Vivitar 283 won't fire


Hi. I have an old'ish 283 and it seems to charge fine but it won't fire from my cameras hotshoe. It DOES fire manually by pushing the button on the back of the flash, however when I tried on several different hotshoes (different cameras) it wouldn't respond. Is it possible to fix this? Thanks, Serge

Hi if it is a Japanese 283, CAREFUL, you are working with ~300V
remove the sensor from the front. Short out the terminals at 7 o'clock and 11 o'clock with eg a paper clip, and then charge up the flash . Short the centre terminal with the one at 7 o'clock. If the flash fires, then it probably needs a replacement hot shoe from ebay. If it doesn't, it is a simple job to fix for an electronics worker. Manuals are available on ebay.
I repeat, careful with the Japanese flashes, you will have ~300 volts near you fingers, so if you are less than 100% confident that you won't blow the top of a finger (or worse), get an electronics worker to look at it.
Don't use the ebay hot shoes on a 300 volt flash, you will have the 300 volts out in the open and ready to bite you - have a look how well hidden the second contact is on the Vivitar plastic hot shoe.
Good luck the Feral Photographer

Since the flash is working on test, it means the connection to the camera via the hotshoe is not working. With the flash on and ready light showing that the flash has charged, take a small thin copper wire and short between the the metal spring on the side of the hotshoe (in the slot) and the round metal contact tip of the hot shoe. This should cause the flash to fire if the internal connections to the shoe are working.
If the shoe is working then it must be the camera that is not working. Many modern digital cameras cannot fire older flashes directly, because the voltages on these older flashes are too high. This could damage the camera or if the camera has protection against the high voltage, that will make it impossible to fire the flash. In that case you need an adapter. These are available cheaply. You should try borrowing a modern flash to test that your camera is still working and has not been damaged, if it is a modern electronic camera.

I had the same problem with my early Vivitar 283 flash.  I discovered that the thyristor on the trigger board tested as an open circuit. 

Trying to find a replacement for a 30 year old thyristor semi-conductor proved to be fruitless. 

My solution was to purchase a broken, late model Japanese 283 flash off of ebay and transfer the trigger board to my early Japanese model. The late model thyristors could handle more heat.

Problem solved.

Don't buy anything before you shop the bay and craiglook.com (don't put in a zip code) for another flash. Often a used flash is reasonably close to the price of a new part. Your flash may be worth the repair, I am not looking at it so I can't say.

If you want to get a part, and if the flash is a few years old, there will be broken models for sale everywhere. And Photo.net has a forum for everything related to cameras. I often get parts sent to me free even though I am willing to pay for them. Someone will have the part you need.

Other than that you can call the maker and ask if they will send you a part free. I am amazed by how many companies are willing to send free parts on things that should not have broken. It never hurts to ask.

Best wishes.

I purchased the Wein Slave Foot. The metal foot is designed to repair the plastic foot that, apparently, is prone to breakage. Mine is not broken, but I purchased the Slave Foot because the blurb stated that it would make my unit serve as a remote slave.

The setup works fine with my Sony A700 using either the built-in flash or in combination with my proprietary external Sony flash.

I have just purchased another used 283 and will be ordering the Wein Slave Foot from B&H in the morning.

Caruso

Check the contacts for the battery to make sure they are clean and shiny. Then insert 4 brand new AA batteries observing the correct polarity and try again. Also check your users manual to be sure all of your setting and connection to your camera is correct.

I hope this was a help to you and good luck!


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