Cleaning Enlarger parts

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bmac

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So there I was last night, attempting to teach a friend how to enlarge negatives in my home darkroom. I had a heck of a time trying to track down some pretty big dust spots. I cleaned the lens, negative, blew out the bellows, etc. I still haven't figured out what the deal is, I am thinking it is on the condensor. Is there any problem using windex or lens cleaner on the condensors? I have an old D2.

Brian
 

steve

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I too have an old D-2V - man, what a "classic" - and can't think of any reason not to clean the condensers. If you use a window cleaner, just make sure it does not contain ammonia. Explanation "why" is too long - just take my word for it.

I used to make my own cleaner for my telescope as follows, and it is probably the most benign cleaner you can use.

2/3: distilled water

1/3: 90% isopropol alchohol (rubbing alchohol - but not the stuff with a lubricant - that's mineral oil)

2-3 drops Photo Flo.

Add the ingredients in the order listed. Agitate gently (so as not to foam the Photo Flo) and you've got a great cleaner that won't hurt optics.
 

steve

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There should be two condensers in the housing. If you are going to remove them, be very careful as the are placed convex surface to convex surface and held in position by a piece of corrugated aluminum sheet that is just wrapped around the inside of the condener housing. If you don't know this, it can be quite a surprise when you take it apart.

My advice for the first time, is to take the entire condenser housing off of the enlarger and take the condensers out on top of your bed - using the mattress as a soft surface to catch any stray parts. This way, if something slips, you won't end up with a chipped condenser because it fell out of the housing and hit something hard...
 

BobF

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Come on now Steve you can't leave it like that.

"If you use a window cleaner, just make sure it does not contain ammonia. Explanation "why" is too long - just take my word for it."

I can't just take your word for it - I wanna know why.
 

steve

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Several reasons.

1. You never get all of the ammonia off of the glass & it can react with the aluminum separator inside the condenser housing from the heat from the lamp and the humidity in the darkroom.

2. The heat from the lamp causes the ammonia left on the glass to get hazy.
 

ann

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Someone gave us an old D2 and the glass looked as if you could plant grass. Good old fashion water did the trick. Check with Harry at Classic-enlargers. this was his recommendation.
 
OP
OP
bmac

bmac

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Well, I took it apart this evening, There was a ton of yellow haze (not to be confused with purple haze) on all the glass. I washed it off real good. Looks clean as can be.

Thanks guys.
 

Eric Rose

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Sounds like it was caused by second hand smoke. I've got an old DeJur (sp) enlarger with condensers and since I have it in a very controlled environment I have never had to clean them. Except when I first got the enlarger from my dad. He was a heavy smoker and guess what color fog (scuz) was all over the condensers? You guessed it, yellow.

I don't use it very much any more as I have found the hassles involved with dust and spotting far out weight any supposed benefits from a condenser system over a diffusion enlarger.

I hope I haven't open a can of worms here.
 

lee

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It sounds like someone was a smoker and that is the yellow haze. Generally the image is out of focus when it passes through the condensers and the yellow haze is reducing the contrast of the the negative. The only two places the image is in focus is at the negative stage and at the paper. IF you have hair or dust that is sharp that is where you need to look. What you don't want to do is handle the condesers a lot. They are easily damaged or chipped when you drop them. I took mine out and replaced the head with an Aristo VCL45. That is a two tube cold light. It is controled by a Metrolux II. Great combo.

lee
 

Brian

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I was told to clean the condensors in warm soapy water, and rinse in a bit of water with photoflo. Worked like a charm. My first attempt was windex, and streaking and spotting were the result.
 
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