Pyrocat HD: I'm loosing patience.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Bruce Osgood, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I bought A & B solutions from Photographers Formulary to work with Pyrocat prior to mixing my own. I'm using a JOBO CPE 2 with lift.

    The first negatives (FP 4+) developed were printable and suggested some revisions in development from 9 minutes to 8 minutes to see what I would get. What I got was nothing. The negs were duplicate exposures made at the time of the first exposure but these negs were blank after 8 minutes. I mean there was nothing on them, they are transparent with a hint of an orangish fog.

    My immediate rational was that I had waited a week to 10 days to develop the back up negs and they sat at fluxating room temperature for that time.

    So I set up again today with one film holder and exposed side A and immediately exposed side B. Went back to the darkroom and used the 1:1:100 ratio to make 100 mL to process the A neg. The neg is BLANK.

    My procedure has been:

    Plain water pre soak 2 minutes in rotating tank. Water returns from tank black or thereabouts.

    Rotating Pyrocat for determined time. Developer returns very dark.

    Rotating TF 4 Fix 5 minutes. Fix returns clear

    Rotating water rinse 5 minutes.

    I don't have a clue of what to address. My neg B sits in the film holder waiting for someone to come along and make suggestions.
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Ouch! Sound like the Pyrocat has gone bad. Any chance of contamination?
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Pyrocat

    I've been using this stuff for over a year now and have never had a failure.
    Are you seeing the A+B mixtures turning colors when they are mixed? If not then it is NOT working. You need to buy the materials and make it yourself. Brice-if you need to I'm only in Ct. and you could come up here and we could make the solutions for you and develop some film. Just let me know. This a fine developer and worth persuing so don't get discouraged.
    Best, Peter Schrager
     
  4. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    When I add B to A the combined amount takes on the color of the B. When added to water the color is diluted. The A has no color coming from the bottle and the B has a color, I guess I would call it a transparent grey.
     
  5. rrankin

    rrankin Member

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    I'm on my second set of bottles from Photog's Formulary and have never had any failures such as you describe. I see a slight color change when I mix A & B together. It comes out of the tank deep brown. I'd phone Photog Formulary and just ask them. Sandy King might also have some suggestions if you PM him or he sees this thread. I recall that Sandy recommends a 5 minute pre-soak, and you are meant to wash the negs with water between the developer and TF4, I believe. But neither would account for a blank neg. And I don't think my B solution comes out with any tint I would call a 'color'.
    Cheers, Richard
     
  6. Andy Tymon

    Andy Tymon Member

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    Bruce, maybe you are mixing too small an amount of developer? In my unicolor drum I always use at least 300ml of developer even if i am only developing two sheets of film. I found that in using pyrocat you have to be very accurate in measuring out the amounts for consistant results. First you need to check the pyrocat is working. How i do this is make up my usual amount of developer( 300ml) and put a scrap piece of exposed film in it and time how long it takes to get dark. if it builds density in about the time it would take for development it's ok.
    I have also found to get consistant results that you need to be real accurate with the temps of all the solutions. I standardised on 72 as it's easier to maintain here.
    Two final things I always shake the bottle of part A before use and you are using distilled water right?
    hpe this helps
    Andy
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Bruce, with my "from scratch" mixed Pyrocat-HD, the B solution is colorless and the A solution is amost colorless, with a very slight yellowish tinge.

    When I mix the A and B solutions together in water, the resulting solution is a pale peach color. The used developer has a stronger and more saturated peach color. Heavily agitated developer will turn brown or black.

    What is your water source?

    How are you storing your stock solutions?
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    The only time I have ever gotten clear negatives with Pyrocat-HD is when I failed to add both A and B solution to the working. If you leave out either the result will be no development. If I had to bet I would bet that you somehow managed to do this.

    Tom's description of the color is pretty much what I observe. The Stock A and Stock B solutions are almost perfectly clear, with maybe just a hint of pink in the A. When you mix them together the working solution should be a very pale amber.

    The color of the spent developer should also be a clue, in that it should be about the color of light tea. If colorless, the solution is no good, most likely because both stock solutions were not added to the working solution.

    Sandy
     
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Interesting how everyone has some of the same comments...I was using the Formulary Pyrocat-HD (liquid) and just started using some from raw chemicals from ArtCraft. Now granted I am using Efke film and that might account for the difference in the colors...but my A and B are pretty much like everyone else has mentioned (the color mixed is as pale a straw as you can get without calling it colorless). Wash for 5 min (the wash comes out a very dark blue) develope (now I have to use 2+2+100 or I get the same blank negative - anytime I use 1+1+100 with everything working by changing the to the 2+2+100, I think Lee had the same problem - could it be water Sandy?) Anyhow, here is where my results seem to differ from everyone here, once the development is complete and I pour the spent developer out it is PINK. Yep, very nice dark pink. So I don't know what to tell you Bruce, I did find I saw much more general stain with the Formulary Pcat, than I do with the ArtCraft. In fact I was testing exposures with the Formulary when I realized did not have enough to complete the testing with and found I could not compare results of it vs the ArtCraft. So this weekend will be spent re-testing with only the ArtCraft.

    Could be the Formulary stuff got to hot in transit (it was July and this is Texas) or could be difference in my tap water (used to mix up working solution). I did use distilled water to mix the dry chems with, and mixed up 1 Liter of A and B stock solution. The densitometer reading I got (blue channel - don't have UV) were base+fog of .44 with the Formulary, .32 with the ArtCraft - this is reading the edge of the negtive though, I intend to process a fresh sheet this weekend (no exposure just processed) and will let you know what I find then.

