SX30IS Flash Control Query - General Help and Assistance on using CHDK stable releases - CHDK Forum

SX30IS Flash Control Query

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SX30IS Flash Control Query
« on: 07 / April / 2013, 17:06:42 »
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I just started having issues with the built-in flash on my SX30IS failing to fire and I can't tell if it is a hardware problem or a firmware problems and I was wondering if anyone here could suggest a CHDK function that could help me solve the problem.

Literally between one photo and the next the flash stopped working and moreover the built-in flash control options either controlled by the dedicated flash control button or the flash strength levels in the photo menu are no longer available.  The flash button just plain has no effect and the flash strength is always grayed out.  I have tried all the standard debug procedures and I have been unable to get any flash features to work regardless of the flash position or any other setting. 

I cannot tell if this is some hardware failure, perhaps the flash unit position sensor or a hiccup in the installed firmware that has deactivated the flash features. 

First question is if anyone is aware of this problem and can just let me know what it the likely cause/solution. 

Second question would be if CHDK has any features that could bypass the unresponsive camera flash controls to determine if the fault is either hardware or software. 

Third question is if anyone knows the firmware enough to confirm if this sort of behavior is expected under any condition such as the flash unit being sensed as down or if it is indicative of a possible firmware failure. 

Finally would a firmware update/re-flash possibly fix the issue and what is the best way to do that.

Thank you so much for any help regarding this matter.  All other methods of trying to debug this issue have not been fruitful.

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Offline reyalp

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Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #1 on: 07 / April / 2013, 17:44:18 »
The flash button just plain has no effect and the flash strength is always grayed out. 
From this description, it sounds like the Canon firmware thinks flash is unavailable. This isn't likely to be a software malfunction.
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I cannot tell if this is some hardware failure, perhaps the flash unit position sensor
This sounds likely. I don't have an sx30, but I would guess there's a microswitch or something that detects when the built in flash is open. There's probably also something in the hot shoe, although offhand I wouldn't expect that to have a state that completely disables flash.

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or a hiccup in the installed firmware that has deactivated the flash features. 
Extremely unlikely IMO.

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Second question would be if CHDK has any features that could bypass the unresponsive camera flash controls to determine if the fault is either hardware or software. 
Assuming that flash open state is sensed as described above, it's likely the state is reflected in physw_status (a variable in the canon firmware that tracks the state of most hardware switches) and a custom version of CHDK could be made force it to a particular value regardless of the actual hardware state. Finding the correct bit might require someone with an SX30 which is not suffering this problem. There might also be risk of damaging the camera if you used this and fired the flash while it was closed.

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Finally would a firmware update/re-flash possibly fix the issue and what is the best way to do that.
A firmware update is only possible if canon has issued a firmware update for your camera. CHDK never modifies the firmware. I think it is extraordinarily unlikely that your problem would be solved by a firmware update. The firmware code is unlikely to get damaged, and if it were, the chances that it would cause a symptom like this instead of crashing are mindbogglingly small.

The camera does save certain settings in onboard flash memory ("flash params"), but it seems very unlikely to me that one of these would completely disable the flash. A case of corrupted flash params and fix is discussed here http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=5660.msg55221#msg55221

edit:
I should make clear I am not suggesting you try the steps in the thread linked above. This would only make sense if your problem was traced to a corrupted flash param, which seems unlikely.
« Last Edit: 07 / April / 2013, 17:55:43 by reyalp »
Don't forget what the H stands for.

Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #2 on: 07 / April / 2013, 18:14:44 »
Thanks, I couldn't remember what the software behavior was before the thing went on the blink so if flash unavailability causes those features to be disabled I would suspect the micro switch is to blame.  At this point I will look into a hardware repair.

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Offline reyalp

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Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #3 on: 07 / April / 2013, 18:34:33 »
Thanks, I couldn't remember what the software behavior was before the thing went on the blink so if flash unavailability causes those features to be disabled I would suspect the micro switch is to blame.
Note that I'm guessing about the software behavior too, I don't have that particular camera. Maybe someone who does (philmoz?) will weigh in.

According to the SX30 manual (p 26), if you shoot in "smart auto" mode and the flash is required, it should tell you to raise the flash. This should let you know if it's just a matter of the camera thinking the flash is closed.

The manual (p 72) also says the flash settings will not appear if you press the flash button while the flash is closed.
Don't forget what the H stands for.


