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Radio communication issues.EL-1, 600EXII-RT, 430EXIII-RT, YN686EX-RT, ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter


Hello, Canon. Hi everyone, I've been a professional wedding and event photographer for 25 years, and in the last two years. I have used around six off-camera flash techniques using the six flashes mentioned above. After hundreds of weddings in the previous month, I have connection-linking issues. I read and checked every tutorial possible, and nothing helped.:( I know the menu's sub menus' custom settings, and the only flash linked for hours is the Yonguno YN686EX-RT. All of my Canon brands flash, losing connection after 5-minute. I attached two cellphone photos where you can see the problems after 5-minute. CANON or some of you guys have any idea what's going on? PLEASE HELP ME! Thank you so much. 



- just found out that RadioPoppers only work with ST-E2-RT (RadioPoppers need optical system, not radio; the E3 only supports radio).

Additional question, for any folks who have tried various testing scenarios:   Do you know if the source of the link-drop is specifically the Canon flash - or could it alternatively be the Canon transmitter as well?  (The original post showed an example of the Canon ST-E3-RT maintaining a link with YN686EX-RT over an extended period of time).  I'm wondering if the link would stay up as long as both pieces were not Canon (reason for question:  it would be cheaper to replace one transmitter as opposed to replacing every flash) ...!

I have the latest EL-1 flashes (2 of them) plus one (1) of the 600EX-RT flashes along with the ST-E3-RT (version 2) and I have proven the transmitter ST-E3-RT is NOT the problem. What I did was connect all 3 flashes to the transmitter, and everything was good to go. I made this test with only the flashes and transmitter, the camera was not in use for these tests. 

In order to know if you have the link connection, you need all of the flashes and transmitter turned on, and you will see the link is green (on the EL-1), and green on the 600EX-RT also. When you turn off the transmitter, of course the green LEDs on the EL-1 will be off, and the 600 EX-RT has a red LED now. Occasionally, after 1 minute, I would turn on the transmitter, and all 3 flashes would connect with all GREEN LEDs on. 

Now going further, I left the transmitter off for about 15 minutes, turned it back on to see if I have the connection, and one for the EL-1 flashes had LOST the link. 

This tells me the transmitter has nothing to do with the LOST link because it was off when the EL-1 flash lost the link. 

I have given up, and I just ordered some of the Godox receivers and the newest Godox transmitter, I will make all of the same tests to see if I can stay connected to these flashes, which is really unfortunate because it's just more equipment to buy, more equipment to keep powered up with more batteries, when Canon flashes/transmitter have all of this built in. 

We'll know next week how the third party transmitter/receivers work out, and I will post the results. I'm certainly not here to promote third party equipment, I would just prefer if Canon would admit that WiFi 6 and the huge amount of wireless devices that are causing interference is probably the issue here, and just make the flash and transmitter connect BACK up automatically, instead of power cycling all of the flashes, which as you know is spread out all over the place, and in high places with light stands. 

It’s frustrating as ….

Curious to see your results. I just had a job last weekend, and was embarrassed when my 600s decided to lose connection. I ended up resorting to optical transmission (luckily I was indoors).

I’ve been using the 600 ST-E3 Combination since May of 2012. I have never had the “Link Drop” situation like I have since Mid January 2023. 

