XTOL : My way to mix, store, test and use.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by GeorgesGiralt, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi !
    Back at home from an Easter trip to my mother's in law place, I think it is better to start a new thread, than to respond to the old one.
    I use Xtol since it's introduction, and had only once a failure which was predictable (and did not hurt me...)

    First : If the A package is cacked, do not mix it. It has got some wet air inside and is probably dead. Ask for a replacement, you may obtain one...

    Next, boil your tap water and let it settle overnight. This will drive calcium salts into a sludge at the bottom, drive dissolved gasses out, kill all present organical matters, and letting it settle will drive the sludge down. This will ensure a "near perfect" water to mix and keep your product alive.

    Mixing :I mix the stuff in a 5 liter pail starting with 2,5 or 3 liters water (a rubbermaid one with a transparent window at bottom, which I calibrated to 5liters.) Mix the A part until TOTALLY dissolved, using a big plastic spoon, and crack the small cacked spots in the pail bottom. You may obtain a pale orange liquid, this is normal. (using lukewarm water helps a bit)
    Mix with B part stir as long as needed (I miss the 1 liter pack which mixed perfectly using my magnetic stirrer...) Try not to put air in the mix, so DO NOT make a vortex by stirring too hard.... (otherwise boilling the water was a waste of electrical power...) Adding part B will clear the orange color if you've got one.
    Adjust to 5 liters when done.


    Storage : Use brown 1 liter glass bottles with a tight fitting plastic screwing cap. Check it has a gasket of some sort (mine has a "lip" going inside the collar of the bottle and it is a perfect seal) If possible use bottle used to put medicines. They often are good at keeping oxygen out, and at not leaking....
    When you pour one liter on the bottle there is air above the liquid... So add Xtol until the level is at the brim.
    Close tightly and label properlly, adding the mixing date.... Doing this, you have enough Xtol to complete 4 liters and are left with a partial liter....

    Use the remaining to fill small bottles based on the processing tank capacity : My Paterson uses 300 cc for a 135 film. As I use Xtol 1+2, I need 100 CC for one film. So I've bought dark amber bottles of 100 CC with the very same caps as the one liter ones... I preciselly measure 100 CC stock and put it in every 100 Cc bottle. This, as previously, let some air above the liquid. I now top up with water. and close as tightly as I can. Label accordingly.

    This way, my stock Xtol goes well beyond one year storage ! And it is stored in a room without too much heat in winter and no air cond in summer, just under the roof...

    Usage : When I need to develop a 135 film, I pour my full Xtol 100 cc bottle in a beaker and add water up to the 300 CC mark. (it is immaterial to check the exact volume I've got in the bottle because I know I have *exactly* 100 cc stock (which was measured out earlier...) )

    But you must be carefull when you've topped up, because if some liquid goes above the brim, it's lost, and Murphy's law said that it is stock Xtol going out, not water....

    To double check activity, I put the 135 leader in the working strength Xtol during 3 or 4 minutes, during the time it takes to prepare stop bath, fixer, etc... If the leader turns black, Xtol is working. If not, dump it and save your film...

    When my 100 CC bottles are all empty, I use one 1 Liter bottle to fill them repeating the cycle until all Xtol is used up. I loose a little Xtol this way because I've a little more than one liter to cut into 10 bottle of 100 cc. So you've an option: dump the extra, or use it to top up the 100 CC bottles.....I tend to favor the latter....

    It has worked for me since the Xtol introduction, and it gives me one of the finest dev. I know.... I keep all Xtol bottles dedicated to this usage, including the mixing pail and big spoon.... Boilling the water is something I learned when I was a kid in college at my camera club.... So old tricks die hard...
    Enjoy !
    P.S. Claudio Bonavolta ( http://www.bonavolta.ch ) will reach the 3 year storage mark for stock xtol this month using a very similar mixing/storage method.... Maybe he is trying to enter the Guinness book ?
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Thanks for the info, but I would suggest distilled water if available.
     
  3. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've wondered for some time the source of those 100ml bottles.
    I've any number of 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 ounce amber Boston Rounds
    but have never seen 100ml bottles.

    My bottles all have the Polycone or Polyseal caps; screw
    caps with a PE cork included. A very sure seal.

