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Print Page oldski-doosleds' Vintage Ski-Doo Message Board
    oldski-doosleds Message Board => Help Desk (Only) => Message started by: Vintage Elan Guy on August  5, 2013, 05:56:16 AM
	

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Title: Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on August 5, 2013, 05:56:16 AM

For a number of years now, I have used electrolysis as my go to process for freeing up and stripping old rusted parts and assemblies.

I am in the process of building a race sled for my son for the upcoming season using a 74 FA T'NT chassis as the base.
For anyone that has worked with the skid on these sleds, you have no doubt come up against seized shafts, very comon.
Well, the very rear swing arm shaft was seized solid and would not either rotate or move even with persuasion from a hammer.

So, yesterday, I set up a tub for using my tried and true method.

Here is the video of the process beginning. Cable attached just to the bolts on either end of the aluminum shaft. See all the bubbles coming from not only the bolts but from between the shaft and the tube.
The sound in the background is an air conditioner and not from the process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc55oDv4S6I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc55oDv4S6I)



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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on August 5, 2013, 05:57:24 AM

So after an hour or so, I removed it from the bath and the shaft slid right out with little effort. Of course results may vary depending on how badly the parts are seized.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on August 5, 2013, 05:58:41 AM

After a soak overnight, most of the paint is all bubbling off and ready to be removed. Keep in mind, that there are no harsh chemicals used.

Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, cold water and electricity.

More parts to do yet.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: GaWajn on August 5, 2013, 10:05:51 AM

A very important topic ... everyone in the restoration game should read up on this process. Thanks for sharing VEG.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on August 5, 2013, 10:56:53 AM

No problem.
I agree, it is a great way to clean up old parts without the need for harsh chemicals. Certainly much easier for small and intricate parts too over sand blasting. Nice part is there is little effort required except for doing the final clean up after the soak.
It also does not destroy the parts like media blasting can do either. Just takes off the rust and whatever is on top of it.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Rockalicious on August 7, 2013, 02:10:17 PM

Will this work to remove the rust in the small divets and bumps that a wire wheel can't get into?

I see the wires attached to the parts, but I am curious what the setup is to what those wires are attached to for the current.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on August 7, 2013, 02:40:53 PM

Yes it will and the power source is a 12 VDC battery charger. Negative goes to the part you are stripping and positive goes to the sacrificial plate.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: nico on August 26, 2013, 02:45:20 PM

For a bit more power I use a power supply from a PC. I blew up a battery charger with this, probably shorted it out or something. But the PSU seems to hold up fine!


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: ddub on December 31, 2013, 12:13:19 PM

I finally played with this process this weekend.

VEG, thank you for getting me the courage to do it. I have had the stuff here. Just never did it. I know part of my "fear" was reading of that it needed to be in a well ventilated area by some write ups, because it gives off a explosive gas. Outside here in the winter? Good luck! Reading further, that seems to depend on what chemical you use and what metal you use for the positive sacrificial lead. I didn't see an issue with that using steel for the rod and soap for the water mixture.

I did a preliminary test in about a 6 gallon mix.

It does work, but I have some questions.

First, some write ups mentioned amps as a gauge for the amount of power to use. My charger didn't measure any amps, just volts. I was reading about 10 volts, on medium or high. How do you decide the amount of power? The voltage was on the low side of 10 when set to medium, high side of 10 on high. Bubbling started immediately even on medium.

I also am wondering how often you change out the water mix? I am contemplating setting up a drum set up. about 30 gallon potential. Permanent fixture in the shop. Changing water would be doable, but not a every day occurrence.........

How long does the arm and hammer last? Do you need to replenish the detergent periodically, how do you know when?

Leaving on for days. I have some concerns over the safety of that. Nico already touched on it. I don't know if battery chargers are designed for constant prolonged use? PC Power supply? Wouldn't think there was enough juice there? If I do a permanent tank set up, I will provide a permanent power supply which could be a charger designed for this, or? I was actually thinking of a old arc welder as they can be found cheap? Don't know where that lies for power output. Or another thought is a power supply for a electric fence. Those are on 24-7.

Does power demands increase with larger items, or larger amounts of water?

How often do you need to "clean" the positive rod? Even in a few hours that had a pretty healthy build up on it. When does this build up start to inhibit conduction of electricity?

Another write up said it removed shafts due to heat? um, nothing in my bin seemed hot. Infact my hands are still blue from pulling parts out and inspecting them! LOL

Soaking engines. What have you removed prior to putting in? I am guessing any copper should be removed?

