Super Sidekick


Film Processor

Model SSK-8R

8 Roll  Auto Replenishing

Owner’s Manual                                                                               US PATENTS RE 34,188 & 5,379,086

Please record the Serial No. ____________ and date of Purchase __________

Please mail in your warranty card.


2 Description

11 Test Mode 18 B&W Dev. Times

2 Setting up

11 Diagnostics Mode

19 4x5 processing

5 Preset Selections

12 Maintenance

20 Automatic Replenishing

6 Processing

13 Alarms and messages

21 Service–Correcting Problems

7 Drying

14 Hints

24 Parts list

8 Reel loading

15 Process Parameters 25 Wiring

9 Special functions

17 Chemicals 26 Phone #’s & Log
9 Normal Mode 17 Other Processes  
10 Program Mode 18 Push Processing  


Each PhotoTherm product is produced under rigid quality control standards. This unit is fully warranted for a period of one year from date of purchase. PhotoTherm 110 Sewell Ave Trenton NJ 08610 USA Tel 609 396-1456 Fax 609 396-9395.


110 Sewell Ave. Trenton, NJ 08610 USA Tel 609 396 1456 Fax 609 396 9395



The SSK-8R automatic processor accurately tempers each solution, one at a time. This design breakthrough allows B/W processing at 75 oF and then immediately afterwards slide processing 100 oF. Tempered water is not needed. Long warm-ups are not required.

All the solution bottles for processing color slides, color negatives and Black and White negatives are constantly connected. The operator just selects the process. The unit pumps the proper chemical from any of the 18 reservoir containers, quickly heats the small volume needed to the correct temperature and starts processing. As it processes one solution it prepares the next solution. At the end of the process cycle it automatically flushes itself clean, preparing itself for the next process.

The SSK-8R is compact (26" wide by 14" high by 16" deep). The process drum is removable for loading in a dark box or bag. The SSK-8R can process 8 rolls of 35, 5 rolls of 120/220 or 8 sheets of 4x5 at one time. Two chemicals can be automatically saved from each process for silver recovery, reuse or automatic replenishment. Fresh developer is used for quality. The standard processes are pre-programmed, but the developer time can be easily changed when desired.


The SSK-8R can be set up for any of 4 slide, 4 color negative and 3 B&W processes. The operator can change the time of, or eliminate any process step. The operator can select which solutions to save. The SSK-8R anticipates problems and takes automatic corrective action.



The SSK-8R protects the film from possible operator errors. It has an interactive computerized display that prompts and informs the operator what it is doing. Possible operator errors are also minimized because, chemical lines do not have to be switched nor must volumes of solutions be measured.


The unit comes packed in 2 boxes. Make sure you received the following:

... 8-reel and a 4-reel black processing drum with lids

... 8-reel and a 4-reel spindles with impellars.

... 10 plastic film reels

... Main processor SSK-8RG

... Spacer 2-roll (white fat donut)

... Utility dryer tube. (White plastic 4" diameter 11" long

… Dryer spindle. (10" long without an impellar)

... Coil of " flexible tubing

... Power cord

... Six gal. (2 liter) solution bottles with fittings

... Six 1 gal. bottles

... Two 1 gal Holding bottles

... 10 Film Clamps for 120/220 film.(white curved plastic pieces)

... Two 1 gal. collapsible bottles

... Water bottle (5 gal) with float valve

.. Saddle valve kit to connect water bottle to water pipe

... Dump bottle (5 gal) with level sensor and cap with

…3" gray plastic fitting to hold the dump and flush tubing

... Plug to seal COUPLING when FLUSHING

... Syringe of silicone grease

... Allen wrench (1/16") for bushings

... Magnetic stirrer. A white "pill" (3/8" x 1")

... Permanent marker

... Piece of Scotch Brite

... Set-up video

... This instruction book




Place the unit on a flat level surface. Lift up the side and cut away and discard the two visible nylon straps from the bottom of the unit. These straps hold the pumps secure for shipping and must be removed for the pumps to work.


Prepare the solution bottles. a) Loosen NUT. b) Push in notched end of the OD black tubing through fitting to bottom of bottle. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) exposed. c) Hand tighten nut. d) Rinse out bottle. You can use the collapsible bottles for developers; they will extend chemical life because there is no air interface.

Use the marker pen to label each bottle and lid with the chemical it contains. Cut a piece of clear flexible tubing long enough to run from the bottle to the back of the machine. RUN THE TUBING STRAIGHT DOWN from the back of the machine. After about a foot, the tubing can run in any direction Allow about 2 feet (60 cm.) extra for slack. Label both ends of the tubing with the chemical name. Slip one end over the proper tube and the other end over the exposed black tubing of the solution bottle. The 5 gal. Water bottle connects to the WATER (#5) tube.

IMPORTANT. The solution source bottles must be located below the processor.

The 5 gal. water bottle, which has a float valve near its lid, holds the water that will be used for processing and internal cleaning (FLUSHING) of the unit. You can manually fill the bottle. Use regular tap water, not de-ionized or distilled water. You can connect the bottle to a cold water pipe for automatic filling with the "ice maker" kit. TURN OFF THE WATER AT THE SOURCE WHEN THE MACHINE IS NOT IN USE.

