Pentax AF360 Flash fix

Just a quick and somewhat incomplete guide to fixing a misbehaving Pentax AF360 Flash. The problem started out of the blue without warning. When mounted on a camera and powered up the internal zoom mechanism would just continuously struggle against itself. I thought perhaps some mechanical fault had happened such as a gear slipping or something coming apart. As it turned out during the diagnostics it was none of these.

The first thing you want to do is remove the batteries or discharge the flash and then remove them to limit the potential for receiving a shock. After that you need to take the flash apart. As I write this I can no longer remember all the screw locations but in general if something is not coming apart easily do not force it its more likely that you have missed a screw hiding under something.

Once I had it apart I did power it up so that I could see what was happening if you do this be very careful and perhaps wear insulating gloves just to once again limit the chances of a shock.

What I discovered was that everything mechanical was working properly but the flash was not registering when it had reached the end of its zoom so just kept on trying. The zoom position is determined electronically by a series of small contacts running along a printed circuit board.

The fix was as simple as gentally cleaning the contacts and traces on the board with electronics cleaner. (any fast drying solvent that doesn’t leave a residue would work)

And after reassembly I had a fully functional flash once again. So if you experience a similar fault with a zooming Pentax flash and your even a little handy its worth a try.

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