Shelf life of powder developers????

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nyoung, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Recently found a box of 1/2 dozen Freestyle powdered developer packets - foil/plastic packets to make 1 gal. of Arista 76 and Aristadol (D76 and Dektol).
    Near as I can remember these must be approaching 15 years old, stored at room temperature in a centrally heated and cooled house.
    Question is is it worth the effort to mix them up and test them or should I just chunk them and buy new?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You may as well try the print developer - if it is bad, you will only waste time and one or two sheets of paper.

    For film developer, it may well be fine. I would use it to develop a test roll before I used it for something important.
     
  3. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    according to the datasheet, Ilford ID-11 (another D76 clone) powder stored in cool dry conditions (4-20 C) will last indefinitely. Although your temps may have gone outside this range, I expect the Arista 76 will still be fine. Like Matt says, develop a test roll of non-critical photos first!
     
  4. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    i have used ID11 that was so old i had to use a cheese grater to break the solid lump of powder up before dissolving..worked fine
     
  5. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    I have used chemicals which stored for decades, without any sign of degradation. The package should be undamaged.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It depends on the packaging used, some older plastics used breathe oxygen very slowly over time and chemistry oxidises, this happens with some liquids as well where high quality high density polythenes etc aren't used.

    Ian
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    As Ian says it all depends on the packaging. I believe that Kodak's is the best in this respect. I wish they still used metal cans. I have some film developer that is government surplus from WWII which looks like it was made yesterday! It is sealed under nitrogen.
     
  8. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Thanks all,
    I figured that it should be ok as long as it had no moisture or air infiltration BUT I did open up some KODAK dektol many years ago that was already oxidized brown in the package. So I was wondering about specific experiences with the Freestyle packaging. Mixing some up and running a test is probably the best solution.
     
  9. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    If you're not sure mix it up and test it. I had some very old packages of Agfa Atomal. The first one turned out not to be good so I kept the rest as suovenirs of an earlier time. I used old green cans of Army surplus developer in the 1970s. The good cans had powder with a light tan color. The bad cans had powder with a dark brown color.
     
  10. palewin

    palewin Member

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    I've also had the problem with Dektol powder oxidized in the envelope. In general, you can tell by the color of the mixed stock solution (both film and paper developer) whether it is worth going further. If the stock solution is dark brown, it is definitely oxidized, and it is your call whether to test it further or throw it out. I might test print developer, I wouldn't risk film. If the color is still light, you are good to go.
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    So my can of Dektol on the chemical shelf is not just for decoration?

    I was given a partial carton of paper/foil laminate bags of Dektol when a company I worked for stopped using the "Headliner". This was in 1984, they were old at the time and I still have a few of these bags left. When it's time to make up a batch I occasionally reach for one of the old bags and mix it up. For years the bags were good as new but lately about half the bags mix up dark brown like a rich cup of coffee. Then I dump it and reach for a fresh bag.

    But if it's caramel-colored, I'll use it.
     
  12. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I don't know for sure, but I've some pretty old chemicals. mid 70's I think and it worked fine.
     
  13. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    in the days when Kodak developer come in Cans, the manuals listed most of them as having a life of "Infinite in package" In spite of having a date on them, the Freestyle chemicals I have in the drawer are on Millitary style foil envelopes and I am crossing my fingers that they will still be good when I use them.
     
  14. GregW

    GregW Member

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    Yesterday I just mixed up a can of 2 part D76 that I think was from the late 40s early 50s and used it to develop a couple sheets of Fomapan 100. It worked great. You'd never know it was as old as it was. It had a little 2" tall cardboard oatmeal box style package above the off white crystals. The can opened with one of those twist keys that was attached to the bottom of the can.
    greg