af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

Started Sep 7, 2009 | Discussions
magomago Regular Member • Posts: 214
af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

A long time ago I posted that my af540gz flash got stuck to my k100d. The only way to remove it left my flash mount broken. I looked at what caused it and it appears there was this little pin on the underside that should retract as I pull back...but it didn't. I thought it was my fault the way I mounted the flash (perhaps I did it poorly?)

Well, I got my K-20 this weekend specifically because I wanted to do more studio type photography and I need to have a working flash. Anyways, this weekend I took my new cam to a gathering of friends and put on my flash onto the mount. Now this morning I tried to take it off...but it won't come off. It is stuck again. I feel like it is that little pin in there that isn't retracting.

Is there a special way to remove the flash I was preofrming before but am not doing now? I went through the manual and it doesn't mention anything. I really don't want to rip off the flash and mess up the flash mount leaving me with 2 availible-only light cameras.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas or will I have to send this to pentax? What I do know for sure if once I get this safely apart, I'm going to push in that little pin, and then solder it in locked into position so it can't come out anymore.

I know people have had the issue before, but I have no idea how you guys got around it...

DarylK
DarylK Senior Member • Posts: 2,198
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

I believe there is what I'll call a "thumb wheel" on your flash unit for loostening it from the camera. Make sure you've fully "untreaded" it to make sure the pin is pulled as far up as possible. You've probaby already done this, but thought I'd mention it just in case.

Good luck.
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ranferi rodriguez
ranferi rodriguez Regular Member • Posts: 299
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

That happened to me. what i did was to unscrew the flash(from below). But be very carefull when you separate the parts, do it very very slowly because you can break the inside cables. Once you do this you will be able to unlock the plastic part of your flash that it stock.

I.m sorry, my english is poor....any question please ask.

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OP magomago Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

DarylK wrote:

I believe there is what I'll call a "thumb wheel" on your flash unit for loostening it from the camera. Make sure you've fully "untreaded" it to make sure the pin is pulled as far up as possible. You've probaby already done this, but thought I'd mention it just in case.

Good luck.
--
DarylK

Thanks Daryl. I was aware of it and i double checked it multpile times. I did it once more after you mentioned it for good measure. I found a lot of people that have this problem. Poor pin design seems to be the issue.

With some luck I unscrewed the 4 (For some reason, mine only had three haha!) screws on the bottom of the flash. It took some effort because I had a stub of a screw and the torque wasn't enough. I ended up use a needle nose plier to hold the screw stub and turning it that way until it was loose enough for my fingers to take over the work.

I'm going to see how I should remove this pin. I don't want to superglue lest it gets loose again. This guy is responsible for my K100D's broken flash moutn and I'm not about to let it mess up my lovely K-20

I'll try to post pics to show the work and have a refence for anyone else who gets this...although I'd argue that the first thing one should do is remove the pin immediately lol...

OP magomago Regular Member • Posts: 214
HOW TO flash mount removal + step by step pics

Here is what I used to do it - You really need something small and 'stubby' because there isn't much working room when the flash is stuck to the camera:

I used the pliers to loosen the screen and then I worked on removing it with that stub part.

Once I got the screws off the base came off easily. However, I only had three screws for some odd reason lol. I disconnected the ribbon cable on the top left

Here is the inside of the base of the flash. We can see the offending pin on the right corner. Now the pin actually has a flange on it. Its in between that circle little metal piece and the botton of the flash mount. This flange prevents the pin from going allll the way in or coming alll the way out. So this means that the circle metal mounting points need to be removed. I found two ways to do it: unscrew the whole circular metal assembly, or push the pin in the most outward position and then bend that circular mounting point. I chose the latter.

Also, there is a plastic little piece that fell off the metal piece. You can't see it well in this photo. Maybe if you take it and increase brightness you can see it. It wasn't on very secure...and honestly I have no idea how in the world it was supposed to move with the circular twist on the outside of the flash....

Here is the current result. It bent very easily with the pliers, and out came the pin + a little spring on it. Now on the pin you can clearly see the flanged design.

Now before I put it all back together I remembered my flash has a rattle in it. I didn't know from what. Since I had it taken apart I decided to shake it for a little bit...after a few shakes a little black piece came out...I looked at it and realized that this was the missing key! IT was a control arm that helped actuate the whole system...and this tiny little plastic piece (I can't believe it is PLASTIC of all things...) fell apart, and got lodged in my flash and was making that rattle sound. Now my lash doesn't have a rattle...shaking it produces only smaller whispers of ribbon cables jam packed left and right....

With the K20D great detail getter I got close with my 16-45, used the now working flash, and took a closer look. You can see from the deformation that this is indeed the control arm that was twisted off....

