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Nikon SB600 flash won't fire

I changed a broken Xenon tube inside my flash unit. Because the new tube was not original - it was 4 mm longer, so even though the unit worked fine after my repair, I couldn't close it. So I ordered another tube, a little shorter than the 1st one. Soldered it to its place, and now the flash won't fire for some reason. I checked, and there's high voltage between the trigger to each sides of the tube's contacts. I also hear tick sound every time I press the TEST button, but no Flash light! What do you think seems to be the problem now?

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  • Jake Okun Feb 21, 2012

    I really don't know the part number of the thyristor. I do have the electronics schematics, but it's not there as a part number.
    I don't have a spare board either, that's the problem.. I'm not sure it's worth the cash - if it's not the faulty unit.
    That's why i'm so eager to pinpoint the problem.



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There may be a short, or it is arcing over,

Test fire it in the dark to see if you can locate the arc. If no arc, it is likely arcing in the charge capacitor or what might be left of the thyristor.. Which could mean a broken contact, solder connection or wire..

Posted on Feb 19, 2012

Testimonial: "Very detailed answer. I will test this. Thank you very much!"

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  • Jake Okun Feb 20, 2012

    I already tested the contacts on both PCB's and it looks ok.. though, I don't know the exact voltage values.
    Can I test for proper voltage values with a simple digital multimeter?
    If so, which values should I expect between the trigger and the flash tube contacts?
    And another thing.. If the the SCR/thyristor or even the trigger coil itself fails, replacing the entire left PCB-K would fix the problem? (it's the PCB with the green trigger coil).

  • John McPherson Feb 20, 2012

    Voltage values will vary, if you can locate a device number of the thyrister you can do a part look up at Digikey and usually it will come up with the right part, if the specs for the old one are in their system. Xenon tubes should fire at 750 volts so most digital volt meters should be in their safe range and most are a10 Megohm impedance so they should not load the circuit excessively.

    If you have a spare board handy- try it. It beats trying to seek out the one failed component, it is what many service centers do.

  • John McPherson Feb 21, 2012

    It is possible too the xenon tube is defective. Since it worked before with the longer tube, I would try that one again just to test the integrity of the circuit. If it fires, the shorter strobe tube is defective. If the old tube that did work does not fire, then you need to look at the circuit board components

    I would check the thyristor for excess leakage or failed conditon. If a part number on the device itself itself is not available, You can try a 1000 volt 4 Amp SCR or Triac. If the original were an SCR, the Triac should work fine.

    In most cases pin 3 is the gate. this controls the device. With an SCR, pin 1 is the Cathode and pin 2 is the anode. the resistance between 1 and 2 should be very high, both polarities of test applied alternaternatly. When pin 3 is shorted to pin 2, it should behave like a diode- current flows when leads are one polarity across the device - fairly low resistance, and then high resistance when leads reversed. A triac will conduct AC current so resistance should be lower in on state (pin 3 connected/ shorted) than in the off state. No need to reverse leads.

    Checking the coil will be a little difficullt as one winding is not connected at both ends. This one usually is terminated at the middle of the xenon tube. The other windings should show some resistance.



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