# electrolysis cell

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by maliveline, Oct 15, 2014.

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1. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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So I'm thinking about setting up an electrolysis cell. For the type of cell I want to set up a lot of people
are using a computer power supply that puts off like 5 volts and 50 amps. I have a battery charger that runs at 12volts and 50 amps in jump start mode. If I take my battery charger and hook it up to a cell could I just put a resistor in the circuit to reduce the volts to like 6 volts or is this going to reduce the amount of amps that are flowing in the electrolyte?

2. ### MrChips Moderator

Oct 2, 2009
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Yes, but do a power calculation and figure out the wattage that your resistor will have to dissipate.
Consider using a bank of light bulbs as your resistor.

3. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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actually I just hooked up my electrodes and ran it with the 12 volt 50 amp jumpstart mode. And I checked the amperage with my multimeter and it was only showing that I was getting about 3.5 amps which is way lower than 50. Does this sound right? do you get more amps if you have larger electrodes or if they are closer together. they seemed to be bubbling pretty good.

4. ### MikeML AAC Fanatic!

Oct 2, 2009
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The current through an electrolysis cell is a function of the electrode area, the electrode metallurgy, the electrolyte purity, temperature, the phase of the moon, impurities, etc, etc. Spend some time with the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics

5. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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ya thats what I was thinking. I know I have learned a lot of this before I just needed a little refresher

6. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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although I'm thinking this... If I have a 12v /50amp power supply that I'm using on a cell and put a resistor/potentiometer in the circuit to reduce my voltage to 6volts I will still have 50 amps available. Although even if I'm able to utilize all 50 amps I would still only have half of the maximum wattage but I still have 50 amps available. Like it was mentioned the amperage in my cell is going to be determined by the concentration of the ions and the surface area of my electrodes and the distance between them.

7. ### GopherT AAC Fanatic!

Nov 23, 2012
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Yes, you can add additional cells in series (2 cells allow you to use your 12 volts since water, chlorine or other target electrolysis products generally need well under 12 volts.

Then add several of these series-coupled cells in parallel to the first one until all 50 amps are utilized. Although, some power supplies are not rated for continuous usage at max current draw. Make sure you understand the ratings on your power supply. Alternatively, you can try your 5v tap on the ATX supply. Some have higher current ratings at 5v than the 12v rail.

What are you electrolyzing and what electrolyte are you using?

8. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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my electrolyte is sodium chloride and water. I'm not sure if my power supply is rated for continuous use at maximum draw I will have to look into that. I'm not using an atx power supply im using an automotive battery charger. I was thinking about just putting a resistor into the circuit to reduce my voltage but i'm not sure if this will even work. Although I am having a hard time believing that you can actually run 50 amps through a solution of salt water even if your power supply is rated that high.

9. ### Alec_t AAC Fanatic!

Sep 17, 2013
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Why do you want to reduce the voltage? It is the current which determines the electrolysis rate.

10. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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because my battery charger is 12 volts and everyone online says you should use 5volts for the electrolysis of sodium chloride

11. ### jpanhalt AAC Fanatic!

Jan 18, 2008
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Here's one article that doesn't recommend 5V: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20471168

It was the first hit on Google. (Search term = electrolysis sodium chloride voltage) So, what are you planning to do with the electrolysis cell? Which gases do you intend to make?

John

12. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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I'm actually trying to synthesize sodium perchlorate. Everything I have come across people are saying to use a 5 volt power supply with up to 50 amps

13. ### tcmtech Well-Known Member

Nov 4, 2013
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You might be time and money ahead to get a old 6/12 volt high current battery charger for your power source or use a variac or a similar step down transformer ahead of your battery charger to reduce the voltage without wasting a huge amount of energy in a big resistor.

14. ### maliveline Thread Starter New Member

Oct 15, 2014
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I think I might try to scrounge up some old computer power supplies. thats what people on youtube seem to be using with limited success.

15. ### wayneh Expert

Sep 9, 2010
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Yikes. That's really dangerous. Are you making fireworks?

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16. ### Kermit2 AAC Fanatic!

Feb 5, 2010
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what you will end up with besides the perchlorate is lots of sodium hypochlorite(bleach). AND plenty of corroded copper connections plus several different iron compounds like ferric chloride all in solution together.
if you must continue anyway i suggest what others have already mentioned. place more than one electrolysis cells in series. you should be able to succeed with as many as 4 or 5 in series.