THE BLACK BOX POWER PACKS



THE BLACK POWER BOX EVOLUTION


Fifty Years And Going Strong

The first flash pictures were produced using Black Powder which coined the phrase, “ Just one more shot”.   It was deep in the coal mine when the photographer asked for the last shot and unfortunately the mountain had accumulated Fire-damp, which is a heavy methane type gas combination that had seeped into the tunnels which was then ignited by his black powder.  It was his and the subjects “ Last shot”. 

The next great evolution in artificial photography was the exploding bulbs which had a tendency to either burn you if you removed them wrong, got stuck in the housing, forgot your glove or exploded when you dropped one on the pavement.  I used a lot of them and had the burnt fingers to prove it.

Fortunately they were replaced by companies like Graflex, Honeywell, and Braun who developed a new word and process called the capacitor driven flash units.  

They were large units used by professionals and the  “Graflex bowling balls”  power pack was powered by a car battery and clocked in at nine pounds. 

The picture on the right is my ad for the Black Box circa late 70’s, when the unit bears strong resemblance to the units of today.   We added a second port, internal fusing, HD wiring made for washing machines, waterproof, better batteries, connections, and fire-proof.  And still build each one by hand, one at a time and use them for spelunking and oxygenators for fishing and extended lighting as on night bike rides, etc.  


I Build Pro Power Units For Flashes 
Our products have been purchased and used by many Wedding Photographers, Paparazzi, Forensic labs,  CSI, Fire Departments, First Responders,  Photo-Journalists, Marathons, Triathlete Events, Sports shooters on all levels of play, Model and Fashion shooters, Birder’s, and Nature shooters using remote setups, Motion sensor triggers, and IR devices. 

I build for bikes for long night rides, cycle riders, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Military. I have turned out custom packs for Spelunkers, cave exploring dwelling enthusiasts who offered to take me along, I declined the really long wet ones. 

The Black Box, Heavy Duty Power packs were made for extended time range, and heavy shooting to this day, the regular Black Box series supports most common 6v or 4AA Cobra style units and for the bigger strobes , as part of the Metz Program we developed the HD-HP 7.2-9.6 Series of packs for the bigger handle mounts. 

Our Black Box designs, still hang in there since upgrades are more like simple maintenance, and that can be as much as 6000-plus shots at reduced power. Our guys, did over 5000 shots at the Oscars, and captured 14,000 shots in one day with Black Boxes at a marathon.

With Paypal and the USPS we can now ship worldwide reasonably and our kit includes  Airline safety caps, belt holder, shoulder tabs and a Euro Charger good anywhere included. The Sealed Lead Acid is safe chemistry.  Airline Compliant - SLA, no fires, no confiscations, no getting thrown off.  Our battery is 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 go three - four years or seasons used daily, and as long as six depending on usage.  It will not burn up your camera case, cause a fire on you flight, or burn up your car in hot weather if the Lithium lights off,  which is known as a thermal runaway or occurrence.  


The Black Box      1968 - 2020

The BLACK BOX is an American product built with selected and measured parts from all over the world.   It is 100% all US hand built, hand soldered and sealed, using only RoHS Certified appliance grade fire proof wiring.  

We pick the parts as long as they are better, and they come from USA, Denmark, Taiwan, and Japan for findings and components when we can, after we tested Chinese equivalents and decided they were inferior in quality and consistency.  The Chinese components are a last resort and as with most things today we have to put up with it. If any is even available. Today they build for the food channel and others and there is more money in pans than photos gear.

In my negotiations with them for parts I have a 115% percent safety margin which means I get 15% more product free than I order in case something is bad.  With twenty guys all selling the same stuff from one plant in China (Go on eBay and see what I mean) I have customer protection.  

The Black Box uses a Sealed Lead Acid battery designed for long term usage. Our 4.5 AMP HOUR battery is not rated in milliamps, thats full amps like your car battery and it is safe.  How safe?  No restrictions from the Airlines and the FAA since Lithium has a problem with fires, and is unstable.

I was  a GA pilot and flew for 32 years and had an incident with a Lithium cell that went rogue. Bad enough if they caught on fire but the mash was capable of eating stainless steel control cables.  Inspections caught it and we replaced it with the standard two year battery.  


