Durst RCP20 for B&W printing

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I won a bidding for a Durst RCP20 paper processor and I wanted to ask if anyone has had experience with this machine for B&W processing. I believe it was designed for color processing. Also, can anybody suggest a site where I can get adequate technical information about this processor? I believe it's a discontinued model.

best regards,

jorge a.

-- Jorge Andrada (earthsea@mozcom.com), November 07, 2001


If it's a stock RCP-20, it's pretty much good to go for B/W printing. The only problem is that the fixing time is a tad short, you may want to have a tray of fixer for the prints to fall in to. The RCP-20 is great, but if you're moving from trays to it, be prepared for a bit of thumb-waggling as you wait for the prints to be done. I had to set up my trays again to doing one-off prints, it was too time-comsuming to use the Durst for one print. It's a dream come true for multiple prints of the same neg. though...

-- Robert Landrigan (ral@entropyinaction.com), November 08, 2001.

Thanks for the response. I haven't actually received the machine yet, so I might as well ask a few more questions to prepare me if you don't mind.

1. Do you still use an acid stop bath? 2. How much time does the print take to run in each bath? 3. Would 3 1/2 minutes in the developer bath (EP-2 time?) affect the print in any way?

Thanks again for your responses.


Jorge Andrada

-- Jorge Andrada (earthsea@mozcom.com), November 08, 2001.

Jorge, the RCP20 was made by Thermaphot for Durst...and was discontinued sometime back in the mid 80's...as an EP2 machine, it really runs too slow for b&w or any modern color process. I have one that I had regeared by my resourceful father--a retired engineer....he pretty much refitted another set of gears to the motor and converted the machine from running with a belt drive to a chain. The author, Ctein has done sort of the same thing, from near as I can tell in his book "Post Exposure". I don't know of any published plans for doing this, but can tell you that neither Durst, Thermaphot or the new US distributor Wing Lynch--will support these machines. The one I bought was virtually spotless, and had been sitting in the back of an old camera store for years....it was a *great* bargain....but I've used roller transport processors for years at work, and knew what it would take to get the thing running....so beware of these...especially if they need parts for the rollers etc.

It has one motor that functions as both a pump and a drive. You cannot independently adjust the speed without regearing the beast. It uses a worm-drive type gear to run the racks all at the same speed. You can however, adjust the temperature, but 3.5 min per tank is too slow, in any chemical, for b&w. Mine is tuned up roughly for RA4 now, and for B&W I get about 40 sec per tank. I run it at 82 degrees F, and use LPD 1:1 (which I replenish) as the developer. I use a very dilute stop bath as a rinse, and use Kodak Rapid fix (no hardener) mixed at film strength for the fix. I follow this up with a second tray of fix, normal rapid fix (no pt. B) for paper....I do this for half the normal time....the machine does not have a recirculating pump in the fix tank, so I double up the fix to ensure all areas of the print get covered. It does have a pump in the first tank, and it handles dev. fine.

I use a regular old tray siphon for a reg. wash afterwards...and have an Arkay heat drier as well...all in all, it's great for knocking out proofs and making quickie prints. You can keep your hands out of the chemistry, and do batch runs as well. You can also include a selenium toning step as well afterwards. I've used several processors at work, and this one for myself-- it is a simple machine....the problems I've noticed with bigger units, like Ilford 2150's, comes more in inadequate wash steps...so actually washing outside the processor, I feel, is a little nicer...

For extended sessions, I've stretched out the machine for 4-5 days...while replenishing the developer with 10 oz. of stock LPD for every 15 or so 8x10's or equivalent numbers of 5x7s etc. I've found you can run approx 80 or 8x10s through the machine with no problems...it uses 88 oz. of chemistry. About 400 ml of stop. Since the racks sit in the tanks, and the whole thing is covered, there is little oxidation. At the end of a session, drain the tanks, and fill them up with warm water and run the machine for a few minutes (with the racks in place). Then drain it again. Pull the racks and clean them ( I hose them down while turning them by hand, and work off deposits carefully with a soft cloth). Then fill the troughs again, and then dump. This is MY cleanout cycle...it varies ever so slightly from the Durst instructions, and is more based on an Ilford machine than anything.

To establish a good temp, I ran test prints through at various temps, and gradually incresed it until I got a good d-max, with no signs of fog in the highlights. By comparison, a 2150 runs at 90 degrees or so, but the entire process is about a minute dry to dry. The prints move through the racks in around 15-20 sec. Lastly, feed the prints in face down...replace the lid when they get into the first tank, give it a couple of seconds, then you can go white-light if you want. The very first set of rollers _have_ to be kept bone dry to feed right.

Uhm, NEVER run the machine without liquid (water, chemistry etc.) in the tanks....especially the first tank. There are heating elements and the pump...and basically you can fry them out this way. The racks have ALOT of small parts, tension springs etc....if you need parts for these, good luck. I've had mine for about 4 years now, and it's been running fine.....but I take really good care of it. I think I'd have to buy another one though, if I needed any parts....

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), November 20, 2001.

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