Air ionizer: does it work?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by jasonjoo, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Hey folks,

    How well do air ionizers work in removing dust from a small 12x13' room? I place my negatives in plastic sleeves, but even during this process, dust seems to attach on to my negatives. I also feel that in the process of removing and inserting negatives into the plastic holders builds up static, which is why dust is highly attracted to the negatives.

    So do these air ionizers work?

    Thanks,

    Jason
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing, but I bought a small, room size air cleaner and ionizer. My persistent dust problem seems to be under control since I've started using it. I even rigged up a flexible hose from it that pumps filtered air into my home made negative dryer that dries my negs without heat in an hour or so.
     
  3. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    de-static machine

    Jasonl

    Way back [in the 60s], it was possible to buy a wand-like device that had a micro-bit of radio-isotope in it. This would emit a stream of ionized molecules or atoms, which would render the air and objects "sprayed" with it conductive. The conductivity would reduce the static charge, ergo - dust would not stick. They were made to keep negatives free of dust. Perhaps a similar device is still available. I imagine you have really low humidity there, perhaps raising that in your room would help reduce static electricity. [Hang a few wet towels while you work?] Good luck, I follow your exploits with interest.
     
  4. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I had a filter once with an ionizer built in. It made the air smell awful and actually gave me mild headaches so i got rid of it.. I have a mechanical filter now and just use and anti-stat brush, seems to work ok..
     
  5. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    It's been a long time since I bought mine, and the price seems to have increased dramatically (perhaps the $/GBP exchange rate, it's made in the UK), but you might try the Milty Zerostat. I haven't tried it extensively on negatives, as I live in a damp climate, but I would expect it to be very effective on negatives.

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Milty-Zerostat-Gun

    Lee
     
  6. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Thanks guys, I'll have to do some more research to see if these things really work.

    Lee, the Needle Doctor seems interesting! It's a bit pricey though... Maybe they'll have some for sale on eBay!

    Jason
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Jason,

    The Needle Doctor is a vendor, the product is the Milty Zerostat. Just wanted to clarify that for any searching you do. The price seems to be US$95 to US$100 online at well-known dealers, and the same on the ebay retailers that come up. If you search for prices at froogle.com you can find it for about US$70, but I don't know the vendors in that price range.

    Lee
     
  8. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Oops, thanks for the clarification Lee.

    I can justify spending $100 on an air purifier as it will serve more than just one purpose, but $100 on the Milty Zerostat is a good chunk of pocket change :wink:

    Jason
     
  9. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    My zerostat does double duty, for both my LP's and scanning negs. Seems like a fair usage of a great product. Of course I bought mine some 20 odd years ago, for a fraction of what the vendors want for them today.


    erie
     
  10. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    Ionizers put out assloads of ozone.

    That's probably not good for your film, long-term. Or your lungs.
     
  11. edz

    edz Member

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    First step is to make sure that your enlarger etc. are all properly grounded to a true ground. If you have carpets etc. to cover them with a more suitable material such as linoleum, cork (linoleum is also cork based) or appropriate PVC. The ultimate is static control floor coverings (clean room) but they are expensive and not really needed (but don't hurt). You should also strongly consider what clothing you wear in the dark room. Its important not just due to mishaps but also from the perspective of static electricity and dust. Some people might also want to wear a cap over their head.

    I would not get an air ionizer (most of the household devices are not very good) but: http://www.venta-airwasher.com/
    [​IMG]

    It does a very good job of getting dust and other air born particles out of the air. Is ideal for modern darkrooms with their lower levels of humidity (machines or vertical slots instead of trays, film and paper washing done in other rooms etc.). In the winter its also good to reduce the dryness in living areas (multiple function)--- something for the whole family :smile:

    If there still is a problem with high levels of static electricity--- or during period where increasing the humidity is not possible or desirable--- then I've used ESD (electrostatic discharge) control fans (mine is from Simco) to neutralize the worktable. This works great for precision low voltage electronics (the design intent and can quickly pay for itself in security when working on electronic boards) but also for negatives.

    For brushing off negatives use a high grade goat's hair brush and/or one of the specialty film brushes (such as sold by Kinetronics and others).

    The next step up in dust busting is a film ionization cleaner. This are devices with ion jets (like the fan) but with a bit of suction (the fan pulls instead of pushes) and brushes. They work extremely well. Simco makes them but also others (mime is from, I think, Kinetronics).

    There are more tools in the box. A very good negative cleaner is a Dycem roller. Its made of the same sticky Dycem rubberish material used for clean room floors--- following non-slip coverings it was really the first application of the material. I think those SpeckGrabbers(tm) are nothing more than a tiny piece of Dycem polymer on a stick.

