Flash Voltage Definative Information?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Cruzan80, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Hey Guys,

    Just picked up a Vivitar 2800 Auto Thyristor Flash at a yard sale for $2. Know the pin layout is safe as it is only the single one in the center. Tested on my volt-meter at 20V. What I am wondering is if anyone has any definative information on how much is unsafe for these. The manual for my G3 only says to "avoid flashes with high voltages" but doesn't give any numbers. Will probably order a safe-sync on my next amazon order (the cheaper ones need a boost to get to free shipping). Just wondering if anyone has any more definative answers. From what I have found on the internet, Canon says 6V, and Nikon says 250V, but neither are Panasonic...
     
  2. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    941
    Oct 20, 2011
    Just get the Wein adapter. and use all the old flashes you want

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/245292-REG/Wein_W990560_Safe_Sync_Hot_Shoe_to.html
     
  3. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Voltmeter can be misleading. A fast transient pulse can show a very modest voltage but the peak could be hundreds of volts!
     
  4. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Economy-grade AC voltmeters typically sold in places such as Radio Shack will read these types of voltages as a RMS value (I'll skip the gory details of that term). Those voltmeter indications may invariably be numerically lower that the actual PEAK value.

    What you will need is an oscilloscope with at least a 100MHz bandwidth with a seconds per division of 1-5 microseconds, a volts per division range of 50, and a storage function to capture a single pulse.

    You will typically see voltages of ~50-300 volts PEAK with these old flash units.

    Be careful when using them with modern cameras. They WILL cause anything from latent (manifesting later) to catastrophic damage.
     
  5. Dan Ka

    Dan Ka Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jan 11, 2011
    Northeastern Ohio
  6. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    If you want a low cost flash look on ebay for one of the Chineese ones most will state max voltage. As a bonus some enable you to set different output levels which can be good for fill flash or portable studio use.
     
  7. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Thanks Dan. This is the kind of information I was looking for.

    I appreciate the information from the rest of you on the voltage measurement, but I do have a nicer volt-meter and still came in at 20V. The Wein is a bit expensive for a $2 flash, but there is a cheaper option available.

    If anyone else has any information about voltage regarding Panasonic cameras, please chime in.
     
  8. dancat

    dancat Mu-43 Rookie

    20
    May 19, 2013
    I would suggest writting to Panasonic and ask. They should know this best.

    In another thread, someone says he asked Olympus about the OMD and got the answer.
     
  9. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    What type of nicer voltmeter are you using?
     
  10. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    <= 20V DC

    I've tried using flashes with as high as 90V (DC), without any damage on several different Panasonic cameras - G series and older "FZ" cameras.

    However, while no damage occurred, the flash was not correctly recognized by the camera and did not work.

    One person commented about an "AC Volt Meters". The voltage you are measuring is DC, not AC. When I contacted Panasonic about this I was told < = 20V DC would allow the flash to be recognized correctly.

    You also need to also understand that there won't be any communications between the camera and flash, so each shot would likely be a full power, unless the flash has some way to throttle back the power.
     
  11. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    So Wasabi Bob, you are saying if it is recognized, then it would be safe? I am getting a recognition, and have fired it several times on camera already to test.

    Have thought about trying to get the answer directly, but Customer Service there seems a bit hit or miss, so figured I would see if anyone else had solid information.
     
  12. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    DC Voltage

    You would be measuring the DC voltage across the flash cap circuit, so RMS and P-P readings would not apply. I've tried using older Vivitar flashes that had up to 90V. While no damage occurred, the camera is not able to recognize the flash - essentially it does not work. 20V or less should work fine, just no exposure communications between the flash and camera.
     
  13. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Yup

    Yup
    So your testing already verified what I explained. I originally requested this info for the old FZ50. It certainly would not hurt using the adapter, but I personally don't feel it's required.
     
  14. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    For anyone in the future having this queation, Panasonic confirmed what Wasabi Bob said. Paraphrasing the rep:
    ~20V is fine, should have no issues.
    ~90V won't damage camera, but may not sussessfully fire every time.
    Safe sync not needed in this case.

    I will be putting up a thread with my experiences with it in the "Adapted lens" forum as I spend more time with it.

    Sent from my LG-P769 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  15. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Good luck. Some have measured a bit more carefully and find 140-170VDC on the 2800...

    2800D is another story (likely safe).

    http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

    Even "good" multimeters do not measure peak and fast transients (that is what the flash signal is).
     
  16. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Yeah, but going off what the Panasonic Rep said, even high voltages will not damage the circuitry on my camera. This was before I told him what I measured, just asked about flash voltages.