[RA4] Is my developer dead?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by perkeleellinen, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Here's a photo of part B of the Kodak developer kit, on the left is my current bottle, the right hand bottle is unopened:

    [​IMG]

    Has the opened bottle died?

    I keep part B in my fridge (bad idea?) so I notice it most days, I mixed up some fresh dev from this bottle last week and it was a normal colour like the bottle on the right. It must have shifted colour quickly, should I chuck it? Should I be concerned about part A & C? They were opened at the same time.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I re-pack my RA-4 kit B plastic bottle(s) into small amber glass bottles filled as full as I can, since it is the one with the CD component that want s to oxidize.
     
  3. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I think I'm going to do the same with the next bottle. So, do you think this one has died?
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Once I mix up a tank worth of RA-4 from A, B, C and starter, I feed it into my roller processor. At the end of a session I pour it back into a glass bottle (about 1.85L to a 2.5L carboy/jug), and rinse out the processor. The next session I pour it back into the processor. I replenish with un-startered replensher strength solution at a rate about 20mL per 8x10 once or twice a seesion, rather than after every print.

    I also run the first tank as a water pre-wet to wash off the overcoat dye ( and also because the first tank temp regulation is a bit if a kludge after the original thermostat died.) Dev in second tank, blix in third.

    If I haven't used it a lot for each session, I reuse the chemistry for for up to 8-10 weeks, (or maybe 40-60 sheets over the 8 weeks) before I think the image quality deteriorates (at the fixed temp and speed of the rollers that I don't want to start changing). By the end of the re-use the solution is almost black, but still develops, but obviously not wquite as well as when it was fresh.

    I suspect that washing the dyes off before the paper hits the developer removes a lot of organic material that the developer would otherwise get busy with oxidising, and hence it has more energy left for a longer time to still go to work properly on the actual halide in the paper it is suppose to reduce.

    So the upshot of all of this, is to try a batch with the almost black solution B. It might work for you.
    The worst to happen is you may find it does not dissolve, or if it mixes, it does not develop properly.

    I have not done this yet, but plan on the next timesopme B blacks out: Dissolving some (maybe 10G per 2L) CD-3 in since it is the only thing that should oxidise away in the B.
    I have dry chems of all sort on hand from past experiments before going with the convenience of the kits a few years ago.
     
  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Mike's right but I'll add. Glass bottles (actually, even clear glass have caused me no problems as long as not stored in sunlight) filled all the way up and SECURELY capped will allow ANY (yes, ANY) developer to last indefinitely without discoloration. I Have had RA-4 dev mixed since 2003 as a test and still good as new. Also, a bonus, those clear, brittle plastic bottles (Gatorade, Sodas, Juices) are AS GOOD for such storage and are available everywhere free (at least in all Philadelphia trash cans and with cap even!). This handy bit of information I discovered on my own about 10 years ago. Don't use the softer plastics like those for milk containers. The CLEAR, BRITTLE plastic (ie, high density plastic). If carbonation is sold in it, it is good but, of course, it could be sold with other than carbonated drinks like, as I said, GatorAde and most juices. I repeat emphatically, though, the bottles MUST be filled up to the very rim. For most bottles clear glass marbles can take up the slack to remove all sir space because the brittle nature of this high density plasctic precludes being able to squeeze these bottles without potential damage being done to the plastic. Very, very handy for small quantities (about 54ml) are those tiny plastic liquor bottles (metal caps ones on these tiny bottles are the best because the plastic cap ones oftentimes do not make a secure seal.) - David Lyga
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2010
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Probably dead! But, give it a try with a small 1L mix. Who knows? The horse may sing! :smile:

    PE
     
  7. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Check the pH of your developer. It should be about 10.2 If not, then you can try resetting it and running a test.