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12-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
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Have I broken my Mecablitz flash already?

Hi there - please be gentle, I'm new round these here parts and also I guess to some of the more technical aspects of photography...

Basically I have a K100D and received a Mecablitz 36 AF-4 for Christmas. Decided to mess around and see if I could get it to work the other day, so chucked some batteries in, turned it on and pressed the little clear button to make it flash (sure there's a technical term for that...). At least I assume that's what the little clear button is for as I can't find a diagram and it's not mentioned afaik in the instruction manual! Anyway it flashed when I pressed it a few times so I decided to attach it to my camera.

Got it onto the hotshoe fine and it all seemed to be working and connected. Took one picture where it definitely flashed and then tried to take another and there was no flash - no settings changes or anything like that as far as I could tell. After a lot more messing around with modes etc and still no flash I took it back off the camera and tried pressing that little clear button again - no flash.

I'm now worried I've broken it before I even had a chance to use it but I've probably just done something silly. The 36 AF-4 doesn't have too many buttons to choose from in an attempt to get it to work so I've run out of ideas.

If anyone can help I would be eternally grateful

Becki

12-29-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
Hi there - please be gentle, I'm new round these here parts and also I guess to some of the more technical aspects of photography...

Welcome, and hi, there. Don't worry, I know much about photography and am regularly confused by these 'newfangled automatic things' myself.

(This may mean I can be of limited help in this case, but let's see.)


QuoteQuote:
Basically I have a K100D and received a Mecablitz 36 AF-4 for Christmas. Decided to mess around and see if I could get it to work the other day, so chucked some batteries in, turned it on and pressed the little clear button to make it flash (sure there's a technical term for that...).
Hearing you. It's just called a 'test button.' If you want it to sound technical, you need to maybe talk like some bush pilot saying, 'Oh, yeah, I fire test buttons all the time,' in an exaggeratedly-casual way. Act like you're chewing two pieces of gum at once.

(Yes, I intend to be helpful, rather than just silly. )


QuoteQuote:
Got it onto the hotshoe fine and it all seemed to be working and connected. Took one picture where it definitely flashed and then tried to take another and there was no flash - no settings changes or anything like that as far as I could tell. After a lot more messing around with modes etc and still no flash I took it back off the camera and tried pressing that little clear button again - no flash.

I'm now worried I've broken it before I even had a chance to use it but I've probably just done something silly. The 36 AF-4 doesn't have too many buttons to choose from in an attempt to get it to work so I've run out of ideas.
My guess here is that it's possible the flash tube blew on the first shot. This would be a rarity, but it's possible. Does the flash continue to show by the light or sound like it is powering up? Going off once, then dying, sounds like a fault in the unit, rather than anything else.

Any signs of life, or, so to speak, is all normal but for the no firing?

It can't hurt, too, to restart everything you did from the beginning, (including inserting batteries and turning on the camera) and then seeing if you get any joy. Point at a dark area, too, chances are that any flash-enabled mode on the camera will still ask for flash, regardless of any other setting.


Anyway, tell us more: like when and if that button lights up. There are people here who know more about what the computers in camera and flash might tell each other, but let's start with if we have power, and when, if that's intermittent. My guess is you may have a defect that blew the first time the whole unit fired, and need to exchange that flash, though. I've been looking at one of those, myself, since they're small.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-29-2009 at 05:44 PM.
12-29-2009, 06:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
Hi there - please be gentle, I'm new round these here parts and also I guess to some of the more technical aspects of photography...
Hi and welcome. I Googled your instruction manual and noticed a few things right away.

My first suggestion is (if the flash was given to you new) READ THE MANUAL - or Google and download it if your flash was second-hand.

Now that that's out of the way
QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
Basically I have a K100D and received a Mecablitz 36 AF-4 for Christmas. Decided to mess around and see if I could get it to work the other day, so chucked some batteries in,
Did you use Lithium batteries? The manual cautions not to use lithiums - the voltage is too high for the electronics. The manual also cautions to install the batteres with the +/- poles in the correct directions, but although the manual says it can, I can't imagine how doing it incorrectly could harm the flash.
QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
turned it on and pressed the little clear button to make it flash (sure there's a technical term for that...). At least I assume that's what the little clear button is for as I can't find a diagram
AFAIK the manual did not have a diagram of the flash - although it conveniently is written in several languages that I cannot read.

