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Amperage requirements for plating

Current question & answers:

May 26, 2021 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hello, going to be plating small acrylic items with 24k gold, my process would be to apply a conductive silver paint, next nickel then gold. I want to be able to brush plate and small electroform rack and tank plate. I want to know what power range of rectifier I would need to do the highest quality of work! Thanks. the items to be plated are no larger than 2" sq.

Todd Oldham
- Orange Texas


affil. link
Plating/Anodizing Power Supply

June 2021

A. Hi Todd. The nickel will need more current than the gold. The rectifier should probably be sized for 40 Amps per square foot of surface area of the work. 6 Volts would probably be enough; but you might as well have more flexibility and buy available 12V or 15V laboratory power supplies rather than go searching for lower voltage units.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

2007

Q. Hello there!
Can anyone suggest what should be the capacity of the rectifier (in terms of amps) needed to operate a nickel plating tank containing 250 ltrs of solution. the tank is mostly used to plate bright and satin nickel on brass parts.

Any clue would be helpful.

M.Jamal
Manufacturing trainee - Moradabad, UP India


2007

A. Hi, M. You go by square foot to be plated rather than tank size.
50 amps per square foot would be a good number to size for, and 40 ASF would be a pretty typical actual value in use.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2007

A. Hi Jamal,
Since you said the tank capacity of tank 250 liter but you did not mention how many racks you are going to plate in that I mean what will be the area you will be plating, generally Nickel will be plated at 4 Amps/dm2, based on that you can plan your Rectifier capacity, e.g., 15 volts, 300 Amps or 12 volts, 100 Amps, etc.
Hope this will help you.
Good Luck
Mukesh
Panjala Mukesh
Panjala Mukesh
     fashion jewelry mfgr.
Hyderabad, India




January 6, 2010

Q. Dear sir,

I have rectifier of capacity 12 volts & 2500 amperes. Now I want to know how much Kilowatt is the capacity of this rectifier.

This is for the calculation of total kilowatt requirement of our factory.

Kindly help me with this conversion.

Regards
Dharampal

Dharampal Salooja
- UAE


January 6, 2010

A. Hi, Dharampal. According to Watt's Law, P = V*I. So the output power of the rectifier is 12*2500, or 30,000 watts or 30 kilowatts.

Rectifiers are not 100 percent efficient, though; let's guess at 67% until you actually select a rectifier and learn more detail about it. So the input power is about 30/.65 = 45 kilowatts.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



Need help choosing hobby electroplating rectifier

February 29, 2016

Q. I am looking for a rectifier that will allow me to plate gun and rifle parts in copper, nickel, black nickel, chrome and black chrome. I had purchased a 5-15 volt and 25 amp rectifier and what I received was marked 6-15 volt and 25 amp rectifier (which when turned on has a minimum volt reading of 7 volts at lowest setting). After several emails I got the company to take it back. The company told me in their last email I was sent a "Modified" 40 amp rectifier, but after checking their website again I noticed that they rate the max power of their rectifiers under what the call "Surge". My question is this, is "surge mode" safe to plate under. Or is it only good for plating short periods of time? Also, are the red lines pictured on this rectifier the maximum limit for safe operation? Also, check out this link that is supposed to be to a 60 amp rectifier [link deleted by editor].
But, the highest amp rectifier is 40 amp that surges to 50 amp. Lastly, does anyone have experience with [brand name deleted by editor] rectifiers? Thanks.

Oscar West
hobbyist - San Antonio, Texas USA


February 2016

A. Hi Oscar. My experience is in industrial electroplating rather than hobby plating, and I've never heard of "red lines" or "surge mode". All the rectifiers that I used in almost 5 decades could safely be turned up all the way ... and in fact for most types of rectifiers it is best to plate at the high end of their capacity for the least ripple and the highest efficiency. Surely the vendor can explain their "surge modes" and "red lines", and will be happy to.

The largely anonymous internet is not the place to get brand recommendations, though. For one thing, salespeople constantly pose as satisfied customers. Affiliate marketers are paid for "comment spam". And negative comments attract attention and pressure from the companys' lawyers. The result is disproportionately glowing recommendations. Finally, the site is made possible by supporting advertisers, and to ask them to pay for links to and anonymous recommendations of their competitors by their competitors ... :-)

Please practice with your copper, nickel, black nickel, and imitation chrome on scrap parts for a few months if you insist on this hobby. Plating is dead easy, good plating is very hard.

I strongly advise you not to buy any chrome plating chemicals; they are toxic and carcinogenic, and billions of dollars have been spent in the last couple of decades cleaning up chrome contamination. However, when hobby plating suppliers offer "chrome" plating chemicals, it's usually not really chrome but some imitation. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 1, 2016

Q. There is a red marked line at 36 amps and 14 volts. The meters highest values are 40 amps and 20 volts. I noticed that the internal fans kick on whenever the I turn the rectifier up past the redline on the volt meter. I never have turned the amps up high enough to hit 36 amps. But, I still would like to know what size rectifier is best to plate gun parts. Probable the largest piece I would plate is a barrel. Thanks.

Oscar West [returning]
- San Antonio, Texas USA


March 2016
60123

A. Hi again. Everyone already knows "in general" what a redline means ("Don't operate in this range!"), whereas only the vendor can tell you exactly what it means for his equipment. But my guess is that the maximum capacity of the rectifier is at the redlines they drew, and they simply used 'standard issue' 40 Amp and 20 Volt meters instead of custom building meters for 36 Amps and 14 Volts.

I would size rectifiers for copper, nickel, and black nickel based on 40 Amps per square foot of surface area to be plated. If you are using a proprietary imitation chrome you need to ask the vendor what current density is required for bright plating, but my guess is 40-50 ASF (real chrome plating requires at least 3X that much though). Best of luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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