Expired Fuji Chemistry?
So I've just set up a home color darkroom with a Durst 607 enlarger and a Fujimoto CP-31 processor. While I was in the process of building the darkroom, I came across a company giving away their stockpile of Fuji RA-4 color chemistry and snatched some up.
A few days ago I mixed the chemistry and tried to make a few enlargements, and every single one of my test strips gave me a pink-red image that didn't change with different filtration settings.
I worked and maintained a color darkroom for 5 years in college with the same chemistry and a Fuji CP-51 processor, and have never seen the problem I'm having now.
I've eliminated some variables and believe that I have a perfectly functioning processor and good paper, so I BELIEVE all I'm left with is bad chemistry.
Does anyone know if this pink/red cast is coming from expired chemistry? I was assured when I picked up the chemicals that they were only a year expired and kept in an air-conditioned storage unit. I have yet to use expired chemistry, so I just wasn't sure if this was what happened when you use it.
Thanks so much for any info/feedback!
I have and use a CP31 (also have a CP51) but with Kodak RA-RT chems. Have you eliminated the following variables:
time and temp on the CP-31 (e.g. what temp, and for how long in the baths? I use 34C and 280 (mm/min?) setting on the CP-31)
Order of the baths - prewet? stop? ( I do Dev, Blix, pre-wash (then Wash in CP-31 WD unit) as my bath order)
fogged test strips? Maybe tray develop one and see what happens...
IME, Kodak RA-RT, even in mixed form, is pretty long lasting. Unmixed it's even longer lasting. Not sure on the Fuji chemistry - but I'd think it should be stable for at least a year unmixed.
Are you sure the filtration on your enlarger works? Turn the knob to the extreme and see if the light color changes.
Guess how I got this tip?
My CP-31 is set at 34C and 280mm/min for all baths, which I have set up as dev, blix, and wash. All the baths are warming up to their proper temps and the paper is going through at the appropriate speed. I will try to tray develop, though, and see what happens.
;)Ha, yeah, I tried the filtration, pushing the Durst to numbers on both extremes and I do see color change.
All of this makes me think it's the chemistry, but I will run some more tests tonight! Any other thoughts are appreciated as well!
Here's a longshot. When you are ready to expose, have you swung the white light filter arm down again to bring in the filters? Your experience would suggest that this is probably a ridiculous question but I did this a number of times and wondered what was happening with prints that were otherwise properly exposed and looked right in every way except for a similar cast to the one you describe :D
Color paper chemistry does not give this type of result with Kodak paper when it goes bad. It gives light prints or white sheets of paper. I would say that this is some other type of problem. Are any areas of the sheet white? Is an unexposed sheet white? If so, then it is probably a filtration problem rather than a chemistry problem.
Don't forget that a stop after the developer prevents formation of pink stain caused by improper blxing.
Check that the cp-31 spray arms are not plugged is another issue I encounter with my machine. Likely not the root of your current problems.
Consider pulling the test paper from the middle of the box; paper on the outside sometimes performs differently.
Process an unexposed piece. It should come out white.
Process a flashed piece; it should come out black. These two tests are a worst case test of screwed chems.
I know this is wierd, but I run my tank sequence as water prewet, dev, blix, and then on to the wash/dry module. The digital thermostat died in my tank 1, and so I tried it this way. It seems to help the developer last longer, because the dye overcoat gets washed off before the paper hits the developer.
I also ran into red staining when I first made the switch to dev in tank 2 because of blix residue in the lines of the second tank pump circuit despite a good rinse. I moved the first rollers into tank 2, and scrubbed the former blix rollers and frame and transfer rack clean to use as the pre-wet tank set in tank 1.
I was able to solve the problem beciase I remebered the red staining I would get back in my tube processing days from blix residue getting left in the tube from a poor rinse and wipe out and then mingling with the developer on the next use of the tube.
I also took the CP31 machine apart and removed the replenisher lines, since at the time I was not auto replenishing. All sorts of mungy chem residue loved to hide in the replenisher lines when I first got my (very dirty when I aquired it) Fujimoto.