I like what I saw, but truthfully, at the speed it was cleaning, I could have this going 24-7 for life............ ::)


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: nico on January 1, 2014, 05:26:33 AM

A PC PSU is a lot faster than a battery charger, at least for me. My PSU gives 9A on te 12V line I'm using. My container is about 3-4 gallons. Usually the rust is gone within an hour but I've had it on overnight as well without any trouble.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: GaWajn on January 1, 2014, 07:04:30 AM

VEG has way more experience about the process than I do ... but being who I am ... I will chime in here ;)

Any old style ... ''NON SMART'' charger works for me. I have tried a smart charger that I had from Canadian Tire (Motomaster), and it did not work for me at all. I assume that the smart charger was looking for some kind of battery feedback to input into it's brain ... but found none and decided it was break time!

I now have a large stupid (manual) one that can put out large amperage. I usually get under 5 amps in my tank, from a 10 amp limiting setting, but it varies.

The amount of power (current draw/amperage used) is not chosen by you. The tank/vat takes what it can use. The solution/anode/cathode resistance limits the current draw. What you are actually doing is creating a short circuit through a water/soda solution. If the anode touched the part to be de-rusted ... it would be a dead short. The solution has a certain resistive value.Using OHM's law, you can calculate what that resistance is by measuring your current draw and using 12 volts in the equation.

Your charger usually has current limiting switches. 2 amps ... or other settings like this. You set an amperage limitation and let the system take what it needs/can use. A lot of small chargers can only get to 2 amps for a continuous (long time) charges. That may be why some have better results with PC supplies.

I personally would never leave a setup like this unattended ... but that's just me. I have never had a situation where 4 to 6 hours were not enough. If after 4 to 6 hours your parts are not de rusted, then you have another problem ... bad connections, cruddy anodes, etc ... Remember that this process is a line of sight thing. The back side of a part will not be de-rusted if that side does not see the anode. That's why you try to get anodes all around your tank/vat.

I only change the water mix when I start getting inferior (longer times) results. It depends how long it has been used ... how rusty the parts were etc ... no set rules here ...

The amperage does not change with larger parts. The total resistance of the anode/cathode/solution is what determines the amperage that is used. I find that when the amperage starts to be less ... that's when the anodes are loaded with crap. A quick pass with a wire brush usually gets things back to normal ... if not .. then the solution might be ready for changing.

I have never seen or heard of heat issues. The only way I could imaging there being heat build up is if you have bad/loose connections to the anodes ... but this is speculation on my part. It might be also caused by using a wire that is too small in gauge, for the amperage used.

I have never soaked engines ... I can't help you there.

It is a slower process ... but you don't need to be sitting there watching the event. Although the first few times ... that is exactly what I did ... :D It is much gentler on the parts being cleaned than any form of media blasting. I have uses for both methods when restoring parts.

AS far as power usage goes ... if your system is drawing 5 amps at 12 volts ... then the power usage is about 60 watts.

I am getting ready to clean some car parts in the next few days ... I might report back with further comments here ...

If I am just going to put a protective clear coat on the de-rusted parts, I usually media blast them because I like the looks of the parts better. They look shinier that with the electrolysis process. If the items are to be painted or powder coated, then I use either process.

I hope this has answered some of your questions ... Good luck!


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on January 1, 2014, 07:23:37 AM

Current is dependent upon surface area of the anode and the parts being stripped. The larger the anode, the more current flow.

Use a standard battery charger or dc power supply. Makes no difference. The electrons don't know the difference.

Don't use an automatic charger. If that is what you have, turn it to manual.

Clean the anode often. The cleaner it is, the better it works.

Change solution when it gets too dirty or sludged up. You can always add more water of washing soda as required.

I've never had any issues with leaving it running for days on end provided it is someplace that others will not accidentally access.

There is no heat generated by the process except maybe in the charger or power supply if the current flow is high.

Your results may vary depending on many variables. It takes as long as it takes.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: ddub on January 2, 2014, 12:52:14 PM

Well I played some more this weekend.

I put together a more permanent tank. I took a outside type heavy garbage can which I put about 22 gallons of solution in.

4 anode (fence posts) around it, all tied together with electrical wire.

Playing with the power supply. I think most of the "new" chargers seem to be "smart chargers?". I am going to take some amp readings tonight if I have time. I didn't have my nice amp gauge at home to check it this weekend.

I have read where some put a battery in between the tank and the charger. This might be because of the "smart chargers" Charging the battery basically, and the battery supplying the tank. I did this and it worked, but after about 3 hours, the battery was very hot. The battery was a small motorcycle type battery, so I shut it down for the evening. Again, knowing amp draw will tell me a lot.

I am looking at building a "control box" to make connecting wires a lot easier and safer including a fuse of some sort, possibly with a potentiometer installed so I can turn the amp draw down if the amp draw is more than we think it should be?

I also thought about the "line of site" issue. and made a device to put an anode in the center of a cylinder to clean the steel sleeve better than what I was getting on my "test" cleaning. This seemed to work well.

