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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 18 Mar 2017 (Saturday) 12:26
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Britania757
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Mar 18, 2017 12:26 |  #1

Last night I plugged my Alien Bee AB800 in to take some headshots for a friend. I turned the light on and started adjusting the power level when there was a loud pop and white smoke started poring out of the back of the light. I immediately unplugged the light and monitored it for a while to make sure it wasn't on fire. After the smoke dissipated I took the light off of the stand when I noticed an oily substance coming out of the bottom of the light. Whatever it was smelled exactly like the white smoke that came out of the light. I googled the issue and came across several accounts of people having the same type of event with their Alien Bee lights, but nobody has mentioned the oily substance. I keep my lights stored in a dry closet and have never spilled anything in or on them so I don't know where the substance would be coming from. I'll call PCB on Monday and see if I can ship it back to them for repairs but in the meantime I'd just like to know if anyone has seen this happen before and if anyone has any clue as to what the substance could be. Does the AB800 have any part in it that would contain any type of liquid?


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Mar 18, 2017 13:19 |  #2

I'm not an electrician but it sounds like a blown capacitor. The substance may be from that.

Keep us posted as I'd like to know that it is as well.


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110yd
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Mar 18, 2017 13:54 |  #3

Sounds like a blown capacitor as the previous poster stated.
I have no idea on Buff's repair fee's now, but once upon a time they were user friendly.

Regards,

110yd




  
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welshwizard1971
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Mar 18, 2017 14:21 |  #4

Yup, capacitor.


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Britania757
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Mar 18, 2017 17:40 |  #5

That's what I thought it was as well, but I know nothing about capacitors so I din't know if they contained any type of liquid. I'm hoping the repair is cheap and fast as I need the light on the 28th for a shoot. I'll you you guys posted and thanks for the comments.


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Mar 18, 2017 19:56 as a reply to  @ Britania757's post |  #6

Some electrolytic capacitors have liquid in them. Most other capacitors don't.




  
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Mar 18, 2017 20:19 as a reply to  @ Britania757's post |  #7

They are not that quick... you better order a new one Monday or check Craigslist.


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magicmikey
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Mar 18, 2017 21:37 |  #8

I had capacitors blow in two different White Lightning (also made by Paul C Buff) and both leaked an oily liquid. They, also, repaired mine very quickly but that was a few years ago. They may be backed up now.




  
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Mar 19, 2017 07:34 |  #9

Seems like I have read that customer service since Mr. Buff passed has gone down hill. I would definitely look for a back up plan.


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Mar 19, 2017 13:08 |  #10

I have moved away from PCB products, but I have had my share of blown caps. Finding replacements isn't hard but it isn't easy. How old is your AB, since they can be over 15 years old and if they are ran hard, you might look into cycling in a newer one Even a different model or different make can mitigate the down time.

I have had caps blow up in sports arenas since they are flashed a lot, as well as in colder weather where the electronics didn't warm up as much. So maybe the death of the capacitor could have been prevented ??




  
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Britania757
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Mar 19, 2017 16:23 as a reply to  @ sincity's post |  #11

I've had this Ab800 for about 2-3 years. On average I use it about once every 3-4 months. It definitely has not been used heavily. It was stored in a closet and has only been used outside twice last summer. I'll probably just sell it and go back to speedlights as they are more convenient for what I do anyway.


http://flickr.com/phot​os/24547179@N07/ (external link)
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Mar 20, 2017 05:27 as a reply to  @ Britania757's post |  #12

OK.. Flashing the unit once every few months has precautions that should be observed. A flash repair place (Holly Enterprises in CA) has an FAQ about capacitors popping and how to care for them.

LINK~~ http://hollyflash.com/​flash-faqs/ (external link)


It should help on the care and feeding of flashes..




  
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Mar 20, 2017 05:55 |  #13

I have read where extremely high watt devices (I believe the ab800's are 320 wattseconds). Those capacitors may contain sulfuric acid sure use caution when handling these devices with blown capacitors. Nasty stuff...


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RDKirk
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Mar 20, 2017 06:29 |  #14

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18304886 (external link)
Seems like I have read that customer service since Mr. Buff passed has gone down hill. I would definitely look for a back up plan.

I've read the opposite.




  
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RDKirk
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Mar 20, 2017 06:38 |  #15

CameraMan wrote in post #18305725 (external link)
I have read where extremely high watt devices (I believe the ab800's are 320 wattseconds). Those capacitors may contain sulfuric acid sure use caution when handling these devices with blown capacitors. Nasty stuff...

Those are tantalum capacitors used for military and space applications.




  
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Alien Bee Started Smoking
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