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07-04-2015, 01:32 AM   #1
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Spotmatic F: Flash on hotshoe isn't firing

Hello folks,

I own a spotty F and couldn't be happier. Yesterday I was messing around with flashes and to my surprise wasn't able to fire them. At first I thought 'maybe to many contacts' since the used metz 32ct3 has a few more than only middle pin and it also doesn't fire directly on my sony a6000. So I put a Yongnuo RF603 trigger between camera and flash (this way it works on the a6000) and it behaves weirdly. When I push it on the hotshoe it fires right on making contact, without hitting the shutter. It won't stop until I move it away from the contact on the hotshoe. But then it doesn't fire when I hit the shutter.
Trying the same with a Yongnuo 560 flash (only one middle pin) comes out the same, firing bursts or not at all.
Don't have a sync cable here to try if it's the hotshoe or not.

My question: is something wrong with the hotshoe or am I using the wrong flashes? I ordered a used Metz flash with middle pin only, maybe that will work. If not, I might end up using a cable.

07-04-2015, 09:35 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by rocah360 Quote
Hello folks,

I own a spotty F and couldn't be happier. Yesterday I was messing around with flashes and to my surprise wasn't able to fire them. At first I thought 'maybe to many contacts' since the used metz 32ct3 has a few more than only middle pin and it also doesn't fire directly on my sony a6000. So I put a Yongnuo RF603 trigger between camera and flash (this way it works on the a6000) and it behaves weirdly. When I push it on the hotshoe it fires right on making contact, without hitting the shutter. It won't stop until I move it away from the contact on the hotshoe. But then it doesn't fire when I hit the shutter.
Trying the same with a Yongnuo 560 flash (only one middle pin) comes out the same, firing bursts or not at all.
Don't have a sync cable here to try if it's the hotshoe or not.

My question: is something wrong with the hotshoe or am I using the wrong flashes? I ordered a used Metz flash with middle pin only, maybe that will work. If not, I might end up using a cable.
My 540fgz and my Metz-44af don't work on my Spot-F even on M 35mm mode, but older one contact flashes will. You could check it with an ohm setting on multimeter
07-05-2015, 02:32 PM   #3
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If you have a bricks & mortar camera store in your area that sells used gear, you should easily find an old flash for under $20.00. Of course you can use eBay, but the shipping will probably cost more that the flash. The Pentax Autorobo/ AF14/AF16/AF160/AF 200's are from that period, are inexpensive and will work.

Phil.
07-06-2015, 10:43 PM   #4
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I just pulled out my Sigma EF-610DG Super and surprise, surprise, it acts strange (fires, is slow to recharge, second flash prior to ready) in M mode on my Spotmatic II. Clearly, a less sophisticated flash is in order. My Pentax AF280T works just fine in auto and manual modes.


Steve

07-06-2015, 11:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I just pulled out my Sigma EF-610DG Super and surprise, surprise, it acts strange (fires, is slow to recharge, second flash prior to ready) in M mode on my Spotmatic II. Clearly, a less sophisticated flash is in order. My Pentax AF280T works just fine in auto and manual modes.


Steve
I have a suitcase full of Vivitar 283s for those old bodies with no dedicated flash shoe.

Funny, but my Sigma EF-610DG Super does the same thing on some bodies. Problem is that it is erratic in other ways on my K5II. There are so many reasons I wanted to love that flash, but it doesn't love me back.
07-07-2015, 01:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I have a suitcase full of Vivitar 283s for those old bodies with no dedicated flash shoe.

Funny, but my Sigma EF-610DG Super does the same thing on some bodies. Problem is that it is erratic in other ways on my K5II. There are so many reasons I wanted to love that flash, but it doesn't love me back.
Vivitar 283 is my favorite unsophisticated flash...
07-07-2015, 10:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Problem is that it is erratic in other ways on my K5II. There are so many reasons I wanted to love that flash, but it doesn't love me back.
I chalk it up to the Pentax P-TTL implementation. Things are particularly flaky with A-series lenses or when doing close-up work using manual focus.


