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  #1  
Old 13th February 2022, 03:35 PM
snusmumriken snusmumriken is offline
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Default Protective gas for chemicals in bottles

In my years of trying to keep developer concentrate un-oxidised after opening, I've been through a concertina bottle phase (seemingly useless at the kind of atmospheric pressures found on Earth) and a glass marbles phase (much more to wash, and no noticeable benefit). So I have been intrigued by several references on this forum to Tetenal protective gas spray, which I have not tried.

Tetenal's website says that their Protectan spray is no longer available. Does anyone know of a satisfactory alternative, please?

According to the MSDS, Protectan was a mixture of butane (~60%), propane (~25%) and iso-butane (~15%), which is of course highly flammable. Seems to me one might as well use butane lighter fuel. Is there any other non-oxidising gas that's heavier than air and is easily available in handy containers?
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  #2  
Old 13th February 2022, 04:03 PM
Collas Collas is offline
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It appears to be available still from Silverprint (high price), Morco, Parallax Photographic Co-op, Firstcall and SpeedGraphic.
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  #3  
Old 13th February 2022, 04:18 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Hi Jonathan, this subject has been debated many times it seems, when doing a search of my posts, as I tried out various tinned gases.

I used Protectan for quite a while, until running out of it and discovering the new ridiculous price. I eventually found a safer and non-flammable tinned gas used for food and wine, which get a mention in two posts in the following thread and are at #17 and #27:

http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...ght=butane+gas

I used them for a while but then had a faulty bottle or two, which the sellers were good enough to replace free of charge, but the third bottle put me right off, when the nozzle got stuck again and emptied the tin really quickly. So try them if you feel lucky.

After much more reading, a lot of members said that they used wine bags to marbles to lighter gas from the Pound-shop, for yes, one pound a tin! :

http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...ght=butane+gas

I was a little wary as my darkroom is in a log cabin at the end of the garden, but found out Protectan mostly had flammable gases in as well. So, having used this safely for years, I now use the tinned aerosol lighter fuel instead and am happy to use it, but be careful.

I did have trouble using it initially though, as trying to hold the nozzle whilst pushing down the tin, almost literally froze the ends of my fingers off, as it's a very cold gas when used. I finally found a solution when I bought a wooden spatula from Wilko's for about a pound. It has a small hanger hole at the top of the handle, which I place over the bottle to be gassed and push the nozzle into it. The hole is just small enough to push the nozzle in to dispense the gas. I'm sure other things could be used or even a small hole could be drilled into something and do the same job?

Anyway, a few years later, my chemicals have all been preserved at a much lower cost than Protectan etc. meaning more left to spend on other things.

Oh, and I did look at Argon gas and it is available with an adapter for under 30, so a little investment, but I could only find the gas canisters in 60 litre versions, so they'll be huge and last us and our grandchildren's children out I would imagine. Shame, as it's a good price and if only they were produced in much smaller tins... Any entrepreneurs out there reading this?

Terry S
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  #4  
Old 13th February 2022, 06:51 PM
Michael Michael is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collas View Post
It appears to be available still from Silverprint (high price), Morco, Parallax Photographic Co-op, Firstcall and SpeedGraphic.
And if Speed Graphic say they have it, they have it. They're thoroughly reliable and efficient people to deal with.
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  #5  
Old 13th February 2022, 07:07 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry S View Post
I now use the tinned aerosol lighter fuel instead and am happy to use it, but be careful.

Terry S
Terry I thought you were using and were happy with the small Argon canisters you found on e-bay? Has that seller disappeared when the time came to replace your Argon canisters?

Mike
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  #6  
Old 13th February 2022, 08:23 PM
BuzzNL BuzzNL is offline
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I also use the lighter gas. I've modified one of those creme brulee torches so it has no spark anymore and I can easily and safely fill my chemical bottles without freezing my fingers off or setting my darkroom on fire.
But Terry's method of directly using the canister and something with a small enough hole in it seems convenient to me as well!
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  #7  
Old 13th February 2022, 08:29 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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After the last debate about Tetenal I bought a can of lighter gas from a pound shop.
The gadget I made to fit the top is made from a piece of 1ml syringe body, heat shrink tube, and one of the adapters supplied with the can.
If you look at the pictures it is self explanatory.
To get the curve in the heat shrink, put the adapter into a bowl of hot water BEFORE attaching to the can.
As the tube shrinks then cools, hold it in the curve you desire and it will stay in that shape.

To use it, hold the can with the thumb and last two fingers, then place the first two fingers in the usual place upon the two lugs of the syringe. Squeeze down and release a blast of gas.

WARNING.
DO NOT USE A NAKED FLAME TO SHRINK THE TUBE.
SHRINK THE TUBE ONTO THE SYRINGE BEFORE FITTING TO THE GAS VALVE PIPE ON THE CAN.
KEEP THE CAN AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES AND FLAMES, INCLUDING THE HOT WATER.

The safety is obvious I know, but I feel better for emphasising it.

Cheers.
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Last edited by Nat Polton; 13th February 2022 at 08:34 PM.
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  #8  
Old 14th February 2022, 09:17 AM
snusmumriken snusmumriken is offline
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Thank you all very much, fantastically helpful answers as always! I'm sorry I didn't think to do a search before posting.

I forgot about collapsible bags. New ones are quite pricey, and I found the narrow necks very irritating. And I have had bad personal experiences when emptying wine bladders too enthusiastically, so I'm inclined to stick to the bottled stuff! Glass bottles appeal for the darkroom because of their easy re-use.

So I'm off to buy a cheap can of butane lighter fuel, and I already have 1ml syringes and heat shrink.

Many thanks.
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  #9  
Old 14th February 2022, 11:52 AM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike O'Pray View Post
Terry I thought you were using and were happy with the small Argon canisters you found on e-bay? Has that seller disappeared when the time came to replace your Argon canisters?

Mike
Hi Mike, no the seller is still there, having just checked, but as said in the thread, the product was let down by quality control and a number of cans just emptied themselves with a stuck nozzle. The seller replaced the three of them free of charge, but it put me off them after that, which was a shame. They are definitely cheaper than Protectan but if they are no good, then is no point in buying them.

I was surprised though, when someone pointed it out, that the gases in Protectan were basically the same as what's in the Pound-shop lighter gas tin, which comes at a considerably cheaper price!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nat Polton View Post
As the tube shrinks then cools, hold it in the curve you desire and it will stay in that shape.
@Nat, I'm curious as to why you even put a curve in the tubing, as the tin has to be held upside down to use, so to my mind just a straight bit of tubing would be better surely?

Terry S
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  #10  
Old 14th February 2022, 12:58 PM
Nat Polton Nat Polton is offline
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Terry
I think it may have been me that mentioned the gas composition in Tetenal.
According to their data sheet it is/was a mixture of propane and butane.
One advertiser had the nerve to advertise it as "The safer alternative to using lighter fuel gas."

You are not trying to fill a lighter with liquid butane, you only want a small amount of gas.
If the can is held upside down liquid butane streams out. Hold the can upright and a slower, more controlled stream of gas flows out.
Lasts longer as less is lost to the atmosphere. The atmosphere wins and so does your wallet.

A warning was raised in one of the photo magazines in the 70s or 80s about using air duster cans of gas if held upside down.
They tended to fire out the gas as a liquid if upside down. As the evaporation of the gas caused rapid cooling, people found their glass lenses cracking.
Later more expensive cans were sold as invertible during use.

Cheers.
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