How to keep my water and chemicals at 20 degrees?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by pierods, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. pierods

    pierods Member

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    The thing that takes the most time for me when developing film is bringing and keeping my chemicals and water at 20 degrees.

    Usually I develop from one to four 135-format rolls at a time, so that would be 250 ml to 1 liter of developer, same for fixer, and a few liters of water for washing.

    Are there devices that could bring these liquids at 20 degrees automatically?
     
  2. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    You won't like the prices, but functionally it doesn't get any better than this or this used with a waterbath...

    Ken
     
  3. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Ken,

    prices are OK, I have euros...

    But what's the flow? Same as faucet? And also, do i have to mount them on the wall, or I can just do a hack job?
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    There are tools that allow you to process and account for the varied processing times at other than 20C.
    Old Kodak Darkroom dataguides going back many years included a dial . slide rule, or tabular calculator.

    The challenge with maintaining 20C is dependant on where you are. If your ambient temperture is 26C, then 20C maintenance is a different challenge than if your ambient is 16C.

    For my colour processing, which takes place at 38C, I use an old cooler (eskie for some parts of the world) as an insulted water bath. I use a fish tank pump and heater to circulate and temper the water. If your ambient is below 20C then the same solution can work.
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The thermostatic mixing valves that the links dis work too, and are much cheaper, but don't work quite as well perhaps.
    One problem mixing valves either electronic or not can't solve is cold water that's already warmer than 20C. To fix that you need a chiller which likely makes the intellefaucet look cheap.
    If you live in a warm climate and your cold water is too warm, the easist thing is to develop at some higher temperature that will be easier to maintain.
    Otherwise to can use an insulated waterbath of some sort that will help maintain 20C or whatever you decide on. A lot of people use ice chests for this.
    Ice in sealed plastic bags will help get the temp down also if you're trying to get to 20 and it's too warm otherwise.

    You don't have to mount the Intelefaucet on wall. You can set it up in whatever way you find convienient.
     
  6. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    it might be a little snarky to even suggest it...

    but why keep them at 20?

    use a temperature conversion chart.... keep the chemicals out long enough to get up to "room temperature" and hope that room temp doesnt change as you develop.

    your room will act as your water jacket.

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=87&t=Developing+Black+and+white+film

    check out the PDF link at the bottom of the page..

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/download.asp?n=430 (it is a pdf of their temperature conversion chart... print it out and tape it to the wall)
     
  7. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    I don't know what your climate is like. I'm in the North East US and my darkroom is an unheated basement. Generally I find that a 1 to 2 degree shift won't matter a great deal. You might also consider shorter processing times. Lately I've been using HC 110 Dil B and my processing times have been under 7 minutes (usually 4 to 5). I've used Rodinal & Xtol as well and they usually require longer processing. Hope this helps.
     
  8. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    One to four rolls is a small amount of film and hardly seems worth buying water mixing valves. In very warm weather I keep a jug of water in the frig. That can be mixed with tap water to achieve your target temperature. When diluting liquids with water remember if your developer is 5 degrees too warm, mixing it with equal amounts of water that is five degrees too cool will equalize to your target temperature. In very warm weather I fill a tray (dish) with water at the target temperature, using my cooled water and sometimes ice cubes. I then place my digital thermometer in the tray with all my bottles of chemistry and the tank. As I work, if the temperature starts to rise, I splash a bit of cool water in the tray. For my final wash, I have adopted the water bath technique. I give my film, after hypo clear of course, about 10 quick changes of water close to, but not always at my target temperature. Our tests at Brooklyn College have shown this to be as good, probably better, than letting running water flow over the reel.
     
  9. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I live in the Southwest, today it will 107 or 108 F and my tap water will above
    90F. While I am in the darkroom I usally crank the AC down to 75 so I can keep my developer, stop, fix, clearing agent, and wetting agent at 68 to 70 with just a water bath and a small bag of ice in the bath. For wash I made a chiller, 5 gallon bucket with coil of copper tubing sealed in the bucket. fill the bucket with ice and water. One bag of ice will chill for 15 mints which is long enough for the wash as use a clearning agent. For prints I have not found it nesscary chill, the 75 room temp seems to work without any ill effects.

