Fix dilution in Jobo ATL - and preferred fixers for Pyrocat HD

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Baxter Bradford, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I am just about to get cracking with Pyrocat HD in a Jobo ATL1000.

    Whilst I have been able to find out lots about the developer, I am somewhat at a loss with the fixer. I presume that an alkali fixer is preferred to retain the stain. I have searched the archives, but not found anything which addresses the issues I think I face.

    The Jobo programmes have fixer times which are all 6 minutes (at 20 deg C). I have been using Barry Thornton's Archevix which when diluted at the recommended 1:4 clears in 90s, so I have used 3 mins. The Archevix fixer has lots of capacity, so I have been reusing a number of times from my Combi-Plan tank.

    This is not that feasible with the Jobo (contamination from effluent pipe and having bought an auto-processor, I want to leave it alone and not stand over it) and so I envisage using as a one shot at a more economical dilution that fits the 6 minutes.

    When I switch to the Jobo, I do not want to over fix, nor use excess chemicals. I have run out of Archevix, so need to start afresh, but acknowledge that this is a common path of progrssion.

    Ideally I would like to mix my own fixer from raw chemicals, have found the TF-3 formula which apart from the smell, seems well regarded, but am open to advice and suggestions about with what and how to proceed.

    If it has any bearing, Acros in 5x4 is the film I use most frequently, but also use HP5 on occasion.
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll suggest (guess why) OF-1, practically non-smelly. I made it because I found TF-4 too smelly!

    Another alternative is to drop the stop/wash altogether, and dump in 10 to 30 cc of 50% ammonium thiosulfate at the end of developing. The amount needed depends on the total area and type of film, as well as the amount of developer. Use more for "funny grain" films like T-max and Delta, less for "classic" emulsions. This works because the developer is practically used up at the end of development, while still being alkaline enough to accellerate the fixing.
     
  3. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Thanks Ole

    Unfortunately, the programs are quite rigid.

    Pre-rinse 5 min
    Dev 5, 7, 9, 11 or 14 min
    Stop 1 min
    Fixing 6 min
    Rinsing 4 min

    Since the machine is new to me, I am not sure if they rinse between stages for the B+W. This seems to happen for E-6 when I did a dummy run (very apt for me!) using water for each stage and no film in the drum.

    If this rinsing does take place, then I shall probably just put water in lieu of stop bath.

    Since OF-1 is for a 4 min fix, I presume that I can use a weaker solution since I have to use 6 mins?

    I couldn't get the quick links to work, so was only seeing a part of the discussion on OF-1. Might be a glitch of the new site layout.
     
  4. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    No need to rinse in between stages.

    I use pmk in bottles 1 and 2 splitting time between both, citric acid stop (no smell), and film strength Ilford fix. 1+4 dilution. Then I use HCA and wash for 5 minutes. No loss of stain. Great film.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    The link to OF-1 is: http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=38

    In your situation, I would either use a water rinse - or no rinse, followed by about 20ml - 30ml of 60% Ammonium Thiosufate (60% is what I have) mixed with enough water to make up the volume required by the Jobo. I'd run a separate fixing test to ensure the film was completely fixed (sufficient volume of fix at 6 minutes) for the surface area of the film.

    I just processed some 120 Efke 100 rollfilm in Pyrocat-HD. I used a Kindermann SS Tank and a Hewes SS reel. The Pyrocat dilution was 1+1+100 with semi-stand agitation for 18 minutes at 21 deg. C. At the end of development I added 30ml of 60% Ammonium Thiosufate to the tank (thus no stop or water rinse) and agitated for 6 minutes, then I washed and dried the film. The negs are beautiful.
     
  6. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Thankyou Robert and Tom for your helpful advice which I shall see how I can incorporate into the rigid programmes on offer. I am about to order chemicals and I have some Ilford fixer stashed away too.

    It is a "fire and forget" machine, which is supposed to make things easier! Unfortunately I do not get the option of missing out any stages or adjusting the sequence or time of individual stages (other than development). Thus adjusting strength of solution seems my only viable control, but do not intend to be so frugal as to prevent full fixation.
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Let us know how it goes, Baxter.

    BTW, I believe that the Ilford Rapid Fixers are primarily Ammonium Thiosufate (check the Material Safety Data Sheet) and should work well as a one-shot in your Jobo.

    Run a clearing time test on a small piece of film to make sure the concentration/time is right for the film you are using.
     
  8. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'd need long developing times before doing that; dumping
    A. Thio. concentrate in with the developer.

    On another note, you've I don't know how much freed
    Chlorine, Bromine, and Iodine in your developer. That will
    tax your fixer. A Least chemistry approach requires dumping
    the developer and washing the film prior to fixing.

