Vivitar 283 w/ Exploded batteries
Last year I was going to do a social shoot, so I grabbed my trusty old Vivtar 283. Tried to turn it on & nothing. Opened it up and the batteries that were in there had exploded. Tossed some new batteries in without cleaning anything, and it wouldn't charge up. I pretty much needed a working flash in about 4 hours from when I discovered this, so I went to one of the camera shops in town, and found a used Vivitar 285 that I purchased, and used for the past year. The 283 just got stuffed into a box and i never used it since.
Last night though, After taking a photo, the 285 just fell off of the hot shoe. The plastic foot had cracked and broke off. Anticipating maybe needing a flash again today, I pulled out the 283 and gave it a look. The internal contacts seemed fairly clean, with the residue from the exploded batteries still on the walls. The contacts on the plastic battery holder is where all of the really bad corrosion seems to have taken plan, so I figured that was were problem was in not letting the unit charge. So I used the clean battery pack from the 285 and loaded the 283 with it. It started charging, but the distinct steady sound of the capacitor charging was really erratic, and the whole device started to smelling like battery acid, so I turned it off and pulled the batteries out.
Does this behavior just sound like it is caused by the residue still present in the battery chamber and on the contacts? Or some internal malfunction in the unit itself that may have caused the batteries to pop in the first place?
If the former, what is a good method to clean the residue out & get it off of the contacts safely? I'd like to get this unit up & running again if possible.
I usually use alcohol to clean leaked battery fluid.
My best guess: Whatever is meant to knock the charging voltage of the 283 dwn to a trickle once the batteries are charged isn't working, so the batteries, even when fully charged, keep getting full charging power until they blow. Cost of repair is likely to exceed cost of another second-hand unit by quite a margin!
Maybe you guys remember this, but about a year ago I got a busted-up Sunpak 120 to try to use with my Weegee experiments. Anyway, the major thing wrong with it was that it had 4 majorly grody AA cells in it, and one or more of them had swelled to the point that the battery cover was pushed up and part was broken.
The hardest part was getting the old cells out. I had to literally cut and dig them out in pieces, and when I got them out, I cleaned the inside of the battery holder with alcohol and a q-tip, then "conditioned" it with vaseline (I don't really think this was absolutely necessary), then with alcohol again. It ended up quite clean.
The bottom spring contacts looked fine. I just cleaned them off with some Simichrome on a q-tip, then alcohol, but the contacts on the battery cover were green, black, and crusty.
I scraped off the chunks with a dental explorer, cleaned as much of the yuck that I could with rubbing alcohol, and then polished them with a little buffing wheel on the Dremel with Simichrome. It turned out almost as good as new. The only sign of it is the broken piece of the battery cover. (Well, one booboo on the hot shoe.)
It charged and flashed just fine after that.
Alcohol and patience were the big things.
It sounds as if the 283 charging circuit has a problem - perhaps a blown limiting diode - such that it is overcharging and blowing the batteries?
Since the only problem with the 285 is a broken shoe. Why not use it to charge up the battery pack and then slip the fully charged pack into the 283? Admittedly it's a bit of a PITA to do so - but may work for the time being until you get a replacement unit.
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I think by "charging" Sji meant that the capacitor was charging. There's probably battery ooze all over inside the case. I'm sure that the flash circuit makes heat as it runs, and makes the ooze stink.
(The 283 has no battery charger in it. There is a line adapter, but the NiCd system used a sealed pack and external charger. Much better to use NiMH AA cells these days anyway.)
You could take it apart and clean it out.
Or you can probably buy another one for $20 on eBay.
Originally Posted by John Shriver
Glad you said it - I was hesitant to do so.
Just put both units in the trash bucket and get a new "used" one!
Just replace the foot on your 285. I just did mine and it works fine. I think I paid about $5 for an aftermarket foot and installed it myself. Look on ebay.
"I'm still developing"
Does the 283 foot fit on the 285? I think they are essentially the same apart from the zoom flash head.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
The 285 foot has the test fire button & the PC connection hole on the foot. The 283 has them on the body, so no.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
Though I ended up not needing it, so I'll just spend the $8 for the aftermarket foot.