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Thread: Never Give Up - darkroom near-disaster

  1. #1
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Baltimore MD

    Never Give Up - darkroom near-disaster

    I use a JOBO 2551 processing drum and reels for developing my 4x5 B&W negatives. Never had a problem for many years, until Sunday when I reached for the drum loaded with 8 sheets of film. It was in the closet in low light and the top came off when I grabbed it! The lid had failed to fully lock when I loaded it in the dark. As quickly as I could I pressed the lid back in place. Oh geez, the film was ruined? I pondered scrapping the sheets inside, but I'm stubborn, and proceeded to the kitchen sink.

    I prepared the developer and poured it in and started the Unicolor roller base. Immediately it was leaking the developer solution onto the counter. Meanwhile the time was counting down. Time to think quick! Figuring the lid was still not on right I put the drum in the sink and rotated it manually while the developer slowly leaked out. What the heck, I can try in vain. When the timer finished there was no developer inside. Oh well, I'll continue. I rinsed with water, and knowing it would still leak, I poured the fixer into the upright drum until it was full to the top, about 3.5 liters worth. I set the timer and fixed the film, what was left of the mess inside.

    Well wadda-ya-know, the sheets of film at the bottom were okay. No noticeable light strikes and no noticeable developing inconsistencies. Emphasis on noticeable. The top reel had ruined negatives from both light leaks and inconsistent developer coverage. However, one was light struck thinly along one edge and I did manage to save it somewhat in Photoshop. I posted photos from two negatives on the LF Landscape thread.

    So, to explain the cause of the problem if you use JOBO drums. The lids have an orange collar that locks it on the drum. The black lid has finger tabs around the inside - and this is important - the orange collar has 3 index tabs that need to fit properly into three gaps between the finger tabs. My mistake was not realizing those tabs were not aligned and thus the lid did not seal like it's supposed to.

    I processed another run of film this morning with the 2551 drum and had no trouble with the orange collar properly seated in the lid. The negatives are okay.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Re: Never Give Up - darkroom near-disaster

    As a Jobo owner, I read your post like it was a dramatic page-turner! I am glad it turned out well. I am surprised by the stupid little mistakes I have made from time to time with Jobos (CPE-2, ATL-3, and now a CPP-2) but I made a lot more in the pre-Jobo days.

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