I now own a large format enlarger!

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Steve Smith, May 25, 2010.

  1. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    After mentioning in various threads that 5x4 (or 4x5) enlargers are being given away in the US but command high prices in the UK, I now have one which didn't really cost me any money.

    In return for a few spare pieces I had for Mamiya TLRs, I got a Devere 54 with cold cathode light source. I just paid for the postage.

    It has been taken apart and delivered in four boxes so I will have a go at putting it back together tonight.

    It has been said that the light from the cold cathode source is fairly blue and can be a problem with variable contrast filters so I am planning on building an LED light source for this. I have the PCB from an LED stage light which is fitted with red, green and blue LEDs which I think will work quite well.


    Steve.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Steve, I used a De Vere cold cathode head with Ilford below the lens filters for years with no problems with Multigrade papers.

    Ian
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I will certainly try it out with filters first. The 'too blue' thing was just a comment made on a thread.

    If I make the LED head I will make sure I can still put the cold cathode light source on it. i.e. don't chop it up to turn it into an LED source!

    Time to put the Speed Graphic back together and finish my 6x12 camera as I now have the means to print from their negatives.


    Steve.
     
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  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Not any more it doesn't! Unfortunately it didn't survive posting and the tube is in two pieces despite some extra packing being put inside to protect it.

    Oh well. LED head it is then!


    Steve.
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Too bad about the cold cathode :sad:

    I don't doubt your ability to do a LED head, and will be interested in your results, but I believe that it will be difficult to out-design a proven commercial product. And re-building or refurbishing a free busted head may be a better way than designing one from scratch. Though, perhaps that is what you had in mind i.e. using that cold light housing and putting the LEDS in there.
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I was going to make a new housing for the LEDs but now I think I will modify the original head. My LED PCB is from an LED stage light and is about 7" diameter with red, green and blue LEDs fitted. It should fit in there with no modification. Just four pillars to mount it on. I will probably make an intermediate plate which the PCB fits onto with four bolts which fit the holes previously used to mount the transformer.

    That way, if I ever find a replacement tube, I should be able to swap it back again.


    Steve.
     
  8. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Nice going Steve, it can be hard, depending on location, to get something like an enlarger. The vast majority who live near big cities, I believe, take it for granted that they can get one but those in more rural areas find it more difficult.

    When you make your LED light source send me a note if possible on your approach to the construction of it. I'd like to make a head for my Durst which is sitting outside the darkroom without one. I use a Beseler 45 right now.

    I hope you can get it put back together, it's going to be like a holiday working on it and the excitement of the first print, it's all fun.

    Regards,
    Curt
     
  9. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Gee Steve, I just read about the bulb and shipping, that's too bad, damn those gorillas who handle packages. Was there any other damage besides the bulb? What is the bulb that comes with it?

    Curt
     
  10. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    Congratulations on the new toy.

    Mike
     
  11. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Congratulations on the new enlarger. I wish that it were possible for you to find a new lamp for it. Somebody somewhere in the world must be willing to get rid of one. But then, of course, there would be the problem of shipping it safely again.
     
  12. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    The bulb is actually a cold cathode tube. And the only way to damage any of the rest of it would be to drive a tank over it. It is really well made.


    Steve
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I will post some pictures of it when it is done. The LED PCB I have comes from one of these: http://www.xlprosystems.com/catalog...d=199&osCsid=bb175ed5410f45a1ac467ee896edb0a1

    I occasionally do some sound engineering work for a local sound company who have their own staging and lighting. They had a couple of these lights with some green LED failures. I fixed one PCB for them with an LED from the other and kept the remaining PCB for myself. I have since replaced the defective LEDs on my PCB so I can now try it in the enlarger.


    Steve.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    A couple of pictures of it after I put it back together:


    Steve.
     

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  16. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Got offered a head that looks very similar a couple of weeks ago. I think he said it was for a DeVere, but would need to double check.

    PM if you're interested.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Steve, I paid £90 for a new tube for the same head over 15 years ago, the things are hand made and hellishly expensive. You're better off making an LED head as you plan to and using the casing, it's bad luck the tube broke in transit.

    I had the same enlarger in the 70's but with a heavily dampened Navy frame, used on board ships, but I converted the enlarger for horizontal use with a new frame and used the De Vere frame to mount a copy camera itself a De Vere monorail.

    Ian
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    This one has a brass plate which looks like it has an MOD sign on it. I will have a closer look tomorrow.


    Steve.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  20. Ian Grant

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    De Vere had the MOD contracts for enlargers which went to the Army, Navy & Air force. At one time the ex-MOD/Government surplus shops like A.W. Young, Harringay Photographic Supplies, Marston & Heard etc had many enlargers cameras etc, there were a lot of simple wooden 5x4 cameras as well as quite exotic offerings. They also sold off film & paper at bargain prices.

    Ian
     
  21. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Ok, now that I see it, it looks like a good one for a LED project as that is not a common head. Nice that it incorporates a wall mount bracket on the chassis. Good luck, keep us posted.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Here it is in my darkroom and fixed to the wall, waiting for its new light source. I had a day off work today - unfortunately the LED PCB is at work so it will have to wait until tomorrow. With me being the impatient type, I'm surprised I didn't go to get it.

    I think the PCB will fit in the removable top half of the head quite easily. I'm wondering if I should keep the strange water filled diffuser or put something else there. Does anyone know how much water should be in it? When it is level there is a 2" x 3" air pocket in the middle of the image area. I'm thinking it should be filled up a bit more to optically couple the front and back surfaces but I don't really know how it should be.

    I did put a 5x4 negative in, fitted my 105mm lens (I need to get a 135 or 150) and with a desk lamp held above I focused an image onto the baseboard (I told you I was impatient!).
     

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  23. Steve Smith

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    I now have the LED PCB in place. I don't have any translucent material here to use as a diffuser so at the moment it is using three layers of kitchen roll. It diffuses well enough but restricts the output a bit. I didn't have any luck with its original water filled diffuser. There is still sufficient to make a print with and I would have done just that if I actually had some print developer!

    The picture attached shows the partially opened negative holder with red, green, blue and white settings. I'm not sure why my digi-thing rendered the green as cyan but in reality it is a really nice primary looking green. The blue is a lot deeper than shown here too.


    Steve.
     

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  24. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Lets see a picture of the LED PCB. Is there some kind of controller with it? Power supply?
     
  25. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Some views of the PCB with LEDs off, red, green and blue on and just red on. The PCB has a common anode connection and red, green and blue cathode connections. I have a four wire cable going to a three gang, four position rotary switch which gives the options of red, green, blue or all three colours together. The PCB has current limit resistors so I just use a basic 30 volt DC power supply. each colour draws around 120mA.



    Steve.
     

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  26. ic-racer

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    Ok, so that is from a LED stage light. Looks like a fantastic fit!
    I guess there would be a lot of ways to hook that up, from a very complex closed-loop, PMW system to simple toggle switches for the colors. What are your thoughts on the hookup?

    Just a guess here, but I'll bet it will give a better light distribution with a diffuser that is thicker in the center. The bottom plastic plate diffuser of a Chromega mixing box comes to mind.

    Also, I'm curious as to how the exposure times will be. I'm still skeptical about LED intensity.
    Quote from Wiki (not my own experience):

    Anyway, I'm pretty impressed! If this thing works, it will put Aristo out of business. (Oh, they already went under :smile: ).
     
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