DIY Hydrogen Generator

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Introduction: DIY Hydrogen Generator

About: I am a german student and joined Instructables, because I like to build your projects and share mine with you.

This Instructable shows, how to build an easy DIY hydrogen generator.

Materials needed for this project:
- Empty container with lid
- Cables
- Pencil
- Luster terminals
- Hot glue gun
- DC Power Supply
- Drill
- Funnel
- Balloon

Step 1: Build the Anode

For the anode, you need an old pencil, a knife, a luster terminal, cables and a hot glue gun.

Take the pencil and strip it with a knife, until you have the lead. Put the lead into the luster terminal and tighten the screw. (Don't screw the terminal too tight, as that will break the lead)

Strip the ends of a cable and put the ends into the other side of the luster terminal.

Seal the terminal and cable with hot glue. Make sure everything is watertight. The only part which mustn't be covered in hot glue, is the lead.

As you can see I used two pieces of lead and put them into two terminals. I connected the two terminals to the same cable. This increases the lead surface, and gives us a higher production quantity.

Step 2: Build the Cathode

For the cathode, you need a cable and a cable stripper.

Strip 10-20cm of the cable and roll it around a pencil. This piece of copper, is the finished cathode.

You can also attach a piece of copper metal to the cathode to increase the surface.

Step 3: Build the Cap of the Container

For this step, you will need the lid of your container, the funnel, a drill, your anode, your cathode and the hot glue gun.

Drill a hole into the lid of your container, the hole should be big enough, for the end of the funnel.
After you drilled the hole, insert the end of the funnel and attach it with hot glue. (Be careful, that the hot glue isn't too hot! If it is too hot it will melt through the funnel and your container.)

After the glue is cold, glue the cathode on the inside of the funnel and the anode on the outside.

Know that you attached the electrodes, drill a small hole into the lid and put the cables through. Seal everything with hot glue.

Step 4: Hack the Power Supply

Before hacking the power supply, please make sure it isn't plugged in!


Hacking a power supply is easy. You only have to connect the green cable with a black cable (ground). Make sure not to solder the two, because in case of a short circuit you have to disconnect the two cables and reconnect them in order to reset the fuse in the power supply (It's a good idea to put in a switch).

The power supply will start running, as soon as the green cable is connected to the ground. Now you have a DC power supply!

To use the power supply, strip a blue cable (-12V) and a yellow cable (+12V). Put the stripped cables into a luster terminal.

Step 5: The Final Setup

Now that everything is finished, you only need to fill the container with tap water (you should also add a bit of salt) and place the lid on top.

Attach the cables to the power supply and turn the power supply on. (You should see small bubbles rising from the electrodes now)

The last step is to put a balloon on top of the funnel, to catch the hydrogen gas.

Step 6: WARNINGS

NEVER attach the hydrogen generator to a normal power outlet.
!ONLY use low voltage currents!

Hydrogen is highly FLAMMABLE make sure you don't burn the gas uncontrolled or in closed buildings. Also make sure, to keep a safe distance when burning the gas.

Step 7: Educational Part

If you are not only interested in building a hydrogen generator, but also in the chemical background, please read this part of the instructable.

Electrolysis:
Electrolysis is an endothermic reaction. This means, the reaction is only running if you add energy to the system. This is achieved with our DC-Power supply. The power supply pulls the electrons out of the anode and pushes them to the cathode.

The electrons are from the water molecules. The power supply forces the water molecules (HHO) to split into a positive loaded hydrogen Ion (H+) and a negative loaded hydroxide ion (OH-).

Due to electromagnetic forces the positiv loaded hydrogen ions are pulled towards the cathode, and the hydroxide ions are pulled towards the anode.

As the cathode offers electrons to the hydrogen ions, the hydrogen ions become hydrogen gas (HH).

Because the anode pulls electrons, it takes the electrons of the hydroxide ions and the hydroxide ions become hydrogen ions, as well as oxygen gas (OO). The hydrogen ions travel to the cathode afterwards.

Why do we use pencil lead as the anode?:
We use pencil lead as anodes, because metals (except for platinum) are oxidised due to electrochemical reactions in the container. That means if you use an iron anode it would basically rust away while you produce hydrogen. The same thing happens when you use copper. The copper turns into copper oxide. This slows down your hydrogen production and gives the water a bad colour.

