My PC-512 Borax Developer

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relistan

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The reason I'm interested in PC-512 is that I would like to have a one-shot developer equal to Xtol-R with long keeping properties. I like and use Xtol-R a lot, but sometimes I just want to use a one-shot developer. It would be great to keep at my cottage instead of trying to lug Xtol-R up there.
That makes sense! I have used a lot of non-R XTOL and really like the developer. I have also developed with a lot of Diafine. But I still prefer one shot developers because I got through spurts of being very active and then not for awhile. I have had to throw out a lot of developer over the years because I let it sit too long.

I suspect that with Mark's freezing method this will last a long time. I may make up a bigger batch and do just that.
 
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This is from the roll I just developed, showing some different lighting conditions than the others I posted.

Leica M2 with Summarit-M 2.5/35mm on Ilford Delta 100 at box speed. PC-512 Borax 1+50 for 6.75 mins at 20C.
ConnemaraHuts-sm.jpg


Dmin on this roll was 0.38 and Dmax was 2.26
 

albada

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I am pretty certain you can't dissolve all that borax. The reason I am using so much borax is because there is so much ascorbic acid. I added and mixed until I got to the pH I was looking for.

Have you tried using sodium metaborate instead of borax? They are both borates, so perhaps grain will look the same, but you'll probably need less of it -- enough less that you might get it to dissolve in the PG.
BTW, I read that Kodak replaced the sodium metaborate with borax in XTOL a few years ago to save money. That's a clue that they are interchangeable (but different amounts).
 
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relistan

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Have you tried using sodium metaborate instead of borax? They are both borates, so perhaps grain will look the same, but you'll probably need less of it -- enough less that you might get it to dissolve in the PG.
BTW, I read that Kodak replaced the sodium metaborate with borax in XTOL a few years ago to save money. That's a clue that they are interchangeable (but different amounts).

It's a good idea, Mark. I will give that a shot when I get a little free time. It *would* be nice to have it all in one concentrate if that were possible. Mixing the borax solution is really easy but it's another step.
 

John Wiegerink

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Have you tried using sodium metaborate instead of borax? They are both borates, so perhaps grain will look the same, but you'll probably need less of it -- enough less that you might get it to dissolve in the PG.
BTW, I read that Kodak replaced the sodium metaborate with borax in XTOL a few years ago to save money. That's a clue that they are interchangeable (but different amounts).

Mark,
I was thinking along those lines too. It would be nice to get the Kodalk (sodium metaborate)to be able to go into the glycol. For me, a slight increase in grain from the switch to Kodalk wouldn't be much of a problem, since I very seldom shoot formats under 6X6.
 

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Mark,
I was thinking along those lines too. It would be nice to get the Kodalk (sodium metaborate)to be able to go into the glycol. For me, a slight increase in grain from the switch to Kodalk wouldn't be much of a problem, since I very seldom shoot formats under 6X6.

When creating Mocon, I discovered that a seemingly unlimited quantity of Kodalk and ascorbic acid will dissolve into PG. That's because it's not simple dissolution; rather, the chemicals are combining in some way. After dissolving everything, one is left proudly holding a beaker of beautiful clear solution. But after a day or two, one might notice a white wisp forming in the solution. And it thickens, and eventually takes over the entire solution, which separates into two liquids. What happened is that the solution was unstable, and one or more components left the main solution and separated into its own liquid of some kind. In my Mocon article, I describe some apparent conditions under which this separation occurs. That's worth reading.

The separated solution might develop film fine, if you shook it first to mix the separated liquids. I don't know; I never tried it. But if it's a good developer, then I think it would be acceptable to require that the concentrate be shaken before use.
 

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.........BTW, I read that Kodak replaced the sodium metaborate with borax in XTOL a few years ago to save money. That's a clue that they are interchangeable (but different amounts).

And the difference in pH could be corrected by a little sodium hydroxide which is very cheap. But I don't know about solubility in glycol.

As an aside, I wondered why my 510-Pyro was giving poor shadow speed. I had mixed it without heat, which took days to dissolve. Now I wonder if it actually relies on being cooked a bit which is what is recommended and maybe that causes some reactions, not just dissolving.
 

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Would boric acid and Borax be interchangeable w/ the developer? They sell Borax in the 20 Mule Team detergent, which is for washing clothes. I went to the detergent's website and they list only Borax, oxygen and sodium (the last two seem to be already in the Borax anyway). They mention that Borax is considered a salt, and shares many chemical properties with table salt.

Borax apparently is the mineral that comes right out of the ground, while boric acid is the mineral in a processed form.
 
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When creating Mocon, I discovered that a seemingly unlimited quantity of Kodalk and ascorbic acid will dissolve into PG. That's because it's not simple dissolution; rather, the chemicals are combining in some way. After dissolving everything, one is left proudly holding a beaker of beautiful clear solution. But after a day or two, one might notice a white wisp forming in the solution. And it thickens, and eventually takes over the entire solution, which separates into two liquids. What happened is that the solution was unstable, and one or more components left the main solution and separated into its own liquid of some kind. In my Mocon article, I describe some apparent conditions under which this separation occurs. That's worth reading.