The DUMP bottle comes with a level sensor that should be plugged into the DUMP SENSOR jack on the back of the unit. IT WILL SENSE IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR A 2 or 4 ROLL RUN ONLY. The bottle must be emptied if you are doing a 6 or 8 roll run. If a plumbed-in drain is available, use it.

There are five drain outlets in the back of the unit:

1. DUMP - For spent chemistry. Connect to DUMP bottle or plumbed-in drain.

2. FLUSH - Disposes of spent FLUSH water. Connect to DUMP bottle or drain.

3. SAVE FIX - Recovers the solution to be saved. Active only when SAVE switch is on (red is showing). Connect to separate bottle.

  • 4. SAVE BLEACH - Recovers solution to be saved. Active when SAVE switch is on. Connect to separate bottle.

  • 5. OVERFLOW - DO NOT CONNECT. If solution comes out of this outlet, check your FLUSH tubing for proper installation.

    Push the flexible tubing over the stainless tubes of these outlets (not more than 3/4").


    Very Important

    Position DUMP bottle close to unit. (Fig. 1)

    Run tubing directly to DUMP bottle. (Fig. 1)

    Cut off unneeded length of dump tubing. (Fig. 1)

    Run the DUMP and the FLUSH tubing separately into the 3" gray fitting on the DUMP bottle. Do not put a third tubing into the same fitting. Do NOT run tubing inside DUMP bottle. (Fig. 2). Allow at least 12" drop between unit and DUMP bottle.


    Open the DOOR by lifting up from the bottom and pulling out. Place the magnetic stirrer (white pill) in the exposed heat tank. Carefully push the stirrer with a pencil until it is magnetically caught near the back right corner of the tank. Turn SIDEKICK on and check if the stirrer is turning.

    Put in six Alkaline "C" Cells in the battery holder. This will allow the unit to continue after a power failure and protect it against power surges. Plug the power cord into a 120 Volt AC 15 Amp. (regular domestic) outlet.

    The batteries will protect SSK-8R from short power losses. You can also connect SSK-8R to a TRIPP Model Pro 1400. A 1400 Watt Uninteruptable Power Supply, which would allow the unit to finish the process in case of a long power failure.



    PROGRAM the USER CODE. You have to program the user CODE before you can use SUPER Sidekick (SSK). This is only done once.

    Turn off SSK for at least 10 seconds. Hold down the START switch as you turn SSK on. Release the START switch. SSK will show the programming instruction. (See PROGRAM MODE for a fuller explanation). SSK will then display "USER CODE" " # (any number)". Change the number by pressing – ( MINUS) telling SSK you want to make a change. Then pressing PLUS(+) to increase the number. When "7" is displayed, press START. SSK will record the information. After it is finished "RECORDING", you can use PLUS to look through all your options or just turn SSK off.

    Make sure SSK is level by inserting the bottom half of the large DRUM in the SSK. Pour water into the DRUM until it is about " from the top. Measure the distance from the water to the top of the DRUM at the front and the back of the DRUM. Level the SSK with shims until the distances are equal. Run DRAIN to empty the DRUM. See SPECIAL FUNCTIONS.

    See PROGRAM MODE to select the set processes. Run the DUMP TUBING TEST to verify correct tubing installation. See TEST MODE.



    Selections as shipped from the factory. See PROGRAMMING to change selections (values).




    Unit Code


    Must be changed to 7 to operate.
    Replenish Percent


    Slide Dev Time


    Color Neg Dev Time


    TriX/PlusX Dev Time


    Tmax 100/400 Dev Time


    Tmax 3200 Dev Time


    Dry After Process


    Yes, to use built in dryer
    E6 Slide Process

    4 Step

    7 Step, with or without prewet
    Color Neg Process


    Bleach+Fix, with or without prewet
    Set all Times


    Change any time as needed
    Save as Bleach


    Any solution
    Save as Fix

    All Fixes

    Any solution
    Rotate RPM

    40 RPM

    10 to 50 RPM (Rotations/Minute)

    * 75oF (23.9oC) ** 85oF (29.3oC)






    In a dark box, load the film on the reel (see REEL LOADING). Slide the reel on the spindle with the film guide pointing in the direction shown. If there is room on the spindle, use the SPACER (goes on last) to conserve chemistry. Place the spindle inside the FILM DRUM. Cover the spindle with the lid (one side is shaped to go over the spindle). Slide the clips towards the ends of the FILM DRUM to close it. You are now light tight.

    Push the FILM DRUM to the left in the TROUGH till the SNOUT seats itself inside the COUPLING. The two stainless pins of the spindle should go on opposite sides of the STAPLE on the rotate motor.

    Look to make sure you have enough solution in the chemical bottles. Empty the DUMP bottle. Turn the unit ON. Use PLUS to select the type of film you are processing. Push START to begin the process.

    The unit will ask you how many rolls (35 mm) are being processed. Use "PLUS to select : "2" for 1 or 2 rolls of 35mm or 1 roll of 120/220. Use SPACER.

    "4" for 3 or 4 rolls of 35mm, 2 rolls of 120/220 or a 4x5 sheet film holder.

    "6" for 5 or 6 rolls of 35mm, 3 rolls of 120/220 or 2 4x5 holders (8 sheets). Use SPACER

    "8" for 7 or 8 rolls of 35mm, 4 or 5 rolls of 120/220.

    The SSK uses 2 oz. (60ml) of solution per run, plus 3 oz. (105 ml) per roll.