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121 Discussions

0
mbovaan
mbovaan

2 months ago

Nice build and instruct.. Caution as this apperatus has a single gas collector vessel (balloon) this is collecting " HHO / Brownes " gas which is mixed H2 and O which is HIGHLY inflamable and explosive. Better to have each terminal Anode and Cathode inside separate collector This is LESS dangerous but not safe. Problem with longer term storage of very small molecule gas as is H in H2 form is that it escapes most simple containers like plastic as these cant easily be sealed well enough.

0
oo0oOo0oo
oo0oOo0oo

4 years ago

This looks really nice but is the pressure enough to inflate a balloon?

0
StevenD6
StevenD6

Reply 4 years ago

if you build it properly than yes it is if u want the baloon to float then you need to have a seperate funnel. have the negative side ( hydrogen) bubble through another container with distilled water so the pressure can build up but be careful of static diacharge hydrogen is explosive.

0
BrandonW55
BrandonW55

4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. I have looked all over the net and all I keep finding is HHO generators. On a side note, any idea how long the electrods will last in hours? Or how long the gas will keep for, in say a 20 oz plastic bottel? (May consider takeing down all the nonrelavant info.)

0
Antbal0
Antbal0

Reply 4 years ago

this is an hho

0
bjrmeno
bjrmeno

4 years ago

I have a question. Where does the oxygen go? From what I understand, the anode produces one gas and the cathode produces the other. Most electrolysis systems I have seen, have a vent over both and the O2 comes out one and H2 the other.

Am I confused, or would this unit not produce a balloon full of both gases?

Please let me know if you have an explanation. I really want to make a low pressure H2 generator and this seems simple enough to suit my needs.

Also, mythbusters mentioned that tap water and regulat table salt could produce chlorine gas which is also bad news and heavy.

MP.

0
awabo
awabo

Reply 4 years ago

the anode produces oxygen gas and the cathode produces hydrogen gas and in this case they all end up in the balloon so you have a hydrogen-oxygen mixture in the balloon.

Also if you use salt it will produces chlorine gas but you can replace the it with baking soda and the chlorine will be gone!!

0
awabo
awabo

Reply 4 years ago

one thing if you're using salt or baking soda there will be sodium hydroxide which then can be neutralized by adding vinagar to it

0
rasel88
rasel88

4 years ago

Well done good job i also make high power cell which run my motorbike

0
Goober 2
Goober 2

4 years ago

Most HHO units call for stainless steel in some manner or fashion. could the stainless steel be replaced for a similar effect?

0
PysselPappan
PysselPappan

Reply 4 years ago

Don't use stainess steel! The Chromium in the steel will produce very toxic chromates that are illegal to put in household drains, or in the ground. AND they are toxic. Very. Don't do it.

http://antique-engines.com/stainless-steel-electrodes.htm

0
bergpa
bergpa

4 years ago

would a 12 volt battery work as the dc power supply?

0
Make it BIG
Make it BIG

Reply 4 years ago

Yes it would.

0
tkddms225
tkddms225

4 years ago on Introduction

I've been researching hydrogen generators lately, and many people have advised others not to use salt (because it can produce chlorine gas, which is, as you may already know, a very toxic chemical that you would not want to produce). Other than that, great project!

0
fathant
fathant

5 years ago

Any one can help with the lead? :c

14381500640452126334849.jpg
0
voblak
voblak

5 years ago on Step 7

Try 1000VA toroid where you wind secondary (centre taped) so you have about 5V/200A or even better is 10V/100A. Than use few power diodes in paralel. And you can produce some serious amounts of hydrogen. Also it helps if you put a few drops of HCl into water, so it has lower resistance.

0
gfetters
gfetters

Reply 5 years ago on Step 7

How fast will this produce hydrogen. I need about 100cf of hydrogen to for a balloon launch. I would like to produce it at the launch site if possible. If it takes more than an hour to produce this will probably not be viable for my problem.

0
Make it BIG
Make it BIG

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

It will DEFINITELY take longer than an hour to produce that amount.

I also think I have to break your dream of being able to produce that amount in that time as a DIY project. (And even transportable)

I did some research and all professional generators which produce such an amount of gas in an hour are as big as a cupboard.

http://protononsite.com/products/h2-h4-h6/

Just as an example.

0
ashuki
ashuki

5 years ago on Step 6

Warning should be in front of any tutorial in my opinion

0
honey181
honey181

5 years ago

Haha. Yeah! ;)