Developing film in cold weather

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by 10991184, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. I have just started developing films again, having found a hoard of exposed material I didn't get round to processing whilst i was working. Might be fogged but there is only one way to find out.

    My problem is the water at this time of year (April) comes out of the mains tap at 13C. Does anyone have any experience of cold temperature developing? It's a pain having to heat it up to 20C which is what the tables provide information on. I am using HC110.
  2. Can you not add some hot water to make it 20 degrees?? Doesn't seem too much of a pain when compared to the much bigger pain that is developing film?
  3. Try my Igloo cooler system. For close to 25 years I have used this system, even for 15 years while living off grid in my homestead. Less than 2 liters of hot water will raise, and stabilized, all liquids to the 68 f temperatures common to most developers. It is not hard to determine the needed hot water temp for your ambient temps. A little bit of work will allow you DSCF6463 ce ff.JPG to use temps +/- 5 f from that target temp. This set up has all the wash water for meeting the Ilford wash requirements. Stay safe & Aloha, Bill
  4. As above. I've always put my bottles and tanks in a big grey dishpan, the kind restaurants use to collect dishes. Then I add hot or cold to adjust. Note that the chemicals in developers react to temperature at different rates, so you can't just change the time and truly compensate for temperature. Process at 68F or maybe 70F. You might want to use the Ilford multi-bath washing technique so you don't shock the film and cause reticulation at some point.
  5. I have always developed film in something like D-76 or Acufine at a 1:1 dilution and I use that water to set chemical temperature. Same with HC-110, use water and stock solution to set temps. I keep chemistry stored at room temps of 68-74 so all the steps after developer are close to the same. You have to keep wash in that range as well. It’s a process that needs a fair amount of water at a consistent temperature all the way through.

    Rick H.
  6. I don't know that there is much wrong with doing at at that temperature, but the times will be long.

    Ilford has temperature conversion charts. The conversion is pretty much the same for all developers.

    I have a small darkroom (built by the previous house owner) which gets to about 60F in the winter.
    I got a small electric heater, attached it to a 120V thermostat, so I can warm the darkroom up to 68F.
    After about a day, I figure that the bottles will be warm enough. (Though I do check them.)

    I often use Diafine which recommends 70F to 85F, I am not sure what happens at lower temperatures.

    But as above, putting all the bottles in a water bath will warm them up. Put in a big bottle of water
    to start the wash step.

    After filling the tank with water at the fix temperature, I put it under the sink on low. If the
    temperature is different, it will slowly mix with what is there, and slowly change temperature.
  7. As opposed to the pain of waiting an hour for a film to develop and fix at 13 degrees?

    Do you not have a hot tap or a kettle?
  8. In college years, I did E6 in the student darkroom which was not especially warm.
    Hot tap water was close to 100F, so not warm enough to get the solutions
    up to 100F.

    I got a little immersion heater and warmed up a bowl of water somewhere above 100F,
    then used that to keep a tray close to 100F with plastic containers with the chemistry.
    A separate tray (I believe, that was some years ago) with the developing tank.

    I suppose in some countries it is easy to keep chemistry at 100F, and hard to keep
    it at 68F/20C.

    Usual black and white films and developers have times from 65F to 80F,
    some even higher than that.

    KodakAlaris TMax P3200 has times up to 85F/29C. Especially at the higher push speeds,
    the times for lower temperatures get pretty long.
  9. For the E6 days, I got little plastic containers from the grocery store, with lids, used for storing food.

    Write on the container and lid with permanent ink which chemical goes in which one.

    With 240mll floating (usually) in a tray, they warm up to tray water temperature pretty fast.

    First developer and color developer are the most temperature sensitive, so I stir with a
    thermometer and pour when it is right on. While it is in the tank, keep adding warm water
    to the tray to keep it close enough.

    I did 16 rolls (2 kits) that way over about 2 years.

    After that, I decided I could afford to send it out.
  10. I use a microwave oven to heat some of my b&w chems in the winter. A 1 litre beaker fits nicely in my oven, I start off with about 700ml and heat for about 45 sec, if it is not warm enough I just micro for another 20 sec. If it is too hot I just add a little of the cold chem to bring it down. I use only 1 shot developers that I mix with tap water, my darkroom is plumbed with hot/cold water. I do wipe down the micro oven after I'm done.
    bgelfand likes this.
  11. I just use warmer tap water. I mix in some hot water to increase the temperature. If the stock solution is 13 degrees and I want a working solution of 20, and I'm diluting 1+1, I use water at 27 degrees (which results in an average temperature of 20 once stirred). It's slightly trickier if you're not diluting 1+1 but it can still be done with a bit of math.
  12. As well as I know, in the early days it was done much lower than the now popular 68F/20C.
    Early gelatin was softer than they use now.

    Ilford has a converter that will convert development times. They follow Arrhenius.

    Cold stand is popular with some for use with older (maybe 50 years) film.

    But it takes a lot longer.
  13. If solution gets too cold get test tube (or similar) and fill with hot water. Use the test tube to stir solution until it reaches desired temperature.
  14. One bit I forgot with the above posting. If you refill all liquids AFTER you develop a roll (minus the active developer), the Next time you pull out the Igloo ALL chem's will be the same temperatures. I have worked out times from 65f thru 80f, so no wasted time prepping / handling the kit. Aloha, Bill
  15. I've done that as well, but you might want to keep that information from the rest of the family.

    Some people get a bit weird about using food appliances for heating 'filthy chemicals'!
    That's a new one to me. It sounds slow and needlessly complicated. What's wrong with simply standing the bottle(s) in a bowl of warm water? Or the microwave trick?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
  16. rodeo_joe1 said
    I've done the warm water soak as well. If I'm doing a single roll (8 oz solution) the test tube method works faster for me. I don't have a microwave in my darkroom so I've never tried that method. I would think that it would be very efficient.

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