If you're going to own metal objects you "will" have to deal with RUST!!!
In this project I will use electrolysis to remove the rust from my much neglected Dog N' Brat Cooker.
These are wonderful tools. They're made for campfire use.
You put food in, stick them into the coals for a while then open, revealing a delicious treat.
The problem is, people forget them beside the fire when they retire for the night.
Obviously, mine has been neglected for quite some time.
I will show you how to bring this sad looking item back to it's former glory.
This is also a bit of an experiment using two different energy sources.
I'm curious if one will do a better job than the other.
One nasty looking rusty item. In this case a Dog N' Brat Cooker.
A battery charger
A computer power supply
Two pieces of electrical wire
Two alligator clamps
Water to fill the pails
PH+ from your local pool supply store
Some scrap iron. I used a piece of flat bar I had lying around in my barn
DO NOT USE STAINLESS STEEL!!! as the sacrificial scrap it creates toxins in the water and poison gasses
Conductive wire. I used some extra electric fence wire I had in the barn.
8 threaded screws or bolts again found in the barn.
A drill bit and tap the same thread as the screws
A drill press or hand drill
A bench grinder
A hand grinder
A roll of electrical
A scrub brush
A table to work on in a protected well ventilated area. In my case an overhang beside my barn.
I think that's all.
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Step 1: The Battery Charger
The battery charger has to have a manual switch. I found this one at a thrift shop for $19.99. I thought that was a good price so I scooped it up. If you can't find a manual charger, you would need a 12v automobile battery and booster cables. An automatic charger would power down if no battery was present. A manual one will pump out 12 volts regardless.
Step 2: The Computer Power Supply
The picture with the price of $2.99 was from the same thrift shop as the battery charger. I had my own already from a previous project. I just snapped the pic to use in this Instructable to show how you could source one. We will draw the 12 volts required for this project from this cheap source.
Step 3: Process the Power Supply.
To set up the power supply ,cut off all the plugs. If there are any plastic zip ties holding the wires together ,remove them as well.Then open the metal box by removing the 4 screws that hold it closed. Now release the wires from the metal box. To do this, slide the plastic protector that holds them open and lift all the wires free. Now collect each color and group them together. As you can see in the picture above, each color is labeled on the control board. There are 3.3v, 12v, 5v and GND wires. A few others that we won't bother with. We will be using the single green wire. Collect the orange 3.3v the yellow 12v the red 5v and the black GND wires and put them back into the plastic holder so that they will again exit the enclosure.
Step 4: Connect the Ground Wire to the Power Supply Box.
As you can see in the first pic, the green wire is labeled PS/On. This wire would have been connected to the computers front power button. In pic number two you see where we want to connect it. This will make the control board believe that the power switch has been turned on. If your power supply has a main power switch, it will now turn on as soon as you turn the switch on. If there is no main power switch on the power supply, it will now turn on whenever you plug it in to an electrical outlet.
Step 5: Collect the Left Over Wires
There are a few other wires that we won't be using. Wrap the ends and tie them out of the way. Don't rest them on the cooling fins just to be safe.
Step 6: Time to Close
Now close the box, being careful not to catch any wires in the seams. With your electrical tape ,wrap the same colored wires together into a cord. I split the GRD wires into two bundles. There were twice as many of them as there were each of the other colors. I did this so that, in the future if I want to do two things at the same time with the power supply, I will have two GRD sources to work with. I also connected a longer wire with an alligator clamp to the 12v and one of the GND wires. The 5v and 3.3v are just wrapped for later use. I have written the colors and matching voltages on the supply for future reference.That's the end of creating the power supply.
Step 7: The Water
Water isn't a great conductor of electricity so it needs some help. To become an electrolyte solution something must be added to it. I have chosen PH+ because its cheap and easily sourced. I've added 2tbsp of the powder to approximately 2 gallons of water. Each of the pails have an equal mix.
Step 8: Create the Sacrificial Iron Pieces
Electrolysis involves electrical charge traveling from one piece of iron to another through an electrolyte solution. When this happens, one piece of iron is sacrificed to help repair the other. We are now going to create the sacrificial pieces to put into our electrolyte solution. So measure the height of the pails and add an inch for an area to create connection points. In this case we need 12" pieces. Do not use stainless steel for this it causes toxins in the water and poison gasses.
