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DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning


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  #1  
Old 12-31-2002, 08:54:30 AM
Joe LeBlanc
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Default DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

I have tried the electrolysis cleaning process with good results using a small 15 amp battery charger. I am using a cutoff 65 gallon plastic drum. The average amperage draw is around 7amps for most of the items I have put in it to clean. However when I add a large amount of items to clean and plenty of sacrificial material the amperage draw is enough to trip the charger on and off, so I have to reduce things back down to the 7amp range. I am going to buy a charger that I can set the amperage draw to a fixed number and that should be controlable.

The question I have for the experienced on this subject is: I have an old 6HP FBM with the FBM 125 volt DC generator and control panel,not sure about the amp output, that was used to light oilfield derricks. What would happen if this was used for the DC voltage supply? Would the cleaning process be reduced to a few hours, which would be nice, or would I succeed in burning something up or melting the drum or worse? If not this generator, how about the 32 volt DC Delco instead?

Just a thought that I assume someone out there has already tried, or knows more about the process, and can let me know if this has a chance of working, or just a bad idea.

Thanks Folks, Happy New Year Joe
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2002, 12:27:21 PM
Kid Dynamo
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

I used a Lincoln arc welder for my power supply set on 65 amps. The actual amperage is unknown as I didn't measure it, but the voltage was 39.5. I had four 1-1/4" diameter steel bars for my electrodes and used a large plastic garbage can. The item to be cleaned was a 2 stroke old drag saw engine that was severely rusted and whose flywheel had resisted extreme force.

After a few hours, the solution would heat up to the point where I was concerned that the garbage can might soften and collapse, so I'd shut down to allow things to cool. A few repetitions of this and the engine came apart like it had never been rusty. Braze weld and babbit bearings were unharmed.

I did have some concerns about electocution although I never even got a "shock". It remains a concern and with 125 vdc, I'd be even more concerned. The higher voltage would probably cause the solution to heat up quite rapidly.

I never had my set-up running without my physical presence. I don't consider it a safe endeavor and 125 vdc would be even more hazardous.

I have a small 125 vdc genset too, but I won't be using it for electrolysis. There's plenty I don't know about this but I say watch out for yourself and those around you (children).

Also, if you "short" one of your parts to the sacrificial electrodes, at high voltage, you get a big arc and commeasurate arc damage to the part, even under water. This can be bad if it happens on a precision surface.

Go to the archives and type in electrolysis for a search. A lot has been posted on electrolysis. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-31-2002, 07:44:04 PM
Joe LeBlanc
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

Thanks Kid Dynamo for the reply. What you say is what I would have believed to be the case with that much voltage and probably 25 to 30 amps. What prompted the question was a "bigger is better" comment on one of the post about Electrolysis cleaning.

I will invest in a battery charger that can be set at a fixed amperage and just be patient until the old iron comes clean. If the 125 volt generator would have been likely to worked without potential problems,it may have been a neat demonstration at shows, using the 1916 engine to clean metal in a few hours.

Thanks again, Joe
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Old 12-31-2002, 09:12:06 PM
Franz
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

I've read a lot on the subject, and speed isn't necessarily something you want to acheive. There is a necessity for the electrolyte to penetrate into cracks & such, and it takes time. You can control your current by the amount of sacrificial anode surface in the electrolyte. While the temptation is to go faster, I'd avoid it for the simple reason you are generating a lot more hydrogen than you need to, and effectively boiling off your solution. Stay with low voltage, and control your current.
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2003, 08:31:53 AM
Joe LeBlanc
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

Thanks for the response and advice Franz.

I am new at this process, and I have found that increasing sacrificial surface or surface of material to be cleaned will get to the point of drawing more amps than the battery charger is able to handle without tripping on and off. I am using a small 15 amp charger that may not be up to the task. Maybe a better charger with controls to a fixed amp output may allow more material to be cleaned at once. I am using a 65 gal drum that will hold a lot and still maintain at least 4" seperation between sacrifical material and material to be cleaned.

In as much as it does not seem to be very wise to speed up the process with power, I will try to find a combination that will allow me to fill the drum up.

Thanks, Happy New Year, Joe
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2003, 02:24:43 PM
Franz
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

As battery chargers age, they loose ability to charge batterys due to transformer propertys. Instead of throwing out old battery chargers, I use them to power electrolosys cleaning and derusting. As far as speed is concerned, since I usually have several projects going, and never enough play time, I just let the electrolosys run, and do something else while the rust is taking care of itself. It beats hell out of sandblasting 9 ways to sundown.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2003, 04:36:24 PM
Greg Mosley
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Default Re: DC Voltage for Electrolysis Cleaning

Gentlemen: You are probably aware of this, and probably have discussed this many times. As you up the voltage and amp rate during electrolytic cleaning, you greatly increase the production of hydrogen gas. D.C. voltage also has a tendency to arc. The combination of the two, under the right circumstances can cause flash fire with an end result being tragic. So please when experimenting with this process have proper ventilation and electrical connections.
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