RA-4: Prepare All 10L of Blix?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bvy, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    In August, I bought the Kodak Ektacolor RA developer and blix concentrates from B&H:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...15580_Ektacolor_RA_Developer_Replenisher.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/28779-REG/Kodak_8309031_Ektacolor_RA_Bleach_Fix.html

    This is enough to make ten liters of each chemical -- a big initial investment for a first-timer, but it seemed to be the most cost effective and fuss free way to get into RA-4.

    For the developer,I plan to prepare the ten liters of working solution at once and keep in twenty 500ml PET water bottles filled to the top. I'll probably use about one bottle per session, and I can keep the bottles in the dark -- in room temperature or the fridge.

    It's the blix that I'm unsure about. Is it as sensitive to oxidation as the developer? Also I've read that the bleach and fix don't play well together over long periods, and that it might be best to prepare smaller amounts (two liters) as needed.

    Any thoughts on this? If I prepare smaller amounts as needed, how best to keep the concentrates once they've been opened?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    The ammonium thiosulfate part - I think it is the B- not the red ferricycanide part, can sulfate out as a sulfur precipitate over time just like ordinary b&w fixer concentrate.

    So I mix up my RA-RT blix 1l or 2L at a time. I have had the thio sulfur out, and resorted to mixing the replacement from bulk thio I had around, along with a few other mix from scratch ingredients, while I waited forthe replacenent order to come in.

    Prior to RA-RT I used to mix from scratch the whole of RA-4 process chemistry.
    Once I got a roller procesor I needed something that was more resistant to aerial oxidation, which RT most ddefinitly is.
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Mike is correct in that the sulfur precipitates over time but I have to put my two cents in and state that that sulfur never made a difference to me. For both B&W and color, I have simply filtered out the particles and nothing seemed to matter for the worse. Whenever you have liquid chemistry the opportunity always exists to mix partial quantities. Just be accurate with your measurements and it is best to use metric, even if the kit is quantified in avoirdupois. I had some RA4 blix concentrate (the black part, ferris-something) for a dozen years and after that time it kind of clumped to the bottom in one black mass. After much shaking it worked fine when mixed with the equally old ammonium thiosulfate part. I use potassium ferricyanide for that component now because I find it both easier and less messy. But, remember, that the mixture does not last more than about 30 minutes when mixed with the fix. - David Lyga
     
  4. pinholer

    pinholer Member

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    I just mix up what I need.

    Developer
    Water 600ml
    Part A 40ml
    Part B 18ml
    Part C 40ml
    Starter 25ml
    Water to make 1000ml

    Bleach Fix
    Water 600ml
    Part A 140ml
    Part B 200ml
    Water to make 1000ml.

    Since all of the unused chemstry stays as the concentrates the shelf life will be as long as possible.
     
  5. RPC

    RPC Member

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    It has been observed by many on this forum, including myself, that mixed RA-4 developer, properly stored, (glass or good quality plastic containers, completely filled) can last longer than bottles of concentrates. It may not be true with bleach-fix.
     
  6. pinholer

    pinholer Member

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    Thanks for the information. I was not aware of that.
     
  7. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    I'd say mix it all. Even in one huge container, the last batch I used lasted for well over a year, mixed.
     
  8. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    My suggestion (not necessarily the Bible here) is to simply keep the blix concentrates separate and mix what you need. My answer would be, perhaps, different with developers. - David Lyga
     
  9. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Revisiting this... I think I'll mix two liters working solution at a time from the concentrate. So initially, I'll prepare two liters working solution of blix, and then decant the parts A and B of the concentrate into smaller bottles that I can squeeze the air out of. Unless someone has a better idea...

    (By the way, the Part B is dark purple/black. Is that right?)
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Yes, Part B is dark purple / black
     
  11. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Blix starts to deteriorate as soon as the parts are mixed. It will only last a couple of days after mixing. Mix up just what you need for the session.
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Actually RA4 blix lasts at least a couple months once mixed, but it does deteriorate.

    My solution is to mix the bleach and the fix each with water so that a 1+1 mixture of those two intermediate solutions will result in blix replenisher at the right concentration. So when printing you don't need to worry about dilution ratios but you don't have degradation on the shelf from the bleach eating the fixer. In other words, don't make up 10L of blix, mix the bleach into 5L and the fixer into 5L and store them separately.

    When replenishing, you just use half as much of each; e.g. if you wanted to replenish blix by 50mL then you would use 25mL of each intermediate. A split replenisher, as it were; the net result is the same quantity of active ingredient going into your working solution.

    You can't (with the Kodak RA RT at least) run the bleach and fix baths separately because there's a buffering agent in the fixer part that is required for the bleach to work to completion. If you run them separately then you will have silver retention, therefore poor saturation and high contrast.