Power's Fotopanel Advice?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by craigclu, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I'm in the middle of moving my darkroom to a larger space (empty nester that I am!). One of the goodies I've been hoarding for a few years without space/incentive to plumb up was a Power's Fotopanel water temp control.

    http://tinyurl.com/6ycxvz

    Just now, in searching out info, I found an APUG'er who had the seals leak on his used unit (mine is also used). I've decided to plumb it with shut-off valves immediately before the intakes on the mixer as a safety measure. What I'm wondering about is the potential for my used unit to have scale build-up that I should remove prior to getting it all hooked up. Are normal de-scaling methods such as one would use on an espresso or coffee machine likely safe? I keep sulfamic acid here that I use for that duty but I don't know what the actual mechanism is inside the Fotopanel. Is it a non-issue and shouldn't cause worry or do these sort of units build up mineral scale?

    Any learned advice from users of temp controllers in general?
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Powers uses a cartridge in the valve for its thermostatic functions. Make sure this is operating before commiting to plumbing the fixture in. The very used model I got when first plumbing my darkroom worked poorly then quit altogether. I finally got an Intellifaucet, which I am very satisfied with. I just wish I could silence the alarm that sounds when I turn off the faucets.
     
  3. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Whatever you do, Do NOT de-scale the tempering cartridge if you do de-scale the valve. It will most likely ruin the unit, as it is a very thin copper tube full of some liquid that, if perforated, ruins the tempering ability of the valve.

    You might try placing only the valve body in a bucket of the product, "Lime Away" but I am not sure it won't hurt the chrome plating.

    Also, If you can afford it, go ahead and change the valve and gaskets after you install the body, so the heat from the soldiering torch doesn't ruin them (ask me how I know).
     
  4. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    If youcan afford it and your unit does not work, the low flow model Intellifaucet is great.
     
  5. Keith Pitman

    Keith Pitman Subscriber

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    I went the other way: I picked up a new Intellifaucet on Ebay, but did not like it. I then bought a new Powers Fotopanel (for only $50) and it works great.

    I've owned several other Powers valves, and have had to partially rebuild some of them. I would definitely test the unit before hooking it up permanently. You can get parts and parts diagrams from Precision Microproducts, Ronkonkoma, NY, 800-932-9215. They generally will not help you figure out what parts you need, but, if you get the diagrams, it's pretty easy.
     
  6. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Thanks for the info. I had never heard of Powers. Do they really cost just $50?
     
  7. Keith Pitman

    Keith Pitman Subscriber

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    I was lucky to get one for $50-new. They do come up on Ebay frequently; the market determines the price. One recently went for $100.