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Offline philmoz

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Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #4 on: 07 / April / 2013, 19:15:17 »
If you switch the camera to AUTO mode on the dial you can see if the flash micro-switch is working by just raising and lowering the flash. With the flash down the flash icon will show the flash disabled, raise it and the icon should change to auto flash.

If you've been using an external flash, or had anything else in the hotshoe, then there is another small switch in there that might be stuck down which will disable the built-in flash. On each side of the hotshoe is a metal strip that is pushed down when something is inserted. On the right side about halfway along the strip you should see a small black button under the strip. If you can't see this then the button may be stuck down in the camera.

Phil.
CHDK ports:
  sx30is (1.00c, 1.00h, 1.00l, 1.00n & 1.00p)
  g12 (1.00c, 1.00e, 1.00f & 1.00g)
  sx130is (1.01d & 1.01f)
  ixus310hs (1.00a & 1.01a)
  sx40hs (1.00d, 1.00g & 1.00i)
  g1x (1.00e, 1.00f & 1.00g)

Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #5 on: 07 / April / 2013, 20:45:22 »
If you switch the camera to AUTO mode on the dial you can see if the flash micro-switch is working by just raising and lowering the flash. With the flash down the flash icon will show the flash disabled, raise it and the icon should change to auto flash.

If you've been using an external flash, or had anything else in the hotshoe, then there is another small switch in there that might be stuck down which will disable the built-in flash. On each side of the hotshoe is a metal strip that is pushed down when something is inserted. On the right side about halfway along the strip you should see a small black button under the strip. If you can't see this then the button may be stuck down in the camera.

Phil.

When shooting in dark conditions in AUTO I get no Flash status at all, only a camera shake warning.  Also I do not believe this camera is equipped with a hotshoe.

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Offline reyalp

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Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #6 on: 07 / April / 2013, 20:49:48 »
When shooting in dark conditions in AUTO I get no Flash status at all, only a camera shake warning.  Also I do not believe this camera is equipped with a hotshoe.
Are we talking about the same camera:
http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_sx30is/overview ?
Don't forget what the H stands for.

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Offline philmoz

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Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #7 on: 07 / April / 2013, 21:02:51 »
If you switch the camera to AUTO mode on the dial you can see if the flash micro-switch is working by just raising and lowering the flash. With the flash down the flash icon will show the flash disabled, raise it and the icon should change to auto flash.

If you've been using an external flash, or had anything else in the hotshoe, then there is another small switch in there that might be stuck down which will disable the built-in flash. On each side of the hotshoe is a metal strip that is pushed down when something is inserted. On the right side about halfway along the strip you should see a small black button under the strip. If you can't see this then the button may be stuck down in the camera.

Phil.

When shooting in dark conditions in AUTO I get no Flash status at all, only a camera shake warning.  Also I do not believe this camera is equipped with a hotshoe.

The SX30 does have a hotshoe - it is covered by a piece of plastic on the top of the camera.

In AUTO mode you should see the battery status, quality setting, shots remaining and video time info along the top of the display. At the top right is the word AUTO and right under that is the flash status indicator.

If you aren't seeing the battery status etc, press the DISP button to cycle through the display modes.

If you still don't see the flash status icon under the word AUTO, even when the battery and other info is showing, then the hotshoe switch is broken and the camera thinks there is something plugged into the hotshoe.

This will probably require a Canon service.

Phil.
CHDK ports:
  sx30is (1.00c, 1.00h, 1.00l, 1.00n & 1.00p)
  g12 (1.00c, 1.00e, 1.00f & 1.00g)
  sx130is (1.01d & 1.01f)
  ixus310hs (1.00a & 1.01a)
  sx40hs (1.00d, 1.00g & 1.00i)
  g1x (1.00e, 1.00f & 1.00g)


Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #8 on: 07 / April / 2013, 21:40:05 »
Ha, sorry about that.  I don't usually use a flash as it is generally useless for railroad photos, but the built-in one is still occasionally necessary. 

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If you still don't see the flash status icon under the word AUTO, even when the battery and other info is showing, then the hotshoe switch is broken and the camera thinks there is something plugged into the hotshoe.

The flash status is most definitely not present and upon inspection of the shoe one side has a fairly obvious switch that looks like it is working and the other side seems to have a hole for a switch that does not stick up.  Would both sides have one of these switches or just one? 

Thanks for your help, sorry to be a Derp.

Re: SX30IS Flash Control Query
« Reply #9 on: 07 / April / 2013, 21:45:06 »
Pressing the visible shoe switch down manually does not change any of the status icons or availability of flash control.


 

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