    If you want to change the developing times see PUSH PROCESSING.

    The unit will load the first solution into the internal heating tank, heat it to the proper temperature, warm the processing drum with warm air and then start the process automatically. As the unit is processing one solution it prepares the next solution. The film DRUM has an independent secondary temperature controller that controls the warm air blowing on the DRUM to maintain accurate temperature. The temperature in the DRUM is continuously measured and the time slightly adjusted for a final tweak of the processing. This fine tunes the solution to an accurate temperature for very consistent results. When one solution is finished it is drained out and the prepared solution in the heating tank is pumped into the DRUM. The same procedure is repeated for all the necessary solutions. The unit will signal at the end of the wet processing. Remove the PROCESS DRUM. Insert the PLUG in the COUPLING and wipe out the TROUGH with a paper towel.



    Up to 4 rolls of 35 mm film can be dried in the included UTILITY DRYER on reels. The film can also be dried any other way. The base of 120 film is too thin for drying on a reel, and must be dried by other means.

    Place the UTILITY DRYER vertically in the TROUGH so that the cut away portion of the DRYER covers the air vent in the side of the TROUGH. Shake out each reel 4 times over a sink with a vigorous snap of the wrist to remove excess solution. Put the reels on the dryer spindle (closed end on the bottom) and put the spindle in the UTILITY DRYER

    Push START to begin drying. SSK will FLUSH itself as it is drying the film. The unit MUST BE ALLOWED TO FLUSH itself after every processing run. The required drying time will vary with the amount of film and the relative humidity of the room. If the film is not fully dry when the dryer stops (15 min.), dry again. Rinse all reels, spindle and drum with COLD water. Room air dry - hot air may distort the parts. RINSE, DO NOT IMMERSE THE DRUM.

    If you get drying marks, try the following: a) use distilled water for the last step. b) dilute the wetting agent or stabilizer. c) use softened water. d) rinse externally in distilled water. e) squeegee and hang up to dry. Film with drying marks can be re-rinsed and dried again.

    An accesory hang-up dryer is available from PhotoTherm (Part# AF-DR8).





    The plastic ratcheting reels can be adjusted to hold different sizes of film. Simply hold the reel in both hands, making sure that the outer spiral groove (near the ball bearings) is on top and facing you.

    Twist the right half of the reel clockwise until you hear a click. The two halves can then be pulled apart. There are 3 "keyed" positions on the reel hub. The narrowest position is for 35mm or 126, the second for 127, and the widest for 120/220.

    Insert the leading end of the film, emulsion down, into the outer spiral groove of the reel and an inch past the ball bearings. With both hands on the reel twist the right half and the left half in opposite directions. You may have to assist the film feeding by placing the thumb, of your forward moving hand, on the outside of the film.

    Keep feeding the film until the end clears the ball bearings.

    Any Paterson TM reels will work. They are available at most photo stores. Contact Photo-Therm if you prefer to use different style reels.

    35 MM FILM Cut off the film leader. Clip the corners of the leading end to make feeding easier. 35 mm film can be started past the ball bearing in the light, but must be fed into the reel in the dark. Twist one side of the reel back and forth to feed the film into the reel. When you reach the end of the film use scissors to cut it away from the film cassette. Do not tear the film. An uneven tear may cause the film to come off the reel.

    120/220 FILM. Separate the tape from the backing paper and fold it back over the film. This will stiffen the end of the film. Load the taped end into the reel. Feed until the back end passes the ball bearings.

    Bend a 120 Film Clamp and place it over the end of the film into the grooves of the reel, close to the ball bearings, as shown above. Add a second film clamp on top of the first one. For extra assurance use a 1 in. piece of leader tape to bond the end of the film to the film clamp.

    Mount the 120 reels in the center of the spindle.




    Just turn the power switch ON for normal operation. Hold down the START switch as you turn the power switch ON to be able to PROGRAM process values. Hold the PLUS switch when turning on to see the roll count and run DUMP tubing test and valve test.

    Hold MINUS when turning the unit on to put SSK-8R in DIAGNOSTIC mode.


    Hold when switching ON




    Normal Operation



    Changes processes and set values.


    PLUS +

    Tests Valves and DUMP lines. Displays Roll count.


    MINUS -

    Technical diagnostics.

    NORMAL MODE Special Functions

    Selected with PLUS when machine is turned ON.

    DRY will turn on drier for 15 minutes.

    DRAIN will empty the internal HEAT TANK and the PROCESS DRUM.

    CLEAN LINES is a major cleaning. It draws solution through each of the chemical tubes, one at a time, starting with tube #18 and ends with #1 and then does a FLUSH using #5 as a water source.

    All solution tubing should be removed and the water tubing moved manually from position to position, as the unit draws water through each tube to clean itself.

    CALIBRATE will load water into the heat tank, heat it and hold the temperature at 37.8 oC (100 oF). The unit will emit a beep every time it reaches the proper temperature. Allow 15 minutes after the first beep before reading temperatures. Check the temperature with a digital thermometer (an electronic fever thermometer works great) with the probe near the stir rod but not touching the bottom of the heat tank. A glass or dial thermometer will not work. CALIBRATE also measures the number of pump pulses needed to cover the level sensors. This information is necessary for replenishment with the SSK-8R. If you run out of water during calibration, rerun the calibration.

