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09-22-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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AF 540 FGZ not charging on its own...

Hi, i bought a used AF 540 FGZ Flash of Ebay along with an External Power Pack (3d party.. operates with 8 AA Batteries).
What happens is following: With only the 4 AA Batteries installed in the Flash itself it fails to charge the flash enough to light up the Test light, or it will charge it only occasionally, no matter if the Batteries are fully charged or not.
But when i connect the external power pack the Test light lights up almost instantly.
It is my understanding that with the power pack connected it is the pack that charges the capacitator while the batteries in the flash only power the flash functions.
Am I right in supposing that because of some electrical error the batteries inside the flash cant charge the capacitator? It just make a clicking sound...
Would a electrical error like this be easily be fixable (i live in Colombia, so shipping the flash to the USA would very well be very expensive)?.

09-22-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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I bought mine new and have had similar problems ,once it was the external power pack batteries gone flat and pulling the charge from the flash unit ,took me a while to twig on to that .
And other times it has been the rechargeable batteries themselves , I swapped to straight lithium instead of rechargeable and haven't had a drama since.
09-23-2012, 12:00 AM   #3
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If the flash makes the clicking sound when there is nothing plugged in the high voltage port, the switch at the port is somehow stuck in one positon. This is just a simple switch. If you are handy, you can open up the flash and exercise the switch a few times to free the mechanism. You may be able to excercise the switch without opening up the flash. I'm currently out of town and don't have my 540 with me (bringing the Metz 54MZ-4 instead). If you don't make any progress by Tuesday, don't panic. I'll post some photos hopefully helping.

One of my 540 units once had the exact problem and I had to open up the flash to fix it. Had I known what went wrong, I could have fixed it without opening up the flash. Frankly, I'm pretty disappointed at the quality of the 540. Metz and Nikon flashes are much better in terms of build quality.
09-23-2012, 06:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
If the flash makes the clicking sound when there is nothing plugged in the high voltage port, the switch at the port is somehow stuck in one positon. This is just a simple switch. If you are handy, you can open up the flash and exercise the switch a few times to free the mechanism. You may be able to excercise the switch without opening up the flash. I'm currently out of town and don't have my 540 with me (bringing the Metz 54MZ-4 instead). If you don't make any progress by Tuesday, don't panic. I'll post some photos hopefully helping.

One of my 540 units once had the exact problem and I had to open up the flash to fix it. Had I known what went wrong, I could have fixed it without opening up the flash. Frankly, I'm pretty disappointed at the quality of the 540. Metz and Nikon flashes are much better in terms of build quality.
Thanks, that sounds re-comforting, i will try to search the web to see how the switch can be adjusted, i also have a AF 360 Flash and that one never has had a problem.

09-24-2012, 09:58 PM - 1 Like   #5
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mgbirder,

The photo shows the EXT. port of the 540 (sorry for the lousy quality). At the tip of the toothpick, in the groove of the port, is a spring-loaded switch. When an external power cord is plugged in, it pushes the switch in, telling the flash that there is an external power source.

The switch is stuck in the "in" position. You can use a needle, trying to push/pull the switch down and the internal spring will push the switch out.





If that does not free the switch, there is a simple workaround: change the charging mode to PP2. See the manual page below:

09-24-2012, 10:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
mgbirder,

The photo shows the EXT. port of the 540 (sorry for the lousy quality). At the tip of the toothpick, in the groove of the port, is a spring-loaded switch. When an external power cord is plugged in, it pushes the switch in, telling the flash that there is an external power source.

The switch is stuck in the "in" position. You can use a needle, trying to push/pull the switch down and the internal spring will push the switch out.


If that does not free the switch, there is a simple workaround: change the charging mode to PP2. See the manual page below:
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!! I tried the second method and the Flash now charges with its internal batteries! You made my day!
09-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #7
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Same issue

Hi all,

I have the same problem with the same equipment but even following the above instructions it doesn't work. The spring loaded switch is not stuck and I tried changing the internal programming of the flash to no avail. Any other clues or ideas. All my AA batteries works with other flashes with no issues. As to the C cells in the power pack, I tested them with a battery meter, not the cheap one but one that measures the milliamps. Any help is greatly appreciated.
09-27-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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As I was removing the foot, I noticed that the purple wire was not soldered anymore, problem solved, I had an extra foot.

07-04-2018, 08:12 PM   #9
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Wow! Sorry for reviving this very old thread, but I've been struggling with my 540fgz intermittently not charging for YEARS. I put up with it because it was working most of the time, but then would suddenly stop charging even on full batteries. SOldbear's second solution seems to have solved the problem. I'm thrilled!!! If you're still around SOldbear's, you have my deepest thanks: I was about to throw up the towel and buy a new flash until I finally discovered this thread. I can't believe I will no more have to shake the flash and rapidly turn it on and off to get it to finally work! Now, back to photographing bugs!
07-10-2018, 02:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philtandir Quote
If you're still around SOldbear's, you have my deepest thanks: ...
You are very welcome, Philtandir. I'm glad it helped you.

I'm still around (haven't figured out whether "fortunately" or "unfortunately" yet), just don't have much time for photography as I used to.... Also, I now most of the time use my little RX100-IV, too old to lug around my K3 + DA* 16-50.

Last edited by SOldBear; 07-10-2018 at 05:12 PM.
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