I recently had the chance to open up a studio strobe and I just had to post this up. I’ve not seen so many “canisters of death” (capacitors) in a single device since my coilgun project. Each one is rated at 330v @ 800uF. With 16 capacitors, that’s a total of 688 joules of energy! Touching the wrong terminal will kill you several times over.
The bulk of the studio strobe is filled up with capacitors. These store energy required for the flash tube to fire. When the flash tube fires, the energy from the capacitors are discharged through the flash tube, creating the brief bright flash of light.
Warning: Never open up any flash units immediately after you have switched them off. The capacitors will still hold a lethal charge for as long as an hour. If you need to work on them immediately, discharge the capacitors by shorting them with a high wattage (5w) and high value resisitor (10k). Do not touch any of the bare terminals. You will get a nasty shock or even die. Continue reading