Cactus Confusion

Well, I finally got the Cactus gear that I ordered online at GadgetInfinity last week.  I had ordered their wireless trigger/receiver combo set and an extra receiver for the purpose of getting two lights to fire.  I excitedly opened all the packaging and unwrapped it all, then – stop, hold the phones, and check this out – I read the directions!

Yes, that’s right, an admitted geek read directions to make sure I utilize them right.  After reading about these kinds of things on David Hobby’s Strobist site and over on the Flickr Colorado Strobist site, I wanted to make sure I don’t accidentally fry either my precious 40D or the cheapo 550EX because of improper usage.

Well, after reading through the massive 1/4 page sheet of instructions, I was confused so I sorted back through the gear and here’s what I have:

Cactus Gear

Cactus Gear

Cactus Gear

So, I am not sure what the one cable is for on the right of the trigger (transmitter).  Is that supposed to plug into the transmitter, or the transceiver?  If you look at the back of the transceiver, there’s a funky little plug there that looks as if it is made to accept the one female end to that spare cable.  Meanwhile, the other end looks to be another RCA mini, and the side receptacle on the transmitter is built to take an RCA mini.  Not sure I understand why, as the trigger would normally be connected to the hot shoe of your flash.

Finally, it looks as though in order to get these triggers to work with a Canon 550EX, I would need an adaptor cable of sorts that would change an RCA mini to a female version of that three-prong set on the 550.  Any ideas from those out in the blogosphere?

Lest I forget you, dear readers, here’s a brief bout of humor courtesy of What the Duck:


Don’t get too hyped up on sugar – you’ll get camera shake!  Happy shooting all and we’ll see you back here on Monday!  Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help me sort out this wireless trigger confusion! 🙂

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5 comments for “Cactus Confusion

  1. October 31, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Jason – Check to see what solution pocket wizards use –

  2. October 31, 2008 at 6:48 am


    The three-prong outlet on your 550EX is for an external power pack, not for a radio remote. The system you bought is actually built for studio strobes (white lightnings, alien bees, elinchroms, etc.) and not for speedlights. The system Gadget Infinity sells for your 550EX is here

    If you had a Nikon strobe or one of the new 580EX II units you would be OK because they have the PC connection built-in.

    Hopefully that helps. Shoot me an e-mail if you have any other questions.


  3. October 31, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Hi !

    Glups… Just to say, I wanted to say the same. I was just few minutes ago. Hesitate to buy an old 550Ex and Cactus (but really V2s). And read so much report saying that this couple is OK but with something like 50% of OK fires (some didn’t .started and other strated free…) Just look google for “+V2s +550Ex”.

    So, will wait your report with 550EX before buy something like that.

    Hope you could send it back !


  4. October 31, 2008 at 8:40 am

    There is a different cactus for the sppedlite that uses a PC connector. you have the one with a mini -phono jack for studio strobes.

    hope this helps.

  5. October 31, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for all the help everyone – let this be fair warning to opening new gadgetry late at night. Your brain will not process things correctly. I had recently inherited some older SV monolights, and ordered these Cactus triggers to use in conjunction with them. My mind blanked last night and was left stumped as to why I couldn’t connect to my hot shoe flash.

    The funny thing is that I knew the 3-prong outlet was for a battery pack, and I was trying to wrap my brain around why I would connect a transceiver there! 😀 Anyway, I am going to order the correct receiver for the hot shoe flash today, which was generously linked to in the comments above.

    So, thanks for the help in jogging my memory all – hopefully at least some of the shots of the Cactus gear with the dorky labels gave some of you a few chuckles…

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