    I can't say how much difference it will make but for an
    average, say zone 5 developed roll, I'd think an easily
    measurable difference. Dan
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The halogens won't affect the fixer - OF-1 contain lot of chloride, which I supect is increasing the capacity of the fixer!

    I can say how much difference it makes for a normally exposed film: None at all. Not even examining the film under a microscope shows any difference.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Were that the case there would be no Iodide test for
    exhausted fixer.

    Solubility products and common ions are terms associated
    with the case in point; a fixers reduced capacity due to the
    presence of ions in common with an element with
    which it forms insoluble compounds.

    All of the halogens of silver are insoluble. Least of all being
    the iodide then the bromide then the chloride. Dan
     
  11. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Dan, based on comparative tests, no measurable difference. I am using the fixer as a one shot.
     
  12. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Gentlemen, I appreciate the continued interest in this thread. However, the latest contributions are some way away from the title and I suggest that they seem worthy of discussion in a thread of their own right.

    In a Jobo ATL there is no option to add chemistry to that which is already there. At the end of each stage, the tank is emptied by the lift mechanism and the next solution pumped in.

    You are correct Tom, I have checked and the Ilford Rapid Fixer is predominantly Ammonium Thiosulphate, so that would be an easy place to start (KISS), my only concern that a 5 min wash might not be sufficient.

    Many thanks
     
  13. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    A very prudent concern, Baxter. I recommend running a test negative through the complete process, followed by a residual fixer test.

    If you fail the residual fixer test, it would seem that you have at least 2 "knobs" you can turn:

    1. Adjust the amount of fixer concentrate.
    2. Add one or more "soak and dump" wash steps after the automatic processing sequence.
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The iodide test works by adding a large surplus of iodide to a little fixer, precipitating dissolved silver as silver iodide. That kind of concentrations is never reached in normal processing - and as you said, it's the solubility product that is important here.

    Bromide comcentrations will be higher in spent fixer, but still not enough to precipitate sliver bromide.

    Chloride has an added side-effect: It works as a complexing agent along with thiosulfate and ammonia. While silver chloride is "insoluble" (10x the solubility of AgBr, about 100x AgI), a surplus of chloride can in some cases increase the solubility through forming AgCl6 complexes.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    We are not in any way near to "normal processing" in
    this discussion. Tom H. at the end of a one-shot development
    added 30ml of A. Thio. concentrate to the developer in the tank.
    One-shot developer and one-shot fix are in the same tank at
    the same time. That's a long, long way from normal.

    About that chloride, what you say of the complex may be true
    BUT, AFAIK, there is little of the chloride of silver in film.

    Essentially my approach to this matter is from a Least
    Chemistry view point while your approach is from the
    conventional more nearly Most Chemistry view point.
    I favor working solutions of low ionic strength.

    Tom's 30ml of A. Thio mixed with the developer is toward a
    Least Chemistry but I think he can see no difference because
    he is really using such a surplus that it masks results.

    Of course the 8ml suggested by Ilford and Kodak won't do.
    Such a little amount must be based on film AND exposure
    averages. There is no massive fixer chart. Neither of the
    two I've mentioned even suggest one-shot fixer. Dan
     
  16. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    I do want a discussion about normal processing on this thread, related to using a Jobo processor with Pyrocat HD and fixer. This method is not the subject of your latest discussions, nor relevant to the thread. As I pointed out in my last post, such information may be worthy of discussion in a thread of its own. Then others with your significant level of chemical expertise can add their opinions.

    My objective is to get the machine producing top quality negatives to save me the effort of having to stand at the kitchen sink agitating a Combi Plan tank.

    Simply for reasons of economy I was asking when starting the thread whether it was possible to fix for at a weaker dilution for the 6 minutes programmed in the machine when the alkaline fix I have been using does this in 3 minutes.

    With thanks to your earlier posts, I now have enough information to be going on with and have said that I will report back once I get started. In the meantime, I need to order the chemicals (today hopefully), shoot some test sheets and have an adventure with using it for some E6.
     
  17. MartinB

    MartinB Member

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    any results to report on highly dilute fixer in a Jobo ATL?

    Baxter,

    Do you have any updates? I too have an ATL-1000 that I use for B&W film and am still trying to find a good procedure for the fixer issue.

    So far, I try to capture the fix from the drain hose in between steps and add it back to the bottle of mixed working strength fix. I use the manufacture's recommendation for number of rolls per litre as a guide to dispose of the entire bottle before exhaustion. I don't think there is a contamination issue with the drain hose because I use water for the stop step so what little liquid is in the hose before the fixer drain step is pretty much water.

