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bulbs for flash on century 35A

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Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a Century 35A model and it came with a top-mounting flash with retractable reflector that measures almost 5" in diameter. Im not sure if Graflex made it or not, as there is no brand indicated. I'm trying to figure out what type of bulb the flash might use. #5 doesn't seem likely as the socket does not support a bulb that screws into place.
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Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well a number 5 doesn't screw into place, It's a bayonet style with small pins a la Frankenstien's bolts on each side that hold it in place

By the 50s the larger threaded style bulb was out of favor with "miniature camera" owners and I don't think the M2 and M3 had come around yet. If the socket is about a 1/2 diameter, it for the bayonet style, if its about 1/4" dia its for the M series. Honeywell made a series of their Tilt-a-Mite fan flashes that took both the M series and bayonet.

One problem with older fan flashes is the capacitor/condenser. Before the war, most flash bulbs were fired by the battery voltage directly. It wasn't a perfect situation as the least bit of resistance in the line kept the bulb from firing. After the war, the BC or Battery Condenser system was advertized as the better idea. In this case a 9 or 22.5 volt battery charged a small capacitor which then dumped the higher voltage and a much greater current at the bulb guarranteeing the bulb to fire.

Fast forward 50 years and these capacitors are weak at best and probably shot.

Open up the battery compartment. If there's a pair of dead penlight batteries in there, your fine, clean the contacts with a pencil eraser and with new batteries your good to go.

If there's an odd shaped battery or a 9v plus a battery shaped thing next to it that's slightly shorter, then you've got a BC circuit. I'd try replacing the battery first letting it charge up and see if it will fire a flashbulb. It might be one of those things that it will fire but not consistantly. Then you'll need to replace the capacitor and ones that just drop in are no longer made or at least have thworted my searches for them. Head off to Radio shack with the old one, find a new one with similar specs and solder it in.

Then it's as good as new.
(simple answer get a 6 paragraph answer. But I'm getting better! 5 years ago it would have been 10!)
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