Cleaning the tanks of a Wing-Lynch

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jd callow, May 6, 2003.

  1. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I just received a used wing-lynch 4e. This is a rotary film processor that is setup (in this instance) to do c41 and two types of black and white, The tanks that hold the chems are large (i'd guess 2+ gallons each) lucite boxes that are sealed except for a 1.5" diameter refill area. The tanks are suffering from a good deal of residue and I would love to know if there is a magic bullet for cleaning these things out. The opening is too small for me to scrub so I'm hoping for a solution that will remove the residue w/o damage to the tanks.

    The chems used were D76, Tmax RS, Kodak fixer, Kodak Rapid Developer, Bleach and Fix.

    Any help is appreciated.

    jdc
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Well you can put some bleach into the developer tanks to clear up the silver deposited out but the sulfur deposits from the fixer is beyond me. Maybe a pound of aquarium gravel and soapy water with vigorous agitation will clean things up.
    Kodak used to make something called Developer System Cleaner but I suspect it was nothing more than ferricyanide bleach.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    two ideas for you.

    1) Doesn't jobo make something for cleaning out their tanks?
    2) I once used amonia to clean out the residue on one of my small plastic tanks, it did a good job. I haven't noticed any problems with the tank, or my film since the cleaning, so I would suspect it is ok to use it.

    Brian

    ps, does this mean we are are going to be able to send our film to you for processing now? [​IMG]
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  5. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Aggie, are you thinking about CLR?
     
  6. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  7. DKT

    DKT Member

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    Hey, I might be able to find some info for you on that... we use a rebuilt 4E to run E6 with, and all I can say is that you need to be careful cleaning those tanks. A WL is not a Jobo...the tanks have glass heating probes and thermostats in them, and if you break one or even pump the tank too low, you've pretty much ruined them. They ain't cheap--I won't elaborate, but been there/done that-- WL was owned by PSI, although I think someone else is handling them now--at any rate, they used to have this great website, with tech newsletters & such, but the current site doesn't show that stuff....I'd say to contact them for help. There are alot of those machines still in use, and there are also alot of independent shops that service them....about the worst problem with the model 4 and 4Es is that the cabinets are made of formica & , so if they get cracked & wet, they tend to fall apart. The rebuilt ones have a cabinet like the newer model 5s, but only cost about half as much or less.

    The tanks are 1 and 1/3 gallons or 5 gallons. There's a line on the bottom that indicates the lowest fill level you can safely run at without cracking the heaters. The line at the top is the max fill level--you don't to go over or under these levels. I'd probably fill it up with water & try to soak them out, before getting too carried away. You'll need the nitrogen tank though to pump the water through. What processes are you planning on running?

    Just don't do that gravel thing---I'd like to see you pick up the machine & vigorously shake it though, what, it's about the size of a refrigerator?
     
  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll be running c41 and b&w chemicals. Which B&W are yet to be determined -- I have tended in the past to use D76 and Microdol-X, but I'm evaluating that now.

    The tanks are of the larger variety and yes it would be interesting to see someone fill it with soap and water and shake it.

    I also discoverred that WL had changed hands and planed on calling them, but figured with the experience here someone might know a magic formula to make the scum go away.
     
  9. DKT

    DKT Member

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    I checked our manual and some of the old tech support newsletters they put out--it's too bad they're not online anymore--but I'd still say to send them an email or call for tech support. Everytime we've dealt with them, before & after PSI had them, they were really helpful. They pretty much say to clean the tanks out by running several cycles of warm water through them. There are some tips for combatting algae/scum growth in certain tanks, but it seems flusing them out with water is their first suggestion.

    We've done this, so that's why I mentioned it.....you pretty much fill them up with water & instead of setting up the trough with dam & spacer and all that--you run it through it's cycle & pump the water out through the trough drain. You run the level all the way up to max, and each time the process goes to a new step, you hit "step" to skip over the wash cycles or to move through the tanks to go back & strat over again. It's kind of a pain, and can take awhile...there's also a way to disconnect those heaters & such (you have to go into the back of the machine-- into the guts), but you need to be really careful not to pump the tanks dry or below that bottom line. Don't overfill either. I've siphoned chemistry out of them too, but this is a real PIA and you need to be careful of the heater probes etc. The thing to remember is that the machine is always on. It sits there 24/7 ready to process. So you can't really turn it on to mess around with it without having it hooked up or parts of it disconnected.

    .fwiw, I don't think you'll ever get them totally cleaned. It might not matter if they're stained really--as long as the crap doesn't contaminate the fresh solution or come off and get pumped into the trough, you'll probably be okay. Processors get really nasty after a couple of years in use, they never look as good as they do brand new.

