How to get a Yongnuo RF-603C and Panasonic G3 to work together

Started Oct 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
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The Ginger Avenger
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How to get a Yongnuo RF-603C and Panasonic G3 to work together
Oct 7, 2011

I’ve written this up to hopefully help others with similar set ups so that they can use their Micro Four Thirds cameras with a commonly available and cheap radio transceiver, the Yongnuo RF-603C, with remotely placed flashes. Anyone trying any of this does so at their own risk.

I shoot primarily with a Panasonic G3 Micro 4/3 camera and have recently been getting into some flash work. Obviously one is limited with a flash in the hot shoe so I decided to jump straight in and get a set of wireless radio triggers. I have used a Canon 580EX II and use Canons when I’m not using the little Panasonic so decided to go with some Canon biased triggers to suit both applications.

What I ended up getting was a set of 4 Yongnuo RF-603C triggers from eBay. They seemed to be faily well regarded on the web and fairly solid. I liked that they were transceivers so they were flexible too. When they arrived I discovered that unfortunately they were not suitable for the Panasonic/Olympus M4/3 hot shoe mount. The trigger did not recognise that the camera was there. The camera did know that a flash was attached however.

Oddly I noticed that when both the camera and attached transceiver were on and the transceiver was being removed it did pick up that it was attached to a camera. This was as the first set of contacts had just fallen off the back of the hot shoe mount. At this point the camera was no longer aware that a camera was attached.

Following that line of thinking I dismantled a 603 to see where the pins went inside. As it turns out there are only 3 wires inside, one for ground, one for the standard centre pin and a 3rd. This last pin was one of the two that would have been making contact when it was only half on the camera. The other external contacts weren’t electrically connected to anything. I decided to solder a connection between the required pin pads to see what effect this had. Lo and behold it worked!

Below are some diagrams detailing the process.

Here is a standard Yongnuo RF-603C transceiver.

And here is the reverse. Note there are 5 pins plus ground via the hot shoe mount.

Opening the 603 by undoing 3 small screws reveals some simple but delicate internal components. The bit you are interested in is on the right hand section with 3 wires coming off it.

There are 4 further small screws holding the small circuit board to the case. Undo these and remove the case as shown. Be careful as there are 5 contacts and 5 small springs that will make a break for freedom as you remove this board!

If you look at the small circuit board you’ll find 5 small copper pads. On the reverse you will see that a track on the circuit board goes to the top right copper pad in the group of 4 in a square. We need this one to go to the top left copper pad. To do this I soldered 4 or 5 strands of thin copper wire between the two pads. Ensure that you get this wire as flat as you possibly can as any extra height will increase how much the spring for that contact is compressed and thus increase the contact pressure and make it harder to put the transceiver in the hot shoe once you’re finished.

Replace the contacts and pins in the case if they have fallen out. I have intentionally left one blank as this is the one that is duplicated and is not needed for this application. I have replaced the 2 other unused contacts to help with keeping the transceiver attached to the hot shoe as there is no locking mechanism built in. It will just slightly increase friction and help with locating it in the correct position.

Reassembly is the reverse of assembly. Hold the hot shoe plate, case circuit board, contacts and springs together and replace the 4 tiny screws in the now impossible to get to holes in the circuit board. Those of you with 3 small hands will be laughing but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a struggle.

Pop the case back together and add the 3 external screws. Watch to make sure you get the battery contacts back in the correct place.

The finished article. Note the missing contact.

Here’s the proof that it triggers from my Panasonic G3 (which I’ve used to take all of these pictures).

And here’s a picture of the modified transceiver with a standard one behind it.

I hope that proves useful to someone out there!

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