What's new
What's new

1st attempt at electrolysis, have couple questions...

Alchymist

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 5, 2008
Location
Mifflin, PA
The one thing that has stopped me from trying this is the charger. I am told that new chargers automatically shut off as they are not charging a battery. How can one tell if a charger will work with this process. I have a 2 year old charger/starter which I use with my lawn tractors especially in winter. Would not want to ruin the charger but would like to try electrolysis. How can I tell, without breaking it, if this charger will work? If it won't work, where can I get one that will? What should I look for?

Hook the charger to a spare battery - then to the electrolysis setup.
 

J. Randall

Stainless
Joined
Jul 29, 2003
Location
Vici Okla. U.S.A.
Paul, the process is actually reverse electrolysis, but everyone tends to drop the reverse when discussing it. It probably tends to bother me a little more than others because I worked a few yrs. in cathodic protection, and was always trying to control electrolysis.
James
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
The process works to a certain extent on a line of sight so the more the part you are cleaning is surrounded the better

How would you go about derusting the inside of a complicated container? I want to derust the water jacket of an engine block and heads. There are several openings to each jacket, but no way will there be line of sight to the entire inside of the casting. Must I make anodes to reach down inside the block? And that would not be possible with the head castings.
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
How can I tell, without breaking it, if this charger will work? If it won't work, where can I get one that will? What should I look for?

If you plug your charger is with no battery attached and you can read voltage with a voltmeter across the clips, it will work. There are still manual chargers available. I have one 10A with a timer on it that is labled for deep discharge batteries, it's either on or off. Here are some - Portable Battery Chargers - Manual Operation
 

Lakeside53

Stainless
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Location
Woodinville, WA
How would you go about derusting the inside of a complicated container? I want to derust the water jacket of an engine block and heads. There are several openings to each jacket, but no way will there be line of sight to the entire inside of the casting. Must I make anodes to reach down inside the block? And that would not be possible with the head castings.

Basically, yes. That's where Evaporust excells. Do what you can with electrolysis then (after reaching for your wallet) get the occluded areas with evaporust.
 

Fulmen

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Location
Norway
How would you go about derusting the inside of a complicated container?

You could perhaps use wire anodes covered in a permeable sleeve (anything porous like textiles or plastic fly screen) that can be inserted into the cavities.
 

Hopefuldave

Cast Iron
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Location
Surrey, England
For internal work I've used the plastic spiral wrap used to bundle cables together, and.the pound-shop slit-one-side serrated stuff sold for tv and stereo cable tidying - both work well and allow you to bend the anode (steel wire) to fit awkward spaces without shorting out.

I got a load of vegetable trays that the guy at the market would've had to take home and throw away, for free (plastic baskets, a lbit flimsy) that I use as insulators, so I dont have too much worry about shorts on external surfaces.

I've used carbon rods and they work just as well (imho) as scrap steel but aren't consumed by the process (don't get covered in horrible gunge, either), I used arc gouging rods and stripped the copper off all but the last inch or so with ferric chloride (I make PCBs as part of a hobby) - that lets me solder to the rods when wiring 'em up, and as they seem to last forever it makes for a tidy tank!

Dave H. (the other one)
 

Paul Cataldo

Stainless
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Location
Atlanta, GA
Ok guys, check it out. Here's what I found at Wal-Mart. Arm and Hammer "Super Washing Soda". It apparently has no dyes, perfumes, and is phosphate free (dont really know if phosphate-free matters or not?). Anyhow, I'm going to attempt to post a pic. Hopefully I won't have to email anyone the pic to post it for me lol. Here goes. Would welcome any comments. I'm fairly certain however, that this stuff is GTG...
 

Attachments

  • IMAG1028.jpg
    IMAG1028.jpg
    77 KB · Views: 102

Frank Ford

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 20, 2003
Location
Palo Alto, CA USA
I use simple, plain old sodium bicarbonate - the cheap easy-to-find-see-it-everywhere-regular Arm & Hammer yellow box of baking soda, and it has always worked well for me.

I don't understand the need to chase around after other products - does the process work better with washing soda?
 

metalmagpie

Titanium
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
Seattle
I used to do quite a bit of EDR. I have a couple of comments on your basic list of techniques.

First, the anode material. You suggest using scrap steel. That's what I started with too. I found the steel would rust and the rust would slow the process down so the longer I let the process go the slower it went (i.e. the lower the current flow). So I quit using steel. I tried bare graphite which works great but the solution turns inky black and filthy. Then I got onto sheet lead. That worked the best for me. You get the same current at the beginning as the end, and the solution stays a lot cleaner.

Second, about the amount of current. Saying you get the same results at 2A as 20A is rubbish. The actual figure of merit is not just current, rather, it is current density. Amperes per unit area (of the workpiece). People will argue the speed of the reaction you want. Some say to make the bubbling indetectable and leave it to run for a week or two. I like to keep bubbles coming so I shoot for 125-150 mA / sq. in. as a very rough rule of thumb.

metalmagpie
 

Hopefuldave

Cast Iron
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Location
Surrey, England
I agree with MM about current, my first try was with a bench psu, voltage set to 12v, 1/2 amp - hardly did a thing! Now I.use a 30A battery charger, most moderate rust is gone inside 24 hours, the anode (sacrificial) size matters a lot, a surface area as big as the workpiece or larger seems to be best. YMMV, but my EGBERT (Electrolytic Gungy Bubbling Encrustation Removal Tank) regularly pulls the full 30A on large workpieces.

I don't think sheet lead's very available this side of the pond, roof flashings went to zinc years ago, and "toxic" materials are generally hard to come by...

Dave H. (the other one)
 

mf205i

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Location
Calif.
I use simple, plain old sodium bicarbonate - the cheap easy-to-find-see-it-everywhere-regular Arm & Hammer yellow box of baking soda, and it has always worked well for me.

I don't understand the need to chase around after other products - does the process work better with washing soda?
Does the baking soda remove paint and grease along with the rust? The soda ash-sodium carbonate does and is very mild to work with. You can find it with the pool supplies.
Mike
 








 
Top