    Compressed air too works quite well but only when properly static discharged (and not as a replacement for the film cleaners above). No need, however, for (high voltage) ionization. Some of the professional units are nothing more than magnetic value and tiny holes as air jets. Their key is proper grounding. Some fancy units use little pins to increase static discharge rate. Works very well and without high voltage.
     
  12. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    This doesn’t answer the opening question directly, but I think is relevant in tackling darkroom dust.

    Tape / pin a sheet of plastic to a wall. On entering the room rub the sheet briskly with a dry cloth. This will build-up a static electricity charge that will then attract any airborne dust. Wipe the sheet with a damp cloth to remove dust, and repeat the process if necessary.
     
  13. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I just bought an anti-static cloth, one of the orange ones, to wipe the negatives down. No problems with it so far. Building up a bit of humidity helps the dust drop out of the air too.
     
  14. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Wow Edward, that was very informative and helpful! I will look into some of your suggestions. I hope these methods won't be too hard on the wallet, though some sound pricey!

    Thanks Dave, I'll definitely try that sometime.

    Heather, that seems like a very easy solution as well. I can try that too since it won't be too costly.

    Jason
     
  15. Removed Account

    Removed Account Member

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    Since most of Edward's methods are not an option for me at this point, mostly due to extremely limited space and lack of renovation provisions in the rental agreement, I've got a room size forced-air filter with an ionizer that can be switched off. This has all but eliminated my dust problem, and I'm sure that a mild humidifier would take care of the last little bit, which isn't really a problem anyways. That's speaking from the point of view of someone who's darkroom is in a general purpose area, with a carpeted floor, a clothes closet, and a couch (read: dust heaven). I may be imagining it, but it also seems to help with the chemical fumes. Until I find a place to live which has a more appropriate darkroom space this $80 contraption was money well worth spending.

    - Justin
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Sounds like a Scotsman's anti-static machine.:D

    pentaxuser
     
  17. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I have found that ionisers tend to deposit dust and other air pollutants over the walls and equipment. I use two powered air filters in my dark room. They keep the material they filter out in their filters and, running 23/7, produce near clean room conditions. They were also very cheap to buy, and the running costs are virtually nothing: a tiny amount of electricity and a new filter about every three years.

    David.
     
  18. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Dust/lint is a constant problem for me. My "darkroom" is actually the laundry room. Are these free-standing units? Can you give a brand name for research purposes? Thanks.
     
  19. dr5chrome

    dr5chrome Member

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    The poop on these machines:

    units like living-air [ionizers-ozone] units are useful if you have a closed up room or a not so drafty house. the ozone creation will eliminate any photo related oder or any other unwanted oder. the ozone created is electronic, sort of like an electrical storm. they will not reduce static. the ionizer in these units work over time by creating a field around the unit -25' or so-. the theory is the field changes the ions in the dust which makes the ozone attach to it making the dust fall instead of float. this is why some claim to see more dust. but continued use will stop the dust from coming into the room where the unit is after a few months of being on. some folks are sensitive to the ozone and some get headaches from them. there has been many speculative claims that these units are bad for you, they are not if you use them correctly. ozone creators are a main tool of companies the clean up after fires and floods. they eliminate all smells completely.
    also, concentrated ozone will damage film. [you couldn't be in the room concentration].

    the air washer; a good machine but you must clean it often. they tend to create a bacteria heaven with the dirt they collect.

    a good solution if you need to save $$ is get a hepa air cleaner and a humidifier - one that doesn't need filters - like the hunter units. this will keep your static down and take the dust out of the air. remember - air filters cost $$ to replace and if your space is dusty, once every 3 months you'll have to change the filter.

    dw
     
  20. edz

    edz Member

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    They generate, I think, only positive ions. Good for removing odors as a disinfectant but not good for the aims of static reduction. Dust might be appear slightly controlled but whatever dust is available will tend, I suspect, to go to precisely where one does not want it: film surfaces and enlargers. I would also suggest against long term use since there are quite a few, albeit inconclusive, studies indicating harmful effects to the extent that US OSHA and European Union legislators have set limits on workplace exposure. Its considered a harmful pollutant.

    Anti-static ionization systems emit both positive and negative ions.

    The bacteria is more or less in the water and does not get distributed by the machine. Most of what what sees is (not unlike film processing waterbaths), I think, the algae. They are not intended to be run just on tap water but water with a bit of a "special" additive from Venta. A cap of clothing wash disinfectant based upon quaternary ammonium compounds (not unlike the stuff that Venta sells but significantly cheaper). The machines clean well with vinegar. Vinegar does a good job of removing the mineral and chalk deposits as well as bacteria. Since we all probably have some algaecides for our water baths and racks one could probably use one of these (just make sure that the materials are compatible) ....