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  1. #1
    Scott Ridgeway's Avatar
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    Do I Really Need a Power Supply?

    I have an old D2 enlarger that, so far, I've been using without a power supply unit. I was just given a Beseler enlarger that was apparently used without a power supply unit. Given that I now want to use an electric space heater in my darkroom, I think it's time I begin using something to regulate things. So far, I've not found anything on eBay. A friend told me he knows someone who uses a car battery charger that has a 110 outlet on it. Would this really work? Any other ideas?

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    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I think it would be easier just to run the heater before and in between periods when you would be exposing. The heater coming on and off during an exposure would definitely affect your exposures due to voltage fluctuations.

    Jon
    Last edited by Jon Shiu; 11-08-2007 at 07:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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    Needing a power supply has nothing to do with the heater. If you are using the D2's incandescent lamphouse and condensers to print B&W you don't need a power supply. If you are running any kind of color process - filters in trays or dichroic lamphouse - you always have needed a power supply to stabilize the color temperature of your light source. Also, any kind of "cold" light source for B&W requires or has a built-in power supply.

  4. #4

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    Let me get this straight---you only have one outlet with one working plug in your dark room so you can plug in either the enlarger OR the heater but not both (at the same time???)

  5. #5
    wildbill's Avatar
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    Depending on the size of the heater, you may see the enlarger lamp dim during exposure when the heater kicks on. I'm guessing you'll have a ph213 at most in the enlarger. No need for a power supply. I have an ac unit on the same circuit as my power supply and i just wait til it shuts off to expose paper. If you run a separate extension from a separate circuit to your heater you'll have nothing to worry about.

  6. #6
    Scott Ridgeway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    Let me get this straight---you only have one outlet with one working plug in your dark room so you can plug in either the enlarger OR the heater but not both (at the same time???)
    No...I have more than one outlet. My concern is the heater (even though it's on a different plug) will draw current away from the enlarger. According to nyoung and wildbill, though, I don't really have a problem after all.

  7. #7
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    Actually, it's kind of impossible to answer this without knowing your electrical set up. If they're on the same fuse/breaker line, an electric heater is a substantial power draw and could possibly cause such a current drain as to dim you enlarger bulb.

    If that is the set up I can think of two easy solutions:

    1) Obtain a UPS from a computer store and connect it b/w you power outlet and enlarger. These units are designed to provide "regulated" power during outages or voltage/current drops.

    2) Consider a portable kerosene heater. The modern models are ignited electrically via a couple of D-cell batteries and once the wick is "cured" burn very cleanly. We often fire up ours at the Copake house in the "tween" seasons (late-Autumn and early-Spring) when we don't find it really necessary to fire up the whole house oil furnace.

  8. #8
    Scott Ridgeway's Avatar
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    All my outlets in the darkroom are on one circuit. I'm going to run a cord for the heater through a wall, and plug it into a different circuit. That should do it.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Caution

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Ridgeway View Post
    All my outlets in the darkroom are on one circuit. I'm going to run a cord for the heater through a wall, and plug it into a different circuit. That should do it.
    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that this isn't a good idea (fire hazard!) and could cause you real problems if you ever had to make a claim on your fire insurance.

    Any electricians here who can speak with more authority than I?

    It might be a better idea (although still problematic) to run the cord for the enlarger (less current).

    Matt

  10. #10
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    it is pretty easy to get some regulation indoor electrical wiring and wire up a new plug. It is even pretty easy if the box is near by to put in a new breaker and wire the heater independently.

    I have been using my cold light enlarger for many years plugged right into the wall. I run a heater as well out of the same box but on a different breaker. The only time I see the light dim in my darkroom is when my yard working wife turns on the electric mower in the Summer. That thing must really draw some juice.

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