Do I Really Need a Power Supply?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Scott Ridgeway, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Scott Ridgeway

    Scott Ridgeway Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Farmington,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I have an old D2 enlarger that, so far, I've been using without a power supply unit. I was just given a Beseler enlarger that was apparently used without a power supply unit. Given that I now want to use an electric space heater in my darkroom, I think it's time I begin using something to regulate things. So far, I've not found anything on eBay. A friend told me he knows someone who uses a car battery charger that has a 110 outlet on it. Would this really work? Any other ideas?
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    I think it would be easier just to run the heater before and in between periods when you would be exposing. The heater coming on and off during an exposure would definitely affect your exposures due to voltage fluctuations.

    Jon
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2007
  3. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Needing a power supply has nothing to do with the heater. If you are using the D2's incandescent lamphouse and condensers to print B&W you don't need a power supply. If you are running any kind of color process - filters in trays or dichroic lamphouse - you always have needed a power supply to stabilize the color temperature of your light source. Also, any kind of "cold" light source for B&W requires or has a built-in power supply.
     
  4. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Let me get this straight---you only have one outlet with one working plug in your dark room so you can plug in either the enlarger OR the heater but not both (at the same time???)
     
  5. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,851
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Depending on the size of the heater, you may see the enlarger lamp dim during exposure when the heater kicks on. I'm guessing you'll have a ph213 at most in the enlarger. No need for a power supply. I have an ac unit on the same circuit as my power supply and i just wait til it shuts off to expose paper. If you run a separate extension from a separate circuit to your heater you'll have nothing to worry about.
     
  6. Scott Ridgeway

    Scott Ridgeway Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Farmington,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    No...I have more than one outlet. My concern is the heater (even though it's on a different plug) will draw current away from the enlarger. According to nyoung and wildbill, though, I don't really have a problem after all.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Actually, it's kind of impossible to answer this without knowing your electrical set up. If they're on the same fuse/breaker line, an electric heater is a substantial power draw and could possibly cause such a current drain as to dim you enlarger bulb.

    If that is the set up I can think of two easy solutions:

    1) Obtain a UPS from a computer store and connect it b/w you power outlet and enlarger. These units are designed to provide "regulated" power during outages or voltage/current drops.

    2) Consider a portable kerosene heater. The modern models are ignited electrically via a couple of D-cell batteries and once the wick is "cured" burn very cleanly. We often fire up ours at the Copake house in the "tween" seasons (late-Autumn and early-Spring) when we don't find it really necessary to fire up the whole house oil furnace.
     
  8. Scott Ridgeway

    Scott Ridgeway Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Farmington,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    All my outlets in the darkroom are on one circuit. I'm going to run a cord for the heater through a wall, and plug it into a different circuit. That should do it.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,820
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Caution

    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that this isn't a good idea (fire hazard!) and could cause you real problems if you ever had to make a claim on your fire insurance.

    Any electricians here who can speak with more authority than I?

    It might be a better idea (although still problematic) to run the cord for the enlarger (less current).

    Matt
     
  10. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,230
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    it is pretty easy to get some regulation indoor electrical wiring and wire up a new plug. It is even pretty easy if the box is near by to put in a new breaker and wire the heater independently.

    I have been using my cold light enlarger for many years plugged right into the wall. I run a heater as well out of the same box but on a different breaker. The only time I see the light dim in my darkroom is when my yard working wife turns on the electric mower in the Summer. That thing must really draw some juice.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Totally against code anywhere in the US as far as I'm aware. My electrician charges $50 to wire up a new outlet, plus you'd have to spring for a new breaker or branch from another circuit if you want to be off the same circuit as the enlarger. Save yourself the cost of a fire and a rejected insurance claim and higher subsequent premiums or policy cancellation and just run a new box yourself or pay a licensed electrician to do it, to code.

    Lee
     
  12. Scott Ridgeway

    Scott Ridgeway Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Farmington,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Good idea! Will do.
     
  13. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Or, consider that kerosene heater.
     
  14. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    How many amps does your heater draw? How many amps does your enlarger draw? How many for your timer & safe light? Add them up and if its over 20 (or whatever your circuit breaker is rated) then I'd be more concerned about finding a solution (or get a heater that draws less amperage!---OR wear a sweater:smile: )

    Another alternative would be to trade in your enlarger for an 8x10 Elwood--heater+enlarger in one package! :smile:
     
  15. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Messages:
    2,936
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Misissauaga
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wife swap - for one that cuts the lawn?

    >The only time I see the light dim in my darkroom is when my yard working wife turns on the electric mower in the Summer. That thing must really draw some juice.

    Oh, in my dreams, would the lawn be cut by my wife.

    And to think that I could be puttering away in the darkroom, while she is doing all the yard work.

    You are a lucky man indeed.
     
  16. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,392
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW MO
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I wouldn't run a kerosene heater in a well-sealed darkroom because of the fumes and the danger.

    An ancient second-hand Raytheon voltage stabilizer has given me flawless service for 20 years. Sola brand voltage stabilizers are encountered more frequently. The simple magnetic amplifier technology in these stabilizers is nearly foolproof.
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,582
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    * 2

    The carbon monoxide fumes can really kill you.

    Steve
     
  18. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Why not just get a voltage stabilizer? Besides other appliances on the same circuit I thought that minor fluctuations were normal? You don't really want to waste paper or get suboptimal results or rewire your house just because you don't feel like getting a simple little box that you can probably pick up for like $50 on ebay, do you?
     
  19. panastasia

    panastasia Member

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Dedham, Ma,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    I was thinking the same thing when reading this thread. I used a Vivek voltage stabilizer when doing color work ($75 new - simple little box). The output was 100 volts (stabilized current), so the enlarger light lost some brightness compared with 120 volts (non-stabilized current). Note that some timers will not work correctly using stabilized current, therefore, be careful how you connect the equipment.