    The temperature can be adjusted with a small screwdriver through a hole on the left side of the unit. Clockwise to decrease temperature. All units are calibrated at the factory and should not need adjustment in the field.

    The DRUM Temperature sensor can be tested by holding MINUS when "CALIBRATE" is displayed and then pushing START. The bottom display line shows 2 Hex numbers. The first Hex number refers to the DRUM temperature sensor. At room temperature (70 oF, 21 oC) the Hex number should be B5,B6,B7,B8,B9 or BA. The important thing is that it should not vary by more than 2 on any successive reading. If it readings are erratic, clean the Stainless Steel contact plates with alcohol and Scotch Brite, and squeeze in the contactors on the body.


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    PROGRAM MODE will allow you to change the set processing values. Select by holding START as you turn SSK on.

    SSK will first show you programming instructions.

    Use MINUS when you want to change settings. Minus will also lower the time when changing times.

    Use PLUS to advance the selections and increase the settings.

    START records the changes.

    Turn the power switch off to exit programming.


    Change # to 7 for the unit to operate. Push MINUS to make a change. Push PLUS until 7 is displayed and then push START to record the change. This is only done once when you first get Super Sidekick. After recording either turn off the unit for at least 10 seconds to exit or push PLUS to look at the next parameter.

    Changes the percent of replenishment. Push MINUS to change. One number at a time will start blinking. Use PLUS to increase the number. Push MINUS to move to the next number. When all the numbers are correct, push START to record.

    The next few screens let you change the set developer times. (Changing the developer time for one processing run only (Pushing), is done during normal processing as the process is selected.)… push MINUS to make a change, use PLUS and MINUS to select the time and then push START to record.

    If you want to use the included utility dryer right after processing, set to "YES". If you will dry the films externally (recommended), set to "NO".

    Select the slide process you want to use: whether 4 or 7 step, with or without prewet. You can also choose not to show slides as a selection to the operator.

    Select the color negative process you want to use: C-41 or bleach & fix combined, with or without prewet. You can also choose not to show color negatives as a selection.

    You can change the time of any step in any process. You can remove any step by making the time less then 2 minutes. In Black & White any changes after developer affect all the Black & White processes. Push MINUS to make changes, push PLUS to select the process, then push MINUS to change the times in that process. PLUS selects the solution, MINUS will let you make changes and then PLUS and MINUS change the time. START records the selection. Exit by turning Super Sidekick off.

    Select the solutions you want to save to the BLEACH SAVE and FIX SAVE tubes. Push MINUS to make a change, push PLUS to select the process, then push MINUS to change the solutions you want to save in that process. PLUS changes the choice (Yes or No) and START records the change. Exit by turning Super Sidekick off.

    You can change the rotational speed of the spindle. Push MINUS to make a change. PLUS will advance the selections and then START will record the changes.

    Will change all parameters to their original settings when Super Sidekick was shipped from the factory. Just press START.




    TEST MODE Select by holding PLUS as you turn SSK ON. It will first display roll and run counts and then show the number of pump pulses used to cover each of the level sensors.

    DUMP TUBING installation is tested by pumping up water into the large film drum and letting it drain out. The cycle is repeated 3 times. Connect the DUMP and FLUSH tubing to your drain or bottle. Fill the water bottle with water and connect it to tube #5. Insert the large DRUM into SSK, keep the top off so you can observe the action. The DRUM should fully empty every time it drains. If it does not, turn the unit off and recheck your DUMP tubing. You can empty the HEAT TANK and DRUM by running DRAIN in NORMAL MODE.

    The VALVE TEST is selected by pushing PLUS. Insert the PLUG into the coupling. When you push any switch, a valve will open and the FILL pump will turn on as long as you hold the switch. It will pump any solution in the HEAT TANK out of the DUMP/SAVE tubes. You can use the CALIBRATE function in NORMAL mode to pump some water into the HEAT TANK.

    The SAVE switch will indicate ON (red showing) on the display if it is on during the VALVE TEST.

    DIAGNOSTIC MODE Select by holding MINUS as you turn SSK ON. This is a technician level area. Acknowledge you are technically qualified by pressing PLUS.

    This mode individually checks all of the machine function, sensors and actuators. SSK may have to be opened to reach some of the sensors. See SERVICE.

    Will display any level sensor that senses solution. SSK has the following Level sensors: Low, 2-roll, 4-roll, 6-roll, 8 roll, drain level (located inside the coupling) and the rotary selector valve (SSK-8R only). The SAVE switch can also be tested as a level sensor.

    You can test the sensors by connecting a clip lead between the solder lug on the side of the HEAT TANK (central grounding [earth]) and the sensor.

    If none of the level sensors is made, you can push MINUS to go to the VALVE test, PLUS to go to the PUMP test and START to go to OTHER tests.

    Pushing the switches will open the valves. (The valve test in TEST MODE allows you to check flow through the valve by also turning on the FILL pump). Hold MINUS and push PLUS to go back to LEVEL TESTER. Pumps are tested the same way. AUXILIARY is reserved for future needs.

    DR&ROT (push MINUS) will turn on the dryer and the spindle ROTATE motor. TEMP (push PLUS) will show the HEX readings of the DRUM and HEAT TANK sensors, show the voltage (120/230) and then take a few readings in HEX of the actual voltage.

