Cheapskate Electrolysis

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Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:21 pm

I did a little experiment this afternoon where I did some electrolysis on a silver coin using only crocodile clips, a 9v battery, and salt water.

The results were good, as you can see from photo below.

However, my question is, is it a safe method? I felt the battery getting warm.

Thanks.

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by GeorgeMK » Tue May 21, 2019 6:28 pm

If a battery is getting hot there is a risk of fire or explosion. Whatever you did it does not sound safe.

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:31 pm

GeorgeMK wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:28 pm
If a battery is getting hot there is a risk of fire or explosion. Whatever you did it does not sound safe.
Hi George, thanks for the reply. You could be correct, I personally know nothing about this process. However, on saying that I got the idea from a 'big name' science website.
Last edited by detectorman5050 on Tue May 21, 2019 6:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Blackadder43 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:32 pm

On certain online auction sites you can get one for less than £15 delivered
Our very own Oxgirl36 bought one and the results are evident in her thread yesterday

In my view spend £15 and potentially save your house ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Dangerous Norman » Tue May 21, 2019 6:37 pm

There is no current limiter in the battery so it will discharge at whatever current the solution allows. Putting a resister in line would help but what value I don't know. Too high and it would take forever (if at all), to low and you'll have the same problem.

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:39 pm

Dangerous Norman wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:37 pm
There is no current limiter in the battery so it will discharge at whatever current the solution allows. Putting a resister in line would help but what value I don't know. Too high and it would take forever (if at all), to low and you'll have the same problem.
Thanks for the advice, though I think that I will probably be best off buying a proper electrolysis kit for £15.
Last edited by detectorman5050 on Tue May 21, 2019 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Allectus » Tue May 21, 2019 6:48 pm

That's only .500 fine.

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:55 pm

After 'electrolysing' only three coins, the battery is almost flat. So given the flat battery, and possible safety concerns, I don't recommend this experiment.
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Allectus » Tue May 21, 2019 6:56 pm

detectorman5050 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:55 pm
After 'electrolysing' only three coins, the battery is almost flat. So given the flat battery, and possible safety concerns, I don't recommend this experiment.
Any old phone(or similar) charger will do. ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by beaubrummell » Tue May 21, 2019 7:13 pm

Using salt as an electrolyte releases chlorine gas. Baking soda would be better. ::g

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Oxgirl36 » Tue May 21, 2019 7:17 pm

Mine cost less than £15 - can’t remember exactly - but it is only an old telephone charger and it would have been cheaper to have bought crocodile clips and make my own, which I will do next time. Plain old salt in the water works brilliantly but bicarb of soda is an alternative I’ve not yet tried.

Obviously, after just one go, I’m now an expert =))
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 7:25 pm

The thing is if you do use an old phone charger, how can you tell which wire is positive and which is negative? Does it matter?

I am also slightly concerned about safety, since you are dipping the wires of the phone charger into a conductive solution, aren't you effectively short circuiting the mobile phone charger?

Is there any chance you could come back and find your phone charger melted to the wall?
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Oxgirl36 » Tue May 21, 2019 7:29 pm

detectorman5050 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:25 pm
The thing is if you do use an old phone charger, how can you tell which wire is positive and which is negative? Does it matter?
If you get it wrong the worse that can happen is the spoon bubbles not the coin. If it does just swap them over :D .

Watch this
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by SuperRed » Tue May 21, 2019 8:39 pm

The one that I got from the fabled auction site was only 10 quid and came with a basic instruction sheet and a nifty little key fob depicting a couple of Roman coins. ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Easylife » Tue May 21, 2019 9:00 pm

detectorman5050 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:25 pm
The thing is if you do use an old phone charger, how can you tell which wire is positive and which is negative? Does it matter?

I am also slightly concerned about safety, since you are dipping the wires of the phone charger into a conductive solution, aren't you effectively short circuiting the mobile phone charger?

Is there any chance you could come back and find your phone charger melted to the wall?
The wire with the solid white line is the positive. Yes it does matter as if reversed you will plate the item. :D
As long as you don't cause a direct short it is quite safe, though best done in a ventilated area. ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Easylife » Tue May 21, 2019 9:02 pm

Oxgirl36 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:17 pm
Plain old salt in the water works brilliantly but bicarb of soda is an alternative I’ve not yet tried.
Washing soda is recommended which is quite different to bicarbonate of soda. ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Oxgirl36 » Tue May 21, 2019 9:51 pm

Easylife wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 9:02 pm
Oxgirl36 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:17 pm
Plain old salt in the water works brilliantly but bicarb of soda is an alternative I’ve not yet tried.
Washing soda is recommended which is quite different to bicarbonate of soda. ::g
I know there’s a difference :-* I was always told bicarb of soda (baking soda in the US) though ::g

See this link that was provided above u;@ that agrees too

https://www.metaldetectingworld.com/how ... lyte.shtml
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Gareth50 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:06 pm

Hello all,
If you electrolyse with salt solution, sodium chloride, you will produce chlorine and hydrogen. The hydrogen escapes and poses little hazard, but the chlorine is more hazardous. An open window will dissipate the chlorine easily enough. Once these gases have escaped the salt solution steadily turns to sodium hydroxide. Using washing soda, which is sodium carbonate, means no chlorine but still results in sodium hydroxide. So long electrolysis could be detrimental to older coins. I am new to metal detecting and the cleaning of finds. I would be cautious with electrolysing copper based or bronze coins for fear of the hydroxide reacting with the metal. If the electrolysis solution goes blue it may be the copper has started to produce copper hydroxide and your coin might be damaged As regards the hot battery, the battery is discharging quickly and will soon be flat. I think a commercial electrolysis unit is the best bet rather than a phone charger or lap-top transformer. If you do go down he Heath Robinson route you will need a dc power source. Make sure that you use a power breaker in the socket and fit a fuse in the plug of no more than 3 amps. Better safe than house burnt down!