    BTW, would'nt it be a lot easier to mix up some
    Mytol now and then? Dan
     
  4. SamG

    SamG Member

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    An alternative approach: I dilute the 5 L. pack up to only 2.5 L (mixing with distilled water), then store in 0.5 L amber bottles filled all the way up. When I am ready for a new liter of developer, I pour this into a separate 1 L. bottle and add an equal amt of distilled water. Saved a bit on storage space AND the cost of the 500ml bottles was less than the Liter bottles. This concentrate really seems to keep well (again, there is virtually no air left in the bottle when it is capped).

    Sam
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Much, much easier! Same goes for Pat Gainer's PC Tea.
     
  6. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi Dan !
    In continental Europe, try to find 1, 2, 4 ounce bottles, it will prove really difficult !
    Try to ask some chemists stores if they do some medicines by themselves, they may direct you to a specialized bottle shop.

    Yes, after checking my sales slip, this is the name they call it ! Wonderfull caps !

    Mytol, as far as I know, is not the exact Kodak stuff.... The closer looking is Foma FOMADON EXCEL which is a fraudulent copy according to Kodak, so it will be banned from USA ...
    For now, I restrain myself only to mixing my paper s dev. but in a few weeks I'll have a dedicated darkroom (contractor has just finished work) and at that time, who knows, I'll mix everything ....
    Have a nice day !
     
  7. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Thanks for the info George!
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Mytol makes no claim to be the exact Kodak stuff... but it works very well indeed!

    The same can be said for Gainer's PC-Tea. :smile:
     
  9. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Xtol - Replenishing System - Storage and Dev time adjustments

    Georges this is great info, I keep coming back to it. Thanks again!

    Can I as though if anyone has any experience with using a Replenishing system with full strength Xtol?

    How do you store it?
    How do you adjust your dev times?
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Your profile doesn't say where you're located. In North America, try Specialty Bottle. They've got "Eurodropper" style bottles in 100ml size. Note that I've never ordered from them before (I tend to re-use drink and other bottles from the grocery store), but I've bookmarked their site. Also, I recently discovered that McCormick spice bottles hold precisely 100ml. Of course, it'll take a long time to stockpile a significant number of those bottles unless you're a real spice maniac! :wink: I'm sure some medicine and other small bottles also hold close to 100ml.

    If you want to mix your own from scratch (as Mytol requires), there are many phenidone/vitamin C (PC) developer formulas available, such as Mytol, PC-TEA, PC-Glycol, DS-10, DS-12, E-76, etc. You can even dig up the "real" XTOL formula if you do a patent search. (I've seen a Usenet post that presents this formula. A substitute for one hard-to-find item is described here; search for "EDTA.") As I understand it, Kodak's patents make mixing your own XTOL legally inadvisable if you sell your photos, but patent law makes it OK to do this for personal use only. Note that I've not tried mixing my own XTOL, so I can't say from personal experience that the formula in the links I've provided works well.

    I don't have any personal experience with this, but Kodak's data sheets for XTOL (available from their Web site, but I don't have a URL handy) say that XTOL functions as its own replenisher. I suggest you dig up their XTOL data sheet.
     
  11. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    I highly recommend the MYTOL - I use it a lot for push processing or for big enlargements. It also keeps well if it is denied Oxygen. I had some stock solution I mixed up in February (6 mo old) and used it last week. I had it in one of those "accordian" plastic bottles and so there was no air in it. It worked perfectly. (It had yellowed a little) I have not tried mixing it as a concentrate but that sounds like a good idea. I bet the concentrate decays less than the working mixture over time.
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Interesting about the yellowing -- I'd always heard that PC developers don't yellow as they age or go bad. Also, you might want to check out this page. It's got aging tests on several developers, including D-76, XTOL, and Mytol. One key point was that the accordian-style bottles they tested actually reduced storage life. They speculate that the reason was that the plastic wasn't impermeable to air. This speculation is backed up by this page by Ryuji Suzuki, which describes plastic storage bottles' suitability for storing chemicals. The accordian bottles I've got use #2 (HDPE) plastic, which Suzuki recommends against using for developers because they're relatively permeable to air.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2005
  13. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I do recommend glass or PET (PETE in the US) bottles for storing developers. HDPE might be ok if the bottle walls are very thick, but ones used for beverages are often thin.

    Ascorbate developers may or may not darken when they are oxidized. It depends on the formula.

