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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.