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Spots on Negatives

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I finally got my Noritsu up and running and I'm seeing these spots right across the center of the negatives. I'm wondering if anyone could help me determine what they might be from. They are very small and seem to happen the more I run film through my machine.  The spots streak across a few negatives and then stop in a rounded formation, almost like a droplet made of dots. I've already changed out the squeegee rack and that did nothing. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by T15
Grammar

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I can wash them away, but it is difficult to do so. That makes me think it has something to do with the final rinse. I'm wondering if using tap water to make the rinse would do it. I've flushed the tanks and am using distilled now. There's also a foam roller right after the squeegee that could be the culprit. 

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Update. It has been six hair-pulling months and this still is not fixed. Every time I think I find the solution, it isn't it. I am having this issue where my T15RA is leaving spots down the center of my negatives. The spots are barely visible to the naked eye. I have to hold the film up to the light just right in order to see them, but they are definitely visible on the scans. Weirdly they only happen on Portra and Ektar, I'm guessing because of the film base of those films. I'm also guessing it is stabilizer related, because the spots come off if I rinse the film enough. It happens with fresh stab or not. It happens if I just have water in the stb tanks. It happens when I swap the dryer rack out with another one. I've taken apart the racks and cleaned them. The filters are new. I've changed the crossover racks. I've cleaned the circulation pumps. The circulation is moving. I've flushed the tanks too many times to count. Even so, it seems like every week or two I get more little, hard deposits in the stab tanks and filters.Today I rans some bleach water through the three stab tanks for about ten minutes and flushed them. The second tank had a bunch of gunk come out that I'm guessing was algae.

I'm attaching two pics. One of the spots on the negatives. They are really hard to see, but you can see them around the lights behind the negatives. The other pic is a crop of what the spots look like on a scan. They are sometimes much worse than these. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

IMG_2036.jpg

49793711_270991460263371_814278189609123840_n.jpg

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I cleaned the rep tanks. I didn't do the rep pumps or hoses. I'll add that to the list of things to clean. I thought the filters in the hose line would take care of that. Water tank looks clean, but I just bought some fuji wash powder to add to it, so I'll drain it anyway. 

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What chemistry are you running? Kodak SM or Fuji.

I know the SM fixer used to have some issues with crystalising on the the top rollers, which sometimes marked films.

Does it happen on every film or only intermittently?

If it is on every film, then run a brand new, uexposed film though the machine and pull it out as it leaves rack 1.

If no marks on it, run a brand new film through racks 1 and 2, then pull it out and check for marks.

If no marks, run through racks 1,2 and 3 and check again.

This might help you to isolate where it is happening, but only if the marks are consistent.

to get the film out of the rack as it transports through, remove the crossover and just lift the leader card out, with the film on it - don't tug on it, just keep a firm tension on it for the film to exit the rack.

Let us know how you go.

Alan

 

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I'm running Kodak chems, but it is an RA machine, so I'm using RA. The spots are consistent but only appear on Kodak Portra or Ektar, no other films. I wasn't very successful the last time I tried running a strip through the racks and checking after each one, since the spots are so damn difficult to see. I couldn't tell what were spots and what was just wet film. I think I need to run a strip through each rack and then let it completely dry after each one in order to tell for sure. 

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OK, now you are into an area I know.

Kodak C41RA fixer has a definite propensity to crystalise on the squeegee rollers (the last 2 rollers in the rack) as the film goes into the crossover, and into the next tank.

The official Kodak directive was to increase the rep rate by 10%, and add an extra litre of water to the fixer mix. (5L of concentrate with 6L of water)

We have run that way for 10+ years with no issues. I'm not saying that is your problem, but it is something to consider.

As to why only 2 film types are affected - that is odd. A wet swollen emulsion going through a rack should not be any different for different brands and I wonder if this is coincidental? 

Try swapping your 2 fixer racks around, and see if it makes a difference, and even swap rinse racks around (but NOT the final rack).

I know how hard it can be to isolate these problems, and you just need to keep trying different ideas to see if you resolve it.

 

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Ugh, it is driving me mad. I have been working on this issue for months. I've heard all the typical suggestions about dryer racks, circulation, the squeegee rack itself, but these ones no one else has mentioned. I will give them a go when I have time. I have extra racks to play around with and swap things out, so that should help. I've already tried changing out the stab racks and even swapping the exit rollers, but I don't think I've changed out the exit rollers on the fix racks.

