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Thread: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

  1. #1
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    Default Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    I have a large vice that's very rusty and need to clean it as well as some saws, etc.

    I've got an electrolysis tank set up in a large plastic tote, all wired up as I have seen via YouTube. The water is in with the sodium carbonate and the electrodes are in place. Pretty as a picture.

    The issue is my power source. The charger I have is for trickle charging a deep cycle trolling motor battery. It's got some whiz-bang circuitry in it (I think) that is preventing any power from reaching the terminals in my tank. All I see on YouTube says 2 amps should be plenty so I'm not even gettingthat.

    I know zip about how battery chargers work and have no idea how to fix this.

    Useful suggestions are appreciated. Suggestions like "grind the rust off" not so much...

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Quote Originally Posted by cbcc View Post
    I know zip about how battery chargers work and have no idea how to fix this.
    Put a battery in series with the charger ? Buy a cheap old unsafe charger off craigslist that doesn't have these safety features ? Just use a battery without the charger ?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Connect a 12V battery to your tank. Disconnect it from the tank & put it on the charger when it gets down to about 10 -11V.
    I used this system when cleaning the inside of an old motorcycle tank.
    I was surprised at how quickly it worked, and also how quickly the cathode eroded. (Cathode, Anode, I forget which.)

    I have a similar charger which wont charge a nearly completely discharged battery. I usually connect another better battery in parallel until the discharged one comes up enough for the charger to see it.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    I know just as much as the OP about smart chargers, zip. So I looked it up. This site http://www.a-aengineering.com/chargeroperation.htm says "This charger has a CHARGE ENABLE function. If you connect a battery that has less than 6V, the charger assumes there is a defect in the battery and it will not attempt to charge. Likewise if you turn the charger on without a battery connected, the charger will not output any voltage/current. This is a safety feature which prevents output short circuits."

    Looks like you need a battery. If you run the battery in parallel with the charger and electrolysis tank, I think it will over charge the battery, so Stiletto has it right, you have to alternate between charging and electrolysis.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4yYF8gSHdA
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    For small jobs, if you can get hold of one of these, you've got it made in the shade:

    chrome removal 5.jpg



    Jeff

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    A plain old charger from Harbor Freight is all you need, and it probably will be cheaper.

    What I want to know is how are you going to avoid rust once the parts are cleaned?
    Newly "de-rusted" parts tend to rust quickly.

    You going to paint or apply some coating? What if you are using a coating?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    For small jobs, if you can get hold of one of these, you've got it made in the shade:
    'zat yours ? Want to do some engraving, electro-chemical-etching-style ?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    Connect a 12V battery to your tank. Disconnect it from the tank & put it on the charger when it gets down to about 10 -11V.
    I used this system when cleaning the inside of an old motorcycle tank.
    I was surprised at how quickly it worked, and also how quickly the cathode eroded. (Cathode, Anode, I forget which.)

    I have a similar charger which wont charge a nearly completely discharged battery. I usually connect another better battery in parallel until the discharged one comes up enough for the charger to see it.
    I think that's the ticket, thank you. I've looked for an old style battery charger on Craigs list, pawn shops etc. with no love.

    Stay tuned for before and after pictures.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Search for molasses rust removal. I've done threads on it
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  10. #10
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    Default

    Or soak the parts in molasses

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Or soak the parts in molasses

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk
    I've used both the molasses and the electrolytic method, electrolytic is faster in my experience.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Just at HF earlier today. They have an old-school 5,10, and 50A(! or more) 'dumb' charger for about $30 with a coupon. (The 50A option is only for about a minute with a cool-down interval, and used for car starting.) But the 10A is the right thing. It weighs an appropriate amount to have a big old transformer in it.

    For a container, I picked up a city-size rolling trashcan -- I think its 90 gallons. Have some auto front suspension parts to do...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Reminder not to use stainless.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Electrolysis Tank for rusty parts

    Thanks Chip. My Craigslist charger was gone when I heard back from the guy. On my way to HF.

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