Transformer for Electrolysis Tank

TomBall

Subscriber
I was thinking of making a power source to run an electrolysis tank. Can a person use a 110 to 12 volt- 35 amp power supply? Would the newer chargers with microprocessors work or do they have to be more old school? I know some chargers wont work on a completely dead battery, so not sure if they would work for a tank.
 

dalmatiangirl61

Subscriber
You would need an old school battery charger, the new ones will not work. Don't know about just using a transformer, suspect you need a way to control amperage.
 

slip knot

Subscriber
I tried a 10A power supply and it didn't last very long. Maybe 10A was too high. I usually run 2A when cleaning parts.

I'm now contemplating a solar panel option. charging a batt and the Etank at the same time.
 

s100

New member
A TRANSFORMER changes one AC voltage to another or isolates the AC load from the power supply mains.

For electrolysis you need DC power so in addition to the transformer you will need a rectifier to change the transformer's AC output to DC. Given what you are using the power supply for, you needn't be too concerned about filtering to smooth out the DC voltage.

A 12V 35A supply is way too big for any electrolytic cleaning I ever did. When the sacrificial electrode is fresh and squeaky clean I might see something around 6A but as a previous poster said, something in the range of 2A - 3A is what you will likely see.

Unless, that is, you are derusting ship hulls. That may well take more current. To tinker with the current through a given circuit, you will have to adjust the voltage, up for more current and down for less. To the best of my knowledge though people seem to have good luck with 12V. I know I have. The simple life is the good life. Find an old 10A 12V battery charger at a yard sale or a thrift shop. Plug it in to make sure it works. If so it will do a good job for you. Avoid those old enough to have selenium rectifiers (look like a series of flat washers, may be round or square, separated by some spacers) because those rectifiers were not very efficient and they go bad over time.
 

DustyBar

Subscriber
For high amp diodes, you might try robbing them from an automotive alternator. I've used them to replace selenium rectifiers. The forward voltage drop in a diode is different from that in selenium. I believe selenium rectifiers had a property that made them beneficial to battery charging and maybe better than diodes. In this application I don't think it would be a noticeable difference.
 

radiodoc

Member
If a person wanted to vary the voltage and current output, a Variac could be used to vary the input AC voltage to the charger/power supply. Allie
 

TomBall

Subscriber
The tank I am currently using is 275 gallons and I just pulled out a tub from a vintage snowmobile. I am using a 6/12 volt charger and pull 6 amps using 2 anodes on 6 volts. Switching to 12 really cranks up the amps and the thermal switch shuts it right down. I might look for an older charger if I can find a big one, or I might try multiple chargers. My small tanks don't require near the amps. This is the first time I have tried electrolysis on such a scale.
 

Radiomike

Member
The current will depend on the available surface area of both electrodes, cathode and anode. Reducing the anode area will reduce the current, the cathode area being fixed as the work piece. What are you using as anodes?

Mike
 

slip knot

Subscriber
let it run longer. I leave stuff in mine for a week or more. pull the rods and clean them when the bubbling stops. I use rebar and old mower blades, they work pretty well in a 35gallon barrel. I've got a 275 gallon tote that will be getting put into Etank service this summer.
 

TomBall

Subscriber
The two main anodes I use are from the cutting edge of a backhoe front bucket. They are around 4 inches wide or so and hang down to the near bottom of the tank. Two other anodes I use are mild steel of 5/16 by 2 and hang down also to the bottom. On a rectangular part hanging in the tank, I like to cover all four sides at once. However, my charger won't handle it because it is too small for the tank. I do leave parts in it for extended periods and the bubbling doesn't seem to end if a big part is in there. I either need to leave the part in longer or get a bigger charger. I also wonder if the anode steel composition affects the efficiency of the process.
 

slip knot

Subscriber
As long as it’s bubbling it’s working. The rebar gets pretty gunked over but doesn’t seem to dissolve as fast as the mower blades. I’ve got some shredder blades I plan to use in the best bigger tote.

I’m not sure if a bigger project would require more amps or a longer detention time
 

TomBall

Subscriber
With the set up I have now, I can't use the side anodes because the amp draw is too high for the charger. I would prefer a higher amp output power source because I want to speed the process up. I have been going at this project way too long using this method. It does however have it's advantages.
 

miro

Member
I've had very good success with a re-purposed computer power supply. It provides 12 V and up 15 A - 20 A depending on which one you get. I've seen some that give 30 A
The conversion to re-purposed use is straightforward - simply cut off all the plastic connectors - segregate the wire colours i.e. black, yellow, orange and red.
The black is the 0V and the yellow is +12V . To make it wake up connect the green to one of the black wires. The black - red is +3.3 V and the black-orange is +5 V
The neat thing is that if it is overloaded it simply stops working. You unplug, wait 6 seconds and plug in again and it works.
Most small computer shops have stacks of these things - usually give them away.
You tube has lots of conversion videos - they are called "ATX Power Supplies"
miro
 
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