Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-21-2010, 12:25 PM   #1
Junior Member




Join Date: Dec 2009
Photos: Albums
Posts: 38
Flash trigger voltage - PENTAX official answer

Hi All,

After searching this forum and the web, I finally gor an answer fro PENTAX service, regarding the trigger voltage issue:

"It is possible to use a trigger voltage up to 380V. However, the flash may not fire due to noise or reverse polarity.
Please be aware that high voltage can damage your camera. If you are using a non pentax flash, you might want to consider a Wein safe cell (safe sync hotshoe voltage regulator) to avoid damaging the camera.

Best Regards

CSR2
The Pentax CSR Team"

I guess that it is safe to use any old flash, but (as mentioned by PENTAX service) - it is better to be at the safe side of the road and use a voltage regulator, or better - PENTAX flash unit...

BTW, I'm not sure I understand the part of the flash may not fire due to noise or reverse polarity
Any thoughts?

01-21-2010, 12:37 PM   #2
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
I kind of figure that would be the case for my istD* - it must be able to handle higher trigger voltage. The reason is that it has a PC port. There is no published voltage standard as far as I know for PC port. It is an old technology from the 50's. (There is standardized voltage published for hotshoe, 25V I think.) So I figure Pentax must had planned for the worst case scenario for the istD* as far as trigger voltage goes. I have been using flash with trigger voltage up to 70V on it and so far so good.

I think in the past Pentax engineers/technicians were not allowed to officially say what the real maximum trigger voltage was because their marketing people wanted to sell more flash. They rather you buy a new flash from them then use your old flash. You notice in all the Pentax manual, it never says what the maximum trigger voltage is. It has all kind of numbers you probably never care much about but just not this one. It is good now that they have come clean on it. Besides Nikon has always, I think, say their DSLR can handle up to 250V. I guess now it is actually a desirable feature to publish it! So Pentax can say their DSLR are better than Nikon's (and Canon's) in this respect (380V vs 250V). Good news for Pentax strobist.

As a pre-caution though, I always turn my flash and camera off when I attach and detach the flash. I don't want a live trigger pin potentially touching the other live data pins in the hotshoe. Better still if you are really paranoid, put the flash in manual mode and press the test button to de-energize the trigger pin before you detach it from the camera - I actually don't bother de-energizing mine any more.

Last edited by ma318; 01-21-2010 at 03:40 PM.
01-21-2010, 04:10 PM   #3
New Member
Applianceguy's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 23
I have also been trying to get information about safe flash voltages, I sent an email to Sunpak concerning my old flash unit, here is the email I sent and the reply I received back...
I measured the voltage at the pin on this flash and found it to be 42 volts...
I have been using the flash with no problems showing..
The 3600 is virtually the same as Sunpak 522, though I have heard reports of much higher voltages on the pin of the 522...
Len


My email...

Dear Sir,
I have the Sunpak Auto Zoom 3600 Thyristor Flash unit and want to use it with my New Pentax K20d DSLR camera.
The Pentax has a "X-Sync" socket that the flash sync cord will fit into, but I have been warned the the power level at the flash sync cord is too high and will destroy my camera.
I would like to know if this flash would be safe to use with this camera or not, and if possible to find out, just what is the level of voltage present at the sync cord of the 3600 flash unit?
I bought this wonderful flash new many years ago and I have used it for many years on my Pentax Film camera, I really would like to be able to continue using the flash with the new Pentax DSLR if it is safe to do so without damaging the Pentax K20d.
Thanks for any help that you can forward to me.

Answer back...

Dear Sir,

Thank you for the long use of Sunpak auto Zoom 3600.
This flash is of low voltage and may not damage Pentax K20d.

Best Regards
Tatsuhiko Toh
***************************************
SEA AND SEA SUNPAK CO., LTD
3-2-20 Saiwaicho, Kawaguchi-shi
Saitama 332-0016, Japan
Sales Dept.
Tel No. +81-48-255-2951
Fax No. +81-48-256-2276
Mr. Tatsuhiko Toh
e-mail : t-tou@ss-sp.com
http:.//www.sunpak.jp
***************************************
01-21-2010, 04:14 PM   #4
Damn Brit
Guest




Moved to Accessory forum.

