Electrolosis won't cook!

Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:00 am

Built a crude quick system this week in a 5 gal. bucket using 4 re-bars, bare copper ground wire attached to rods with SS hose clamps. Used baking soda (all I had) and it worked great for 2 days. It pulled 2 amps all of the time. Stripped both rust and paint.
Now, it is not pulling any amps and no action in the tank. Water is not real dirty and rods are clean. I changed to a different charger with the same results.
What am I doing wrong?

Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:18 pm

Baking Soda not being the best to use.. will probably give limited life cycle in a tank..
Why :?: :?: Not sure.. :?: :shock: :?

Add some more baking soda.. :idea: and :arrow: see what happens.. good experiment :!:

Also.. don't skimp.. the water will take hold a lot of soda in suspension. When it no longer will absorb the soda.. then you have reached its max saturation point. .. that will be probably be the peak performance mark.

I like TSP.. and I will stick with TSP.. but that is just my preference. I have never had my tank not cook..

Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:31 pm


I would clean all connections again. If you are using an automatic battery charger you will only draw a few amps unless you put a battery between the charger.I like to use a manual charger. it will usually give you six amps untill the rust is gone.Like Rudi said try using more baking soda if that is all you have. 8) :) Bruce

Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:53 am

Update on cooking parts. I discarded the re-bar that I was using with the SS clamps. I don't believe that I was getting a good connection. Instead, I am now using one 21" lawn mower blade with a heavy ground wire that comes out of the solution, so the positive lead can be attached.

It is working great! I have cleaned the front axle and all related parts, tie rods, etc. As we speak, it is now cooking the steering gear base.

This is all being done in a 5 gal. bucket with baking soda. I now have a 55 gal. drum that I plan to use, when I get time to set it up.

Thanks for all of your input.

Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:00 pm


I would try to find some Washing Soda... Seems to have limited availability, but it is always in stock at the smaller grocery near my house, hidden in the laundry detergent section (same yellow box). $2.39 for 3+ pounds.

Also, I run a wire brush on the rebar every day. But after a few days you really need to let em dry and run through a wire wheel. I use a bench grinder outside for that. Also, I have had good luck with jumper cables. The key is a good connection.

Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:37 pm

I use washing soda and for the last week, my tank has been barely moving the needle on the charger. After reading the suggestions, today I removed the 6 rods in my 55 gal set-up and one-by-one used the grinder and completely cleaned the rods down to shiney bare metal. Boy, what a difference. The tank started bubbling and crud started floating to the top within minutes. It's been a steady charge of about 4 amps all day.

Thanks Guys,

Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:48 pm

I realize that the price of copper has gone out of sight, but has anyone tried to use schedule 40 copper pipe for anodes? I have 4 or 5 pieces of 1/2 " copper pipe about 4' long. Copper to copper would give good connections. What would happen if I used them as my anode rods?

Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:50 pm

Hoss, copper makes a mess and is just the wrong material.

I may try some old shovels soon, since it is cheaper to buy a new one than to buy just the handle.

Yep Rick, clean rebar makes all the difference in the world.... but it really is a nasty job to get em clean! I also think eventually they just loose something, cause the old ones just don't work as well, but it may be just me.


Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:53 pm

Has anyone ever tried using a pressure washer to clean the anode.

Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:47 am

I have two 55 gal. plastic drums, one on its side and one upright that I use. Have always used regular old baking soda. When it slows up cooking you need to clean your anodes and check connections. Since my tanks are outside I've switched to stainless steel, (supposed to put off bad fumes etc.) they seem to stay cleaner much longer. I hit with pressure washer or a rough, plastic scouring pad to knock the loose paint off. Presently stripping some of those old fashioned metal porch chairs for the wife. Roger B.

Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:29 pm

To use an expression that the young use today, ME BAD!I have been worrying everyone on here and scouring every grocery and market in a 50 mile radius as to where I could buy SUPER WASHING SODA. Well, as it turns out, my local Kroger 8 miles away, has it. I bought 2 boxes today for $2.06 ea. You can call 1-800-524-1328 and they will tell you your nearest store.


Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:06 pm

you can also find your closest one by going to Kroger.com

Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:24 pm

I am seriously considering building one of these tanks but the messages I see regarding the usage of stainless is puzzling to say the least. I realize that they work better and faster with less effort to clean the electrodes between usage but the following is a warning I found on a website as to why to not use stainless. I'm all for making something tough easy, but I ain't real big on dealing with the results mentioned below:

Why you should not use stainless steel electrodes for electrolysis
Many people using the electrolysis method for rust reduction swear by stainless steel, stating (incorrectly) that it's not consumed, stays clean and seems safe.
Stainless steel is indeed consumed when used in the electrolysis process, although slowly. The main problem with using it is the hazardous waste it produces. Stainless steel contains chromium. The electrodes, and thus the chromium is consumed, and you end up with poisonous chromates in your electrolyte. Dumping these on the ground or down the drain is illegal. The compounds can cause severe skin problems and ultimately, cancer. Hexavalent chromate is poisonous. These compounds are not excused from hazardous waste regulations where household wastes are.
These compounds are bad enough that government regulations mandate "elimination of hexavalent chromate by 2007 for corrosion protection."

Does your electrolyte turn yellow? That's a sign of chromates.

If you have been using stainless steel for the anodes (positive electrodes), wear rubber gloves when working with or near the liquids. If you need to dispose of it, allow it to evaporate into powders and dispose of the powders in sealed containers during your local "hazardous waste clean-up days".

Best bet - don't use stainless steel no matter how tempting it is.

Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:45 pm

Yep.... I read the same thing (Donny M pointed it out) and immediately quit using stainless.....

It does work much better in many respects, but I decided it wasn't worth the risks.

Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:36 pm

I think I mentioned this before.. but HexaValent Chromium present in the water table in Hinkley Californiawas the reason why Erin Brockovich became a household name as well as extremely wealthy. If you remember, the actual attorney, Ed Masry, she worked for passed away a couple months ago... Pacific Gas and Electric vividly remembers and regrets the use of Hexavalent Chromate... and so should anyone else.. it is a no-no big time..

Erin Brockovich.com

Hexavalent Chromium - OSHA

Nope, not gonna use Stainless in an Electrolysis Tank.