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Thread: Water controll mixer?

  1. #1

    Water controll mixer?

    OK,
    I have a new sink installed in my "darkroom", I ripped my wifes laundry sink faucet of the wall and I've been told I need to replace it, the pipes are exposed.
    Should I go with a photographic orientated set up on a board (leedal, calumet......)?
    Or should I go the "Home Dumpo" route and make my own.
    I've read that the temp gauges on some of the brand name set up equiptment are not very accurate and allot of it is over priced.
    Any suggestions or instructions/diagrams will be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Water controll mixer?

    The Hass Intellifaucet has a very good reputation - but it's a chunk of change ($500 plus). They do turn up on Ebay now and again. I'd be wary of any old second hand unit you see for sale - most have come out of professional darkrooms and then been left to gum up in a store for a couple of years. Personally, I am much happier now that I have a control unit in my darkroom - it really removes any anxieties while film is rinsing or prints are washing. But, it's a luxury - you can do just fine without. Drop me an email off list if you'd like some ideas on specific units.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    488

    Water controll mixer?

    I use a Jobo wall mounted unit for my ATL Plus processor and the darkroom sink. Works great - just dial in the temperature and it keeps it very constant. Don't know how much I paid for it - I have had it for at least 10 years now - I don't even know if they still make them.
    Juergen

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    315

    Water controll mixer?

    I have one of these
    from Hass Mfg (with the low-flow firmware). It works quite well, but I've experienced some problems with the unit not staying locked on a temperature...

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    184

    Water controll mixer?

    I helped my father build one (home junko route) almost 20 years ago... works just fine.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    263

    Water controll mixer?

    Whichever brand and model you end up with, it's a good idea to install water filters in your incoming lines to prevent calcium from causing problems such as the one Ken's temp valve seems to have (just a guess).

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    522

    Water controll mixer?

    we have a Hass where I work, along with a couple of arkay water panels. about every year or so, we have to pull the valves out of the Hass, and soak them carefuly in some CLR (watch out the circuit board--keep it bone dry), because of hard water. Otherwise these things eventually stick a bit and you can hear them chattering and clicking as they try to keep the temp. If one or the other (hot or cold) sticks open or closed, then the thing goes haywire. it 's on an E6 machine, so if it hangs up in the middle of a 2 minute wash for example, you're pretty much screwed....if it's working right though, the hass can correct itself very quickly and will hold the temp very well.

    fwiw--we run a set of hot & cold 5 micron filters before each water panel. The filter housings are plumbed in with their own shutoff valves and couplings as well, since you need to change filters quite often for one thing, and every few years the housings will probably need to be replaced since they don't last forever. I've come in on a Monday morning to work and discovered a hairline crack in a housing that flooded out a few rooms--actually had water running down a wall of the parking deck beneath...all from a water filter housing. This has happened twice actually from ametek housings, second time flooded out a room and spread under the walls of several others...

    the water panels are also plumbed in with couplings so we can remove these if needed....most panels, if you buy them assembled, will come with a backflow valve on the incoming water lines, and with a vacuum breaker(s) as well. you need to plan on eventually rebuilding the valves, since like the Hass they can get gunked up eventually. water panels come with different flow rates, and with the electronic panels--the Hass can handle more pressure variations than a Wing Lynch, so this is another thing to consider. Also, think about the types of processing you do and whether you actually need one. For color, it's a necessity, but for b/w, it depends. At work--the arkays are used in a b/w deeptank line for the waterjacket and the washtank, and the second one is on a roller transport machine. For the deeptank, it's a neccessity for production really and for the processor--it doesn't really need one, but having the tempered water makes it quicker to heat up & mix chemistry and gives a better wash--even though the machine is b/w and the manufacturer doesn't recommend a panel.

    I say it depends...because in my own darkroom I have a Leedal water panel and while it's great, it doesn't do much actual mixing & tempering since I don't have a water chiller and where I live my cold water for the majority of the year is in 75+ degree range. At work, our incoming cold in the summer is 90 degrees. We have this screwy setup where we run 2 cold water lines into the panel and blend it with a hot. One cold is untempered, one is from a chiller and runs about 50 degrees, but the pressure is lower so to get the pressure back up, it has to be blended with the other--all to get the temp at about 75 degrees.

    I think given the amount of money they cost new--if money is a concern, think of installing hot and cold filters for your room first and then decide if you really need the panel. The panels work great if you have an unlimited supply of hot and cold water, but where they usually fail is when the water supply is compromised in flow, pressure, or just the incoming temperature.

    hope this helps & makes some sense

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    522

    Water controll mixer?

    fwiw--you do need to use filters *before* the valve, for the crud that's in water...you'd be surprised how much crap is in a municipal system....our filters look like apple sauce is embedded in them after a week or two. You can wring the filter out and it comes out in chunks. I've seen big old chunks of rust fall out from the housings and all sorts of crap that would have killed the water panel if it ever made it that far.

    One other thing about the Hass though, is that it needs to be kept at a pretty constant flowrate to maintain right. If you use it sporadically during a process, it might take a few seconds or more to pick back up. We actually run a second line off the Hass and bleed off water during the E6 run to keep the thing running at 102 constantly...otherwise the flow is reduced for the water jacket in the machine and won't be at 102 when the critical steps kick in. You could also probably reconfigure a recirculating loop for this..

    you're just asking for trouble if you don't use filters though. some people do run them before and after, but every manufacturer recommends them prior.

  9. #9

    Water controll mixer?

    If you can find the usual Lawler (who made 'em for Kodak and others), it will have both a pressure balancing section and a temperature control section. It will hold the temperature more constant than the household type, though probably not as good as a properly performing electronic unit. Naturally you need cold water for it to do its job. Somebody mentioned couplings and I'll mention them again. Use couplings! Install your valve so it's easy to remove and clean. What I did was attach "garden" type couplings to the inlets, and I run it off a couple flex hoses connected to the same plumbing the washing machine connects to (I added dual outlets). Absolutely use a filter. I filter all incoming water to the house, and that works well after an initial clean out period. Local filters are even better, but my water is pretty good to start with. The Lawler valves are fairly easy to rebuild, if you're handy. Harbor Freight sells a huge o-ring kit for about $10 that will keep one going forever. I have a technical write up with some hints on my website at :
    http://members.rpa.net/~choffman/index.htm

  10. #10

    Water controll mixer?

    For film processing in college, I rigged up a great sink with an aquariam heater and pump. I could requlate the heat quickly pump the water bath well and the water stayed consitantly up to temp. My negitives were always calebrated for the zone system and in excellent shape. For color film it was much easier to controlle temps. The entire thing then overflowed into a large darkroom sink for trays ect that was also well controlled.

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