I'm not up on the latest 285. I know original 285's have a light sensor that has three auto settings (yellow, blue and purple I seem to remember) as well as manual settings of full, half, quarter, and maybe even eights and sixteenths. (Or is that Metz with the Mecamat I am remembering?)
The sensor can be unplugged from the front of the flash. There is an extension cord accessory about 1m long that allows the sensor to stay on the camera while the flash body is firing into an umbrella or soft box, or is held closer to the ceiling to bounce with more punch. These extensions can be daisy chained, to a modest degree.
I don't have mine any more, but it was quite nice. I moved on to a Viviatr 4600, and 5400 which could take off the film sesnor for auto flash shut off. In the end that was a waste of energy, as I started to use them together as main and fill for portraits. I quickly learned that multple flashes on auto do not work well, unless you want to spend mondo dollars today for e-ttl, or whatever wireless system is being flogged. I did learn what guide numbers and light ratios were, and could juggle quite bit in my head foor a while using just them. Then I bought a flash meter, and all the math could be used on tax forms, and not photo shoots.
When I did stil have the 285 and was using it a lot, it was before NiMH batteries, and Ni-Cad's with always guarding against memory effect were a pain in the butt. I grew tired of doing a whack of portraits, etc in a row, with the flash recycling slower, and slower as I was firing it full manual into a 24x36" softbox.
So I took an early PC computer that someone was tossing, and salvaged the power supply. I whittled a piece of pine with screw nails in the right place to inject positive and negative terminals and fed it 5V from the PC supply with lamp cord. The supply was fitted into an old tin that once held Christmas cookies, and operated with the lid removed for the fan to breath.
The PC supply could supply up to 22A, and the single flash only sucked 6A, so the thing certainly got the reaady light on in a hurry. When I moved to two flashes, it fed them both. I am actually selling at a swap met over this weekned, and that old unit is one of the things I am tryiing to virtually give away to create more space in the house.