    Before I made the chiller I used Dinafine which can be used from 60f to 90f, but the wash water was still so warm that the emlusion would come off in the wash.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have some sort of plastic attachment that fits under my faucet and a thermometer
    screws into it ... ( and a hose at the bottom )
    i just have my water at 72º and fill a tray and tupperware container
    and when i do roll film with a normal developer and agitate &C.
    i just put my tank the tray/ tupperware ... between agitations and it works like a water jacket
    ... they say plastic tanks don't transfer heat, and metal ones grab your body heat
    and increase the chemistry temps ...

    when i tray process sheet film, i have my developer and 2nd water ( no stop ) in a print washing tray
    i use as a water jacket ... i drilled holes through and circulate running water at 72º ( or 68º depending on the developer )

    if the temp rises a degree or 2 i don't really worry about it ...
    if i was processing color film or e6 i would worry, but black and white i don't
    YMMV

    good luck !
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2011
  11. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I process at 20C. My water comes out of the tap at 25 or more in the summer. I simply use ice to cool down the solutions. It's not a big deal with practice. The key is having a bucket of ice water that you can use; that way you never have to sit and stir and wait for ice cubes to melt to bring your temperature down; you can just instantly mix up the ice water+tap water to whatever temperature you need. This is commonly done in chemistry labs and they always have crushed ice machines just for this purpose. I progressively increase my stop and fix temperatures a couple degrees so that I can use tap-temperature water to wash with.
     
  12. ROL

    ROL Member

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    1) Work in a temperature controlled environment (some kind of air conditioning). I often warm (winter) or cool (summer) my work area to "room temperature" (20 C) by booting up the space (lab) at least a day or so before working, depending on ambient temperatures. This will bring chemicals and mixing water to proper working temperatures and help to ameliorate external temperatures of plumbing. Also consider that many electrical darkroom appliances (like an enlarger) are optimized to work most effectively at 20 C.

    2) A temperature regulating water panel device. Sure, the Intellifaucets are great, but cheaper solutions are both available and sufficient for black and white work.


    Other temperatures were developed to work in extreme environments. Sure, they work, but –

    3) Consistency = Consistently Good Results
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    How far off is your water temp out of faucet?
    How far off is your room temp where you store chems and process your film?

    I usually cool my developer with ice water in about a gallon of ice water bath, or if I am doing 1:1 concentration, mix dev with cooler water first to bring it to the right temp. Then shorten processing time by about 5% to account for temp rise during the dev cycle.

    Rest of my chems can be few degrees higher and I usually don't bother adjusting them. Wash water can be little high too, but I don't bother either.

    It is my understanding that having abrupt temp change DOWN may cause issues. Extreme high temp will also cause problems. But, some change upwards will be ok and so far, after about 100 films, I have no issues that can be explained by these temp changes.

    This, of course, is all B&W negs, mostly Tmax, Plus-X, and Tri-X.
     
  14. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    do you have any reason to believe that using the ilford temperature conversion chart produces inconsistent results?
     
  15. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    I do my work in the basement of our house (only B&W). I keep all of my chemicals and gallon jugs of distilled and tap water down there so they're all always at the same temperature. I use distilled water for mixing developer and Photo-Flo, and tap water for rinsing. Over the course of a year, my ambient temps will vary from about 60 degrees to 76 degrees. The only time I have to bump up the temps with a water bath is in the dead of winter, and then only for the developer. I just use the Ilford time/temp charts linked to above.
     
  16. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I use an ice chest filled with water as a tempering tank. I use an ice substitute to cool the ice chest. They sell water chiller for faucets, but they're very expensive. An alternative is to process your film at a higher temperature with shorter time. But no matter what you do, don't have your developer cooler than your stop. This can reticulate your film.
     
  17. JOSarff

    JOSarff Member

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    I've been using PMK since it came out in the early 1990's, in winter at 70F and summer at 80F. If my tap water here in New Mexico gets warmer than 80F, I either get some ice or wait a couple of days until it cools off. It depends on how hot I am for the negatives. Priting happens in the winter.
     
  18. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I love PMK Pyro. It does work well at 80 degrees. It's a pit temperamental though. From my experience, it requires much more agitation than most developers. I heard Gordon Hutchings talk about it during the late 80's about PMK at a CSU Sacramento photo lecture.
     
  19. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Flow rates can be as low as 0.25-5.00 gal/min (0.95-18.9 liters/min). This is the standard rate on the D250, and is an option on the K250. I have this option installed on my K250 and the outflow is just like a normal faucet.

