Electrolysis Power Supply Elevated to Component Status

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Project by David Grimes posted 07-28-2011 06:42 AM 2621 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all, the “guts” of this project was done by fellow Lumber Jock ajosephg who had posted his project of a computer power supply tricked out with some posts, 5 and 12 volt source voltage, a toggle switch, an led light and a dummy load resister. I was so enamored with his work that instead of copying it, I asked him if he would make me one just like his. He said he would and he did. What a guy !

Dealing with Joe was a real pleasure. At one point there seemed to be a problem with the power supply I had sent to him. He immediately offered to send me his own unit. We weren’t going there, but what integrity !!! It turned out that the PS I sent was slightly different than his, so he quickly found out that there was not a problem. I already had a second one coming to him, but before I could email that news, he had it fixed !

I got it today (Christmas in July) and basically threw together a box made entirely of leftover Kraftmaid 3/8 maple veneer and some matching scribe mold. For kicks, I threw a brushed coat of red paint onto the front surface of the power supply since I needed to leave the front and back open somewhat for cooling / fan circulation. No screws or brads anywhere, just the 2P-10 and accelerator. I shot all the raw edges with the Rustoleum Universal Satin Black. To finish, I put some non-skid feet on the bottom.

Thanks again, Joe… and thank y’all for stopping in.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

15 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18051 posts in 2074 days

#1 posted 07-28-2011 07:08 AM

computerized electrolysis? I’d ask why you didn’t just use a battery charger, but I already know the answer. I work on computers all day long, I’d rather not have one near my shop. I go there to get away from them.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 3067 days

#2 posted 07-28-2011 10:55 AM

That’s cute, David. Where will this end?! Maybe the next upgrade could be a containerization of the electrolysis bath on wheels or something, LOL. Oh!, and a hydraulic lift so us old guys don’t have to bend over.

Don: You got it, just a battery charger would be too easy ;)

-- Joe

View Ken90712's profile


17112 posts in 2695 days

#3 posted 07-28-2011 11:08 AM

Well done, looking good.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16249 posts in 3725 days

#4 posted 07-28-2011 02:16 PM

Dude, where’s the headphone jack?

And one other question: Looking at photo#3, I was wondering why this unit has a “No” switch. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bertha's profile


13005 posts in 2199 days

#5 posted 07-28-2011 02:45 PM

Joe’s the man. I was impressed by his PSU conversion too. Are you going to panel your electrolysis bucket? ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View DocSavage45's profile


7766 posts in 2349 days

#6 posted 07-28-2011 03:24 PM

Just saw this project. Interesting. Think I have a computer power supply sitting somewhere in the piles. LOL Wondering about the current capacity and efficiency when compared to a car battery charger? Have some old saws I’d like to clean up. And we have had so much humidity here in MN that my shop floor has actuallly been wet with puddles, Goning to have rust somewhere I haven’t looked.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 3067 days

#7 posted 07-28-2011 03:52 PM

Doc: The power supply pictured (200W) is rated at 6amp on the 12 volt output. I think that is comparable to inexpensive battery chargers, and the efficiency is probably about the same. One big difference is that an automotive battery charger outputs about 14 volts, versus 12 volts from the computer PS. That will result in slower reaction time using the computer PS.

-- Joe

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2146 days

#8 posted 07-28-2011 04:26 PM

@CharlieM1958, Possible explanations of the “NO” label: #2 – The air is cooler down low, so I wanted the fan on the bottom. ; ; #3 – It’s a plot to prevent would-be thieves from getting any use out of it and maybe getting shocked. A clever booby trap, indeed. ; ; ;

#1 – “No” is the answer to the question “Will any rust remain on these parts?” when switched. ;

Actually, I loaded it upside down because the power cord is up high and the bath is down low.

My immediate response to Joe’s posting of his project was

That is a very nice, clean and well thought-out re-purposing.

