Foresight flash module FYI

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Mpags
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Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Mpags » Thu May 12, 2016 10:39 pm

Just wanted to let GC2 owners know that the standard flash module available in the past is phased out. As of May 6th, Foresight released a "limited life flash" and a "super flash" costing $95 and $495, respectively. The limited life flash is being advertised as a temporary substitute while you order a new Super flash. I am told it is not the old standard flash. There is no warranty on it and no information on expected lifespan. The Super flash is being touted to last at least 6 times longer than the old standard. I never got more than 4 months from the old standard. I suspect my flash controller was prematurely frying flashes though. The Super flash has a pro rata warranty which appears on the website. I wish it was pro rata based on flash numbers and not months but they didn't ask me. As the old flash no longer exists, I am basically going to have to get the Super flash. They are claiming high volume sites in Korea, Japan and UK that could implode a standard flash in 30 days are still running on original testing Super flashes since October (7 months) . If that is true, I was getting about 3x that so I should get at least 21 months on a Super. In true Foresight fashion, nowhere is this clear or apparent on the website. The accessories tab still shows the old flash. However, the warranties under the Support tab show what I am telling you. My additional information comes from my Foresight sales rep who has always been very helpful to me even during my bitching sessions.

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Zmax
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Zmax » Fri May 13, 2016 1:04 am

$495 for a flash is outrageous. Damn Foresight..... Time to hunt for old flash. They've been lasting about 2 years for me.
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AnonGregg
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby AnonGregg » Fri May 13, 2016 10:58 am

I am still on my 1st flash after about 3 years fortunately. My spare is still in the box on deck for action - no its not for sale :)
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psgolfer
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby psgolfer » Fri May 13, 2016 1:12 pm

Get in touch with Par2Pro, when I bought my backup in February they had a bunch in stock.

By the way, Ireland weather has been nothing less than INCREDIBLE!!!! Travel day tomorrow then RPR and RCD. Lots of fun, wish we had some Irish guys on the tour!! Also, decided to add Portmarnock for the 17th, what a tough golf trip.
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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Fri May 13, 2016 6:39 pm

There is no rocket science involved in those flash modules.
If you want long life you just need to use tubes and capacitors that are designed for that.
With a price tag of 495$ it's definitely worth looking in to.
I already got a few different tubes where one of them is rated for 3 million flash'es.
Just waiting for one of my 2 original flash modules to break so I can refurbish it and run some tests.

Looking at Foresight's past history and behavior it's clear that this is just a new clever way to make some more money.
If the old module cost's them 23$ to make then this new super flash is probably 37$.
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jasonsmith1979
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby jasonsmith1979 » Sun May 15, 2016 5:02 pm

Let us all know if you have a way to diy refurbish an old standard flash unit. I've just replaced my flash unit for the last one I had of the standard versions. If you have a way to get these working again for a sensible price and it can be done by any sensible person with decent common sense then I'm all ears.

Look forward to your findings.....

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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby jasonsmith1979 » Sun May 15, 2016 5:05 pm

Zmax wrote:$495 for a flash is outrageous. Damn Foresight..... Time to hunt for old flash. They've been lasting about 2 years for me.


How many shots are you getting on average per flash. My experience with these are that some die soon others last for ages. Is it just luck of the draw......

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Zmax
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Zmax » Sun May 15, 2016 7:06 pm

jasonsmith1979 wrote:
Zmax wrote:$495 for a flash is outrageous. Damn Foresight..... Time to hunt for old flash. They've been lasting about 2 years for me.


How many shots are you getting on average per flash. My experience with these are that some die soon others last for ages. Is it just luck of the draw......



No idea the exact number. But I do play a lot during the Winter and occasionally during the Summer.
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Mon May 16, 2016 4:52 am

jasonsmith1979 wrote:
Zmax wrote:$495 for a flash is outrageous. Damn Foresight..... Time to hunt for old flash. They've been lasting about 2 years for me.


How many shots are you getting on average per flash. My experience with these are that some die soon others last for ages. Is it just luck of the draw......


My guess is that at some point they had to build a new flash module batch and failed to source the original xenon tubes.
They tried some new tubes and it turned out that they where not as good. That batch after having been sold as the "original" flash for a while turned in to the "temporary" 99$ version while the next version, this time with a better tube turned in to the "super flash"

So the challenge here is to find that super Xenon tube and exchange the burned out one in your module. Alternatively find whatever xenon tube and then exchange it every 6 months or so. Not a big deal. They cost typically 5-10$ and the operation involves some simple soldering exercise. I suspect that this will be an interesting topic for a long time to come. If we get lucky one of the members will find the "super Xenon tube" or an equivalent alternative and we will all be set for life.
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Dovetree
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Dovetree » Mon May 16, 2016 12:14 pm

$500 US is crazy for home users, we're going to have to do something. Can you guys who have replaced your flashes take the old one apart and show us pictures? Especially of the xenon tube and capacitor.

I will when the time comes but it will (hopefully) be a while since my unit came with spare flashes.

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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Mon May 16, 2016 2:49 pm

Dovetree wrote:$500 US is crazy for home users, we're going to have to do something. Can you guys who have replaced your flashes take the old one apart and show us pictures? Especially of the xenon tube and capacitor.

I will when the time comes but it will (hopefully) be a while since my unit came with spare flashes.


