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01-20-2014, 08:26 PM   #1
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Did I get lucky?

I recently get an old flash with a Pentax ME camera I bought, and figured I'd throw some new batteries in it and try it out on my K5-ii.

I fired it a few times, it worked, and I threw it in my bag. Out of curiosity I started looking into what I had done, and found that the flash I used tops out at about 200 volts... and people worry about using anything over 10 volts...

My camera seems fine, but could there be a problem that has yet to surface?

Call me paranoid, but I'll be disgusted if I ruined an expensive camera due to my ignorance! I didn't think an old flash could ruin a camera.

Thanks for any help,

01-20-2014, 08:52 PM   #2
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Good question. When I'm not using my Pentax AF540, I sometimes use an old Vivitar 285 with a surge protector. I confess that I've forgotten the protector on the odd occasion (fortunately with my old DS2 and not my K10D or K5), but it hasn't cooked the camera yet. That said, it would be well worth investing in a surge protector.
01-20-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
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Normally over voltage from a flash fries things all at once when it decides to, so it's fine until its not and then its very not. What I mean is if its not broken right now its fine but the above advice is good. Or toss it in the trash and get a better one.
Unless it has really good stepped power manual controls or something its probably not worth using.
My personal favorite "cheap" flash is the Pentax AF 280T which can be had for almost nothing. You can safely trigger 2 of those at once (by the numbers anyways) which I do using a short off camera flash cord that allows a flash to be mounted on top of its camera hot shoe connection also. It also does TTL with my old Super Program that I still use or auto by itself and has a telephoto or wide angle attachement. Its downside is that it only has 2 manual power settings if you want to go full manual and wont power up with most rechargables (I hear eneloops work) or with low batteries, and the battery door can be a bit fiddly on some (cheap latch) but is fine on both of mine.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the 280T also does tilt and swivel which is beyond handy and it even can tilt slightly down. Plus its fairly easy to make light boxes for it using the same attaching rail the wide and telephoto adapters slide into.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 01-20-2014 at 09:43 PM.
01-20-2014, 09:51 PM   #4
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i have been using philips 25cb flash with 150 trigger voltages on my pentak k-r dslr for the last couple of months frequently without any problem. it is a matter of self-satisfaction in my opinion.

01-20-2014, 11:55 PM   #5
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If it is working normally with other flashes, I doubt you caused any damage.

I've personally killed an RF-602 radio receiver with a high voltage Vivitar flash, so the danger really is there. It worked fine for a few shots, then it started becoming unreliable until it finally quit firing all together. While I'm sure the flash circuit in a high end body is far better than a Yongnuo trigger, I still don't think it is worth the risk when safe flashes can be found for very little money.
01-21-2014, 12:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
Normally over voltage from a flash fries things all at once when it decides to, so it's fine until its not and then its very not.
High voltages can kill slowly. ESD is a good example and lightning is another one; I have had professional experience with the former and home experience with the latter.

It just damages some electronics a little bit. Due to this, during normal functioning of the electronics additional heat can be generated in it that will slowly make the damage worse. It might make the device start behaving unreliably untill the device eventually dies.

Not saying that damage is done in this case; there usually is protection built in and I've a heard a several people saying that they have used high voltage flashes on Pentax cameras without ill effects. You can always opt for a Wein SafeSync.
01-21-2014, 04:11 AM   #7
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from someone who's worked in electronic repairs for the past 40 years - you got lucky
01-21-2014, 07:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for the help guys. I assume any camera problems I would encounter would only involve external flash capabilities though, correct? I rarely have found a use to use any external flash as of yet, so hopefully even if I do encounter a problem it will only affect the use of those...

01-21-2014, 09:26 AM   #9
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No, it can affect anything.

But being the optimist, I would say that you should just enjoy your camera; you might never encounter any problem and praise Pentax for their rock solid design.

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