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06-04-2014, 06:31 AM   #1
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Used AF280 DOA - any ideas?

This may be a long shot, but I thought I would take a chance. I ordered an AF280 flash unit from EBay dirt cheap ($20). I knew it might not work being that cheap, and the seller did state that it was untested and sold as is. But for the price, I thought I would take a chance. When it arrived, I put in batteries and it was a no-go... Nothing... Wouldn't even power up. So I thought I would take one more chance and see if you guys had any ideas. This is the first external flash I've bought, so I know nothing about it. I did find a manual online & followed the steps to turn it on and test it. I even attached it to the camera and still nothing. So is it worth trying to repair, or write it off as a loss? Thanks in advance!

06-04-2014, 07:23 AM   #2
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I have a number of AF200T flashes I've acquired over the years. When these old flashes sit for a long time sometimes they develop a bit of corrosion on the contacts. This might be obvious or just a patina that you do not notice. I would check the battery compartment contacts carefully and using a bit of rough cloth like burlap or a dish scrubby buff the contacts a bit. I would also triple check to see that the batteries are in correctly and try at least two different sets. Examine it carefully for any cracks or obvious signs of damage. After that, if it does not work toss it and move on, definitely not worth the cost of repair.

Also, I've learned that on ebay "untested" usually means "can't get it to work so I'll sell it on to someone else and call it untested so they can't come back at me".
06-04-2014, 07:48 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice! I will try it when I get home this evening. I'll also pick up more batteries. I didn't see any cracks on first inspection. It appears to be in great condition.
You are right, though - I normally don't by anything with the words "untested" or "as is". I knew I was taking a chance when I did it. I'll probably stick with the safe way from now on. Thanks again.
06-04-2014, 08:11 AM   #4
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Sometimes 'untested' can mean that, maybe they don't have a camera a lens fits for example. But on a flash, pop in some batteries hit the test button. It either works or not.

I once spent a good hour messing with a flash and was about ready to trash it when I noticed that I was always putting the batteries in backwards

And by 'kitchen scrubby' I meant the non-metallic, non-soapy, and dry kind.

06-04-2014, 08:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Also, I've learned that on ebay "untested" usually means "can't get it to work so I'll sell it on to someone else and call it untested so they can't come back at me".
Exactly.

And "works good" often means simply that the power light came on.
06-04-2014, 09:40 AM   #6
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You may also be able to clean the contacts with a simple pencil eraser. They also make contact cleaner spray, but make sure it won't hurt the plastic if you would use something like that. And then dielectric grease will improve the contacts and keep them from corroding.

I stay away from ebay dealers who claim ignorance but have thousands of sales of camera equipment.

Last edited by ramseybuckeye; 06-04-2014 at 10:42 AM.
06-04-2014, 10:58 AM   #7
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Before you toss it, try wiggling the power switch on and off a few dozen times. The contacts can become tarnished when not used for a long while.

If you decide to take it apart, be cautious. There is a high voltage capacitor inside that may or may not be charged. It will, uh, surprise you.
06-04-2014, 11:23 AM   #8
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Wow. Lots of good advice. Thanks guys.

06-04-2014, 11:49 AM   #9
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If you can't get it to work and still want one, KEH has one for 23 dollars in bargain condition. I got mine from them for 25 dollars over a year ago and it's still going strong.

http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Manual-Focus-Shoe-Mount-Flashes/1/sku-PK219990375860?r=FE
06-04-2014, 12:53 PM   #10
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Yes!! It worked. While cleaning, I found some light corrosion on a spring that wasn't noticible before. It's now cleaned & has a new set of batteries. It flashes - now I need to read the manual & figure out how to use it...
Thank you all for the help!
@ bluestringer - thanks for the link. Looks like this is going to work, but maybe the link will benefit someone. And I will check with them next time I'm shopping for something.

---------- Post added 06-04-14 at 03:45 PM ----------

Even better than just reading the manual - I found an old thread on here telling how to use this flash with my camera (k-x). This day is getting better and better. That's why I love this site.

Last edited by TinaS; 06-04-2014 at 01:02 PM.
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