The Vivitar 285HV is a popular flash amongst Strobists out there because it is simple, reliable, powerful and fairly inexpensive. However the weak point of the 285HV is its sync chord and the proprietary jack, which is not very secure and needs frequent “pushing” to make it work when you’re triggering it off-camera. And at the other end of the sync chord, a PC connector, isn’t all that great quality in itself either. In this DIY, we will add another connector to the Vivitar as an elegant solution for our problem. You can choose whichever type of connector you want but I chose 1/8″ mono plug because it hooks up with the RadioPopper triggers I own.
1. Unscrew the 2 screws at the bottom of the flash foot to open. We are basically extending the white (+) and black (-) terminals to a connector outside the flash via a stretch of 2 wires. Locate the black (-) and white (+) terminals, this is where we will solder our 2 wires to.
2. Next, prime the ends of the 2 wires with solder to make the job quicker. Besides, you dont want to spend too much time with the soldering iron in the flash foot as it will start to melt the plastic. Drill a hole on the side where the 2 wires will enter, make it not too wide so as to keep the wires snug. Insert wires and bend them to the desirable position.
3. You might want to tape the foot onto the flash to make the soldering process easier. Solder the positive wire to the white terminal, and the negative wire to the black terminal. Solder the other ends of the wires to the 1/8″ mono plug, take care to note that the positive end goes to the tip, and negative to the base of the plug.
4. Test to see if it works before reassembling the flash unit. If all goes well your trigger should be able to fire the vivitar 285, if not check your solder connections and wiring. Put some epoxy into the area where the wires exit if you wish. Reassemble, and enjoy you new super reliable connector with your Vivitar 285HV!