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11-17-2018, 07:22 PM   #1
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PZ-1P flash won't pop up?

My PZ-1P, which I love using, has developed a problem. I press the little button to pop up the flash and nothing happens. The camera works fine in all other respects, including with external flash (AF-360FGZ). The pop-up flash has worked great for the 18 months that I've owned the camera, until today. I thought maybe I could press the button and manually open the flash, but the top plate of the flash fits so closely to the top cover that I can't find a seam large enough to get my fingernail in there to pry it up. I've searched this Forum and the web for guidance, and I realize that this is a common issue with this model (either not popping up, or popping up and not going all the way to full position or not going back down) and may be related to a spring in the mechanism. I have the following questions:
1 - If I force the flash up (say by using a pin or something to pry it up) will that cause further damage?
2 - Is it worth trying to swab alcohol on the release button (assuming it may be an electrical problem under the button)? I have no idea whether or not the release is initiated electronically by action of the release button (being a momentary contact) or if the button actually releases the flash mechanically.
3 - Is there a known fix for the "fail to pop up" problem that I can try? I'm not an expert at repairs, but have done some.
4 - As a last resort, is this something that an expert Pentax repair person can fix?

Please don't bother telling me "don't use pop-up flashes, everyone hates them" because I don't hate them. I like to be able to use the pop up flash on occasion, and have like the results using this one. Of course, I can just add a flash to the hotshoe, and have several Pentax flashes on hand, but I'd like my camera to work as intended if I can.

I read that one user here made a hole near the flash top plate to make it easy to move it up when desired, and wedged it up to allow flash usage when necessary. I guess that could be one alternative as well.

Thanks in advance for your advice. --> Richard.

11-17-2018, 08:22 PM   #2
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From what I can gather reading the manuals the popup on your camera uses the same mechanism as the SF series. The mechanism on those (and many of the other Pentax cameras from that era) are mechanical not electrical. Good luck.

Last edited by Docrwm; 11-17-2018 at 08:43 PM.
11-17-2018, 08:32 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have a ZX-5 with a similar problem. Yes it's a small spring which is broken, detached or lost. Usually I can hold the camera up-side down and press the button and the flash will open enough for me to control it. At that point I have a small piece of "sponge" material which holds it up when needed.

I don't use it often as I also have external flash units on hand, but there are times I just want "that" shot and it's the camera I have on hand.
11-17-2018, 10:20 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I don't know if the PZ uses the same part as the MZ / ZX series but here is a DIY repair. Note the part in question is (or at least used to be) available from USCamera.com. I haven't checked recently.

MZ 5 : Built in Flash repair - PentaxForums.com

11-18-2018, 04:34 AM   #5
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I'm pretty sure it's a sprung loaded mechanism, the spring holding it up and the release mechanism locking it down and releasing the spring (my EI2000 has a similar issue). With the EI2000 I can raise the flash (which is a different design) by pushing the back of the flash down 'see-sawing' the front up enough to lift it manually (haven't tried this on a Z-1). I presume the spring has either broken or is mis-placed.

Edit: It's not just about the flash, you need to pop it up for the AF illuminator as well (unless you use an external flash with one).
11-18-2018, 10:01 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
From what I can gather reading the manuals the popup on your camera uses the same mechanism as the SF series. The mechanism on those (and many of the other Pentax cameras from that era) are mechanical not electrical. Good luck.
Thanks very much, good to know!

---------- Post added 11-18-2018 at 11:01 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
I have a ZX-5 with a similar problem. Yes it's a small spring which is broken, detached or lost. Usually I can hold the camera up-side down and press the button and the flash will open enough for me to control it. At that point I have a small piece of "sponge" material which holds it up when needed.

I don't use it often as I also have external flash units on hand, but there are times I just want "that" shot and it's the camera I have on hand.
Thanks, I'll try holding it upside down.

---------- Post added 11-18-2018 at 11:03 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
I don't know if the PZ uses the same part as the MZ / ZX series but here is a DIY repair. Note the part in question is (or at least used to be) available from USCamera.com. I haven't checked recently.

MZ 5 : Built in Flash repair - PentaxForums.com
Thanks! I wasn't aware of US Camera for parts, looks like a great resource. Also thanks for the suggestion at looking at repair strategies for other Pentax models, that may give me some good ideas.

---------- Post added 11-18-2018 at 11:04 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
I'm pretty sure it's a sprung loaded mechanism, the spring holding it up and the release mechanism locking it down and releasing the spring (my EI2000 has a similar issue). With the EI2000 I can raise the flash (which is a different design) by pushing the back of the flash down 'see-sawing' the front up enough to lift it manually (haven't tried this on a Z-1). I presume the spring has either broken or is mis-placed.

Edit: It's not just about the flash, you need to pop it up for the AF illuminator as well (unless you use an external flash with one).
Thanks, good idea on pushing on the back to force it up, I'll try that.

---------- Post added 11-18-2018 at 11:37 AM ----------

OK, some progress! I held the camera upside down while pushing the flash pop button, and the flash opened just enough for me to get my finger on the seam and raise it up all the way. Once raised it stays about 95% up when returned right-side-up, and the flash fires correctly. When I push it down it re-seats. I can pop it up again, but only if camera is upside down. So, I can use it in current form, and might even consider putting a foam spacer to hold it up all the way as another Forum member said he does with his PZ-1P. However, I can see a loose spring inside the flash housing (may be attached at one end still) - right in the center (I expected it to be at the side?). I'm concerned I might loose the spring if I just pop it open and use it this way.

Have any of you disassembled the PZ-1P? I do have parts lists and a service manual I found on the web, and found some description of what screws to remove to get the top cover off. I know about the dangers of stored energy in the flash capacitor.

My wife says I should just send it to an expert, even though it would cost a lot more. I've fixed a few old cameras, but I do have a Petri Color 35 still in pieces because the shutter wouldn't cock when I reassembled it. The shutter worked fine before disassembly, I completely re-did the meter wiring and repaired the battery box with a new terminal insulator I 3D printed myself. The meter works like a charm now, but if I could only figure out what I did wrong on the shutter linkage I'll be all set.

--> Richard.
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