Airline Certified And A 20 Amp Drawer

  • Our batteries are pro-rated to five years.  Four times what the litho boys give you.  The batteries are covered fully under the warrantee for one year and pro-rated for five years.
  • We have a multi stage charger as the simple instructions dictate.
  • The internal wiring and connectors are fireproof.  Appliance grade.
  • Our International dual stage charger allows consistent charging.  The second stage in standby mode keeps battery at 100% capacity.  
  • Internationally rated for worldwide usage.  (110-240 50-60 MGRTZ)
  • The box is custom cut on a CnC machine for a perfect fit.  
  • The twin HD DIN type Chromed ports are from Taiwan
  • Comes with Red POLY Caps as shown for the DIN plugs for when traveling on the airlines. (Included)
  • The heavy duty strap rings of 3/16 Zytel / Steel 1/8 ( 3000 PS) rivets with backing plates front and rear
  • Included industry recognized finest HD UltraClip or the 764 by THE CLIP.COM Brand
  • And as an added bonus you can use most Quantum cables for your strobes you might have and we offer free conversion at time of purchase for two of those cables …Voila! 
  • Weight: - 2.5 LBS,  Width: - 3.3/4”,  Height: - 6”,  Depth: - 2”  


The Black Box Does Not Age

  • We can take that five or ten year old Black Box and make it into a 2018 and at an average cost of about 65 dollars plus 14.60 return USPS.   Got one eight to ten years older or more we’ll upgrade it, return in a week, upgraded to latest configurations as long as you didn’t split the case by driving over it as some have, or destroyed it during sports events. 
  • Our regulated two stage charger and the "A-C" series chargers are "switching" type devices which operate without the use of transformers. IC's control and regulate current and voltage and automatically switch from the higher fast charge voltage to the lower float voltage when batteries are very close to being fully charged.  At the float voltage it is safe to leave the battery connected to the charger indefinitely, making charging pretty much fool-proof. 
  • My packs are fast and safe to the environment, and the shooter.  I just don’t push the word fast because there is another side to things. My pack is fast, fast enough to make some brands of flashes vulnerable.  I do not promote speed if it can make your flash go dead.  There are one or two makes and models faster but that takes a toll on the flash gear.  Nothing I can think of is slower than a blown flash because some idiot over clocked it and thats what accelerated flashes do.
  • My pack will keep up with the other type, the accelerated packs based on partial power settings which is what the pros use, manual and partial power settings. The Red Carpet guys do that but it has become a bizarre shooting event.  I call it the elusive “Nipple shot which can be on one frame and missed on another”.  The guys are speed fanatics. The newer cameras at their higher speed will exceed any pack when pushed.   And think about it, following the Oscars and Emmy’s simply put is a two day a year event and then find something else, very competitive.


2020 Black Box Features And Simple Instruction Manual

  • You now have full control of your flash unit with a higher reserve of power from a simple to operate, overbuilt photographic electrical storage product designed by a working pro photographer. 
  • The Black Box is a common sense application of stable extra power, while eliminating useless power robbing, troublesome at times, poorly made electronics being offered from overseas at slave labor rates, and quality controls by intimidation.  And it comes with a brand name Charger with 110VAC-60Hz to 240 VAC - 50 Hz input voltages and offers worldwide capability. 
  • In most cases for travel overseas, all you need to purchase is a simple plug adapter; you do not need an inverter for the country you are visiting.  If you lose it, it will cost $45.00 to replace plus shipping.  I stock them.   This is a digital float charger and keeps the battery on constant charge with full capacity.   SLA batteries do not suffer from memory effect.
  • Yes, Sealed Lead Acid Batteries (SLA) are declared non-hazardous for air shipping with caps in place and secure. Exceptions do happen if you get an uninformed inspection officer as with an incident on Singapore Airlines.  Only one I have known of in fifty years challenged the SLA and we sent Singapore an E-mail of Condition. They did nothing.
  • Two ports - It is simply an added value extra port and you may use it as such. Run two flashes off one battery.  The main constraint is that both strobes should be close, preferably the same make and manufacture so they will charge simultaneously. And the red caps are for traveling on the airlines, do not throw them away.  Replacements are 2 for 5.75 includes postage. Yes, the postage is higher than the caps.
  • The black box comes with d-rings for a camera shoulder strap, Users tell us the neoprene straps made and sold by OPTEC are the most popular, work best, they don’t slip and very comfortable.   The pack also comes with THE CLIP, suitable for belt use and with Velcro work great on a light stand.

