Fixing an Off-Camera Flash Cord

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Lately I’ve been frustrated by my flash not firing, or firing incorrectly. For example, when I first saw the male Painted Bunting at Circle B Bar Reserve, the flash over-fired and I got a completely white image. Not exactly what I was expecting! I know the off-camera flash cords are finicky, but mine is fairly new, and I’ve been taking really good care of it. So I started to troubleshoot and figured out what my problem was and how to fix it. So I’ll write about what I learned in case someone else has a similar problem…

I noticed that the flash was able to communicate with the camera when the camera was pointed up, but not when the camera was straight in front of me or pointed down. (Hence the mis-firings…intermittent communication between the camera body and the flash will do that!) The flash rocked back and forth in the off-camera rig, and I found I could hold it straight and make it work.

So how to fix it? I wondered if there were screws loose someone in the attachment between the flash and the off-camera cord. It made sense to me that the connection would gradually pull loose, given the way I carry my rig around on my shoulder, usually with a flash and Better Beamer attached. So I started a hunt for some screws to tighten… (and no, Rich did not miss the opportunity to tell me that I had a few screws loose!!)

The screws are not immediately visible. You have to take off a thin cover in order to reveal them. Don’t make the same mistake that I did and try to remove the entire hot shoe mount (the whole silver piece). Instead, remove just the top layer. I read online that you can use a jeweler’s screwdriver to detach the screw cover, but I didn’t happen to have one of those handy. An Exacto knife (used gently!) worked well instead. I poked it under the screw cover and gently tugged until the cover came loose.

Then it slid out without too much trouble.

I found my missing screws! And they were loose. I tighted them with a small screwdriver, re-inserted the cover, and tried my flash. It worked!

The total repair time, once I figured out what I was doing, was under five minutes. Next time I’ll try some Loctite on the screws, too.

The weather has been pretty cloudy lately and I’m excited that my flash is back in business!

One thought on “Fixing an Off-Camera Flash Cord

  1. That’s good to know. I love the creative writing about the missing screws…and they’re loose! Well done!! :-)

    I may be at the Bar tomorrow morning (or even perhaps Sunday). There’s a full moon tomorrow and I like my opportunities out there with a big lunar orb in the low horizon. I’m just not sure what the clouds are going to do. I hate to go that far and find it overcast (although that might make for an interesting sunrise). Maybe I’ll see you out there.

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