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Sharing my research on ::DRY CABINETS.::


FilmNoir

New Member
Feb 25, 2009
4
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#1
Hallo all,

This is my first post. ;)

Decided to re-enter back to 35mm film (i wasn't very good when i was a student) after seeing a couple of B&W pictures that inspired me one weekend (and also partly becos a fren informed me that film cameras have gotten affordable!) and am now in the process of building up the accoutrements that come with re-starting a hobby with my recently-acquired Nikon F3.... so thought i'd share with you my "research" on....
~ DRY CABINETS ~
in the event you are, like me, also shopping for one but are boggled by the vast selection out there and the number of repetitve threads in the forums.

Good news is, there isn't a huge selection to choose from. I surfed the intraweb a bit and read about the opinions of some the brands available here in SG. Subsequently, I went down to the Peninsular area to have a feel of them similar to how parents will sniff, shake and even hear a durian before purchase.


Here are my candid impressions, please do not take offence(if there's offence to be taken of cos). Let's get down to it:

1. BUILD-WISE they are all not so different.
-That's my way of saying as long it's not made of jelly, they are good to go. And I don't need it to survive a nuclear holocaust. The cabinet is going to park its caboose there in the corner and very much stay there. So i'll not even bother to get into nit-picking details like: wall-thickness (unless you are planning to carry it around your shoots) or material (all steel, all sturdy) or paint (all are coated with expoxy paint to prevent rusting, if you are wondering; one or two coats would only matter if you are thinking of leaving it in your garden or balcony). And if you are pondering whether if you could sit on them as a demonstration of its build quality or a mandatory requirement for it to double up as an extra chair, i leave it entirely up to you. :hung:

2.1 AESTHETICS. Why people buy iPods even though Creative's pods have better functions at a better price.
-This is the spot of your home where your guests will be woo-ing and wow-ing when they see all your manly gear (toys) showcased in your (toy) cabinet and will in awe of your artistic genius (without having looked at your work yet) whether you are or like it, or not. Grey is the old-skool color. I have seen a couple of them around. They come across as safes. Hunks of boring metal. So unless you are into the whole retro look, you may want to give it a miss. But you know what, i hate to tell others what's cool or what's old and fugly...so don't let me tell you how to lead your life. Other than that, Black seems to be, by default, the safest color (if you can call it a color) for both potential purchaser and purchasee. Do note, as I have, that some brands may have one color externally and another inside. It won't bother most people but I kinda like mine uniform in-and-out if you know what i mean. The odd color is WHITE which AIPO is carrying. How very Apple.

2.2 GLASS DOOR.
-I won't settle for anything other than TEMPERED glass. You may get clumsy, your pet might (get stupid) and bump into it head-on. Unlikely, but i insist that it MUST be tempered since i'm spending >$100 on a "cabinet". All cabinets come with locks with 2 sets of keys (put aside one immediately). All cabinets (except AIPO) come with handles above the lock. The handle will prevent smudges and finger prints on the nice shiny tempered glass; functional, but makes it look cheap, but that is just my opinion.

2.3 TRAYS.
-Some brands have plastic rolling trays which provide the extra "covenience" but at the cost of being flimsy. Heavy metal lenses on a flimsy plastic tray, not sure if i like that. Some come with rigid metal trays. Most cabinets allow you to change the configuration of the trays. I have yet to figure how for mine. Trust me, I have tried. (OK im an idiot.) Some will provide a thin sheet of "electronic" sponge. If anyone knows where I could buy a thicker one with the "eggholder-like grooves", please let me know.

3. TECHNOLOGY.
-This is important. Most cabinets are employing an analogue (AD series) hygrometer system with an analogue or digital (need batteries) display. AIPO and Digi-Cabi both have a digital (DHC series) range as well. The TE cooling controller system will allow you specify an exact %RH and will shut itself off when the desired RH is reached. Analogue systems will give you a range to select (eg. 40-50%RH) but it runs 24/7 and will not shut off. I have read that analogue cabinets need a couple of days to calibrate it to the desired range (40-50%RH). My Aipo-digital takes a couple of hours to drop from 77% to 44%. ALL brands come with a 5-year warranty. If anyone knows which brand is offering a LIFETIME warranty, please let us know too. :lovegrin: ALL, except VALUE (Rodex guy tells me 4W), suck 5W of juice.∞♠