    Sorry--I've only done E6 in them, so I can't be of much help on the b&w...we do b&w in a deeptank with TMAX RS, but I don't think that would be too hot (would be hot actually) in a WL, unless you could slow it down somehow by dilution or messing with the pH. There is a small processor called a Super Sidekick--Phototherm makes these--you could see what they recommend. XTOL might be a good one too, it's just that it's going to be continuously agitated, and the tanks themsleves are large--so you can't fill them up with something that's going to go bad quickly--the nitrogen will keep the solutions good, but eventually they crap out--you need to plan on trying to use them ASAP or using at least a gallon or so a week, so you can "top off" the tanks with fresh chemsitry.

    I guess it would depend on what temp the tanks are set at and time you feel comfortable with though. I guess you got the right tube sets, trough dam, process cards etc.?? Do you have a water panel yet? The machine has a backup battery that probably needs to be checked out, and those tank seals need to be changed periodically along with the trough dam--these rubber parts crap out and cause leaks and oxidation problems. The only other thing I can think of offhand is that for b&w, I guess theoretically if the ambient room temp were too high, you might need a water chiller or the cooling exchange units they make to hold the temps down low enough. This isn't a problem of course with C41...

    they're great machines though, so good luck with it.

    KT
     
  10. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Aggie
    Unfortunately, the largest opening in the tanks is little bigger than a jam jar top. If a brush and small hand would work I'd put it where my wife would have to look at it and let nature take its course.

    DKT
    I have the wall filters, wall unit temp control, cylinders and reels 'o plenty, and both a c41 and B&W card. The unit came from a place that takes very good care of the equipment, although this item looked *well* used. According to the documentation, as long as the cold water coming into wall unit temp control is no warmer than 50°f it will keep the B&W chems at temp.

    I'm keeping the processor in a basement which averages about 60°f, but haven't tested the cold water temp yet. I would think the B&W chemicals will be fine.

    I will probably have to start shooting more B&W. I believe microdol-x and d76 have a shelf life of around 1 month.

    I can burn through C41 chemicals

    I was thinking of running hot water through it (some spiked with vinegar and some with bleach) or maybe getting a power sprayer. A lab rat friend suggested mixing dilute variants of the chems that were in it and see if that would loosen up the residue.

    I suspect the most prudent thing to do would be contact PSI.
     
  12. DKT

    DKT Member

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    I talked with a guy I work with this morning, and his advice was to load it up with hot water & let it soak for a day or two and then flush it out with more water & to just keep at it. The rebuilt one we ended up getting came with new tanks though--the tanks are sold as sets actually, so you can't really get them out individually. I think the best way to clean them is by some sort of passive way--I'd be a little leery of putting bleaches and such into the tanks....the guy that services ours has told us some funny stories though--about people dropping process thermometers into the tanks by accident and cracking the elements or having the cabinets so old & degraded, that the machine would fall over if you rolled it away from a wall....

    the tanks are usually factory set for a process temperature, and sometimes they set them slightly higher to accomodate for the drift that happens in heat loss for the trough lid etc. The same for the water panels. For E6 we run at 102 on a Hass Intellifaucet, but the tanks are down at 100-101 or so. There are two lights on the left side, under the pressure gauges. These are the tank-deck heater lights. They normally sorta blink on & off sequentially--this tells you the temp is okay in the tanks. If one light stays solid or never comes on, there's a problem, or the chem is heating up. One thing that has happened to us in the winter, for example, is the ambient room temp gets low enough to where it takes a day or longer to stabilize the chemistry after you mix it up. 65 or so is about the coldest that room gets.

    fwiw, they make an accessory for it where you can bypass the drains for the fixers & bleaches, so you can reuse these or run them through recovery units. We mostly do it for the recovery unit. You can also get a lid for it that will let you handpour your developer-- might work for your b&w...the best advice I guess I can give would be to cover up the red lights on the processor with black tape when you load the film...

    good luck--KT
     
  13. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If these are hardened salt deposits, wouldnt dilute lime a way help? Put the solution in the tank, wait for a day or so and flush real good. Anyways, just a thought.
     
