SHOWALL FUN PRANKS HIGH VOLTAGE LAZARUS-64 PHOTOGRAPHY SPY GADGETS VIDEO GAME
Figure 3 - The camera shell will pry open into two halves
Figure 3 - The camera shell will pry open into two halves

Let me warn you before you precede that there is a real nasty surprise waiting for you under that innocent looking plastic shell in the form of a 360 volt capacitor that can hold a charge for weeks or even months since the last time the flash was charged. The voltage and amperage from the capacitor can be a real risk if you somehow managed to get your hands across both small terminals while it was fully charged, so work carefully or wear gloves until the capacitor is removed and discharged. We are not using the capacitor in the project, so the risk will be removed in the next few steps.

A small flat head screwdriver is used to pry open the camera shell by placing the head into the plastic clips to snap them apart. Work carefully and try not to dig around in the circuit board area with the screwdriver blade as you may damage the circuit or scare yourself out of your chair if you sort out a charged capacitor. The end of a small screwdriver will also get mangled if it has to endure a full capacitor blast, so don't use your good tools as a discharging device! Remove the top half of the cover and set the lower half on your bench to inspect the newly exposed circuit board.



Figure 4 - Identify the capacitor and its two output terminals
Figure 4 - Identify the capacitor and its two output terminals

This is where the real fun begins! After you have exposed the small circuit board and camera mechanics, look for the photo flash capacitor and locate the two output terminals. The flash capacitor will be about the length of an AA battery and about the same width, usually with a black covering. There will be two leads that exit the flash capacitor and enter the circuit board. This is the high voltage input and output for the flash charging circuit and the place we will be adding our high voltage leads later.

Make no mistake, the flash capacitor can carry a 350 to 400 volt charge for months after the last use, and there is enough power stored there to become a health hazard if you found a way to get your hands across both terminals. Most likely, the only risk will be a bruised elbow after you jump from shocking your finger, but don't treat any fully charged capacity lightly, as you are dealing with more than enough power to be dangerous. The shock from the charging circuit is just as painful, but because it carries such low amperage, it is not a risk like the capacitor, which takes time to charge and can store real energy.



Now that you have been warned, it is time to drop a screwdriver or some metal object across the high voltage terminals to remove any residual charge that may be lurking in that flash capacitor. If you like to make loud sparks, then charge up the flash first, but don't use a good screwdriver to blow the charge! A good rule to follow when dealing with high voltages is to keep one hand away from the danger zone so any shock you may accidentally incur will be across your hand, not your entire body. A shock to your finger from the charged flash capacitor will feel like a heat burn as compared to a "zinging" blast from the charger circuit since the capacitor is pure DC current. You might also want to wear ear plugs.

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