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by detectorman5050 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:56 pm

@Garteth50. Thanks for the top tips. I opened all the windows as you suggested for ventilation. I made my own 'electolyser' out of a 5v charger, and so far I am very pleased with the results. Below is a gothic florin, before and after.

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by targets » Wed May 22, 2019 3:36 pm

i use an old car battery charger ..usb charger as well
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by sgoody1 » Thu May 30, 2019 12:05 am

What is an electrolysis kit?
Can anyone send a link to a recommended one?
I am not sure building my own is a good idea, and if they are cheap anyway, it is probably a better option!!

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Easylife » Thu May 30, 2019 1:05 am

sgoody1 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 12:05 am
What is an electrolysis kit?
Can anyone send a link to a recommended one?
I am not sure building my own is a good idea, and if they are cheap anyway, it is probably a better option!!
It's just any low voltage DC power supply. An old phone charger gives a milder zap, whilst a car battery charger is more aggressive - it just depends on what you are zapping and what you wish the end result to be. I just zapped a very crusty 17th century iron keyhole horseshoe with 12v & 1.5 amps, lots of fizz from both sides but it removed about 400 years worth of thick crusty rust to just leave the underlying more detailed solid metal - a pleasing result. Whereas for a more delicate item I'd likely just use say an old phone charger of 5v & about 0.5A for a gentler more controlled approach. I just use a washing soda solution as it creates no harmful gasses. ::g
You can buy a so called electrolysis kit on Flea bay for £10 - £20, but you likely just have the same old phone charger lying about somewhere. Just cut the small plug off and add some crocodile clips - sorted. :D ::g
I wouldn't call it 'cheapskate electrolysis' at the thread title suggests, but just practical and the same really.
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by sgoody1 » Thu May 30, 2019 1:58 pm

Thanks.
Which clip goes on which piece (positive vs negartyive).
Also, I just threw away an old horseshoe that was so crusted I thought it was beyond saving.
Do you have a before and after picture of the one you did?
Am now going to check through my old electrical box of bits that should have been thrown out and see what I have.

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Pete E » Thu May 30, 2019 2:26 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:58 pm
Which clip goes on which piece (positive vs negartyive).
In practical terms it doesn't really matter....Once you connect the croc clips to item being cleaned and the "sacrificial item" and turn the unit on, watch which one has bubbles forming on it...

If its the item you want cleaning, all is good..if its the "sacrificial" item, switch off, swap the leads around, and then try again..

The main thing is not to short the leads directly together when the unit is switched on, as you are likely to blow a fuse, but that is the same with either "homemade" or "bought" set-ups...

If you do some searching on Youtube, there are plenty of videos on there showing how to do it...
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Easylife » Thu May 30, 2019 3:05 pm

sgoody1 wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 1:58 pm
Thanks.
Which clip goes on which piece (positive vs negartyive).
Also, I just threw away an old horseshoe that was so crusted I thought it was beyond saving.
Do you have a before and after picture of the one you did?
Am now going to check through my old electrical box of bits that should have been thrown out and see what I have.
Here you go.
H1a.jpg
That's about 400 years of rust removed, it's still quite well defined underneath but could do with a bit more attention. Old penny for size reference.
Negative goes on the item you want to zap. ::g
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Pete E » Thu May 30, 2019 3:24 pm

Easylife wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:05 pm
That's about 400 years of rust removed, it's still quite well defined underneath but could do with a bit more attention.
How long did you zap it for to get those results?

Have only tried a copper penny so far and the zapping did not seem to have any appreciable effect...suspect it works much better on silver items?
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Slapster » Thu May 30, 2019 3:30 pm

I ended up buying a car battery trickle charger - already had the plugs, wires, and croc clips attached, so ready to go!!

I use water and baking soda - no issues to date

All seems to work well, and safely........
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Pete E » Thu May 30, 2019 3:34 pm

Slapster wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:30 pm
I ended up buying a car battery trickle charger - already had the plugs, wires, and croc clips attached, so ready to go!!
Can I ask what sort of think you have cleaned with it? I only ask as I was worried 12V would be a bit much for silver coins? Or did you use it on the 6v setting???

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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Easylife » Thu May 30, 2019 5:00 pm

Pete E wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:24 pm
Easylife wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:05 pm
That's about 400 years of rust removed, it's still quite well defined underneath but could do with a bit more attention.
How long did you zap it for to get those results?
Tap away any loose and wire brush it, zap until you remember that it's still on - repeat until you are happy with the result. The horseshoe probably got about 2 hours in total at 12v up to 1.5 amps but mostly at about 0.5 amps. The trick is to get a good initial electrical connection through the crust for it to work, I filed the edge a bit. Both the anode and cathode were fizzing like crazy in the washing soda solution. A second less crusty horseshoe took about 1/2 hr. :D
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Re: Cheapskate Electrolysis

Post by Slapster » Thu May 30, 2019 6:42 pm

Pete E wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:34 pm
Slapster wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:30 pm
I ended up buying a car battery trickle charger - already had the plugs, wires, and croc clips attached, so ready to go!!
Can I ask what sort of think you have cleaned with it? I only ask as I was worried 12V would be a bit much for silver coins? Or did you use it on the 6v setting???

Regards,

Peter
Tried it on a number of different things - all with differing amounts of success.
The unit is 12v only, so thats what I use and a silver florin was definitely the biggest success....
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