4. SIZE does matter despite whatever you have heard.
-You need to sit down and carefully consider what you really need. Now once you have that figure, you need to then add in 10-litres of realism. And that is the actual pragmatic size you will probably need. 'Cos you and I and everybody knows that your collection of lenses and filters will never contract or remain the same. I also don't see the point of having a cabinet anything <30-litres. If you are able to convince yourself that all you ever will have is 1 body + 2 lenses, then more power to you. For the rest of us who know ourselves a bit too well, let's just be practical and let good common sense guide our purchase. If cost is of concern, my advice is eat less McBurgers and save up a little longer. Regret will punish the impatient. (wow i just made that one up) If you find yourself a cabinet bigger than you need, you can throw in your collection of antiques, stamps, ancient objects and high polymer (according to the brochure). I have never met a person who lives in a GCB (good class bungalow) complaining he has TOO MUCH space.

5. PRICING. You'll get what you pay for. Or pay peanuts, you'll get... peanutbutter? :confused:
- El Cheapo! --->>>> Reasonably-priced!! ---->>>> Le Coffret de Luxe!!!

DigiCabi (AD series) --->>>> DigiCabi (DHC series) --->>>> Value --->>>> Akarui (AD series only) --->>>> Aipo (DHC series) --->>>> Toyo Living &#9830;



**Other Observations/Notes:**
  • - Most may be "Designed in Singapore" but are actually Made in Taiwan except TOYO LIVING (Land of Godzilla).
  • - Digi-Cabi seems to be predominantly the most popular choice. And understandbly so. Price-wise, it offers the most litres for the buck.
  • - Digi-Cabi seems to garner the most number of problems and repeated servicing issues as well. Some buyers complained about the inferior build quality.
  • - AKARUI's black hygrometer is the most attractive looking analogue meter.
  • - Some people have commented that their "Rodex" have lasted for many many years. But Rodex is just the name of the marketing company. They were distributing EUREKA-branded cabinets a few years back and are pushing VALUE cabinets now. So i suppose if not for a name change, they are refering to EUREKA instead of VALUE.
  • - TOYOLIVING is way ahead of the scale. SGD$488 for a 60-litre??!!! Is it made of sapphire glass?
  • - bratz has noted that the Digi-Cabi's controller is outside while Aipo's is under the glass, manipulation-proof! {#5}
  • - I admit, I like the way Aipo looks.
  • - &#8734; High Cost of running a dry cabinet? Let's take a objective look before making an informed decision, shall we? In SG, 1kW/hr = 22¢. Assuming you are running a 5W cabinet 24hrs a day for 31days, your cost = 5W x 24 hrs x 31 days / 1000W x 22¢ = $0.82 per month. Myth-Busted! Will you spend 82¢ a month to protect your expensive toys?
  • - Never put any leather into your cabinet. Not even if it's nice-smelling. And certainly not unless you want fungus to fester and mingle around with your expensive toys.
  • - It's OK to store filters and light meters in the dry cabinets.
  • - I think the best way to treat a fungus-infected lens is to quarantine it in an isolatd dry box with siliica. Any views on this?
  • - Most will deliver to you if you are purchasing the "correct" size. Their cheapest-smallest model can be taxi-ed back so no worries.
  • - You WILL NEED some form of humidifier here in SG (75%+RH!); whether its either a dry cabinet or silica in dry box. Thirsty Hippos suck up the lake a little too much hovering ard 25%RH.
  • - Don't put a Thirsty Hippo in your cabinet for whatever reason. No sense putting silica in cabinet too.
  • - Apparently certain fungi thrive in <30%RH too.
  • - Go below 35%RH if you want to kill rubber or plastic or glue joints.
  • - Optimum range is 40-45%RH while keeping in mind you need to factor in ±10%RH of your analogue system range.
  • - to be continued below....
 

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FilmNoir

New Member
Feb 25, 2009
4
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#2
  • - &#9824; For a good concise understanding of the difference between Analogue (AD) and Digital (DHC) systems & why you should eat even less McNuggets for a Digital cabinet, please refer to Octarine's post {#4} below.
  • - &#9830; Digital-series War:
    40-litres models &#8212; Digi-Cabi's DHC-040 of 40-litres for $238 -vs- Aipo's AP-48EX of 48-litres for $220.
    60-litres models &#8212; Digi-Cabi's DHC-060 of 60-litres for $258 -vs- Aipo's AP-68EX of 68-litres for $280.
    80-litres models &#8212; Digi-Cabi's DHC-080 of 80-litres for $318 -vs- Aipo's AP-88EX of 88-litres for $320. -prices as of Feb'09.
    The price difference is only slight. Don't even bother to go into cost per litre.



