but must be contoured and reversed by me to make it function.

Cables may look the same but the Vivitar uses a cable called the MA2.  It looks like an MB2 but they are not the same.  The difference is the location of the hot (+) and cold (-) contacts. They are not interchangeable, but may be taken apart and reassembled correctly. The reason is contact placement. I do this all the time.

The contacts are in different locations. In other words there are three battery arrangements and 8 possible combinations of locations multiplied by 2 since plus's and minus's may be substituted. Trust me... I do this all day long and it's exciting when you do it wrong. The first indication is smell and it's not nice.

Not finished yet.  At the other end of the coiled Quantum cables you will see an RCA jack to contend with and that involves making it better by replacing the RCA jack with a heavier jack called a DIN plug.

We do not like RCA Jacks because they have problems. We upgrade them FREE, you are allowed two per Black Box purchase. I am a realist, I understand new areas of the photo game are enough to confuse anyone. 


My packs come standard with two identical usable ports on top, both called DIN ports or plugs. As you can see from the photo on the left this is a very robust piece of metal.

They were selected for their highest reliability. The cables we use unfortunately come with RCA ends that  are obsolete. As an engineer, I detest them. Almost 90% of the repairs I have worked on the past forty years are attributed to these RCA or correctly named "AUDIO JACKS”.

The second port on the black box allows two flashes to be used at the same time if they are of equal value in output and performance.  It is called a matching DIN. The DIN is internal, stronger, more reliable, and more secure. It's wires (both positive and negative) are internal and the only thing the outside does is to connect stronger through a threaded collar that does not stress the cable itself or the relief strain.   

For the best performance and bang for your buck, we use male and female DIN plugs from Taiwan, or Japan. Not the pot-metal cheapies from the China mainland. 

TECHNICAL:  Why We Upgrade
If you look at the collet-type plug that comes on the M cable: Unscrewing (1) the outside collet all the way exposes the hidden screw and the black or negative solder point (3). If this is screwed in too far it can cause a short and burn the cable.  Notice the screw (4) is over the red or positive wire to the 


tip ( 2) we have received burnt cables if the wire is stretched beyond certain limits, the screw penetrated the red making a short to the outside.  

In other words, the screw has a flat shaped tip and can puncture the red wire on a pull. This completes the circuitry. The blades (5) will lose their spring after a while so it is well to not keep the collet screwed on too tight.  They snap off if bent.


Not cooling the flash is common to sport shooters, paparazzi, and nervous wedding shooters, I call it shellac syndrome.  

Most manufacturers strobes are not made for abnormal usage. Quantum and other board makers sometimes spray the internal parts of their boards and products to weatherproof and seal the metal stripes. 

The shellac is used to insulate and prevent moisture damage.  The shellac settles on the terminals making them brown.  It could also be the capacitor is getting so hot, you are about to experience a meltdown. Some are covered with paper as an insulator and then wrapped in shellac.

Ever try to solder with a dirty solder iron tip. It don't work, does it , thats why you clean the tips.  What can occur is "fast shorting" contacts that open and close rapidly. Thats what I think may of been the problem with the 580's when they first came out. Weak contacts internally.