Not all hope was lost after dropping my handy little Lomography Colorsplash flash and breaking it. A screwdriver and soldering gun helped save the day…
What it is:
The Lomography Colorsplash Flash is a hot-shoe mountable flash unit that gives the photographer the choice of using different pre-selected color gels when the flash executes. The photographer populates three of the four compartments with provided gels (the fourth one is a permanently fixed clear gel) in easy to figure out fashion. Lomography also has a 35mm Colorsplash camera that follows the same design, but the advantage of using the flash on your own cameras is that you can use your camera’s features (ie zoom, multi-exposure, bulb) that the simple Colorsplash camera doesn’t have.
Lomography Colorsplash Flash
While I was helping carry some equipment around with my right hand, the Colorsplash flash in my left hand slipped off the hot-shoe on my Holga. The poor little flash fell about three fee straight onto the hard wood floor. Thinking nothing of it, I picked and put it back on. This wasn’t the first time I dropped it and its resilience to damage was pretty good up to then.
Unfortunately, as I went back into the party and started taking pictures again, the flash wasn’t going off with the shutter. I ended up replacing it with another flash in my bag and moved on for the night.
Next day, I took a look a closer look at the Colorsplash flash and saw that the flash still charged up and the test button still triggered the bulb. So the only problem with the flash was that the circuit connecting to the hot-shoe was broken.
The Take Apart:
I like taking broken things apart and, hopefully, fix them. I probably could have taken the flash back to the store and find out if I could get a replacement, but it was the middle of the week and I didn’t have time to visit in the daytime. Instead, I grabbed a small screwdriver, found a well lit spot in the kitchen and went at it…
Taking the Colorsplash apart wasn’t that bad. First thing I did was take out the battery, but still kept in mind that parts in the flash may still be carrying a charge. Next was to remove the one main screw on the bottom-side of the flash that tightens the whole unit together.
Removing the main screw...
Afterwards, I grabbed the Colorsplash and gently opened it up like a clamshell using the opened battery compartment. There are several tabs on the unit’s end pieces that can be coerced open by gently rocking and twisting the Colorsplash case. Also, at this point, I also removed and set aside the color-gel carousel, the power button and its spring.
Showing the tabs in the "back" part of the Lomography Colorsplash
Lomography Colorsplash opened up
Once completely open, I looked at the part of the flash closest to the hot-shoe and saw a loose wire. That was my broken circuit!!!
The broken connection above the hot-shoe plug
In order for the flash to execute, the shutter has to close the circuit. I’m assuming that the fall and contact with the floor must have broken the solder between the little tab and the wire.
In order to fix this problem, I had to bust out with my soldering gun and some thin gauge solder. After warming up the gun, I put the wire in place and soldered the broken pieces together. Once I checked that I had a pretty decent physical connection again, I put everything back together.
The connection re-established using solder and a soldering gun
Putting the case back together took a little longer than I expected. Once I put the upper part of the case over the bottom half, I also had to slip the color-gel carousel, the button and it’s spring back into the flash body. I needed a pair of tweezers to get the power button and spring back into place since it’s such a tight spot. Finally, after snapping all the pieces back into place I put the main screw back where it belonged and tested the flash. I grabbed an older Smena Symbol and mounted the Colorsplash and it worked!!!
A nice pat on the head/victory dance later, I was back in action with my fixed Colorsplash flash. In all, it took about 45 minutes to an hour of my time to disassemble, solder and re-assemble the Colorsplash Flash.
I did add one other piece to my Colorsplash: a lens cap keeper which I attached to the Colorsplash body using an adhesive tab. The lens cap keeper’s elastic tether can wrap around the camera or lens bodies and keep the flash from falling to the ground again.
Using a lens keeper gives me a little more security
Just keep in mind that the Lomography Colorsplash Flash is an electrical device that stores electrical charges and then releases them. I’m not telling anyone to go out and fix their flash units themselves. I’m just showing you what I did and that it was a fairly easy fix. If you’ve worked on repairing electrical devices, then this would be a straight forward fix for you, otherwise I suggest that you keep your receipts and head to your local Lomography store.
In case you’ve never seen a Lomography Colorsplash before, here are a few pictures that show it at work…
Lomography Fisheye 2 with Colorsplash Flash
Lomography LC-Wide with the Colorsplash Flash
Lomography Fisheye 2 with Colorsplash Flash
Filed under: Accessories, Analog Life, Russian Camera, Toy Camera, Vintage Camera, colorsplash, fix, flash, lomography