Trouble with Ilford Rapid Fixer and New Tmax

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by fotomik, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. fotomik

    fotomik Member

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    I just took home a "new" bottle (doesn't say Harman anywhere) of Ilford Rapid Fixer (CAT 198 4262), and what do you know, the darned thing doesn't clear New Tmax400 at all in the normal fixertest that I do. (1+4, 20something C). After 11 minutes the clipped leader is barely see-through. Is this normal? I'm afraid to use this on actual film (used TriX and HP5/FP4/PanF for a looong time).
    The bottle is labeled "LOT: 21B008S", if it helps at all.

    Also tried a few years old TriX, it cleared in 6 minutes or so, but stayed very pink. The pinkness didn't wash off.

    I think I really should stop testing the fixer and just use it as I've always done. And then blame the messed up films on myself...
     
  2. juanito

    juanito Member

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    Hi,

    I'm using a bottle of Ilford rapid fixer cat 198 4253,also doesn't say Harman, but it works as it should with hp5 and tri x.
    It is a bottle I bought long time ago and I just begin to use it.
     
  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I just used a new bottle with HP5 sheet film developed in Tmax. I had it in the tank for around 4 minutes - cleared with no problem.

    Dan
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Rapid Fixers do collapse. Checking the bottle I bought 6 months ago here in Izmir, Turkey it does say **New** and has the Ilfordphoto.com website listed & says Harman Technology. (The packaging has been changed since then).

    Unfortunately many liquid developers & fixers don't have an indefinite shelf life, so you don't know how long it may have sat on a dealers shelf.

    Ian
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    BTW the Harman Technology bit is small and by the multi-lingual instructions.

    Ian
     
  6. fotomik

    fotomik Member

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    So it looks like the fixer is bad then. I wonder if Simon from Ilford has anything to say about this. Is there any way to find out when this bottle has been manufactured?
    It does say "NEW!!!" though, so it's not older than the earth at least...
     
  7. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Ilford say that General purpose film Fixing with the 1+4 Rapid Fix Dilution should require 2–5minutes. Thus the average film clearing time would be expected to fall within the range of 4 to 10 minutes.

    However, I would measure the clearing time required by the specific film you are using and multiply the clearing time by 2, then fix for the resulting time. Was your clearing time for TMY-2 11 minutes with continuous agitation?

    If so, then 11 x 2 for your example and fix for 22 minutes with continuous agitation.

    With my home made 60% Ammonium Thiosulfate rapid fixer, TMY-2 clears in 6 minutes with continuous agitation at 21 C. Thus, with my Home Made Rapid fixer, I fix TMY-2 for 12 minutes at 21 C with continuous agitation. Typically, all of the dye comes out during the fixing.
     
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I think you've got that backwards. If fixing takes 2-5 minutes, clearing should occur in half that time, or 1-2.5 minutes. In other words, the reported clearing times (even for Tri-X) are way too long.

    Is there any hint of a rotten-egg odor from the fixer? (Or does the ammonium odor overpower that?) Can you see any sort of particles or precipitate in the fixer? If not, it's conceivable you accidentally overdiluted the fixer and what's left in the bottle is still OK. A smell of rotten eggs or a precipitate indicate the fixer's gone bad, though.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ilford Rapid Fixer clears Tmax 100 & 400 in less than a minute when fresh, a couple of minutes if it's been used. It takes about 6 minutes for the pink stain to clear, a bit longer when the fixer is used.

    Ian
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    YEP! Sorry!

    Note to self: Engage brain first - then make comment -
     
  11. fotomik

    fotomik Member

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    Now that you mention it, it doesn't actually smell as... fixerish as I THINK it should. Rotten eggs? Can't really say.

    Overdilution is unlikely, as the very same thing happened with the remains of the previous bottle (same stuff, same batch, opened about 8 months ago, thought it had just gone bad.)

    Tell me more about home made 60% Ammonium Thiosulfate rapid fixer, as it might be quicker for me to get ingredients than a newer bottle of Rapid Fixer?

    And remember, the tmax DIDN'T clear in 11 minutes...
     
