Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-18-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 767
AF360FGZ ii flash unit is down for the count

My AF360FGZ-ii flash is a little over two years old and out of warranty now. I'd sent it in once under warranty to have the battery door replaced, and it's been a good workhorse for me until now.

Yesterday I checked it before an event and found it wouldn't stay on: it made a loud constant grinding noise for a while, then displayed a low battery error. Put in fresh batteries and the same thing happened again. I ended up using a cheap manual flash last night, and fortunately there was enough time to set up and preview the levels beforehand, so it worked out.

If I had to guess I'd say there are stripped gears in the power zoom mechanism. I've heard the same noise from it a couple of times before, but it would go away after a few seconds and then work normally. But it finally got to the point where it just grinds till it shuts down.

After poking around here and dpreview for similar reports, I took someone's advice to whack the side of the unit. Now it won't come on at all.

Any recommendations? Most likely I've got a little paperweight on my hands, right?

04-19-2019, 02:05 AM - 1 Like   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Madaboutpix's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North-Rhine Westphalia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 706
Sad to hear of your misfortune. When my bought-brand new unit arrived two and a half years ago, it had zoom head failure right out of the box. Don't precisely recall if it did that grinding thing, or just silently refused to perform the zoom action. Anyway, I sent it back to the online shop, they contacted the German branch of Ricoh Imaging, and, after a couple of days, I received a replacement copy. In fairness, that replacement copy has been working flawlessly ever since on my K-3.

Apart from the zoom head drive, with its possibly delicate gears, the unit seems to be sturdily built, in fact, markedly above what I have seen in the cheaper competition so far (quality of plastics used, metal lever-locked foot, no wobble in the controls, trust-inspiring tilt mechanism, dust/weather seals, substantial battery chamber door). But I'm not a heavy user, and then I tend to baby my equipment and even "exercise" it from time to time when not in use. Recently, though, over the course of several weeks, I had to do portraits of a graduation class of 150+ students where I ended up doing flagged-bounce flash lighting, with the AF360FGZ II performing without any hiccups. Only wish it had a little more power for such tasks, like its costlier big brother, but that's a specs-and-budget thing.

Doubt that giving the side a whack was such a good idea, but even in its condition before, your unit would have needed expert-servicing. Now, it's a matter of cost calculation repair vs. new unit, further complicated by Pentax-branded vs. off-brand options out there. By which I don't have to offer much news nor consolation to you, I guess.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 04-19-2019 at 03:05 AM. Reason: style/precision
04-19-2019, 04:33 AM   #3
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 767
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
Doubt that giving the side a whack was such a good idea, but even in its condition before, your unit would have needed expert-servicing. Now, it's a matter of cost calculation repair vs. new unit, further complicated by Pentax-branded vs. off-brand options out there.
Precision Camera's flat rate for repair on that unit is $172.50. It would seem I now need to decide how much I loved it.
04-19-2019, 04:43 AM   #4
Pentaxian
Docrwm's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Somewhere in the Southern US
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 12,244
New units go for $300ish and I models can be had used for <$100 if you are a good shopper.

04-19-2019, 04:51 AM - 1 Like   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Madaboutpix's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North-Rhine Westphalia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 706
If my AF360FGZ II needed substantial servicing, I would probably wait till I could afford the more powerful AF540FGZ II. But, knowing myself, with that kind of money on my hands, I might as well end up getting another Pentax lens instead, since flash is just not such a priority for my photography.

If you value quality build and could imagine going off-brand, you might want to look at Metz flash units. Just as an option. You'd lose weather sealing, though.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 04-19-2019 at 05:03 AM. Reason: added thought
04-19-2019, 05:04 AM - 3 Likes   #6
Pentaxian
Saltwater Images's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Newfoundland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 496
I have the original AF360FGZ and have been using it periodically with heavy use each time for more than a decade - no issues. Can you please provide any tips on how I can kill it with normal use so I may obtain permission from the Chief Household Officer (my wife) to buy a new AF540FGZII? Thanks in advance for your help!!!
04-19-2019, 05:29 AM - 1 Like   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Madaboutpix's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North-Rhine Westphalia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 706
QuoteOriginally posted by Saltwater Images Quote
I have the original AF360FGZ and have been using it periodically with heavy use each time for more than a decade - no issues. Can you please provide any tips on how I can kill it with normal use so I may obtain permission from the Chief Household Officer (my wife) to buy a new AF540FGZII? Thanks in advance for your help!!!

Er, how about pretending you wanted to freeze the action of mating frogs in your garden pond and then accidentally dropped the unit into the pond? What, however, if the unit should prove to be as indestructible as an electronic Happy Meal toy? Tell your wife someone tried to steal the flash from you and dropped it on the sidewalk when they understood that you would go Dirty Harry on them?
04-19-2019, 06:36 AM - 1 Like   #8
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 34,462
QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
Any recommendations? Most likely I've got a little paperweight on my hands, right?
Quite possibly right, though my suspicions would have been with a power problem as originally described, not the gearing. After the solid whack on the side, it is hard to say. If the flash will not power on, even with fresh alkaline cells, it is pretty safe to call it toast. There is no harm done in getting some repair bids. That failing, you have the following options:
  • Replace with a suitable new or used Pentax-brand P-TTL flash or 3rd-party equivalent
  • Change your flow to use any of the available manual flash systems
If replaced with new, an extended bump and spill warranty might be a good idea. Long-term dependability of flash units under heavy use has long been a problem. They tend to get banged around more that the other pieces of kit and even the most expensive are of relatively light build.