Well there you go. For anyone who buys this flash, remove that pin immediately! You will save yourself a LOT of heartache, and hopefully you won't lose a camera in the process like I did.

magomago

baldeagle21b Contributing Member • Posts: 987
Re: HOW TO flash mount removal + step by step pics

magomago wrote:

Well there you go. For anyone who buys this flash, remove that pin immediately! You will save yourself a LOT of heartache, and hopefully you won't lose a camera in the process like I did.

Alternatively, you can fill in the hole in the flash mount that the pin drops into with wax or some other removable substance. The flash fits securely enough on the mount with the tightening of the screw that the locking action of the pin isn't necessary.

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Alfisti Veteran Member • Posts: 6,649
Drives me nukin futs

Honestly, whoever designed the flash mounting needs to be sentenced to 10 years of pulling flashes on and off pentax DSLR's. It's insanely difficult.

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OP magomago Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: HOW TO flash mount removal + step by step pics

the only reason I hesitate about this is in the day that its extremely hot and causes the plug to come or slowly melt. I don't know how hot it would have to be, and I'm probably over worrying, but now I don't have to worry about it lol.

Otherwise your idea works well...I think the main point is to do SOMETHING as opposed to not doing anything lol

baldeagle21b wrote:

magomago wrote:

Well there you go. For anyone who buys this flash, remove that pin immediately! You will save yourself a LOT of heartache, and hopefully you won't lose a camera in the process like I did.

Alternatively, you can fill in the hole in the flash mount that the pin drops into with wax or some other removable substance. The flash fits securely enough on the mount with the tightening of the screw that the locking action of the pin isn't necessary.

DarylK
DarylK Senior Member • Posts: 2,198
Re: HOW TO flash mount removal + step by step pics

Congratulations on your successful flash surgery!
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gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

I've got a problem the very first time due to the lock itself. SInce I only use this flash wireless, it's much better anyway.

That's the way to solve your problem..!

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james laubscher Senior Member • Posts: 1,225
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

This is useful information about a problem design. I'm surprised that no-one else has reported this.

What is the point of the locking pin? I've used flashes for years without such pins and they've never fallen off.

Anyway I'm grateful for the heads up on this as I've just ordered a Sigma flash that replaces the 540 and I'll now check carefully for any protruding locking pins before using it.

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shane gerrish
shane gerrish Veteran Member • Posts: 5,980
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

when i bought my flash i just added a drop of superglue to the pin inside its hole when in the retracted position ... hasn't moved since and only took a couple of seconds to do.
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DaveInPA Regular Member • Posts: 352
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

I had the same thing happen to my K10D and 540gz flash. My flash was one month out of warranty (I had bought it 13 months before) but I sent it in to Pentax anyway hoping they would cover it as a warranty repair...which they did.

The nice bonus is that they also cleaned and calibrated my K10D as well. I was stunned at how clean it was when I got it back.

The downside is I was without my camera for over three weeks.

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Lucky Sky Senior Member • Posts: 1,795
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

james laubscher wrote:

This is useful information about a problem design. I'm surprised that no-one else has reported this.

What is the point of the locking pin? I've used flashes for years without such pins and they've never fallen off.

James-

This was reported extensively here about 2 years ago. I was quite grateful for that previous thread as it showed me the only way to mount a Pentax flash on my K20D.

1) I feel that use of the locking pin is unnecessary because the flash fits so tightly into the flash shoe.

2) If I care to lock the flash using the pin, I ensure that the flash itself is firmly pushed as far as it will go into the shoe, and then visually check that it's mounted correctly, and then I can use the locking pin without fear.

The trick is the visual check before using the locking pin.......it is so easy to give the flash a firm push onto the shoe, only to see when checking that it has a slight distance yet to travel before the flash is fully mounted as designed. And that's where people run into trouble.
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Bill Beckett Regular Member • Posts: 414
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

Like was noted earlier, this problem was reported on many many times about 2 years ago. I was so afraid of mounting my new 540 on my K10 that before it went on for the first time, I performed a pinectomy. I think that the best approach that I have seen is to fill the hole in the camera. That way everthing can be put back to original condition should warranty work need be done. I would suggest shaving down a round tooth pick and filling the hole with that. If the need arises, just fish it out with a needle. The secret would be to make it a tightish but not very tight fit. This would be simplier than taking the flash apart plus you wouldn't be voiding a warranty.
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awaldram
awaldram Forum Pro • Posts: 13,270
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

I think it depends how hard you are on equipment, My flash is 3 years old used regularly and no issue thus far.

Not meaning to dis the OP but his information make it sound like he's very hard on equipment.

ergo

1 flash bust up already.
only 3 screws in his foot.

