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electrolysis machine

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electrolysis machine

Unread postAuthor: Jeeperforlife » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:51 pm

I built a electrolysis machine today because I was board. Like most kids when I was in school I built one with a couple of paper clips, salt and a 9 volt battery. this one I wanted a little bigger so I cut some .012" stainless plate up and built it in a 4" PVC tube. Each plate is 3" X 12", there is 12 plates and I have 12 more for another cell.

A few questions about it. I do not use any thing in the water to help with current but still It is drawing over 50 amps, is this normal? When the plates are not in the water there is no amp draw so I know there is not a short in the plates. Also the watter turns very dark after less than a minute what is this caused by? All metal on this is 316 stainless.

I was able to fill a 20oz bottle in less than 5 minutes at only 50 amps, I can't wait to hook it up to the battery in my Jeep with some lye in it. I am hoping you guys find this interesting. I was thinking of building a small combustion to fuel this with if I have another boring day here soon.

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I would welcome any comments.
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Unread postAuthor: Duane31 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:12 pm

The coloration in the water could be from the plates. 316 stainless is an upper-medium grade stainless steel that is still ferrous and magnetic under the right extreme conditions. Perhaps the electricity is causing it to become energized magnetically and pulling compounds from the water and metal.
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Unread postAuthor: rp181 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:59 pm

Thats odd, it should not draw over 50A. What voltage?

Do you have any steel parts? the color can be from rust.

Another possibility: Are you sure there is no salt in it? If there is, the water turns bad as chlorine dissolves. and it produces chlorine, which is toxic.

EDIT: I bet you have a short in there. Connect a multimeter on resistance out of the water, whats it say?

Connect the PSU outside of the water, is it drawing current?
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Unread postAuthor: Jeeperforlife » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:17 pm

rp181 wrote:Thats odd, it should not draw over 50A. What voltage?

Do you have any steel parts? the color can be from rust.

Another possibility: Are you sure there is no salt in it? If there is, the water turns bad as chlorine dissolves. and it produces chlorine, which is toxic.

EDIT: I bet you have a short in there. Connect a multimeter on resistance out of the water, whats it say?

Connect the PSU outside of the water, is it drawing current?


All parts are stainless. I did have some salt in it in the begining but rinsed it out a few times. I know there is not a short because I can see the amp meter on the front of the battery charger go up as I lower the plates into the water. One thing to keep in mind is I live in the midwest and have very hard water.

I will check the resistance in and out of the water when I chance.

EDIT I should also say it is a 12 volt charger.
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Unread postAuthor: deathbyDWV » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:22 pm

That's pretty cool. I'd don't know much about them so I can't help but it's still cool and looks very well made.
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Unread postAuthor: Dgealy » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:00 pm

Wait, are you storing the hydrogen and oxygen in the same tank? Because that's a perfect mix. A small static spark, and boom. Not little controlled boom. Big Boom. I'd be careful.
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Unread postAuthor: Jeeperforlife » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:10 pm

Dgealy wrote:Wait, are you storing the hydrogen and oxygen in the same tank? Because that's a perfect mix. A small static spark, and boom. Not little controlled boom. Big Boom. I'd be careful.


The tube is almost completely full of water. there is very little space for storage and as soon as I am done I empty it.
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Unread postAuthor: rp181 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:02 pm

Battery chargers (depending on type) give out more voltage than the voltage their charging to.

I am in colorado, that is still very unusual. Perhaps make a video running through the system/it running.
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Unread postAuthor: chinnerz » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:20 am

i can say that is the biggest on of those i have ever seen.

does the water get very hot at all??
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:58 am

Looks nice. Be aware that the waste water afterwards will probably have some chromium compounds in it. Have you tried burning any of it yet? One thing that's fun to do is bubble some through some soapy water, and light the bubbles. It's LOUD!
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Unread postAuthor: Jeeperforlife » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:04 am

rp181 wrote:Battery chargers (depending on type) give out more voltage than the voltage their charging to. I am in colorado, that is still very unusual. Perhaps make a video running through the system/it running.




I will check the actuall voltage today. I wish I could do a video but with the camera I have you would not see much.

chinnerz wrote:i can say that is the biggest on of those i have ever seen.

does the water get very hot at all??


It does get warm I have not ran it much yet though.

Insomniac wrote:Looks nice. Be aware that the waste water afterwards will probably have some chromium compounds in it. Have you tried burning any of it yet? One thing that's fun to do is bubble some through some soapy water, and light the bubbles. It's LOUD!


What does the chromium do? Yes I have lit some in a 20 oz bottle It was very loud. I will try the bubbles thing soon.
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Unread postAuthor: kenbo0422 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:17 am

You're making colloidal salts from the stainless steel. Your electrodes are being sacrificed to produce the electrolysis. If you were to use silver electrodes, you would get a solution of colloidal silver, which is a great anti-bacterial agent. Using stainless won't guarantee a longer lasting electrode, since the process eats up the electrode to produce ions in the solution for the breakdown of the water. Eventually it will turn into a fairly thick sludge that you'll have to clean out, and you'll have to make some new electrodes at some point.
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Unread postAuthor: Jeeperforlife » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:35 am

kenbo0422 wrote:You're making colloidal salts from the stainless steel. Your electrodes are being sacrificed to produce the electrolysis. If you were to use silver electrodes, you would get a solution of colloidal silver, which is a great anti-bacterial agent. Using stainless won't guarantee a longer lasting electrode, since the process eats up the electrode to produce ions in the solution for the breakdown of the water. Eventually it will turn into a fairly thick sludge that you'll have to clean out, and you'll have to make some new electrodes at some point.


Interesting. On my next day off I am going to hook it up to my Jeep and fill some ballons with it. I will see then How bad it can get. I think I will try some distilled water
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:06 am

Distilled water won't conduct electricity well (in fact, completely pure water WONT conduct electricity). You will definitely need an electrolyte- KOH, NaOH, Na2CO3, or even sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) if you're desperate. Not advised though.

Hexavalent chromium is the problem. Tends to mess with DNA, cause cancer etc. Don't wash your hands in it, and don't drink it (don't use it to water your garden or similar after either).
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Unread postAuthor: saefroch » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:43 am

If you're looking to do electrolysis experiments on your own, cut up a pencil and take out the graphite inside, it makes very good stable electrodes for all sorts of experiments. Just be careful, since I know from personal experience that salt water will produce Cl2 and NaOH.
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