    I had thought about the Jobo separator unit but it seems that it merely separates the dev from the other liquids meaning the stop would be diverted to the same container as the fix making the fix useless for reuse. I would be interested in hearing if anyone has figured out a way of automatically diverting just the fixer drain to its own container.

    It looks like you considered the suggestion of using the fix one shot ie. 30ml of full strength fix in bottle #3. With Jobo's min liquid that would mean adding at least 240 ml of water to bottle #3 making it highly dilute (1+8) but fresh. Did you find this dilution adequately fixed film in Jobo's 6 min fixing cycle? If so, was this by visual inspection or a residual fixer test? What about when 600 ml were required - did you increase to 60ml of stock or just go with the higher dilution?

    Along with getting a proper level of fixing, the only other issue I can think of with the low volume one shot approach is that you end up using 3 times as much fixer compared to the re-use approach. For example, the usual capacity of 1L of working strength 1+4 fix is approx 20 rolls. That averages out to about 10ml of stock per roll.

    If anyone else has tried some thing like the low dilution approach for the ATL Jobo's, could you comment on your experience? I sure would like to find a way of having to run back to the processor to catch the drained fixer in time before losing it down the drain!

    thanks in advance,
    Martin
     
  18. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Hi Martin

    Yes, an update seems slightly overdue....

    I ended up discovering that Hypam 1+4 which was then further diluted 1:1 with water gave the right clearing time and suitable economy. I use this as a one shot fixer, given that the volumes of fluid are so low comparitively speaking with other tanks.

    Even now I use a Jobo ATL2300, I kept the same chemistry ideas from the ATL1000, Pyrocat HD, water stop bath and Hypam. So that is how I do my B+W, having not detected a discernible difference from using Alkaline fixers on stain. I like easy!

    HTH
     
  19. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Baxter,

    What is your process sequence for using a water stop in the ATL-2300?

    My current sequence is something like:

    5 minute pre-wash, 5 - 10 minute developer (Tetenal Ultrafin), 1 minute wash, 1 minute acid stop bath, 6 minute fix, 5 minute wash

    Tom.
     
  20. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Tom

    Sorry the processor is out of commission at the moment. I've just moved house over the summer and awaiting a fairly major plumbing job to get it installed in the garage. Thus I'm unable to interrogate the menu to get these times for you. I was able to remember the fixer query for Martin - but nothing as detailed as yours!

    Hopefully have the info a couple of weeks or so. I've a backlog of film to process and keen to find out how I've fared in the last few months!

    Apologies
     
  21. MartinB

    MartinB Member

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    thanks Baxter,

    From the above dilutions it looks like 30 ml of Hypam concentrate plus water to make 270 ml (the lower Jobe min vol) or 60 ml Hypam to make 600 ml which is very convenient. Did you have to worry about the number of films in the drums? i.e. with a large tank, you can load up to 12 sheets 4x5 or 6 rolls 120.

    Did you do a residual fixer test or just the standard visual clearing time?

    I think I will give this a shot as it is very convenient. Just wondering how much film will stay below the exhaustion rate given the extra dilution. I'll probably try a residual test once I try 6 rolls of 120 at a time just to satisfy my curiosity. It should be OK because 600 ml at your dilution is equivalent to 300 ml at the usual 1+4 dilution - 300 ml in the Hypam fact sheet should be good for approx 7 films. (24 per litre)

    I still would like to work out a diverter so I could take the old fixer to a lab that has a silver recovery unit to keep it out of the waste stream. If no one else has tried it, I may see if I can figure out a way with a PIC. Perhaps I can use the air hoses for the diverter as a trigger signal.

    Martin
     
  22. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Those figures look about right. I mix up 1 litre to make 2 litres at a time. Then use this having kept it in the dark. Lasts me ages as I don't process masses for B+W amd no problem with it going off.

    I use 300 ml for 6 sheets of 5x4 since it is so cheap and would rather have a bit extra. For colour I use only 250 ml of E6 chemistry for 6 sheets, don't have a problem. I know that manual says 270 or more, but think that they are being overcautious - I think the early versions of manuals said 250 ml. On rare occasions, I double this for the big drum and 12 sheets - safety is in small batches! It is so easy to use the machine, that 6 sheets is usually ample for my needs.

    I did visual clearing (2 mins) and trebled it to give the 6 mins. This x3 factor was a figure I think I got from Barry Thornton when using his Archivix in a Combiplan tank.

    Definitely over to you with the fancy plumbing and recovery units!
     
  23. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The Dilution

    The dilution of the concentrate is dependent upon
    two variables; the amount of chemistry needed to
    thoroughly fix the film or paper AND the solution
    volume needed to process.

    The amount of concentrate can be a fixed amount;
    ie, much or little exposed, some specific film or paper
    will need some minimum amount. Fix times will increase
    with increased dilution. Dan