Extract FREE Silver From Relay Contacts | Where to Find Them?




I'm 16 years old and live in Bradenton, Florida. I like Ham Radio, very fast SBC's, and giant cap...

Intro: Extract FREE Silver From Relay Contacts | Where to Find Them?

Hey everyone, and welcome back to another Ben Builds instructable!

In this instructable, I will be giving you some information on where to find and how to extract silver relay contacts.

And yes, most relays do use varying amounts of real silver on their relay contacts to reduce the resistance between the contacts when the relay is in the closed position.

Most relay contacts are between 30 and 50% silver by weight so if you've got a bunch of relays that you have access to, this could be a potentially lucrative opportunity.

Ok then, lets get started!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

On the video I go over all of the steps in this instructable in detail and with moving pictures!

It'll probably help if you watch the above video before proceeding.

If not, just keep reading on, all the info you need is included in the instructable.

Step 2: How Do I Find Relays in Their Natural Habitat?

Pictured are some relays located on circuit boards.

Generally, relays come in small, black, plastic boxes and have a coil voltage written on them, either 5v or 12v usually.

Some relays come in clear plastic cases like the ones pictured above, but regardless of how they come, you will need to get them off of the board.

I like using a hammer :)

Step 3: Locate, Remove and Now Smash!

Once you find a relay and have extracted it, you will need to gain access to the inner frame.

The inner frame has many parts, labeled in the above picture. What we are looking for are the contacts, one you have them located, move on to the next step.

Step 4: With the Smashing Done, It's Time to Pry!

Now that you have the frame exposed, locate the small silvery (duh) bead and cut it off or bend it off with wire cutters or pliers!

Step 5: Stash the Silver!

When you're done cutting off the small silvery beads, put them in a jar and save them until you have amassed ~2 lbs. This should be the right about to make a 1 pound bar of silver.

Step 6: Part 2...

I am currently in the process of gathering the required silver to make a 1lb bar, so the next steps of using acid to dissolve and precipitate the silver will be coming out soon!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the next Instructable!




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    11 Discussions


    9 months ago

    Waiting for the concluding psrt.


    11 months ago

    It's been a while, when is part 2 coming?


    2 years ago

    Yeah, lol. 1 kg of pure silver, That's a 1000 silver contacts from about 300 large relays round about (probably it's far less than 1g you get from a single contact since they are not pure silver but only silver plated copper). If I ever happen to find an old relay computer on the dump I'll be starting with this. Then again, Hoesch will charge me 90% or so of the silver value to get it out of the copper. So $650 for 1 kg of silver minus the $500 for Hoesch to melt it mean $150 earnings.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    He's just doing it for the fun... It doesn't look easy to make a living out of this :)

    I wish I could do what he's doing, I have some huge relays that take up a lot of space...


    2 years ago

    I'm happy to see that this isn't another April Fool's joke... :)


    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    That one was obviously solder :)

    I have quite a bit of old relays that I can be silver'ified like this, but I'd rather keep them. :)


    2 years ago

    btw: In 1966 the treasurer in Australia INSISTED that the new 50 cent coins have 50% silver content. At the time the silver content alone was worth 73 cents, so the coins didn't stay in circulation very long!


    2 years ago

    ARRRGH! May I say in a friendly, positive and constructive way that anybody can smash things apart and bend and snip things -- considering silver is being quoted between 17 and 20 dollars per OUNCE, I'd go ahead and start extracting that silver content -- but now I can only suffer from the suspense. Please do post the rest, pretty please! 8)


    2 years ago

    Just be aware that relay contacts are often alloys containing silver. High current contacts have cadmium (makes poisonous fumes from heating it) . Low current contacts are more likely to be pure, and often have platinum or palladium in them.

    Some have a gold plating over Ag/Cd alloy so can be used for low level (micro-volt and micro-amp signals) until the gold wears off.

    years ago I was able to extract silver as black silver sulphide?
    precipitate, by adding hydrogen peroxide to 20+ litres of spent
    photo fixer. After heating (oxy-acetylene torch) I retrieved about 200


    2 years ago

    I understand what you are saving the contacts for, but what about the coils with their copper winding. If you are busting up the relay anyway, salvage the copper as well. JMHO!