The capacitor is part of the flash driver board and can be found inside the unit. (560uF, 450V 35/50mm)
I haven't taken a FLASH module apart yet but would be surprised if there is anything other than a xenon flash tube in there.
I am also waiting for one of them to break.
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jasonsmith1979
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby jasonsmith1979 » Mon May 16, 2016 4:20 pm

Would you have to replace the internal capacitor or knowing the capacitor specs obtaining a suitable xenon tube?

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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Tue May 17, 2016 7:23 am

No, the cap has nothing to do with the xenon tube in the sense that you don't have to match them.
What surprises me a bit with this design is that in a Xenon FLASH design the 2 parts that will wear out eventually are the Xenon tube due to micro cracks in the glass and the capacitor due to the high current stress and heat. I have looked at the driver board design and suspect that in those cases where the driver board was broken that all you have to do was to exchange the cap since that is by far the most sensitive component.
Another surprise is that there are specific long life photo flash rated capacitors. The one in the GC2 is not one of those.

Good news is that the cap is 10$ - 20$ and it's very easy to exchange provided you have some de-solder/solder skills.

**** word of caution ***
If you don't have experience with advanced electronics, don't mess with it. I will tell you why some other time. It's a long and scary story ...
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jasonsmith1979
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby jasonsmith1979 » Tue May 17, 2016 12:30 pm

I have an old style standard flash unit that has given all its going to give and luckily i haven't thrown away. I'd be willing to try and open up the flash unit to expose the internal components and replace the expected fatigued flash tube with another one if you could supply me with what and where to buy a replacement.
I understand about the capacitor but if you say that in fact they are as susceptible to fatigue as much or even greater than the actual flash tube how come just replacing the flash unit itself makes the gc2 work again. The capacitor you describe in your earlier post would never fit in the little casing of the flash unit. At the very most there would be the flash tube and the small transformer and capacitor that is required to 'trigger' the flash tube. My understanding of the basic flash circuit diagram is that the main capacitor supplies the main juice for the flash tube but a higher voltage trigger is needed to spark off the reaction, hence another transformer which could with a little bit of design work fit inside the unit.

What's your thoughts?

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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Tue May 17, 2016 1:09 pm

You are correct. The trigger coil and it's capacitor might well be in the module.
Here is an example web page where you could buy spare parts.
http://www.xenonflashtubes.com/tubes.html
I am sure you can find many others. The challenge remains to find a high quality tube that is the correct size.
The one I had in mind was this one.
http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/540 ... ggest=true
But that was before I measured the voltage.

The xenon tube driving voltage (and main cap charge) in the GC2 is 420V. That is quite a lot for a small tube like that. But it's driven with very short pulses. So the total energy is not so bad.
The flash charge capacitor is inside the unit. I know because I just did a full tear down of the main unit over the weekend.
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Mpags
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Mpags » Tue May 17, 2016 7:56 pm

Zmax wrote:$495 for a flash is outrageous. Damn Foresight..... Time to hunt for old flash. They've been lasting about 2 years for me.


I think the problem in searching for an old flash is that you are searching for something built probably at least 2 years ago. Both Barefoot and I lost flashes on a more rapid pace than I have seen you, sfr, and mthunt quote as the life on these. AnonGregg still runs his without issue. My thought is the manufacturer of these in the last year or two had changed. Like Tretee states, probably the source of the tubes. One of the true "original" flashes seems to be badass. Maybe the last year or two, when the parts changed, all the GC2s get the crappy flash. Now, they go back to a decent xenon source and all is better but pricier. So maybe better than what I have as the 'limited lifer" that fries in 4 months but not as good as the 500000 flashes I've seen sfr quote. So how would you even know if you are buying more of a "super" or a "limited." Thankfully, I'm still way under budget when you look at some of the simulator builds out there. I figure I've still got about 30k to burn for what I originally budgeted. However, I want an HMT for improvement analysis but hesitate at the moment while my GC2 is in the shop.

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Mpags
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Mpags » Tue May 17, 2016 8:36 pm

Just a thought. Here are the 2 Revisions of flashes that I have owned. Revision "H" came with my GC2 in September 2015. I had 2 of them. Both are dead. Revision "I" has never been tested on a functioning machine and was sent to me February 2016. The death of the last "H" flash was concurrent with failure of my GC2. I wonder what Revisions you (zmax) and some of the other lucky ones may be using. (Yes, I bought 3 because I was frying them every 3-4 months. I saved money at the time by buying 3.)

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sfr
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby sfr » Tue May 17, 2016 9:33 pm

I have 2 that I bought in April of 2014 that are 6700-0535 Rev.F

Not sure what is in my GC2 right now. It has been in there now for 1 3/4 winter golf seasons (almost 2 years) and the flash is showing 35% used. Just sent one dead one (from the original purchased used GC2) off to Tretee to hack up and did not look at the number on that one. Possibly when he gets it he can check that out.
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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Wed May 18, 2016 5:38 am

The module that was in my GC2 when I purchased it used from 2ndSwing is unmarked and I have no idea how many shots it has done.
The new one I got as spare in summer 2015 (also from 2ndSwing) is marked Rev H.
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Tretee
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Re: Foresight flash module FYI

Postby Tretee » Wed May 18, 2016 5:51 am

Another fact that could be a clue in to figuring out when the bad flash modules started hitting the market is the date when the flash counter was removed from firmware.

Why would they spend the effort to remove the counter if not for covering up bad flash units?
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