    GAT (push START) will exercise the ROTARY SELECTOR valve to both ends of travel, then stop at tube #9. This is the middle of travel and is the position the valve must be in when its internal tubing is mounted.



    Wipe off all spills when they occur.

    Keep the stainless contact plates on the DRUM clean. Never touch with fingers. Clean daily with alcohol and buff with Scotch Brite. Bend in the contactor springs on the body periodically.

    Use silicone grease to lubricate the "O" ring on the SNOUT of the processing DRUM as needed.

    Inspect the plastic sleeve on the STAPLE that turns the spindle - replace if worn.

    Clean the reels as needed by soaking in a 50% solution of household bleach for 5 minutes. Rinse well with hot water.

    ONCE A YEAR, open the unit (see SERVICE), unplug it first, and:

    1. Protect the PC board from getting wet. Cover it with paper towels and a plastic sheet.

    2. Examine for any signs of wetness.

    3. Clean the heat tank and the area above the heat tank with a cloth dampened with a toilet bowl cleaner.

    4. Replace the air filter on the dryer with a 3" square of air conditioner filter.

    5. Remove the protection for the PC board and push down on all the connectors.

    6. Close up the unit.

    ALARMS & MESSAGES DO NOT TURN UNIT OFF until you check why.

    A continuous series of short buzzes signals that the unit requires attention. Read the message in the display to find out what needs to be done.

    DISCARD DEV! SEE BOOK ERR# 1 means that the developer did not drain out. Work quickly, but calmly. The film is safe.

    1. Pull the film DRUM out and quickly stop up the end of the snout with your finger.
    2. Go to a sink or bucket and let the developer drain out of the snout.
    3. Re-insert the DRUM back into SSK.

    The process will then continue, but check to see why the solution did not drain.

    CHK DRAIN TUBES SEE BOOK ERR# 2 means that some solution (not developer) did not drain. Push start to stop the buzzer. Check your drain tubing. Is the tubing crimped? Is the DUMP bottle full? When you have found the problem, correct it and push START to let the process continue.

    CHECK "SOLUTION NAME" means that there is not enough solution for the processing to continue. Push START to turn off the alarm. Fill the solution bottle and then push START. The process will continue.

    FLUSH means that the unit was not flushed after the last processing run. Push START to allow unit to flush itself.

    NO AC means the unit is not plugged in. Plug the unit into a live wall outlet.

    DUMP TANK FULL Empty the DUMP bottle.

    PLEASE TURN OFF Turn unit off when not in use. There is nothing that needs warming up.

    MACHINE FAILURE Problem with heat TANK temperature sensor. See CORRECTING PROBLEMS.

    SET CODE SSK code must be set before it can operate. See PROGRAM MODE.

    CLEAN DRUM SENS! SSK has tested the DRUM temperature sensor and determined that it needs cleaning. Wipe with alcohol to remove grease and fingerprints. Buff with Scoth-Brite. Push in the contactor springs.

    CLEAN LEVEL SENSRS SSK has determined that one of your level sensors in the heat tank may have some slime or a hair hanging from it. Open the unit (see CORRECTING PROBLEMS / OPENING the UNIT) and clean off the sensors. Check for any moisture inside the unit.

    REPL FILL PUMP SSK has determined that your FILL pump needs replacing.

    WAIT FOR AC If message flashes on and then goes away do not worry. If the message stays on it means that developer has not touched the film yet and that you are connected to a Uniterruptable Power Supply (UPS). SSK will wait for AC electrical power to be restored before continuing the process. If the film was already in developer when the power outage occurred, SSK will continue the process on UPS power.


    Test a new batch of chemistry on your own film or run a test strip.



    S O L U T I O N, T i m e, T e m p ,T u b e ,C O M M E N T S

    E6 Slide Processes.

    7 Step E6 slides without prewet.

    Air Preheat Varies to 37.8 Go to SLD DEV below

    7 Step E6 slides with water prewet.

    WATER prewet    Time   Temp     5  Checks drum temp

    SLD DEV eloper  6:30   37.8     2  Very precise

    WATER wash (3x) 2:00   37.8     5

    SLD REV ersal   3:00   37.8     18

    SLD C olor DEV  4:00   37.8     17 Very precise

    SLD CONDitioner 3:00   37.8     16 pre-bleach

    SLD BLEACH      8:00   37.8      6

    COLOR FIX       4:00   37.8     13 SAVED FIX if switch ON

    WATER wash (3x) 2:00   37.8     5 also used by C41 FIX

    SLD STABilizer  2:00   23.9     9

    4 Step E6 Slides without water prewet. Go to SLD DEV below

    4 Step E6 Slide with water prewet. PRESET

    WATER prewet    Time    Temp     5 Checks room temp

    SLD DEV eloper  6:30    37.8     2 Very precise

    WATER wash (2X) 2:00    23.9     5 Acts as cool stop

    WATER wash      2:00    37.8     5

    SLD C olor DEV  4:00    37.8     17 Very precise

    WATER wash (2X) 2:00    23.9     5

    WATER wash      2:00    37.8     5

    SLD BLIX        10:00   37.8     6 SAVED FIX when switch is ON

    WATER wash (3x) 2:00    37.8     5

    SLD STAB ilizer 2:00    23.9     9

    Color Negative Processes.

