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09-06-2019, 12:27 AM   #1
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ME Super Trigger Voltage

I have an old Agfatronic 182 C flash. The trigger voltage is just under 70V - is this compatible with the ME Super?

09-06-2019, 03:34 AM   #2
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Back in the seventies I used flashes with trigger voltages up to 150V with my ME Super - never any problems.

Electronic-heavy cameras of that era were still rare.
I seem to remember Pentax advertised the LX to use a Mercury tube switch to separate the flash trigger circuit from the body electronics.

Last edited by RKKS08; 09-06-2019 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Typing
09-06-2019, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

The ME Super manual* indicates that flashes other than the Pentax models may be used. I would take that to be a green light for commonly available electronic flash of the time. As noted above, the ME Super was sold at a time when trigger voltages might be quite high and when camera manufacturers were just beginning to offer dedicated flash features and branded flash units to support those features. As a result, flash incompatibilities were pretty rare and it was not unusual for generic flash to be bundled by dealers as part of a value-added kit.

To explain a little more fully, flash sync may be done by using an electronic timing circuit (voltage/current sensitive) or the traditional method of using a physical switch actuated by the shutter mechanism (voltage/current robust). With the second type, the sync circuitry is typically fully isolated from whatever camera electronics might be present. Use of a physical switch was the norm in the 1970s up through most of the 1980s. A dead giveaway for non-electronic sync timing is the ability to operate without batteries, even if for only one shutter speed. Your ME Super is one such camera.


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Last edited by stevebrot; 09-06-2019 at 07:04 AM.
09-06-2019, 07:56 AM   #4
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The old (pre China) Vivitar 283's had trigger voltages up near 300v, and many were used on ME Supers and such without issue.

It's only when electronic triggering of flashes arrived (especially for supporting features like rear curtain sync) that high voltages would smoke the circuits.

The only exception to that I've seen over the years was on an old Polaroid passport camera that people would hook up to multiple flashes (front light, background light, typically). The very high trigger voltage would actually spot weld the flash contacts on the shutter together.

Those fairly crude cameras were easy to fix. Pop off the front cover, pry the flash contacts apart and polish the surfaces, then put it back together.

Never seen that happen on a 35mm SLR though. However, I did once see a Canon Rebel (film model) that would only open its shutter every other shot after it was hooked up to an old high-voltage Metz when it shouldn't have been. Great way to get 18 shots on a 36 exposure roll.

09-06-2019, 09:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
The old (pre China) Vivitar 283's had trigger voltages up near 300v, and many were used on ME Supers and such without issue.
I have one of each bought in the 70s, and never had any problems. A few years ago I bought a used 283 to go with my first 300+ volt one. It's trigger voltage is 8V, so I can use it on my K10D and K-5IIs.
09-06-2019, 08:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

The ME Super manual* indicates that flashes other than the Pentax models may be used. I would take that to be a green light for commonly available electronic flash of the time. As noted above, the ME Super was sold at a time when trigger voltages might be quite high and when camera manufacturers were just beginning to offer dedicated flash features and branded flash units to support those features. As a result, flash incompatibilities were pretty rare and it was not unusual for generic flash to be bundled by dealers as part of a value-added kit.

To explain a little more fully, flash sync may be done by using an electronic timing circuit (voltage/current sensitive) or the traditional method of using a physical switch actuated by the shutter mechanism (voltage/current robust). With the second type, the sync circuitry is typically fully isolated from whatever camera electronics might be present. Use of a physical switch was the norm in the 1970s up through most of the 1980s. A dead giveaway for non-electronic sync timing is the ability to operate without batteries, even if for only one shutter speed. Your ME Super is one such camera.


Steve

* Available free from Pentax Manuals | Manual Focus (use password "Pentax" to unlock PDF)
wow thanks heaps for sharing your knowledge
09-06-2019, 08:35 PM   #7
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thanks guys - awesome knowledge kicking around on here.
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