Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I was just reading the manual that came with my new flash and stumbled over this warning:

14.3 Flash capacitor forming
The flash capacitor built into the flash unit undergoes physical change if the unit is not switched on for a prolonged period. For this reason it is necessary to switch the unit on for approximately 10 minutes at least once every three months.

Is this seriously a problem? How long does a flash have to sit idle before it has issues?

What kind of issues would I see? Slower recycle times? Inability to recycle? Total failure to power on?

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If you use it less then one time every three months, you should sell it. I'll give you a few bucks :) –  dpollitt Jan 7 '12 at 18:56
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1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

With electrolytic capacitors, disuse can cause slower discharge, and longer recycle times, which can be restored by firing and recycling the flash a few times.

If you don't use them for a long period, the non-conducting dialectric can break down to the point they will short circuit.

Periodically turning it on will charge the conductive plates and this will prevent the dialectric from breaking down.

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