Best way to heat up Chems

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cherryrig, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

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    Right at the moment when I'm developing I pour out my fix which is already mixed up, and then I add some hot water to a little tray, to help to get it up to the right temp. However this sometimes takes quite a while to get it to around 20C. So by the time I've loaded the film onto the reel and then used the developer it's about time. However it takes a lot of prep time.

    Therefore I was wondering what the best way is to get chems to the right temp. Is there like a tray heater thing you can get or something??

    I'm not sure as I'm quite new to developing really

    Cheers
     
  2. Stock Dektol

    Stock Dektol Member

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    You can use a hot plate... but then you need a stainless steel beaker, cast iron tray or.... you could use an emersion circulator which is like a probe that will go in a liquid and heat it.
     
  3. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Actually, fixer's temperature is not critical. It just shouldn't be way off. If you keep the fixer solution in room temperature, it shouldn't be a problem, provided that you don't live in an igloo :tongue:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2009
  4. cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

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    So say if my fix is around 15C which is what it normally comes out at. Would that be fine?

    Also how many films untill I should use a new batch of fix??
     
  5. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    Here's what I like to do. If the stored solutions are about 64 degrees or so, having been stored in my darkroom, I draw about 3-1/2 liters of water to about 72 or so degrees into my 5-liter bucket. Then I place my prepared bottles of stop, fix, and developer solutions into the bucket. If things are still too cool, I add a cup or so of hotter water. By the time I have loaded my reels and prepared my wash aid and final rinse, my solutions are at the desired uniform temperature. This is also pretty easy to do ahead of time so that I don't feel I am being held up getting solutions to temperature.
     
  6. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    15C is a bit cold. Ideally, it should be at 18-24C. That's what Ilford proposes. One potential problem could be (I suppose) reduced fixer activity. Another problem could arise from using chemicals with very different temperatures. That could affect image quality with quality films, or maybe damage sensitive films.

    Regarding the number of films, the only definitive answer can be obtained from the "leader test". If you don't know what it is, have a look here. A 1 litre solution (1+4) of Ilford rapid fixer is ok for 24 36exp films.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I use an old microwave from a garage sale, $5.00. Just make sure that you don't have any paper hanging around while it's running; they put light when they're on!
     
  8. randyB

    randyB Member

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    I use a small microwave unit, left over from one of my kids move back home.
    In fact I used it last night, my darkroom has central heat and air from the rest of the house but because it is in the basement it is still cooler, so my chems are usually around 62-65 degrees F, I take about 16oz of chem and microwave for 30 sec on high, then mix with more cool chem to get to my desired temp (72 F) at a total volume of 32 oz. True, fix doesn't have to be exactly at the same temp as the other chems but it should be within 5 degrees, some films may give you reticulation if the temps are not close. If you do use a microwave be sure to clean very good before you cook any thing in it, fixer flavored popcorn is NOT tasty. RandyB
     
  9. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    Stainless steel containers transfer heat so much faster than plastic. When I'm developing T-MAX films, I want the developer at exactly 68F. So I pour it in an empty Nikor tank, say the Q15 two reeler. Then I put it in a larger diameter Nikor tank (one of the ones for the six-foot or 220 reels) with hot or cold water, swish it about, and watch the thermometer.

    That tempering step would be infuriatingly long in the plastic sixteen-ounce measuring cups I use to hold developer, stop, and fixer.
     
  10. KEK

    KEK Member

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    I use a fish tank heater with a bucket of water for the chemicals or in a tray with another tray floating on top for printing. Once you get it dialed in it works very well.
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I've only worried about the developer. The temperature difference is not going to cause reticulation. I tend to give the fix an extra minute or two if I'm working in the winter when my chemicals are a bit cold. When printing, I don't worry about it at all....except for lith where I heat the developer with a water bath jsut to keep the development times reasonable.
     
  12. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Member

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    I use Dow quart size (7X8 inch) heavy duty Ziploc freezer storage bags filled with the hottest tap water available. Dragging the bag back and forth through the in tray developer raises the temperature pretty darn quickly. In hot weather the bags can be filled with ice cubes to lower the temperature. Makes mid session temp adjustments very easy.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Heating the chemicals up from storage to use, I use a water bath where I immerse the container of chemicals into a larger container with hot water.

    For keeping them warm in the darkroom, I use an electric oil radiator (like a regular radiator, but it's not centrally piped in, but has circulating hot oil inside). I place this directly under the developer tray, which rests on a wire shelf. Even in the coldest of winter weather it keeps the developer temperature above 70*F. My stop bath and fixer is a little colder than that, but it works without issues.

    I don't have running water in my darkroom, so I have to resort to this. Sometimes I use a bottle of hot water, cap it up, and lay it in the developer tray for a while and slosh the developer around.

    - Thomas
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    When in the UK, just a washing up bowl of water & a kettle if I need rapid hot water. It is important with negatives to keep the dev, stop, fix & wash within 1 or 2 degrees C.

    Here in Turkey I usually use ice cubes in the hottest spells to keep solution temperatures stable.

    Ian
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Rubylith to the rescue

    Mine has a 'flap' of rubylith a bit bigger than the lamp window taped over the lamp port. The tape adhesive that holds it in place over time gets very brown, but since it is my darkroom microwave, who cares. Take care if your unit does not have a window, and instaed the lamp light comes in though the ventilation port.

