Modify a Vivitar 283 to Have a Fully Adjustable Output




Introduction: Modify a Vivitar 283 to Have a Fully Adjustable Output

About: I'm very cool and funny, ALL the time.

The Vivitar 283 is an old tried and true workhorse of a camera flash. They can be found everywhere for cheap. The downside is that they are not adjustable. If you can find it, Vivitar make a little device that turns the 283 into an adjustable flash but the little thing is around $35 - $40. 
With just a 100K Linear Taper potentiometer and some soldering you can make your 283 adjustable. I've seen better 'boxes' that contain the pot than then one I made. You're the inventor, make a better one than mine.

Pat G.

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    Phil B
    Phil B

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, Pat. I have two Vivitar 283 units. I bought one of the two used, but its Thyristor did not work. (I knew that when I bought it.) At the time Radio Shack had a military surplus light activated silicon controlled rectifier (LASCR) for a dollar or two. Someone in Popular Photography magazine showed how to connect two of the legs with a 5,700 ohm resistor to make a flash slave trigger. I fitted the LASCR with resistor onto the bottom part of the Thyristor base and it made a functioning automatic flash. By experimentation I discovered I needed to set the camera lens to f/5.6 for Kodachrome 64 ASA slide film. I could get full power by putting some black electrical tape over the LASCR. That gave me an extra flash for a two light setup. Now I have a digital camera, but not a DSLR. So far I have not been able to use my 283s with the camera I have. Perhaps, one day I will have a digital camera that synchronizes with slave flash units. I tried one home brew circuit I found, but it did not work for me.