Paterson Auto Print Washer Major, water flux and time

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Marco Gilardetti, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    Torino, Ital
    Large Format
    Gentle fellows,

    having moved to a new town where water supply is many times more expensive than before, I purchased a Paterson Auto Print Washer, Major model, to save both water and money. I am, however, in doubt that this nice machine is washing the prints as good as running water.

    The agitation mechanism works, but I found out that it only works when the water flux is very moderate. So moderate that I ask myself if there is an effective change of water inside the tank during the washing time. If the tap is opened up, the agitation mechanism gets stuck and the rattling noise of (I guess) a steel ball can be heard. Is this condition normal, or has my washer a defective agitation unit?

    Also, the user's directions sheet says nothing about washing times. I suppose the user shall respect the paper's producer directions, which are usually 40 mins to 1 Hr but are however intended for running water. Is 1 Hr actually sufficient with such a limited fresh water intake?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Multi Format
    My paterson washer acts as you describe. I am never too fussy on wash times.
    I usually reserve it for FB 8x10 or larger; I find an auto tray syphon is fine for smaller prints.

    I presently work full time days, and have kids that keep me busy as well.
    Consequently I usually print large FB in a night when I can start early, so that fix 1, holding water bath , fix 2 all at once, rinse, HCA all at once, and then into the washer rack to start rocking.

    I then store the chems in trays, wash up the trays, tidy the darkroom, and then just before bed, turn off the washer. It might have rocked for half an hour.

    In the morning I turn it on again first thing , and then pull the prints, brayer them on an old ferrotype sheet to gently force excess water off, and lay them on screens. They are typically dry enough stack and to flatten or dry mount that night after dinner.

    I have tested this washing method using Kodak HT-1 formula (I think it is called).
    A diluted pink (mostly permanganate I seem to recall, although the mixed solution lasts forever; I made this up over 5 years ago now) stock soloution is poured into 2 small beakers.
    You let a print fresh from the washer drip into one, and if the colour does not change relative to the reference the washing is sufficient.

    I don;t leave RC prints to soat overnight.

    After I am done with this unit, I lift the rack out, and then lift the tank from it place in the laundry tub, and pour the wash water in it into the adjacent clothes washing machine to recycle it for the first wash cycle there.