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DIGI-CABI: EVERYWHERE! Carrefour and your usual camera shops. http://www.digihub.com.sg/index.aspx
VALUE: Rodex Marketing, http://www.rodex.com/
AKARUI: Cathay Photo, http://www.cathayphoto.com.sg/
TOYO LIVING: JOHN 3:16, &#8224;http://www.toyoliving.co.jp/
AIPO: Distributor in M'sia, JB. Will deliver to us in SG. By the way, they are also looking for SG agents to carry their cabinets. Please let our retail shops know. Email: CrazyPhotoDryCabinet@gmail.com



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After weighing everything, this is what I eventually settled on.
The AIPO 48EX - (48-litres). Eh, sticker not included.



Now guys (and ladies), I'm no authority on DRY CABINETS. I'm just compiling and sharing what I gathered both on and offline. Please feel free to correct me and set a wrong right. If you find this thread useful (or useless), would appreciate a reply. ;)



.
 

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#3
Hi there Film Noir,

From your Avatar and manner of writing, I gather that you are a man of refined taste and distinction. :thumbsup:

H/w, I kinda changed my mind when I saw that sticker on the front of your cabinet...... :bsmilie:

But back to business, just wanted to add that it is not only Aipo which has the digital RH% cut off function. I'm using a Digital Digicabi (DHC series) and it can also shut itself off upon reaching the set RH%. In addition, my digital dry cabinet can reach the recommended 45% in a couple of hours (2-3) too. My 60L digicabi only cost me around S$250 with free delivery and I reckon that it is a good deal.

The Analogue Digicabi on the other hand is a different animal altogether and there are many posts here complaining that it takes many more hours to reach the desired 45%. In addition, there is a need to constantly tinker and monitor the RH% controls.

So, in my opinion, the little bit of extra cash is worth spending for a digitally controlled dry cabinet.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,647
52
48
Pasir Ris
#4
Good efforts to put this summary together. Could make a good sticky guideline. I would like to add a few comments and experiences.

2.2 I don't see a need for tempered glass doors. Price is not a factor to tell me that I deserve tempered glass. The cabinet will be indoors, tempered glass has it's purpose for windows facing outside. Regarding pets: even Chinchilla jumping around like a ball will not bump into it. Reason: it's dark behind. Instinct tells animals to check carefully any area not well lit. I have seen pets bumping into glass doors - but only because it was brighter behind the glass.

2.3 Plastic trays might look flimsy but they aren't. They do the job nicely. Also, plastic can be very sturdy. If you look underside you'll see structures to prevent bending of the trays. The average usage of the trays (pulling out, pushing back) will not pose excessive wear and tear to the plastic rolls.

3. It needs a few words more regarding the technology and still many people confuse a digital display with any digital management. Basically, there are two main technologies to control the humidity. 1) Closed loop and target RH settings and 2) Open loop and manual control
Digicabi DHC series and other models fall into the first category. The target RH is set at the front door (conveniently combined with the RH display) and the system will switch off once the target RH is reached. After opening the door (and increasing the RH) the system starts automatically till it reached target RH. That's what technicians call 'feedback loop'.
The display can be some nice shiny LED with numbers or just an analog clock-like hygrometer - it doesn't matter and it's merely a question of taste. What matters are the humidity sensors, their exactness and the trigger points for target RH. If the sensors don't work properly all fancy RH displays won't help much.
Digicabi AD series have an open loop system that does not have any feedback or automatic switch off. But they have a digital RH display as well. The aim here is to achieve the target RH by adjusting the "drying power" (output) of the condenser. The condenser is working permanently but at a certain defined point it cannot dry the air further - that's the target RH then. One needs to find this point with a bit trial and error and the knob and that's where the complaints come from. Looking at the forums one can see that after some time most people get their dry cabinet to target RH and it's done. A few need repair, though.

My experience with AD-100: It took 3 hours to get into the target RH range and another 3 days to fine tune. Since then I haven't touched the knob anymore (now >1 year). It simply works. As verification I use the hygrometer provided in the dry box (came free with the AD-100 delivery). They don't show exactly the same reading but both are in the target range. That's it.
 

bratz

New Member
Nov 20, 2007
73
0
0
#5
After weighing everything, this is what I eventually settled on.
The AIPO 48EX - (48-litres). Eh, sticker not included.



