June 14th – I’ve hit a snag


A solid day behind the viewfinder, with flash and Gary Fong Lighsphere all gainfully utilised. The birthday party was all but concluded, so I decided to pack up.

That’s when I noticed something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t just the nerf ball fountain that wasn’t functioning correctly – I can’t remove the Canon Speedlite 550EX from my camera’s hotshoe.

I tightened. I loosened. I wiggled and jiggled. No go.

A few quick text messages to the owner of the flash (and my sibling), and we have a possible diagnosis – there’s a pin. You have to disassemble the flash to remove it. While mounted.

Challenge accepted.


After surveying the scene I could see 4 screws on the underside. Simple enough, so after mild contorting with a small screwdriver, my first view of the mini-spaghetti factory within.

More photo’s, more texts. Partial indemnity. But I can’t turn back now.

I managed to disconnect the two small plugs and free the cables. I now have 2 bits of Speedlite 550EX, but it did give me a clearer view – of 5 more screws and the switch I needed to remove from the chassis (see main photo).


Once removed I could extract the main players in this saga, and most importantly the small pin, with small piece of plastic hanging on by willpower.

Oops. Now it’s a pin AND a small piece of plastic.

The engineering is simple – as the flash is fastened, the pin ‘floats’ up or down on the thread, inserting or removing the pin from the camera body.

Basically, the entire design relies on a .5 cent piece of technology. Today that system fell apart when the minute piece of plastic stopped playing nicely.

Still, not bad for something like 10 years of service. Not to be outdone, I have the means. I’m a father of 2 children. I have ready supplies of SupaGlue.


After some careful patch-up work it was time for a rebuild. I managed to rebuild the pin. After some tests I concluded that the excess SupaGlue needed a small shave so it would float more effectively.

A little bit here, a little more there. Going well……


Time to trawl repair shops for a 2c piece of Canon technology.


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