There is, however, an ON/OFF switch on the side of the flash. Did you accidentally turn the flash off and neglect to turn it back on?
QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
and it's not mentioned afaik in the instruction manual! Anyway it flashed when I pressed it a few times so I decided to attach it to my camera.
The manual suggests that the capacity of the flash is limited to 10-15 continuously-repeated flashes, after which it must be "rested." Apparently it protects itself against overheating.
QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
Got it onto the hotshoe fine and it all seemed to be working and connected. Took one picture where it definitely flashed and then tried to take another and there was no flash - no settings changes or anything like that as far as I could tell. After a lot more messing around with modes etc and still no flash I took it back off the camera and tried pressing that little clear button again - no flash.
Again, the flash has a protection circuit. Have you tried to use the flash again after some time has passed?
QuoteOriginally posted by bekibutton Quote
I'm now worried I've broken it before I even had a chance to use it but I've probably just done something silly. The 36 AF-4 doesn't have too many buttons to choose from in an attempt to get it to work so I've run out of ideas.

If anyone can help I would be eternally grateful

Becki
There are several models of this flash, customized to the Program Modes of the major camera brands. The Pentax model has a "P" appended to the end of the Model number = 36 AF-4-P. Is your flash the Pentax-specific model?

Last odd thoughts - the Pentax model (alone amongst them) has an automatic TTL setting and a P-TTL setting. If there is a menu options, and since you pushed a lot of buttons, if you accidentally set the flash for TTL (for use with manual cameras and less sophisticated digitals) it might not work on your P-TTL camera until you reset it.

Lastly, Here is a website maintained by mattdm, a member of PentaxForuns.com, that goes into great detail about flashes, Metz flashes and your flash (linked). You may get something there that the manual doesn't have - even Matt says the Metz manuals and translations lack clarity.
12-30-2009, 05:17 AM   #4
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First of all let me say I love these forums already! Such nice people, and I can view the forums on my mobile too

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady:
If you want it to sound technical, you need to maybe talk like some bush pilot saying, 'Oh, yeah, I fire test buttons all the time,' in an exaggeratedly-casual way.
Haha, I will try that!

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady:
Does the flash continue to show by the light or sound like it is powering up? Any signs of life, or, so to speak, is all normal but for the no firing?
The little green 'ready' light continues to go on and I can still hear the high-pitched whine when it's powering up.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady:
It can't hurt, too, to restart everything you did from the beginning, (including inserting batteries and turning on the camera) and then seeing if you get any joy. Point at a dark area, too, chances are that any flash-enabled mode on the camera will still ask for flash, regardless of any other setting.
I've just removed the batteries and reinserted them, put the flash onto the hotshoe again, turned the camera on and then the flash - a little flash icon pops up in my viewfinder - and just tried taking some pics on Auto mode for both camera and flash (should that work?) which didn't make the flash fire and also came out completely black. My camera 'knows' when the flash is charged because the flash icon, er, flashes, until the flash unit is 'ready'.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
My first suggestion is (if the flash was given to you new) READ THE MANUAL
I did - not that a lot of it made much sense to me!

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
Did you use Lithium batteries? The manual also cautions to install the batteres with the +/- poles in the correct directions
They're alkaline batteries and I've installed them as per the little diagram on the inside of the battery compartment.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
The manual suggests that the capacity of the flash is limited to 10-15 continuously-repeated flashes, after which it must be "rested."
I managed maybe 5 flashes off camera and one on.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
Again, the flash has a protection circuit. Have you tried to use the flash again after some time has passed?
I tried to use it again after half an hour, a couple of hours, 12 hours and a couple of days

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
The Pentax model has a "P" appended to the end of the Model number = 36 AF-4-P. Is your flash the Pentax-specific model?
Yep, definitely has a 'P' on it!

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
If there is a menu options, and since you pushed a lot of buttons, if you accidentally set the flash for TTL it might not work on your P-TTL camera until you reset it.
This is going to sound so stupid but how would I know if this is what I've done? I checked in my K100D manual about P-TTL but it wasn't helpful and just mentioned Pentax brand flashes and said 'set the external flash mode to [P-TTL auto]' which I don't have an option for...

What's worrying me the most about this flash is the test button not working. The fact that it doesn't work on-camera is probably just my lack of knowledge and experience tbh!

Thank you so much for your help

Becki

12-30-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
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From your response (without actual knowledge) it seems you recevied a defective flash - not your fault, you didn't "break" it. RML suggests the flash tube may have blown. That seems likely, the more so because if it is going to go bad it will do so right away.

I would return the flash for a replacement.
12-30-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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Hi,

We had to go past the shop where it was bought today anyway so I took it in, explained, and the manager decided that it was probably defective and has ordered me a replacement

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome:
not your fault, you didn't "break" it
Hurrah! But not the best start to my flash-owning adventures, huh?

Thank you again for your help

Becki
12-30-2009, 02:49 PM   #7
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Hi Bekki - welcome to the forum.

Glad to hear you got it sorted out.

One word of caution with flashes, you can get a very nasty electric shock off them so do not be tempted to take one apart unless you know what you are doing.
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