    The recommended installation is to wall mount the unit. But I don't see why one couldn't mount it to a small, movable frame and use flexible water hoses instead of rigid pipes. However, one consideration might be that these units are very heavy. They are a throwback to the days when products were precision designed and manufactured to last longer than the person who purchased them.

    Many posters will discount the need for this level of expense and precision when processing black-and-white film. But I note you also specified "automatic" in your original question. As noted by others, provided your ambient cold water temperatures are below 68F/20C to begin with*, it doesn't get any more automatic - or precise - than an Intellifaucet.

    For example, I sometimes hanger-process 8x10 sheets of black-and-white in a series of four one-gallon stainless steel tanks held inside a large stainless steel water jacket enclosure. It's one of those Arkay units.

    On cold days the outer tank can lose heat to the environment pretty quickly. But I can easily counteract this small loss by setting the Intellifaucet to, say, 68.2F/20.1C and watch the jacket water temperature move back up to exactly 68F/20C.

    In fact, I seem to recall that either one or two Intellifaucets were installed on each Kodak K-Lab Kodachrome processing machine before they were discontinued.

    Is this level of precision absolutely necessary for black-and-white? Of course not. Could it be useful for home processed color? In my case with large format and all of that stainless, maybe so.

    But the convenience factor is undeniable. I've had darkrooms in the past in hot climates with cold water temps of 84F/29C, so I know what a pain manual water tempering can be.

    Ken

    * Before committing to the purchase, I charted my maximum cold water temperatures for a full 12-month cycle, just to see how many months they might go over 68F/20C. Turned out that my highest yearly measurement was 66.9F/19.4C on August 11. Subsequent testing showed the unit will work perfectly at that tiny temperature differential, even at the lowest possible flow rate.
     
  20. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You don't say which developer you use, but Kodak a few years ago raised their recommended temperature to 75 F (24 C) for their BW developers. Would that be easier for you to maintain.
     
  21. ROL

    ROL Member

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    None. My comment is about generally accepted method of good practice, not Ilford extrapolations. If you want to standardize all of your developing procedures at 24C – and in some specific circumstances that may be necessary – be my guest. Just be aware that the heightened activity of developers, and resulting decreased development times at extreme temperatures may lead to variable results (i.e., inconsistent).

    Incidentally PMK Pyro developer procedures, which I've used exclusively for sheet film many years now, were standardized at 21C (70F). Hutchings told me that developing times for PMK should ideally be at least 10 minutes for full development, expansion or contraction. This normally necessitates working at close to 20C.
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I'm happy with my Leonard valve, it holds the temperature where I want once I set it. But it does not do well at low flow. I run it through an entire darkroom session, and a good deal of water goes down the drain. I imagine the instantly-right-temperature-at-any-flow Intellifaucet is a good long-term value. Both in terms of time savings because you can turn it on just when you start. And water conservation because you can run it at low flow.
     
  23. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I use a warm-water bath to bring temperatures up. I pour the developer I need into a container, then put that container into a larger one with hot water. After a few minutes the developer temperature rises.

    To bring temperatures down, I use the same technique but with ice cubes, or I put the developer into the freezer for a few minutes. Less than 5 minutes in the freezer and my HC-110 went from 24c to 19c.

    Both techniques work well, and keep the temps high/low enough for the few minutes needed for the developing cycle.
     
  24. John Weinland

    John Weinland Member

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    Small chemical quantities can best be 'tempered' to any photographic temperature with a water bath, provided you have enough space. To heat the water bath, look through chemical companies' catalogs to find an immersion heater. There is a unit marketed by Cole-Parmer that is accurate to about a degree F. The price was about $175 a few years ago, but the time and exasperation saved makes it worth it. I tried aquarium heaters, but the high capacity units did not provide accurate temperature control. My darkroom then becomes too hot in the summer and I've discovered that there are tropical-fish enthusiasts that display COLD-water species and need aquarium COOLERS. Again, read the specs carefully. AquaEuroUSA makes one for about $210 including a required circulation pump. The cooler always saves me a lot of exasperation. It has an LCD display, a real compressor (not a thermoelectric device) with water inlet and outlet, is a little smaller than a microwave oven, and accurately controls temperature to about one degree F. None of the civilian devices match (what I see as) the mythical +/- quarter degree color processing tolerance specified by some film manufacturers. There are also laboratory-grade immersion heaters/coolers in the thousand-dollar-plus range.