My Flashpoint mini flash is dead

Michael Meissner

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I had been happy with the Flashpoint Mini flash (TT350O that corresponds with the Godox flash) that I bought from Adorama in March, 2019. It seemed like a nice little flash (similar to the FL-36R) that I would use when I didn't want to bring out the FL-900R.

However, I haven't been using it in a long while. I was just going through my flashes and all of the AA/AAA rechargable batteries I have. I recharged the batteries, and put fresh new batteries in the Mini flash. The flash turns on, but it never charges up the capacitor so you can use it has a flash. Just in case, I went through 4 different rechargable AA batteries and none worked. I also put in a new pair of alkaline batteries, and they didn't work either. Bummer. It is old enough that sending it in for warranty repair is not an issue.

FWIW, my older FL-36R does still work, so I still have an option for smaller flash, but it is a bummer. I had hoped down the road to experiment with a radio trigger, but I would have to buy the flash again. The cheap open box that Adorama offered ($60) is no longer an option.

I know older flashes do lose the capability to hold a charge, but I didn't expect a 2.5 year old flash to die. Oh well.
 

PakkyT

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I have an old "analog" Canon speedlite that I got in a Canon film kit being given away. I have found both when I first got it and not too long enough after it sat in a cabinet for probably a year or two that when I first put batteries in it wouldn't work at all no matter if I left them on for ten minutes or switched to other batteries, and seemed to be dead. But then if I waited another day and tried again, this second time it would start working again. Almost like the first time kind of woke up the capacitor but not enough to to work and then the second time it was like "OK I'm fully awake now, ready to take a charge. Maybe the initial charge put into the cap needed time to "soak" in and recondition the cap to make it ready for the next try.

Anyway, the point it, try it again tomorrow and maybe it will be ok then. With the above, I left it without batteries between tries. No idea if that matters, but mentioning it as a data point. I should try that speedlite tonight and see what it does.
 
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it’s called “capacitor reforming” and could be your problem. Put fresh batteries in it, turn it on and let it sit for at least a day. Then put fresh batteries in again and see if it comes to life. If it does, test fire and let it charge up again. It can take two or three times for the flash to get back to normal. Even when stored without batteries for periods you should always cycle a flash periodically.
 

RichardC

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I had been happy with the Flashpoint Mini flash (TT350O that corresponds with the Godox flash) that I bought from Adorama in March, 2019. It seemed like a nice little flash (similar to the FL-36R) that I would use when I didn't want to bring out the FL-900R.

However, I haven't been using it in a long while. I was just going through my flashes and all of the AA/AAA rechargable batteries I have. I recharged the batteries, and put fresh new batteries in the Mini flash. The flash turns on, but it never charges up the capacitor so you can use it has a flash. Just in case, I went through 4 different rechargable AA batteries and none worked. I also put in a new pair of alkaline batteries, and they didn't work either. Bummer. It is old enough that sending it in for warranty repair is not an issue.

FWIW, my older FL-36R does still work, so I still have an option for smaller flash, but it is a bummer. I had hoped down the road to experiment with a radio trigger, but I would have to buy the flash again. The cheap open box that Adorama offered ($60) is no longer an option.

I know older flashes do lose the capability to hold a charge, but I didn't expect a 2.5 year old flash to die. Oh well.

I appreciate it only has two batteries, so less likely to be the problem, but........have you tried cleaning/scraping the battery terminals and all of the contact points in the battery chamber?
 

fortwodriver

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I would keep the flash on, close by, running. It may actually pop itself off randomly if you do this, but over the course of the day being left to run may bring it back to life.

Too bad we can't "bump charge" the circuit in these, I don't think it will allow that.
 
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I would keep the flash on, close by, running. It may actually pop itself off randomly if you do this, but over the course of the day being left to run may bring it back to life.

Too bad we can't "bump charge" the circuit in these, I don't think it will allow that.
As a last resort it can be done. I have tried it a few times but blew more up than I was able to fix.