SIMPLE ORDERING AND SHIPPING


Pick A Product Or Kit -  All New Merchandise

Single Black Box  -  Basic Unit 
•  Includes ONE SINGLE BLACK BOX  (2018)
•  Complete with two din ports and the  World Wide Euro Charger. 
•  Two upgrading of cables that you supply and pay for from B&H or Adorama 
You order them, drop ship to me and the completed order is sent out.   Or, I can furnish them insuring faster delivery times, add 60.00 for one Quantum cable, 120.00 for two to the order and I’ll order it for you. (they go from the box itself into the flash via the special module) .  

Includes Domestic Shipping /$200.00
Most International Shipping/ $265.00  Insurance add/ $10.00   
Cables 60.00 each If I order them for you includes the modified cable and shipping at time of order.



Black Box Combo - Two Black Boxes 

•  Two Complete Units - It comes with Two Black Box’s, (2018) 
•  Complete with four usable ports and Two World Wide Euro Chargers. 
•  It includes the 
UPGRADING of up to four cables you supply from the box to the flash.  If you want me to order the cables, they are 60.00 per cable.

CONUS Domestic Shipping/ $385.00 Includes Hawaii
Most International Shipping / is $65.00 More Via USPS-Insurance add  $16.00
Cables 60.00 each If I order them for you,  includes the modified cable and shipping at time of order. 



Black Box Upgraded To 2020 Standards  (Any Year Black Box)

 SPECIAL $65.00 PLUS RETURN POSTAGE. (14.65 USPS)       

•   Total Disassembly of entire unit, with some alterations as needed.
•    
Even change the rivets sometimes, and rebuild it with the 2018 schematic. 
•   Clean and polish the case within reason, fix a few dents, dings, cracks, and basically try to make it as good as new.
•   We do remove old decals and clean case as best.  
•   Cases may be sanded, polished or cosmetically enhanced as well as can be.
•   Fittings - D rings replaced as needed. New rivets.
•   Back Tab reinstalled and rivets drilled out, removed and reset. As needed.
•   2nd DIN added and RCA removed, two matching Dins Installed in 2020 configuration.
•   All new RoHS high capacity fireproof wiring installed. (Airline proof) hand soldered, all insulated, no connectors
•   RED CAP the DIN PLUGS for the airlines
•   Charger is checked and cable upgraded if needed with connectors and DIN plug.
•   Flash cables checked, fixed free, upgraded, cleaned of heat and corrosion, retested and field checked.
•   New battery installed and tested.
•   
Usually a one day turnaround, complete upgrades average about 65.00 as a worst case scenario
   Inspections and checkups are free, I only charge for shipping.  No fees for diagnostics (Quantum does charge)  No minimum fees, except the Post Office, and most repairs are back to you within a week.


WE SAVE YOU MONEY, and AGGRAVATION

IF YOU FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS


I Ship United States Postal Service Priority Mail, Period

PRIMARY - I prefer for you to use USPS PRIORITY MAIL.  No signature needed. I have a secure location. And the carrier is my friend.

  • Do not ask for a signature card, Priority mail has the best rate and record for two to three day delivery for what I ship and Priority mail is fast, trackable and is free insured to 50.00.
  • We use zip locks, regular newspaper as the filler and no wrapping paper. Our hot glue seal packaging prevents theft and “slit grabbing”.
  • If sending a package, call or email first, let me know you are sending me something, when it’s expected and what’s wrong or if it’s just a routine safety check, which is free except for return postage.  Enclose a note specifically with the aforementioned information, correct address and phone numbers.
  • Enclose a check or money order,  PayPal for the return postage. Note: It's $14.80 for the return postage as we only use PRIORITY MAIL. Put your name on your gear with a sticker or business card.  Please enclose the charger and /or cable so we may test the whole system and include the module for the flash.   If you do, we'll check the cable, tighten things clean and polish the contacts at no charge. Then we’ll both sleep that night. 


