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  1. #1

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    [RA4] Death of Colour Developer B

    My wife gave birth last October and things have been so hectic I haven't been in the dark since. Things are getting easier now and I'm making plans to print some of my massive backlog of films.

    I just checked my RA4 chemistry and noticed that the bottle of colour developer B I keep in the fridge has gone bad, I checked my two unopened bottles and both of those are bad too. I found the receipt from when I bought them and it's December 2009. I suppose the chemicals were at least a few months old before I got them so maybe Colour developer B has lasted 2 1/2 years, maybe 3 years.

    Does this sound like a reasonable shelf life? Any tips for extending it?

    Now I need to buy another case which I can't afford - we had so many bills to pay this month I can't even afford the APUG subscription until late April. Would be nice to be able to buy single bottles of Developer B.
    Steve.

  2. #2
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    There should be an expiration date on the bottle somewhere. If you cannot decode it, the Kodak help line will help you out on this.

    I usually get 3 - 4 years on unopened bottles.

    Yours sounds short or it was on the shelf for a while before you got it.


    PE

  3. #3

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    The first four digits of the printed number are the packaging date in yyww format, year and week number, so 0934 is 2009 week 34.
    Bob

  4. #4

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    The serial number is 09 09626 so March 2009. I bought it in December that year so they lasted three years and one month from the packing date.

    How does everyone store their developer Bs?
    Steve.

  5. #5
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    Once I thought that the concentrates would keep better than mixed solutions, so I mixed only a part of the kit. After just a few months, the remaining concentrate part B had gone bad. The mixed solution was perfectly fine for at least a year until that, even when (over?)used all the time. At a point, I had forgotten my heavily used "low contrast RA-4 dev" with some sulphite added for maybe two years on the shelf, and when I tried it, it was perfectly fine. Some have reported more than 3 years at APUG.

    So, for RA-4, it seems that the mixed solution keeps much better than that of any other process; OTOH, the concentrates do not keep any better, quite the opposite. Funny, isn't it?

  6. #6
    hrst's Avatar
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    Argh, just checked my kit.... and (unopened) part B's are black. The serial number is 09 06444. Have to buy new stuff and don't have too much money either!

    These should be packaged under protective gas. Maybe it's because of HDPE packaging that lets some air pass through.

    And, that VERY thin saran wrap-like LDPE(?) sealing at top might not be very good either. Why don't they use non-leaking caps, tightly shut, as an extra precaution?

    Well, probably the mixed solution (from at least year ago) is still ok. Have to check that.

    Maybe we could reformulate the part B. There are RA-4 recipes around the web. I wonder in which part the special optical brightener is. Well, at least it's part B that has the interesting candy/detergent type smell which is some "non-standard" component .
    Last edited by hrst; 04-09-2012 at 01:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    This may give you a cheaper gasp, but sourcing the component will likely be a challenge. I did this to the end of a 'makes 5L' set of bottles of Koadak RA-RT chemisty which had bad B.

    I have (despite transferring the oxidizable conponents contained in the B bottle into to small amber glass stored full with a polyseal cap) had the stuff turn black on me after a few years.

    As a last ditch effort when left with just the black B and other good parts A and C, decided to experiment. I mixed my usual partial quantities of the stuff to make 2l, since my processor takes 1.85L to fill a tank. I decanted off the thin slimy shiny oxidized whatever layer on top, and filtered the mixed residue though a coffee filter. No big chunks were evident.

    I then went back to my diy recipes for RA-4 to see how much CD-3 developing agent to add in on a per litre basis.
    I don't expect many have DIY mixed colour, but I do from time to time, and have a few pounds of the CD-3 stuff in glass, gas topped and stored in the freezer.
    It is still very gradually changing from a light tan towards darker purple granules depite these efforts.

    I added half the DIY weight of CD-3 to the 1.85L tank solution, on the basis that it is easy to add more, and hard to 'take out' too much.

    Well, for producing the contact sheets that I wanted to get caught up on before I ordered a new batch of RA-RT, the addition of the 'fresh' cd-3 seemed to work just fine.

    My colour balance was a triffle off on the red, indicating at least to me, that I did not have the concetration of CD-3 that was still active quite right.

    But a small filtration tweak applied for the balance of the session that night, and on the next night worked just fine. Overall colur balance was good, blacks were balck, and there was no evident staining that was the fault of the developer.

    I do use old paper for contacts and it alone has issues with low red sensitivity, but I have seen that with fresh RA-RT chemistry as well.
    my real name, imagine that.

  8. #8
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    I would love to help you out and mail you some dry CD-3 for your own fiddling but I fear that Customs will get a wee bit cranky trying to mail this stuff transatlantic.
    my real name, imagine that.

  9. #9
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    Oh, I have CD-3 too. In fact, I have a kilogram! And it's already caking up and maybe showing a bit of color change; maybe I should transfer it from the fridge to the freezer. But thanks for your kind offer.

    I have been thinking, too, that I could just pour in new CD-3 and hope that (1)the large amount of badly oxidized CD-3 does not have any photographic or shelf-life effect, (2)any other important component in part B has not degraded at the same time. Your experience sounds promising.

    We could first test to find if any image develops without adding any new CD-3. If not (and probably not, I'd guess), then we could add the full amount.

  10. #10
    hrst's Avatar
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    Ah, that filtration thing made me remember something.

    I had C-41 part with the color developer go bad but we had to develop some C-41 film. So, I used other parts as instructed but mixed in some CD-3 (didn't have CD-4!) instead. When I poured in the solid CD-3, it formed some very interesting pink-grey gunky gum-like "creatures". Looked like some space aliens were born in the solution. When I stirred, the alien separated into many small droplets, but they quickly rearranged and formed a single creature. I stirred and stirred and finally filtered the droplets out.

    Then I developed the films -- the results were just perfect! It printed on RA-4 with the standard filtration without any noticeable color cast and had normal contrast. I would never expect that; we expected some kind of "experimental" results which would have been OK, but got perfectly normal negs.

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