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Trail Camera No Flash Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by yabadabadoo, Nov 19, 2014.

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  1. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

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    Nov 19, 2014
    Hi all. I have a Moultrie D50 game camera which takes pictures by motion. At night, a flash is initiated to capture the culprit that caused the camera to shutter. However, my flash is not working. the camera triggers during the day with visibility, but at night, the flash does not initiate causing the pictures to be black. I disassembled the camera and located the Xenon flash bulb and checked the flash capacitor which is a Camion Photo-Flash 300 μF rated for 340 V. The voltage across the cap with the batteries in (takes 6 D-cell batteries, and yes the voltage was checked to make sure they were fully charged) was 280 V. Firstly, is this enough voltage to cause a flash once a high trigger voltage is applied to the bulb? Secondly, could the flash and light sensor (these are separate components see attached file to see location) on the unit be faulty sensing that it is daylight, or am I way off base and the bulb is just shot? If it is the sensors, how can I troubleshoot them/how do they work?Please help figuring out this problem and if it is fixable. I enjoy tinkering with things, so buying a new camera is not a top priority. I just want to learn how it works and if I can narrow down the problem and fix it.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    hi there
    welcome to the forums :)

    doing some googling showed that the flash section seemed to be where most of the problems lie with this unit

    wont flash in bright moonlight,
    some need firmware upgrades to stop full black or full white images
    through to the flash bulb has just plain blown

    have you been able to manually trigger the flash unit ?

    Dave
     
  3. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

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    Nov 19, 2014
    I have set the camera up in a dark room and and triggered the shutter by moving my hand or face in front of the IR sensor. I can vaguely make out a very, very small illumination (not enough to create a huge flash). This happens intermittently. I manually shuttered the camera in the dark , but no flash.
     
  4. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

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    Nov 19, 2014
    Hi all. I was wondering what would be some of the repercussions of having a bad diode, particularly a short from anode to cathode and cathode to anode in a camera with an automatic flash?
     
  5. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    If the output diode in a camera flash is shorted, the oscillator won't even run - so you won't hear the squeal. And obviously the output capacitor won't charge up.
     
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  6. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

    6
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    Nov 19, 2014
    My photo cap is charging to 270-280V. However, I am not getting a flash. This is on a trail camera which automatically triggers from motion and flashes if it is dark. I tested 2 diodes on the board one is fine the other is shorted. Could this cause a no flash condition?
     
  7. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    The diode that measures short, does it measure short with one end lifted out of circuit? If it does, replace it. Simple, right?

    Don't start two separate threads on the same topic. I have merged this thread into your first one.
     
  8. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Can you find technical information on your flash unit? For example, a service manual, or even just a schematic?

    How about uploading some photos of the inside of it, so we have some idea what you're talking about?
     
  9. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

    6
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    Nov 19, 2014
    I have contacted Moultrie, and they are terrible with their customer service not just because I didn't get a schematic. They will not give me a schematic even though it is an obsolete product. I guess they are afraid that I will take their design. See the attached photo of the layout on the board. There also looks like there is another transformer to the left off the screen on the back side of the board. I believe that one may be for dc to ac and oscillation. I'm not sure what the inductors in the picture are for. Notice that the negative side of the capacitor is not connected to the cathode end of the xenon flash tube as many other flash units are. The high voltage trigger wire does have continuity with the negative side of the photo cap.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. yabadabadoo

    yabadabadoo

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    Nov 19, 2014
    Any help?
     
  11. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    I don't think I can add anything. I have no experience with camera flashes myself.
     
  12. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    you have discovered what many others on the net have. They are a crappy company with next to zero back up :(

    Your photo of the board is too poor to make out much about it

    you didn't answer this Q from Kris

    Dave
     
  13. debe

    debe

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    65
    Oct 15, 2011
    I will post some pictures of a Disposable camera flash & circuit so you have some idea how a flash works. this particular circuit the tube will flash with a min of 220V, the ready indicator comes on at 280V, max volt is 300V. Obviously your inverter is working if theres 280V on the capacitor. You need to work out if its a faulty tube or trigger circuit. The tube looks similar in size to the disposable cameras, so if its faulty there should be a source of free tubes. Ive collected about 20 of these units for free. FLASH CIRC.gif FLASH,1.JPG FLASH.2.JPG FLASH.3.JPG FLASH.4.JPG FLASH.5.JPG
     
  14. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    That's interesting debe. According to the phase dots, that circuit is operating in forward conversion mode, i.e. the load (D1) current flows while the switch is ON, rather than flyback mode, where the load current flows when the switch is OFF. Is that normal for these circuits? I would have expected them to use flyback because of the much higher voltage.

    It's a blocking oscillator, right? These rely on saturation of the transformer core to trigger the transition from ON to OFF in the switch?

    Edit: I think the phase dots are drawn wrong on the transformer. I don't think it will oscillate like that.
     
  15. debe

    debe

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    65
    Oct 15, 2011
    It was just a circuit I got of the net, but it has the same components what are in the units I have.Except R1 is 200ohm,R2 is 5M.R3 is 10K. Also pic to show size of the flash tube in the disposable cameras. XENON FLASH TUBE.JPG
     
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