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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #62449
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Subject: "sb900 flash overheats" Previous topic | Next topic
kenyjim Registered since 17th Feb 2009Wed 13-Nov-13 05:32 PM
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"sb900 flash overheats"


Huddleston, US
          

I have an sb800 and an sb900. The 900 overheats after about 30 shots. Is this a common problem and if so does Nikon have a fix?

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
ScottChapin Moderator
13th Nov 2013
1
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
MEMcD Moderator
14th Nov 2013
2
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
hujiie Silver Member
15th Nov 2013
3
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
PSAGuy Silver Member
15th Nov 2013
4
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
kenyjim
18th Nov 2013
5
Reply message RE: sb900 flash overheats
ctadin Silver Member
19th Nov 2013
6

ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 13-Nov-13 10:38 PM
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#1. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 0


Powder Springs, US
          

Ken,

It is a very common problem. Evidently Nikon got tired of repairing SB800s under warranty. Unfortunately in the day of digital, where we take large numbers of pictures without regard to cost, portable strobes cannot keep up. I know you can push the heck out of an SB800, but evidently you can push it enough to burn one up.

Generally, flash manuals ask to limit the flashes to 15 full power flashes per 10 minutes. In the days of film, nobody would be dissatisfied with this rate of fire. So, if you are shooting 30 full power shots in less than 20 minutes, you are pushing it.

The SB900 has a limit as to how many shots you can take before it shuts down for awhile. As I understand it, the SB910 handles it ala Canon style, in that the cycle times increase and the flash slows down over time.

The problem is that the flash tube, batteries, and circuit board are crammed into a small space and the heat builds up too fast. The reason Quantum Q-Flashes don't have this problem is due to the large open air reflector with the bulb in the open, circuit boards well separated, and battery power a good distance from the head.

The suggested starting point with the SB900 is to use the SD9 external battery pack with LSD NiMH batteries. This helps remove heat build up internally from the batteries. Next is to up the ISO to the extent that you can to reduce the amount of flash power needed. Get as close as reasonable to your subject to reduce the flash power.

I can shoot weddings with an SB900 without problems when shooting closer to 50mm at ISO 400. With my 85mm f/1.4 I have to up the ISO to 800, because I'm getting too far away from the subject.

I use my Quantums when I really cannot take a chance. Of course, when I don't need all of my flash units in simultaneous use, I keep an SB900 in rotation with my 85mm f/1.4.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Thu 14-Nov-13 04:12 PM
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#2. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Ken,

The thermal shutdown feature was added in the SB-900 to prevent the Speedlight from melting when pushed beyond the designed duty cycle. Unfortunately the Nikon Speedlight User Manuals are not very clear on the maximum design "Duty Cycle" for Speedlights. On page F-5 the maximum number of continuous shots is 15 in i-TTL, Non-TTL Auto, and Manual (M1/1, M1/2) then a 10 minute cool down is required to prevent overheating. That works out to one shot every 40 sec. or so. If you are shooting much faster than that, you should consider a Quantum Q flash.

Scott's advise on maximizing your FPM (Frame Per Minute) rate using the SB-900 is spot on.
Using LSD batteries in the SB-900 will also help a little since the low internal resistance reduces the heat generated by the batteries chemical reaction but does not eliminate it.
If you use the diffuser dome, it not only slows the cooling but increases the heat load since the flash will fire using more power and thereby generate even more heat.

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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hujiie Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Apr 2009Fri 15-Nov-13 07:09 PM
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#3. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I carry an extra when I do wedding with sb900 with light sphere and always have to swap. Maybe a bad shooting habit but that is what I do.

www.hitoshiujiie.com/photography.html

  

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PSAGuy Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2008Fri 15-Nov-13 07:57 PM
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#4. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 3


Lake Elmo, US
          

I always carry a spare SB 900 and know the issue but generally plan ways to handle it including Eneloops batteries and an external battery pack.
Not sure how anyone risks shooting a wedding with a single flash. Too many things can happen.

  

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kenyjim Registered since 17th Feb 2009Mon 18-Nov-13 06:46 PM
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#5. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 0


Huddleston, US
          

Thanks to all for the info and suggestions. I can't afford a second 900 but I will try some of the other suggestions and let you know the results.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ctadin Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2008Tue 19-Nov-13 01:50 PM
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#6. "RE: sb900 flash overheats"
In response to Reply # 5
Tue 19-Nov-13 01:52 PM by ctadin

St Louis, US
          

Regardless of whether the 900 overheats or not, I always carry an extra flash on my freelance photo shoots.
I had one incident when my 900 overheated. I was photographing a family portrait outdoors, in July, where the temps were in the high 90's. We won't even get into the humidity level.
Because I had a back up flash, I was able to keep on shooting.
I do use Sanyo Eneloops in my flashes.

Cheryl

  

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