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SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Wed 24-Apr-13 03:18 AM

My SB-900's interior flash tube exploded today. I literally took one test shot and a very large "pow" came out of it.
This unit was a remote unit attached to a Pocket Wizard TT5.

Now my questions are, 1) Has anyone ever experienced this before- is this common, and 2) is the only repair option to send it to Nikon?

Thanks,

Doug

luckyphoto

Port Charlotte, US
1050 posts

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#1. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 0

luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010
Wed 24-Apr-13 11:28 AM

Hi Doug and welcome to the Nikonians. Between the Nikonians, the Strobist and Nikon-oriented Flicker sites, I've not seen posts about exploding flashes in the last couple of years so I don't think it's common.

As far as repair goes, you may have other options, but if it were my SB 900, I'd send it straight to Nikon. I would question if it were the flash tube or something else in the SB 900 that caused the tube to explode. If they put another tube in it and that exploded also (not likely, but possible) they would be the best option for fixing the issue.

Hope that helps and good luck with your repairs.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#2. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 1

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Wed 24-Apr-13 11:36 AM

>Hi Doug and welcome to the Nikonians. Between the Nikonians,
>the Strobist and Nikon-oriented Flicker sites, I've not seen
>posts about exploding flashes in the last couple of years so I
>don't think it's common.
>
>As far as repair goes, you may have other options, but if it
>were my SB 900, I'd send it straight to Nikon. I would
>question if it were the flash tube or something else in the SB
>900 that caused the tube to explode. If they put another tube
>in it and that exploded also (not likely, but possible) they
>would be the best option for fixing the issue.
>
>Hope that helps and good luck with your repairs.

Thanks- I have not found anything online that has been an issue... so kind of is good and bad. I am going to have to fork out some moola it looks like for repair.

MEMcD

US
31297 posts

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#4. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 24-Apr-13 12:11 PM

Hi Doug,

Welcome to Nikonians!
I have never heard of a flash tube in a Speedlight exploding.
Obviously the flash tube should not explode. Nikon Service or a Nikon Authorized Repair Station should have no problem getting your SB-900 up and running again.

Best Regards,
Marty

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#5. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 4

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Wed 24-Apr-13 01:04 PM

Thanks Marty.

Well it is not common from what I understand after researching and speaking w/ Nikon. Thing is that it is out of warranty and not been abused or dropped...

$75-$150 repair bill ughhhh!

ScottChapin

Powder Springs/ATL, US
9045 posts

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#6. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 5

ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter Member
Wed 24-Apr-13 01:35 PM

You might contact Camera Service Co. in Smyrna, GA. Fortunately they are local to me, but their quality is high and their rates are low.

https://www.google.com/search?q=camera+service+center&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari#mldd=2

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA

Nikonians Team Member

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#7. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 6

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Wed 24-Apr-13 02:54 PM

Thank you Scott. I called, and it was worth checking out. However they were either as expensive or more than Nikon. But thank you for taking time to let me know!

Doug

ctadin

St Louis, US
1358 posts

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#8. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 7

ctadin Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2008
Thu 25-Apr-13 11:27 AM

Doug,
How about contacting Authorized Photo Service in Morton Grove, IL. They are an Nikon authorized photo service.
Their phone #: 800.406.2046.
I just had my SB-900 broken wide angle adapter replaced for $90. I didn't even bother calling Nikon to compare pricing because I have used Authorized Photo Service in the past and have always received fast, prompt, professional service.
They also warranty their repair for 90 days.
Welcome to Nikonians!

Cheryl

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#9. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 8

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Thu 25-Apr-13 11:29 AM

Hi Cheryl,

Will do- Thanks!

ScottChapin

Powder Springs/ATL, US
9045 posts

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#10. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 7

ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter Member
Thu 25-Apr-13 02:58 PM

Wow, maybe their pricing on accessories is higher than on camera's and lenses.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA

Nikonians Team Member

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#11. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 10

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Thu 25-Apr-13 03:00 PM

>Wow, maybe their pricing on accessories is higher than on
>camera's and lenses.

