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Thread: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

  1. #51

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    Found It!

    Boy it sure is snazzy on the inside! Very nice setup! I actually hadn't though about having the enlarger on more of a mobile table, so that's a thought. I priced out the raw materials earlier today and I'm up to about $1800 for most of the materials (sans air conditioner though) which isn't bad.

    Yeah... $1800 for just the building materials sounds about right. I'd budget a couple hundred more just for this and that...stuff that always seems to come up. I think the whole project stayed under $10k, including the cost of the shed itself and the mini-split, which was only about $850. That made the darkroom actually useable year round.

  2. #52

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Yep that was my plan, though I am going to try to do it in waves as best I can. On the mini-split, does it control temperature well? I've heard with some of those models since they use a heat pump they are precise without having to cycle off/on.

  3. #53

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by m00dawg View Post
    Yep that was my plan, though I am going to try to do it in waves as best I can. On the mini-split, does it control temperature well? I've heard with some of those models since they use a heat pump they are precise without having to cycle off/on.
    The mini-split is a godsend! Temperature control is extremely precise and quite efficient. And that thing is dead quiet! I have the compressor part mounted on the wall, outside the shed, about 5' from the ground. And I was willing to put up with a bit of noise so long as it made the darkroom livable. When it's going full blast, you can hear a slight low rumble. But it will freeze you out in the summer. Mine is a Gree 1/2 ton (if memory serves) and it's rated for (I think) around 500 sq. ft.; way more than enough for my little space.

  4. #54

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Ah that's good to know, thanks! Yep the AC is going to be a hard requirement for the warm months (of which there are quite a few here in Texas). My non-AC season is slightly longer since I do most of my darkroom work at night anyway but an AC will be a hard requirement. I'm trying to push it off a bit since the power requirements will add a lot of cost and I can avoid that going into this fall knowing I won't need an AC hopefully until late spring.

    I can't avoid all the upfront costs (need to insulate and properly wire the shed when it's built) but can still defer probably a few thousand which is significant since I'll be gaining 3x the space (at least) and better ventilation compared to what I have today.

  5. #55

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    As well as insulating the shed, can it have a 'car-port' type of roof-structure over the top of it? That would help considerably in sunny climates as the shed would be in permanent shade, and it would also eliminate rainwater leaks.

    The reduction in airco electricity costs would balance out the cost of the sun-roof at some point.

  6. #56

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
    As well as insulating the shed, can it have a 'car-port' type of roof-structure over the top of it? That would help considerably in sunny climates as the shed would be in permanent shade, and it would also eliminate rainwater leaks.

    The reduction in airco electricity costs would balance out the cost of the sun-roof at some point.
    That's an interesting idea; using the poor heat transmission properties of air as an insulator. Of course that works against you in colder climates where you want the sun to help you heat things up. For mine, I used R19 throughout and 5/8 drywall for walls and ceiling. I also have a radiant barrier in the roof rafters and an air gap between the ceiling and the roof. The end result is that it's very easy to warm it up and keep it warm in the winter, and cool it in the summer.

  7. #57

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Resurrecting this thread a bit - I started looking at options again and even bumped things up to a 12x12 shed in my plans for a while, which would certainly be better, but more expensive so I'm trying to make it work with a 10x10. The price of lumber is going crazy right now, but TuffShed hasn't increased their prices (yet) so I'm wanting to pull the trigger before their prices surely go up. I know some costs (such as OSB or plywood) will cost more to finish things out though.

    Here's the current block diagram of sorts:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Puke green boxes are the inlet and outlet louvers (with a fan on the one above the trays), enlargers along the one wall, sink along the opposite wall next to the workbench with a metal breadrack next to it (what I'm using now). The slate blue box is a split-AC and the blue/green box under the rear workbench is a mini-fridge.

