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04-09-2017, 10:05 PM   #1
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AF-540FGZ + K1 Problems

Hi all,

I just acquired an AF-540FGZ. Upon receiving it, I put recently charged batteries and it fired when I pressed the test button. Few days afterward, I put it on my K1and found that it always underexpose on P-TTL. It worked OK on manual. It seems the flash is out of sync with the shutter release. Suspecting that the battery may have caused this, I discharged, refreshed, and recharged them, and put the flash on the K1. Now it only fires on the initial shot, and then does not fire at all. Even if I press the test button, it does not fire. I am asking help if there is anything I can do to bring this flash alive again. If surgery is needed on it, who would be able to do it with reasonable cost? Any input is very much appreciated.

04-09-2017, 10:12 PM   #2
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Could you also tell us what lens you were using for the P-TTL mode shots, plus the ISO, aperture, and distance to subject.

And was any flash compensation set on either camera or flash?

Are you referring to direct or bounced flash?

Did you see the range indication before taking shots, and was your subject within this? Finally, did the 'flash ready' red indicator illuminate before taking each shot?

All of this extra info will help to diagnose the likely problem.
04-09-2017, 10:48 PM   #3
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When the flash is of camera does test work? I had an af540fgz go bad on me. One day perfect, a few weeks later I went to use it and it was totally dead. I did the same "batteries must be bad..." thing also. In the end I sold it for parts.
04-10-2017, 09:02 AM   #4
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I have an old AF540fgz that works beautifully on the K-1. I often use the built in diffuser and the bounce card and it produces clean results. I sometimes feel that it works better than the 540FGZii because of the bounce card I think but I could be wrong. Omission of the bounce card on the version ii of the pentax flashes was a serious mistake I think. Trying to make them WR could have called for their removal but then I don't imagine using them in rain unless I use them (which I haven't in 2 years)

In your case it could be a bad flash or dirty contacts on the camera/flash or the batteries. Also the if you are using full auto then your shutter speed has to be slower than 180 (200 if set so) for the flash to trigger. I assume that is not an issue.

04-10-2017, 11:40 AM   #5
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I was using F 501.7 and DFA 28-105. Both of them I set on ISO 100, TV at 180. Distance, I may have it really close to the subject, less than 4 feet. I used both with and without flash compensation. I tried bounced and direct. The range indicator works, and the zoom responded with the zoom on my DFA 28-105. At first it fired, underexposing, when the red indicator illuminated. Now it illuminate, but does not fire.



QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Could you also tell us what lens you were using for the P-TTL mode shots, plus the ISO, aperture, and distance to subject.

And was any flash compensation set on either camera or flash?

Are you referring to direct or bounced flash?

Did you see the range indication before taking shots, and was your subject within this? Finally, did the 'flash ready' red indicator illuminate before taking each shot?

All of this extra info will help to diagnose the likely problem.


---------- Post added 04-10-2017 at 11:44 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
When the flash is of camera does test work? I had an af540fgz go bad on me. One day perfect, a few weeks later I went to use it and it was totally dead. I did the same "batteries must be bad..." thing also. In the end I sold it for parts.
When I turned it on, after the test button illuminates, it would fire one time. Afterwards, button illuninated, but could not fire. This is when I start to have that sinking feel, but I still have a hunch that some big user error is behind this.
04-10-2017, 11:49 AM   #6
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There's no issues really with any of those settings, but it had to be eliminated, and the lenses are fine. The zooming and range indications suggests that the communications between camera and flash are working ok ..... 4 feet is very close, so if anything I'd expect overexposure.

So it looks like you're dealing with a defective flash. It's an older model now so may be time to move on to a new one. It sounds like it might still be good as a manual mode slave .....
04-10-2017, 03:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Send it to KEH (KEH.com), flat fee repair. Lenses too. Sent them two 540's once, a unit I bought new and a second bought used. The used flash just had dirty battery contacts which they fixed no charge. The other was beyond repair which I suspected from the electrical burning smell.

Then I found out I could buy YN 560 IIIs for $63 at B&H and YN 560 TX Remote Control/Trigger for $38. Sold the other 540. I find manual exposure easier and more predictable. And if a unit dies, I can buy 3 replacements for the price of flat rate repair for a 540 or any other OEM Mfr flash.
Thanks. KEH charges $150 + shipping. I spent $160 for the broken 540 flash . I am already eyeing to go with Godox ecosystem. They have reasonable flashes, and a lot of options to grow.
04-10-2017, 04:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aseno Quote
Hi all,

I just acquired an AF-540FGZ. Upon receiving it, I put recently charged batteries and it fired when I pressed the test button. Few days afterward, I put it on my K1and found that it always underexpose on P-TTL. It worked OK on manual. It seems the flash is out of sync with the shutter release. Suspecting that the battery may have caused this, I discharged, refreshed, and recharged them, and put the flash on the K1. Now it only fires on the initial shot, and then does not fire at all. Even if I press the test button, it does not fire. I am asking help if there is anything I can do to bring this flash alive again. If surgery is needed on it, who would be able to do it with reasonable cost? Any input is very much appreciated.
Did you buy it secondhand? Can you return it?

04-10-2017, 05:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Did you buy it secondhand? Can you return it?
yeah I bought it from the Marketplace sub here, but I was late to verify the condition.
04-10-2017, 05:54 PM   #10
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My dead 540 was perfect other than firing. Zooming worked etc. Drove me crazy.
04-11-2017, 02:35 AM   #11
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I would try it on P AV as well & then try the flash on a different body to confirm its the flash
04-14-2017, 02:47 PM   #12
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Getting worse, now the flash, off body, can only fire once after turned on using the Test button. After that Test button illuminates but does not fire when pressed

Last edited by aseno; 04-14-2017 at 03:27 PM.
04-15-2017, 08:55 AM   #13
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The only problem I've had with mine was the little contact that comes out when you lock the flash to the bracket, it jammed up, cost $200.00 to fix! I'm not sure if it would cause the problem you have though. You might want to check it moves up and down when you lock the base.
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