The separated solution might develop film fine, if you shook it first to mix the separated liquids. I don't know; I never tried it. But if it's a good developer, then I think it would be acceptable to require that the concentrate be shaken before use.

Mark I did read that part of the article and the ratios you mentioned. There is good detail in there.

I know from previous instances with PC-Glycol, you can stir a lot back in and get it to develop. But the color of the glycol will tell you how much developer has oxidized. It starts to turn orange. The white wisps start to spread. When the viscosity starts to change, you are done. That takes a long time: 1.5 years+ for PC-Glycol.

And the difference in pH could be corrected by a little sodium hydroxide which is very cheap. But I don't know about solubility in glycol.

Yeah, sodium hydroxide is AFAIK not soluble in glycol.

As an aside, I wondered why my 510-Pyro was giving poor shadow speed. I had mixed it without heat, which took days to dissolve. Now I wonder if it actually relies on being cooked a bit which is what is recommended and maybe that causes some reactions, not just dissolving.

I don't know about Pyro but borax and glycol will combine and borax and ascorbic acid will combine. Heat definitely drives the reaction further.

Would boric acid and Borax be interchangeable w/ the developer? They sell Borax in the 20 Mule Team detergent, which is for washing clothes. I went to the detergent's website and they list only Borax, oxygen and sodium (the last two seem to be already in the Borax anyway). They mention that Borax is considered a salt, and shares many chemical properties with table salt.

Borax apparently is the mineral that comes right out of the ground, while boric acid is the mineral in a processed form.

No, they aren't interchangeable. Boric acid is an acid, borax is an alkali. Together they are commonly used as a buffer. 20 Mule Team borax is just fine in most developers that require borax.
 

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Borax apparently is the mineral that comes right out of the ground, while boric acid is the mineral in a processed form.

Boric Acid is the free acid H3BO3 with one easily detached proton H3BO3.<===> H3O+ + BO2-. Sodium Metaborate is the sodium salt of this acid: NaBO2 with different amounts of crystal water tied to it.

Borax is a mixed crystal of Boric Acid and Sodium Metaborate, so it's moderately alkaline. All three salts will dissolve in PG, which allows you to set the target pH in a wide range from acidic all the way up to quite alkaline.
 
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relistan

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Boric Acid is the free acid H3BO3 with one easily detached proton H3BO3.<===> H3O+ + BO2-. Sodium Metaborate is the sodium salt of this acid: NaBO2 with different amounts of crystal water tied to it.

Borax is a mixed crystal of Boric Acid and Sodium Metaborate, so it's moderately alkaline. All three salts will dissolve in PG, which allows you to set the target pH in a wide range from acidic all the way up to quite alkaline.

As always, thanks for the precise explanation!
 
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Hmm, it seems in Europe I cannot buy powdered metaborate. I can make it of course, but it would be in a water solution (AFAICT NaOH is not soluble in glycol). Since I don't want water in the concentrate, I could evaporate it down to powder, but it all sounds like a lot more work than I want to put into it. I have a small amount of powdered metaborate from the US so I may try it once with that, but that would be all I have.
 

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If I could get box speed with dilute Perceptol I'd use that for almost everything and Pyrocat for the rest.

John, Perceptol and attaining box speed does seem to be a bit of a mystery. According to Ilford you get box speed in the Delta range with Deltas 100 and D3200 at 3200 but not quite in D400. In the lower speed ones such as Pan F and FP4 you get it also but fail slightly in D400 and HP5

You also get it in Acros and both the 100 and 400 TMax. Oh, and the former Neopan 400 makes box speed as well No times or speeds for P3200 or Tri-X

I have yet to see a pattern that explains why some 400s make it and others don't. Of course that doesn't mean that Perceptol gets you there in your personal tests. However Perceptol seems a strange beast when it comes to speeds

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Hmm, it seems in Europe I cannot buy powdered metaborate. I can make it of course, but it would be in a water solution (AFAICT NaOH is not soluble in glycol). Since I don't want water in the concentrate, I could evaporate it down to powder, but it all sounds like a lot more work than I want to put into it. I have a small amount of powdered metaborate from the US so I may try it once with that, but that would be all I have.

It's one area in raw chemicals where we suffer in Europe unfortunately. A source in Wales I think did try to sell raw chemicals ar very reasonable prices and he also brought over metaborate from Photographer's Formulary but it was much more expensive than in the U.S. and eventually he went out of business sadly

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I can make it of course, but it would be in a water solution (AFAICT NaOH is not soluble in glycol).

This post by @Nikola Dulgiarov gives a simple procedure for synthesising Metaborate crystals. I've used the process and found that it works well. You may want to give it a try.
 

