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  1. #1

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    Chemicals evaporating in trays

    I was printing some pictures last week and left some trays out with chemicals in them for a couple of days. When I finally got around to putting them back into bottles I noticed that about 150ml had evaporated while they were out, the air is pretty dry here. My question is, should I top them all back up with water or dump them and mix up a fresh batch? Would the concentration of, say, fixer to water be the same as it was originally?
    Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!
    Jono

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Presumably you mean the stop bath & fixer. They may be OK just add a little water. Get a couple of pieces of clear perspex or similar to cover the dishes when not in use, they would evaporate like that anyway. Also you'd be surprised how much solution is lost through carry over.

    I prefer to make up fresh stop bath every 2 or 3 sessions depending on usage, and always use fresh fix each session for the second fix - I use a 2 bath fix system.

    Ian

  3. #3

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    Dear Jono,

    In the future, float a layer of Saran Wrap on the liquid for extended printing periods.

    Neal Wydra

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the ideas for covering the chemicals up, seems so obvious not sure why I never thought of that.
    Ian- would it be alright to top off the developer as well? I've noticed before how much can be lost from carry over just from one session. It is surprising. I'm pretty sure that's not what did it this time though because I simply didn't print very many pictures, I got cut off early and didn't have a chance to put the chems back into bottles.
    I guess I'll put a little water back in and try using them this afternoon and see if I get anything, if not I guess I'll mix up some new chemicals.

  5. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Developer is best made up fresh each session, mine never lasts overnight and is usually fairly exhausted anyway.

    Ian

  6. #6
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    At the end of a printing session my trays are never full anyway, so I've come to a 'short term' solution of simply stacking one tray on top of another (they rest inside each other) and using an empty tray at the top. Seems to work at least over night and maybe longer.
    Bruce Osgood

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  7. #7
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    I've walked off and left trays im my darkroom to totally dry out a few times. The crystals that grow out as they dry are quite interesing, a fit subject for some macrophotography. A bit of hot water usually clears the mess up. I never worry about tossing used B&W chemicals, they are so inexpensive they aren't worth the worry, though I will save the fix if the print volume was a bit low.
    Gary Beasley

  8. #8

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    Some of that volume loss may also be due to carryover -- the tiny bit of liquid that clings to the print as you transfer it from the developer to the stop bath, stop bath to fixer, and fixer to final wash. For carryover, topping up with a replenisher makes sense, if you happen to have a replenisher.

    After a couple of days of being left out, though, I wouldn't trust many developers. The stop bath and fixer may be OK, but the developer has probably gone bad, or at least changed its activity and characteristics. I'd dump it.

  9. #9
    eclarke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Developer is best made up fresh each session, mine never lasts overnight and is usually fairly exhausted anyway.

    Ian
    Absolutely, the chemicals are the cheapest part and no place to compromise!!..EC

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jono1515 View Post
    I was printing some pictures last week and left some trays
    out with chemicals in them for a couple of days.

    When I finally got around to putting them back into bottles
    I noticed that about 150ml had evaporated while they
    were out, ...
    Evaporation and re-bottling are not issues when using
    one-shot chemistry. If your volume is low and/or processing
    infrequent the method has also additonal advantages. Greater
    than usual dilutions makes for good chemical milage. Dan

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