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View Full Version : Stop bath & fixer ever go off?



Gary Tarbert
10-Mar-2011, 15:01
Hi , This may sound like a silly question from someone who has developed their own b&w for a long time, but you see i have never let my chemicals get as old as the ones i have now , they would be 5-6 years old any help appriciated . Cheers Gary

Ken Lee
10-Mar-2011, 17:02
Are you referring to the unmixed powders and bottled concentrates ?

Gary Tarbert
10-Mar-2011, 17:11
hi Ken , Bottled concentrates . Cheers Gary

Oren Grad
10-Mar-2011, 17:54
Ilford says that their Ilfostop is good for 5 years in a full, airtight bottle, while unopened bottles of Hypam and Rapid Fixer are good for 2 years.

Ron McElroy
16-Mar-2011, 17:12
I don't know about a prepared stop, but I'm still using some very old glacial acetic to make a stopbath and it works fine.

Roger Cole
16-Mar-2011, 17:20
I actually faced cleaning out my old darkroom and bringing equipment to my new home, after it sat idle for more than ten years. Working strength stuff I had, back at the time, dumped and even filled the bottles with water, so the bottles were fine.

The only concentrate that I think is usable is the Kodak indicator stop bath concentrate which looks and smells like it always has. I had some odorless (citric acid based) indicator stop concentrate which had weird stuff floating in it which looked like globs of cotton. I've no idea what it was, but I didn't try to use it!

Filmnut
16-Mar-2011, 17:37
You could try seeing how quickly the fix will clear a sheet of film at working strength.
Though I feel that the cheapest part of the chain are your chemicals, so, if there's any doubt about, I'd scrap it, and get fresh. No point in having the film go bad due to old fix.
The exception might be the stop, which is acetic acid, and should keep for a very long time.

Mark Sampson
16-Mar-2011, 18:13
Rapid fixer concentrates will sulfurize over a long period of time; a nasty yellow mud precipitates out and sits in the bottom of the bottle. Tells you how much pure sulfur is in there... and that it's past time to toss it. Developers oxidize and turn brown. Dump. Roger, the 'weird stuff' in your old citric acid SB is some type of organic growth, like on that leftover potato salad in the back of the fridge. Happens to hypo clearing agent too.

Roger Cole
16-Mar-2011, 19:07
Rapid fixer concentrates will sulfurize over a long period of time; a nasty yellow mud precipitates out and sits in the bottom of the bottle. Tells you how much pure sulfur is in there... and that it's past time to toss it. Developers oxidize and turn brown. Dump. Roger, the 'weird stuff' in your old citric acid SB is some type of organic growth, like on that leftover potato salad in the back of the fridge. Happens to hypo clearing agent too.

Humm. It's possible it could have been filtered and used, but who knows what it was and how much microscopic material might end up on film and might have an appetite for gelatin? Glad I tossed it, which seemed like the only sensible thing to do.

Gary Tarbert
17-Mar-2011, 15:51
Hi , I thought rather than risk it for $30 2 brand new bottles were aquired , one of the images in the batch to be processed , cost me more than that in fuel to get to the location . Thank you all . Cheers Gary

Wayne
8-Dec-2013, 09:59
How about mixed rapid fix? I have some that I mixed for film last May, and it still clears film in 15 seconds. No precipitate, smell or other nasty signs.

C_Remington
8-Dec-2013, 10:11
Hi , I thought rather than risk it for $30 2 brand new bottles were aquired , one of the images in the batch to be processed , cost me more than that in fuel to get to the location . Thank you all . Cheers Gary

Good call.

Arne Croell
8-Dec-2013, 10:38
How about mixed rapid fix? I have some that I mixed for film last May, and it still clears film in 15 seconds. No precipitate, smell or other nasty signs.

If there is no precipitate or cloudiness and it clears the film, use it.

Roger Cole
8-Dec-2013, 10:39
How about mixed rapid fix? I have some that I mixed for film last May, and it still clears film in 15 seconds. No precipitate, smell or other nasty signs.

Then no problem.

Most photo chemicals last a lot longer than the manufacturer's very conservative numbers suggest. I just this weekend mixed up some Harman WT developer from a bottle first opened July, 2012. I poured the bottle of concentrate (which I've sadly learned is NOT air tight once the seal is broken) into two 16 oz brown bottles and squeezed the air out. The concentrate is fine. I use citric acid stop bath I mixed in March this year. It's fine. I have D76 I also mixed from powder in March this year - also fine.

Of course use fresh or test before using for film, especially important work - but by and large I've found the manufacturer's estimates are very conservative.

Bruce Barlow
8-Dec-2013, 12:10
Life is way too short to risk precious, irreplaceable film on stale chemicals. I might try old stuff with prints...maybe.

Wayne
8-Dec-2013, 15:17
Finally someone took the bait. ;)

But seriously, if the fixer works what heinous fate might await my film, in addition to being fixed? Because if it is indistinguishable in sight, smell and performance from freshly mixed fixer, shouldn't I throw that out too? Is there some chemical deterioration happening that is undetectable?



Life is way too short to risk precious, irreplaceable film on stale chemicals. I might try old stuff with prints...maybe.

neil poulsen
8-Dec-2013, 15:45
One has the option of testing fixer with products that have that purpose. Personally, I test my fixer at the beginning of processing and periodically during processing.

Wayne
8-Dec-2013, 16:07
I know the fix is nowhere near capacity yet, and it clearly still "works". What would I test? pH?

Roger Cole
8-Dec-2013, 16:55
The commercial fixer tests check for retained silver. They won't detect fixer that has deteriorated from age. Probably the best check is what you did, film clearing.