  12. jmolligo

    jmolligo Member

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    Similar problem?

    I had a similar problem with TMax 100 4x5 and Ilford Rapid Fixer.

    I processed with TMax RS developer (the first time I've used it, in lieu of Xtol) using 1/2 gallon (2 Liter) tanks and stanless steel racks. Fixed for 6 minutes.

    The film edges (rebate area) were a slight greenish opaque. I refixed and rewashed the film and it was the same. I dumped the fixer and made a new batch - same thing.

    I haven't done anymore since - and am still not sure what went wrong (I figured human error of some sort), but when I read your post I thought I might mention this.
     
  13. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Neutral Rapid Fixer:
    200ml ammonium thiosulfate 60% solution
    sodium sulfite 15 grams
    sodium metabisulfite 5 grams
    water to make 1.0 liter

    This should give you a pH of about 7.0

    Use undiluted and fix with agitation for 2x the film clearing time
     
  14. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There are lots of recipes for homemade fixers. Tom's posted one, which is Suzuki's neutral rapid fixer. Another, which is very similar (but a little more dilute and with less sodium metabisulfite), is TF-3. There are others, too, but I don't have URLs for them.

    Another option is to use C-41 fixer. This reportedly works well with B&W film and it's inexpensive. It might not be any easier to find than B&W fixers, though.
     
  15. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Does sound like your fixer has broken down. Can you see any sludge in the bottom? If you pour it out and see that it has separated then it is NG, probably sitting on the shelf too long. Maybe you can get a refund?
     
  16. fotomik

    fotomik Member

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    Ohhh, only just that there's some 25 litres of C41-fixer at work... Will investigate.
    Still waiting to hear from Simon.
     
  17. fotomik

    fotomik Member

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    Sounds like that to me too.
    Fixer is crystal clear all the way though. No separation, no crystals, no odd colours.

    How come it works better (but not completely) on TriX? TriX shouldn't be pink/purple after 8 minutes of fixer and a good wash, should it?

    I got it from work, I'm going to have to take down the entire batch of the stuff that's on the shelves. Can't believe that I'm working in a photo store that sells broken fixer... :sad:
     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A single chemical fixer? Could there be a formula?
    Could it even be called homemade? Stretching
    it I suppose the anwser to both questions is
    yes. I use Plain Fixer but use it very dilute.
    Also, I use the anhydrous rather than the
    penta sodium thiosulfate.

    A or S thiosulfate, from batch to batch some little
    variation in ph is bound to occure. I've found the
    A form to be a very little alkaline while the
    S form has run very slightly acid. Dan
     
  19. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    Rapid fixers should clear any film in 20 seconds or less. Fixing for one minute with freshly diluted fixer should be enough. That being said, if the sensitizing dye stain "offends thine eye", add a tablespoon of Sodium Sulfite per gallon of working strength fixer, and that to will pass. Keep in mind that the stain is not photographic and will not reproduce and will fade with time or exposure to day light.
     
  20. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Fotomik,

    Apologies for not replying sooner but I have been on holiday for two weeks and just found this thread :

    Its not new...batch LOT 21B008S was manufactured in June 2006 : I have checked and we have had no QC's ( Quality Complaints ) against this batch at all, of course we keep all the data.

    BUT regardless it is well within life and should perform without any issues, my suggestion is take it back to where you bought it, they will return it to us and we will check it out.

    Regards

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  21. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    I have found the new TMY to fix faster (i.e., clear the pink) than my TMX. (I don't have an old TMY to compare to.) Anyone else?

    I, too, think it sounds bad. I would use a snip test of leader to see what the clear time is. As the sticky note topic on the top of the forum page shows, fixing and T-grains are an ongoing challenge and topic.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If the film leader didn't clear within a minute, something is wrong. I use Ilford Hypam, which is supposedly similar to Ilford Rapid fixer. After close to 20 rolls of film with the same 2 liter batch of working solution, it still clears a film leader in about 30 seconds. When it starts to approach a minute I discard it and mix fresh.
    It should take nowhere near that long to clear. I would follow Simon's advice and take it back.
    - Thomas