View Full Version : Zone Six Enlarger Question

Tim Kimbler
6-Mar-2005, 19:08
I recently bought a several years old Zone Six Enlarger with the 5X7 and 8X10 VC cold light heads. I have never used a cold light and I have a couple of questions.

First, The head slips when you crank it up and down the track. I'm assuming there are gears inside somewhere. Any ideas???

Second, the green light flickers on the low end of the scale with both heads. Blue seems OK. I would think it should be constant. Any ideas????


neil poulsen
6-Mar-2005, 19:39
Does the negative stage have one or two columns? If one, then enlarger is a Type I. If two, then the enlarger is a Type II. With the VC 8x10 head, it's probably a Type II.

There's a gear, of sorts. If it slips, it's because you don't have enough counter-balance weights inside the column, especially for the 8x10 head. You may have to compromise somewhere in the middle, between proper counter-balance for the 5x7 head and for the 8x10 head. Is it only on the 8x10 head that it slips down?

You can order additional weight(s) from Calumet. They can be added by allowing the enlarger chassis to slip down to it's lowest level. you'll probably need to rest the enlarger on the floor. Then, pull up on the thin wire that extends into the column from the top until you can pull out the holder for the weights. Be careful not to crimp the wire. It's a little tricky, because the weights are heavy. Add the extra weight and let the weights slowly slip back down into the column until they come to rest. Try not to let them drop.

As to the green light flickering, don't dial in those levels at which the flickering occurs. They're probably not useful levels of light.

Tim Kimbler
6-Mar-2005, 20:31
Thanks, I've been using a Saunders for a long time with A VCCH. You just dial in the grade. So I'm strugling with my decision to switch, but to late to go back. I think the slipping is from a worn gear or something. The head slips when your raising it with either the 5X7 or 8X10 light. I would think adding additional weight should help. Not sure why the green light flickerd, but since it's on the low end of the scale I guess I'll try not to use it. It seems to flicker at a certian point on the dial. May be somrthing wrong with the controll unit. Can the light box and controll unit be sent in for repair? Any advice as to starting points on the dials for grades 2-5? Thanks....

Gem Singer
7-Mar-2005, 06:40
Hi Tim,

I have been printing with a Zone VI VC light from the time it was introduced. The green light on my unit is the indicator light for the built-in stabilizer. When the green light flickers during the exposure, or fails to light up, it's an indication that the cold light tubes are not warmed up to the proper temperature where the light output will be constant. When the green light stays on throught the entire exposure, it indicates that the the light output is constant. Merely using the" Focus" setting on the control box, allowing both tubes to operate at maximum output for about thirty seconds, will enable the tubes to warm up to the constant output temperature.

Gem Singer
7-Mar-2005, 07:22

Regarding your second question. It's unlikely that anything is wrong with the control box. That unit consists of a series of simple rheostats that control the output of the green (soft) cold light tube and the blue (hard) tube, individually. The "Brightness" knob controls the output of both tubes simultaneously.

My suggestion is to forget about paper grades when using VC papers. Turn all of the control knobs to their maximum settings. Make a test strip. Determine the basic time needed to make a print with those maximum settings. Then, make a test print at that amount of time. If the print looks soft, turn the "Soft" knob to a lower setting. If the print looks too contrasty, turn the" Hard" knob to a lower setting.

If you want to burn an area using only the soft, or the hard tube, be sure to turn the other tube completely off.

The printing procedure with the Zone VI lamphouse is easier to perform than it is to describe in words. Practice makes perfect. Alan Ross has a tutorial on VC printing, available on a CD from View Camera magazine. I found it very useful

Ed Pierce
7-Mar-2005, 10:01
I recently had a Zone VI brightness control go bad on me. What started as an occaisional flicker gradually got worse and was finally unacceptable...shipped it to Calumet and they fixed it quickly and cheaply. This was a timer, not a control box.

Tim Kimbler
7-Mar-2005, 19:12
Thanks, all the information is helpfull. I let both heads warm for 30 minutes tonight. They were warm to the touch on the housings. Both the 5X7 and 8X10 behave the same. Some flickering of the green and some what the blue light. The flickering seems to occure at certian points on the dials. A slight movement up or down stops the flickering and the light becomes constant. So I'm starting to think there something going on with the control box. Obviously the light source should be constant. Anyway thanks for the help....

Gem Singer
7-Mar-2005, 19:50

Now I understand! I thought that you were referring to the little green ready light (stabilizer), on the head, next to the power switch. When actually, you were describing the light eminating from the green tube.

You are probably correct. A flickering tube when the dial is set at a certain point would indicate a problem with the rheostat that controls the output from the tube. A call to the Calumet service department seems to be in order.

Ron Mc
7-Mar-2005, 22:04
As to the slippage on the heads, check the tracks on the column. They are made of plastic and can get stripped. I was disappointed in that part of my enlarger.

Tim Kimbler
9-Mar-2005, 19:16
Again Thanks to everyone. I did call the service department and discuss the problem with there technician. He felt that most likely there is an issue with the rheostats. The enlarger sat in a storage unit for about 5 years. Most likely heat and humidity are the cause of the problem. I'm in South Florida. I've sent the heads and control units in for repair. As for the plastic gear on the column, I've ordered replacements, it can be done at home. Again Thanks....