No Peanut Warning - Please And This Is Important

  • More important - I am a cancer care-giver and peanuts are an affront to me and my patients and really dirty packaging will be refused.   I cannot take the risk.  You will get the package back.  
  • The contacts are covered with red caps as per shipping and airline regulations.  DO not throw them away, the airlines want to see them.  Then wrapped in newspaper for bump absorption.  I have over 4000 shipments over the 50 years and no problems so far, no missing packages, no breakdowns.
  • Take the email or a note of our discussion and stick it in the package with your address and phone numbers.  Again and I hate to be redundant, include your name address, the nature of the problem or work to be done and your phone numbers and email address.   Those that don’t enclose a note, I will let it lay till you figure out who you are and you contact me.



We Have To Know What Flash You Are Using
Each brand of flash and even different models of the brand might have different battery layouts and thus different cables.  

See the “YOUR FLASH" CHARTS (on the page that has your flash brand or call me) for the most common off the shelf cables and to make sure you get the right Quantum cable for your flash.  

I am emphatic when I say order from Adorama, or B&H.  Other sources have been dumping all kinds of old used bad, crappy cables in the box and we had to send them back.  

These are not the only cables available. There are plenty of others, maybe 100’s over the time and even some of the Legacy units might be revived.  In addition I modify many of these all the time for some exotic, not as popular specific strobes. Call me, I welcome your questions.  An old flash in good condition makes a great hair, accent, fill light in manual mode on a stand or umbrella rig.


Basic Information - Which Cable Fits My Flash

There are as many cables in photography as stars in the sky.  Most driven by proprietary interests which is defined by making more money with selected accessories for the manufacturer and making your wallet slimmer.  

In the photo above the kind that looks like four batteries laying on one end,  in line is a MKZ-3 and very popular especially with Nikon of the 800-900 vintage.  The MKZ3 fits quite a large percentage of Nikon, METZ and Olympus, flashes. 

Another layout is the MB-A MB5, MB2 series and these are either in a square or trapezoidal aka "drunk rectangle shape.  This list is ever changing as new models come out, but these have also been very popular down through the years, the MB-5, MB2 is popular with Canon units.

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 they are not,  the difference is the location of the hot (+) and cold (-) contacts. They are not interchangeable, but may be taken apart, de-soldered  and with skill reassembled correctly. 

The reason is contact placement. I do this all the time.  You don’t and it’s confusing and dangerous. Mistakes may be indicated by a horrible smell, and a small burn in your table or a toasted flash unit. 



We Can Power The Following:

Achiever, Most new Canon,  Old Canon,  Chinon, Cobra,  Dynamite, Fuji,  Fujica,  Hanimex, Honeywell, Konica, LumoPro,  all Cobra Metz,  Metz handle mounts  Minolta,  Most new Nikon, old Nikon, Nissan, Olympus, Pentax, Phillips, Phoenix, Polaroid, Popular, Pro Spec, Promaster, Aromatic, Ricoh, Rokunar, Sakar, Sigma, Simon, Sony, Old Sunpak, Toshiba, 283-285 Vivitar, Yeshiva,  Older Yong-Nuo,  Zykkor,  

Just give me a call or eMail me at ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com


MOST COMMON

CANON - METZ -  NIKON - SONY

   

 


Non-Invasive Information
I need some basic information for shipping and tracking purposes, we also make custom cables, other  products, and for my records for follow up.  It is kept in the strictest confidence, what goes on here stays here just like Vegas.  Just list the items or services you want in the "message section" and we'll take it from there. We do not nag or bother you.

Also people call me with one name and then ship to me under another name, and the PayPal is yet another name and no phone numbers. I am not Carnac the Magician.  He retired so I can’t call him anymore.  

Please send the contact email with information for what you need or wish done after you send the PayPal so we may put the two together to form your personal work order:  Put a copy in the box.  

