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04-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #1
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Off-camera flash not firing

So I've never worked with an off-camera flash before -- this is an exciting time. I just received my Vivitar 285HV and have it plugged into my camera by a PC cable. I've tried everything I can think of go get the flash to fire with the shutter but can't get it to go off. It'll work on the camera perfectly but not off. I've tried with the built-in flash up and down and in every flash setting I can find with no luck. Yes, the flash is on and charged.

I've included a pic so you can see what I'm working with in the hopes that might help. Any advice is appreciated.



04-19-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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make sure your shutter speed is 1/180 or longer.
04-19-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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Done did that. Ambient light reading was for a 1" shutter speed.
04-19-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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Short the pins on the camera end of the cable. i.e. make sure the cable and the hot-shoe adapter are functional.
If shorting the cable makes the flash fire, then the camera may be FUBAR. I'd be more apt to guess the adapter or cable is the problem.
I have half a dozen hot-shoe adapters with pass-through PC connectors, but only one connector works on each.

04-19-2012, 03:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help! How do I do that?
04-19-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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Pull out the cable from the camera. Leave it plugged into the flash, on, in manual mode.
Use a paper clip to connect the center post to the outside metal of the plug you pulled out from the camera.
If it fires then your cable is good, bad news is the camera PC port may be busted.
If it doesn't fire, then yay! - get a new cable.

Or you may try cheap a wireless flash trigger instead.
04-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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It didn't fire! Which seems like good news in this case.

But I'm no less frustrated. What can I do to figure out which piece is the offender?
04-19-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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Just take one piece at a a time.
Pull the cable from the hot-shoe adapter, and short the pins on the hot-shoe adapter where the cable was. :-)

Hopefully the hot-shoe adapter is the problem. Those cables are expensive... but probably more likely to break from use. :-(

04-19-2012, 04:12 PM   #9
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As Amoringello stated above the adapter or cable is probably the issue. If you can pull the cable off the adapter, check if on the cable port in the adapter you can see where the outside contact and inside pin are. If possible try shorting those.

If it works then it is the cable. If not then it is the adapter.

Make sure the adapter has good contact to the flash contacts. If it is older try cleaning with alcohol.
04-19-2012, 04:27 PM   #10
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Molotschna? Are you OK? Should we call the paramedics?
04-19-2012, 05:44 PM   #11
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Na, just went out to get a sandwich. I'll check this out in the next bit and see if I can't isolate the problem.

Thanks again for everybody's help! I'll be back with results soon!
04-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #12
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Ok, so here's where I'm at. I can get flash to fire if I set it on a little light sensor slave and trigger it with the camera, and I can get it to fire if I put the little shoe adapter onto the flash once it's hot. Like I said earlier, I can also get it to fire if it's on top of the camera. But that's it. So is it the cable? Am I overlooking something?
04-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #13
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And one more thing, just to cover my bases: I'm using a PC male to PC male cord. That seems to me to be the correct thing to do. The flash came with a short Vivitar to PC cable but I can't see anything to do with it. Am I correct?
04-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #14
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Shoot, and one more one more thing. I'm not well versed in the way the flash unit is signaled to fire, but if it matters at all, the little silver ball on the bottom of my 285HV rests on a circle of black plastic surrounded by metal on the adapter. I found that a bit strange because I assumed there was some sort of signal transferrance that had to occur, necessitating the little ball be in contact with metal on the adapter. BTW, it is when the ball touches the metal on the adapter as it is slid into place that it discharges.
04-19-2012, 07:37 PM   #15
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If the hotshoe adapter is metal, you may be creating a short if the ball on the bottom of the flash touches metal. Put a piece of tape over the middle of the hot shoe connector to eliminate possible short.
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