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E-6 Low Red D-Max Levels


XXLtdLab

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I'm having trouble with an E-6 process, due primarily (unfortunately) due to underutilization.  I'm pretty well versed on C-41, RA-4, B&W pos., neg., reversal but E-6 not so much.

Anyway, I've been told that low red d-maxes don't have anything to do with the developer, but rather pre-bleach, or clearing bath.

Does anyone know if this can be fixed with pH, specific gravity adjustments, or is this a situation where the thank will have to be dumped?

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You would think if it was under-aerated you would just aerate it ! Or find out why it isn't aerated and fix that.

How many litres are we talking about here?

When I dump the dev in my current C41 it costs about $20 so we simply dump it if we have any problem at all. And we can do that in about 5 minutes.

Its easier than thinking about what has gone wrong.

Its a bit different with a huge E6 machine.

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Boy, it's been so long I forget.  We're talking at least 5 US Gal, prolly more (19L),

Yeah it is different with a huge machine.

It's a dip and dunk.  Floating lids on at night.  But I don't think we have an air-stone in there for the bleach like we should.  In the past the machine was active enough that the agitation took care of it, but I remember in the past with large tank processors that people had all sorts of air pumps trying to keep usuually bleach/blix solution fresh.

I still don't understand why bleach NEEDS oxidation which kills all the other chemistry.

We don't want to stop running E-6, but we're not making any money at it without dumping tanks.  Idle time is all we have :-/  Not that I'm greedy, but dumping a tank that can be fixed just seems really wasteful and an unneeded strain on the environment, equipment.

Thanks for the advice.  IDK why I couldn't 'find that page in our Z manual.  I know they changed "first wash" to some sort of stabilizer bath.  Maybe that is why.  Our manual's probably been sitting there since 1986, and they changed the process inthe mid '90s to remove formalin/formaldehyde from the final bath and added an agent elsewhere.

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It was a long time now that we are not developing E-6 films anymore, and at that time I even had a course for Q-Lab monitoring in Chalone, France.

If I remember correctly Cyan/Red shift is directly connected to the temperature off the first wash and Yellow/Blue shift is connected to the pH state in the Color Developer which is corrected by NaOH or H2SO4 depending off the color shift to yellow or blue in control chart plots.

But too keep E-6 process stable you have to do the plots everyday too see the trend off the process so you can correct it day by day as I done in the past specially on the end when we had a very low volume  :-/

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I agree.

This is a consistent low red value (low cyan dye).

So check wash temperature first, then bleach then fix?

Yellow and magenta dye (GRN and BLU densitometer channels are consistently where they should be, just the RED reading / cyan dye.

At the time you were doing E-6, pskaro, was there still formaldehyde in the final rinse?  I'm worried that the tank in question has switched over to a solution from a pure water wash.

E-6, if I am remembering right goes B&W Dev. Wash Reversal Bath Color Developer, and I need to check the temperature of that first wash first, then move on to bleach, then move on to fixer?

Have access to acids and bases, specific gravity measurers, but NOT a pH meter.  Can anyone recommend a source for good pH strips in the United States that'd be suitable?

Can anyone recommend a good amount of aeration for the bleach?

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At the time you were doing E-6, pskaro, was there still formaldehyde in the final rinse?  I'm worried that the tank in question has switched over to a solution from a pure water wash.

The last time I worked with E-6 developing was 2002 I think and at that time I was 2 years working as a field technician and my colleagues from our company lab were calling me on the mobile phone and reading me the values from the control strip and I suggested them what action to make to have process in the control, so I barley remember anything about E-6 control processing, but I think in the last years we switched to the formaldehyde free final rinse, and that did not had any effect on the process, and also I never had a problem (that I can remember at least  ;)) with this red/cyan issue.

Have access to acids and bases, specific gravity measurers, but NOT a pH meter.  Can anyone recommend a source for good pH strips in the United States that'd be suitable?

I never used pH meter, I just control the yellow/blue shift from the control chart and if I remember correctly this was an issue only when you subtract HD-LD readings, and only then it was possible to detect this problem and usually only 5N NaOH was added, never  H2SO4  8)

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Thanks for the further info.

OK< looking at the manual I find I should've been looking at chart "D".  The "change" in the process is that now, I think there's a preservative in the pre-bleach, and that has gotten more finicky.

So it says I am supposed to check specific gravity of the pre-bleach and adjust it accordingly if need be.  Then I need to check temperature of first wash should be between 92 and 103°Fahr.(33.3°C-39.4°C).  I know how to deal with these two situations.

But I am still not quite sure what to do with aeration of bleach or fixer if those two are the problem.  Does anyone have experience with aeration?  It's a dip and dunk with very deep tanks.  I said 19L, but they're actually more than double that.  Was thinking of the developer tank, which is half the size of all the others :-0

If the bleach or fixer are underaerated, the manual doesn't really give a solution, other than starting aeration, swapping out solution or dumping solution completely.  But there are no recommended amounts of aeration, methods for doing so (nitrogen burst I don't think counts, it has to be oxygen), or recommended chemical "splits" for a recommended "spike" in the chemistry to regenerate it.

Also, thank you for the tip "frenchman,"  I will look to see if the answers to my questions are there.  However, we have the full Z-119 manual for E-6, just the older version that doesn't take into account the new pre-bleach formaldehyde replacement from the mid '90s I mentioned. . .

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If the bleach or fixer are underaerated, the manual doesn't really give a solution, other than starting aeration, swapping out solution or dumping solution completely.  But there are no recommended amounts of aeration, methods for doing so (nitrogen burst I don't think counts, it has to be oxygen), or recommended chemical "splits" for a recommended "spike" in the chemistry to regenerate it.

In our lab where I am working we had Noritsu R430 film processor (or 340 ?) with air pump aeration for the bleach, but in another lab we had dip and dunk processor and if I remember they were using the nitrogen burst as aeration for the bleach only, and I think for dip and dank film processor that is the only proper way for aerating the bleach  8)

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The reason I thought maybe nitrogen burst wasn't enough is that the O2 molecules actually do cause some action.  N2 is inert, which is why it's used for the dip-and-dunk:  to MINIMIZE oxidation.

I always though aeration needed AIR (specifically the O2 component of air).

Anyway, didn't get to it today.  Hopefully will be able to report back tomorrow. . .

Anyway, I've heard of people using fish tank air pumps specifically for either bleach or blix (bleach-fix) on other processes.

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Thanks for the tip Allan.  We didn't run E-6 today, so I put off checking 'til Monday. . .

So you're thinking it's chemical exhaustion, rather than something simple in the Z manual.  I'm afraid of this, trying to get the owner to dump six or seven USGal of soln. is harder than any of this measurement in the dark  :-/

Still if it fixes the problem, I think it's worth doing.  

I know there's a high-replenishment developer for low utilization C-41 processes.  Thankfully, our C-41 is just fine, way up from 2010 :-D So we don't need to implement that there, and the floating tanks help too.

But E-6, boy, we desperately need high-turnover everything.  We have very low oxidation, same machine, but our percent utilization might not be 25% a MONTH let alone a week at this point.

You have any recommendations on the chemistry that could help us with the underutilization situation?  Thanks. . .

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  • 3 weeks later...

Still haven't tracked down whe4ther the first wash temp is the problem or not  We have a water vae that sticks on our other machine that might be running us out of hot water.

The specific gravity of the color developer is high.  I read it at 1.051 (not sure if it is at the correct 77 or 80 Fahr. though)  whereas it should be 1.038.  

Wash water is low temperature right now too.

Is there some sort of test I can do with fogged B&W film to test bleach, fixer?

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