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Salvaging copper from transformers? Answered

I am trying to salvage copper wire from transformers. I get these tranformers from old elctronic waste. I wondered if anyone had suggestions or thoghts about doing this. Has anybody on here done this?



There are ( 3 ) types of copper: number 1, number 2 and bare bright, anything bigger then a pencil lead with no coating usally go's for number 1 anything smaller than a pencil lead with no plastic goes for number 2 and bare bright is copper with the plastic coating cut off, your highest prices are bare-bright number 1 and number 2 in that order.

by coating do you mean just rubber or plastic or does the armature coating count as coating. What I am asking is does armature coating count.


6 years ago

I have been pulling the wire out of stuff before I throw it away. I just put it all in a plastic bucket for now. (an empty kitty litter tub) but my intention is to eventually recycle it. I don't know what the price is now but it does vary a lot. Wire with insulation sells for less than wire without. They also have different grades of copper. Copper pipes I believe are grade 2 which is a different price. So don't combine the wire with other stuff. Wire has a greater purity I believe. If you have something like house wiring it again sells for more if it is with out the insulation. For that the best thing to do is burn it clean. For small gauge wire burning doesn't work so good because the wire gets brittle and crumples into dust . Check everything with a magnet to make sure you have no iron in it. They will dock you for that. The best thing to do is to save it up. The bigger the quantity the more accurate the weighing process and the less they will complain about anything. Wait for a good price and then cash it all in. Something that you could do is act as a middle man. Collect the copper from other people, especially kids who have a lot of time to spend striping it from junk stuff. Get a little scale and pay them a set rate so they get a portion of the rewards and you won't have to do so much work. It might accumulate pretty fast that way. I know a guy who does this with cans and it pays for his trips to the recycling people.

Recyclers buy scrap metal by the pound, so just remove the copper wire any way you can, to get the best rate. (They generally pay less when wire has a coating on it). Then call the recycler before you go. I know that with the increase in wire theft, rules have had to change, so you may have to bring ID with you, but if you call first you can find out what the laws are for your area.

BTW, don't forget to credit someone when you get an answer you're looking for.

By coating do you mean a rubber coating? Most of my wire has an armature coating. It is like a insulating paint. Will that affect the price.

Ya, sorry... what I meant was any insulated copper wire. The armature coating shouldn't affect the price because the weight difference is minuscule, but an insulated coating will change the weight and that's why some recyclers have different price structures depending on how the scrap metal is brought in.

The easiest thing to do is call up the place you plan to bring all this stuff to so they can tell you what the rules/laws are and how they price everything as each recycler (and region) is a little different.

the most common (sadly) way to get any excess off is to burn it -- and is the most common method copper thieves use after they unearth some buried cable - so the recyclers watch out for heavily oxidized/patina wire.

Your windings there won't have much more than enamel coat on them, so that's fine.

As the quality of the copper isn't an issue cut through the windings with a fine toothed hack saw.

Take a Dremal with a cut off wheel and go to work on them.