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  1. #1
    David Brown's Avatar
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    water un-chiller

    In a recent thread on another forum, I posted this about the low-tech water chiller:

    You can basically copy a keg chiller.

    1) Picnic cooler
    2) A copper coil placed inside the cooler
    (such as: http://www.amazon.com/Copper-Immersi...ersion+chiller)
    3) Fittings at both ends of the coil

    Fill the cooler with ice water. The temp of the water coming out of the coil will depend on the flow rate. Run the water slow enough and it'll come out pretty close to freezing. Run it faster for less chilling. You'll need to add ice every so often. Instead of adding ice cubes use plastic bottles full of water that you freeze. Easy to replace when they've melted and they can then go back into the freezer to refreeze.


    The question at this time is: Can this work backwards, i.e., can the ice be replaced by say, an aquarium heater, and the water warmed up a bit?

    We have had a very cold December here in Norte Tejas, and currently, the ground water is coming out at 50F or lower. I would love to get it up to at least 60F for print washing. What does the collective think?

  2. #2
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    You don't have a water heater and hot water tap you can just mix with the cold?

  3. #3

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    I have a small water heater (6 gal?) dedicated to the darkroom, was quick and easy to install.

  4. #4

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    I installed a 20-gal heater in the darkroom to make certain that I could continue working if the main household water heater is emptied with the showers / laundry / etc all going at the same time. It happens.

  5. #5
    Truzi's Avatar
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    It is theoretically possible, no reason it should not work. I was going to say this should not be an issue for B&W, but I see you are talking washing prints, not developing. On the rare occasion I've had to warm my developer, I simply filled a plastic basin with hot water from the tap, placed bottle of chemicals in it, and waited for them to reach the temperature required.

    I will be doing C-41 soon and will use aquarium heaters to maintain the correct temps of the water baths (and indirectly heat the chemicals) - I've already tested without chemicals and it is doable. However, this is not running water. I've found a couple aquarium heaters work slowly, so you may need many, or a different source of heating, since you are presumably running the warmed water.

    Still, I'd think you could simply get the temps you want from the tap, unless you do not have hot water running to your darkroom, or don't want to involve the house's water heater (expense, or not wanting to wait for recovery). You may need more copper (larger coil) than with the chilling, but I could be wrong. Also, the materials and your time are an expense too - so make sure you put that into the equation.
    Truzi

  6. #6
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truzi View Post
    It is theoretically possible, no reason it should not work. ...

    Still, I'd think you could simply get the temps you want from the tap, unless you do not have hot water running to your darkroom, ...

    Also, the materials and your time are an expense too - so make sure you put that into the equation.
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Let me clarify:

    The question was a fairly straight forward yes or no (or so I thought).

    Yes, I could install a water heater. (The darkroom is not in the house) I plumbed for one, but have yet to feel the need for the expense of installation and operation. It would only be needed here in Texas for a small part of the year, and then only intermittently during that time. I have experience with this, and have chosen not to go with a conventional water heater.

    It's also not necessary, I'm just wondering.

    I am aware of materials and my time in the equation. But it is minimal. I guess what I assumed from my OP, but perhaps is not obvious, is that - given - that there is already a chiller installed and operating, would replacing the cold source (ice) with a heat source provide warmer water at a low flow rate for print washing? ( Maybe 3 time a year ...)

  7. #7
    wildbill's Avatar
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    switch the ice cubes with hot lava or coals
    sorry, my 4yr old is always talking about hot lava. I don't see why something you could heat up in a microwave wouldn't work. like those hot/cold packs?
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  8. #8

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    What about some sort of solar rig, with an insulated storage tank? If your requirement is modest, it probably wouldn't need a very big collector.

  9. #9
    Truzi's Avatar
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    It should work, though I don't know if a few aquarium heaters would be up for the job. I'd think you may need something a bit more robust. Would the size of your coil allow you to place it in something like a large pot that could be put on an hotplate?
    Truzi

  10. #10
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truzi View Post
    It should work, though I don't know if a few aquarium heaters would be up for the job. I'd think you may need something a bit more robust. Would the size of your coil allow you to place it in something like a large pot that could be put on an hotplate?
    Yes, and I thought of that. However, I would not feel comfortable without monitoring water heating over a hot plate. Even inside the darkroom, working under safelights and getting "in the zone" could lead to a mishap ...

    An aquarium heater that will heat up 5 gallons to about 80-85 degrees would be safe enough in an insulated container (one leaves them in the fish tank 24/7). The real variable is whether the cold water running through the coils would collect enough heat - and - NOT dissipate too much heat from the water jacket. Maybe two heaters? Looking at prices, it appears that it will cost me less than $30 to find out. Whereas a full grown water heater, installation, and plumbing fittings will be hundreds!

    Quote Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
    switch the ice cubes with hot lava or coals
    ... I don't see why something you could heat up in a microwave wouldn't work. like those hot/cold packs?


    Yeah, the hot coals problem is what I'm trying to avoid. The hot packs heated in a microwave (and my darkroom has one) would probably lose heat too fast, where the aquarium heater would at least keep heating.

    I still have my heating element that I used to use for E6 processing. With it, I got about two gallons for a water jacket up to the required 100 degrees or so (IIRC).

    Hey, other people are buying more cameras or testing 14 different films, I'm doing this!
    Last edited by David Brown; 01-03-2014 at 05:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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