John Wiegerink

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John, Perceptol and attaining box speed does seem to be a bit of a mystery. According to Ilford you get box speed in the Delta range with Deltas 100 and D3200 at 3200 but not quite in D400. In the lower speed ones such as Pan F and FP4 you get it also but fail slightly in D400 and HP5

You also get it in Acros and both the 100 and 400 TMax. Oh, and the former Neopan 400 makes box speed as well No times or speeds for P3200 or Tri-X

I have yet to see a pattern that explains why some 400s make it and others don't. Of course that doesn't mean that Perceptol gets you there in your personal tests. However Perceptol seems a strange beast when it comes to speeds

pentaxuser

Perceptol is still a great developer, even if not a speed-enhancing monster. I like it diluted, but some folks frown on the long developing times that come with dilution. I don't mind it myself. Likewise, I've even had great luck with homemade Perctol/Microdol-X type developers and could see no difference between factory made and homebrewed. From what I see here, PC-512 might be a long-lasting replacement for Perceptol in my chemical cabinet. Sharp enough, soft-working with a good range of tones while not going over the top in the highlight area. Yes, I will play with this when I get back home to that chemical cabinet.
 
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From what I see here, PC-512 might be a long-lasting replacement for Perceptol in my chemical cabinet. Sharp enough, soft-working with a good range of tones while not going over the top in the highlight area. Yes, I will play with this when I get back home to that chemical cabinet.

That would be really cool if it works for you.
 

Alan Johnson

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Xtol, Perceptol etc give fine grain because the sulfite is a solvent and redeposits finely divided silver on the emulsion.
I don't see anything here with a similar solvent action so the grain is unlikely to be so fine.
However, the pH is quite low so the grain is likely to be finer than with eg PC-TEA.
Also, sulfite, where present, uncovers latent image sites giving higher film speed than where it is left out.
But IMO it would be hard to devise much of an improvement on the OP's formula when no sulfite is used.
 

John Wiegerink

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As I mentioned above, I'm a medium and large format guy mostly. While I'm not a grain worshiper, I'm certainly not against seeing “honest” grain. I would much rather see that "honest” grain than mushy grain. It will still be interesting to see what I think of Xtol-R compared to a non-sulfite developer like PC-512 or even Mark's Mocon.
 

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Hmm, it seems in Europe I cannot buy powdered metaborate. I can make it of course, but it would be in a water solution (AFAICT NaOH is not soluble in glycol). Since I don't want water in the concentrate, I could evaporate it down to powder, but it all sounds like a lot more work than I want to put into it. I have a small amount of powdered metaborate from the US so I may try it once with that, but that would be all I have.

Fototechnik Suvatlar has it and ships world wide. It's on his current 2022 price list.
 
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Xtol, Perceptol etc give fine grain because the sulfite is a solvent and redeposits finely divided silver on the emulsion.
I don't see anything here with a similar solvent action so the grain is unlikely to be so fine.
However, the pH is quite low so the grain is likely to be finer than with eg PC-TEA.
Also, sulfite, where present, uncovers latent image sites giving higher film speed than where it is left out.
But IMO it would be hard to devise much of an improvement on the OP's formula when no sulfite is used.
Thanks Alan, glad you approve of the work. Yes this is not a solvent developer. It does produce quite fine grain, though, at least on the films I've used. I will put something quite grainy through it when I get a chance. I have some ORWO N75 that I usually used in XTOL.

As I mentioned above, I'm a medium and large format guy mostly. While I'm not a grain worshiper, I'm certainly not against seeing “honest” grain. I would much rather see that "honest” grain than mushy grain. It will still be interesting to see what I think of Xtol-R compared to a non-sulfite developer like PC-512 or even Mark's Mocon.

If you're in medium format or larger, you won't see the grain here at all. Not on these films, anyway. PC-512 Borax has no sulfite, but Mocon *does* have sulfite.

Fototechnik Suvatlar has it and ships world wide. It's on his current 2022 price list.

Thanks Rudy, I should have checked. I have ordered from him before when I was working on peroxide bleaches.
 

Donald Qualls

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This post by @Nikola Dulgiarov gives a simple procedure for synthesising Metaborate crystals. I've used the process and found that it works well. You may want to give it a try.

Thank you! I need to make some of this -- much easier to use for (for instance) DK-25R than making it in solution as I mix the replenisher. Also looking forward to results with combining the metaborate with the concentrate for PC512-Borax. Correcting quantity for hydration (this make the octohydrate) isn't hard.
 

John Wiegerink

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This is from the roll I just developed, showing some different lighting conditions than the others I posted.

Leica M2 with Summarit-M 2.5/35mm on Ilford Delta 100 at box speed. PC-512 Borax 1+50 for 6.75 mins at 20C.
View attachment 322102

Dmin on this roll was 0.38 and Dmax was 2.26

I like the looks tone wise. Looks like pretty harsh noonday sun. Shadows are good and highlights are not blown. Nice, nice, nice!
 
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