Canon Speedlite 580EX-II Hotshoe DIY Fix

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ELECTRICAL HAZARD WARNING!
Please read Comment 23 and understand the risks before you attempt this DIY Fix. Also, if this is your first time, it helps to make a mental note of the order in which the items are taken apart.

I hate it when manufacturers roll out products that not only fall short of their promise but are evidently insufficiently tested. When Canon released the Speedlite 580EX II, they made it more dust and water resistant, 20% shorter recycling time and improved communication reliability through direct contacts. I’ve owned previous models of Canon flashes namely 550EX and the original 580EX none of them had given me any communication problems over the years of hard use (there may be exceptions). As far as I’m concerned, communication has always been very reliable—it was not broken and therefore needed absolutely NO fixing. So, if you’ve landed on this page because your 580EX II is misbehaving: gross overexposure,  ETTL switches to TTL and occasionally not firing, welcome to my club—membership is free :) It may be nothing more than just loose contacts that can be fixed quite easily.

The 580EX II has a heavy duty mounting foot and features a quick release locking mechanism. Unfortunately this new design comes with a caveat as more and more user have discovered.

speedlite580-009.jpg

There are three quartet of screws to remove in this DIY fix. Start by removing the first set to second quartet of screws and a wiring connector to remove.

speedlite580-011.jpg

This set of screws simply secure the cover that protects the circuit board from exposed. Remove these screws to uncover the last quartet of screws that tighten the metal foot.

I recommend disconnecting the cable assembly to make the job of servicing the foot much more convenient. The connector only goes in one way so it’s impossible to get it wrong.

speedlite580-016.jpg

Once these screws come off, the metal foot assembly wiggles and you’ll see the quick-release mechanism and the locking mechanism. Pay attention to the quick-release lock button inside which sits a tiny spring that can easily fall out although it’s not difficult to re-assemble.

In the event this bit falls out and I know this has happened to some of you, the part fits right back to the moulding (left). If you cannot get it right the first time, keep trying .. it can only fit in a certain way and you cannot get it wrong. (the next image may help)

Looking at the spring ensemble from another perspective, shown here is the right way the piece fits into the moulding. Use the direction of the spring as a guide and you’ll be OK.

Pay attention to this particular spring and make a note of you’re going to put them back in the event it comes off. To avoid this, I strongly suggest you hold this part down and lift the top part away when you disconnect the wires so both springs don’t go bunny hopping.

Check that these two spring loaded screws are tight. If they require tightening, make sure you don’t over torque them.

Once this cover comes off, you’ll see a 3rd quartet of screws to check and tighten where necessary (these tighten the metal foot).

To sum it up, I’m grateful problems like this can easily be fixed at home (the only tools required are tiny Philips PH000 (+) screw driver and patience). About the only other annoyance with this flash is the completely unintuitive Master to Slave switch or lack-thereof! I use my Speedlites with studio umbrellas too so I have to put up with the silliness of this absent-minded ‘feature’ when working in slave mode.

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