I was reading some posts where the service manual of the Vivitar 285HV was requested. If I understood well, you are the happy owner of it. As I need to modify the flash, would it please be possible to email it to me? I would be forever thankful!!
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You don't need a Manual. In 285 HV there is only one Power on/off switch. If that switch is on and batteries are new Alkaline (like duracell-no chepo )or fully charged and working rechargebles,and yet the ready light do not come the flash has defect inside.For sure.
The flash tube for these kinds of units are not user changeable- high voltages and electronics technical expertise are required for safe and successful replacement. Find a qualfied service facility through your dealer.
Personally, I would not try it. While the Canon has a protection system built into the camera, the trigger voltage on the Vivitar is pretty high. I have had good results using a 283 on a slave shoe, you will have to stop down more with the extra light
I had the same problem on a new 285HV flash. I pulled it apart and found a blown resistor and track in the head of the flash. The flash was fairly easy to pull apart, there is a clip hiding behind the blue disk, the rest is just screws. There are 3 circuit boards, two in the base and one in the head. The blown resister is in the head and is the large resister next to the violet wire. From the edge of the board there is R22 brown-black-brown, two diodes, another resistor yellow-violet-brown and then the one that died. I have the service manual for the flash and it is titled 285/285HV but the circuit board in the service manual and in the flash are different. After much studying of the circuit diagram I believe the value of the resister is 12K 2watt (90% sure, if not it is 10K 2watt). I replaced the resistor with the 12K and was able to use the extra length of the leg of the resistor to bypass the blown track, used some heat shrink to insulate the leg from shorting out with the board. I have tested the flash and it is working but I have not used it extensively. Disclaimer: this board is right next to the capacitor, you don't want to touch it if it has a charge. Use a multimeter to check. I bought the resistor from here: www.digikey.com Part No. P12KW-2BK-ND $0.206 (min order 5 still only a $1.03) Good luck and remember I am not an electronics tech and your problem may be different to mine. Richard