I have learned it takes very small amounts of blix in the developer to really screw it up. I take care to fill the blix tank first, wipe up any splashes, and then fill the developer tank next door. I use separate labelled funnels for each tank.
I hiope these ideas help you in your trouble shooting.
Agreed the lines and such buried inside the machine can be a source of contamination. Cleaning those is a bitch. replacing them might be easier.
Mike did you ever set up replenishment? that's one of the best things about the CP-31 I think. Turn it on, fill the tanks, and let the auto-replenishment keep everything fresh. It's really as good as tabletop processing gets, I think.
Once I get it up and running I can make usually 12 to 15 different 8x10 prints per hour, which is pretty good throughput I think, considering the time to take to swap negs, focus, expose, etc.
I have a filthy CP-51 I need to clean up and get running someday soon. It was relatively cheap, but needs a full freshening, including some new rollers I think.
I cleaned the lines by having the bottom off the machine, and propping it up on spacers on the side to let it be run with the bottom off. (Use a GFCI on the electrical supply line for sure,)
Originally Posted by EdSawyer
I then filled the tanks with quite hot water - about 50C. (I know Fujimoto warns against this, and it can cause the plastic to sag. No racks were in place to weigh the top down.)
I then ran the tank and pump circuts on hot water, and would squeeze and massage and flex every inch of tubing that I could. Oh the flakes that yielded. I progressivelt would ladle out dirty water and add fresh water until gradually it ran ok. I then turned the heaters on, put it back together, added rollers and racks and fed it dilute toilet bowl cleaner for 12 hours at a time for a few days, then ran it on water several times. The racks and roller assemblies needed separate scrubs with nylon dish pot scrubbing pads and lots of paper towels to come clean.
I am now religious in draining it and feeding it a water rinse before final drain for the night.
Once I retire and can use it more regularly I plan on re-activating the replenishment lines. I have a dual chamber pump salvaged from a Kreonite roller machine that I can dial to pump the right volumes. I am comfortatble grafting an interface from the Fujimoto data line level to power the Kreonite 120VAC replenishment pump.
For now I pop the cover and add 80mL of Kodak RA-RT replenisher after 4 prints typically. It is great long lived chemistry for roller processors.
I love mine most when I have to do prints from a group portrait where I need to pound out a lot of colour prints in a hurry. Four to five times a year I get a job doing communuty theatre production cast pictures. It is not unusual then to make 25-30 8x10's from the same negative.
Good luck on sourcing new rollers. I shudder the day when I need to find OEM parts for this well made machine. I am sure they are both rare and expensive.
I already swap the staineless or whatever roller tensioning springs with square rubber motor drive belts of the right length from the electronics parts wholesaler when the OEM part embrittles and breaks.
The PC boards on my machine have had all electrolytic capacitors replaced, because its operation was getting flaky . I have also tried soldering a new battery in for tank digital thermostats. You have three of these in the CP-51 I think.
Mike, thanks for the info. Parts are still available, not sure on prices, but Greg here on APUG works for the distributor, and has parts manuals, etc. I haven't ordered parts for the CP-51 yet but will soon hopefully. I am sure they will not be cheap, but these weren't cheap machines to begin with...
If you can run the Fujimoto replenishment unit that might be easier than the Kreonite system... just a thought. It's nice and compact.
I use RA-RT also, great stuff no doubt.
The springs are titanium I think. I have replaced them with steel springs in some cases, but stainless springs would be better - or rubber as you mentioned.
I haven't checked out the electronics on the CP-51 yet but soldering in new batteries or caps is something I'd be comfortable with if need be.
For the CP-31, I bought an entire spare system (main unit, W/D unit, replenishment unit) to keep as a spare, should I ever need it. It works fine, but I don't need 2 of them set up, and i haven't had to harvest parts from it yet, but if need be I can. Getting a whole used unit for parts is way cheaper than sourcing new replacement parts I think. I got the above spare system for $100.
I've been looking for a spare cp-51 but those are harder to come by.