    Color Negative C41 without prewet. Go to C41 Dev below

    Color Negative C41 with prewet PRESET

    WATER preheat   Time    Temp    5 Checks drum temp

    C41 DEV eloper  3:15    37.8    3 Very precise

    C41 BLEACH      6:00    35.5 8

    WATER wash      2:00    35.5 5

    COLOR FIX       6:00    35.5    13 SAVED FIX if switch ON

    WATER wash (2X) 2:00    35.5    5 also used by E6 FIX

    C41 STABilizer  2:00    23.9    10

    Color Neg. Bleach+Fix combined no prewet. GO to C41 DEV

    Color Negative Bleach+Fix combined with prewet.

    WATER prehwet   Time    Temp    5 Checks room temp

    C41 DEV eloper  3:15    37.8    3 Very precise

    C41 BLIX        3:00    35.5    8 SAVED FIX when switch is ON

    WATER wash      2:00    35.5     5

    C41 STAB ilizer 2:00    23.9    10

    Black & White Processes. All are available in NORMAL MODE.

    TRI X / PLUS X

    B&W DEV eloper  4:40    23.9    4 end of BW process is same

    TMAX 100 / 400

    B&W DEV eloper  5:30    23.9    4 end of BW process is same

    TMAX 3200 This is a warmer process 85oF (29.3oC) vs 75oF (23.9oC)

    B&W DEV eloper  5:45    29.3    4 end of BW process is same

    END OF BLACK & WHITE Common to all BW processes.

    WATER wash      2:00    23.9     5 also acts as stop

    B&W FIX         7:00    23.9     14 SAVED FIX is switch ON

    WATER wash      2:00    23.9     5

    B&W P erma WASH 2:00    23.9    15 hypo clear or water

    WATER wash      2:00    23.9     5

    BW RINSE        2:00    23.9     11




    Use: 1. Kodak T-Maxim developer (B/W DEV) 2. Rapid B/W FIX 3. Hypo clearing agent (B/W P WASH) such as Heico Perma-Washtm 4. B/W RINSE Photo-Flo (Kodak) or Rexton’s Hyperwettm. Mix T-Max developer 1 part concentrate to 5 parts water. It works better in a Sidekick than Kodak’s recommendation of 1:4.


    Use working strength solutions of any C-41 chemistry. Overflow solutions work well. If you use replenishers remember to add starter to the developer to get a working strength solution.

    RA C-41 chemistry works well with the standard bleach and fix times. If you would like to shorten the bleach and fix times see PROGRAM MODE.


    Blue shift can be corrected by adding sodium hydroxide (see chem. manufacturers instructions) to the color developer or by diluting the reversal step. When reversal is too dilute, the slides will have a green cast.

    Bleach should be aerated (have air pumped through it). Use a fish tank type air pump and run the tubing to the bottom of the bleach bottle. Do not use an airstone. Run for at least 2 hours a day. Check reversal for scum growth - discard, clean bottle, re-mix. Check color developer for separation - re-stir with mixing rod.


    Unicolor, Photo-Technology, Tetanol or Beseler chemistry will work. (Some manufacturers call their chemistry 3 step - they don’t include a wetting/stabilizing step. Use C-41 stabilizer or a wetting agent (Hyper-wet or Photo-Flo) for this step.


    MOTION PICTURE FILM (black layer on base). Process ECN-2. Process like normal C-41 film. Since SIDEKICK can use fresh solutions for each step, the black residue does not gum up the unit. Turn SAVE switch OFF. After the last step, rinse under warm water and gently rub the remaining residue from the film base. Do not touch the emulsion. Hang film to dry. Wash reels with a soft brush in dish detergent.

    Mix color chemistries in water that is at least 85 oF (29 oC). Stir well. Wait one hour before using.




    Film Time Push 1 Stop
    Agfa 201 440-2500
    APX 25 4:15 5:15
    APX 100 4:15 5:15
    AP 400 4:50 5:45
    Fuji 800 788-3854
    Neopan SS 4:15 5:30
    Neopan 400 4:40 5:50
    Neopan 1600 3:30 4:40
    Ilford 201 265-6000
    HP5 PLUS 4:30 5:30
    100 DELTA 4:30 5:30
    400 DELTA 5:00 6:00
    Delta 3200 7:30 9:00
    FP4 PLUS 3:30 4:10
    PANF Not recommended
    Kodak 800 242-2424
    PAN-X 4:40 5:40
    PLUS-X 4:40 5:40
    TRI-X 4:40 5:40
    TMAX 100 5:30 6:35
    TMAX 400 5:30 6:35
    Select TMAX 3200 @85oF
    TMAX 3200 @85oF 5:45 6:55


    If you want to change the developer time for one run, hold MINUS as you push START. The display will show the developer time. Change to desired time using the PLUS and MINUS. When the proper time is displayed push START to begin. The next time you process the unit will return to the normal time.

    As a rough guide, 1 stop is about:

    a) + 2 min. for Slides E-6.

    b) + 30 sec for color negs C-41.

    c) + 20% of normal dev time for B/W

    Call film manufacturer for more complete information.











    4 X 5 INSTRUCTIONS (optional)


    Practice loading the 4x5 HOLDER with the lights on. The HOLDER will process 4 sheets at a time.

    The 2 stainless clips are on the TOP of HOLDER. Rotate both clips toward the center core.


    Insert the sheets with the emulsion towards the center. 4x5 sheet film has notches in one corner. Hold the sheet facing you with the longer side vertical. When the notches are at the top right corner, the emulsion is facing you.

