How can I avoid Divided D-76 particulate?
I've been using Divided D-76 for the past few months and am quite pleased with the results. It works especially well in our temporary kitchen film processing setup.
One frustration is that in both the stock Divided D-76 (photo formulary kit) and the part B I mix with Borax, crystals or other particulate seem to form in the chemistry after it's been sitting a few days. I shake it up, and filter it through a coffee filter before using it, but I fear (and seem to see in the results) that the more particulate I feel in the jug (a WHOLE LOT in the part B/Borax mix) and subsequently filter out, the weaker I'm making my developer.
I take as much care as I can muster to mix both parts until I see no particulate whatsoever when I first mix the stock. This happens after they've cooled and have sat idle for several days in our cabinet.
Hopefully someone will have some suggestions. I'd like to keep using this for a while, but I need to get over this problem. With the part B from Borax (60g /liter of 100 degree water), this particulate problem is really bad. I go so far as to mix it a liter at a time (until I have a gallon) in a blender to make sure I get the Borax dissolved, but before long, I not only have particulate, but big flippin' chunks almost the size of my fist (sounds like) banging around in the jug.
Thanks in advance,
I post this in response to your email to PF today. We have encountered the problems of which you speak with the Borax that has been sold from here the last few months. The Borax functions just fine if and when it goes into solution and if you can keep it in solution. We have been getting the same borax for the PF from the same national distributor for probably 22-25years.
Last fall suddenly there was different packaging on the Borax, different bag than normal, but assured by the supplier that it was the same stuff just new packaging. We use some of it in some of our Liquid formulations and we noticed the difference right away. But as I said if you can get it into solution, and get it to stay in solution it works fine.
To make a long story short the new stuff as it is now known around here is no longer around here. We now have in stock the same 10 mol Borax that we have had for years. We have yet to have supplier let us know for sure but is seeming like we were probably getting 4-5 mol Borax. Does same function, harder to deal with.
Now the good news. If you have a problem with Photographers Formulary product we will replace it and this is an offer to you and anybody else that suffered through this with us. Let us replace it. Just notify our offices with invoice number etc and we will handle it. There might have been some Van Dyke Brown kits with that material it in also. It probably worked fine but was a pain to get into solution. We will replace that borax as well if anybody still has some of those kits.
By the way, Our Divided D-76 instruction sheet for the mixing instructons of solution B "Borax 60 gram distilled water 750ml @125 degree F.
I just did this as stated above on a heated magnetic mixer with in house distilled water and when it got to about 115 degrees it all went in. I would probably filter this thru a coffee filter prior to use, but I do that to all solutions that are prepared from powders.
So as I say we will replace it if it was a problem. Maybe that is why we are still here after 31 years? Was that a toot toot of the Formulary horn??
Bud, Sherry, and everyone else at Formulary:
Yours is a horn well worth tooting. Every single transaction I've had with you guys has been satisfying. You guys have a specific product focus, you do it well, and you stand behind what you sell. Yours is an example of the kind of vendor that will go a long ways toward giving regular folks access to silver and alternate process photography in perpetuity.
Alas, I haven't managed to scrounge myself a magnetic mixer yet, but in the past, I've had good luck with the kind of paint mixer paddle you attach to a cordless drill, so I'll try that route. I'm expecting my next shipment of Divided D-76 today.
It's interesting to hear that the quality of borax impacts how well it stays in solution. Once I'd used up my part "B" from Formulary, (and I apologize for not making this clearer in my post) I used grocery store Borax (20 Mule Team) for part B. It sounds like I should just order more photo-grade borax once I get about halfway through my new part B.
As for the particulate in part A, I'll keep an eye on it this time. If I recall, the instruction sheet recommends a shelf life of 2-months and mine was at least twice that old, so again, it sounds like I need to refresh more often.
I know some chemistry retains its life for a much longer time: diafine seems to last until all the part A has been sucked up into emulsion, and Rodinal seems to work well into the time it starts to resemble bad maple syrup. It sounds like I better ensure that my DD-76, though, is two-months old or less, and probably use photo-grade borax for my part B in the future.
Thanks again guys for the prompt posting/reply.
This goes back to discussions ad nauseum that we have had here on using the best quality chemicals. Borax was one of the chemicals discussed and the general response was Borax is Borax, but here we see that it is not. Bud was supplied with something different and had to clear up the problem.
I am very happy for all concerned that it is now known what was going on. Even with the best intentions, things go awry.
To those who use any old chemical, here is a prime example of why you should deal with a reputable company that uses (or tries to use) good, photo grade chemistry. Let this stand as a prime example of what I have been warning about. The reason is that if this can happen to the Formulary with its strict adherence to purchase of high quality chemicals, then it should serve to warn you about pool chemicals or laundry chemicals. Chances are that they will vary even more!
Holy cow, the pH increase after 20 is just about zilch, 40+ absolutely flattens out. There's a chart in Haist that shows this.
I'd go for a bit of sodium metaborate if I was after that pH a little more that the 2g in D-76.
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The pH change may not be as important as buffer capacity!
Certainly that's a possibility. I've just never seen anyone trying to cram 60g into a liter of water. I've never seen a Divided D-76 that I recall that asked for that.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
A simple experiment would reveal what is going on. I just mixed 4g metaborate with 3.5g metabisulphite as is used in Xtol and the pH is 8.2 with obviously lots of buffer capacity.
I agree. I've been satisfied every time I have ordered from them. And the DO stand behind their products. I think it was Sherry that sharply told me NOT to eat their bulk chemicals.
Originally Posted by kwmullet
It may be that Borax is Borax, although there is a possibility that the grocery store Borax may have other things in it, whether intentional or not. Any contaminents in Borax (including water) would mean that you need more, to get the same amount of Borax. Of course if the amount of this contamination varies from batch to batch, then getting the exact amount would be difficult.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
I would guess that the limits for variation of contaminants in Borax would be less in chemistry grade then for the grocery store stuff.
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The precipitate problem is common and easy to fix.
Add 1/2 tsp of EDTA to each liter of water you use for making up developer stock solution.