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Help with Sony flash HVL-F58AM

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momech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Help with Sony flash HVL-F58AM
    Posted: 30 November 2014 at 02:53
I'm assuming the flash tube has died. The unit powers up, I can access and do anything I want in the menus, the back light comes on, but the flash won't fire. Not even using the test button. If anyone knows of something I'm overlooking that can cause this let me know. I don't have the manual with me; I'm currently in Socorro , New Mexico on vacation.
Fortunately, I have my trusty old Minolta 5600 D unit, so there's no immediate problem. But I'd like to know if anyone's had this problem with their 58 flash, and what a repair would cost. Not sure it would be worth it, but then if I want a new flash I've got to use an adapter because of the new shoe. And the F60 flash seems to be snake bit anyways.
   
 



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revdocjim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote revdocjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 08:01
It is pretty hard to guess what might be the cause, but of course I presume you aren't in WL mode or something like that right!?

As for a replacement, if you are using a body with the older shoe style there are great deals to be had on the 5600 and 3600 units. I think I have two of each in addition to my F58. Yesterday I just picked up the F20M to use as a controller for WL mode on my A7s. I'm hoping I can navigate this shoe transition as gracefully as possible but we shall see...
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stiuskr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 13:03
I'm assuming that the flash is not set to OFF (or un-full-flash mode as they like to call it, the lightning bolt with the diagonal slash through it)?
Instead of using the test button will it fire by jumping over the pins in the foot?
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IanL View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote IanL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 15:29
Originally posted by stiuskr stiuskr wrote:

..
Instead of using the test button will it fire by jumping over the pins in the foot?


Good idea, the pins to short are G and F1 here.

If that doesn't work, it has died.
Ian
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momech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 20:25
Thanks for the responses, guys.
The flash is definitely turned on; I've tried every setting there is, no luck. I just find it odd that everything else appears to work normally.
I'll try jumping the pins when I get home, will let you know if it works.
Looking at the 5600 flashes is a good idea. Not sure there's a graceful way to make this change unless some third party develops quality adapters; I doubt Sony cares to.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 20:32
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

Looking at the 5600 flashes is a good idea. Not sure there's a graceful way to make this change unless some third party develops quality adapters; I doubt Sony cares to.

The Minolta 5600 and Sony F56AM have the same foot and same electronic compatibility as your F58AM (but not the ability to act as a wireless controller). Why the mention of change and adapters?
 



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momech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 21:02
Eventually I'll buy a new body, but I'll still want to use my old flashes; from what I've read the Sony adapter is poorly made.
And eventually I will probably buy a new flash and want to use it on my A900s.   
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IanL View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote IanL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2014 at 21:55
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

l want to use my old flashes; from what I've read the Sony adapter is poorly made.


Not exactly. It is true that it lacks the locking mechanism which is fitted to the F60M and F43M, and some have reported that it slips of the camera. Others (myself included) have found that it does not. We do not know whether early examples were different to later ones, or whether there is another reason.

You may be interested in an alternative.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2014 at 00:12
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

Eventually I'll buy a new body, but I'll still want to use my old flashes... And eventually I will probably buy a new flash and want to use it on my A900s.

Then you're going to be stuck with at least two adapters.

Edited by sybersitizen - 01 December 2014 at 01:18
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matthiaspaul View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote matthiaspaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2014 at 21:21
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

I'm assuming the flash tube has died.

Certainly not, you would have recognized it. ;-)

The unit powers up, I can access and do anything I want in the menus, the back light comes on, but the flash won't fire. Not even using the test button.

Does the flash just power up, or does it still charge the flash capacitor? Can you hear it charging? Does the "flash ready" signal light up eventually?

If it does not, something around the inverter must have died, most likely the power transistors driving the high voltage transformer.

If it still charges, but does not fire, the most likely cause is that something in the trigger circuit died, most likely the IGBT. However, it could also be a broken cable.


what a repair would cost.

As far as I know, Sony repairs flash electronics on "module basis", that is, they will replace whole PCBs instead of the broken parts. Unfortunately, this can easily cause high repair costs, unless you find someone familiar with flash electronics who can still repair it on parts level.

Warning: Don't try to repair a flash yourself, unless you know exactly what you are doing. Several internal parts may exhibit dangerous voltages up to 360V DC for quite some while, even after the flash is switched off and batteries have been removed, (and temporarily even up to several thousands volts).

Greetings,

Matthias
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2014 at 21:49
Thanks Matthias; that explains a great deal.
I'll try a couple of independent repair shops and see if they can deal with a Sony flash. If not, I'll look for a used 5600.
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al View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote al Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 December 2014 at 22:09
Originally posted by momech momech wrote:

Eventually I'll buy a new body, but I'll still want to use my old flashes; from what I've read the Sony adapter is poorly made.
And eventually I will probably buy a new flash and want to use it on my A900s.   
I used the adapter on Thanksgiving. F58AM on an A7. Worked just fine for the 2 hours or so that I used it - with the camera in landscape and portrait orientation. But.... I noticed at the end of the evening the locking mechanism had loosened. It was so loose that the flash could have fallen off. It didn't fall, so I was very lucky.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote vbpholaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2014 at 04:42
The problem could be a burned out tube, or a problem with internal circuitry. Really impossible to know simply from the symptom (i.e., not firing). I have an F58 and the tube did burn out, or was on the way to doing so (it would fire once, then nothing for several shots, then fire again; also, sometimes the exposure was way off like a low power firing). Had the flash repaired and it was fine, until the same thing started occurring again (a couple of years later). It is again in for a repair, this time not with Sony but with an independent service in NYC (PhotoTech), and is waiting for parts from Sony (which can take a while). They will be replacing some circuits as well as the tube, all for a bit less than $300. I'll get a one year warranty on the repair (surprisingly good).

Personally, after using the F58 (and F60) flashes and coming to rely on the unique and flexible head movements, I have a hard time going back to my F56 flash when I have to (such as a back up or on a second body). Personally, I might check prices of used F58 flashes over getting an F56 (or Minolta 5600). If the flexibility of head movement isn't an important consideration, than the F56 (or 5600) is a good alternative using the old iISO shoe.

I also would not want to have to rely on using the flash shoe adapter on a camera with the new flash shoe. I'm one of those for whom the adapter repeatedly fails when used with a heavier flash like the F58. Maybe the F56 is not quite large and heavy enough to cause the same problem that the larger and heavier F58 does, but I would not want to risk it if reliable flash performance is important.
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momech View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2014 at 22:48
Thanks again everyone.
Mark, I may want the info on PhotoTech if I can't find anyone closer to home. Are you using them to service your 600/4 as well?
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