    Load the 2 inside sheets first. Load from the TOP of the HOLDER. Squeeze the film so that it can fit inside the ring of the HOLDER. Push the sheet into the groove. Use your other hand to help guide the sheets.

    After all the sheets have been loaded, rotate the stainless clips toward the outside ring to hold in the sheets.

    The spindle should then be inserted from the bottom of the HOLDER. Place the spindle with the HOLDER(S) in the Processing DRUM and process normally. Select DRUM SIZE = 4 for 1 HOLDER in the 4-roll DRUM and DRUM SIZE = 6 for 2 HOLDERS in the 8-roll DRUM.


    After processing:

    1. Remove the HOLDER(S) from the spindle.

    2. Rotate the stainless clips toward the center core of the HOLDER

    3. Push the sheet up slightly from the bottom.

    4. Pull the sheet from the TOP. Use your other hand to help guide the sheet.

    5. Use your own method to dry the sheets.

    6. Rinse the HOLDER(S), spindle and DRUM. AIR DRY. DO NOT USE HOT AIR.

    Very thin base 4x5 film like Kodalith will not mount in the holder.




    Initially set up your unit to run without automatic replenishment. When you are familiar with the operation and satisfied with the results, start using the replenishment option.

    Super Sidekick model SSK-8R can replenish any 2 chemicals, usually bleach and fix for a great reduction in chemical costs. You get the highest quality results, because the developers are fresh.

    Replenishment is turned on when 3 conditions are met:

    1. The solution is saved as either bleach or fix. Save only one of each when you are replenishing.
    2. The SAVE switch on the back of the SSK is turned on (red showing).
    3. The percentage of replenishment as set in PROGRAM MODE is not zero. See PROGRAM MODE. Start with 9% bleach and 30% fix replenishment.

      Replenishers are connected like any other solution: bleach to tube #7 and fix to tube #12.

      The SAVED solution drains to a HOLDING bottle, next time SSK uses that solution it will pump up the set percent of replenisher and then pump up the used solution. When the solution is used again, it drains back to the HOLDING bottle.

      Because of the added replenisher, the volume in the HOLDING bottle increases. You have to arrange the bottle so that the overflow flows away or is emptied manually.

      The RETURN tubes are connected to the SAVE FIX and SAVE BLEACH tubes on the back of Super SIDEKICK.

      Connect the HOLDING bottle as per drawing:

      1. The RETURN tubing must follow all the rules of a DUMP line.

      a. Keep it short and going down as quickly as possible.

      b. Minimum of a 12" drop.

      c. End of tubing must never be in solution.

      2. Allow 2 feet of slack on USED tubing.

      3. Aerate the bleach with a fish tank air pump (2 hours/day or more) through the air fitting. Do not use an airstone.

    5. The OVERFLOW should be directed to your container.
    6. Use black " tubing to reach the bottom of the HOLDING tank for USED and Air.

    Monitor your process results. If the film does not clear (milky) increase the fix replenishment rate. You can usually re-fix the film manually to correct the problem.

    If the film looks flat, muddy or the black areas have a red tinge, increase the bleach replenishment rate and/or make sure the bleach is aerated. You can usually re-bleach the film to correct the problem.




    Will not start up or gets stuck in process step. Alarm does not sound Selector Valve jammed. Record display messages. Remove DRUM, drain solution and put DRUM in bucket of water to protect the film.

    Unplug & open unit and check ribbon connector and tubing to Selector (Rotary) Valve.

    Excessive leakage from front of DRUM, where spindle passes through 1.Improper draining. Reread how to run DUMP lines. Run DUMP LINE TEST in TEST MODE.

    2.The STAPLE is touching the spindle bushing while the spindle is being pulled in. Adjust by mounting the STAPLE closer to the motor.

    "Machine failure" message Temperature sensor problem. Check ribbon connector from heat tank. Make sure it is pushed down, properly aligned and pins are straight. Handle carefully. Lift up squarely. Do not just pull ribbon.

    If program module was just replaced check it for bent pins.

    Film too dark or light 1.Temperature off. Run CALIBRATE. See Special functions.

    2.Chemical quality, mixing or age.

    Film color off Chemical quality, mixing or age.
    DRUM not recognized Clean contact plates on PROCESS DRUM. Run sensor test.
    Dev time counting down when STARTed DRUM sensor shorted. Replace DRUM.
    Leak from snout. Grease "O" ring on DRUM snout.

    Use a telephone near Sidekick when calling in for service.

    OPENING the UNIT. Qualified Personnel only

    The unit must be opened in order to reach the internal components.

    1) Remove the power cord from the unit and pull at least one battery from the battery holder. Remove all the solution tubing from the tubes on the back of the unit.

    2) Unscrew the 4 screws holding the BODY to the base (2 on the right side and 2 on the left side). Lift up on the right side of the BODY so that it hinges on the left side. Rest the BODY on its left side.



    Open the unit (see OPENING). Cover the PC Board with paper towels and a plastic sheet to protect it from getting wet. The SELECTOR VALVE (SV) is now exposed. The tubing from the SV is held against the side of the case by a clamp. Open the clamp. With a paper towel in hand; remove the SV tubing from the pump fitting.

    Remove the ribbon connector of the SV from the PC board. Carefully lift the connector straight up. Do not bend the pins. The SV is held with 4 screws. Unscrew and remove SV.

