Is My Flash/Strobe Broken? My Flash Is Not Working

If you are experiencing trouble with your flash, we would recommend following the steps below. There are several components that could be affecting its functionality,  so we have provided a list of fixes and a video from Paul C. Buff to try below:


This video will ensure all parts of your Alien Bee is working correctly. Please click this link and it will start off at the time to test your modeling lamp. If your modeling lamp is not working and you followed this video, the Alien Bee itself can be tested using a standard Edison base 150-watt bulb. More likely than not, a standard Edison bulb will light up showing that your modeling lamp will need to be replaced.

You can purchase a modeling lamp and all other replacements for the Alien Bee using this link:


  1.  Double check and see if the strobe is on and working by hitting the red "Test" button. Make sure that you are not plugged into a switch with a dimmer, as it may be causing the flash to take too long to charge in between shots.

  2. Ensure that all of your connections are tight and locked in together. Pay special attention to the top of the camera and the flash timer. This is a very small connection point! Make sure to restart the camera and Social Booth after plugging anything in.

  3. If you are utilizing the video feature, select "Webcam" in the video tab instead of "DSLR." More often than not, the flash will not fire if you set the video to "DSLR" instead of "Webcam." If you wish to use DSLR video, you will need to set the DSLR to video mode. This will, in turn, disable DSLR photo, which we do not recommend.

  4. Toggle "External Flash Mode" off and on in the camera settings.

 If your flash or strobe is flickering try a different outlet as most of the time that is the largest problem to a flickering or pulsing strobe. 


If the Alien Bee flash is not working correctly, the settings might have become slightly changed. Please double check your settings using this photo:


 No buttons should be depressed except for the gray "On" button and the slider should be set to "Full Power" with the red flip switch flipped to "On".

If your modeling lamp does not turn on 

If your modeling lamp does not turn on, it may have blown out, set up incorrectly, or needs to be replaced due to old age. It is important to never touch the lamp with your fingers as it may break! 

You can test if it is the bulb or the Alien Bee by replacing the Modeling Lamp with a standard light bulb. If a stand light bulb illuminates, then the modeling lamp was damaged. You can replace the modeling lamp with a 150W bulb from the manufacturer:


Technically, any standard 100W-150W bulb should work inside the AlienBee

Have you tried everything in this article?

 If you have tried and tested everything in this article, it is time to further troubleshoot the issue as something may need to be replaced at this point. 

Red Flash Test: 

 First, you should test the Alien Bee. Try pressing the Red test button on the Alien Bee. If it flashes, the Alien Bee is working as expected. If it does not flash, then the flash bulb may need replacing.


If it the Alien Bee passes the Red test button flash:

Without the sync cable plugged into the camera, try unplugging the sync cable many times, it should cause the flash to go off at least once. If it does not, then you can blame the sync cable and try to replace it.

If the flash goes off when unplugging and plugging the sync cable:

Take your car keys to the other end of the sync cable, making a connection and moving are the keys should cause the flash to fire. If it does not, the cable should be replaced.


Passing the Sync cable test:
Remove the sync terminal adapter from the camera to reveal the hotshoe. Slide the end of the sync cable around the hotshoe like so:



 The sync cable should be plugged into the Alien Bee and the camera should be on. Doing so, with a proper working camera will cause the AlienBee to go off several times. If it does the Terminal Adapter should be to blame, if it does not flash the camera has a problem and Canon should be contacted.

Further Troubleshooting: 

You should first inspect the camera yourself. The best case scenario ( and more likely than not) something is loose or not set up properly. Before you start the testing below, we suggest troubleshooting the problem by connecting everything properly a few times.


First, make sure the Terminal Adapter is correctly plugged into the Sync cable. The orginal cable we send should screw tightly into place:32384089_1909199182479650_2499828922284244992_n.jpg

Next, make sure the terminal adapter is securely attached to the camera, it should not slide around:32536907_1909199092479659_8811909849160876032_n.jpg

Finally, plug the camera directly into the Alien Bee with everything turned on, give it a test and see if it fires correctly!


At this step, if you still have a problem and replaced the Sync Cable, check your camera settings. They must be in our defaults in order to work:

Without the software running, we suggest unplugging the camera from the computer and locating the revert camera settings in the menu of the camera.

Reset the camera to our settings:

    2. ZOOM LENS TO 24MM

APERTURE: 9.0 - 11.0
ISO: 400

AF Operation: AI Servo




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