Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fast Track To Zapping!

Fast Track To Zapping

If you use these instructions and the schematic you
Should be effectively zapping within 24 hours


Electricity is very dangerous and if you are
not familiar with electricity, please seek
help from a skilled individual.

Materials List

Container: You need an approximate 5 cup container. The container can be purchased at a Dollar Store or one can use an empty margarine tub.
Power Supply: I like the Universal Power Supply Wal-Mart sells. The unit is AC/DC and has a DC output of up to 12 volts. Remember, we are interested in DC output! The unit plugs into an AC wall unit and converts the power to DC. The Universal Power supply also has plenty of amperage for zapping 1-5 coins with a 600mA output.
Cathode: Item #7 is the cathode. I suggest you go to an electrical supply store and purchase a 1-foot length of #4 solid copper. #4 is used for ground wire when wiring new houses and one foot will be very inexpensive. The #4 is about ¼ inch in diameter.
Anode: Item #8 is the anode and can be made of several materials. At this point I suggest you use mild steel. One can buy a short length of rebar from Lowe’s or Home depot. You will need a 4” length of ½” diameter mild steel (rebar.) You will most likely have to cut with a hacksaw or if you know someone at a muffler shop they may cut to length with their chop saw.
Alligator clips: You will need 4 alligator clips 1 and ½ to 2 inches in length. These can be purchased at any electronic store including Radio Shack. If you do not know how to solder then I suggest you buy the clips that have a small screw on the side for attaching wire.
#12 single strand coated copper wire: You will need about 2 feet. I doubt you will need more than 16 inches but let’s stick with the 2 feet.
#12 multi-strand coated copper wire: You will only need about 18 inches.
Sodium Carbonate: Sodium carbonate can be bought in the detergent section of Wal-Mart and most other large stores that carry detergent. Most likely the SC will be called “Washing Soda.” If you have trouble finding the SC try an Ace Hardware store. Pool supply stores carry SC by other names. However, you want 100% sodium carbonate. Let me know if you have trouble locating the SC.
Distilled Water: One can buy an inexpensive gallon of distilled water at Wal-Mart. Last time I looked I think it was 69 cents per gallon.

Assembling The Zapper

Examine the wiring on your power supply. You will see one wire has a white line on it. This indicates the positive power lead. You will always need to know the positive from the negative. Next, you will need to clip the small connector from the tip of the wires. You will then see that it is very easy to separate the wires from one another while leaving the plastic sheathing intact on each wire. You will need to strip about 1” of sheathing from the positive and about 1” from the ends of eah wire. Select one of the alligator clips and attach the clip to the positive lead (the one with the white or light colored stripe) using either solder or the screw on the side of the clip.

Next, attach one of the clips to the negative or black wire. Do not plug the unit in until we are ready. If you have a small bit of red tape, red fingernail polish or red acrylic paint available, place a dab towards the top of the positive clip. The dab of paint will serve to always remind you which wire is positive. Remember the clip with the striped wire is the positive.

The cathode (item #7) needs to be cut to a length that causes the cathode to hang over each side of your container by about ¾ “. Let’s take a look at item #8, the anode. When zapping, the POSITIVE lead always connects to the anode.

We will now address the multi-strand wire connection to the anode. The other connections are made with the single strand wire. The anode requires the multi-strand wire. Remove about four inches of coating from the multi-strand #12 wire. You will need a pair of pliers for the following. Please observe the wire is center fed into the anode. This simply means the multi-strand wire is connected very tightly to the center of the anode. Twist the wire very tightly around the anode and give it a good tight final twist with the pliers until you are convinced the wire and anode are in snug contact with one another.

The anode and the wire must be in very good contact. Now, I need for you to take a small tube of silicone and cover just the bear areas of the twisted wire and any other stripped wire shoing on near the anode. Do not spread the silicone loosely about the anode. This procedure is done to cover the copper wire so it will not interfere with the zapping process. Please look at the schematic and you will see the wire extending above and out of the container. Please strip about 1” of coating from top end of the wire and create a twisted loop. This provides contact for the alligator clip that is connected to the positive lead on your power supply. You have an alligator clip attached to the lead and that clip is attached to the top exposed end of the wire leading from the anode.

Back to the cathode. The alligator clip that extends from the negative lead of the power supply is clipped to one end of the cathode wire that extends above the solution. In fact, it is a good idea to bend the wire to the side on the container. Please pay close attention to the positive and negative leads and pay attention to what goes where. The negative lead from the power supply goes to one end of the cathode. The positive lead of the power supply goes to the bare part of the wire that extends above and to the side of the container and the solution. Allow the rest of the wire to remain coated.

