Electrolysis Rust Removal via Computer Power Supply

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by antFJ, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. antFJ

    antFJ SILVER Star

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    So it was requested a long time ago for me to do a write up on how I got a computer power supply to run an electrolysis set up. This write up will only go into detail on how to get the power supply to work and how to hook it up… not how to actually work the electrolysis or to explain HOW it works.
    For my setup I tried to base it off of Coolerman’s website. He has a great write up on what to use and HOW to use it. My setup was only used for my jump seats and it works awesome – but I did run into some drawbacks. So here we go.

    First off you need a standard 20-24pin ATX power supply. If you are looking to buy one you might be better off getting something that varies your voltage and current, which from what I understand you need to manipulate depending on the size of your tank, your part (CATHODE -), and your iron/steel/stainless steel (ANODE +). But if you are willing to still go the power supply route which is what I did because I had an old one laying around.. then you can get (and I recommend) the cheap $10-20 ones from newegg.
    So now you’ve got your power supply out of the computer and there is a **** ton of wires…. The first thing you’ll need to do is have your power supply turn on without a computer to tell it to do so. This is done by jumping two of the wires on the main 20 or 24 pin connector. From my experience it has usually been the purple (5V standby) to the green (power on). See ATX - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for a chart describing each color for a 24 pin ATX. You’ll also notice that there are many other colors with varying voltages and currents. *****PLEASE DO SOME RESEARCH ON YOUR OWN POWER SUPPLY to make sure that you are connecting the right wires (honestly there should be a sticker on the side that tells you). I have also heard that some of the new power supplies won’t turn on without a load so do some research (the $10 -20 ones should be fine)

    For this supply seen here Newegg.com - RAIDMAX RX-380K 380W ATX12V Power Supply - Power Supplies (and for many of the other power supplies) the colors represent the following voltage/amperage combinations

    YELLOW: 12V /11A
    RED: 5V/29A
    ORANGE: 3.3V/26A

    For my set up seen in the picture below I used the Yellow 12V wire. This wire is used as your ANODE ( + ) and the GROUND or BLACK WIRE goes to your CATHODE ( - ). Here’s where it gets confusing.. in the picture below I switched the usual colors. So I have RED for the CATHODE which connects to the steel and the BLACK wire and I have BLACK For the ANODE which connects the part and the Yellow wire.

    You can also see in the picture I connected 4 of each of the yellow and 4 of each of the black from the power supply and twisted them together my thinking was it would act as a thicker gage wire or something.. really though probably not important.

    My last thoughts on this.. make sure you have an INLINE fuse.. start small.. if it blows just put the next biggest size in because I blew my first computer power supply because I didn’t have an inline fuse.. after I put one in I was all set. Also the power supply is kind of cool because you can have one power source and multiple tanks/set-ups going at once – but that all depends on electrical stuff that I’m not too sure about.. check the wattage and current draw/voltage being used and you should be able to tell if you’re within the allowed limits of the power supply…

    Ask away with the questions/pick apart the design and add your .02 please

    EDIT: also I used sodium carbonate.. or soda ash found at pool stores
    IMG_0840.JPG IMG_0841.JPG IMG_0842.JPG
  2. joeyg1973

    joeyg1973

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    What's the difference between using the ATX vs a battery charger?
  3. antFJ

    antFJ SILVER Star

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    some battery chargers you can dial in amperage.. whereas with a power supply are you stuck with what you are given as far as voltage/amp combos
  4. joeyg1973

    joeyg1973

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    I do know that I needed to buy a very low end battery charger as almost all chargers now have electronic cutoffs that are intended to stop the charger once the battery is fully charged. They won't work with the electrolysis rig. I do have one that that has a 12v 900 amp "start" setting that over rids the electronic cutoffs and cleans stuff REALLY FAST... but it makes a God awful buzzing racket and gets way too hot.

    Oh and never use stainless steel as the cathode. When the stainless steel breaks down and it does slowly break down, it produces poisonous hexavalent chromate.
  5. antFJ

    antFJ SILVER Star

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    x2 on the stainless.. if you do choose to use it.. it must be in a very well ventilated area.
  6. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    You can make the new computer controlled chargers work easily. Just hook the charger to an old battery then come off the battery with your anode and cathode wires. The charger will see the constant drain of the part and continue trying to charge it. The battery keeps the voltage the charger sees in the correct range. The old style chargers are the best though.

    You can also use a mig welder for this. You have control of the voltage and amps. Just BE CAREFUL!

    Another way to control current and voltage is to use a 12Volt light bulb in series with the cathode lead. The bulb will limit the current (it's equivalent to adding a fixed value resistor in series) and will drop voltage across it. This is great for small parts where you don't want the current too high.
    PC110008.jpg
  7. mtweller

    mtweller SILVER Star

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    Why not add a potentiometer in line so you can vary the current as you find desired?
  8. antFJ

    antFJ SILVER Star

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    2,611
    why not! that's a great idea - any info on where to get one/how much they cost/how to hook it up?
  9. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    If you can find a pot that will handle the current it will work beautifully. Try Digi-Key Corporation - USA Home Page they carry a wide range of pots.

    One thing about this method of derusting, it does NOT require large voltages OR high currents. Using a DC light bulb to limit the current to say .5 - 1.5 amps is probably all you need even for large pieces. Like plating metal, derusting current is determined by the surface area of the metal being de-rusted. The greater the surface area, the greater the current needed to de-rust. With large pieces like front fenders if the light bulb current limiter is not there, the current will easily exceed 10 amps.

    Tip: If you need say 4 amps to de-rust a larger piece, use 4 bulbs wired in parallel. The effective resistance is 4 times less than a single bulb. 4 times less resistance, allows 4 times the current flow. If each bulb alone would allow 1 amp to flow, then 4 in parallel will allow 4 amps to flow.

    Another FYI. More bubbles made from higher currents does not mean a faster de-rust time. If will however make paint removal faster as the bubbles explode the paint off the metal. :D
  10. LukeZero

    LukeZero

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    All this is great- but I want to see what the end result is. What do the parts look like when they are done being de-rusted? Is this all worth it?
  11. Coolerman

    Coolerman SILVER Star

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    You better believe it's worth it! Talk about saving time with a sand blaster or wire wheel!

    Rust Removal <<<< This is a link! CLick it!

    This is my web page. It shows some before and after pics....

  12. antFJ

    antFJ SILVER Star

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    sorry i really only have a picture of the part after i took a wire wheel to it to get the last bit of paint off and to even out the surface... check coolerman's website - you really just need a hand wire brush and you're good to go.
  13. joeyg1973

    joeyg1973

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    Yes it's great for blasting paint off of heater boxes. :)
  14. Dedtruk

    Dedtruk SILVER Star

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    New Jersey, dump here please
    Hey guys, I have a 24V DC 5 amp battery charger originally intended to charge batteries for a motorized wheelchair. The charger is brand new (well, unused and dates from late '80's or so) and looks like a nice piece of equipment. Can I use it to power an electrolysis tank? Is this a stupid idea par excellance? Please advise! Thanks!
  15. sggoat

    sggoat

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    Please go ask 2thdoc about the electrolysis unit construction. He made one that cleans everything--
    Gary

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