- Electrolysis help Please???

Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:55 am

I was just at the how to forum and really love the 5 gallon bucket Electrolysis unit but I have questions.Whats the mixture and how much? Does anyone have a better pic of how to hang the thing you are cleaning how deep?How far do the rerods go down all the way to the bottom? How do you hook up the charger?Will it hurt any kind of metal?

Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:25 am

Hi Jon. I'm not the expert at this, but on mine, the rods go near the bottom, maybe 1/2" off. Something to remember----"Positive things(attitudes, ideas,personalities,etc) tend to attract, same with the battery leads, negative connected to the piece(use a jumper, don't put the alligator clip in the solution) and the positive connected to the outer rods. I'm sure there's an exception out there someplace :D . All the junk will come off and travel to the positive. I even did a test once, hooked a scrap piece of metal in the center, reversed the leads, and that cleaned the outer rods for the next time. Then I just tossed the ugly piece in the scrap pile. I'm not sure about what types of metal, my guess would be most. Place your part so it's completely under the water and as close to the center as you can get. The stuff I use is cheap and can be found at Kroger's or your local grocery store. The directions are on the back of the box. Pic below. Have fun, Rick

Last edited by Rick Prentice on Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:22 am

Well Ya`know, Everybody does things different. I believe in doing things the easiest and most efficient ways I can find. I have been doing this electrolysis rust cleaning now for near five years and I think most people make to much of a fuss of the procedure. I found the best way is not wasting time with rods. I use one wide piece of metal and curve it to fit the contour of the 5-gallon bucket. Mostly I use a Turkey serving platter/s that I buy for 25-cents at the thrift store. It gives a lot more line-of-site area to the piece being cleaned. Also I always submerge the black - clip from the charger with the submerged part being cleaned. No harm to the alligator clip yet in 5-years of use. Do not ever let the RED (+) Clip get wet or submerged. I have had parts cooking all night ready to take out at daylight.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:43 am


Ron's 5 gallon bucket is a good one, and it is great for those who have small parts etc., to clean. And it is similar to it's larger buddies..

Does anyone have a better pic of how to hang the thing you are cleaning how deep?

Jon, have a look at my large tank.. then modify the arrangement to fit the smaller tank and use say a 3/4" wooden dowel.. they are available at pretty much all hardware stores.

How far do the rerods go down all the way to the bottom?

Leave them off of the bottom of the tank about an inch which should be sufficient to clear any sludge/gunk/buildup at the bottom of the tank which would stop the process. Use the wire nuts as the height control... it is a perfect setup -- on my large tank I just use the battery cable clips to control the height.

Will it hurt any kind of metal?

Yes it will destroy some metals such as aluminium, brass, bronze, copper and those so-called pot metals.. so no carbs or mag cases :!: :roll: :oops: :roll: :lol: :lol:

Whats the mixture and how much?

The MIXTURE is not really indicated on the package, as very few people aside from tractor nuts like us and others into restoration would use electrolysis and require an electrolyte.

From trial an error this is what I have discoverd.

1. 1 Kilogram or 2.2 lbs of TSP (Tri-Sodium-Phosphate) in 45 US gallons is about right. It is just below the saturation point and provides plenty of electrolyte and even allows for the process to continue even as the Amperage will drop due to collection on the rods.

2. Divide by 8.. so there is what 34 oz in 2.2 lbs, so 4.2 ounces should be sufficient. Somebody might need to check my math as I don't trust it..... :roll: :oops: :roll: old age is creeping quickly....

3. If it isn't working satisfactorily, check the rods for buildup... and possibly increase the amount of TSP or Arm and Hammer..

20 Mule Team Borax should do the same.. and guess what :!: :!: :?: :?: both the Arm and Hammer and the 20 Mule Team has been unavailable for years, but it seems that it has now been replaced on the shelves in at least one local store, so I shall be trying it, as it is 1/4 the cost of TSP...

TSP is still cheap... but the Super Washing Soda is even cheaper...

Hope this helps...

Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:14 am

If the bits to be cleaned have a hole in them I attach them to a length of galvanised chain with a bolt, then attach the chain to a nail in a beam above the tank to the height that I want, then attach the neg croc clip to the chain, magic does the rest :lol: :lol:

Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:30 am


Ahhh dumb me... old age agin::::

Pate wrote:

If the bits to be cleaned have a hole in them I attach them to a length of galvanised chain with a bolt, then attach the chain to a nail in a beam above the tank to the height that I want, then attach the neg croc clip to the chain, magic does the rest

And that is the part I forgot...

I gotta go back to the shop and take a pic of my little tank... will do that shortly and post em..

But in the meantime :!: :idea: :idea: :idea:

Everybody I know has one of them thar bait type mesh baskets. The mesh is pretty stout, but the weave is close so the minnows don't excape. Ifn you have one of them around, it may fit the bucket. If so, then put all the little pieces IN THE BASKET and connect the negative clip to the basket handle. make sure that something is supporting the basket handle..

That was my original idea...

Also, if you do not have one with a tight enough weave, many cooking places have those grease splatter covers for about $0.99 to $1.99. Cut the handle off and presto - you have something to lay in the basket that small parts won't slip through. You may have to jiggle the baskedt a few times to remove some of the sediment though...

