Urgent RA-4 help needed.

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Mike Lyons

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Apr 20, 2004
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Hi to all. Here is the scenario. I am using my Nova deep tanks for developing Fuji Crystal Archive paper in Agfa chemicals. I have NOT changed anything (except the chemicals-see later) including agitation rate or temperature. Problem - suddenly the paper which is normally not exposed to light (under easle masks) is coming out an irregular blue/purple instead of white. An unexposed sheet (safelight off,) does the same thing, the problem is worse at the edges of the paper. The problem continues with a new batch of chemicals and with a new (previously unopened) batch of paper. There are also numerous fine dark specks found together in clumps all over the paper. It doesn't matter if the paper comes from the top, middle, or bottom of the batch. All paper has been stored in paper safes in the darkroom or was in unopened packs.
AAAARGH!!!!! What has changed? Where do I go from here? Any advice may well save my sanity- this has not occured before.
Regards- Mike.
 

AllanD

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Apr 13, 2003
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The only time I've ever had this problem is when my developer has become full of tar (i.e. it is very oxidised).

If I'm desperate, I skim the black specs of the top of the tank using a paper towel before topping up with fresh developer. This reduces the problem, but I still get an occasional spot.

The only certain cure that I've found is to dump the chemistry. I routinely remove the tar at this stage (using Nova's tar-buster product).

If you have only changed the chemistry, it is possible that the tar deposits at the bottom and sides of the tank have become disturbed and are contaminating the new chemistry.
 

Annemarieke

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Mike, did you store the paper in the fridge when not in use? I seem to remember colour paper needs to be stored in a cool place.

Good luck solving your problem.
 

AllanD

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Three more thoughts.

My experience is that it is the developer and not the paper. However, if you have taken the paper out of the fridge and it has condensation on it, then perhaps there will be weird effects. However, the presence of black specs suggests tar in the developer.

If you cannot stand to dump your new developer, perhaps careful filtering will remove the heaviest contamination. The trickiest thing is to get as little air into the dev as pos. Clean out as much gunk as pos while the developer is out of the tank.

To test the paper, get a small amount of fresh dev (with starter) in a tray. Warm the tray to approx your working temp and develop an unexposed piece of paper. My guess is that it will turn out white.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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Mike, it has been a while since I last looked at color chemistry, but it sounds like you have a contamination problem. Take a look at:

http://www.fotospeed.com/files/techdata/Fotospeed RA4 35c Instr.pdf

There is some potentially useful troubleshootiing info in this Fotospeed RA4 pdf document. Yeah, I know its not Agfa, but the chemistry is probably very similar.

The staining may be caused by developer contamination with bleach or bleachfix. It may be a bad batch of developer.

Inadequate washing or a contaminated washing process may also be playing a role. Try re-washing an affected print in a tray.

Brown or black spots or specks can be caused by sludge or scale somewhere in the process. They may also be caused by incorrect preparation of Developer Replenisher.

Sounds like it might be a good idea to clean out the system and replace the chemistry.

Hope this helps
 

Thilo Schmid

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Mike,
are you developing at room temperature or with a heating? Your thermostate might be defective and your temperature much too high (check it with a thermometer).
 
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Mike Lyons

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Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
29
Location
Western Aust
O.K, the thermstat and temperatures are correct. The paper doesn't seem to be a problem. I filtered the developer and got rid of the specks and associated gunk but was left with the stains. Changed chemicals again and made sure the tanks were clean (again). Problem solved! Possibly a bad batch of chemicals, or contamination somewhere, but it aint there now. Thanks to all for tips and advice.
Regards- Mike
 
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