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  1. #1
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Thermometer advice needed

    I have a beautiful classic glass and stainless Kodak Process Thermometer but although it is great for use as a standard to calibrate to, for obvious reasons I'd rather not use it for daily darkroom duties. I have a Premier dial thermometer that can be calibrated but everything else about it is awful, its scale goes from 15c to 70c so the degree increments are infinitesimal and 20c is way down at the lower extreme of the scale, parallax is a problem and the needle vibrates unreadably with the slightest touch.
    A new thermometer is the single improvement that would make my darkroom life immeasurably easier. I'd like to find something that is accurate, can be calibrated, easy to use and read, designed for the Black and White processing range and rugged enough for everyday use. Either Dial or digital.

    Any suggestions?
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  2. #2
    Canuck's Avatar
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    I use an old small dial thermometer. Had it for years. It goes from -20C to 100C. Can't remember where I got it from but it has the Cooper name on its face. It is small, about 6" long and the face dial is about size of a quarter. This has worked well for me for BW and colour over the years. If I were to purchase a new one today, I'd think seriously about a digital one. Don't really need it accurate to .10 but like the idea of a reading at glance without having to think about the little tick marks on a dial. Old eyes?

  3. #3
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I just got a thermometer that might suit your needs. A Weston 3" dial, metal parallax reflector between C and F scales, 25 to 125F and -4 to +52C, half degree marks between 65-80F and 20-25C, calibrateable. Forgot the price, but I think B&H has them. Responsive, easy to read, nice scale spread.

    Lee

  4. #4

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    Taylor makes a digital instant read thermometer, p/n 9865, that can be re-calibrated. If you're process is set up to match the Kodak readings, you can adjust the Taylor to match. It's part of their commercial line, I saw it at the local restaurant supply store. I think it was around $35.

  5. #5

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    Thermometer

    Flotsam-buy the weston type thermometer. I have couple of them. Nothing to break;they are accurate and fairly cheap. I think Calumet has them also.
    Peter

  6. #6
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Remember ANY thermometer that can be calibrated is, by definition, inherently wrong. Stick with and get used to using the Kodak. You'll never have to calibrate it and if you are calibrating your processes to it now, keep using it. There's nothing wrong in caring for your thermometer as you would your film or anything else you depend on.

  7. #7
    KenM's Avatar
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    You know, one of the best thermometers I've ever used is a small digital therm. meant for food use. I have x-checked this thing with a few other therms, and it appears to be right on. it has two problems, however. 1) You can't get the head wet, since that would destroy it, and 2) it has no clip, so you have to hold it. It works very well for checking solution temperatures, but I wouldn't want to use it to try and bring a solution to a temperature. That would be painful.
    Cheers!

    -klm.

  8. #8
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Paterson calibrated spirit thermometers are (allegedly) accurate to 0.3C and come in Colo(u)r and B&W versions. Under a tenner in the UK - presumably available in the US for an equivalent quantity of beer tokens....


    Bob.

  9. #9

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    I had half a dozen dial thermometers but many of them gradually went off. I'm not an expert in this area, but those dial thermometers suffered from temperature outside the measurable range and/or mechanical shocks. I no longer use a dial thermometer for anything critical.

    For one thing, if your spirit/mercury/whatever thermometer is in a standard size, get a good armor. You'll feel much easier to do calibration more frequently.

    Digital thermometers... you can find an entry level lab thermometer with accuracy (not readability) less than 1C for $40-60 range. But if you are concerned about 20C or 25C only,
    you could get a cheaper one and note the offset against your standard thermometer. Many digital thermometers have long probe length and deep immersion requirement for accurate reading. I'd pay a bit extra for short immersible probes, which is very useful when measuring small quantities of developers or whatever.

    After all, depending on your frequency of thermometer use, getting a couple of cheap and good spirit thermometer with armor may do. A 6" one for 0-50C can be had for a couple of bucks a piece from surplus lab supply houses. (If the armor is really good, and if you are careful, they can be good enough as a stirring paddle... though I wouldn't use it to dissolve solidified powder.)

    Now for spirit thermometers... for regular film processing in daylight tank, this doesn't matter much, but if you have to measure temperature under safelight, get a BLUE spirit one. Red doesn't have enough contrast. And this is one place where a good digital thermometer with a big display can be a lot easier to use.

    There is another kind of thermometer... infrared radiation (noncontact) thermometer. They are good for contamination-sensitive stuff like emulsion, but they are generally not accurate enough for developers. They are probably more useful in kitchen.

  10. #10
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    Bruce, This an old style glass and mercury Kodak Process Thermometer that is only marked in fahrenheit (the later C/F ones were sloppily engraved IMHO). A real treasure and not to be trusted to a clumsy butterfingers like myself in daily use. I'd like to use it to calibrate sturdier thermometers that can actually be replaced if they are broken.

    I used a Weston Mirroband for years and loved the way that they deal with parallax. That one wasn't calibratable and I've never been clear on whether they make one that is.

    Dave, Digital would certainly be easy on the old eyes. I'll check that out.

    Thanks all
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

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