     
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  15. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    This is true for certain developers - especially pyrocatechol which caused the OUTSIDE of the accordian bottle to turn black and smelly - I now keep p'cat solution A in amber glass and use glass marbles to keep the level at the top. There is no such reaction with MYTOL, or p'cat part b. The bottles will not last too long and I will not replace them with the same. I bought a caase of the 1 liter amber glass bottles from US Plastics pretty cheap and a couple of the very thick brown 2L Nalgene bottles (pretty expensive) that are pretty impervious. You can tell if the material is pourous to the chemicals you are working with - the chemical can be smelled through the plastic. I
     
  16. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi Nicole !
    You're welcome !
    As to replenish Xtol, I think it is not so good an idea. (as is replenishment for any dev I know).
    The qualities of the chemicals will change from the first roll to the last you put into it. So it will be difficult to be consistent, unless you own and care for a high tech equipment for making, measuring the dev.
    One shot for a dev is the way to go, in my opinion.
    Keep in mind that Kodak ask for 100 CC of stock Xtol for a roll (135/36) so you will have to replenish at this high rate .... And will have only ten rolls a liter...
    Also, how can you do 1+1 or 1+2 (my favorite) with replenishment ???
    Have a nice day !
     
  17. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    In line with the Photographic Rip-Offs thread (http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=8006) has anyone tried using homebrew beer bottles for chems storage?

    After a quick web search I've found packs of 24 1 litre PET bottles with caps for £13 and packs of 12 glass 500 ml beer bottles for £7.50 at http://www.brewathome.co.uk/ This seems to be roughly half the price as specialist bottles from photo stores like Silverprint...
     
  18. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Today I bought 200ml, 500ml and 1ltr amber glass bottles from a packaging company. the 500ml bottles cost just 93 cents (AUD) each. :D
    That's my storage sorted for now.
     
  19. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Um, sorry, I missed the obvious solution...

    1) Buy various bottles of beer (Old Speckled Hen, Theakstons Old Peculiar, etc.)
    2) Drink beer
    3) Buy beer caps (24 for £1.50)
    4) Experiment to see which bottles the caps fit
    5) Buy more beer of the appropriate type
    6) Drink beer
    7) When hangover has worn off, wash bottles thoroughly
    8) Fill bottles with whatever chemicals you desire and seal with cap
    9) Label bottles clearly enough to be visible even after drinking beer!

    ...I'm a little surprised I didn't think of it before!
     
  20. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Now yer talkin`, anyway, wot`s wrong wiv homebrew wines & beers?
     
  21. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Small amber bottles can be found in the UK if you search for Winchester bottles - often sold by aromatherapy suppliers and the like.

    Bob.
     
  22. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    I used to homebrew and have stored chemicals in the brown bottles for several years. Along with a cheap hand capper, no problem. In the US, in most states we have a bottle deposit. In Michigan its 10 cents per bottle. Go into a good beer store and they will sell you returned bottles for 10 cents. I have an assortment of 12, 16 and 22 oz. Lots better and cheaper than the plastic bottles.

    I have also used 1/2 gal clear booze bottles for some things. Its in the darkroom and is usually dark.

    Jim
     
  23. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    If the same thing, here and perhaps there known as
    Boston Rounds. I've a slew of them, 1 through 16 ounce.
    Actually they are 1/32 through 1/2 liter.

    Georges and I highly recommend the Polycone or Polyseal
    caps; a screw cap with an inserted likely PE cork.

    I keep no partially filled bottles. I use a splits method
    for all my chemistry. For example a liter of fresh stock
    goes into four 1/4 liter bottles. All final dilutions are
    done at time of use; no working strengths
    hanging around. Dan
     
  24. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    So much easier and safer to use something else. Sandy Kings Pyrocat HD is a lot more reliable.
     
  25. lee

    lee Member

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    I agree with Dan here throw it away and go for Pyrocat HD.

    lee\c
     
  26. pauldc

    pauldc Member

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    Another good place for glass amber bottles is stores that sell armoatherapy products - especially of the do-it-yourself type. Often the bottles are nice and small (10ml, 30 ml, 50 ml) as well as the bigger ones and this is good for storing individual amounts of developer. One website is, for example, http://www.quinessence.com/aromatherapy_bottles_&_jars.htm

    Paul