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Discussion Starter #1
I am attempting to build an electrolysis bath for rust removal of cast iron parts. Wood Magazine web site has a free video on how to build such a device. I have done everything correct as far as the construction goes but I can't seem to get my battery charger to electrify the wire. According to bthe website a slow trickle of electricity is be used but my automatic battery charger does not recognize the bath as being a battery and won't turn on when attatched.
My ultimate question is can I do the same thing if I removed the female end of my drop cord or would this be too much too quick? What would it do?
 

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Your problem may depend on that you are using an automatic battery charger. I'm not sure that will work. The process requires a steady currency. Try an old fashioned battery charger with no fancy electronics.
 

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What kind of charger do you have? Some of the newer chargers are a little too "smart". What I did was hook the charger up to a dead battery, then hook the dead battery up to your series. It'll trick the charger. Also, check your connections, and make sure you have wired a SERIES, not a CIRCUIT. That ought to do it.

WCT
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys,
I thought the same thing about these "smart" chargers. I replaced it with another that does not say anywhere on the box it is automatic. If this doesn't work I will try the dead battery trick, great idea Camden. I'll let yu know if it works. Going to try it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
O.k. Just hooked up a brand new battery charger and still nothing. No bubbles at all. I only had 10 gage copper wire to run to the anodes is this too big? This should be working! When I check the voltage with my volt meter it registers zero on a/c.
 

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Imagine that DC electricity is like a waterfall. The height is the voltage, the amount of water going over is the amperage. This ain't a pressure washer, the amperage is going to do the work, you need big pipes/wires for big amperage current flow.

"Smart"(?) chargers need to see a load before they turn on. Sometimes much longer cables provide enough resistance and voltage drop to get the thing to work.

I can leave mine hooked into my solar-power back up system. Obviously, it can't do squat when there's a power failure. The inverter gives me 1.2kW. When the mains come back on, I can, of course shut down the inverter and the charger "fast-pumps" the batteries. My solar panels (2) are good to trickle charge the deep-cycle batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Let me explain my setup; I have about 8 gallons of water that has 8 teaspoons of washing soda dissolved in it. I took 4 10" pieces of #4 re-bar and using them as anodes. The re-bar is fastened to the plastic tub with 10 gage copper wire. I think I have these connected in a series (anode 1 is connected to anode 2 which is then connected to anode 3 and from there to anode 4 all with 10 gage wire). The cast iron piece is fully submerged with steel tie wire holding it in suspension. I then took another piece of 10 gage copper wire and fixed it to the tool securely. The battery charger is set to 6v/6a with the red + clamped to anode 4 while the black - is clamped to the 10 gage copper wire attached to the tool.
I still get nothing and this has been hooked up for an hour and I still don't see bubbles or any water dis-coloration. I have a brand new battery charger and it does have a slight vibration to the touch so I think it's doing something. Even the rust on the re-bar is still there.

I appreciate the help.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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It sounds to me like your charger isn't turning on. Can you post a picture of the charger your using?
 

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If you can't get a battery charger to work, do you have any old laptop power supplies or other wall warts? I use an old laptop power supply with a max of 3 amp and it does just fine - just not as fast as you might get with a battery charger. If you use a wall wart, etc. be sure to use your multimeter to make sure of +/-.
 

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I experienced a lot of the problems you appear to be having the first time I ran an electrolysis set up. You mentioned that your rebar is rusty? Scrub it clean where the connections are. Rust doesn't conduct all that great. Make sure your cathode and anode cannot touch, as this will short the process out. Is it cold where you are? Warm water allows more of the soda to incorporate, which makes for superior conductivity. Also, my cheapo charger doesn't like the cold. It'll light up like it's on, but won't do anything(talking single digit temps). Try to run your set-up using a car battery that you know for sure has juice. No charger, just the battery and jumper cables. If this doesn't work, then it's your set-up. If it does, then it's your charger. If you still have issues, you can PM me and we can try to sort it out over the phone or something. My first experience was extremely frustrating, and when it did start working, I couldn't tell you why. Some sort of "shop mojo". Just be safe while you're monkeying with it. It's easy to get frustrated and make a potentially dangerous mistake. Good luck, and keep us posted.

WCT
 

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Log dog
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Camden makes some good points.
Also make sure all your connections are tight.
You may have to sand where the connections go for continuity.
Good luck. Well worth the effort.
If you don't succeed, try evaporust or even oxalic acid aka wood bleach. It was suggested by Dave Paine and I've had good results.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Camden, I tried your suggestion of using a car battery with known juice in it and it began working immediately! So for sure it is the battery charger that is not tuning on. So now How do I get that to start working?
 
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