How to get that elusive 68 degrees

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by bessa_L_R3a, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    I tried leaving my solutions at room temperature but when stuck the thermometer in, I got readings of 55 degrees, pretty chilly ...

    So now I'm trying the water bath thing. I fill up a plastic tub with warm water and stick my developer and fixer in it.

    Is this what I'm supposed to do? Then what? Wait until the chems even out with the ambient liquid temp until it cools down to 68? This could take hours.

    The other problem I'm having is that when I stick the containers with the chems into the water bath, they all start to float around chaotically. SO FRUSTRATING. I know there is some law of liquid dynamics here at play but how do I submerge everything and avoid them floating away or tipping over?
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Hi, take the developer out of the bath when it reaches 68 degrees and pour it into your tank. Also, the level of hot water in the tub does not need to be so deep.

    Jon
     
  3. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    You could put the chemicals inside tightly closed 32oz/1L bottles so that it won't matter if they capsize. If the warming bath is very hot it will take less time to bring the chemicals up to temperature but, you will need to monitor the temperature carefully. Alternatively you could purchase some sort of water heater that plugs into an outlet and the heater stays in a water bath.
    Another solution is to use liquid chemicals and mix them just before needed and you wont need to mess with any contraptions.
    I'm sure you will get more suggestions.
     
  4. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Plastic sandwich bags are the trick. One filled with hot water will warm the developer up. In the summer when it is cold, use a bag with ice cubes. You can get to 68F in short order.

    Now, here's the real question. Why 68F? If you are processing black and white, 70F is just as nice. Heck, 72F might not be that bad, either. You need to maintain consistency in your processing and not necessarily be a slave to the real printed word. That's why time and temperature charts were developed. You don't have to be exactly 68F every time. You just have to have a consistent temperature for dependable, repeatable results.
     
  5. jasonjoo

    jasonjoo Member

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    Hey bessa_l_R3a,

    I've been using a 600ml graduate cylinders to hold my developer and fixer and also have a 1 liter container to hold water (for my pre-soak and stop). Once I use each graduate, I remove them from my water bath so they don't bob around. However, I only develop 1 or 2 rolls at a time, so this method works for me. After the first roll, while I'm washing my negs and hanging them up to dry, I mix up a fresh batch of developer and place the graduate back into the water bath (I reuse my fix, so once I'm done fixing, I pour the fixer back into the graduate and also place this back into the water bath).

    If you insist on using bottles, you can simply push out all the air in the bottles and this should prevent them from floating away. If you can't do this, why not use a larger container and mix up enough developer/fixer to fill up the bottle. Even if you use 500ml or so, there should be enough liquid in there to anchor the bottle in the water bath.

    Jason
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Heat your room a little. This will make keeping your solutions at 20 (68 in the old reckoning :smile: ) much easier.
     
  7. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    Ha ha , I was doing just that until winter sort of ended and I don't want to rack up more gas bills.

    I will dev at 70 as was suggested, too ... thanks all
     
  8. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    plastic 1 liter bottles under pure hot water for 30 seconds -or so- usually gets em right up to temp for me. 20 seconds under pure cold usually drops temp 5 degrees or so. You can get pretty precise temps after a few tries. No hours waiting, anyway. I do all my 35mm in the bathtub as it makes a mess. water bath if doing a lot of film at once. You could put each solution into a little tank/vase/pitcher/glass to keep them from floating (individual water baths) ..I just deal.
    I've never tried a thermos to keep things at temp.
     
  9. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    with a Zone VI compensating developing timer it's always 68 degrees. These are GREAT tools and as you already know a great time saver.
     
  10. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    When I know I'll be in the darkroom later in the day, I bring the chems into the part of the house that we do keep at "room temperature" which is usually between 65 and 70. Then they're ready for use immediately when I bring them back down to the darkroom which I try to pre-heat with the oil filled space heater for awhile before I go there. If I forget, I use a shallow tray with very hot water to warm the fluids up and stir them every so often to even out the heating. It rarely takes much time at all, and there are often other things worth doing while I wait.
     
  11. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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  12. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    OOOOPS, the link doesn't seem to connect now.

    What it is, is a long mat with heating elements inside that is intended to keep pig food(or whatever you choose) at a comfortable temperature. It is water proof.
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    It's very important to keep one's piggies as happy as possible. :wink:
     
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  15. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    What are you whining about!?!?! Try holding 100 degrees within .25 for 5 minutes on a push process! Seriously, set the thermostat to 68 degrees. if not get steel tempering pitchers (idk what you call them) and get hot water. Put them in and stir with thermometer until they reach 67. Take them out and they should reach 68.
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    On the cheap end, buy an aquarium heater (slow) and let it sit overnight with the chemicals.

    On the more expensive end, buy a Jobo TBE tempering box or a Dev-Tec heating element for the water bath.

    Using the cold water and hot water bags is OK but tedious. The temperature of the developer is the most important. The rest can be approximate.
     
  17. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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  18. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Back before I had a temp. controlled JOBO I used to develop at room temp. and use a compensating equation. I could post the equation I used if you are interested. I got the equation by decoding the wheel in the Kodak darkroom dataguide.
     
