PDA

View Full Version : Olympus Ring Flash Problems


Naughty Nigel
19th March 2009, 01:49 PM
I don't seem to have much luck with Olympus flashguns. :(

Some here will know I had long running problems with my FL50, which didn't communicate properly with the camera. My old F280 also went bang - literally!

The FL50 problem is now solved (thanks Ian), but I now have a problem with my Olympus Ring Flash System.

The flash works perfectly well, but the slightest movement of the cable makes the controller switch off, with the word 'OFF' flashing in the display, and I have to wait a while to switch it on again.

It is barely used, but sadly out of guarantee I suspect. I hadn't been aware of this problem until a week or so ago when I bought the Adaptor Ring to fit it to my 50 mm f2.0 macro lens, and had been looking forward to doing some macro work. :(

Any ideas anyone?

Archphoto
19th March 2009, 03:53 PM
Apertently you have a contact problem.
Try to clean the contacts with alcohol and Q-tips (cotton swabs).

If that doesn't help: try taping the cable into the right position, it is not the best solution, but still.....

Peter

Naughty Nigel
19th March 2009, 04:27 PM
Thanks Peter,
I think you are probably right. The problem seems to relate to the plug and socket between the controller and the ring flash itself, as the slightest movement makes it switch off.

This flash is virtually brand new, having only been used a few times, so I am reluctant to stick it together with sticky tape. Its just unfortunate that I haven't used it much since I bought it, as I would have found this problem earlier.

I also need to use the flash in the field, so I donít want to be faffing about switching it on all of the time.

I will try cleaning the contacts, but if that doesnít' work I suppose I'll just have to cough up and get it put right. :(

photo_owl
19th March 2009, 04:35 PM
I have exactly the same issue and it drives me potty!

I thought I had solved it by angling the 6 pins a little but to no avail - back with a vengance

yuk

Naughty Nigel
19th March 2009, 04:48 PM
So; it seems Olympus has somehow overlooked a design fault, which is not good news on what is a very expensive unit.

I wonder whether Olympus would like to comment on this? Three failures out of three (so far) is not a very good track record in my view. :(

I would have expected equipment of this quality to work for at least ten years. My Metz equipment still works as it did nearly twenty years ago.

photo_owl
20th March 2009, 09:30 AM
not sure about the '3 out of three' but the conection between the FC-1 and RF-11 seems to be suspect, despite what appears overall to be a well engineered solution. Locking fittings, pretty solid pins etc

Naughty Nigel
20th March 2009, 09:44 AM
not sure about the '3 out of three' but the conection between the FC-1 and RF-11 seems to be suspect, despite what appears overall to be a well engineered solution. Locking fittings, pretty solid pins etc


It may be down to something as simple as the pins being slightly too small for the connectors in the FC-1, so there is an intermittent electrical connection. If so this is a design fault, which can happen in the best organisations.

I remember the time when British Leyland suffered a huge number of engine failures in its cars, caused by oil starvation. After months of testing investigation, and expensive repair claims, someone realised that the dipsticks were too long. Doh! :o:o:o

Archphoto
20th March 2009, 12:50 PM
One thing that could help in the field is having an old matchbox with you with the paper removed and use pieces to secure the plug into the socket.

Worth a try !

Peter

photo_owl
20th March 2009, 01:33 PM
One thing that could help in the field is having an old matchbox with you with the paper removed and use pieces to secure the plug into the socket.

Worth a try !

Peter

sorry but I can't see this in a practical sense at all - where are you planning to put what and, come to think of it, what's paper got to do with a matchbox? :confused:

just look at the socket on the FC1 and the plug on the RF11 and tell me what goes where in this 'solution'

Archphoto
21st March 2009, 12:44 PM
Could you post a photo of the parts, please, I might have been mistaken.

Mrs T
21st March 2009, 09:16 PM
This flash is virtually brand new, having only been used a few times, so I am reluctant to stick it together with sticky tape. Its just unfortunate that I haven't used it much since I bought it, as I would have found this problem earlier.

I also need to use the flash in the field, so I donít want to be faffing about switching it on all of the time.

I will try cleaning the contacts, but if that doesnít' work I suppose I'll just have to cough up and get it put right. :(

Have you considered using the Sale of Goods Act to encourage Olympus to repair the flash which is patently not fit for purpose.

This is a quote from the attached URL

"For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement)."

http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html

Hope this may be of some help.

Amanda

Mrs T
21st March 2009, 09:39 PM
Another link which may help including sample letters.

http://www.which.co.uk/advice/dealing-with-faulty-goods/your-rights/index.jsp


Amanda

Naughty Nigel
23rd March 2009, 10:03 AM
Have you considered using the Sale of Goods Act to encourage Olympus to repair the flash which is patently not fit for purpose.

This is a quote from the attached URL

"For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement)."

http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html

Hope this may be of some help.

Amanda

I was hoping to get sense without getting heavy, if you know what I mean. :)

I haven't asked for a repair yet, so I will make some enquiries to see what response I get.

If I don't get anywhere the gloves will come off. *yes

photo_owl
23rd March 2009, 02:41 PM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3582/3379409660_582f7efc15_o.jpg

the plug is a tight fit and is locked in positively by the groove as shown

I can't get a set of feeler guages in to test the exact amount of any gap between the plug face marked with the red cross and the socket wall because it's lipped but using the external plug measurements and the internal socket it's significantly less than sheet of printer paper. I had considered adding a film of epoxy to the plug on that face but whilst I can currently deliberately cause it to switch off by twisting the plug 'hard' it's now behaving itself again in practical use.

I also took the unit apart to see if I could get inside the actual socket to 'reset' the internal metal elements to make them a tighter fit but it's a sealed unit. I was able to rule out loose wires etc though.