I have called a few places- and everyone is higher than what Nikon is quoting. We are living in very strange times ...

Craig Bennett

Rio Rancho, US
64 posts

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#12. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 5

Craig Bennett Registered since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 29-Apr-13 01:38 PM

>Thanks Marty.
>
>Well it is not common from what I understand after researching
>and speaking w/ Nikon. Thing is that it is out of warranty and
>not been abused or dropped...
>
>$75-$150 repair bill ughhhh!

I am surprised it's that cheap. Looking at the SB-900 service manual, it is not an easy fix/replacement.

I would ask Nikon if they re-calibrate the flash when they service it. It takes a special jig and test station to calibrate.

Regards,
Craig

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#13. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 12

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Mon 29-Apr-13 01:40 PM

Thanks Craig... that is good to know.

cogrady

Salt Lake City, US
586 posts

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#14. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 0

cogrady Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Jan 2009
Mon 29-Apr-13 01:55 PM

I'm sorry for your troubles. I hope you find an inexpensive solution. It's so aggrevating when these things happen mostly because it's inconvenient to ship your flash off for repairs. On top of that it's usually not cheap.

The most common problem with this flash unit is the overheating issue. Mine suffers in this manner. I'll be out on a shoot just firing away and shortly the flash shuts down. I've found that if I open up the battery housing for a minute and swap out the hot batteries for 4 fresh and cold batteries, it will go again for another round, but that's just not acceptable. I wonder if in some way the flash tube blowing out is related to the overheating. Not particularly helpful to you at this point, but just a thought.


The SB-900 was not one of Nikon's finest moments.

Claudia



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www.one-eye-closed.com
www.lastlightphotographicstudios.com

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dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#15. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 14

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Mon 29-Apr-13 02:02 PM

Thank you Claudia.

I don't know if it is related- maybe the tube was affected earlier from an over-heating issue and now just seeing the result. I do use eneloop batteries, but not the super charged ones, just the standard ones and wonder if this had anything to do with it.


>I'm sorry for your troubles. I hope you find an inexpensive
>solution. It's so aggrevating when these things happen mostly
>because it's inconvenient to ship your flash off for repairs.
>On top of that it's usually not cheap.
>
>The most common problem with this flash unit is the
>overheating issue. Mine suffers in this manner. I'll be out
>on a shoot just firing away and shortly the flash shuts down.
>I've found that if I open up the battery housing for a minute
>and swap out the hot batteries for 4 fresh and cold batteries,
>it will go again for another round, but that's just not
>acceptable. I wonder if in some way the flash tube blowing
>out is related to the overheating. Not particularly helpful
>to you at this point, but just a thought.
>
>
>The SB-900 was not one of Nikon's finest moments.
>
>Claudia
>
>
>
>

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.


>www.one-eye-closed.com
>www.lastlightphotographicstudios.com

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.


Craig Bennett

Rio Rancho, US
64 posts

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#16. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 14

Craig Bennett Registered since 28th Oct 2012
Mon 29-Apr-13 05:14 PM

>I'm sorry for your troubles. I hope you find an inexpensive
>solution. It's so aggrevating when these things happen mostly
>because it's inconvenient to ship your flash off for repairs.
>On top of that it's usually not cheap.
>
>The most common problem with this flash unit is the
>overheating issue. Mine suffers in this manner. I'll be out
>on a shoot just firing away and shortly the flash shuts down.
>I've found that if I open up the battery housing for a minute
>and swap out the hot batteries for 4 fresh and cold batteries,
>it will go again for another round, but that's just not
>acceptable. I wonder if in some way the flash tube blowing
>out is related to the overheating. Not particularly helpful
>to you at this point, but just a thought.
>
>
>The SB-900 was not one of Nikon's finest moments.
>
>Claudia
>

I have the SB-900 and several SB-910s. I recently purchased the Godox external power pack for all my Speedlights at $89 a unit (+$15 for cable). They are lightweight, clip on your belt or carry it around your neck. They power the Speedlights forever and an added benefit, the SB-900 does not overheat like without it. (I can't get it to overheat now)

Since the batteries in the flash are only used for powering the electronics they do not get hot and last as long as the external packs last.