I did this down and dirty back in 1996 to clean up some automotive parts, but after the few bath I threw it away (and haven’t needed it since). I’ve got 6+/- laying around in my computer junkyard boxes. But the binding posts, switch and dummy load makes this a keeper.


Just put a vented wood case around it, some non-slip feet and sell it to me ;=)

@josephg, LOL The cooler DOES have wheels (and a lid and a drain plug). It just won’t hold a #8. So the aircraft carrier USS Bailey gets Evaporust.

@Bertha, I COULD panel the cooler chest to exactly match the cedar ice cream churn. Hmmm (wheels turning)... ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View thelt's profile


661 posts in 2886 days

#9 posted 07-29-2011 01:18 PM

David,This may sound dumb, but what do you use this for? As a computer tech, I have three or four power supplies laying around I could convert to this project. I just don’t know what this will do for me.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2146 days

#10 posted 07-29-2011 06:54 PM

Read this post and you will understand the process better:

It’s all about getting a relatively low amperage DC voltage to power the electrolysis bath. My battery charger is tied up. This is just having some fun with an old 200 watt PS and making it look like more than it is. Sometimes I/we do things just because we can.

This will sit directly below a receptacle just inside my garage and the output wires will be about 6 feet to the outside of my garage where a cooler chest electrolysis tank will clean rust off parts. The flammable gas will blow away in the wind, then when complete I will pull the plug, rinse and dry, then store all in the chest until the next round. Yes, I’m a neat freak. ;=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2287 days

#11 posted 07-29-2011 11:18 PM

Now a question.. I have everything exept the electrolysis bath.. like the washing soda,..
BUT ..Is that the only stuff to use ?
I see other postings that use baking soda, etc..I’d like to plug in and try this, but a trial shouldn’t involve 3kg of washing soda at an exorbitant amount of bucks..for a tablespoon a gallon..that’s all I can find little fridge air freshner WIFE ! SWMBOB, says try Calgon, baking soda like she uses with aluminum foil to de tarnish sliverwear..OR….


And the cabbnetry is over the top David.. Makes me feel inadequate..



-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View ajosephg's profile


1878 posts in 3067 days

#12 posted 07-29-2011 11:30 PM

Baking soda should work, but at a much slower rate.

Washing soda is sodium carbonate, and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. What this means is washing soda is much more alkaline (caustic) with a ph of about 11 and soda bicarbonate is less caustic with a ph of about 8.

-- Joe

View Don W's profile

Don W

18051 posts in 2074 days

#13 posted 07-29-2011 11:43 PM

i hear there is something you can do to make baking soda work. Out of the box it doesn’t work, or at least not in any reasonable time frame. That was my expirience. You can buy washing soda through amazon if you can’t find it locally.

Its just my opinion, but for the extra $2 or $3 to get the washing soda, its not worth messing with baking soda, even if you can figure the way tpo make it work.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2146 days

#14 posted 07-30-2011 12:06 AM

Not exorbitant IMO at all… stick with the calcium carbonate if you can get it easily, or Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). 1 tablespoon per gallon. Both work, but the Washing Soda or Soda Ash are best (same thing, too).

There are other things that work (make a suitable electrolytic soup that passes current from the target to the sacrificial steel or iron anode), but the gases they give off can be problematic. For example, table salt will WORK but it will give off chlorine.

Do NOT use copper (stains), stainless (Hexavalent chromium byproduct, the Erin Brockovich bad stuff) or galvanized (introduces zinc to the bath) as your sacrificial anode.

One pound for $6.89 + $7 shipped to Canada

The pool supply stores (even big box stores) sell calcium carbonate as Soda Ash. I get it for $15 for 5 pound tub. I use it in the pool, too (raises pH), so not a lifetime supply or waste of money.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View mafe's profile


11215 posts in 2596 days

#15 posted 08-03-2011 03:53 PM

Intersting, and a wonderful way to recycle.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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