Repairing SB-800 broken off wide-angle diffuser

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by efusco, May 24, 2005.

  1. Anyone know what's involved in fixing a broken off wide-angle diffuse
    on an SB-800. I accidently grabbed and snapped off the diffuser the
    other day and would sure like it back.

    I do know about changing the settings so that the auto-zoom still
    works and that has been done. Is this a part I can order and snap
    back in place myself or will it require an expensive repair job at Nikon?
  2. You can inquire through

    via e-mail for a free estimate on getting it repaired.
  3. Thank Gerald, but I'm interested in first hand experiences. The cost of shipping, repair, etc will be relatively high I'm sure. I'd prefer a 'do it yourself' repair if someone is aware of that option. Likewise if someone can confirm that it can not be done outside an authorized repair facility that would be useful as well and I could break down and contact Nikon USA...but frankly I consider that a last resort.
  4. It costs about $35 at an authorized Nikon service center, and the turnaround is about a week. You can't get parts from Nikon, and probably have no business working around high-voltage systems than can kill you.
  5. Thru personal experiece I advise DO NOT attempt repairs yourself by taking apart the flash. You are playing around with HIGH voltage. Pay the $35.00 and chalk it up to a learning experience. The capacitors store up a lot of voltage even with batteries out, make the wrong move and you have a melted flash.
  6. Besides the potential danger to yourself and the flash, the SB-800 is a complicated bugger. The wide angle diffuser, snap-on dome diffuser, head tilt and swivel angle all control microswitches that affect the performance of the flash. It's a great flash but pretty much beyond the realm of DIY repairs.
  7. Ok, thanks for the advice...guess I'll send it in. FWIW, I'm not really concerned about the high voltage thing... voltage alone is not the issue..TASERS use about 50,000 volts. It's the amperage that kills you and the amperage from a few AA batteries is going to be extremely low. Also, the capacitors are easily discharged by a hit or two of the 'test' button after removing the batteries.

    The micro sensor issues and such are a bigger concern. I guess what I was hoping for is that someone would say "sure, the new diffuser snaps right in place just like the battery door without taking anything apart and costs only $5."

    Since that is not the case I'll send it in at some convenient point in the near future.
  8. Edward,
    Can you tell me where you got the price of $35 for the repair? I did, indeed, contact Nikon Service and the first reply suggested a minimum cost, with shipping, of about $120 for a "moderate repair". When I replied and enquired as to that high cost they replied: "The least amount is $71.00 (which is a check and clean)". That did no include shipping.

    I'm not a complete cheapskate, but, again, this is a very simple piece of plastic that simply slides in a groove and $81+ is steep for such simple and commonly broken part...IMO.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Evan, if you don't mind, you can check with Authorized Photo Service (APS) and see how much they want to charge. In fact, Edward was one of those who suggested APS to me. Nikon USA repair cost is always sky high although APS is not exactly cheap either. I am curious about how they compare.

    See this thread on info on APS:
  10. Good Idea Shun....
  11. Or maybe not.... APS phone estimate is $99! Looks like I'll be skipping my mocha for a few days to pay for this. ;-)
  12. Yikes! I'm sorry to hear the repair rate for the SB-800 is so high. I really like mine and have considered buying one or two more. I guess I'll have to consider buying accident insurance as well, or reconsider and put the money toward studio flash.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If repair cost is indeed that high, maybe you can spend a little more and get another one, and use the slighly broken first one as a backup or slave flash. Of course, you'll end up spending even more ... :) Maybe I shouldn't have gone there.
  14. Yea, Shun, that's the quandry. I have an SB-28 and the SB-800, plans to buy a D2X this summer and a fully functional speedlight would be nice (I love using the uptilted head with that little built in reflector), but $100 for something so minor is hard to swallow...still, a replacement SB-800 isn't cheap either. Perhaps I could get a SB-600 as my new 'on-camera' unit and make the 800 the slave to save a couple bucks.

