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  1. #1
    guitstik's Avatar
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    Caffenol-C tragedy

    Ok, so I mixed up one batch of caffenol-C and it went terribly wrong from the get go. so bad that I scrapped that batch and started over before I began. I followed the instructions off of the digitatruth site and mixed it up in the kitchen sink. I tried to keep the temp at a constant 20*c for 15min and did three rinses for a stop bath and fixed with Ilford @ 1:4 for 5min. After another 5min rinse I took the film out and it was totally blank. Blank as a stare from a a cow to slaughter.

    There might possibly be faint latent images on the film but I don't think that the best FBI lab could pull anything off of it.

    The recipe that I used was:
    8oz (300cc) water
    2-1/2 tsp Arm and Hammer soda
    1 ml of Fruit-Fresh ( active ingredients: Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid,
    Silicon Dioxide (anti caking), contains no sulfates). The vitamin C is
    230%
    4 tsp of "Great Value 100% Arabica Premium Instant Coffee.

    This is not a terrible loss even though I would like to have gotten some kind of positive results (pun intended). What could I have done different to come to the results that I was hoping for? I won't even bother to ask what I did wrong because there are just to many variables that I may not have listed or done or the stars were in the wrong alignment or maybe I didn't hold my tongue the correct way. I will still keep trying but I want to do it right. I probably should have used something other than the Fruit-Fresh.

    Edit: After allowing the film to dry the emulsion side is tacky to the touch and can be rubbed off. Hmmmmm.
    Last edited by guitstik; 11-24-2010 at 05:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  2. #2

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    Well, "100% Arabica" is a bad sign---the likely developing agent, caffeic acid, seems to be significantly lower in arabica coffee than in the cheaper robusta. I have no idea how much ascorbic acid is in a millilitre of "Fruit-Fresh" (230% probably refers to the US RDA, and I don't know what level that is, nor how much of the stuff is assumed to constitute a serving), so between the two you may just have had inadequate levels of developing agents.

    Folger's is widely available throughout the US and known to work. If I were you, I'd use that, and some plain old vitamin C crystals without other ingredients, to get the recipe working at least for a start.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #3
    guitstik's Avatar
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    That is the way I am leaning. I think I was just a little to excited to try it but I guess that I need to start from scratch and use the standard items.

    I had been doing my research for about a month before I attempted this and I thought that I had it figured out but I was also realistic enough to realize that the first attempt might not work out.
    Last edited by guitstik; 11-24-2010 at 05:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  4. #4
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitstik View Post
    ...I followed the instructions off of the digitatruth site and mixed it up in the kitchen sink ...

    8oz (300cc) water
    2-1/2 tsp Arm and Hammer soda
    1 ml of Fruit-Fresh
    4 tsp of "Great Value 100% Arabica Premium Instant Coffee.
    The http://www.digitaltruth.com/data/caffenol.php site says:

    Water 8 oz (250 ml, ed)
    Arm & Hammer Washing (not baking, ed.) Soda 2½ tsp (level)
    Vitamin C powder ¼ tsp (1.2 ml volume) (level)
    Folger's Coffee Crystals 4 tsp (slightly rounded, NOT decaf)

    You have to use the right recipe - after you get it working then you can start to experiment. My guess is the big error was using baking soda (S. Bicarbonate) instead of washing soda (S. Carbonate). You can make the Carbonate from the Bicarb - google for instructions.

    Fruit-Fresh is used in making jams and jellies - I guess it shouldn't be surprising that it turned the film emulsion to sticky jam.
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  5. #5
    guitstik's Avatar
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    So it appears that my recipe is all screwed up. I have the wrong coffee the wrong vitamin C and the wrong soda. Back to the drawing board so to speak. I thought that I had done my homework but I was never a very good student. Live and learn good thing it was not an important roll.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  6. #6
    David William White's Avatar
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    If all else fails, Joel, a teaspoon of D-76 in there would probably do wonders...
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

    Archive/Blog: http://davidwilliamwhite.blogspot.com

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitstik View Post
    Ok, so I mixed up one batch of caffenol-C and it went terribly wrong from the get go. so bad that I scrapped that batch and started over before I began. I followed the instructions off of the digitatruth site and mixed it up in the kitchen sink. I tried to keep the temp at a constant 20*c for 15min and did three rinses for a stop bath and fixed with Ilford @ 1:4 for 5min. After another 5min rinse I took the film out and it was totally blank. Blank as a stare from a a cow to slaughter.

    There might possibly be faint latent images on the film but I don't think that the best FBI lab could pull anything off of it.

    The recipe that I used was:
    8oz (300cc) water
    2-1/2 tsp Arm and Hammer soda
    1 ml of Fruit-Fresh ( active ingredients: Dextrose, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid,
    Silicon Dioxide (anti caking), contains no sulfates). The vitamin C is
    230%
    4 tsp of "Great Value 100% Arabica Premium Instant Coffee.
    You have not used enough vitamin c! In that mix only a fraction of whats needed is available.

    Besides cirtic acid, now that is an interesting chemical, its called a RESTRAINER.

    I normally use KBr poatassium bromide for that, but i have used citric acid instead, both works just fine. I add 1 gram of KBr to one litre developer or 2 gram citric acid to one litre.

    In your mix ascorbic acid and citric acid is about the same amount. Citric acid facilitates that vitamin c is gobble up by the body, this is sort of medicine!

    Now such a concentration of citric acid, combined with so little vitamin c will give you exactly what you got, blank negatives.

    That combined with wrong type of coffee which also contains too little of the active ingredient, caffeic acid (its NOT caffeine, the poison we cofee-drinkers love, we're after here!) leaves you with nearly no developing agent at all.

    To get a result you should use ROBUSTA cofee, cheapes brand there is, and ascorbic acid powder, 100% pure.

    Your vitamin C would probably take close to 1000ml alone, and riun the concentrations of your brew.

    In short do you homework, pay attention to whats written and seek out reliable info, that digital thruth source is scketch at best.

    Find the caffein Group here on APUG, read everything als listen to good advice, visit the blog mentioned on the group, and listen carefully to what Reinhold has to tell you.

    I developed 4 films tonite, 1 127, 1 120 and 2 35mm, they where all OLD and long forgotten in the attic. 127 and 120 probably from long before 1984. The 127 was a kodacolor to boot. There where fog on the 120 but images, the Kodacolor seems to have diewd in storage (now drying)
    The 35mm was old Ilford FP4, probably exposed arounf 1984 (have to have a closer look at the negatives tomorrow, but the images seem good, but faint.

    3 out of 4 films all between 30 and 45 years in storage since exposure aint half bad!

  8. #8

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    PS that number in the Fruit-Fresh : "The vitamin C is 230%" that is 230% of the human daily dose, which is next to nothing in photograpic terms.

    I tried tablets like that, and had to filter out the anti caking agents, those would have ruined the film anyways.
    But the container stated that each tabled held 200 mg that is 0.2 gram, i.e 10 tablets gives 2 grams and 16 gram per litre requires 80 tablets out of the 99 inside the box. These things gets extremely expensive compared to 100% ascorbic acid powder!

    I use the formula

    54 grams soda
    16 gram ascorbic acid
    40 grams of robusta cofee

    to 1 litre of developer, add 1 gram of KBr to combat chemical fogging.

    This is known as Caffenol CC-M and is the standard recipe.

  9. #9
    guitstik's Avatar
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    I'm at the store now. Is the Super Washing Soda the same. I looked for the active ingredients but the only thing I can find is the sodium carbonate.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  10. #10

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    Thats the ticket!!

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