20 Most Recent Vivitar 285HV Flash Questions & Answers

It is not a bulb unit, it is an electronic flashgun.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Apr 12, 2017

As far as I know, every Vivitar flash can be made to fire in manual full power mode. No exceptions. Even the modern full dedicated E-TTL units can fire manual full and fractional power levels.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jan 18, 2015

what is your email?

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Dec 03, 2014


You can't repair the capacitor, only replacement.
Are you sure it's the capacitor or just guessing?

If you know how to put a bicycle together without using a manual, then it's not hard.

Just needs:
Phillip Screwdriver
Very thin blade to remover the round plate
Flat Blade Screwdriver
Solder and Soldering Gun.

Be very careful on the HV discharge fromm the cap.

More help: [email protected]

I don't know how to send images on this site.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Feb 10, 2014

New flashtube.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jan 07, 2014

Not compatible.
Get slave triggers and use them as remote flashes, or buy another film camera.
It seems Vivitar no longer is in the flash business. Get a Sigma or Sunpak digital flash for your SX10

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jan 05, 2014

There may be a short somewhere inside between the lead going to the pin and the one going to the camera body, such that when the capacitor has a full enough charge, the flash itself is firing (thinking that it has been triggered by the camera, just without the camera). Unscrew the foot - two small Philips screws, and check to see if any of the wires have damaged or melted insulation, and ensure they're not crossed. The ones to watch for primarily are the RED lead and the black lead. Repair any damaged insulation with electrical tape, and carefully reassemble and test.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Oct 25, 2012

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.


Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jan 25, 2012

My first impression is that you are using the flash at its maximum capacity and completely draining the charge each time. I'd also say that you are only going to get about a dozen flash burst before the batteries are exhausted. I use several Vivitar 283's 285's and a couple 285HV's in a portable studio set up I have and the 285 HV's have got to be tuned down about 1/3 before I can get them to match the other flash outputs. If I need all out brute power then the 285HV's are used on full inside a softbox. I generally work with a 16 batteries between the two 285HV, also they need good fresh batteries off the charger. On a photo shoot I'll get maybe 15 shots before the power is down enough that I change then, I'd say powering back up it'll take about 15 to 20 seconds before they come out.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jan 31, 2011

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.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Dec 26, 2010

Most common problem is having the batteries installed in the wrong sequence, look on the battery holder and it will show where the positive "+" is suppose to go. If the batteries are in correctly check for corrosion both in the holder and inside the flash unit. If there is any corrosion this must be cleaned out and it'll power up. Do not blow in the flash with your mouth the corrosive material may blow up into your face or eyes.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Dec 11, 2010

After that long without power, the main storage capacitor has likely failed. If you can find the correct model or an equivalent one, then you'll find that they're not overly expensive but you'll need good soldering skills to replace it without damaging the new one and to ensure that the new connections are sound.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Sep 03, 2010

if you have the expertise take the unit apart be careful the tube is fragile try not to touch the tube the parts inside are simple to find at radio shak more than likely their is a bad capacitor would wright down the numbers or take the item in their wile apart at look at their component section you can buy the parts their most likely for under 4 bucks get a solder iron and some rosen core solder as well and replace the components make note of the polarities of the capacitor the neg(-) side will have a black stripe if the case color is black then it will be white diodes are ether black with a white or silver stripe replace as they are on the circuit board wile you have it apart it might be best to replace all you can it is rare that the flash tube will be bad if you do touch it clean the tube with rubbing alchol and a q-tip try not to get any on any other parts.assemble and test. hope this helps.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Aug 30, 2010

Red wire (positive voltage) goes to center pin. Black is ground, goes to outside shield or shoe edge contact. If the wires are reversed, a simple test switch will still work, but a photo slave will not (because it is powered from the +voltage so it depends on the polarity to be correct). Of course, the small PC contacts and cables can be unreliable so it could also be a bad cable. For much more detail and photos see: photo.net/photography-lighting-equipment-techniques-forum/00Po9t

Below is a utube Video of exactly how to do what you want

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Aug 19, 2010

Capacitor might got dried up.
Try using fresh Duracell Alkaline and wait for 15 minutes.mostly light will come up.if not replace capacitor by professional service.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jun 29, 2010

PC cord might get minor short circuit and got faulty.
You can confirm this by removing it.

Vivitar 285HV... • Answered on Jun 29, 2010

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