    Oh well, thanks all for the advice. If the saga has an exciting ending I'll post it here.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In my case, I have an SB-80DX for my D100 and recently added an SB-800, even though I don't have an iTTL-compatible SLR yet. I'll add another DSLR soon and am indeed have a second SB-800 in mind, hence the earlier comment.

    The SB-800 (and the SB-80DX) comes with a dome type diffuser. Maybe you can just use that instead of the "pull out" diffuser built into the flash.

    APS did a fine job fixing my 200mm macro. Their main advantages are (1) much faster turn-around time than Nikon USA repair and (2) willing to fix gray-market products. However, they charged me $200, which is probably just a bit lower than what Nikon USA would have wanted, which tends to be around $250 or so for that type of fix.
  16. Do use care if you disassemble the SB-800. Getting shocked by a flash capacitor, even a tiny one in a disposable camera, is very unpleasant.
  17. Hi all,

    Just had my SB-800 returned from Nikon UK after being repaired for the very same thing,
    cost all in all with postage came to ?50, which is about $90 roughly.

    Mind you, it took them a month to do it!

    Hope this is some use
  18. I thought I read somewhere that pulling the built in diffuser trigers the flash to adjust itself.

    Is this why I am reading these prices to fix this thing - I mean don't we all use other types of filters anyway?

    Also, I just bought one from ebay and the guy didn't indicate it was missing this, I need to know how much of a big deal it is, which will guage my recourse actions.
  19. How easy does this thing come off anyway, I'm wondering b/c of what could have happened and what else could be wrong with this item. Thanks
  20. I know it's been a while since this question came up, but I just broke my wide-angle diffuser last night. I did see that they can be purchased for $20.00 at I'm a little concerned about installing it, but I think it might just snap in. Also, the small spring will have to be held open while installing. Does anyone have an idea how this mounts?
  21. I know this is an old thread but I wanted to share my experience repairing the wide-angle deflector.
    I recently purchased a used SB-800 on EBay. The doofus who sold me the unit failed to mention that the wide angle deflector was broken off and feigned ignorance. I told him to pony up for the replacement part and we'll call it even ($19). Functioning wide angle deflector is necessary for movement of the zoom head in the flash. When deployed, it prevents the flash head from zooming in response to user input.
    I stumbled upon thread warning DIY repair of flashes and risk of shock when opening up one of these units. Undeterred, I took nearly depleted AA NiMHs and set the flash to full manual and once the ready lamp came on, I manually discharged the flash and quickly turned it off. I set it aside for a day and took it apart. I was over-confident since I had successfully taken apart and reassembled laptops on numerous occasions.
    What a pain. Nikon engineered this thing so it would be difficult to take it apart. I had to remove the rubber parts first (push button for repositioning the flash head and the rubber cover the other side), then remove four different sets of screws of three different sizes before I could access the back-end where the deflector assembly can be re-inserted. In the process, I had to partially expose the mother board in the flash head. The main motherboard is in the body and you do not have to unassemble that part of the flash. I didn't have a manual; therefore, I ended up taking apart the swivel part also. It is also not necessary to do so for repairing the deflector. I had to retrieve the holder from the inside of the slot before I could re-insert the reassembled deflector. fortunately, the holder was not damaged. You also have to be careful not to disturb the spring assembly that is covered by the rubber part. Well, that thing popped out when I was trying to put it all back. It took me a bit of trial and error to put the spring and the metal plate back into correct position. The adhesive on the rubber part, once peeled off is useless. I was too cheap to spring for new rubber parts, around $20-25 if and when you can even find them on EBay. I MacGyvered it by cutting small strips of double sided golf grip tape and strategically positioned it inside the rubber parts and then reattached them to the flash. I crossed my fingers, hoping I didn't loosen up any wires in the process and fired up the unit. I am happy to report that the repair was succesful. Since then, I put the flash through rigorous pace and it has held up OK thus far. In hindsight, the repair was more trouble than its worth. Still, I am glad I did it since the thought of having a broken deflector on a recently purchased SB-800 was driving me bonkers.
    But, if the flash tube blows ...

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