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  1. #1
    Marco B's Avatar
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    RH Design Analyser 500 for Ilford MG 500 system

    Hi all,

    Grrr... it seems my Ilford 500C control unit is toast

    Recently, I noticed some malfunction, sometimes the unit wouldn't properly start up. This deteriorated fast, with the enlarger head's lights no longer switching off and the system going haywire. Since handling the cable from the 500C control unit seemed to aggravate the problems, I initially thought I had a simple cable issue. But now, after a lot of work and replacing the cable connecting the control unit with the transformer / power unit, requiring the soldering of an 8 core wire, it still malfunctions. It is now fully disfunctional, only giving a permanent beep and displaying nonsense in the LED display.

    So, while I still suspect a cable short-cut due to cable flexing and ageing is the primary cause of the issues, I do think some other part of the control unit went bust in the process...

    I am now possibly considering buying one of these RH Design Analyser 500 control units as a possible replacement. However, I have a few questions about this:

    - What are your experiences with this control unit on the Ilford Multigrade 500 system?

    - Can it be used exactly as with the Ilford 500C unit, e.g. by simply setting time and grade? Up to now, I have never used the "probes" that came with my Ilford system, but it seems the Analyser 500 may require it? Or can you simply use it as the 500C unit, with the probe as an "optional" feature, as I would prefer...

    In addition, I am still hoping it's only the 500C unit gone bust, because, out of curiosity, I also opened up the Ilford 500S power unit / transformer. I noticed there is actually a bit more electronics there than I had expected, including at least one IC (integrated circuit) unit. I hope nothing else went toast in the process, because in that case buying the RH Design Analyser 500 might be a waste of money...

    I also noticed RH Design doesn't build these kind of power units? What do you do when the Ilford 500S unit breaks down? Besides getting a second hand one, are there any possible modern new replacements? And what about the Analyser 500 unit if the Ilford 500S also fails, am I right to assume I need to get both a new power unit AND a new control unit, since the RH Design Analyser 500 only works in combination with the Ilford 500S?

    A lot of questions, hope at least some can be answered by you all.

    Thanks,

    Marco
    Last edited by Marco B; 05-09-2009 at 11:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  2. #2
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    I have the Analyser 500 and it can work similar to the original 500C. The differences I have noticed are: 1) grades no setable in .1 increments instead of .5; 2) First the green, then the blue portion of the exposure is done as opposed to both lamps together.

    This allows much more control and also dodging or burning with hard or soft light.

    If this is the only features you want RH designs makes an fstop timer for the 500 system (without the analyser). I haven't used this, but I think it works like the analyzer if you don't take any readings.

    If you take the time calibrate the Analyser to probe works amazingly well. The grades are dead on, and the exposure readings are almost perfect. For the most part I don't need to make test strips anymore, just test prints. Thought the system does have nice facilities for fstop based test strips as well.

    As far as fixing the 500S unit, it is something I have been wondering about as well. I would love to pickup a spare. Maybe RH Designs knows how to rebuild these. They seem to be wizards with electronics.

    If you want to pay for shipping both ways I could loan you my 500C control unit to test your unit out with. I'm in the US, so shipping may not be cheap.

  3. #3

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    I picked up a Iford 500 Head on a D2 and it was real problematic. It would cut out and not start up or just not start at all. I suspected a short in the cable. I opened up the terminal end of the cable that plugs into the power supply and sure enough there was a short. The cables were soldered in an akward way so I redid the whole thing and try not to flex it. Works fine. You might give it a look--at the very least smell the plug and see if it smells burnt.

  4. #4
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattk View Post
    so I redid the whole thing and try not to flex it. Works fine. You might give it a look--at the very least smell the plug and see if it smells burnt.
    I already did that, I replaced the cable and soldered in the 8 wires new... not that I consider my soldering work any better than that of Ilford, far from it, but there was no short in the plug part of the cable to begin with, and I double checked it after my own "repair" :rolleyes: ...

    I am pretty sure there is no short now... well, at least not in the replaced cable. Of course, if any other part is toast as it seems to be, it is probably short circuiting.
    Last edited by Marco B; 05-09-2009 at 01:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  5. #5
    Fintan's Avatar
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    I have the RH Designs Stop Clock 500 and I love it, its one of the best things I ever bought, even though there was nothing wrong with my ilford control unit

  6. #6

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    Marco,

    My Multigrade 500 head can be temperamental. Sometimes it starts counting down in steps of 10 seconds, and cycles round when it reaches 0 back to 90. When it does that it is impossible to set anything or use it - I usually switch it off for a while. I phoned the people at Lightwave in the UK (where I bought it - used) and they said that can happen if the mains supply voltage fluctuates too much. I've noticed that it is worse if the oven or washing machine is on in the house, so it seems to be plausible. I certainly have less problems printing during the day and late at night than I do in the early evening when people are cooking, washing, etc.

    So I'm looking for a spare power supply too - just in case it fails completely.

    I don't know if this helps - it sounds as though your problem is worse. It's a shame as they're great to use.

    Pete

  7. #7
    Fintan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B View Post
    I hope nothing else went toast in the process, because in that case buying the RH Design Analyser 500 might be a waste of money...
    Marco, RH Designs offer a two week money back guarantee of satisfaction so you wont waste money. See http://www.rhdesigns.co.uk/darkroom/...ion.html#price for more info

    Fintan

  8. #8

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    I recently bought a second MG 500 set up to use as spares. It was when I got it home that I discovered that there are two versions and they aren't compatible! The early version has the 500C, 500S and 500H (as well as the probe and footswitch). The later version has a 500CPM controller with 500S and 500H. Not only that, the socket on the 500S that you connect to the 500H has a different pin (extra long round pin) so that you can't plug a new head into the old power supply and probably vice versa. The new 500S has some short of short as it trips the circuit breakers as soon as it is plugged into a power outlet, whether or not it is turned on. I had hoped that I could just keep the rest as spares but I have ended up with two separate systems. I'm hoping the 500S fault is trivial as I couldn't see any burning inside.

    In the attached photos the first two are the early version.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails early 500H.jpg   500C.jpg   500CPM.jpg  

  9. #9

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    The Analyser 500 is a great device, especially if you spend time calibrating it. It directly replaces the Ilford control unit - you simply unplug the Ilford control unit and plug in the Analyser 500.

    However, as you noted, Analyser 500 can only be used with the Ilford 500 head and power supply.

    So, if the power supply (or head) fails, you have a problem. And, as Paul found out, there are at least two variants of the 500 system, with various levels of compatibility. Which rather complicates the search for spare parts.

    Regarding repairing your controller if you know a bit about electronics (or know someone who does) you can download the service manual from http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/page.asp?n=161. (This is for the last of the variants, with serial numbers 5H5xxx, 5S5xxx, etc.)

  10. #10
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete H View Post
    My Multigrade 500 head can be temperamental. Sometimes it starts counting down in steps of 10 seconds, and cycles round when it reaches 0 back to 90. When it does that it is impossible to set anything or use it - I usually switch it off for a while. I phoned the people at Lightwave in the UK (where I bought it - used) and they said that can happen if the mains supply voltage fluctuates too much....

    I don't know if this helps - it sounds as though your problem is worse. It's a shame as they're great to use.
    Pete, my problem is worse... it used to work perfectly.

    I don't think there is a major issue with the supply voltage. Although any device in your house can cause (temporary) fluctuations when in use, the overall reliability of the Dutch grid is very high with only very rare outages. Besides the main high voltage powerlines, all other powerlines, whether in city or countryside, are below ground.

    And I have even used the device with a washing machine running in my house, never had an issue with that.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

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