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  1. #1
    Eric Mac's Avatar
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    Cold darkroom warm chemicals

    My basement darkroom gets down to the 40's during the winter. I use a small electric heater to keep my toes warm, but I finally found a solution to keeping the chemistry warm. I use trays for sheet film and paper. I purchased 3 aquarium heaters that has a remote temperature sensor and a titanium tube ( no glass or little lights) for the heating element. The tube is rated for salt water. I am testing it now and it seems to be keeping the water at a constant 68 or so. +- 1 degree after an hour.

    The only drawback I see is the use of more chemistry to keep the tubes submerged.

    A couple of precautions are necessary to do this. I am going to connect the heaters to a GFI receptacle and also putting it on my timer in case I forget to turn it off after a late night session. The thermostat has a small light on it which I need to cover with tape.

    The cost was $65.00 including postage. This is a lot cheaper than that compensating timer i keep seeing. Besides, does chemistry work at 50 degrees F?

    Eric

    Eric
    Dad, is the lens cap suppose to be on?.

  2. #2
    Gay Larson's Avatar
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    That's my problem, my darkroom is cold. I wear sweaters but can't keep my chemicals at 68 degrees. Mine stays about 60 and I wonder how much of an effect that has on the developement. I know that too warm is quite a difference but how about too cool? I'll bet I sound really dumb but I have been doing my own darkroom work for about 5 years and so far it's getting a lot better mostly since I joined APUG and can get answers to questions. Sometimes I just wait for others to ask so I don't have to but hey it's a problem now. Thanks for all the help
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  3. #3
    Dracotype's Avatar
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    Dear Eric,

    The plain and simple answer, after consulting the time/temperature chart at the Massive Developing Chart, is that yes, it does take longer as it cools down. If you remember in chemistry, a chemical reaction's rate is dependant on several things, temperature being one of them. As for 50 F, the chart doesn't even go that low (50 F is 10 C right?). I suspect that either the times are prohibitive, or the reaction is just too lax. Check out the chart yourself for a more quantitative answer.

    Drew
    "But what is strength without a double share of wisdom." --John Milton

    "Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter." --Unknown missionary

  4. #4

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    Sounds a lot like the heater I use for colour. I don't worry about the little light. Just turn it away from the paper if you're worried.

  5. #5
    esanford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gay Larson
    That's my problem, my darkroom is cold. I wear sweaters but can't keep my chemicals at 68 degrees. Mine stays about 60 and I wonder how much of an effect that has on the developement. I know that too warm is quite a difference but how about too cool? I'll bet I sound really dumb but I have been doing my own darkroom work for about 5 years and so far it's getting a lot better mostly since I joined APUG and can get answers to questions. Sometimes I just wait for others to ask so I don't have to but hey it's a problem now. Thanks for all the help
    I am fortunate to have a Zone VI compensating timer (I don't believe they are manufactured any more but you could check Calumet who bought out the Zone VI business). It has a probe on it and you place it in the tray of developer. No matter what the temperature, it assumes that it is 68 deg for film and it assumes 70 deg for the paper setting. You just develop for your normal time because it slows down automatically for cool temperatures and speeds up for warm temperatures. You often see them on EBAY. It is absolutely the best hi tech item I have in my darkroom.
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  6. #6
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I'm faced with the same question, since a room I plan on using for a darkroom in the near future is heated only by virtue of being contained in a house. There is no local heat source in the room. Now I like cold room, but I was thinking that I would use a shallow water bath around the trays and heat the entire thing from underneath using a waterbed heater, left over from the days when I had one of those soft, warm cacoons to climb into every night - and a floor that could support it.

    Comments? Anybody else ever use a warm water bath for all of their trays? Waterbed heaters?

  7. #7
    esanford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteymorange
    I'm faced with the same question, since a room I plan on using for a darkroom in the near future is heated only by virtue of being contained in a house. There is no local heat source in the room. Now I like cold room, but I was thinking that I would use a shallow water bath around the trays and heat the entire thing from underneath using a waterbed heater, left over from the days when I had one of those soft, warm cacoons to climb into every night - and a floor that could support it.

    Comments? Anybody else ever use a warm water bath for all of their trays? Waterbed heaters?
    I still use a warm water bath to keep my chemicals at a stable temperature even though I have the compensating timer. This time of year if I pre-mix my chemicals they drop to 55degrees.... So what I do, is to create a water bath at about 70 degrees and place my pre-mixed chemicals in it a few hours before going to work. It raises the temperatures sufficiently. I also use a little space heater in the room that keeps the ambient temperature in the high 60s to low 70s... I absolutely cannot stand being cold.
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  8. #8
    ggriffi's Avatar
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    Eric,

    Can you tell me where you got the heater at? I need to do something very similar to what you are doing?

    g

  9. #9
    esanford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggriffi
    Eric,

    Can you tell me where you got the heater at? I need to do something very similar to what you are doing?

    g
    I got my heater at Loews... I am sure that Home depot or the dreaded Walmart has the same thing. They have a bunch of little space heaters with automatic safety shutoff ranging in price from about $10-$30... They have thermostats as well. So, you can set it to cutoff once it hits a certain temperature. I paid 19.95 for mine at Loews. Mine is a Delonghi and it is designed for garages or workshops.

    My wife has an even smaller unit that she uses in her sewing room. On cold winter nights we even bring hers in the bed room and it gets the room nice and cozy and we don't have to run the central heating system.

    I am sure that you will find one to suit you at a real good price....
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dracotype
    Dear Eric,

    The plain and simple answer, after consulting the time/temperature chart at the Massive Developing Chart, is that yes, it does take longer as it cools down. If you remember in chemistry, a chemical reaction's rate is dependant on several things, temperature being one of them. As for 50 F, the chart doesn't even go that low (50 F is 10 C right?). I suspect that either the times are prohibitive, or the reaction is just too lax. Check out the chart yourself for a more quantitative answer.

    Drew
    Hydroquinone becomes essentially inactive below 55F and produces fog above 80F.

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