  19. RobC

    RobC Member

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    No you fill the tub with water at your developing temperature and then you mix your chemicals using water from the tub and then you float your bottles in the tub. It will take 5 mins max and the tub should still be at developing temperature if it had enough water in it to start with. It takes much longer for a larger body of water to start changing temperature.
     
  20. Marcus K

    Marcus K Member

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    Aquarium heaters do the trick

    My darkroom is in the basement and the ambient temp is anywhere from 55 to 60 degrees F. I use a 50 watt aquarium heater set to 68 degrees. In an 11x14 tray with 2 liters of liquid, it takes about 15 minutes to heat up. I use a piece of foam board to cover the tray to help keep the heat in and prevent oxidation. When I do the full print, I take the heaters out because they have a little orange light (to indicate when it's on) that could fog the paper. The heater only cost around $20 a piece. I have two; one in the developer and one in the fixer. When developing film, I put a liter of developer in a graduated cylinder with the heater. When it gets to 68 degrees, I start developing immediatly. The temperature falls only about 1-2 degrees after a 13 minute developing time. I hope this info will help.

    [​IMG]
    Just in case you're wondering, the developer in the tray is Ansco 130.
     
  21. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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  22. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Member

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    I use Joe's sandwich bag method for adjusting the temperature of print chemistry. A bag of very hot water or ice cubes dragged back and forth through the chems in a tray will raise or lower the temperature very quickly. A temperature probe placed in the tray and hooked to a digital thermometer makes the process even easier. I use a different approach with negative processing. The key to my method to temperature control is a plastic tub for a water bath, multiple 32oz stainless steel tanks for the developer, stop and fix and a 1 gallon pitcher. Depending on whether I want to raise or lower temps I fill the pitcher with ice water or the hottest tap water I can manage. Each SS tank is filled with dev, stop and fix. One by one I submerge them about half way into the pitcher while stirring the chems with a thermometer until the desired temp is reached. Again this process is very fast because the SS is such a god temp conductor. The process is made even faster because while I'm very concerned with dev temp I'm much more carefree with my stop and fix temps. Again, I agree with Joe that there is nothing magic about 68 degrees. I believe 65 to 78 should be fine with appropriate time adjustments. One last trick for monitoring print developer especially in the Winter when my DR temp can hover around 60. I'm fortunate to have a Zone VI Compensating Dev Timer. A $1.00 quartz metronome bought at a yard sale set at 60 beats per minute runs constantly in my DR. When the timer is in synch with the metronome I know I'm at 68 degrees. When the timer starts to run considerably slower than the metronome I pull out my sandwich bag of hot water and drag it through the dev tray until the two are back in synch. While this does seem to defeat the design purpose of the timer I tend to get impatient when print developing times get much longer than 2 min.
     
  23. haris

    haris Guest

    For me it is very easy to heat up chemicals. and there are many gadgets for that (tray heaters comes first on my mind). I on the other end have troubles to cool down chemicals :smile:
     
  24. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I have a water temperature gauge that attaches to my kitchen sink (I got it a Adorama for $60) that helps me get the tap water to 68 degrees very quickly by adjusting the hot and cold. I have plastic tubing from it to the tub. However I have standardized all my process temperatures with a Weston thermometer and I found that when the gauge is at 70 degrees then my Weston reads 68. As long as you are consistent it does not matter. I run this water into the tub at a low flow rate during my processing of the film.

    I have drilled holes at the same level all the way around the tub so that the water drains at the highest level without floating the tanks. I have water that is 68 degrees in the tub at all times, it works like a charm.
     
  25. bessa_L_R3a

    bessa_L_R3a Member

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    thanks all for the myriad suggestions. i will certainly figure out a way that keeps me sane
     
  26. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Infrared and Digital Thermometers

    My grandfather used to develop his stuff in Rio with a double tray setup and ice in the outer tray. When there's a will.....

    Anyway, I bought a cheap $10 digital infrared thermometer from Harbor Freight a year or two ago. Wow! Useful for so many things, I discover new ones almost daily. I use it in auto repair, setting refrigerators and freezers, and now, the darkroom. Aim, press the button, and there's the temperature. No need for inaccurate cheapo or misadjusted thermometers, or dealing with a long stem, or just waiting for the thing to stabilize.

    And you can point it into the sky and see readings like -20 degrees. Wow, ain't the universe something?

    Also from Harbor Freight is a large digital thermometer that I can't find in their catalog anymore. It has an external (and internal) sensor at the end of a long wire. Plop it into whatever and there you are. It takes a short while to stabilize, but is good for keeping tabs on critical processes. You can probably find similar as an "inside-outside" unit for cars.

    I have a mercury filled glass lab thermometer; I have no recollection of it's stated accuracy but I take it as gospel. The above thermometer, at least the one I have reads about 1.5 degrees low. Thermometers are notoriously inaccurate as a generality. Look at any bunch in a store and they will be all over despite sitting next to one another for weeks.

    Well, dontcha know, I just checked Harbor Freight's website and my little infrared one isn't listed, but here's a $20 one, much better: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93984