Steve

04-19-2019, 08:26 AM   #9
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 767
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
...If you value quality build and could imagine going off-brand, you might want to look at Metz flash units. Just as an option. You'd lose weather sealing, though.
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...
  • Replace with a suitable new or used Pentax-brand P-TTL flash or 3rd-party equivalent
  • Change your flow to use any of the available manual flash systems
Thanks for these thoughts.

It gave me pause Wednesday night to find that it was fairly effortless to get a good result with a manual flash. It turned out that the first guess (with K-1ii and FA31 lens: ISO200, F/2.5, 1/4 flash bounced off ceiling a little to the side) gave a workable exposure for the room we were in. My lighting needs there are modest and I'm often shooting in the same space, so can remember that as a starting point -- or ask the camera to remember it except for the flash power setting. And when I'm doing hobbyist stuff with multiple light sources and Yongnuo transceivers, that's all manual mode anyway. It's a good time to revisit whether P-TTL is something I need to care about.

---------- Post added 04-19-19 at 11:19 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Saltwater Images Quote
Can you please provide any tips on how I can kill it with normal use so I may obtain permission from the Chief Household Officer (my wife) to buy a new AF540FGZII?
We could collaborate on a fairly obvious solution, assuming your CHO doesn't keep track of serial numbers!
04-19-2019, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #10
Pentaxian
CarlJF's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Quebec City
Posts: 1,096
QuoteOriginally posted by Madaboutpix Quote
If you value quality build and could imagine going off-brand, you might want to look at Metz flash units. Just as an option. You'd lose weather sealing, though.
Yes, unless needing WR, Metz are really good units. For a bit more money than the repair, it's possible to get a 52 AF-1 which will offer significantlymore power than the 360.

Another option would be the YN585. Yes, it's cheap, but it's possible to get a pair for the price of the repair... And so far, people on the forum having them seem happy with their purchase.
04-19-2019, 02:42 PM   #11
Brooke Meyer
Guest




QuoteOriginally posted by Sluggo Quote
It's a good time to revisit whether P-TTL is something I need to care about.
Nah. Which explains my half dozen YN560III's.


Even for events Bright Horizons Truck Day JDRF Walk For The Cure Dorcas Ministries Farmers Market

Or on location Headshots
04-19-2019, 09:22 PM   #12
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 34,462
QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Which explains my half dozen YN560III's.
...also explains my somewhat smaller collection of the same as well as a YN560 TXII to tie them together when appropriate. The speedlights are inexpensive and sturdy and can easily be applied to tasks where P-TTL would be a pain or used along with P-TTL or auto-thyristor for some subjects.


Steve
04-20-2019, 01:37 AM   #13
Brooke Meyer
Guest




QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...also explains my somewhat smaller collection of the same as well as a YN560 TXII to tie them together when appropriate. The speedlights are inexpensive and sturdy and can easily be applied to tasks where P-TTL would be a pain or used along with P-TTL or auto-thyristor for some subjects. Steve
Yep. The YN560 TX lets me put them up out of reach or bury'em in Wescott Apollos and still easily and quickly control. Very quick to swap ratios L-R or R-L for head shots and turn rim lights on and off. Put a pair each in left and right diffused umbrellas for recycle at 1/4 power or less, add a rim and back ground light for $440 (including six lights, YN 560 TX and six sets of Eneloop Pros.) Already had the Maha 8 cell charger. Keep a pair of YN 603 II to piggy back Buff trigger.


Added bonus, they work on just about all the cameras students bring to class.
04-28-2019, 08:36 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 767
Original Poster
post-mortem


AF360FGZii post-mortem


Best guess after teardown: the likely culprit here is the position sensor. It's a linear potentiometer, just a contact sliding over a resistive surface. Any imperfection (corrosion, incomplete contact, dead spot on resistor, etc) can cause the flash to be unable to tell when it has zoomed to its "home" position, causing the motor to keep spinning and grinding along the 2nd worm gear, which is the one that is allowed to "give" a little because of the hinged sled.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
af360fgz ii flash, af360fgzii, battery, flash, gears, ii flash unit, lighting, noise, p-ttl, photo studio, strobist, unit, warranty, zoom
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: Pentax GPS Unit O-GPS1 Hotshoe Mounted Accessory GPS Unit for Pentax Toolmaker Sold Items 3 10-08-2016 05:15 AM
difference pentax AF360FGZ and pentax AF360FGZ II hansenn Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 15 09-08-2016 05:08 PM
DO not buy an AF360FGZ Flash Unit threedogmoon Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 22 06-05-2011 04:48 AM
Down down down down... innershell Post Your Photos! 5 08-06-2009 05:45 PM
goin down, down, down.... craftsmansky Post Your Photos! 4 03-03-2008 02:47 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:50 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top