My email is ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com  Just use one of the several formats below, you may email on the form, fax, copy, scan, cut and paste, scribble, type a letter, papyrus and squid ink, carrier pigeon, or chisel and hammer the info to me.  I need this to keep the workflow simple.


Payment To Al Jacobs And We Prefer Paypal

Why use PayPal?  It's a better idea for me and you. I do not wish to do business with five different credit card companies and PayPal is the safer, easier way to pay.  I also do not wish to know your credit card number, or your mothers maiden name, or what was the name of your first dog.  I like privacy and PayPal handles it well.


Thank You For - Your Business FAQ

I want you to be happy with my product. And I want you to share that happiness with others. Years ago I adapted the policy of no advertising, spend it on the customers who might need it and let the good word abound, and it will be fruitful.  It works, not exactly Wal-Mart statistics, and some days I think being fruitful meant better tomatoes at the supermarket…but I am here to help you.  

Don’t be shy, call me if you have a problem. Ninety-nine out of one hundred calls I can fix or diagnose over the phone.  My products are covered with a limited warranty for period of one year from date of purchase.   During that time if you have a problem caused by a part failure, we will replace, repair all parts and labor, including chargers, plugs batteries and our cables.  Period. No questions asked. 

Father Time, Mother Nature, and her lover Sir Murphy-Lawes sometimes create simple trials like lightning strikes, tornadoes or a flood, surges and brownouts.  You cannot predict wear and tear on electrical digital products and batteries because the power sources, your electrical supply really have variable standards and are so different regionally and even things vary door to door.  The weather this winter and summer have been brutal and spikes are killers.  

Obviously with a charger plugged in all the time there is the chance a charger got killed by a spike as during a storm or during a brownout or the eight million lights on your house during Christmas fried the whole block.  Also areas with brownouts and fringe grids wear out the chargers quicker.  Thats why we use good ones unlike cheap wall-warts.


Don’t Blame God
Not all of the electrical stuff blows because of God.  Man does a fair job of blowing stuff up all by himself and thats why we cover electrical against defects, it is not covered by winding up in the dishwasher, swimming pool, spa or the Atlantic Ocean.   One did, but worked till the salt got it all.  The light burnt for a good half hour in sixty feet of salt water before it went out.  So I developed a LED setup with my batteries for markers... 

We use pretty robust heavy-duty units but nothing is infallible. We do carry replacement chargers in stock, and they are also available from Mouser.  Do not modify, change, alter anything without consulting me first.  

Remember one of the things we work on is simplicity and field repairability. Checkups are free, no charge except for return postage which is 14.80.

I will gladly look at your unit for which there is no charge except return postage and parts. Now lets say you really screwed it up.  We will inspect it and will call and advise you of what we found. Something simple, it is fixed for free and returned.

If your pack comes in for the free checkup, it is over three years old and has been subjected to extreme conditions  a possible battery replacement is suggested because of the cost of postage on another occasion is more than the battery, might as well do it while it’s here.  

Older than three years and we go into upgrade mode.  A bad wire, weak, solder joint, anything correctable that is an anomaly, we take care of and we do not charge you. Even the best of solder joints ages and I can easily redo them.  

Any neglect or abuse is on your dime. That means dropped boxes, tire imprints, shark bites usually indicated by the dent on the bottom, or the edge can be fixed as I can weld plastics.


Warranty Service - Simple Just Call Me 

If you have a problem with one of my products,  return it  via the recommended method of USPS.  Please contact me at 727 – 812-8101 and let me know you are sending the product back for repair.  You will be given priority service.  Dated proof of purchase and if you are the second owner, whom it was purchased from, as well as an explanation of the problem, must accompany the Warranted Product. You are responsible for any shipping costs, import/export duties, taxes and other such fees. 

If AL JACOBS.com determines that some of the necessary repairs are not covered under this Limited Warranty, you may request an estimate and the opportunity to confirm whether you agree to pay for these repairs. If you decline, obligations for that machine or product under this Limited Warranty end.   This has never happened but I have to put it in anyway.


 ajacobs2@tampabay.rr.com   

NOTE:  ALL OUTBOUND SHIPPING VIA USPS PRIORITY MAIL