I have a 420EX that appears to not be firing the main flash. It will charge up and you can fire the pre-flash manually on the flash and also on my Rebel XTI. My camera will not remember the pre-flash, which is marked with an asterick that is seen in the view finder. All other functions seem to work on this flash, including range adjustments. Is there a pin on the hot-shoe where the flash will send information back to the camera? I'm wondering if this could possibly be the problem. Any help would be much appreciated.
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Does it fire when you push the test button (red light)?
If so make sure the contacts on the lens and on your camera are clean. My speedlites sometimes don't fire after heavy use and I clean the contacts with a soft cloth and some methylated spirits or isopropyl alcohol.
Hope this works for you.
When the flash mode TTL. Then this situation can occur if the proximity is working with other studio flash light traps. Your work makes flash another flash while TTL metering. And when is your main flash another flash did not have time to recharge.
Does the pilot lamp light up? If so can you fire it manually by pressing on it? If the batteries are low it may simply just be taking a while to charge, the camera will not wait for it to be ready to fire and it may seem to be not working. If your flash can be fired manually however, there may be a problem with the cameras shutter or the hotshoe. You can do a basic check by pressing the star button at the rear of the camera, you should get a pre-flash. If not, there is a problem with the cameras hotshoe which you will need addressed by a service centre. If you get a preflash you can next check the cameras shutter by setting the second curtain to sync with the flash. This can be done via the cameras "Custom Function" menu, c-Fn 15. Set the camera to TV mode and chose a 1 second exposure. Take a shot with the flash attached, if the shutter is working correctly, the flash should fire a pre-flash and then a main flash. If it doesnt, the switch inside the shutter is broken and the shutter needs to be replaced. This is a pretty labour intensive repair and you may consider an upgrade as more economical.