I made some other tests by purchasing the "sock" that covers the flash and sort of shields it from the RF interference, but this causes more grief because you are essentially now limiting the ability for the transmitters to communicate to the flashes. These are not the solution either, as the link was still dropping. Ugg...
So I did some other tests, and I bought the ($80 USD) Godox transmitter X-Pro II C, and purchased two of the ($40 USD) Godox X1RC receivers for mounting to the Canon EL-1 flashes. Using this configuration, I NEVER lost the link from the Godox transmitter to the Godox receivers, EVER. I let this run for hours, made several tests, used my Canon R5 in different configurations, manual mode, ETTL, and the connection stayed solid, I never lost the link to the flashes.
So why does the Godox (Chinese made) hardware stay connected?
Unfortunately, this means a few more dollars for additional hardware, more AA batteries, but at least the connection is NEVER dropped, and I do not have to power cycle the Canon flash and Canon transmitter. The other downside to Godox transmitters & receivers, you don't get all of the features that Canon has to offer, but in reality, do you really need to have the flash at less than 1/128 power? I say this because the Canon transmitter and EL-1 flash can be set to 1/8192 power, and the Godox can only be set to as low as 1/128 power, which is not a big deal in my opinion. You do however get some pretty cool features in the Godox transmitter, you can turn off any single flash by double tapping one of the 5 group buttons, a useful feature that is super fast.
Deep down, I really think Canon has a problem that may not even be fixable though firmware, it's most likely the frequency that Canon uses that is conflicting with nearby RF devices. In my opinion, why Canon does not reconnect automatically instead of power cycling the hardware is beyond me.

It's amazing listening to all of the comments, as I have the exact same problem of dropped links between the Canon EL-1 Flagship flash, and the newest ST-E3-RT Version 2 trigger. Some of these comments are way off base, asking if you changed the batteries? REALLY? 

So here's the scenario. It does not matter what camera is in use, in fact it does not matter because using TWO (2) EL-1 flashes, and the newest ST-E3-RT Version 2 trigger without the camera at all (I have the R5), the flash will always lose the LINK, just give it time. I've tried to isolate it, and there is interference in the house that kills the connection, and dropped link with the LINK LED turning off. 

So I tried two EL-1 flashes, and a 600 EX, all three will eventually lose the link. I also tried buying some of the fabric from Amazon (RF Noise filter) that you can wrap around the flashes, and it helps a tiny bit, but now you are limiting the radio transmission from the trigger to the flashes and when I test the 3 flashes, most of the time, all 3 will flash, but occasionally one or two of them will NOT test flash.

I even tried to get the wraps from pocket wizard for the older flashes, unfortunately these are for the older 600EX-RT flash and barely fits on the EL-1. Still, it does not matter, wrapped flashes with the RF noise fabric or the pocket wizard wraps, still get the dropped link on 3 of my flashes. 

Even more testing, I turned off the ST-E3-RT Version 2 trigger, and the flashes will lose the link, but the only way to know is to turn on the ST-E3-RT Version 2 trigger after about 15 minutes, and you'll see what flash lost the link, so in my opinion, it's got nothing to do with the trigger as it was off and the flash lost the link. 

So unfortunately, I bought two of the EL-1 flashes, plus the ST-E3-RT Version 2 trigger, and they are not working out, I can't depend on flashes losing the link. Do you know how much of a pain this is to power cycle the flash when on light stands, and the customer is looking at me like I have no clue how to be a photographer. 

Now I have to resort to Godox, they have a brand new trigger that supports the R5, up to 1/8000 shutter speed, rear curtain sync, it all looks good. At least I can buy them and not break the bank to see if they work better than the Canon radios. 

Wake up Canon, when the internet blogs are saying you have a problem, and the Godox guys, along with Yongnuo, and others have little to no issues after shooting for hours. You can ask us to change batteries, ask us pointless questions of "what mode" is the transmitter in, Manual or ETTL, it's pointless questioning, it all has to do with the 2.4Ghz band, where Canon drops the link, but the other guys don't have this problem.

Changing the channel, and setting different ID's are also pointless, been there, done that, to no avail.

The battery information -- alkaline vs rechargeable (voltage issues) -- came from Godox and was provided here as a possible fix.

YES THANK YOU! Canon is avoiding fixing this problem and just acting like we aren't putting fresh batteries in our flashes, or that we aren't all professionals that don't know how to use our gear. I look so dumb in front of my clients trying to fix my Canon flashes that aren't working, fumbling around trying to get them to link. This is a serious problem, and I have THOUSANDS of dollars of flash gear with Canon that are useless to me right now. Canon - please help us!!!!!

I have had exactly the same problem as others with drop outs.

have reset channels, IDs , new batteries etc.. to no avail.

Obviously a serious design flaw that needs to be addressed!