    My oven has a glowing blue display for the time, power etc above the key pad. I don't set the clock in it, so it usually only displays two dots on power up. I have a mostly black peice of 35mm film leader taped over this front panel display to act as a neutral density filter, to keep it from glowig too brightly when I punch in times to use the oven.

    I have a piece of gaffer tape stuck over the 10 sec button, since that seems to be about the right amount of heat to dry out test strips when testing for dry down without having the emulsion bubble off and the thing catch fire ( I am serious- thats what hitting the 1 min button by accident and then letting the mind wander can do). Now I can start the thing for the right amount of time by feel, without having to look at the display when doing test strips.
     
  17. pnance

    pnance Member

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  18. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    The simplest way of all is a JOBO waterbath warming unit-if you can find one
    Mark
     
  19. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I have never found a good way of heating up cool chemicals – each method has its own drawbacks.

    I use a warm water tempering bath and allow plenty of time for them to come slowly up to temperature.

    All the chemicals need to be with +/- 2C of the previous bath to avoid reticulation problems (emulsion crazing)

    Preparation is key to ensuring a good repeatable process – so it is worth spending the time to getting the temperatures right.

    I tend to process my films in reasonably large batches, as the set up time is almost the same for one roll of film as it is for twenty.

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  20. Gabe Racz

    Gabe Racz Member

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    Running hot water will warm the chemicals faster than a water bath of the same temperature because of convection.

    I have developed film many times when the temperature differences between chemical baths were much greater than 2C and never had reticulation problems with modern films (where modern = from the last 20 years or so).
     
  21. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Ideally, get yourself an old aquarium with a heater, wrap the outside with styrofoam insulation, make a tight fitting insulated lid, put in enough water for your bottles of chems, set the heater to 20℃ and keep the chemical bottles in there. Your chemicals will always be at 20℃ when you start, and because it's insulated, the cost of running the heater 7/24 should be quite reasonable.

    Now invest is a good heater for your darkroom, one of the oil filled ones should work nicely, to get the darkroom warmer. The opposite is also true, if your darkroom is always way too warm, then add a portable A/C unit to the darkroom.

    if you have forced air central heating/air conditioning, and the darkroom is far from the furnace then sometimes a booster in-line fan will help, add an additional filter to the supply as well, make sure the darkroom does NOT have a cold air return, you want the darkroom to vent to the outside, although if you have a heat recovery ventilator (some modern construction) then the darkroom vent should feed to output side of the HRV, to recover the heat from the darkroom. You might also want to add some sheet Styrofoam insulation to the interior of the exterior wall of the darkroom, so that it runs a few degrees warmer.

    I am amazed at some darkrooms, they are cold, dusty, full of gagging fumes, and the home to the only 8 track mono boom box still in existence (evidenced by the gaffer tape holding it together). The darkroom should be warm, clean, well vented and have a good sound system, it should be a place of comfort and refuge, where you create your "art", even if that art is a photo of the cat and a piece of string.....
     
  22. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    A friend gave me one of those electric oil filled radiators. My darkroom is small so I simply heat the entire room with it - on a low setting, to save on electricity (I switch it on a couple of hours before starting a session and haven't noticed any spike in my electric bill). It maintains a constant room temperature hour after hour. It's a very safe heat source.

    Now I'm in the darkroom during winter months more often.

    Paul
     
  23. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I was fortunate enough to find a water bath unit on ebay specifically made for darkroom processes. It has a thermostatically controlled heating element built in, and a circulating pump to keep the temperature constant in all areas of the bath. The thermostat is very accurate and keeps the water within 1 degree of the setting. The unit is just wide enough that an 8x10 tray fits inside, and I adjust the water level to come about halfway up the sides of the tray. Like many others, my basement darkroom is too cool in the winter time, and print developer in the tray radiated off way too quickly before. I can use it as a tempering bath for tank development of film if I need to also, but that is not usually a problem for me. This tank is my most valuable winter darkroom possession.
     
  24. Merg Ross

    Merg Ross Member

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    This is also the method I use. I like to keep the developer, short, fixer and wash water at exactly the same temperature (68 degrees).

    mergross.com
     
  25. lensmagic

    lensmagic Member

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    Thomas, this is most imaginative. I admire the photos of frosted windows you post, so i infer that you have cold temperatures to deal with. As to the heater, do you lie it on its side? Is there an electric oil radiator with a horizontal configuration upon which a line of trays (developer, stop, fix, fix) can be placed and all trays kept warm at a constant temperature??
     
  26. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    I've been thinking about this recently too. Usually I get my developer temperature pretty much bang on 21 degrees (after a lot of frustrating mixing hot and cold water together), but because my stop and fixer sit in bottles (and I'm lazy), they'll often go in around 15 degrees. For a while I wondered why my HP5 negs were a hell of a lot grainer and ugly than stuff I was getting done at a lab in town until I started reading why.

    Now I plan on buying an aquarium heater + large chilly bin and making a water bath where everything should be the right temp for my bottles to sit in, and for me to take water straight from to mix up my developer. I'm really hoping it dramatically improves my results.