Step 9: WEAR HEARING PROTECTION!!!!
You can use a chop saw like this, a hack saw or, use other items that don't need to be cut. Concrete reinforcement rods ,commonly called rebar, work well. As stated previously don't use stainless steel. Electrolysis is a line of sight process so I'm using a piece of sacrificial iron on the 4 sides of each pail.
Step 10: Clean Up a Bit
My sacrificial iron is pretty rusty so I'll grind it a bit. I won't subject you to another noisy video. This will be loud as well. Hearing and eye protection are suggested.
Step 11: Take Off Sharp Edges
The items being created will all be kept for future use so I'm making them less dangerous. The chop saw leaves very sharp edges. A few minutes spent grinding them off is time well spent.
Step 12: The Bolts
These round head bolts were left over from a tin shed I built over 10 years ago. They were collecting dust in the barn since that project was complete. I have no idea what size and thread they are. In my tap and die set there is a tool for that. A chart is also included that tells me what drill size to use when drilling a hole for this size tap.
Step 13: Drill and Tap Holes
If you don't have this equipment, use longer bolts with nuts and drill larger holes. If using rebar ,you can connect the pieces with wire and hose clamps.
Step 14: Check the Fit
A piece of the wire I'm using fits nicely so I'll continue with the rest of the holes.
Step 15: Wire Up the Sacraficial Iron
The wire I'm using is left over electric fence wire. It hangs in the barn and gets used for all kinds of projects. As I wire these pieces together, I'm also using the wire to hold the bars in place. I don't want them drifting around the pail. The sacrificial iron and the rusted item being cleaned must not touch each other!
Step 16: All Items Are Ready
The two halves of the dog n' brat cooker are as equal of items as I can find for the side by side comparison of the two power sources.
Step 17: Hook Em' Up
I've used a piece of an old skid to prop the halves of the cooker up in the pails. The positive 12v wires are connected to the sacrificial iron which are all connected to each other. The GND wires are connected just outside of view at the top of the picture. They are clamped to the cookers long metal arms.
Step 18: Turn the Power On
OK were ready to start the procedure. With the power turned on now, I'll see if enough PH+ has been added to allow current to pass through the electrolyte solution. As you can see in the video, each of the setups are bubbling nicely. No additional PH+ will be required.
Step 19: Two Hours Later
Two hours have passed since we turned the power on. As seen in the video, they both appear to be working equally well. I'll see tomorrow morning if the pieces are both clean.
Step 20: Just a Quick Pic of Both.
Its really is hard to see a difference. Without seeing the clamps on the sacrificial iron, they would appear identical.I've checked all the wires and connections for heat build up. Everything feels fine so I'm confident that I can leave them going over night.
Step 21: Good Morning
Its morning, 16 hours has passed since I flipped on the power. All wires are cool to the touch. There isn't as much sludge on top of the electrolyte now.
Step 22: 16 Hrs Video
Here's a video of the tanks in the morning, still bubbling nicely. Time to shut things down and see how the cooker looks.
Step 23: Elbow Grease Is Needed
A little scrubbing is required. Very little actually.
Step 24: Pretty Clean
They look nice wet. Don't they?
Step 25: A Comparison
A side by side dry comparison tells the tale. The computer power supply side left the piece with slightly more rust residue. I put them back in for another two hrs after cleaning them.
Step 26: Two Hrs Later
Two hours later, I'm happy with the result.
Step 27: Soap and Water Cleaning
Now into the house for a soap and water scrub down and a coat of grape seed oil
Step 28: Just Like New
Wow, what a difference. I wouldn't hesitate to offer someone food cooked in this. In fact, the nights are getting cooler here in southern Ontario. The fire pit beckons. I will have to heed the call.
As for the experiment portion of this Instructable ,my conclusion is that, a battery charger will do a slightly better job than a computer power supply. When given equal time to complete the job. Both power sources will do the job. A computer power supply gives you other voltage options to play with later.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable.
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