For some reason reforming with NiMh rechargeables never seems to do the job either. Only fully charged alkaline work for me. Maybe the difference in voltage curve?
 

fortwodriver

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As a last resort it can be done. I have tried it a few times but blew more up than I was able to fix.

For some reason reforming with NiMh rechargeables never seems to do the job either. Only fully charged alkaline work for me. Maybe the difference in voltage curve?
Oh, I agree with that. If you're going to bump-charge reforming, do it with alkaline or a regulated power supply that can kick off if something goes bonkers. While the current over time may be longer with modern rechargeable, the voltage may be too low - even from the beginning.
 

Michael Meissner

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I appreciate it only has two batteries, so less likely to be the problem, but........have you tried cleaning/scraping the battery terminals and all of the contact points in the battery chamber?
Well, the flash gets power. I can go through the menu and all. If I put it on my E-m1 mark II it indicates that it waiting for the flash to indicate it has charged the capacitor.

While cleaning the contacts on things like cameras without the batteries in them would be ok, I would be leary of doing it on the flash iself since the voltage from the capacitor that is built-up to go though the light is potentially lethal. Even if you think it has been discharged, there is the chance that it isn't.

<edit>
BTW, if anybody else is curious about flashes, I picked up this link (Sam's Flash FAQ) some time ago. Be sure to read the cautions several times.
 

RichardC

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Well, the flash gets power. I can go through the menu and all. If I put it on my E-m1 mark II it indicates that it waiting for the flash to indicate it has charged the capacitor.

While cleaning the contacts on things like cameras without the batteries in them would be ok, I would be leary of doing it on the flash iself since the voltage from the capacitor that is built-up to go though the light is potentially lethal. Even if you think it has been discharged, there is the chance that it isn't.

<edit>
BTW, if anybody else is curious about flashes, I picked up this link (Sam's Flash FAQ) some time ago. Be sure to read the cautions several times.

It is a less than likely solution considering this flash unit only has two cells.

I have checked over 4 cell flashes which wouldn't fully charge, and a simple contact clean did indeed solve the problem.

I've heard horror stories from people touching capacitors. I was tempted to say 'shocking' but you're right, the discharges can be truly lethal. It's not something to make light of.

To be honest though, I've never heard of anyone getting a shock from cleaning a battery terminal. Anyone needing to do so could always use a non-conductive cleaner like a fibreglass pen.
 

PakkyT

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I can assure you the batter terminal are well isolated from the high voltage output of the charging circuit and the capacitor. There is no danger touching the battery terminals.
 

fortwodriver

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While cleaning the contacts on things like cameras without the batteries in them would be ok, I would be leary of doing it on the flash iself since the voltage from the capacitor that is built-up to go though the light is potentially lethal. Even if you think it has been discharged, there is the chance that it isn't.

The batteries are electronically disconnected from the capacitor itself. Otherwise, you'd be setting fires to batteries all over the place. The current in those caps can be enough to melt the tip of a screwdriver.

The closest I got to getting stung by battery terminals was my old Braun non-thyristor auto flash. You could plug it in and run it off of household current and run it off batteries - but you couldn't have batteries installed if you were using with household current - the battery terminals would reflect the AC back and you'd get a nasty zap. That's a 50 year old flash unit.
 

Armoured

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I doubt this is the same issue, but keep meaning to ask here - I've the tiny Olumpus FL-LM3 and can't seem to get it to work; or at least no more than two or three times has it fired. Obviously only when attempting to test it out (it came with a second hand E-M5.ii and the previous owner said he'd never used it).
Anyone have any ideas on what to try? I put it on just now to try by leaving it on, and it fired once after a few tries and taking it on and off - I was awfully surprised to see the flash charging symbol go on.
Now won't give any signs of life. Or I'm not doing something right that I did inadvertently.
 