Steve
07-07-2015, 01:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sliver-Surfer Quote
Vivitar 283 is my favorite unsophisticated flash...
They still work the same way after 30+ years that they did when new. Lots of accessories and DIY tweaks possible, too.

07-07-2015, 01:51 PM   #9
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Speaking of old flashes, I just found my third Pentax Autorobo at a b&m camera store near where I work at lunch today. The old 1973-77 "brick" flash works perfectly!

Phil.
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07-09-2015, 09:21 AM   #10
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So I got a new flash in the mail today, this time a Metz 32CT7 with only the standard middle pin shoe. It doesn't work either. I'm lost now. I set exposure time to X=1/60, but that didn't change anything. Film is inside.
I start to consider that my hotshoe is broken. Any thoughts?

Don't really want to buy a lot of other flashes. I do like the Pentax AF280t but it is over 30Ä on ebay at the moment, and I'm not even sure it will work.
Only middle must work under normal circumstances, but just for clarification, what is the contact on the hotshoe doing when I press the shutter? What I think is that when the shutter is pressed the middle contact on the hotshoe closes the electrical circuit for the flash and lets it fire. So there must be something wrong with the contact, maybe it doesn't now that the shutter has been pressed?
07-09-2015, 11:03 AM   #11
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Its likely broken...probably a case of contact corrosion somewhere inside camera.
07-13-2015, 02:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rocah360 Quote
My question: is something wrong with the hotshoe or am I using the wrong flashes? I ordered a used Metz flash with middle pin only, maybe that will work. If not, I might end up using a cable.
QuoteOriginally posted by rocah360 Quote
So I got a new flash in the mail today, this time a Metz 32CT7 with only the standard middle pin shoe. It doesn't work either.


Have you tested the hot shoe? It is easy enough if you have an ohm meter or continuity tester. Test the center spot against the hot shoe rail. The sync switch is normally closed open. Set the shutter on 1s and release the shutter. The switch circuit should close open shortly after the shutter release is pressed and open close as the shutter closes.

Edited: Got my terms proper...

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-14-2015 at 03:44 PM.
07-13-2015, 11:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote


Have you tested the hot shoe? It is easy enough if you have an ohm meter or continuity tester. Test the center spot against the hot shoe rail. The sync switch is normally closed. Set the shutter on 1s and release the shutter. The circuit should open shortly after the shutter release is pressed and close as the shutter closes.

Steve
no, I have neither available. But 1s wouldn't work because flash sync time is 1/60s and only then the sync switch would open.
I have disassembled the hotshot and found it a little corroded, looked all in all a bit sketchy. Talked with the seller, he took it back. I'm now looking for a new spotty F or esii.
07-14-2015, 02:47 PM   #14
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To correct:
The centre pin of the old ISO 518 hotshoe ( and the old pc connector) is normally open
When the shutter is fired, and after it is fully open, a voltage free contact (*) in the camera closes (or semiconductor device goes to on state) and if a flash is connected, pulls the centre pin to common (common being the rail of the hotshoe mount or the outer of the pc socket).

In the old days that allowed the current from the battery to ignite the flash bulb.
With an electronic flash, the tube is ionized when the center pin is pulled low.

(*) There is a pullup on the centre pin of the electronic flash to around 4.5 Volt.
Older electronic flashes might have a pullup voltage of from 12 volt to 300 Volt.

An ordinary digital multimeter on Ohms range might not detect the voltage free contact closure if it is too brief.

Edit: The Pentax shoe Fg and cable F5P, as shown, gives access to the pins for testing by oscilloscope
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Last edited by wombat2go; 07-14-2015 at 03:10 PM.
07-14-2015, 03:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rocah360 Quote
But 1s wouldn't work because flash sync time is 1/60s and only then the sync switch would open.
Glad you got resolution to this problem. I think you will find that the camera will properly sync at all speeds from 1s to the X position on the dial and that the circuit will close at all speeds including "B". The sync trigger is a simple reed switch actuated by the shutter curtain travel.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-14-2015 at 03:45 PM.
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