What would be a good alternative to a JOBO TBE-2?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by lomomagix, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. lomomagix

    lomomagix TPF Noob!

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    I'm interested in the hybrid route and would like to develop my own negatives/positives (35mm and MF) and then scanning them afterwards. I was concerned with temp control so I browsed the net and I came across the JOBO TBE-2 which got me interested. However, not only is it out of production (that's what I found out, so far) but the prices of the few that come out in Ebay are still prohibitive for me.

    Any suggestions as to nice and affordable alternatives? I want something where I could set the desired temp instead of having to manually measure the temp in a water bath and regulating it by pouring hot or cold water.

    Thanks!
     
  2. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hmmm... I think you may be a little too worried about temp control; for b/w it isn't THAT critical, especially when scanning since it's so much easier to adjust the final product. I keep all my chemicals/water at room temp and just adjust the development times slightly if the room is a bit warmer/cooler then average.

    It's a different story when developing color negatives; however, it's usually easier and cheaper to have color development done professionally.
     
  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    Fish tank or other large container and an adjustable fish tank heater. I did it this way for 5 years. Have to watch out as alot of new fish tank heaters are automatic (no adjustments). On the adjustable ones, I filed down the little nub so I could turn it past its max settings. Worked out good for tempering my slide chemicals. Held the temp pretty good. Actually worked better than I thought it would.

    I now have 2 TBE 2/12 units. I bought 1 new and when I figured out they were not being sold any more. I pick up another on ebay.
     
  4. lomomagix

    lomomagix TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. I figure that an aquarium and a water bath would have different max temp requirements. If I were to go the aquarium heater route, any tips on the maximum temp I should be looking out for in an aquarium heater? And I guess I would need something else, like a thermostat perhaps, right?
     
  5. lomomagix

    lomomagix TPF Noob!

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    I guess it would also be easier and cheaper to have even B/W done professionally. It's just that I want to try and experience the process, and I won't be doing that much stuff to actually account for any amount as savings, much less to make money out of this. It's actually the reason why I'm reluctant to invest even in a second hand TBE-2.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    There are plenty of aquarium heaters that are combined heaters and thermostats. Many have the heating element inside a glass or ceramic tube - this insulates the heater and causes lag in the response. That isn't a problem in a stable long-term setup like an aquarium, but it does mean that you need to pre-stabilise the temperature of water in a water bath. It's faster to use a metal-clad immersion heater. Water baths are very common in labs in general, and used heater/thermometer/thermostat/stirrer units should not be difficult to find.

    Those are the four main components of a good water bath, apart from the container and the water, of course. There is at least one pump/heater/thermostat combination available for aquariums/aquaria: the Hydor Ekip Thermopump (you can get them for $32). I'm sure that they work in the right temperature range for B&W work, and I'll check whether or not the thermostat goes high enough for colour.

    As already mentioned, you may not need a water bath for B&W work.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    For black and white I would not even worry about a heater. B+W has a very forgiving temperature latitude. A water bath brought up to temp and just occasionally checked will be just fine. Just a thermometer floating around in it so you can check every now and then. The temp should be fairly stable as B+W chemicals are basically room temp. If you mix them a couple hours in advance most chemical systems that would be fine. Unless your house or area your using is cold. Then will need the bath.


    Most color film needs to be done at 100 degrees. Needs to be consistant at 100. 100 is higher than most aquarium heaters go to. Hence my saying need to modify it so it will go warmer than normal. The one I used had a dial at the top, it had a little tab to keep from turning it too far. I filed down this tab and it worked good at keeping the temp at 100. When I was doing the aquarium bit, I also kept my wash water in the tank. The later washes are not that critical but the first couple are! So you need to have room and bottles for that as well.

    It is not hard at all. Once you do it a time or two you will wonder why people go to the lab for it (color slides that is) or b+w for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  8. lomomagix

    lomomagix TPF Noob!

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    I think that aquarium route will be the best for my needs and capabilities at the moment. And yeah, I'll look for that metal-clad immersion heater. Is that for an aquarium, too? Or is that a totally different kind of heater?

    Thanks for the link, Helen. I think that would be a very good choice (to have a water agitator as well).
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I used a second-hand Techne thermoregulator for decades - a much older model than the ones shown on their website. It would be worth looking for one on eBay, though diligence will be required to pick up an old one at a decent price. They are far more powerful, precise and accurate than most aquarium heaters. I used mine with a large washing-up bowl.

    I tried the 107 watt version of the Hydor Ekip last night over an extended time in a 2 gallon bucket. The maximum temperature it can be set to is 95 degF. At that setting it held the water at between 90.0 and 90.2 degF, switching on and off frequently. (It was, therefore, quite precise but not very accurate.) It didn't look easy to modify to a setting above 95, but as it was someone else's I didn't want to play with it too much. As already mentioned by Ben, C-41 and E-6 are 100 degF processes.

    It's not that you really need a water bath it's just that having a decent one can be very convenient, even for B&W. I wouldn't make it a priority purchase unless you live in a cold-ish house, as many people in temperate countries do.

    You can use a heater-only water bath as a cooling water bath by placing cool packs in it (not bare ice, which may melt too fast).

    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  10. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, black and white is MUCH cheaper to do at home (like 12 cents a roll) Color chemicals don't keep very well and hence require huge batches to be cost effective, there's a HUGE difference. Developing B/W film is almost always a significant cost savings measure... the same isn't true with color film--apples and oranges.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I should note that after a while I bought a 10 gallon chemical storage tank with spigot from Adorama. I actually liked 1 liter bottles floating in the aquarium better than the big tank. Just seemed easier and quicker to fill the rinse water in the tubes. They are not that much either. So could look at that. Since I have moved into my own house, I have picked up a water control panel. But have not set anything up yet. Had the plumbing changed for water supply and drain.
     

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