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  #1  
Old 14th September 2021, 01:56 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Default Development adjustments for hard water?

Over the past 9 months or so I have been spending the majority of my time working in the British Columbia interior (on a 5 weeks there / 2 weeks home rotation). I plan to start doing film developing at my house there, using mostly the same films and chemicals I've become accustomed to at home in Ontario. I.e. homebrew Perceptol and D76 from raw chemicals*, plus some experimenting with HC110, Xtol, and packaged Microphen (finally!).

(*the raw chemicals thing may be an important point, as there will be no buffers or other additives that the manufacturers add to compensate for varying water hardness levels)

The water at home is quite soft, being Lake Ontario source, and my development times and other routines were dialed in to that water. So my question is, with the water in BC being much harder, is there any adjustment that I need to apply to development times to compensate? At least a general rule of thumb to get me started?

Are there any other things I should be aware of? I'm a bit concerned about the final rinse and drying spots. I've been using a few milliliters of Photoflo in the final rinse - maybe a 1/4 capful does the trick in soft water. Should this be bumped up a bit?

I've never lived in an area with hard water before, so am keen to hear from anyone here who has experience dealing with this.

Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by Svend; 14th September 2021 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 14th September 2021, 03:22 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is online now
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Svend it might help if you can find out the water hardness figure for your part of BC and let us know. That way we have an idea of its hardness compared to the water we use, wherever we may be.

Thus if those of us in similar water hardness areas can report no problems without special arrangements then this is likely to indicate no problems for you with BC water

My water is well up the U.K. league table for hardness and I have never found there to be problems with any of my "off the shelf" developers such as Rodinal, ID11, Ilfosol, DDX, Xtol

You could use distilled water throughout or distilled on the final rinse and if distilled is relatively cheap then this may be fine. On the other hand, why spend the money if it is not necessary?

Mike
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Old 14th September 2021, 03:35 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Hi Mike,

I checked the town water report and found a value of ~320 mg/L CaCO3 hardness. How does that compare to your area?

I should also note that the water leaves a pale brown chalky residue in the bathroom fixtures over time, and the tests showed iron and manganese to be somewhat elevated.

As for bottled water, that is readily available in 5 gallon jugs for cheap. I can get demineralized water and probably distilled water also. If need be I will go this way, but I'd rather not have to fuss with it to be honest.

Are you using only packaged brews? Or have you ever mixed your own from raw chemicals? I ask only because I know Ilford puts an additive into their powders that buffer (not sure if that is the correct chemistry term) any variations in hardness, which would of course not be included in my homebrew recipes.

EDIT: I just found Pete's post for the Perceptol recipe and see Ilford adds Sodium Tripolyphosphate at 3.5 gms to their mix.
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Last edited by Svend; 14th September 2021 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 14th September 2021, 04:49 PM
Michael Michael is offline
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Svend, you may get some hints from this thread.
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Old 14th September 2021, 05:31 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Thanks Michael - just had a quick read-through, and there are some good insights there. I am thinking now that maybe some big jugs of demineralized or distilled water would be the best answer after all. The water really is quite hard. It would be a shame to waste the first few precious films trying to adjust to this, when I can start off problem-free with bottled water. I can do the main film washing in tap water, but all chemical solutions and the final rinse would be in distilled. A jug would last ages at that rate.
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Old 14th September 2021, 06:46 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is online now
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Svend, I have just checked my area's hardness and while it is pretty hard at 211 using the same measurement as you are using, then at 320 your water must be at the very top end of the hardness scale. Thus it may be that my 211 is so far below your 320 that my experience is not comparable enough with yours to be meaningful

There are areas in the East and South East of England with figures of 315 so any FADU members in Bedford or Bedfordshire or in large areas of Norfolk and Suffolk may well have very similar readings

A response from one of our members in these areas might be very useful

Mike
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Old 14th September 2021, 07:15 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Thanks Mike. Interesting to hear of how my area compares. Seems pretty high here then, which I suspected was the case. You can taste the chalkiness actually. It's not objectionable, but you can tell it's there...
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Old 15th September 2021, 11:14 AM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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Personally, I would go with demineralised water for your developer, whether your own home brew or the off the shelf stuff.

I would also go with a final rinse in demineralised water too - with as little wetting agent as you can get away with.

For what is is worth - for my final rinse in wetting agent, I open the reel of film and drop the film only into the solution - I never immerse the reel - to avoid any chemical residue build up.

Interestingly, there is some evidence that film washing in hard water is quicker than in soft - but I would stick to the same wash times as you have always used.

Xtol has had some issues with water with high iron content, which may be part of the explanation of the intermittent issues that seem to happen with the developer.

Martin
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Old 15th September 2021, 01:38 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Sounds good Martin. That's pretty much the same conclusion I had come to yesterday once I looked at the actual hardness values here and saw that we're way up the chart. Demineralized water is readily available here in 5L jugs from a local supplier, and it's pretty cheap. I'll get a siphon pump to make it easy to dispense, and be good to go.

Good to know about Xtol. I bought a 5L package years ago and never used it, being busy with other developers. I'd like to mix it up now and see what it can do. Have to shoot a lot of film to use up that amount though.

Thanks for the advice! All the best.

PS - I may end up shooting a ton of film here....there are about 75 waterfalls within 100km of this town, about half of which are accessible by hiking. And I really like shooting waterfalls :-), so may end up using that 5 litres of XTol in no time.
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Last edited by Svend; 15th September 2021 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 15th September 2021, 02:05 PM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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I use deionised water to mix stock developers but tap water for dilutio.. I just use a filter jug as they are inxepensivebut effective.

One thing I have found is air bells can be an issue with hard water, this was an issue living in Turkey our tap water came from a borehole and was undrinkable due to a high salt content. I found that a couple of drops of wetting agent in the developer solved the issue.

Too nuch wetting agent and you get foaming, in fact I now add it to the stock concentrate. Commercial developers usually contain traces of surfactants.

Ian
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