Nikon SB-800 Short Circuit / Fails to Fire Sometimes

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by laughing buddha productions, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Hi there, I experienced a problem for the first time with the SB-800. I have four of them and shoot with two D-700's - a lot of event work. I had a couple issues crop up the last two times I used this combo of gear.
    Two of my SB-800's seemed to have connection issues (exhibited on both D700 bodies) - symptoms: sometimes the flash would fire on it's own; and when I wiggle the SB-800, I can sometimes get the flash to fire. I understand this is stemming from a likely loose connection or short with the center pin; correct me if I'm wrong.
    Second, and more disconcerting, when shooting some dancing (D700 + SB-800 in camera hotshoe, then a Pocket Wizard synced to the PC port on the camera firing a remote SB-800 (set to manual 1/8 power, no Auto Standby). [Overall, I'm shooting the D700 in Manual, f8, 1/200, rear curtain sync, AF-S, single point, RAW, ISO 1600, at Continuous High, the hotshoe'd SB-800 on TTL -1.3 FV]
    Problem: About 3 in 50 shots both the on camera (hotshoe) SB-800 and the remote light DID NOT FIRE - I can tell by chimping and just seeing the lack of flash on my subject - and I'm wondering if this is a problem related to the loose hotshoe/loose connection to the SB. Or is this a symptom of something potentially more serious with the camera since the PC sync socket did not fire the Pocket Wizard and the remote flash? It usually occurs when I'm shooting at a pretty high FPS rate.
    I tried cleaning the hotshoe contacts and the SB-800 contacts with an eraser. Still get the intermittent firings and failure to fire. I'm going to keep shooting for now and see if I can isolate the problem with the two bodies and two of four flashes.
    Any thoughts on other ways to troubleshoot or address these issues? Otherwise, off to NPS for a diagnosis.
  2. It usually occurs when I'm shooting at a pretty high FPS rate.​
    Are you certain you gave your flashes enough time to recycle - if they didn't have enough time to charge, then of course they won't fire. Could of course also be the loose connection issue - might be best to have it checked out.
  3. I have the same problem when I shoot too fast... I betcha problem two is just not waiting for recycling. If I have the quantum turbo battery hooked up it almost never happens.
    the first problem is likely mechanical... the hotshoe on the camera may be a little loose... You might (i would) see if I could bend it to make it tighter (the side tabs down a touch) or perhaps shim it somehow.
  4. Thanks for the answers gents, to clarify on the second issue. My hotshoe flash is powered by a Quantum Turbo SC, the remote is powered with a Quantum Turbo. I've seen when I push it too far vis-a-vis recycling issues - this looks nothing like that - I can tell that both flashes fail to fire.
    So I wonder if the possible short/loose connection on the hotshoe is also flowing through to the the PC sync for some reason - are they tied together - one fail all fail?
  5. You might want to check the standby time out on the flash settings. I've had issues using pocket wizards and my SB800 in manual mode were if it goes into standby the first camera fire doesn't fire the flash but does take it out of standby and the rest fire fine unless left long enough for it to go into standby again. I have two SB800's and have turned the standby mode completly off.
    Hope this helps.
  6. Sounds like you're pushing the limits of hotshoe flash performance pretty hard: "It usually occurs when I'm shooting at a pretty high FPS rate."
    If the problem is occurring with the flash units off camera or via a sync cord, I'd suspect the circuits inside the flash units may have been degraded by heavy use and overheating. Only Nikon service would be able to say for certain.
    For the type of shooting you've described it might be time to consider some flash equipment better suited to that sort of heavy use.
  7. If it is not a recharge issue then it might well be a bad connection which in this case would be a open rather than a short. For whatever reason I find flash equipment from any manufacturer to be the most finicky especially as age sets in.

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