Regards,
Craig

jherrel

Elgin, US
683 posts

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#17. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 0

jherrel Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 01-May-13 11:54 PM

Yes, I had one explode about 2 years ago as I was casually taking a couple of pictures. Sent it to Nikon and the cost was about $110 if I remember correctly. Using an external battery pack will solve your SB-900 overheating problems.

John Herrel
Nikonian from South Carolina
See the light, capture the essence!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

sankeyphoto

US
65 posts

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#18. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 16

sankeyphoto Registered since 06th Apr 2009
Thu 02-May-13 12:22 AM

Craig-

I've been looking for a while now for feedback on non-Nikon brand battery packs that work with SB-900's... Would love to get some more feedback from you on these. Feel free to PM me if that's easier. Thanks.

Joe

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#19. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 17

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Thu 02-May-13 08:39 AM

>Yes, I had one explode about 2 years ago as I was casually
>taking a couple of pictures. Sent it to Nikon and the cost
>was about $110 if I remember correctly. Using an external
>battery pack will solve your SB-900 overheating problems.
>
>John Herrel
>Nikonian from South Carolina
>See the light, capture the essence!

Visit
>my
>Nikonians gallery>.




Thanks John- Just sent mine in. Did they ever give you any idea as to what or why this happened?

dspvisuals

US
66 posts

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#20. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 18

dspvisuals Registered since 24th Apr 2013
Thu 02-May-13 09:11 AM

I own Al Jacobs Blackbox. These are very good and much less than Quantum's.

gfinlayson

Maidenhead, UK
244 posts

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#21. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 19

gfinlayson Registered since 24th Jan 2011
Sat 04-May-13 08:39 PM

Flash tubes do occasionally explode, although it's a more common occurrence with studio heads. When the flash fires, the xenon gas inside the tube is excited to a high temperature and pressure. Over time, the flash tube can fatigue and catastrophically fail.

Craig Bennett

Rio Rancho, US
64 posts

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#22. "RE: SB-900 Flash Tube Exploded... what to do?" | In response to Reply # 18

Craig Bennett Registered since 28th Oct 2012
Sat 11-May-13 02:55 PM

>Craig-
>
>I've been looking for a while now for feedback on non-Nikon
>brand battery packs that work with SB-900's... Would love to
>get some more feedback from you on these. Feel free to PM me
>if that's easier. Thanks.
>
>Joe
Hi Joe,
So far, they have not let me down. I purchased mine off of Ebay for $89 and also purchased the cord for the SB-9xx flash ($13). The units appear to be well built, put together with phillip screws, so I imagine if I need to replace the internal batteries, I could have that done locally.

The unit comes with a wall charger, car charger, and strap. It also has a clip on the side of the unit, which I use to clip in my vest pocket and to clip to a light stand when using the Speedlight in a stand.

I use to shot with Metz flashes and used their P50 packs. They were 5 times the cost of my Godox packs and I had problems with the P50 units.

Last Saturday, I shot a wedding in very direct/harsh sunlight. Used fill flash extensively, then again during the very low lit reception. Shot for 11 hours with one Godox power pack and one set of AA batteries in a SB-910. (I did swap out the AA's half way during the day, just to be sure, but they were still good, so I think they would of lasted the whole day). The Godox I used still had a little less than half of charge left when I finished. Godox has a ring of LEDs that show the status and charge state. Nice interface.

The Godox recycles the SB-9xx a little over a second on full power and instantly at lower powers. When used with an external pack, the flash head does not heat up much, the biggest contributor to heat are the AA batteries charging the flash capacitor. Without this demand on them, they stay cool.

For the price, hard to beat. Godox is becoming a player in the flash field. They also have a flash system that they released to compete against Quantum. It will be interesting to watch that play out. Here is their website: http://www.godox.com/EN/Products.html

I got the black version, I do not like the green colored version they sell. They work so well, I purchased 3 total for all of my Speedlights.

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Craig



G