    Carefully turn the SV so that it lines up on tube #9. Install the new SV. Fasten with the 4 screws. Clamp the tubing to the case. The black mark on the tubing should line up with the bottom of the clamp block. Push the end of the tubing onto the pump.

    Remove the protective socket from the connector of the new SV and place it on the old SV connector. Replace the electrical connector in the socket marked SELECTOR VALVE on the PC board. The mark on the connector should be on the lower left corner.

    Close up the unit. Do a test processing run.


    Open the unit (see OPENING). Locate the circuit board. Carefully note how each connector is mounted before you pull it from the board. Pull away squarely from the board, be careful not to bend the pins. Do not just yank the ribbon cables. Rotate the 2 clamps holding the PC board and remove it.

    Push the new PC against the stop on the right side of the track and then twist the clamps. Carefully replace all the connectors. Use the wiring diagram (p.16) as a guide for positioning. Close the unit and run CALIBRATE (see SPECIAL FUNCTIONS).



    Open the unit (see OPENING). Locate the heating tank. The temperature sensor screws into the side of the heating tank. There are 2 wires connecting the sensor. One goes to a solder lug, and the other is soldered to a black wire. Cut away both wires (the wires are interchangeable).

    Wrap the new sensor with 4 wraps of Teflon tape and screw into the heat tank. Solder the 2 wires where you cut the old wires. Close the unit and run CALIBRATE (see SPECIAL FUNCTIONS) to match the sensor to the PC board.


    Open the unit (see OPENING). Locate the 5 level sensors on the heat tank. The sensor closest to the left corner is low level (4 oz -120 ml) followed by: 9 oz, 15 oz, 22 oz and 29 oz. Pour the proper amount of water (start with 4 oz then add 5 oz etc.) into the heat tank. Hold the sensor where it passes over the tank wall with one hand and bend the end of the sensor with the other hand so that the sensor just touches the water. Empty the heat tank by closing the unit and running DRAIN (see SPECIAL FUNCTIONS).


    Prepare the unit by running CLEAN LINES (see SPECIAL FUNCTIONS). Open the unit (see OPENING) and wipe up any loose solutions. Tie down the 2 pumps (through the holes in the base) with strong twine. Remove the magnetic stirrer (white pill) from inside the heat chamber. Close the unit. Remove and keep stir bar, plug and power cord.

    Place the unit in a plastic bag. Use as much packing (balled newspapers, bubble wrap etc. <please do not use small Styrofoam chunks>) as possible to cushion the unit from the walls of the box.

    PARTS LIST SSK-8R Always specify model and serial number.

    SSK-SVR Selector Valve


    AF-SPL Spindle 4-roll


    SK8-HT Heat tank


    SK8-SPL Spindle 8-roll


    AF-TS Temperature sensor


    SK8-D4 Process drum 4-roll


    SSK8-PC Printed circuit brd


    SK8-D8 Process drum 8-roll


    AD-DISP Display


    SSK-BOTH Holding bottle


    AF-TR Transformer


    AF-BOT5 Bottle 5 Gal


    AD-P Pump


    ADC-LEV Sensor for dump btl


    AF-DRT Dryer internal


    AF-FV Float valve


    AF-DR8 Wall dryer 8 roll


    AF-ICE Water connect kit


    AF-V3 Valve triple


    AF-BOT2L Bottle 2 liter


    AF-VCL Valve coil 120V


    AF-REEL Film reels Paterson


    AF-VST Valve seat


    AF-LNCRD Power cord


    SSK-ROT Rotate motor


    DP-SW Switch power. 2 pole


    AF-STAP Staple bushing


    DP-PSW Push switch


    AF-STSL Staple sleeve (2)


    AF-SW Switch save


    AF-4X5 4x5 holder


    AF-BOT1G Bottle 1 gal (4 l)


    AF-C120 120 film clamps (3)


    AF-OR "O" ring (3)




    609 396-1456 Our help line. First check CORRECTING PROBLEMS
    800 221 1555 Russell. 7-step Slide Chemistry. Very helpful
    800 243-2776 Agfa
    800 788-3854 Fuji
    201 265-6000 Ilford
    800 242-2424 Kodak
    800 999-4042 PSI. Makes Unicolor 4-step slide chemistry
    800 525-2821 Jobo. Imports Tetanol (Germany) 4-step slide chemistry
    800 621-5488 Brandess Kalt. Sell Heico Perma Wash fix (hypo) remover
    800 553-2001 Porters. Get catalog. Has Rexton Hyperwet #35-0597, a B/W rinse
    708 833-0300 McMasters. Ask for catalog. Has silicone grease #1418K4
    800 537-9724 United Plastics. Ask for catalog. Good source for bottles, tubing etc.
    800 537-9724 Good stand for unit. Rubbermaid 4505. United Plastics # 06998
    202 223-6906 Interclone. Profit-making slide copier
    800 255-1522 Pic-Mount. Slide Mounters, mounts and boxes
    612 936-9500 Pakon. Slide mounters and mounts.
    716 377-6375 Gepe. Snappy slide mounter. Slide mounts for Snappy mounter
    800 309-4239 CDW. Tritt Lite. BC PRO 1400 Uninterruptable Power Supply



    Date Action

    Copyright PhotoTherm Mar 99