  14. DKT

    DKT Member

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    The problem with the WL tanks is they're all sealed up almost, and the place you add chemistry is really narrow--it's like the size of a liter soda bottle or a little bigger. It's actually a threaded PVC pipe with a screwcap into this acrylic tank. You can ruin those tanks by overtightening the caps. The 4E can be maintained almost entirely off parts you can buy at plumbing shops, except for the electronics. But the tanks are really fragile and if you get anything in there that you can't get out, you're screwed. We drained a tank once, for like 30 seconds and cracked a heater probe actually. It was an accident, but that was like the death knell for processing for awhile. You could stick a bottle brush down in there & break one of those probes and be out $$$. They're really simple machines & work great, a delight to use. Compared to Jobos, they're like miles above any rotary processor--even those autolabs. But those tanks need to be handled with care...a new WL Model 5 will set you back almost $20K, you can get these rebuilt 4Es for about 5-10K. You can get them used for probably around 750-1500. we use CLR in our Intellifaucet--it gets all gunked up and won't work--so you take these valves out & soak them in CLR and rinse them off. As long as the electronics stay dry, it's okay. I don't know what it would do to the WL, but those tanks will be tough to get at inside, all the corners etc....whatever you pour in there, has to go out through either a siphon, or pumped through the processor, so it can't contaminate anything along the way....I don't know if I would worry about it that much, unless it was caked in there. The other processors I use are pretty gnarly inside, Ii almost hate to touch them to load in chemistry, and it only makes prints worse when you actually try to clean out the tanks. It loosens up all this crap that otherwise never would have been a problem. If a roller or a reel or something touching a print or film is dirty, this is a problem, but tanks can sometimes just get stained.

    KT
     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It has been a bit of time since my last post. I doubt that my limited knowledge was missed, though I suspect you will all be glad to have reason to purvey my stunning avatar once again.

    I must say dumb is the feller who asks first and reads the manual later. Dumb is what I am.

    As mentioned in my opening to this thread, The previous owner of this particular Wing-Lynch, treated their equipment very well. What I didn't mention is that they had the original documentation and every (this is an assumption on my part) addendum published for the device (and water panel) up until 2002.

    I have read the documentation (whoohoo!).

    Found in section 2, immediately following installation and testing, anyone with a handful of obliging brain cells and the ability to read would find not one (1) but three (3) methods for cleaning a wing-lynch 4e.

    The easiest and most straight forward way to clean this film processor is to fill it with water and run it through the cycles. The wing-lynch allows the user to set the amount of chemicals to be used and the ability to skip through steps. The former allows one to use the appropriate amount of chemistry for the amount of film being processed or, for the purposes of this discussion, set the amount to a high level to push through as much effluence (in this case it isn’t chemistry as much as water and whatever waste it was able to leech off the walls of the tank) as possible. The latter allows the user to push all the chemistry through the machine in a relatively short period of time by dumping the chemistry being used once the trough has been filled. It also does a reasonably good job of cleaning out the system.

    After initiating this post I filled the tanks with distilled water and a tablespoon of household bleach and let the device sit until I had time to address it. Although I was cautioned about using bleach in the tanks, I was more concerned about algae. My thoughts were that I would thoroughly flush the bleach out once I figured out how.

    It has been one of the more costly and hectic summers of recent memory and so the wing-lynch sat unused.

    About a week ago I decided to see about getting the processor up and running. It has become apparent to me that processing film at the level I require is something within my skill set and budget. I read the manual (whoohoo!) and hooked the sucker up. It required a drain, some water (two lines one each for hot and cold) and a tank of nitrogen. The previous owners had purchased and therefore supplied me with two water filters (2) , a wing-lynch water temperature control device (WP2), and a gas regulator. My job was rather simple. I needed to run about 14 feet of pvc for a drain, a like amount of copper tubing for a water supply and purchase and connect a tank of nitrogen. The procedure took about 2 days. Upon completion of the water hook-up I discovered the WP2 had a cracked water solenoid valve that made it inoperable and somewhat leaky.

    I ordered a new solenoid valve.

    In the interim I soft plumbed (?) a water supply to the Wing-lynch. I tested it as per the manual (yeaha!) and flushed the system or as much as I could.

    This particular Wing-Lynch has two ‘decks,’ an upper deck that contains C41 chemicals and a lower deck for two (2) B&W developers and fix. The tank that would contain fix in the lower deck cannot be pumped out. This tank contained the greatest amount of sediment, which may be blocking the flow. It also was disconnected from the upper deck at one time and may not have been properly reconnected or the feed line may be done. In any event, either issue is manageable – more than likely I’ll find an answer in one of the manuals.

    So, the tanks are mostly clean, the processor operates as stated, and the times are right on as are the chemical temperatures. In addition to the solenoid valve I’ve ordered c41 chemistry. I will begin testing with color negative film later this week.

    Couple other Items worth noting about this thing are that it has a chiller plate to help keep the B&W chemicals at tempeture and a bleach replenishment system. The chiller plate will probably not be used (the thing sits in my basement which seldom reaches 60°), but the bleach replenishment could be a real money saver.

    Thank you to all that answered my original post and I apologize for not doing a little investigation prior to asking.