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Thread: Water chiller options?

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Water chiller options?

    Guys. I tend to develop film once or twice a year in marathon sessions as I have no real deadlines to meet with my film photography. These sessions are almost always in the winter when the water temperature is low or at least lower than 68 degrees. For reasons that are not important I could not develop film this last winter and need to do it now or soon. Tap water right now is like 78 degrees. Doing the odd sheet of film by chilling down the chemicals is one thing. Doing it for a solid two weeks for 400 sheets of film, 6 at a time, is another level of PITA all together. Is there a cheapish ($100) water chiller option over the counter that works? Or if not a DIY option that I could build?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Kirk, you got my attention but I have no inexpensive solution, but I do have a question - do you have an old well on your property? I ask because when I lived in New Mexico a great find was a well that failed. Failed to continue delivering water, but at the deepest part it was cool and dropping a coiled up lawn hose fed by city water then back up was a treat.

    Thinking, thinking..

    Best of luck, Sir.

  3. #3

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    Re: Water chiller options?

    My immediate suggestion would be a wort chiller/ immersion chiller/ heat exchanger - they can be had from brewshops/ brewing suppliers for under $100 for a smaller model & work very well indeed. However they do need a source of cold water to be pumped through them. I guess you could use one 'backwards' as it were - sit it in ice/ chilled water & pump the water you want to cool through it, but I'm not sure how well that would work.

  4. #4

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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Guys. I tend to develop film once or twice a year in marathon sessions as I have no real deadlines to meet with my film photography. These sessions are almost always in the winter when the water temperature is low or at least lower than 68 degrees. For reasons that are not important I could not develop film this last winter and need to do it now or soon. Tap water right now is like 78 degrees. Doing the odd sheet of film by chilling down the chemicals is one thing. Doing it for a solid two weeks for 400 sheets of film, 6 at a time, is another level of PITA all together. Is there a cheapish ($100) water chiller option over the counter that works? Or if not a DIY option that I could build?
    I understand you only need to control developer temperature,

    I've similar problem in summer, but as I use Xtol 1+1 I mix cold water that was stored in a chiller with stock developer, if developer is at 74 I prepare cold water at 62 (or 61) when mixing 1+1 the resulting temperature will be 68. Stop bath and fixer temp it's a least concern...

    If you develop with stock solution you have de possibility to store part of the developer in a chiller (at say 55F) and then mixing it with developer at room temperature until you get 68.

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Thanks but no Jac. I like the idea. We live in the city in an area that hasn't had legal wells probably since the 50's. When I bought the property in 76 there was an old well pipe but since it wasn't legal and probably dry (the water table has dropped from the city wells) we cut it off, capped it, and buried it.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  6. #6

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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Being in the SW, you should consider a water line chiller... (Think of it as an air conditioner for your water) Even if it's a low flow unit, you can use an old water heater as a holding tank after the chiller so you have a a steadier cooled reserve for extended flow, such as washing... Some with a thermostat can reverse the cycle and be used to warm the water during winter months, so another benefit...

    Or you can wait a few weeks and everything should cool down by then...

    Steve K

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Being in the SW, you should consider a water line chiller... (Think of it as an air conditioner for your water) Even if it's a low flow unit, you can use an old water heater as a holding tank after the chiller so you have a a steadier cooled reserve for extended flow, such as washing... Some with a thermostat can reverse the cycle and be used to warm the water during winter months, so another benefit...

    Or you can wait a few weeks and everything should cool down by then...

    Steve K
    Thanks. They are pretty pricey though right?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8

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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Why I have an Elkay erw 32 chiller but it's a lot more than $100 by a factor of around 15x.

  9. #9

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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    Thanks. They are pretty pricey though right?
    I ended up with one several years ago, that I didn't get around to hooking up... My was from scientific surplus, a high flow model, but very heavy (150lbs + on wheels) that was probably used as a part of a laser cooling water jacket assy, and had a thermostat dial for cooling + heating + requires a 240 VAC line... In short, it is probably overkill, but an industrial grade unit, but was about $150 surplus...

    But it made me look around on line to see what else was out there, and there are several lower output units that were very reasonable and smaller for I think lower than a few hundred dollars, but were slightly heavy (but smaller) but the shipping costs were a factor... But there might be a lab or medical gear supplier in your area that have them new or surplus... Google them and see if they might be an option... Sure would be the greatest darkroom thing since sliced bread!!! (At least a small one might be used as a water jacket in a sink, but enough flow for a warm water line use would be a question to ask...)

    Steve K

  10. #10
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Water chiller options?

    Kirk, Is the darkroom air conditioned. Developing film in warm air and cool water is a moving target. Turn on the AC to have a comfortable darkroom, freeze some milk cartons that you use to chill trays and graduates, etc., with cool water. 72F to 75F chemicals are fine and don't really need anything special. Follow the temperature charts and off you go. If you don't have AC, do you have a swamp cooler? The water in the basin of my swamp cooler is quite nice. You could cool off your chems there. If all you have is heat, wrap your chem bottles in a towel and blow a fan across them. Keep the towels wet. Like an old water bag on the front of the car or fence post.

    There's a water chiller on Craigslist in ABQ for $300. That money would buy a lot of ice.
    my picture blog
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