Naughty Nigel
23rd March 2009, 02:53 PM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3582/3379409660_582f7efc15_o.jpg

the plug is a tight fit and is locked in positively by the groove as shown

I can't get a set of feeler guages in to test the exact amount of any gap between the plug face marked with the red cross and the socket wall because it's lipped but using the external plug measurements and the internal socket it's significantly less than sheet of printer paper. I had considered adding a film of epoxy to the plug on that face but whilst I can currently deliberately cause it to switch off by twisting the plug 'hard' it's now behaving itself again in practical use.

I also took the unit apart to see if I could get inside the actual socket to 'reset' the internal metal elements to make them a tighter fit but it's a sealed unit. I was able to rule out loose wires etc though.

Yep: that's the one!

As you say, the plug is a very snug fit, but if the camera is moved slightly, the weight of the coiled cable is sufficient to move the plug just enough switch the flashgun off. It is a real pain. :(:mad:

Mine is around three years old, but barely used, so I will try to persuade Olympus to repair it before I get the Araldite out.

On the plus side, if it goes to Portugal for repairs there will be a six month warranty on the work.

Naughty Nigel
27th May 2011, 11:54 AM
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I wondered if anyone else has suffered problems with the Olympus Ring Flash system?

This all goes back a while now, but I asked my local Olympus dealer if they could send my ring flash back to Olympus for repair. Their response was that flashguns were disposable items, and usually so cheap they were not worth repairing, (even though this one is worth around £800.00 at current prices). They made it clear that they had no intention of helping in any way, and have since ceased trading.

I have made enquiries with Olympus UK, who say there are no known issues regarding the design of the ring flash system, and have suggested that I send the equipment back for repair. They have quoted a standard repair charge of £92.70 for the RF-11 ring flash, and £138 for the FS-FC1. Unfortunately, I don't know whether the problem is with the plug on the RF-11 ring flash or the socket on the FS-FC1 controller; so it looks as if I will have to stump up £230.70 to get my flashgun to work.

I am reluctant to take it apart myself, and even more reluctant to modify it with Araldite and sticking plasters, so I thought that perhaps I should ask on here again.

wanderer
27th May 2011, 12:52 PM
I've just had the ringflash for a fortnight's hire. No problems other than user lacking imagination.
I have now added it to the long list of what I would buy if I won the lottery. I do think that if I owned it I would leave it connected most of the time as I reckon shoving the plug in and out on a regular basis would damage the contacts.
I notice on your photo that one of the pins appears squint. Could this be the fault?

Naughty Nigel
27th May 2011, 03:25 PM
Thanks Wanderer.

The photograph was Photo Pwl's, not mine, and I think he had tried bending the pins in an effort to resolve the problem. I also tried to do this, (very gently), but it made no difference.

I did wonder whether there was an intermittent connection within the plug itself, but this doesn't seem to be the problem, as the slightest movement of the plug body in the controller socket switches the flashgun off instantly.

However, you have given me an idea. If I was able to hire or borrow a ring flash outfit I might be able to find out which part was at fault, so saving a double repair cost. But if it still didn't work after repairs I would be no further forward.

Actually I would be much happier if I knew I had broken the flashgun or worn it out, as then I would know that a repair would fix the problem; but as the flashgun is virtually unused, and seems to have a design fault, 'repairing' it with new parts of the same design might not improve the situation, but would have cost me £230!

The Saint
27th May 2011, 06:15 PM
Nigel

I doubt you would get charged for both elements to be repaired unless they are both faulty.

As I understand the Olympus repair service to work (after recently having my E-3 repaired) you send the items to Olympus, they have a quick look at it and identify the problems then you are given 3 options:

1. Get the items repaired for which they quote you a price
2. Have them sent back unrepaired, which I believe is circa. £15
3. You can ask them to dispose of the items at no cost.

You may want to double check this with Olympus.

Simon

RobEW
8th October 2017, 02:08 PM
Hi. Sorry for disinterring this ancient thread, but I've just obtained used FC1 and RF-11 very cheaply, and am having the same problems intermittently. My FC1 seems to switch to the flashing "OFF" word immediately after firing the ring flash, and then switch off. Was there any resolution? I initially suspected the connections between body and FC1 were at fault, but tried two different bodies to eliminate this possibility. Very tempted to send the units back.

Naughty Nigel
8th October 2017, 04:00 PM
Hi Rob,
This was all a long time ago now, but after a lengthy exchange of emails I finally persuaded Olympus to repair the system free of charge, so it all works properly now.

The argument that I put to Olympus was that this was a known problem, and was very obviously a design fault, so the usual guarantee terms and conditions did not apply.

I also argued that, given the high cost of the flashgun system it was 'reasonable' to expect it to last considerably longer than the two year warranty period. The fact that the unit was little used supported this argument.

However, that was six or seven years ago now, so I doubt you would persuade Olympus to repair it FOC after this length of time.

The source of the problem was never disclosed, but I strongly suspect it was in the controller body itself rather than the ring flash attachment. This would be easily tested by plugging in a known, good ring flash attachment. I think what happens is that if the controller detects a 'disconnect' owing to a poor connection between the FC1 and RF-11 it shuts down and discharges the main storage capacitor for safety; hence the symptoms displayed. In my case the problem started whenever there was slight movement of the RF-11 plug in its socket, but it got worse with use.

The ring flash attachment has a moulded plug so I think that is unlikely to be the cause of the problem. There may also be some kind of micro switch in the controller body to confirm that the flash attachment is actually plugged in. As you will have found, the FC1 will not switch on unless the flash attachment is connected.

I don't know what the deal was with your seller, but you might persuade them to contribute the cost of a repair if it was sold in good working order.