    Don't give up, it really is worth it and it is a very cheap developer once you get the stuff to mix it yourself. Keep us posted on what you see and try the 2+2+100 and see if that helps.
     
  10. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Sandy, Mike, etal......

    ...thank you, I've developed the B neg from today at 1:1:100 to make 300mL working solution, thinking it might be the total volulme but, alas, the B neg is equally BLANK.

    I like Mikes idea of 2:2:100, seems I read about that somewhere, unless it was Lee in Ft. Worth.

    If tomorrows foray goes bust I'll chuck the PF brand and move onto scratch.
     
  11. lee

    lee Member

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    I concur with what Mike is saying. I have not been successful with the 1+1+100 dilution and I use 2+2+100 for 14 min at 75f the negs print on a Durst 138 condenser enlarger using a #2 contrast filter.

    lee\c
     
  12. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Lee, thank you.

    Would you have a "gut feeling" for Chromega Dichroic head?
     
  13. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    Are you certain you didn't unknowingly contaminate one of the baths by using the same syringe or dropper without flushing it out? I'm not insulting your intelligence because this happened to me and I ruined a roll of film as a result. Granted my negatives were very thin but not blank so it may depend on the level of contamination. Now I use two syringes specifically designated for both "A" and "B" solutions. IMHO pyrocat is quite possibly the best all around developer out there so I'd be hesitant to give up hope.
     
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  15. mark

    mark Member

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    SO what am I doing right? I use both 1:1 and 2:2 and have not had a single problem with PF pyrocat-HD.

    Forgot to mention that it was with efke and delta 100. Is it the film?
     
  16. User Removed

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    Are you remembering to pull your darkslide and take your lens-cap off? Just checking :tongue:
    I would suggest using 2:2:100.
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Somethings up with this. No way would you get blanks with the minor adjustments you're considering. Do this. Get a piece of film out, cut it in 4 strips. Mix some developer up in a glass flask, and just stir it with that strip of film with the lights on. (rinse the blue goo off first) If you don't begin to see it getting gray then black after 6 or seven minutes.....you've got other problems that mixing a stonger solution isn't going to solve. Do you have small children that might have poured daddy's 'B' solution down the drain and replaced with water?? If the strip comes out blank, mix up a temporary "B" solution with as much baking soda as you can get to go into H2O and try it again with that. If it turns gray~black, it's your B that's gone bad. If it doesn't , it's your A that's no good.
     
  18. john_s

    john_s Member

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    I have always added part_A to the 100 parts of water, then the part_B to that. I use the same pipette, and I have assumed that adding a trace of part_A to the pot.carb would not be a problem, but the other way round would be.

    Do you actually add part_A to part_B before adding to water? Would this be a possible cause of a problem.
     
  19. Leon

    Leon Member

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    this colour business is interesting me ... I've using my own mixed Pyrocat lately, and have found it works "better" (quicker times and higher film speeds) than the PF stuff that I had.

    My own mix doesnt change colour when I add the B solution to the working solution (having already added the A). It stays perfectly clear - And it often isnt very dark at all when I pour it off at the end, although does turn a nice dark brown if I leave it for a few hours. But I get nicely developed and stained negs. So in my case, a lack of a change in colour does not mean the developer isnt working.
     
  20. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I don't understand what you mean by: assumed that adding a trace of part_A to the pot.carb would not be a problem, but yes I mix A and B together in a small measurer to confirm correct measuring from the pipette and then to the water. Pipette is rinsed between A and B.
     
  21. john_s

    john_s Member

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    Part_B is a solution of potassium carbonate. It is very alkaline and activates the developing agents that are in Part_A. Sorry to confuse you.

    My point was that mixing part_A and part_B together before diluting them in the relatively large volume of water is different to what most people do as far as I know. FWIW, I use Pyrocat-HD at 0.6+0.6+100 and it gives plenty of density. This just a little over half the strength of 1+1+100
     
  22. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I think it is in the mixing, as John has said. I put the "a" solution into distilled water first, then add the "b" to complete. When using distilled water and Photographer's Formulary, there is no apparent change in color. When the mixture is poured out (minimal and stand development) it is a pale pink color.

    Use distilled water, mix a into solution, then add b. I use a small syringe for 4x5, 120 and 35mm. Use one for each solution. Mark them so there can be no mistakes or cross-contamination will result (different colors, bottles too, or sizes). Don't open more than one bottle at a time. Use a system to keep the "a" caps, syringe etc. on one side and then use the other side for the "b". tim

    P.S. This is great stuff, use it and you will like it.
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Pyrocatechin is very stable in neutral to acidic solutions, but deteriorates rapidly in alkaline solution. So you should never mix part A with part B before adding water.

    I don't mix a part B at all, but dissolve the appropriate quantity of carbonate in the final volume of water, then add part A. That way I only need one syringe!
     
  24. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Ole, do you keep a pre-mixed solution of the "b" and water in a container, or do you mix each time? tim
     
  25. herb

    herb Member

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    pyrocat hd

    I had EXACTLY the same experience. Wore out the web site, Sandy quit replying to my emails, etc.

    Answer: make it yourself. It aint hard and it is a tad cheaper.


    Result-never had the problem again.
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I measure out the water, then weigh out the carbonate and dump it in. 10ml "B" corresponds to 7.3g Potassium carbonate.