Now guys (and ladies), I'm no authority on DRY CABINETS. I'm just compiling and sharing what I gathered both on and offline. Please feel free to correct me and set a wrong right. If you find this thread useful (or useless), would appreciate a reply. ;)



.
i prefer this aipo than my DHC series as the controls are in the cabinet itself while DHC has it on the outside...my kids tends to have itchy fingers:bsmilie:
 

FilmNoir

New Member
Feb 25, 2009
4
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#6
Lord Soth- (i was about to type Sloth and thought that was a cool nick)

*Smoking a cigar in my smoking jacket and swirling my watered-down martini*
Yes, I'm a man of refineme....
*before realising my jacket caught fire from the cigar and I try to put it out with the martini only to realise....*

Ahhhh..... Forgotten about the Digi DHC series! Ok have amended and included that in.... Agreed, digital is the way to go.


Octarine-

Thanks, have included a stub for your wise note on the open and closed loops, it was easy to understand. Good point about the display management.


bratz-

I never thought of that! Stubbed.


Need more info to update:
-anyone knows if VALUE is all analogue or do they have a digital range too? Prices for their digital range?
-Ditto info required for TOYO. (Man it sounds like Toyol!)
 

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Mar 14, 2006
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#8
Value cabinet models and prices as listed in Tangs, just for comparison

VDB-600 $229
VDB-700 $269
VDB-800 $299 59 (H) x 45 (D) x 40 (W)
VDB-808 $309
VDB-1100 $339
VDB-1200 $489

www.rodex.com
 

whizzard

New Member
Mar 7, 2009
195
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0
Bkt Timah
#9
Great info!

I have yet to purchase my dry cabinet and am feeling a bit vulnerable. Now, my camera and lens are in my camera bag and I need to get them into somewhere safe soon otherwise mister fungus is gonna come visiting soon!

I have had fungus infesting my lens before (many years ago when I was active in photography) and I don't want the same situation for my new gear.

Based on the info above, have narrowed down my choice to either DigiCabi or Aipo. For Digicabi, at least the service centre is in Singapore. For Aipo, I don't know whether they have a Singapore service centre as they don't even have a dealer here. But, I like Aipo because the digital control is inside the case and it is sleek looking without the stainless steel handle on the cabinet door. Ah well, have to make a decision quickly.
 

kelchan

New Member
Apr 12, 2009
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#10
Just bought my 1st DSLR, need to get a cabinet asap. But which is better?
 

cichlid

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2006
5,074
4
38
S'pore
#11
I didn't know that we can't place leather inside the dry cabi, thanks for the info, FilmNoir.
 

mnmohamed

New Member
Feb 8, 2009
168
0
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Singapore
#13
Thanks a lot for the great write-up :thumbsup: FilmNoir! Helped me a lot in deciding on a Cabinet. :)
 

kitkai

New Member
Sep 9, 2008
170
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#14
Wondering how did you managed to see if it is not available in SG? Are you not concern with how they are going to service your cabi (AIPO), if it breaks down?
 

kitkai

New Member
Sep 9, 2008
170
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40
#16
Aipo's model no longer have their control inside... Its the same as digi-cabi now...
 

#17
I am stuck between all the brands here. AIPO seems to be most expensive (except toyo)
AIPO AP-88EX (88L) $310 [no display set to view, need to buy by faith]
Value VDB-800 (93L) $299 [look more steady to me, no foam on tray, analog more last?]
Akarui E96D (90L) $282 [plastic tray but can roll out, analog more last?]
Digi-Cabi's DHC-080 (80L) $318 [most shop only display AD series, any construction different with DHC series?]
 

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imsoft

New Member
May 17, 2009
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#18
where to buy toyo living drybox in Singapore, ask to CP say, no stock.
 

daniel0ng

Senior Member
Jul 23, 2008
522
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Upper Bukit Timah
#19
Just thought I'll input an update: CP is having an offer for Akarui dry cabinets now at this link

After reading the TS's detailed thread (which is very thoughtful and insightful, thank you!), I have a question about Akarui's dry cabinets - are they of analog or digital control (ExxD series)?
I can't seem to find any information online about Akarui's dry cabinets (unlike Digi-Cabi, AIPO, etc.), other than prices.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Jun 18, 2009
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#20
Hi TS,

Thank you very much for posting such findings. I find it useful since I am new to this forum and looking to get myself a dry cabinet since a long time. Too many brands but how to choose? Of course, the cheap ones sometimes could be better than those expensive ones too. Anyway, I made up my mind to get the AP-48EX which is currently on sale for S$220 with a free 01pc wave sponge due to GSS with a unit purchased.:thumbsup:

Best regards,
Jay
 

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