Hope this makes it a tad bit clearer.

Pat: that is what I do in my big tank for nuts and other small items that have holes such as pins, small rods like the choke, governor etc., However, I do need something a tad bit better for the bolts and screws etc....

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:05 pm

Mixture of washing soda to water. I use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup washing soda to about 4 gallons of water. No measurements - just guess.

How deep. I watch the amp meter when I hang things in the solution. Aim - adjust for the highest reading.

When I use a 32 gallon barrel I use 4 pieces of rebar that are the lenght of the barrell. I attach the rebar to the side of the barrell with small furniture clamps. Rebar is hung about 2 inches from the bottom of the barrell and at a 90 degree spacing. Automotive jumper cables as leads from one rebar to the next.

Hanging things in the solution. I use a board across the top of the bucket/barrell. A length of 12 gauge copper wire from the item being cleaned and the board.

Last edited by Eugene on Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:11 pm

Rudi wrote: that is what I do in my big tank for nuts and other small items that have holes such as pins, small rods like the choke, governor etc., However, I do need something a tad bit better for the bolts and screws etc....

Hi Rudi, thanks for the jokes etc, they've made me chuckle!
Electrolosis, In fact I've tried the chain idea with nearly all parts of the Cub, even the fenders hood and tank. The beam has to be a bit higher to make it easy to get the bits out but it works.
Thanks for the introduction to the system it really does work, I've just passed the idea onto a restorer in our part of the monde, he is just overjoyed with the idea, have sent the link to your page on the server to him.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:24 pm

Any chance that one of these contraptions will be demonstrated at CubFest?
I've looked at Rudi's narrative and pictures as well as others that have built this marvels, but seeing one first hand will be real helpful.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:38 pm

I tried electrolysis today for the first time, it is working great!
I put a tail light / license plate holder in a 5 gallon bucket with about 1/3 cup washing soda, I used a scrap piece of angle iron for the anode and some mig welding wire to hold the piece I was cleaning.
I have commercial battery charger, I set it on 10 amps, although I did turn it up for a few seconds at the start to the cranking position (125 amps), just to see if all the connections were good;-)
After just 3 hours or so the rust was easy to rub off with my finger, after 5 hours a quick rub with a steel brush and shiny metal was showing!
I have a c-22 mower that has a lot of rust, when the kiddie pools go on sale at wally world I'm gonna git one!

Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:04 pm


Looks like we have another happy convert to the Zapper Technology.. :!: :arrow: :idea: :D 8) :D :lol:

As promised, here are a couple of pics of my mini-basket to fit inside a standard Irving Oil 5 Gal or 20 Litre Plastic Oil/Kerosene/Hydraulic Fluid pail.




My chum Richard, he is the one who makes my Battery and Tool Boxes, Dog Legs, and other special projects for my Cubs, made this up special for me whilst I was in the hospital for the Plumbing Job. We had discussed it a number of times the summer previous, but hadn't gotten around to doing it. Now I am all ready to try it out.. :!: :idea: :D


Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:15 pm

OK, so you mean you dont just dump parts into hydro acid and hope for the best? Well, Ive only done that a few times and it was when I was really mad. Does this process take rust off stuff safely? I would like to make one, it works for big parts too right, if I do it in a barrel?
Maybe someone can send me a link to a recipe for one. And maybe explain the process.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:21 pm

3 to choose from!

Electrolysis or Rust Zappers

Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:30 pm

Here is a good article, there doesn't seem to be a safer or easier way to clean iron and steel.

Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:08 pm


Carl gave you a good link. It is also contained in the Welcome Wagon text which all new members get sooner or later. There is a lot of information contained in the links in the text which point to pages on the ATIS site, our FarmallCub.com site as well as the Cub Manual Server.

Also, the link that Dave provided -- Andrew Westcott's article on Electrolysis is pretty interesting. Although he is dealing with small tanks, these methods can be utilized in much larger tanks.

JB and I have examples of 45-50 gallon tanks and Jim Beckers is another small tank version that is simple to construct out of common materials found in an average home garage/workshop. Ron Whiting's Tank which can be found in the How To Forum, is another adaptation and he has built both the larger 30 + gallon tank and the 5 gallon tank.

I have the large 45 Imperial or 50 US Gallon tank, a 5 gallon tank and I am in the process of building a somewhat larger - 1600 litre or 416 US Gallon tank to handle larger projects such as a complete front end, a torque tube or a complete single gang disk harrow...... :shock: :? :wink: yeah -- a serious tank for a serious nutcase -- ME :!: :shock: 8) 8) - and I will have to have a block and tackle setup to load the tank.... but it will be fun to build it.

Gotta post a pic of the tank.... this is gonna be fun :!: :idea: :!:

Oh and for the Electrolyte - that will differ from country to country, state to state, province to province and even down to county level. Depends on what is common in your area.

In Europe -- Soda Crystals
might be common.

In the US 20 Mule Team Borax

Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda,

or in Canada well at least eastern Canada - TSP available at most (photo not available at the moment.....) hardware stores. Lately I have found one local store is also carrying much to my surprise 20 Mule Team Borax AND Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, so I am going to try both this summer and conduct a somewhat quasi empirical comparison test... which might actually be more anecdotal than empirical... :roll: :wink: :D