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  1. #1
    aleksmiesak's Avatar
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    darkroom ventilation advice needed

    Hi there!

    I'm almost done with building my darkroom and was doing some research on fans. My space is about 7ft wide and 30ft long. I plan on replacing one of the windows (there is a total of 4 that will be covered) with plywood with a fan installed in that. Could someone recommend a ventilation system I should be looking at? I have looked on B&H and Freestyle websites and they both have pretty much the same kits and very few review. Anything I should stay away from?

    In advance huge thanks for any help!

    Cheers!
    Aleks
    Aleksandra Miesak

    "One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind." - Dorothea Lange

  2. #2
    zsas's Avatar
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    <$200 for the whole caboodle if I can remember:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showima...mageuser=50007

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showima...mageuser=50007


    I had to mess with the Doran fan to get it to vent out. I suppose a different maker's fan could be used, like a bathroom exhaust fan, I just happened to have been given the Doran and make it work as the above show....
    Andy

  3. #3

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    My recommendation will be a Panasonic fan. If you google Panasonic Bathroom Fan, you'll see a bunch. While they are more expensive, they are very quiet. All you hear is a rushing of air, not the motor going BWAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    aleksmiesak's Avatar
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    I should probably mention that my ceilings are about 12 ft tall and I really don't want to deal with suspending anything that way. The window is pretty much my only option and I'm hoping that will be sufficient without the need of a hood over the sink. I'm hoping that louvers installed in my door at the other end of the room (about 20ft away) will help with generating sufficient enough air flow through the room.
    Aleksandra Miesak

    "One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind." - Dorothea Lange

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    When you force air out of a darkroom, air must also enter it. Consider forcing filtered air into the darkroom to control dust. Perhaps there will be enough leaks for the outflow. If not, an exhaust port with a light trap can be installed in one of the windows, preferably far from the fan for cross ventilation. Having the fan exhaust air from around the developing trays would be healthier, but a dust free darkroom saves a lot of spotting. Anyone who can build a darkroom can improvise an efficient ventilation system cheaper and perhaps better than buying one.

  6. #6

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    Aleks,

    You should figure out the cubic feet of the room. Although you didn't mention the height of the ceiling I will assume it is about 8ft. so about 1600cubic feet. Pro-lab made a fan that will handle a 20x20ft room and exhausts 600CFM there are others that are about half the price that are designed for smaller rooms that exhaust 400+CFM but may be less effective in a larger room. They are light tight and as mentioned you need a light tight intake and the fan exhaust the chemicals not pull them towards you. The one that exhausts 600CFM would give you a change of air about every three minutes. So if going with some other type of fan you could use these specs as a guide.

  7. #7

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    jeffreyg, he said 12 foot ceiling in a subsequent post, so 7 x 30 x 12 feet = 2520 cubic feet. I don't think any of the Panasonic bathroom fans will be effective for a room that size. I would probably consult an HVAC person in my area, but probably something like this Doran Pro-lab SL/PS Darkroom Exhaust Fan would do the trick for a room that size. It's not that much more expensive than a Panasonic 150 CFM fan.

  8. #8

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    Here's what I've done, so maybe you can judge fan size accordingly. HVAC consultation is a good idea. My darkroom, for b&w only, is about 7.5 x 14.5 with 9 foot ceiling, nearly 1000 cu.ft. I installed a 12x12 Doran fan (400 cfm) with its appropriate louver and installed the Doran speed control (rheostat) to exhaust the room air to outside. I placed it on the wall near the location where the fixer tray would reside. On the opposite wall is the inlet air that is filtered with 3M Filtrete filter, changed about once a year, incoming air is drawn from living area (laundry, storage cabinets, cat litter box, etc.). This arrangement creates a cross-flow and I've never noticed fixer fumes being bothersome, and I've never had to set the fan speed above about half power. I chose this negative pressure system because I was concerned that a positive pressure method would force objectionable fixer fumes to exhaust into the living area. The darkroom has stayed remarkably dust free. Before I installed the Doran fan, I found it to be very quiet just holding it in my hands, and I paid great attention to isolating its vibration when supporting it in the wall. However, the use of a standard outside aluminum vent cover (with flapper door) and tunnel through the wall creates a lot of noise from air rushing through. So I intend to replace the aluminum stuff with plastic materials and cushioning to reduce the noise. Since you're in MT, you should also think about keeping the room warm during winter sessions. I installed a thermostatically controlled electric wall heater (with small blower) because the fan will also be exhausting warm air. This heater only runs occasionally as a chill chaser; we don't usually have very cold winters here in the Seattle area. The glowing red coils are not visible in the darkness due to the louvres on its grill.

  9. #9
    Henry Alive's Avatar
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    I would like to recommend you the system that I have. Look here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/1...raits-118.html
    I hope it helps!
    Henry.

  10. #10
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Lots of really good setups from everyone. I'll go ahead and add my somewhat unique approach using matched twin high-capacity industrial fan units, described in this post from 3/31/2010.

    It's worth noting that I live in the Puget Sound (Seattle, Washington) area where the summers and winters are relatively mild. This means I almost always have a pleasantly cool pool of air available right outside for my direct ventilation needs, even in January. Don't know how well it would work if the temps were like Phoenix, Arizona.

    Like you, I also boarded up an existing window, then mounted my fans inside a completely enclosed external box outside the house. This keeps down the noise considerably. For those occasional very cold winter days (it was -2F/-19C one night a few years back) I also installed a light bulb socket inside the exterior fan enclosure, with a wall switch inside the darkroom next to the speed control. I can use this to keep the fans warm and running smoothly when it's so cold outside that I only need to run them at very low RPMs.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

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