OP please be careful where you start threads, thanks.

01-21-2010, 04:20 PM   #5
Veteran Member
GerryL's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,731
If you read it carefully, it doesn't say that IT IS SAFE to use a flash upto 300+Volts.
It says, "It is possible to use a trigger voltage up to 380V.", then...Please be aware that high voltage can damage your camera.
An analogy of this is if I ask if I can eat meat/food injected with insecticide..yes, it is possible to eat it..BUT..you can die by ingesting the insecticide.
So, if you want to eat the poison, you can, nobody is telling you not to..but be aware that you may die from it (translation: Please be aware that high voltage can damage your camera).
READ IT CAREFULLY and UNDERSTAND.
01-21-2010, 05:00 PM   #6
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
Remember that Nikon published their maximum trigger voltage as 250V - guaranteed. So we know technically it is possible to do this. There is no reason Pentax can not implement it if Nikon can.

To me, "Please be aware that high voltage can damage your camera." means applying OVER 380V to it can damage it. If it is under 380V then it is fine. Generally manufacturer would be conservative with these kind of rating. The real rating may even be higher but you would be fine if you stay under what the vendor says the maximum is.

You can easily measure the flash trigger voltage with a multi-meter.
01-21-2010, 09:23 PM   #7
Pentaxian
khardur's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NW Massachusetts
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,553
2 or 3 years ago I emailed this same question to Pentax, regarding older flashes and what was considered "safe" to use. They recommended no more than 30V.

So, like they suggested, use a safe-sync if necessary. Or do yourself and your pictures a favor, and put it off camera on a slave, (radio, optical, whatever) then you don't have to worry about the trigger voltage damaging your camera.
01-22-2010, 12:18 AM   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
I think Pentax should do what Nikon does - publish the maximum trigger voltage in the camera's manual. Until that happens, people are right in feeling confused as to what the maximum voltage is. I can understand why people would not trust a posting from an Internet forum. How accurate could it be? Is it really from Pentax? Will Pentax cover any damage under warranty if the maximum is not stated in the manual....etc...etc....

On the other hand, by not publishing this number or even mentioning anything in the manual concerning this, you could also take it that Pentax is implicitly indicating any hotshoe flash and voltage is fine and they will have to cover any damage under warranty. Because if this is not the case, then they should have stated it as a caution clearly in the manual and not always in some email allegedly from someone from Pentax. Otherwise how the hack is a new camera user going to know you are not supposed to put this flash or that flash on the camera. Is Pentax going to say "Oh, didn't you read that warning message on the Pentax forum?" LOL


Last edited by ma318; 01-22-2010 at 12:48 AM.
01-23-2010, 07:17 AM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 924
I personally know of three pentax DSLR's that have been fried from using old high voltage flashes on the hotshoe.
I've also had the cameras apart and seen the voltage ratings of the circuits. They are not designed for high voltages.
And Pentax will not honor a warranty if it is due to voltage damage from old flashes.
01-23-2010, 10:44 AM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
There is no question that beyond a certain voltage, any camera's flash trigger circuit will eventually be fried. More precisely beyond a certain voltage, it is the resulting current flowing thru the flash trigger circuit that will fry it. Knowing what the maximum rated voltage and current will help people who wants to fire multiple flashes wired together. Especially helpful for those who want to use the build-in PC port which can be connected to studio strobes. And studio strobes are not made by Pentax.

Flickr: Discussing PC Sync splitting and voltages in Strobist.com

The question is what is the maximum safe trigger voltage (and maximum rated total current) that Pentax has designed the camera's flash trigger for? Why can't Pentax state this (voltage and current) clearly in the manual like Nikon (voltage) does?

I think they should state in the manual the maximum safe voltage and current since these are known values. And if they have provided a PC port on the camera then it is kind of a little useless or dangerous if I don't know what the maximum voltage and current are. Personally I would hold them responsible for the damage under warranty if the camera has a PC port and they don't specify the voltage and/or current. With hotshoe, in theory, you could hold them responsible for up to I think 24Volt because that is the ISO standard for hotshoe. And I think that may be the reason Pentax flashes are usually less than 8V so you could wire three of them together and still be safe. My manual does show how to wire up to three Pentax flashes together.