The only way I can see from the design you can break the plastic plunger is if you lock the pin by pulling on the flash whilst at the same time operating the release.

This will cause the Plastic plunger to jam and bend against the held pin.

It is not possible to damage the plastic plunger by engaging the pin lock prior to full insertion as the design allows the pin to bounce freely on its spring.

You can test this off camera put the lever in the lock position so the pin protrudes then press the pin with you finger it will retract quite happily with no contact to the plunger.

I fear if the lunger was steel then users would just snap the lever or foot instead.
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Dantum Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Drives me nukin futs

I wouldn't be so hard on them but I would definitely ask for money back on 540fgz. That flash has too many small design flaws that make it's RRP a total joke.

PentaxFriend Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Drives me nukin futs

On my K10D the hot-shoe hole has been worn so much that its diameter is increased, allow the locker pin to more easily retract.

Pentax could at least make the hole bigger in the future camera models and perhaps eliminate the need for redesigning the mounting design.

jamesm007 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,663
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

Here is another problem (although I really enjoy my Pentax gear!) that Pentax needs to rid itself of. Yes this has been known for years. I bought a Pentax flash a couple years ago. Because its a wireless slave I put it on my tripod using my flash to tripod adapter. I have used this adapter on a cheap Ritz flash, and Kodak external flash unit no problems. I still use it. But the Pentax was a little hard going in and the flash to tripod adapter used a screw to tighten the flash foot in (on the side of the foot) to my horror one day a week or two latter my AF360 flash foot was cracking into bits. I returned it to Ritz cameras and got my money back. I went on a hunt and decided on the Promaster 7500EDF mainly because it has a metal foot. (I know the plastic saves the camera). I have had no problems with the Promaster or the cheap $35 Sunpak I bought from Ritz. I even just last week dropped my Promaster flash about 3' onto my living-room floor (with carpet) did not hurt it at all. I paid $230 for it at my local camera shop, its well built!

Now with that said, I love the features of the Pentax flash units, just as I love the features of the DA* with SDM but I won't buy one. Pentax needs to update its flash system for sure. I was thinking of buying one just to have one, but I am waiting in hopes they come out with a couple new flash units. That don't get stuck, don't have battery doors that break off, don't have weak feet that crack very easily even compared to a plastic foot SunPack... End of Rant
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OP magomago Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: af540gz flash stuck to k-20 : How can I remove it?

awaldram wrote:

I think it depends how hard you are on equipment, My flash is 3 years old used regularly and no issue thus far.

Not meaning to dis the OP but his information make it sound like he's very hard on equipment.

ergo

1 flash bust up already.
only 3 screws in his foot.

The only way I can see from the design you can break the plastic plunger is if you lock the pin by pulling on the flash whilst at the same time operating the release.

This will cause the Plastic plunger to jam and bend against the held pin.

It is not possible to damage the plastic plunger by engaging the pin lock prior to full insertion as the design allows the pin to bounce freely on its spring.

You can test this off camera put the lever in the lock position so the pin protrudes then press the pin with you finger it will retract quite happily with no contact to the plunger.

I fear if the lunger was steel then users would just snap the lever or foot instead.
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My busted flash mount on my K100D is specifically because of this the pin getting locked and my spending over a month trying to remove it. Eventually it came off, but not after the damage was dealt. The flash actually still works, but that mount just doesn't work anymore. I wish I had known about this issue back then and I would have definitely tried to unscrew it.

Three pins on my flash is not proof of my beating up my equipment at all. There may have been a 4th pin, there may have not. No way to tell, which is why I didn't state that the flash never had a 4th pin because it is something I never noticed. QA didn't seem too hot when I bought everything the first time (case in point: I got a 50-200 lens whose box had woodchips in it. I replaced it for another, and it still had woodchips, albiet less...so I kept it).

I've always known how to operate the flash as well as how to insert it (ie: make sure its finally inserted)

Finally, if the design is one that would cause many users to break it...it should be revised. Part of design is making it as simple as possible for the user to use, as well as not break. This is something that sometimes escape engineers...we work with the something very well and know all the details of it that we may take steps/procedures for granted because they are already internalized within ourselves.

so you may have a point about using a steel piece instead of a plastic piece, but I'd still say, "change the design to something so this doesn't happen".

Anyways I'm glad it all works. I'll probably stop by a hardware store eventually to see if they have a proper size screw so I can replace that last missing screw. I do hope the pictures help for anyone interested. There are some good comments here about filling in the hole on the camera, or super gluing the bottom hole in for those who want to do so. But if you get caught in the problem and have to open up the flash to get it off....removing the pin itself becomes another option.

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