In the middle of a shoot, I had the idea of doing some off-camera flash pictures. This is the gear I used:

  • camera: Nikon D7100
  • speedlight: Yongnuo YN685
  • radio trigger: Yongnuo YN622 TX-N

I realized that I had forgotten the flash stand in another room. So I managed to balance it on the ground. My idea was to make some effect with a coloured gel behind my subject. The radio trigger fired the flash.

But afterwards, when I tried to put the speedlight back on top of the camera, it would not turn on. It had new batteries in it, but wouldn't power up at all. I did not smell any burning. Did I make a mistake by firing it while it was on the ground?

  • 1
    Are you SURE your batteries are alright? Wouldn't ask if I hadn't been bitten before by assumptions about batteries :) Nov 26, 2018 at 17:18
  • My batteries were still new but it won't power up at all! Nov 27, 2018 at 9:23
  • Was the flash turned off before being placed in the hotshoe on the camera, and then failed to turned on again? If turned on when placed in the hotshoe it might have short circuited? Dec 23, 2019 at 8:03

3 Answers 3


Choose an option:

  1. "The ground" was not ground, was a metal plate, because you were in an industrial environment, and several pins were in contact at the same time. Probably.

  2. "The ground" had a material that is not a conductor, like wood, or granite. It had no effect.

  3. I was not gentle and smashed the pins against the ground. Was not the ground.

  4. You were simply unlucky and your flash decided to fail with a simple movement when you picked it from the ground.

An obvious set of tests.

Try the batteries on another gadget, or use a multimeter to test them.

Try another set of batteries on your flash.

Some Yongnuo stuff has like a year of warranty or so, use it.

Personally I have a spear flash. The brand has not failed me, but as this is a cheap brand, the strategy is not thinking a lifetime of support, but a spare flash.


You have to turn the flash off of Slave Mode and turn it back to the normal setting. When in slave mode, the hotshoe won't trigger the flash. 622 R. Slave Trigger Mode - Put the flash into 622 R. Slave mode by holding down to the Mode button until the mode is flashing and then using the wheel to scroll through the options.To switch it out of Slave mode, just choose the option to bring it back to normal.

  • It's kind of hard to change modes if the flash refuses to power on.
    – Michael C
    Nov 27, 2018 at 0:43
  • Yeah, you're right. How would I change settings while it doesn't power up at all! Nov 27, 2018 at 9:25
  • My bad, my understanding was that his flash wasn't firing when he put it ontop of his camera. If the flash unit is not powering on at all, then I am honestly not too sure. A flash unit will not be damaged from firing it off the ground. Nov 27, 2018 at 16:06

Yongnuo is not the most expensive brand. Using a flash off-camera often entails using the flash in manual mode where it uses full power by default. You used it with a gel, something that does not let the light/heat escape fully.

So it might just have taken this opportunity of maximal power without free output to die on you.

Personally, I find "balancing" a flash gun a bad idea since firing a full power flash can easily topple it: the typical "pop" sound is a mechanical sound from heat-expanding air, and that can push over a flash gun. I presume this didn't happen since you'd have told us.

I recently photographed a violin with a flash and it was disconcerting that each shot was accompanied by the strings reverbating a bit as if I had knocked on the violin. And that was at a fraction of its full power.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.