LED and Neon Lights

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by healyzh, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. healyzh

    healyzh Member

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    I'm in the process of setting up a 'darkroom' in my garage. I've found one *major* problem with getting it totally dark. The neon bulbs on surge suppressors and the freezer, and the LED's on things such as the FIOS box and Wireless router.

    How sensitive is film and paper to the light from LED's and Neon bulbs?

    Thanks,
    Zane
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Film is sensitive to all of those. Black vinyl tape is your friend. :smile:
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If you are talking about PRINTING only, not developing FILM, you can get away with some LED lights provided they are RED kind. Neon, I don't know. If it's film, you need to cover them up well.
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I have never found these light sources to be a problem even when loding film tanks. You can always run your own test.
     
  5. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    A square of blackwrap held on with a piece of black gaffer's tape. Ain't no light that'll get through that!
     
  6. healyzh

    healyzh Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I've been wondering what others have found. My plan is to run my own tests. I've also gotten it so the area around the enlarger is pretty much devoid of any of these lights. My wife got me more black foam-core board from Dollar Tree tonight, as well as a couple more sheets of black poster board. That should help in knocking out some of the remaining stray light. Last night I dropped a cardboard box over the wireless router. That seems to help with that issue, though if it gets hot out there, I should probably remove it. I'll see about removing the one surge suppressor that generates the bulk of the light.

    I'd planned on running a coin test with paper. Depending on how that goes, I'll see about the film. I have a closet that is totally light tight for changing film, but I would like to tray develop sheet film in my "darkroom" if at all possible, especially as I'll be able to start shooting 8x10 this weekend! :D
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The human eye is far more sensitive than the fastest film. So what often looks like a glaring beacon to us is not seen by any film.

    Be careful covering some indicator lights as they serve a useful function to warn us of problems. Sure you could remove the covering each time but what of that time when you forget and something goes wrong. Would you cover over the check engine light on you car?

    I would not cover any electronic equipment with a box, you run the risk of the device overheating.
     
  8. healyzh

    healyzh Member

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    Glaring beacon doesn't begin to describe some of the gear I have, and I can't easily turn it off. :sad: Initially the brightest thing in there when I turn the lights off is the glow-in-the-dark part of the control box for the Enlarger, but the longer I'm in there the more I notice things. I spent 10 minutes or so in there tonight with the lights off, I was able to walk around without any problem. The most depressing part was the amount of light getting through the poster board. I just ran up to Dollar Tree for foil and other stuff. Unfortunately the darkest shower curtains were only dark blue, but they should help some.

    I'm thinking more and more about covering up the FIOS LED's. I didn't even know the one LED existed until tonight. It's not like I'm going to look at them unless there is a problem, at which point I can pull the electrical tape. The amount of light it puts out is insane!

    This is a real concern for my Wireless router. I'm making sure there is air around it, but not really sure what to do with it. Unplugging it isn't a good option, but I might be able to move it into the house.
     
  9. healyzh

    healyzh Member

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    Pulled the wireless router, it's now in my office. That let me get one surge suppressor pulled, it's one of the *old* ones intended to go under a CRT monitor ones with a whole row of neon lights. The two things really, really helped cut down on the light. Should be mostly under control once the FOIS LED's are taped.

    What I find really interesting is how much the Enlarger controller glows in the dark!
     
  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Instead of covering any light I would just shield them. Just use some cardboard and ply it so that it stands in front of the lights without causing any overheating of the device.

    I see that my Nikon Coolscan 5000 scanner has an awful bug: when I scan film stripes in daylight, stray light enters the scanner and veils the first millimetres of the first frame of the stripe. So I obscure my room, and shield the light coming from my monitor with some cardboard so that it does not reach (if not after much bouncing) the scanner.
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Red LEDs aren't usually a problem for paper. Electrical tape is a good temporary covering for them, better than cardboard boxes.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Neon lamps should be little problem for photo paper. Their spectral response looks fairly like that of amber safelights. If in doubt, cover lamps with litho tape. This should block any light that will affect paper and cut down on the light to which film is sensitive. You will still be able to see when many lights are lit in a darkroom when covered by litho tape.
     
  13. healyzh

    healyzh Member

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    The red LEDs were easy enough to deal with, it is the green ones that are giving me fits. The ones on the main FIOS box are especially bright. Still need to find the electrical tape, either that or go buy a new roll.