Question about Vivitar 285HV Flash

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Vivitar 285 HV won't fire

I used this flash with an old Minolta srt100 and always used a little power cord going to the body of the camera. Then I sold it. Today I got this from th guy who bought my Flash unit. Anybody have any ideas what's going on?

I put in some AAs and it test fired beautifully. So I put it in my gear back for Thursday's shoot. Just before the shoot I set up all of my equipment and tried testing my flashes with my wireless triggers. Everything worked great except for your 285. It will no fire from a hot-shoe. The test button works but nothing else will fire it. I tried it on several different triggers as well as on each of my dSLRs (a D200 and a D40). 

More info

1. I'm attempting to fire the flash from a hot-shoe, the way it was designed. The little chord is for cameras that have a "cold" shoe. I did try to fire the strobe with my D200 and the sync-chord but that did not work either.

2. I have several 285hvs, both vintage and the new models made in china. Haven't had the issue with any other items.

Any ideas out there?

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If you know basic soldering, Open the old hot shoe from base
(4 screws).Note down the position of the wires.
Try to fire the flash with shorting two trigger wires,most ly it will fire.
If the springy contact is adjustable do it.If it is not repairable, you can get metal hot shoe from ebay easily.
Caution: metal hot shoe will short circuit 4 TTL contacts (on digital camera) ,so you need to put cello tape at bottom of hot shoe with only center hole.
Hope this solves.

Posted on Mar 16, 2010

  • ajainphotogr Dec 26, 2010

    @bkdes
    Which two trigger wires should be connected for testing? Red and black? Is it safe to do that? Thanks.

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I dont have any problem with Vivitar Flash.. I am currently a Nikon D3000 user and I need an external flash for shooting in low lights and portraits in my garrage-made studio..I searched ebay and found...


The Vivitar 285 HV is specified to have a trigger voltage of 12V. The Nikon DSLRs are specified to be safe up to 12V. This puts the combination right at the fuzzy point. It should be safe, but if the flash goes a little high while the camera goes a little low, you might run into trouble.

The 285 (no HV) is definitely a no-go.

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What is the diff between a vivitar 285 and a vivitar 285hv?


285 has high trigger voltage(+250v) ,where as 285 HV has less than 5.5 volts trigger voltage (which is safe to be used for any digital SLR2_bing.gif). 285 HV has a Thyristor circuitory.

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Hi Dave,
Try shorting out Center Pin to Outside Metal Contact after the light turned green. This must fire the flash.
If not, could be the flashtube /or trigger are defective.
Do you have a DVM?
atdlee@netzero.com

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I assume you're asking about the 283, not the DF-283 which is compatible with digital cameras.

As for the 283, yes, if you put an adapter such as the Wein Safe-Sync between the camera and the flash. Under no circumstances should the flash be mounted directly on the camera.

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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.

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Are you still having problems? a.l9609@gmail.com

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It is the HV version, yes you can just put it in a color mode so the sensor on the front guesses the out put- it isn't ttl so it won't know what the camera is thinking

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To test everything except the camera, just short the contacts on the Wein protector. If the flash fires, the problem is in your camera, and maybe the protector did not do its job as good as expected.

Good luck

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