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07-10-2008, 01:51 AM   #1
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HELP with understanding external flash....

I've just bought an external flash for my K10D (its an 'Achiever TZ250') but I can't make head or tail of what all the switches and charts on it mean??? I got is second hand and it didn't have an instruction manual... I did a google search but found nothing.... is there some website that will explain what these charts ect.. mean?
does anyone elsehave this flash?

Thanks for your help

07-10-2008, 02:44 AM   #2
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Emmanuel, make SURE that flash unit can be used without damaging your camera.
Older flash units operate on much higher voltages than modern ones and will fry your camera. You can check your flash online or use digital voltmeter and measure voltage across hotshoe pins.
07-10-2008, 02:49 AM   #3
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mmm... ok I've already tested it on my camer and it works fine.... what is a too high voltage??? I have a voltmeter to test it so I'll get back to you tommorrow
07-10-2008, 02:51 AM   #4
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OOOPPS!!! that wasn't my account it was logged in under my brothers account!! but is was my question!!

mmm... ok I've already tested it on my camer and it works fine.... what is a too high voltage??? I have a voltmeter to test it so I'll get back to you tommorrow

07-10-2008, 03:12 AM   #5
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The voltage limit is an elusive thing. Some say anything under 30v is fine, some say keep it under 10v, and Pentax won't give you a straight answer. But some older flashes can be as high as 200-300v, so definitely check it out. If it is higher, there is still hope, as there are hot shoe adapters like the Safe Syncs
07-10-2008, 06:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emmanuel Quote
I've just bought an external flash for my K10D (its an 'Achiever TZ250') but I can't make head or tail of what all the switches and charts on it mean??? I got is second hand and it didn't have an instruction manual... I did a google search but found nothing.... is there some website that will explain what these charts ect.. mean?
does anyone elsehave this flash?

Thanks for your help
Those are manual exposure chart for what aperture you should choose at what aperture and at what ISO, usually with H and L discharge output for two scales at the top and the bottom.

If you need some of the examples and more illustration, just download an user manual of an older type Pentax flash units at the Pentax website.
07-10-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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My local Pentax repair center told me that the upper limit was 30Volts and I should always try to stay below 25 volts.

The manual for the older flashes like the AF160 or AF 200 should help. Find them here:
Pentax Flashes, AF280t, af200s, af200t, af160, AF330FTZ, instruction manual, user manual, free PFD camera manuals
07-10-2008, 03:36 PM   #8
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I checked it with my Voltmeter and it registered at 14.20 volts, so I assume that it will be fine with my camera! it apears to be a farily modern flash as it talks to my camera and the camera registers it as a flash and it can control the brightness and modes of the flash.
I'd already taken 2 dozen photos with the flash before I posted here so I assume that it would have already fried the camera if it was too high voltage
thanks a lot for your sugestions


Last edited by Emmanuel; 07-10-2008 at 03:40 PM. Reason: typos
07-10-2008, 05:18 PM   #9
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Just found a great website about flash voltages....
Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
it has the Achiever TZ250 there as having only 8.5 volts......
07-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #10
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Hi Emmanuel,

I have one of those flashguns (although from your description I'm not sure it's the same... pretty sure mine doesn't get controlled by the camera other than to fire when the shutter is released). My sister has it at the moment (using it with a bridge camera). I put it on my K10D before I got a AF540FGZ and it didn't fry it like you've found out... unlike you, I was aware of the possibilty so was a little bit aprehensive!

As for using it.... (working from memory here, so could be wrong!)

Have you got it set to Pentax mode? There's a little semi hidden switch (I think you tilt the head up to get at it). It has about three settings, one of which has a P. That's the one you want. This probably just makes it use the correct pins to suit.

The red and blue settings on the front of the flash specify the range that it thinks it can achieve correct exposure in. It might have a third (white?) setting which is 'manual - full power'. Whatever blue or red setting you've got it on corresponds to the range shown on the back. You set the film speed to match the camera, then set your camera to the indicated f-stop (and a shutter speed no greater than the sync speed of 1/180th sec) and anything that's within the range shown should be exposed correctly. The w/n/t (Wide/Normal/Tele) setting should be set to match whatever setting you have the flash head set to. I can remember what mm those ranges equate to. there's a little diffuser that clips onto the flashhead to give extra-wide (film equiv. 24mm I think) coverage The flash itself meters the light to control the light output.

Something like that! if you have a specific question, fire away and I (or someone else) might be able to answer.

Cheers, Nige
07-10-2008, 11:07 PM   #11
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Thanks for those tips Nige,
I can figure out what the charts mean now I think the flash I've got is a little bit different than yours, as it connects and intergrates with my K10D quite well. I set can set the camera to red-eyeflash or trailing-curtain-sync and it sends that to the flash..... anyway thanks for your sugestions......
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