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07-08-2014, 12:29 PM   #1
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Location: Chesterfield, Michigan
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Flash not waking up

I've got three older AF-500 FTZ flash units. Generally they work well. Recently I've been trying to use them in remote locations and now I have a problem.

If I do not use the flashes constantly, they go into a sleep mode to save on battery power. This is normal. My problem is, now two of the flashes don't "wake up" and I'm not able to reach them to reset the switches I have no idea why only one of the three flashes will wake up.

In my experimentation, I have switched wireless remotes and still the same flash unit is the only one that wakes up. The same other two flashes will not. At 10-20 feet, it isn't a distance problem.

Any thoughts on this?

Now to my main question:

Is there a way to make the AF-500FTZ flash units permanently not go into sleep mode and stay on all the time? If not, is there an easy way to make an automatic flash trigger to fire the flash every minute so? That way my flashes won’t ever go into sleep mode? (I have external battery packs on each flash so they should last an hour or two.)

07-08-2014, 03:36 PM   #2
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Now that is interesting to me.
About a year ago I purchased a 'bgn" AF-500FTZ. ..a risk but the price was very low.
The reason I purchased it was, it is the oldest, lowest cost ( with no compatibility with dslr) Pentax flash that works as optical slave.
It worked for a while , then started to have the symptoms you mention.

i searched for any service info and found none.
I have not opened it up yet, but I put it near an rf sensor connected to my oscilloscope.
As far as I can tell, it starts up from cold, the inverter charges the capacitor then idles with a few pulses infrequently to keep the capacitor charged.
At the first firing of the flash however, the inverter goes to sleep, does not re-start to charge the capacitor again. If the flash was at low level, it will give a few flashes before failing completely.
Your post make me think that there maybe a component in these flashes that is failing with age.

One clue, if the flash is switched off for 30 minutes, it comes back to life and the above cycle repeats. So I am thinking it is a component with a thermal problem.

Edit: I just powered the flash up after a few months, and it is working perfectly. I will fire it a few times and keep you posted.
By the way, I don't think the AF 500 FTZ had an intentional sleep mode in Slave position. See manual page 27.

Last edited by wombat2go; 07-08-2014 at 04:11 PM.
10-14-2014, 07:58 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chesterfield, Michigan
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Original Poster
I'd like to know your findings wombat2go. I very much know that heat destroys most electronics! As you said, it must by a thermal problem, but I'm not electronically trained, so...

It looks like I'll need to use them as slave units only. That's okay but also mentioned on Page 27, the slave flash is only operates up to approximately 10 meters. That okay for most needs but every-so-often I go for more spaced out distances.

Last edited by George E Norkus; 10-14-2014 at 08:16 PM. Reason: adding more data.
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