How to Replace Your Digital Camera Flash Bulb

Like any light bulb, your camera flash bulb can blow at any time. The rest of your camera might be state of the art, but the flash bulb itself is relying on some pretty old fashioned technology. Unlike a light bulb, however, replacing a flash bulb can be a little difficult. Depending on the type of camera or flash you have, some dissection might be required.

Step 1: Choosing the Bulb

There are literally dozens of different shapes, sizes and connectors used for camera flash bulbs. These will typically vary depending on the manufacturer. However, be warned, many manufacturers will use different types of bulbs in different cameras. Just because you have a Fuji camera, for example, doesn't mean you can buy any Fuji flash bulb.

Step 2: Safety First

Camera manufacturers will never advise you to replace the camera bulb yourself unless you know exactly what you are doing. This is because your camera's flash uses very high voltages. A capacitor will be charged up in order to fire the flash. This capacitor can stay charged for months, if not years. If you're not confident doing this job yourself, then you will need to take it to a camera repair shop.

Sometimes if the camera is too old, you might consider using it as an excuse to upgrade it for a newer model rather than repairing it.

Step 3: Dismantling the Camera

Now, you will need to dismantle the camera carefully so that you have access to the flash bulb itself. This may be time consuming and nerve-wracking. One false move could end up breaking the delicate plastic case of your camera.

Once the camera is dismantled, you should then discharge the capacitor safely so that you can continue to work on the camera.

Step 4: Removing the Old Bulb

Most bulbs are soldered directly onto the circuit board. In this case, you will need to use a soldering iron to heat up the solder at the back of the bulb and carefully pull it away from the board. This can be difficult, as you need three hands to do it properly. With the old bulb removed, try to clean up the solder pads as much as possible so that the new bulb can fit properly.

Step 5: Replacing the Bulb

Push the legs of the replacement flash bulb in position through the holes in the circuit board. Then, using a soldering iron and some solder, fix it in place. Be as accurate as possible to prevent shorting out the circuit. With the bulb in place, cut back the legs of the flash bulb so that it doesn't stick out too far from the board.

Step 6: Reassembly

With the replacement flash bulb fitted in the digital camera, you will then need to reassemble your camera. This will be easier if you kept all of the screws in a safe place.This is the one occasion where it's a good idea to assemble before testing simply because of the high voltages involved.

Step 7: Testing

Now, put the battery back in the battery and try taking a photo with the flash. Check whether it works; if not, you will need to investigate the cause of the problem.

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