Question about Vivitar 285HV Flash

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Randomly firing Vivitar 285

I have a Vivitar 285 that will charge up and then fire randomly. The unit will fire anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds after developing a charge.

Posted by cwg1959 on

  • pgmt Mar 18, 2009

    My 285HV has the same problem it will start charging up and after some time (roughly the time it takes to charge up fully) it will fire on its own. Left on its own it will continue firing indifinitely.

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Why does it take more than 20 seconds to change up in order to fire the flash strobe on the vivitar 285hv


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.

Jan 30, 2011 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

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Hi! I own a vivitar slide printer. It turns on but the shutter release button does not work. No audible click. Nothing! I tried the timer button and I started getting an annoying whistling sound I could...


Hi, I just got the vivitar too, and had the exact same issue.
The unit WILL NOT FIRE unless the slide is inserted along with the little removable "film holder" frame that comes with the vivitar. Hopefully you got this with your unit. There is some sort of thickness sensor in the slide slot, so both a slide and the holder (or something of similar thickness) to get the unit to work. Mine fires with no problem now. And I found that the "high pitched whistling" goes away if you let the printer sit turned on for a while, I think it's just the flash capacitor getting used to being charged. My unit has no noise anymore. Best of luck.

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Randomly dies and randomly won't start


check fuel pump in tank could be overheating and going bad they have a thremal sensor that shuts the pump off to prevent a fire

Mar 10, 2010 | 1991 Buick Park Avenue

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285, red/green lights blink, whines on start up, but won't fire


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?
[email protected]

Feb 14, 2010 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

1 Answer

My nikon flash will fire randomly when connected to camera. I have both a sb600 and and sb 400 and both do the same thing. is this a connection problem?


Sounds like a short in the hot shoe. If it fires randomly, but especially when turned on its side then yes its a short.

If it was just dirty contact then the flash wouldn't fire at all so I dont think it is a connection problem. Make sure he camera is compatible with those flahses, but most Nikon cameras back to the FG should work fine with those.

Nov 25, 2009 | Nikon Speedlight SB-600 TTL Flash

2 Answers

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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.

Jul 27, 2009 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

1 Answer

Randomly Firing Vivitar 285


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.

Jul 22, 2009 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

1 Answer

Vivitar 285 HV won't fire


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.

May 12, 2009 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

2 Answers

Vivitar 285


By looking at the scale on the right side of the flash.

[email protected]

Mar 19, 2008 | Vivitar 285HV Flash

2 Answers

Vivitar 283 flash will not work on camera.


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

Aug 29, 2007 | Cameras

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