Solar Powered Darkroom

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by arigram, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Here in Crete we use solar panels to heat up the water.
    I was wondering if there are solar panels that could provide energy
    for a darkroom.
    My electrical equipment consist of a MF multigrade enlarger, an
    RH Analyser Pro, a Jobo CPP-2, an air conditioner, a bathroom
    extractor fan and ofcourse a white light bulb and two small safe lights.
    I imagine the air conditioner and Jobo are probably out as they
    would need too much power but how about the enlarger and lights?
    Is that possible or is the technology too weak still?
     
  2. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    Yes there are. I have a small (30 watt) panel, a 12 volt deep cycle battery and an inverter (1750 watt) in the garden shed used to power lights in the shed, an electric lawn mower and the laptop when it needs recharging. It is possible, however, the set up costs are quite high for photo voltaics and the ROI is low.
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Solar technology is improving all the time. I've heard of, but never seen in person, solar-powered homes. They use solar cells mounted on the roof, or the latest trend: photovoltaic roof shingles. Designed properly, the technology is at the point where this can provide all the power a home needs, at least if the home uses appropriately energy-conserving appliances and if the climate is appropriate for such things (enough sun but not so hot as to require huge amounts of air conditioning).

    I recall seeing a home-improvement TV show in which they put up a solar-powered shed, with electrical outlets for power tools, lights, and whatnot. I'm sure something like that would work well for a shed outfitted as a darkroom. You'd need a feed from the power grid for using the darkroom at night or when it's too cloudy, a battery to store power for such situations, or use the darkroom only when it's sunny outside.
     
  4. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    What if you design an enlarger that use direct solar rather than solar electric. What I mean is that you simply pipe the light from outside via mirrors etc.. to light up your negative?
     
  5. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    You might have a slight issue with getting consistent intensity levels from one moment to the next. It would give new meaning to 'darkroom' when trying to print at night!:tongue:
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Check if Crete has some government deal for solar systems. Italy has a deal that makes the whole setup much more $$$ friendly. The systems are grid-tied so you would still be hooked up to the electrical grid but it's possible to build a system that provides 100% of your electrical needs.

    OTOH best to cut your power use first since all the parts can be expensive.

    BTW I thought the first enlargers were solar powered. Then they moved to candles-)
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You can, of course, switch to alternative processes that use the sun for exposure and do all processing in trays.

    Here I'm putting the scanners to good use for some albumen printing. Does that make it a hybrid process?--
     

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  8. edz

    edz Member

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    Yes.... Key is not just the panels but the inversion.. Wanna see a prototype system in Chania that's a mix of state of the art and antique tech..? Panels are not enough since you don't get enough sun days--- when the sun shines it shines but for some months, as you well know, it does not shine much--- so its a big diesel generator (running off olive seeds) and a ton of batteries.. the panels are the next phase of the testing.. OK.. this is about powering more than just a dark room but a nomadic power system.. but..
     
  9. edz

    edz Member

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    No subsidies! And the supply of technology is poor.. there are a few dealers in Athens and the prices are more than outrageous.. so its hardly pragmatic.. but there are other channels... (the heavy stuff like batteries still get sourced locally but the rest...)..
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Does this mean no grid tie then?
     
  12. edz

    edz Member

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    Back then the enlargers used kerosene lamps. I doubt if "Solar "meant powered by the Sun... Burke and James in the U.S. also had a whole range of enlargers into the 1960s called "Solar".. seems a popular name..
     
  13. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Sun powered solar enlargers were used at least 135 years ago. One source dates the Burke & James company from 1897 to the 1970s. Their view cameras still serve me well.
     
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  15. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Ansal Adams used a solar enlarger at one time, if I recall correctly he stated that it worked rather well in full sunlight or overcast, not so well under partially cloudy skys.

    How would you control the exposure time?
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Solar panels in a dark room are not going to get enough light to put out any usable power... sheesh guys....
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    True solar-powered enlargers were indeed made; in one of my old photo books I have a drawing foor making one. I can only assume they were used on days that were uniformly sunny or uniformly cloudy. The light was skylight, run though a mixing chamber, not direct sunlight. The ideal was a north-facing roof-light with a sort of chimney (the mixing chamber) coming down to the back of the (horizontal) enlarger.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  18. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Great idea, where it works, I live under a rain cloud so it would have to be a one hour photo.
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Curt,

    Surely you've heard of one-hour minilabs?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  20. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    Herr Zimmerman, the Cretan government subsides firearms and ammunition. They don't have any money left for other stuff...

    The Athenian government subsides pollution and automobiles.
     
  21. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    A shutter controlled by a StopClock Vario compensating timer would do the trick ...!

    Regards
    Richard
     
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Richard! would you come up with such a device that could run on a solar cell?
     
  23. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    My question is, why? What are you hoping to gain by using solar power? I dont know what your electricity costs, but to do what you are thinking about in the US would cost thousands of dollars initially and it would only save a few dozen dollars per year, or less. The technology is certainly there, and if you have deep pockets and plenty of room for the panels you could even power the a/c. Many of my friends live off the grid on solar power (none have a/c). Their systems cost roughly $15,000 but they still have to be very conservative in the use of electricity except during times of peak sunshine. You can get smaller systems for your purposes but it would still not be cost effective even after many years. Of course there are other good reasons for using solar power other than cost, if you can afford the initial investment.


    Wayne
     
  24. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    As our "cold" water here in New Mexico heats up to the upper 70s (F), I'm hoping someone will come up with a Lunar panel to store the cool. :wink:
     
  25. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    I can't confirm that there's a suitable shutter available, but certainly it's not a problem for the StopClock as its power requirements are quite low. The best way to arrange solar power for electronics is to use the cells to trickle charge a battery. The battery can then supply higher power in the short bursts necessary to actuate an electromechanical device.

    This brings a whole new meaning to "sun printing" doesn't it?

    Regards
    Richard
     
  26. arigram

    arigram Member

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    My question was more theoritical than practical.
    Even if it was doable, I barely have enough to afford
    my daily crumb of bread.
    But, I was wondering for the future.
    If I manage to earn enough to rebuilt my grandfather's house
    and go live in it, I would have liked to build an environment
    friendly self-supporting system as to create art and live with
    as less possible damage to our planet.
    I have already asked about sea water in a previous thread so
    I keep those questions in mind...