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11-27-2014, 09:07 AM   #16
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Resurrecting this as I've been playing with external flash on my new Q10.

The old Program Flash (as on the AF160SA, AF200SA, etc) doesn't seem to work on the Q10, it doesn't switch the aperture when the flash is charged.

Best I've found so far is to use an old AF160 (not -SA) with the Q10 in manual and the settings dialled to what the flash expects. It's a lot more powerful than the built-in flash and the trigger voltage is low, it's a good match for the camera due to being small and that tapering shape doesn't block the shutter or power buttons.

11-27-2014, 11:24 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
Resurrecting this as I've been playing with external flash on my new Q10.

The old Program Flash (as on the AF160SA, AF200SA, etc) doesn't seem to work on the Q10, it doesn't switch the aperture when the flash is charged.

Best I've found so far is to use an old AF160 (not -SA) with the Q10 in manual and the settings dialled to what the flash expects. It's a lot more powerful than the built-in flash and the trigger voltage is low, it's a good match for the camera due to being small and that tapering shape doesn't block the shutter or power buttons.
Does Pentax have a published standard for the highest trigger voltage the Q can handle? I saw on a website somewhere that most Pentax cameras, even fairly modern ones, could handle higher voltages.
11-27-2014, 01:02 PM   #18
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No, they've never explicitly stated a voltage in public. I think someone emailed them and was told to stick under 30v, but obviously I'm not sure whether the Q series can handle the same. I have used most Pentax flashguns from the '80s on a K-m, K-5 and K-01 with no problems.

Apparently the AF540FGZ is 4.5v. The AF160 is 3.8v, so given that the former is a current production Pentax flashgun designed for use on their digital cameras I'd say the old AF160 is definitely safe!
11-27-2014, 05:33 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
No, they've never explicitly stated a voltage in public. I think someone emailed them and was told to stick under 30v, but obviously I'm not sure whether the Q series can handle the same. I have used most Pentax flashguns from the '80s on a K-m, K-5 and K-01 with no problems.

Apparently the AF540FGZ is 4.5v. The AF160 is 3.8v, so given that the former is a current production Pentax flashgun designed for use on their digital cameras I'd say the old AF160 is definitely safe!
Yeah, that's exactly why I asked - I have a flash from the 1980's that I hate to waste.

11-27-2014, 05:38 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Yeah, that's exactly why I asked - I have a flash from the 1980's that I hate to waste.
You might do a search here because I recall several threads a couple years ago warning about older flashes having MUCH higher charges than digital cameras can handle.
11-28-2014, 06:56 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
You might do a search here because I recall several threads a couple years ago warning about older flashes having MUCH higher charges than digital cameras can handle.
What Docrwm said! Be very careful. There is information about this somewhere on the PF site.
11-28-2014, 07:02 AM   #22
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Buy or borrow a multimeter, set it to measure DC volts, turn the flash on, then when the "ready" light illuminates touch the red/positive probe to the centre stud on the "foot" and the black/negative probe to the contact in the groove on the side and see what comes up.
11-28-2014, 07:42 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
Buy or borrow a multimeter, set it to measure DC volts, turn the flash on, then when the "ready" light illuminates touch the red/positive probe to the centre stud on the "foot" and the black/negative probe to the contact in the groove on the side and see what comes up.
What would be a safe range?

11-28-2014, 08:42 AM   #24
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Well the highest I've used on my K-5 was 7.8v from an AF280T. That doesn't seem to have caused any harm. I think I've tried it on an original Q as well (a friend wanted to try it with a view to buying their own external flash), said Q is still clicking away happily.

The only flashes I've tried on my Q10 are an AF200SA (to see whether Program Flash worked, as it does in the K-5) and AF160. The AF200SA is apparently pretty similar to the AF280T so I'm guessing anything under 8v should be ok. No guarantees though, experiment at your own risk!

There's a thread here which may be of interest. Apparently Pentax comply with the ISO standard for hotshoes which allows up to 24v.
11-28-2014, 08:48 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
Buy or borrow a multimeter, set it to measure DC volts, turn the flash on, then when the "ready" light illuminates touch the red/positive probe to the centre stud on the "foot" and the black/negative probe to the contact in the groove on the side and see what comes up.
I've heard elsewhere (but don't know for certain) that some analog multimeters will give a falsely low reading ... that you should use a modern digital multimeter.
11-28-2014, 08:50 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I've heard elsewhere (but don't know for certain) that some analog multimeters will give a falsely low reading ... that you should use a modern digital multimeter.
Thanks for this tip. I was about to test with an old Radio Shack analog.
11-28-2014, 10:27 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Thanks for this tip. I was about to test with an old Radio Shack analog.
Yeah, if each of us goes out and buys a new one from Radio Shack, that might keep them in business for a few more weeks.
11-28-2014, 07:45 PM - 1 Like   #28
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I finally found the web-site I've been to before that provides crowd-source info on various flash units:
Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
11-29-2014, 05:56 AM   #29
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I decided to gamble on an Indiegogo campaign for a tiny wireless trigger called the FlashQ. I mean, name-wise its a perfect match!

It should arrive early next week so I'll post a report. I'm hoping it will allow the use of larger flashes without straining the wrists. 😄

Here's a link with more details on the FlashQ: LightPix Labs - Home

Dave
11-29-2014, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
some analog multimeters will give a falsely low reading ... that you should use a modern digital multimeter.
The cheapest analog voltmeter will suffice for a go/no go test of flash voltage. If you're concerned about reasonable accuracy, check its accuracy against any good 9 or 12 volt battery of known voltage.

When in doubt about the charged voltage of the unit start on the highest voltage scale. Some older flashes will show 100+ VDC across the capacitor. The practical break point for "good" flashes is about 10 VDC. You'll see VERY few still alive today that fall into the range between 10 and WAY TOO MUCH and it's just as well to avoid them as being outliers from any reasonable standard of design anyway.

Be vary wary of any older flash that has a coiled cord and round plug used with older film bodies - many show high voltage across the plug and/or shoe.

If for some reason you want to use one of the older, high power studio strobes consider using a cordless/wireless remote trigger available on-line to isolate the unit. Many of the older strobes are excellent remote lighting sources.

The strobe voltage list located here: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages is comprehensive and reliable - HOWEVER - many of these "safe" units are OLD and THEY may not be so reliable (sort'a like me) so do check 'em for safe voltage before use. Capacitors age and battery contacts corrode and are the most common cause of defective strobes.

[For those that don't know, the strobe circuitry takes the nominal 6 VDC at the batteries and steps it up to 100+ volts at low amperage to trigger the flash tube. If components fail, "high" amperage battery current or "high" voltage circuit stuff can appear at the flash shoe contacts - not a good situation for your camera's computer circuit boards.]

Last edited by pacerr; 11-29-2014 at 02:23 PM.
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