Safe Android timer for tray development ?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Laurent, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I'd like to start tray development for my 4x5 negatives, but the question of the timer prevents me of doing so at the moment.

    So, is there an Android timer that would be safe for this usage ?

    I installed "Darkroom timer" http://www.android-software.fr/darkroom-timer, which seems nice, but am not sure about the effects on the negative.

    Your experiences are welcome !
     
  2. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    When using these i put my smart phone in the pocket. Problem solved.
     
  3. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    I'm afraid I'd have to give that a big, fat, ugly NO.

    Reason being: Any smartphone will be using a backlight which has spectral emission in the range of sensitivity of modern films. Even orthochromatic film may be fogged. The backlight leaks badly, even with a black screen.

    When it comes right down to it, what you will need is an audio cue. Since you're going to be working in total darkness, the only thing you'll be able to use is something which yells at you. There exist darkroom timers that can do this. It is also quite possible to build one yourself.

    At a more primitive level, a wall clock with an audible tick will work. I use this for print processing.

    I use this on my Galaxy Tab when processing film in a daylight tank. Quite convenient, though it's missing features I would like. The timer I used as a kid was my father's Vivitar Process Commander, which allowed me to set drain time, agitation interval, agitation time, and all sorts of other stuff. It was also quite usable for print exposure management. Man, do I ever miss that thing. Maybe one of these days I'll build something similar.

    Good luck in your endeavors!
     
  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    What about a simple voice recording that paces your development session?

    Make one up with the lights on until you have everything you need in the final recording. You can not only mark the agitation cycles and solution transfer times, but can also add any extra process reminders that might be handy. Then just turn out the lights, play it back, and follow your own instructions.

    Ken
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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  6. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    Oh, yeah, it was pretty implicit in my message that the timers should give out sound.
     
  7. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Play a song on your iPod. Wear your headphones and be sure to put the iPod, itself in a pocket on the inside of your clothes.

    Many iPods (and other players) have little remote controls right on the headphone cord that lets you select a song or playlist.

    "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin is 4:50 long.
    "Misty Mountain Top" is 4:40.
    Just string together a bunch of songs in a playlist, one for each step of your process.

    If you want to develop for a shorter time, pick a shorter song like "Going to California" which is only 3:30 long. If you wanted to develop for a long time, maybe "Stairway to Heaven."

    Pick your favorite songs and, not only will it help you pass the time in the darkroom, the rhythm will help you keep your agitation regimen consistent, too. :smile:
     
  8. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Get a cheap stopwatch timer. The fear of having the display go bright, and even a "low glow" for 4 minutes is too many extra photons in the room... few darkrooms are as dark as Kodak meant them to be.

    I tried two phone timers once and quickly dug out the Gra-Lab again.

    You can enjoy your music on your own terms and not use it as a timing device.
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    One of the disastrous situation is.... right in the middle of the development phase, SOMEONE CALLS! Those LCDs are pretty darn bright. I make it a point to leave my mobile phone outside my darkroom.
     
  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I've been tray developing for years. Here are my preferred methods:

    In my U.S. darkroom I have a Zone VI Compensating Developing Timer. It has a very dim red LED readout. I place the timer on a shelf and baffle with some black board so the film processing trays cannot see the display. The timer counts up and has a footswitch. The advantage of the compensating timer is that it adjusts automatically for temperature variation (it has a temp probe). If you keep your temperature under good control (or use ambient temp and a compensation chart), any timer with this sort of display will work fine; the footswitch is handy though.

    In my darkroom in Vienna (actually my interior bathroom converted for film processing when needed) I use a combination of cheap kitchen timer and a metronome. The metronome is set to 60 bps (one beep every second) and I could just use it alone if I wanted to keep track of counting the seconds during the entire processing time (I have done this and do for stop and the first part of the fix). However, setting the kitchen timer to the developing time (minus drain time) allows me to just use the metronome to time my agitation. I start the timer, immerse the sheets, agitate with the metronome and, when the timer sounds, get sheet one on the bottom of the stack, lift and drain the negs and transfer them to the stop.

    In the stop I count 60 seconds on the metronome after shuffling through the stack once. I then transfer to the fix and count seconds till I'm halfway through the fixing time. I then switch on the white light so I can see the clock and continue fixing using that.

    I kind of like the idea of using different pieces of music for timing the process. Heck if I could find a bunch of pieces that had 60 or 120 bps tempos and matched my N, N+ and N- times I might adopt that method; then I could use the tempo to guide my agitation much as I use the metronome now. And, anticipating the end of the piece would help with getting everything ready to get out of the tray on time.

    I do need something that either shows or sounds seconds though, so I can keep track of my agitation.

    I've had bad experiences with my cell phone in the darkroom, so I keep it in a dark pocket on my black leather darkroom apron now...

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  11. gliderbee

    gliderbee Member

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    The app of the massive development chart has a good and programmable timer.

    Stefan

    Verstuurd van mijn GT-I9300 met Tapatalk
     
  12. fran

    fran Member

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    I use the darkroom timer app all the time and I put an old box lid over it. When I need to advance it on, I lift the box on the furthest away side so the light is minimal.

    It has an audible warning at each agitation, and a double warning at the end of each stage. Put it into flight mode if you are concerned about getting a call in the middle of development.

    Fran
     
  13. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I have used my Gra-Lab with a four sided black paper cone to shield any stray light and with a small opening, about 4 inches square, on a shelf, about 30 inches above the trays. I can then lean forward to check the time with no apparent fog problems. Since getting a Jobo, no longer do it that way.
     
  14. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks to all, many good ideas there !

    My issue is not with the phone ringing, as no phone is allowed in my darkroom (the phone is a "business" one and I keep the damn thing shut of as much as is realistic), but the backlight.

    My current timer is an LCD one, so it is unreadable in the dark.

    I like the idea of using music, this looks an exciting idea, and would save me from a boring record of my own voice.

    Chees !!!
     
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    Thanks to all, many good ideas there !

    My issue is not with the phone ringing, as no phone is allowed in my darkroom (the phone is a "business" one and I keep the damn thing shut of as much as is realistic), but the backlight.

    My current timer is an LCD one, so it is unreadable in the dark.

    I like the idea of using music, this looks an exciting idea, and would save me from a boring record of my own voice.

    Chees !!!
     
  16. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    If you need such a helper, try this one:
    "Entwicklungszeitenrechner" by Darkroom Solutions Ag. You'll find it at google's playground...

    you have the choise between format, agitation, dillution, ... also you are able to store corrected times afair.

    hth

    Ho.
     
  17. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I tried the voice recorder yesterday, and it's fine enough, at least for a beginning.

    I developed 7 sheets and made only one mistake : the 8th sheet stayed in the box (and I spent 5 minutes trying to separate sheets, thinking two were stuck ;-) Note to self : next time, count sheets BEFORE puting them in the pre-soak !!)

    This is so easy that I'm wondering why I did not try it before (OK, maybe gas for 5x7 or bigger is a good reason ;-) )

    I may have some "pin holes" in the negs (points were the emulsion seems to be missing), one shows some marks (very strange, don't think this is uneven development), but I'm currently happy with this process.

    Watch the classifieds, there could be one Combiplan for sale in the short-term future ;-)