Intermittent contact with 580EX flash

Discussion in 'Canon Accessories' started by pgriz, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've been using my flashes, both on and off camera, quite a bit. However, over the past few months, the 580EX has developed some hot-shoe contact issues and will intermittently NOT fire. I think the issues is one of the spring-loaded contacts on the flash - if I pull the flash lightly towards me when it is in the hot-shoe, it connects. If the flash is pulled forward (as when shooting downwards), the flash doesn't fire. No such problem with a 430EX that I have. I've also noticed that if I use the remote ETTL cable, say with the flash on a flash bracket, the flash again does not fire if it is tilted forward. I've picked up the idea (from some other forums), that this is a problem that is not uncommon for the 580EX flashes. If so, has anyone else on TPF using this equipment had this kind of issue, and how did you resolve it? Yes, sending it for repairs is always an option, but maybe there is a simpler way of getting this to work.

    Any insight will be appreciated.


     
  2. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    bump for the morning crowd... :wink:
     
  3. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,607
    Likes Received:
    1,551
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    There are 5 spring-loaded contact pins on the foot of the flash (also the metal plate is ground pin). When I press on each of these pins on my flash, the springs are firm. If I turn the flash to sight across the pins from the side, I can see that they're all level (no pin is recessed.)

    As you inspect the pins on the foot of your flash, are all of the pins level and do they all press in and return freely (e.g. is it possible that a bit of sand managed to wedge its way in to one of the pins and is preventing it from springing back out to make good contact?)

    BTW, the center pin and the plate are the manual pins (if you put the flash in manual mode and use a piece of metal such as a paper clip to short the connection between the metal ground plate on the foot and ONLY the middle pin, the flash should fire at whatever manual power level you dialed in.) The other 4 pins are only used if you are shooting in E-TTL / E-TTL II modes.)

    There are four small screws around the bottom of the flash that appear to allow you to remove the foot. I have _never_ attempted to open my flash, so this falls under the "proceed at your own risk" and "this will surely violate your warranty" (if the flash is still under warranty). But the amount of trouble-shooting you've done definitely points to a poor connection issue. My guess is one of your pins isn't level with the rest and the spring isn't able to return it to it's proper seated position (possibly due to some debris jamming it's movement.)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    44,087
    Likes Received:
    16,757
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've read of this issue before on multiple different makes and models of d-slr's. It each case it was determined to be excessive "play" in the hotshoe/flash "fit". Just not a tight enough fit...so, poor contact...flash would often NOT fire when the camera was held in the "tall" orientation and that nasty gravity-thing would pull the flash ever,ever-so-slighly away from making good contact, but when the camera was held in the normal, horizontal or it-leaves-all-the-dead-space-err-I-mean-negative space-on-the-sides-of-my-lopped-off-head-family-member mode, the flash would fire reliably.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks, Tim. Always a good and thoughtful response from you. Looking at the pins, it appears that the rear left pin is not making full contact. My flash is no longer under warranty, but my ability with small parts is not particularly great, and if there are springs (probably tiny ones) behind those pins, then I'm sure Mr. Murphy will appear at my elbow and "help" me if I try to disassemble the foot. Your idea that a bit of debris "may" be causing the problem is something I will try to verify. What puzzles me, is that if all pins are not in contact, the flash flash symbol in my viewfinder disappears, and the flash will not fire. I would have thought that the flash would revert to manual mode, but perhaps there is some logic to disabling the flash if the pins are not all in contact.
     
  6. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks, Derrel. I'm also thinking that the hot-shoe itself getting a little loose, and on some other forums I read that tightening the screws underneath the metal plate is the way to go (taking care not to lose the sensor pin that tells the camera that there IS a flash in the hot shoe). On the other hand, the 580EX also does not work reliably when it's on the remote cable attachment, which has no loose parts - so that tells me the problem is linked to the flash and not the hotshoe. I'll just have to check Tim's idea that some debris may be preventing the pin from returning to full-contact position.
     
  7. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,607
    Likes Received:
    1,551
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    BTW - if I grab onto the ground plate with my fingers and try to wiggle it there is absolutely no play whatsoever. Is your plate loose?

    When you flip the lock level it's the rubber boot that moves - not the plate. So the plate should be pretty solid.
     
  8. ghache

    ghache No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    3,570
    Likes Received:
    295
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    i changed the hot shoe of 1 of my sb-600 already, there was a play in it, the tightening pin that goes down when you lock the flash on was faulty. the replacement shoe was selling for 40$ on ebay....quite expensive imo
     
  9. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The locking plate on the flash is rock-solid, but the hot-shoe on my T1i is somewhat loose. However, as noted earlier, I have a 430EX flash and it works fine in all positions on the hot-shoe, so the looseness there doesn't seem to be a factor. I will try to tighten the hot-shoe soon.
     
  10. pgriz

    pgriz Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,733
    Likes Received:
    3,212
    Location:
    Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Followup: tightened the screws holding the hot shoe to the camera, replaced the metal clip, and the 580EX flash works in all orientations. Of course, I also blew compressed air around the flash pins to dislodge any debris that may have crept in between the pins and the body. So between the two actions, I've got my main flash back in reliable operation.
     
  11. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    3,607
    Likes Received:
    1,551
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    Glad to hear it's back in working order!
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page