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11-20-2009, 08:54 AM   #1
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Vivitar flash no fire, no smoke either!

I picked up a Vivitar 550 FD N flash cheap and wanted to use it with my wireless flash triggers.

I cleaned corrosion from the battery contacts and it fired away on the test button. I attached my trigger and nothing. I shorted the side contact with the center contact and it fires, so why won't it fire on the trigger or my k20 and k10 (on manual). Any ideas?

I did try covering the other contacts with tape and just leaving the center one in case the others were shorting out. The wireless triggers only have a center contact.

Any help would be appreciated.'

11-20-2009, 09:35 AM   #2
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Possibly too low a trip voltage? I've read that this happens with some triggers.
How to modify CTR-301P (ebay) photo flash triggers for low voltage strobes.
11-20-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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Viv flash

QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
Possibly too low a trip voltage? I've read that this happens with some triggers.
How to modify CTR-301P (ebay) photo flash triggers for low voltage strobes.
Thanks, The trigger voltage seems to be in the 5 to 8 volt range depending on where you search. That is well within the I believe 25 volts of the k10 and k20.

So why no fire on the camera as well? As you can tell I am a bit of a noob on this flash thing. Does the Camera/trigger give out a voltage to trigger the flash or does it just short the contacts between the side and center?

My flash triggers work fine with my ring flash which has a 6 volt trigger.
11-20-2009, 09:54 AM   #4
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Camera sends no voltage. The switch just shorts the flash contacts.
I had a problem like this with a AF280 once. I took a pencil eraser and cleaned the contacts on the flash and camera, it started working.

11-20-2009, 10:08 AM   #5
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I have the same flash, use it on a K200D with no problems. When I got it, I did the same as you, just cleaned the contacts, and it was ready to go!
After a few weeks of using it, I found this online... Hope it helps!
OT: Vivitar 550FD M/P/O -> Pentax SP TTL flash solution
I also use the flash with a Youngnuo CTR301 wireless trigger, with no problems...
11-20-2009, 10:20 AM   #6
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ViV flash

QuoteOriginally posted by Flacosaurio Quote
I have the same flash, use it on a K200D with no problems. When I got it, I did the same as you, just cleaned the contacts, and it was ready to go!
After a few weeks of using it, I found this online... Hope it helps!
OT: Vivitar 550FD M/P/O -> Pentax SP TTL flash solution
I also use the flash with a Youngnuo CTR301 wireless trigger, with no problems...
Thanks for the input. This flash is the Nikon version, would that be why it will not work on the K20 and K10? I did not expect anything in A mode but thought it should work in Manual.

I have cleaned the contacts and verified my trigger using my ring flash. Could it be that the side contact is not touching the hot shoe? Is seems when I liik at it it should.

Looks like this flash is for the bin, which is a pity as it looks mint.
11-20-2009, 10:27 AM   #7
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I would think it should work in manual. I know others have used Nikon flashes in manual on Pentax DSLR's.

See this thread, https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/camera-studio-accessories/80694-amazing-cheap-flash-k7.html
11-20-2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildlifephotog Quote
I would think it should work in manual. I know others have used Nikon flashes in manual on Pentax DSLR's.

See this thread, https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/camera-studio-accessories/80694-amazing-cheap-flash-k7.html
Here is the weird thing. If I jury rig a lead from the sync socket on the k20 to the side and center contacts it fires every time in X mode.

Maybe I can fit a sync socket to the flash and use it that way?

11-22-2009, 10:23 AM   #9
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I had a like problem with a Vivitar 3700 and a Nikon adapter. I switched to an Olympus adapter and the flash would fire but the flash thyristor exposure was wrong. I then got a Pentax adapter and it worked great. My guess is that the extra pin in the non-Pentax flash foot causes the problems. Did you try tape or something to stop contact with the extra pin in the flash foot?
GP
11-22-2009, 11:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gp1806 Quote
I had a like problem with a Vivitar 3700 and a Nikon adapter. I switched to an Olympus adapter and the flash would fire but the flash thyristor exposure was wrong. I then got a Pentax adapter and it worked great. My guess is that the extra pin in the non-Pentax flash foot causes the problems. Did you try tape or something to stop contact with the extra pin in the flash foot?
GP
Unless you were using an *ist D or film camera that did TTL, those extra pins did nothing. The different feet are for TTL support with various camera systems.
04-15-2011, 08:48 PM   #11
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I have an old vivitar 550 fd which has been on the shelf for a LONG time. I thought there were no batteries in it but now I find there are and I think they must have leaked a long time ago as there is a white salty substance on the batterie door which does not come off. Is this hopeless? What is the best way to get the door of and then clean up the inside of the compartment? I know this is possible but I wanted to see if I could find someone who'd actually done it. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Sheila
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