My take on this is that, if my camera does not have a PC port, I would not trust any values from any Internet forum ( I guess for you, you might include this paragraph under this category ) or even an email allegedly from the vendor. Since I have seen Pentax flash having up to 8V, I know 8V or less is safe for me. And since Pentax says you can stack 3 of their flashes together, 24V or less is probably pretty safe for me if I don't stack them. Anything higher is iffy unless it is stated in the manual which we know is not. Since my camera has a PC port, I am willing to push the limit more.


By the way, do you (wildlifephotog) remember what the voltage ratings shown on the circuits were? Which particular part was fried? Was it a diode?
Do you recall the camera models that were fried?

Thanks,

--------------------------------------------------------
If you have an old flash, this list may help.

Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

Secrets of Powershot Flash Photography

Last edited by ma318; 01-23-2010 at 02:25 PM.
01-23-2010, 05:33 PM   #11
Inactive Account




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 924
K10D, and a K20D.
The K20 has a special circuit on it's pc port to protect against high voltage. But it is not connected to the hotshoe.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZlVEe2y9e4
Both K10D's had diodes blown. The K20D had a fried chip.
All three had been used with old Vivitar flash units.
01-23-2010, 05:47 PM   #12
Senior Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 174
Thanks for the info.

(Maybe it was one of the old Vivitar 283 monsters that can go up to 600V!)

Last edited by ma318; 01-23-2010 at 07:17 PM.
01-24-2010, 10:42 AM   #13
Veteran Member
GerryL's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,731
As I said, read what they said carefully.
You can drink poison but we won't guarantee you would live.
That was how exactly their comment was phrased.
01-24-2010, 10:44 AM   #14
Veteran Member
GerryL's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,731
QuoteOriginally posted by ma318 Quote
I think Pentax should do what Nikon does - publish the maximum trigger voltage in the camera's manual. Until that happens, people are right in feeling confused as to what the maximum voltage is. I can understand why people would not trust a posting from an Internet forum. How accurate could it be? Is it really from Pentax? Will Pentax cover any damage under warranty if the maximum is not stated in the manual....etc...etc....

On the other hand, by not publishing this number or even mentioning anything in the manual concerning this, you could also take it that Pentax is implicitly indicating any hotshoe flash and voltage is fine and they will have to cover any damage under warranty. Because if this is not the case, then they should have stated it as a caution clearly in the manual and not always in some email allegedly from someone from Pentax. Otherwise how the hack is a new camera user going to know you are not supposed to put this flash or that flash on the camera. Is Pentax going to say "Oh, didn't you read that warning message on the Pentax forum?" LOL
Maybe because nobody sued them yet!
01-24-2010, 11:43 AM   #15
Veteran Member
ryan s's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,383
Reverse polarity = most flashes use the bottom, center pin as the +, and the little metal pieces inside the "shoe slot" are the ground. Some are the opposite and use the center pin as ground.

And on this issue, I'll say...come on people. I know old flashes are cheap/free...either sell them and buy one of the boatloads of good flashes for under $100 (Nikon SB series...love my 24)...buy a Safe Sync...buy a hotshoe -> PC adapter...buy a wireless flash solution...something.

Don't risk a mutli-hundred dollar camera with a free flash. The worst that could happen is you kiss your flash circuits goodbye, and we'll probably laugh and say "told you so." Wait...that's not very good
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!
answer, camera, fire, flash, flash trigger voltage, lighting, pentax, photo studio, regulator, strobist, trigger, voltage
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
K7 - Max external flash hotshoe trigger voltage mppuser Pentax DSLR Discussion 1 08-14-2010 09:14 AM
Flash trigger voltage and how it relates to radio triggers joshnl Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 7 07-28-2010 04:01 PM
Flash Trigger Voltage Known to Work Class A Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 23 01-08-2009 08:38 PM
Flash Trigger Voltage Testing Question Mike Cash Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 13 08-18-2007 10:05 PM
External Flash Trigger voltage for the ... roscot Pentax DSLR Discussion 3 07-27-2007 12:06 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:12 PM. | 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