Need 0.5V, 50-100A rectifier for Nickel electroplating

Thread Starter

Manfred Von Steinborn

Joined Feb 3, 2009
I need to Nickel plate a steel cylindrical vessel; total surface area of 106dm^2.
Required current density for the Nickel Sulfamate Watts bath is 0.5-11 A/dm^2.
Initially, I thought I could use a small 100A arc welder for this job, but the voltage is too high (24V-48V).
According to the scientific paper on the subject, the best results are achieved at 0.5V

How to achieve my objective?


Joined Aug 30, 2007
The closest voltage/current device I can think of is a Weller soldering gun.
I have a model D550 which has 2 power settings, 200/260 watts.
When we put a #10 solid wire loop in place of the tip, we can use a Amprobe
(clamp on ammeter) and measure over 100 amps- @2 volts open circuit.

Edit: not sure what kind of duty cycle you'll need, you may need to add fan?
Last edited:


Joined Oct 5, 2008
Is DC required or can AC be used? I am under the impression you need DC only.

In that case the Weller soldering iron will not work. If you open one of those up, you'll see a transformer, and the soldering tip is the secondary of a very low-voltage AC coil with just a few turns on the transformer. You'd have to rectify that to DC for this application.

The paper says: "Higher voltage (hence current density) above 0.6V led to the burning of the electroplating samples."

So you need fairly good regulation, holding the voltage at very close 0.5v. I don't see how this is going to work without an expensive lab grade power supply.


Joined Feb 11, 2008
I think you have really overestimated the current you need and underestimated the voltage you will need.

Do some tests with your solution, for current needed per area vs voltage needed for the distance between electrodes.

Thread Starter

Manfred Von Steinborn

Joined Feb 3, 2009
YES, We are talking about DC current. Inside of the vessel is approx 1,650 sq in = 106.5 sq decimeters. Solderong iron is not going to work. I think I should start with a modest 50A DC current and see how it will go. My 6V charger goes up to 125 A DC.
I may have some answers, soon. I have sent for the "Bible" on electroplating,
The Properties of Electrodeposited Alloys - A Handbook​
, by William H. Safranek, Second​

Edition, published by the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society
Have you thought about using an inverter welder as the power source.

I use one as a battery charger, it works great and because it is a current limited PSU you wouldn't have to worry about voltage in your application.

I have added an external choke to mine and I only get 50mV ripple on my batteries at 65A

That said I don't know much about electroplating so I may be talking rubbish.