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gkreth Sep 5, 2004 1:08 PM

This is sort of a resurrection of an older thread (, but that thread didn't address my specific question....

I'd like to use an external flash with my Olympus C2100UZ, but I'm concerned about the output voltage, and I'd like to know how to measure it.

I have three flashes - a Vivitar 283, a Vivitar 285, and a Sunpak Auto 433D. I assume all could be considered "old" - I bought the 283 new in 1984, and I bought the 285 and 433D used in 1985 (or possibly 1986; I forget the exact year).

I'm concerned that the output voltage on all these flashes will fry out my Olympus C2100UZ. Is there some way I can measure the output voltage with a standard digital voltage meter (the kind I use to check my AA and 9-volt batteries)? If not, who could do something like that? I asked the repair person at Precision Camera (AUstin, TX), but frankly, he was no help at all (said he couldn't do it, didn't know who could, and acted as if he really didn't want to be talking to me....)

I hate the idea of having to spend another $75-100 to buy yet another flash, when I already own three very good ones. I could swallow the $20-40 on the FL-CB04, if I could use one of my existing flashes; otherwise, I might just upgrade to something like the new Canon PowerShot S1 IS (I'm not sure if that has an external flash sync - my brother just bought one, so I thought I'd check his out....)

Any advice that anyone could give me regarding measuring flash voltages, or alternative/comparable flashes to use if I have to purchase a new one, would be very much appreciated!


PeterP Sep 5, 2004 1:18 PM

try this old therad;forum_id=54

Covers same question on Britek strobes. :D

I'd be carefull, the BotZilla link in that thread lists the pre-1985 Vivitars as having triggervoltages around 200v. The Sunpack varying form 4v-14v depending on unit and type of batteries installed.

Definitely better to measure your unit before using it. Or get a safesync.

KCan Sep 5, 2004 3:42 PM

gkreth wrote:

Is there some way I can measure the output voltage with a standard digital voltage meter
It's perfect for the job :cool:

Mikefellh Sep 5, 2004 8:46 PM

There's instructions how to measure flashes here:

Also many strobes have their voltages listed here:

As already said, some older flashes (that predate digital) with the same model number might have a higher trigger voltage.

A way to be totally safe is a Wein Safesync.

JKA Sep 16, 2004 9:05 PM

My 30 years oldVivitar283 (Make in Japan)flash got a 276V reading on my digital meter.

I have used it on my Panasonic FZ10 for more than 200 indoor pictures prior to joining this forum and it did nothing bad to my camera. But when I contacted my local Vivitar support for verification purpose. I was told not to use it again on my FZ10.

I am using the 283 as a slave unit now.

KCan Sep 16, 2004 9:51 PM

Let say you are lucky , but I am not that surprised. I don`t think the hotshoe out component (an scr orwhatever) is part of large integration :lol:, and a discrete component, even the cheapest, the smallest,will withstand hundred volts without much effort:cool:, at least in testiong bench

Mikefellh Sep 23, 2004 12:32 PM

To use the 283 with the FZ10, you can get a Wein SafeSync which is designed for clamping the voltage of these high voltage flashes to a voltage safe for digitals.

I know of many dSLR users who have damaged their cameras due to this issue.

propwash Sep 23, 2004 9:00 PM

JKA wrote:

My 30 years oldVivitar283 (Make in Japan)flash got a 276V reading on my digital meter.

Interesting to see your post about your Vivitar 283. I have one (although mine is a "new" one, only 28 years old!) I measured the voltage a couple of days ago with a digital multimeter, and I got readings approaching 250 volts as well. I was shocked (not literally!) to see readings that high. I made about 5 or 6 measurements to verify that the readings were correct. Apparently they are. Panasonic recommends a max voltage of 24 v. so I wouldn't use that flash with your camera any more. You might be lucky that it hasn't caused any damage so far. I have a different Vivitar that was designed to use with a Minolta SLR that only shows 6.5 volts. I'm thinking about insulating the other terminals that are Minlota specific and using it with only the center terminal exposed. It's not as powerful as the 283, but it should work. Good luck!

Onyx Sep 24, 2004 12:27 PM

The manual for each of the flash may also indicate what their trigger voltages are.

sirandar Oct 19, 2004 8:48 AM

To everyone

Be careful, new flashes can be just as bad. The Vivitar 2800, a nice cheap flash has 170V brand new.

Also, use a digital meter or an analog one set to read 1000v scale. Reading a analog meter at 10v scale will give wildly inacurate results

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