This may well be ‘old-hat’ to readers, but was a significant discovery for me.
For some time now, my SB600 flash has been behaving erratically.
It has something to do with old-age; so I’ve been reliably informed.
When I’m not using my flash guns I store them in the camera cupboard, with the sprung-loaded flap to the battery compartment, open. That way, even if I inadvertently forget to switch the unit off, before I disconnect it from the camera body, there is no possibility of the batteries being exhausted. When I want to use the flash, I close the battery compartment cover, fit the speedlight to the camera body, lock it, switch it on and switch on the camera. At which point the speedlight should adjust itself to the same TTL settings as the camera.
Sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes it won’t even switch on.
I have found, from various persuasive activities, that the fault appears to be the fit of the battery compartment flap, which clicks closed and is then slid vertically to align the battery terminal contacts. Always, by fiddling with the flap in it’s closed position, I have persuaded the speedlight to work satisfactorily. Until recently; when it has been much less responsive.
This evening, I decided to attempt to fix it – once and for all.
The flap is a tee sectioned piece of plastic, hinged to the body of the speedlight, at the base of the stalk of the tee. Underneath the crossbar of the tee is a separate piece of plastic, on rails, carrying the battery terminal contacts. And holding the sliding section onto the crossbar rails are two minute cross-head screws.
Quite by accident I discovered that not only do these two screws hold the sliding section in position on its rails, they also adjust the height of the sliding section, relative to the crossbar. If the screws are undone ¼ a turn they lift the sliding section away from the crossbar, thereby increasing the spring pressure of the contacts onto the terminals of the batteries.
It has to have been designed to do that, but even in the instruction manual, I could find no mention of it.
So if your battery flap terminals are not making satisfactory contact and producing erratic function of your flash unit, check the assembly details and even on a unit which is not Nikon, you may find a similar arrangement.
I was considering acquiring another flash, as a fault like that will always occur when it is least needed. I like the SB-600. It is easier to use than the SB-800, and nothing like as complex and fiddly as the SB0900/910/700.
But even a SB-600 is going to cost £120-130 second-hand.
And an SB-800 £180-200.
So, a providential enlightenment.