Hi, I hesitate to post after everything going on so far, and I being late to the game. But I think you're just spinning your wheels with all of the elaborate troubleshooting attempts.

This should be pretty simple to troubleshoot, and you don't need any control strips. Consider how the process works - where exposure occurred, the developer creates both a dye and a metallic silver image. The C41 bleach converts the silver image back to silver bromide, then the fixer dissolves all of the silver halide. All that should be left in the film is a dye image.

I just looked at your film comparison photo in post #10. Your processing has a very heavy "base stain," that is, the places where film should be "clear" are pretty dark. So it's either a developer or fixer problem. Why is this so? Ok, the edges of the film and gaps between frames don't have any exposure. So there should be no development here. No development means that there is no metallic silver. No metallic silver means there is NOTHING for the bleach to do. So any troubleshooting of bleach is a waste of time.

Here's what I would do, if I were in your darkroom. First, test the fixer. Do this by clipping off a piece of leader, then fix in the light to make sure it can "clear" the film. If it can, then you know the fixer is ok. Next, clip a piece of unexposed film (obviously in the dark) and develop by hand using the APPROXIMATE time and temperature. Rinse briefly in water, then fix. If this "clear" film is darker than the store-processed film, then it is due to the development step, and only the development step.

More than likely, you somehow botched the developer. I say this because fixer is pretty hard to mess up. About the only other possibility is that you are somehow fogging the film during development.

Your process is so far "out of whack" it's probably a waste of time to process that control strip.

ps: none of what I've said will test your bleach; you won't know anything about its condition. But some of the other posts tell you how to check it, AFTER you get your main problem fixed. By the way, I once described how the Kodak control strips check for a bleach problem, in this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/5...-mini-lab.html

Good luck with the troubleshooting.