Armoured

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it fired once after a few tries and taking it on and off - I was awfully surprised to see the flash charging symbol go on.
Now won't give any signs of life. Or I'm not doing something right that I did inadvertently.
Sorry to come back and sort-of answer my own question - if I take the flash off and put it back on, it will somewhat-reliably fire (maybe half the attempts), and much less reliably more than once.

So I guess the issue is properly being seated and engaging the various pins, and it doesn't do that reliably. I can't so far identify any obvious issue of not seating or excessive play, etc - there is some but not so much - nor some pins that need cleaning or anything like that.

There is a tiny bit of hope that repeating the process seems to be increasing the hit rate, so I guess also a possiblity it needs breaking in (like we're talking about 1950s piston ring seatings instead of 21st century electronics, uggh.)
 

Michael Meissner

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As a follow up, I recalled that I had a set of 1.5v rechargable AA batteries (that recharge via USB adapter in the battery rather than a normal NiMH charger). I put these batteries into the flash, and eventually the test light came on to indicate it was charged. I could fire off a few pops via the test button. I then put it on the camera, and I was able to use it on the camera normally with the flash.

I put 2 rechargable 1.2v NiMH batteries back into the flash and it would not indicate the capacitor was charged.

I switched back to the 1.5v batteries. When I put it on the flash, the recharge light did not come back on. I took the flash off the camera, and powered the flash on, and the recharge light came on. So it is useable if I use 1.5v batteries, and perhaps power up the flash to recharge the capacitor before putting it on the camera (or turn the camera off and turn on the flash first).

I haven't used the 1.5v batteries in a year or two, and one of them no longer holds a charge. Fortunately I had 4 batteries and only needed two.

IIRC, I was able to use 1.2v rechargeable batteries in the past with the flash, so the capacitor is probably weaker.
 

Michael Meissner

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Could it helpful to compare the current (mAh) if you still have any of your old 1.2v Ni-Cds?
I haven't used Ni-Cds in years. I have 30+ Nimh AA batteries that I use in the flashes. The freshly charged NiMH batteries that I was using were around 1.4 volts. The batteries all vary in terms of age, probably 2-3 years old.

The 1.5v li-on batteries were 1.5 volts when freshly charged, and dropped to 1.46-1.48v after a few pops. The flash has gone back to not charging up, so I'm recharging the batteries. But basically I think at this point, the flash is not reliable, and I need to replace it....
 

RichardC

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..........But basically I think at this point, the flash is not reliable, and I need to replace it....
Probably :)

Historically, Ni-Cds, despite their lower voltage had higher current than alkalines, which is why they were recommended for faster flash charging. The difference was great enough for Metz 45 series guns to have three contacts in the grip - a common one and one for the AA pack with the other for the ni-cd packs.

I have nothing useful to contribute re ni-mh behaviour though.
 

fortwodriver

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IIRC, I was able to use 1.2v rechargeable batteries in the past with the flash, so the capacitor is probably weaker.

There's more to a rechargeable than just voltage. If the circuit in the flash can't draw enough power from the 1.2v cells, that tells me those cells are simply tired and should be replaced.

I have some fairly old Eneloop batteries that still work in my manual flashes, but a few of them never complete the charge on the flash, so they get used for less demanding draws.

Some Li batteries will actually gate their draw if they are heating up too quickly. If something pulls too hard, too fast, they'll throttle back quite a bit to prevent them from overheating and failing outright.
 
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There's more to a rechargeable than just voltage. If the circuit in the flash can't draw enough power from the 1.2v cells, that tells me those cells are simply tired and should be replaced.

I have some fairly old Eneloop batteries that still work in my manual flashes, but a few of them never complete the charge on the flash, so they get used for less demanding draws.
I do know that one of the disadvantages of NiMh batteries is low current discharge rate which I would guess is the culprit. Another is temperature. I use them for most everyday things but not anything that demands higher current like motors, radio transmitters, etc. As little as I use flash I just use fresh alkaline batteries because I put flash units in that category. My experience trying to reform old flash units is that NiMh never worked for me at all. Granted they have always been old units that have been on a shelf for years though.
 
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