Battery Chargers in the UK and Electrolysis

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Old Beaver

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Hi. I've just joined the forum. I will post in the new members page to introduce myself better, but for now, I live in N. Ireland and I have had problems with trying to do Electrolysis with battery chargers.
My attempts: I have some old tools I wanted to clean up and restore in kind manner; miniature vice, guillotine, chucks etc. I purchased first 1 charger, returned and then another battery chargers and neither would work for electrolysis so that why both were returned. Like many, I got my idea from YouTube, but as most videos and American the tech doesn't always transfer to the UK. I was in the understanding that all UK/EU battery chargers have, "reverse polarity protection." I understand that to mean that if the chargers senses conflicting current it fails to work. So I starting thinking how to work around this.

Confused: This morning I was on YouTube and came across Dominic Chimea from the repair shop (I see the same video on this forum) doing this in March of this year, in the UK, using a modern battery charger. It is a, "SIP Chargestar T27, 35A Charger. He has no problem with his electrolysis. So I am left totally confused.

I can purchase that same charger here but in 30A. Can someone explain to me what is going on for my brain is bubbling like Dominic's electrolysis bath?? Why is his modern charger doing the job and the 2 I bought won't.

I hope you have stuck with this long winded explanation and can educated this old man who knows more about flintlocks and modern tech. I appreciate you help with anticipation.
 

Spectric

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First point is that many chargers now need to sense battery voltage and with correct polarity, this basicaly turns on the charge output. You will not have any voltage to sense and the output will not switch on so this means it cannot just be used as a power source. Your solution would be to connect the charger across a battery and then take your required supply from the battery and then you can connect the right polarity for your electrolysis.
 

guineafowl21

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A modern smart charger has reverse polarity protection, and will also not switch on if the sensed voltage is under about 2V. You need a dumb charger. Another possibility is a bench power supply, 0-30V and 0-5A.
 

rob1693

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Couldn't you just use a fully charged car battery for the electrolysis and the battery charger to keep it charged
 

Spectric

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Couldn't you just use a fully charged car battery for the electrolysis and the battery charger to keep it charged
Your solution would be to connect the charger across a battery and then take your required supply from the battery and then you can connect the right polarity for your electrolysis.
 

Rorschach

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You just need an old fashioned dumb charger, that's what I use, or an old mobile phone charger for small items. Doesn't have to be a specific battery charger either, any cheap DC power supply will work.
example here in 5A
 

julianf

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I use an old bench power supply. I've never bothered trying with a charger.
 

HappyHacker

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Unless you are doing something really big you don't need lots of amps. I used an old dumb battery charger and put a resistor in series to keep the current down otherwise you just produce lots of hydrogen and oxygen and I am told it also does not produce the best finish but can't confirm that. The hydrogen production is also why it should be done in a well ventilated space or outdoors.

Being a hoarder i have lots of old power supplies but could not find a decent one when doing electrolysis due to amount of junk I have :(

I found it worked well and did not damage the engraving on a saw blade.
 

Just4Fun

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Unless you are doing something really big you don't need lots of amps. I used an old dumb battery charger and put a resistor in series to keep the current down otherwise you just produce lots of hydrogen and oxygen and I am told it also does not produce the best finish but can't confirm that.
The only time I tried electrolysis was not a success. Perhaps this is the reason; I used an old car battery charger but did not use a resistor. The items I tried to de-rust came out looking like they were covered by the spatter produced by an inexpert welder. (Don't ask me how I know what that looks like!)
 

hjc

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You probably don't need to buy a battery charger, check what you've got in your junk drawer first.

I've been doing a fair of electrolysis recently restoring an old lathe. Started out using an old ATX power supply, which gave 12V and a lot of amps. That worked well, but I managed to short it out doing something stupid.

After that I switched to an old laptop power supply. It could only supply 3A, but also worked fine.
 

deema

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Old phone, tablet, computer charger works perfectly. In fact any DC charger, just about everyone has one lying in a drawer. It’s what I use. Just make sure you have got the polarity correct……or it won’t work!
 

novocaine

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I use an old PC power supply with a nice big resistor to stop it going crazy. 5v and 12v DC output.
 

Old Beaver

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Ok guys thanks very much for the feedback. I will most likely go with the charger and battery option. I know that works, but will cost me more than I wanted to spend in the set up. I've not heard of the citric acid way, what's involved with that?????
 

Fergie 307

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Don't impeccably cleaning but for brush playing you get a better finish with less power rather than more. You can get a variable output mains to DC volts transformer on e bay etc for about 8 quid, and play with the output to find what works best. I only use 3 volts for plating.
 

Rorschach

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Ok guys thanks very much for the feedback. I will most likely go with the charger and battery option. I know that works, but will cost me more than I wanted to spend in the set up. I've not heard of the citric acid way, what's involved with that?????

Hot (boiling ideally) water, scoop ( heaped tablespoon I guess) of citric acid per litre of water, chuck the parts in and leave them for an hour or so. Give them a scrub and see if you need to go longer. Once done give them a really good rinse with boiling water, dry and oil.
 
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