    Tuffshed mentioned they normally do a radiant barrier _unless_ you plan on insulating (which I am planning on) in which case they switch that out with a house wrap for moisture control. This has me wondering though. If I insulate the insides, of course, I'll want to cover that as well. I had thought about just black plastic but that is also a moisture barrier and might sandwhich moisture in between the walls. So instead I'll be going probably with plywood/OSD. This also seems like it might trap moisture but is what I commonly see. I measured a real shed and thin plywood won't really change the amount of room I have available to play with. I liked the plastic as it was simpler and I wouldn't have to paint the enlarger side.

    I wasn't planning on doing everything at the get-go. Minimum is the workbenches and plumbing of the sink. For that I think I'll penetrate the back wall where my trays are just so I have options for if I'm able to get a proper darkroom sink (since that could replace the rear workbench). For power I can just run an electrical cord through the door and use some blackout cloth I think until it gets hot enough to need an AC. If I can, I'd like to go ahead and insulate but that would also mean running electrical even if I wouldn't be using it. That makes me think I can just start with the workbenches with the only caveat being when I do insulate and cover with OSB, It'll take a bit more work to either remove the workbenches at that point or just the OSB to fit around the workbenches.

    The split-AC is likely overkill but I like it because it's fully out of the way and most of them use a variable DC compressor which makes them quite efficient. Oh and for humidity for the non-AC months or when I'm not actively cooling the space, I plan on using a dehumidifier. Not cooling the space constantly means of course I won't be storing certain items in the darkroom (like my enlarging lenses) but I think that's an ok trade-off.

    If anyone else is planning something like this, happy to share some of my item and pricelists. It won't be a university level darkroom of course but much much better than my tiny existing bathroom/darkroom.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Screenshot from 2020-09-27 21-10-12.jpg  

  8. #58
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    I did my third darkroom build a few years ago and worked through much the same considerations as you are facing. I found that the thing that really makes the darkroom a pleasant and productive place is the reverse cycle air-conditioner; wouldn't be without it winter or summer. Then I figured since air-conditioned air costs money why continually pump it out via the air extraction/ventilation system. So I omitted all those fans , ducts, and louvers in favor of a blank wall. And I also omitted nasty acetic acid stop bath in favor of the odorless citric acid version. Smelly acid fixer was substituted by Fotospeed FX30 Odorless fixer. My developers, Xtol and Dektol, have negligible odor. So the "fume" problem was well solved without machinery and expense.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

  9. #59

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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
    I did my third darkroom build a few years ago and worked through much the same considerations as you are facing. I found that the thing that really makes the darkroom a pleasant and productive place is the reverse cycle air-conditioner; wouldn't be without it winter or summer. Then I figured since air-conditioned air costs money why continually pump it out via the air extraction/ventilation system. So I omitted all those fans , ducts, and louvers in favor of a blank wall. And I also omitted nasty acetic acid stop bath in favor of the odorless citric acid version. Smelly acid fixer was substituted by Fotospeed FX30 Odorless fixer. My developers, Xtol and Dektol, have negligible odor. So the "fume" problem was well solved without machinery and expense.
    Ah I'm glad you mentioned this as I was wondering how folks balance this sort of problem. It can get up to like 104F/40C here in the summers so AC is all but a must. A ventilation system would certainly be pulling a lot of cool air out. I was thinking about trying some RA-4 printing eventually and like to tone my nice fiber prints in selenium. Those are the two cases where I think I would like ventilation. I do my selenium toning in my garage right now and it's pretty inconvenient.

    I was thinking though about making some vent covers to block a big portion of the air exchange for when I don't need that level of ventilation (like when developing film since, like you, I also use XTOL - replenishment in my case).

    For film I use a water stop, but still use a stop for prints but was thinking about switching to something like vinegar or another more eco friendly option over an indicator stop.

  10. #60
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Re: AC, Venting, ideas for a Darkroom Shed?

    The big stink in a conventional black and white darkroom, the one some people spend hundreds dollars trying to conquer is, 99% of the time, acetic acid fume from the stop bath. Vinegar is just another name for acetic acid and it has the same nose-wrinkling smell. Rather than bring acetic acid in any form into my darkroom I use Fotospeed SB50 Odorless Indicator Stop Bath which is citric acid based; looks like acetic, works like acetic, same indicator, but no smell.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

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