I was cleaning an exhaust pipe when I shut if down for the evening. I would say I was about half done with it?

Gawajn, I agree, it is not for everything. But even on this pipe. If the bulk of the rust is cleaned off, I am hoping blasting goes faster if I choose then to blast it. While I can blast, blasting is always a pain in the bleep and just plain dirty.

Back to the line of site thing. How about "inside" the pipe. I am guessing that not much is happening? Or inside a gas tank without putting an anode in the tank?



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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: GaWajn on January 2, 2014, 03:40:21 PM

The battery getting hot is a clue ... that while it works ... it may not be your best solution. The battery is only there to fool the charger into putting out current.

A Craig's list old style charger can be had for not much money ... and in your case ... would work perfectly.

You could make a potentiometer work ... but by building an amperage limiting circuit ... not just a Pot inline. I believe that it is not needed and complicates things un-necessarily. There is enough resistance in the solution to limit amperage to a safe limit. Building a circuit to do the same thing that is already there ... well ... it's up to you ...

You get the idea about the line of sight. Some people have put the anode inside of pipes for cleaning. If doing something like this ... care must be taken to avoid shorting out the anode against the part to be cleaned.

I know of someone who did this via the fuel filler neck on a 69 bubble cab. Seems he met with some success, but I can't vouch for it.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: ddub on January 2, 2014, 07:03:08 PM

Gawajn,
Yep, I already found an old school charger! ebay, but hey it is cheap enough. I wanted one designated strictly to this project anyway.

Looking at the charger available from companies, they do still make old school chargers. BUT, both places that I stopped the other day did not stock any. Just an fyi for those interested in doing this.

VEG and Gawajn, thanks for the assistance in this. I'll post up some pics of my set up when I am a bit happier with it. Anything to help others do the same.

I did use my old "home" charger tonight and it did seem to work without the battery. But this is a heavy duty charger that I use at home if something needs a boost etc. My shop is not at my house so it needs to come home.

I tried doing a amp test, but my amp meeter only reads AC amps, not DC amps. I didn't bother hooking my other meeter up to read the dc amps. Having the different charger should change the need for that anyway.

I think this is going to be a useful tool for me. Throw some crap er I mean dirty valuable parts in there, turn the switch on and walk away. Come back and there it is at least partially clean. You don't know how many, "when I get around to it" items I have to clean up to sell and use. LOL


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: GaWajn on January 3, 2014, 05:17:19 AM

[url=http://s688.photobucket.com/user/GaWajn/media/1952%20Catalina/Restoration/29-Electrolysis.jpg.html]

... this is my setup that I have been using so far. Not completely happy with it ... but it is working well enough.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: Vintage Elan Guy on January 3, 2014, 05:25:55 AM

You can tell allot by the amount of bubbles as well. As long as there are bubbles, its working.

Bubbles lead to dirty looking scum on top of the water which is all the particulate being released from the base metal you are cleaning.

The part I like about it is that there are no harsh chemicals to deal with and you can walk away and let it do the work for you.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: ddub on January 9, 2014, 09:38:48 PM

I have been playing with it some more.

I like what I am seeing.

I also cleaned up some aluminum, seemed to work fine. The steel rivets look like new now that were used to manufacture the part. (steel rivets in aluminum?)

Once I have it finalized up, I'll post some pics of my set up. I want to clean up the wiring a bit and maybe add a couple more fence posts.


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Title: Re:Electrolysis at work
Post by: ddub on February 10, 2014, 07:01:48 PM

Well I have been using electrolysis quite a bit. My "vat" has been a 30 gallon garbage can. I think I am going to up the anty to a 55 gallon unit. I also want to change my wiring a bit, less chance of shorts etc.

But here are a couple of success stories.

rupp gas tank. Picked it up cheap, decided to clean it up. It had some surface rust on the outside, but the inside is perfect. About 3 hours in the vat. The one end isn't as nice if you look close, the whole unit couldn't be submerged at once.



So, ddub does any of this involve a ski-doo? yep! Look at the anode closely.. :o Sorry guys, it just fit the need so perfect.

I had asked about changing water. Well I think the water was due. I think that is why my anode was filling up so fast, maybe you guys that have done this a bit can verify. Being as we are talking a large vat, changing water is a task. I am thinking of putting a valve in the bottom of my new tank if I get one to allow easier water changes. You don't pick up a 30-55 gallon drum of water easily. ::)

I am going to make my anodes easy to remove for cleaning. This needs to be done fairly frequently when using as much as I have been. I am also going to put terminals on them for connecting wires and create a junction block for the wires to go to. That way I can decide not use a anode or two easily if need be due to touching or other issues.

I think I am going to go from 4 anodes to 6 or 8 anodes. in the tank also.

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to rewire, and include a fuse.

Remember when I said I could keep one going 24-7. I wasn't kidding guys.



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