My big issue is that I'm running so many rolls through the machine that I have time to spend days tracking it down to potentially get nowhere. I will try the fixer adjustments, too. If it works, it works. 

I know the two film types thing sounds crazy, but I have tested it extensively. It only happens to Portra and Ektar. It happens every time, regardless of when I run them or in what order or time of day or how long the machine has been on. The film bases do feel more slippery on those two films, I've noticed. 

Thank you!

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I had kind of similar issues with my v30 when I was getting it going. mine were on the base side though. I changed all my low density foam rollers in the drying unit to new ones, though I couldnt find new ones noritsu specific I did find paint foam rollers in my local hardware that were the exact same dimensions! That seemed to have helped my issue as well as turning the dryer heat down.

Edited by Bsaddler

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Bsaddler, I wish it was the dryer, but it isn't. I've changed rollers (including crazy expensive ones from Noritsu), and then I just ran film without the dryer and let it dry. Still spots. I even swapped dryer units completely. No change. 

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Today I drained the fixer tanks, flushed them, and put in new fix. I diluted the rep. mix and upped the rep. amount. There was a little bit of silver sediment in the bottom of the first fix tank, but not that much. I flushed the working tanks anyway with water and bleach water, about ten times in total. I ran some old rolls through it to make sure it was fine after I refilled the tanks. Then I ran a Portra roll, and the spots are still there.

I also pulled the racks and cleaned them. The exit rollers appear clean to me. I can't swap the racks because of the way the crossover fits into them. The racks have to be in a certain order or the crossover won't fit down into them. The spots are definitely on the emulsion side. I've ordered some film to use as test rolls to see if I can isolate where this is happening. I think I'm going to go crazy. ha. 

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I'm guessing you have already checked the circulation is good and are using chemical filters?

The only thing I can suggest is to take the FIX and STB racks completely apart and thoroughly clean everything inside.

You will need to align the gears afterwards. See the attached PDF.

T-15 Rack Alignment.pdf

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Dave, I've already taken apart the racks and cleaned them with no change. I use the hard, porous filters and clean/change them pretty regularly. Doesn't matter if they are new or not, though, still spots. My circulation looks good in all tanks, but I've never found out if there is a way to actually check if the pumps are working as they should / pumping the proper amount. 

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If you take the racks out and fill the tanks with water, and put a magnet on the lid sensor you should be able to clearly see the circulation in the tanks.

Could the chemical filters be too course? It may be worth trying some genuine Noritsu ones. Are you saying it still does it with fresh chemistry and freshly washed tanks and racks? Are you mixing the chemistry with warm water (not hot water)?

Are the solution temperatures correct (38oC) ?

How old is the chemistry? Could it be out of date?

Edited by Dave S

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Okay, so the circulation is fine, then. I've done that several times.

The spots have been there since I started the machine. I've changed all the chemistry, and it still does it. I've cleaned all the tanks, and it still does it. The tanks are actually pretty clean anyway. 

I'm mixing with room-temp distilled water since we have pretty hard water where I live. 

Solution temps are correct, measured with three different thermometers, including one I know is right that I use for my other lab purposes. I have noticed that my fix temp runs a little low (display is correct)  but still in spec. I'm wondering if one of the tubes in the manifold that heats the fixer is clogged a little, which would slow the circulation of the stab down in theory, right? 

I'm running hundreds of rolls a week, which is way over recommended rolls for the T15. I'm turning over the chemistry pretty frequently, well inside spec. 

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So it does it straight away after mixing fresh chemistry and cleaning the racks?

The fix is heated by circulating through the BL tank, so it's normal for it to be a bit lower in temperature.

It doesn't matter if you are running over 100 rolls a week as long as the replenisher rates are set correctly and the replenisher pumps are calibrated.

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If you are 100% sure the racks and tanks are clean. It has to be a chemical issue then.

Where are you buying the chemistry from? Are you sure it is not old stock?

Maybe try Champion or Fuji Chemistry as an experiment.

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If you haven't already tried it, filling the tanks up (racks in) with white vinegar and running the machine for a day will help to clear out the pumps and pipework, the longer you can run it the better. A few hours is not really enough.

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