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  1. #1
    arigram's Avatar
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    Solar Powered Darkroom

    Here in Crete we use solar panels to heat up the water.
    I was wondering if there are solar panels that could provide energy
    for a darkroom.
    My electrical equipment consist of a MF multigrade enlarger, an
    RH Analyser Pro, a Jobo CPP-2, an air conditioner, a bathroom
    extractor fan and ofcourse a white light bulb and two small safe lights.
    I imagine the air conditioner and Jobo are probably out as they
    would need too much power but how about the enlarger and lights?
    Is that possible or is the technology too weak still?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  2. #2
    dschneller's Avatar
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    Yes there are. I have a small (30 watt) panel, a 12 volt deep cycle battery and an inverter (1750 watt) in the garden shed used to power lights in the shed, an electric lawn mower and the laptop when it needs recharging. It is possible, however, the set up costs are quite high for photo voltaics and the ROI is low.
    "...slow down and start using photography to create an image, not just capture one." b.e.wilson

    "Speed kills, Del" Johnny Fever

  3. #3

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    Solar technology is improving all the time. I've heard of, but never seen in person, solar-powered homes. They use solar cells mounted on the roof, or the latest trend: photovoltaic roof shingles. Designed properly, the technology is at the point where this can provide all the power a home needs, at least if the home uses appropriately energy-conserving appliances and if the climate is appropriate for such things (enough sun but not so hot as to require huge amounts of air conditioning).

    I recall seeing a home-improvement TV show in which they put up a solar-powered shed, with electrical outlets for power tools, lights, and whatnot. I'm sure something like that would work well for a shed outfitted as a darkroom. You'd need a feed from the power grid for using the darkroom at night or when it's too cloudy, a battery to store power for such situations, or use the darkroom only when it's sunny outside.

  4. #4

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    What if you design an enlarger that use direct solar rather than solar electric. What I mean is that you simply pipe the light from outside via mirrors etc.. to light up your negative?

  5. #5
    dschneller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chan Tran
    What if you design an enlarger that use direct solar rather than solar electric. What I mean is that you simply pipe the light from outside via mirrors etc.. to light up your negative?
    You might have a slight issue with getting consistent intensity levels from one moment to the next. It would give new meaning to 'darkroom' when trying to print at night!
    "...slow down and start using photography to create an image, not just capture one." b.e.wilson

    "Speed kills, Del" Johnny Fever

  6. #6

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    Check if Crete has some government deal for solar systems. Italy has a deal that makes the whole setup much more $$$ friendly. The systems are grid-tied so you would still be hooked up to the electrical grid but it's possible to build a system that provides 100% of your electrical needs.

    OTOH best to cut your power use first since all the parts can be expensive.

    BTW I thought the first enlargers were solar powered. Then they moved to candles-)

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    You can, of course, switch to alternative processes that use the sun for exposure and do all processing in trays.

    Here I'm putting the scanners to good use for some albumen printing. Does that make it a hybrid process?--
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails scannersm.jpg  
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by arigram
    Here in Crete we use solar panels to heat up the water.
    I was wondering if there are solar panels that could provide energy
    for a darkroom.
    Yes.... Key is not just the panels but the inversion.. Wanna see a prototype system in Chania that's a mix of state of the art and antique tech..? Panels are not enough since you don't get enough sun days--- when the sun shines it shines but for some months, as you well know, it does not shine much--- so its a big diesel generator (running off olive seeds) and a ton of batteries.. the panels are the next phase of the testing.. OK.. this is about powering more than just a dark room but a nomadic power system.. but..
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  9. #9
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    Check if Crete has some government deal for solar systems.
    No subsidies! And the supply of technology is poor.. there are a few dealers in Athens and the prices are more than outrageous.. so its hardly pragmatic.. but there are other channels... (the heavy stuff like batteries still get sourced locally but the rest...)..
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

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