A very inportant part of your zapping has to do with the zapping solution. There is no better elerolytic solution than that crated with sodium carbonate. I want you to forget any preconceived notions you have about zapping and forget what you have been told about solutions and follow my guide. I have zapped over 5000 coins and my method works. Please take a look at the coins on our home page and you will see coins I have zapped using the method I am sharing. Back to the sodium carbonate. Mix 1 and 1/2 teaspoonfuls of sodium carbonate to one quart of water. No more and no less. This is the solution that works. You will not use all the sodium carbonate solution so keep a lid on your container so it will not evaporate.

OK, let’s create the coin holder(s). If you plan to zap more than one coin at a time then you will need the appropriate number of clips. Snip about 4 inches of single coated wire for each coin holder. Completely strip the coating from the wire and form a small curve to fit under the alligator clip screw. Of course if you are soldering, do so. You may have a friend who knows how to solder and will be willing to help you.

Do not plug the power supply in but I do want you to determine the length your wire and clip should be. As you learn to zap try to grasp no more than 1/8” of the coin near the rim and try to have no more than 1/8” of clip beneath the water. The coin needs to be completely immersed with as little clip in the water as possible. Once you have attached your clip hanging wire you need to place the cathode across the center portion of the container. You may need to cut a small “V” shape in the container on each side to help hold your cathode in place without rolling off.

Very carefully hand place the clip and wire in position to determine how low your clip should hang. Once you have done this then you will need to curve the copper back over the cathode so the clip and wire will hang by the cathode #4 wire. At this point I need to caution you to be sure and arrgange the anode and the catode in such a way that prevents the two from coming in contact with one another. Continue to build your hanging clips until you have 1 to 5 units made. Place a clip and hanging wire on the cathode and fill with water to see if you have all the clips adjusted properly. The copper can be bent and adjusted again until the clip hangs just under the surface of the solution.

Ready to zap! Begin zapping with your “culls” and you will worry a lot less about the damage you are doing to your coin(s). One thing I want to emphasize. I have experimented with my zapping techniques for years and one cannot melt, pit, or harm a coin in any way with 12 volts and 6 amps! One would be violating the laws of physics to do so. Remember we are working with only half an amp or so at this point. I have zapped coins for hours at 15 volts and 12 amps with no harm whatsoever to the coin! I still have naive zappers tell me they "melted" a coin using a zapping technique. Impossible!

I think you should begin zapping with one coin. Hang the coin on your cathode wire, fill the container to the proper level with your sodium carbonate mixture and plug the unit in. Make sure you have the positive wire connected to the anode and negative connected to the cathode. You will begin to see activity in the form of bubbling around your coin. The encrustation is actually dropping into the solution! This is an incredibly exciting moment in the life of a zapper. Most likely you are hooked!

OK, so how long do I allow the coin to “cook” as we say? Zap until the encrusted coin is clean. I check the coin about every 15 minutes for the fist hour or so then allow the coin the coin to cook for a while. I am going to reveal a secret I discovered a few years ago. Bamboo sticks! Bamboo who? Yep, the old 200 for a buck at Wal-Mart. Actually they are small diameter (about 1/8") bamboo skewers. I cut them in half and that gives me a blunt end and a sharpened end on the other. Please search the archives of my blog and you will find an article describing how to make a set of bamboo tools. Very easy to do too! Each time I lift the coin from the solution I prod and push the surface with one or both ends of the bamboo stick to see if I can remove a degree of encrustaion. I have had some coins open right up just like an oyster and reveal a beauty. I really encourage you to use the bamboo sticks. I avoid hard tools. Hard tools scratch the surface of the coin(s)

I am sure I have not answered all you need to know about zapping so feel free to ask all the questions you like. I have zapped over 5000 coins and I have experimented all the way. I love to teach and we have a wonderful group and wonderful Moderators. The group and the Mods are always ready to help newbies. Please be careful and I implore you to ask a professional person who works with electricity if you have any doubts.. God Bless.. Jerry.. PS: I post coin cleaning tips on my blog and I also have many tips in archives. Please bookmark my blog and use for reference:


Matt Penning said...

I am experimenting with zapping and am using sodium carbonate. First, in addition to bamboo skewers is there any reason not to brush with a good old toothbrush. Second, after zapping, just let it rest in Distilled Water for a day or two?

Anonymous said...

Another place to find Sodium Carbonate is in a craft store that sells tie dye supplies. I've seen it in AC Moore. It is also available here -

Anonymous said...

I have has some trouble finding the sodium carbonate in my area. I did however notice in my search Oxyclean is made up of sodium carbonate and presodium carbonate. Do you see any harm in using this as my solution? Thanks for the great info on the zapper.


Godwin said...

I tried this method several time in the past few weeks and each time was a success. My question is what do you do after the coin is zapped? Usually i clean them with some mild liquid soap and leave them in distilled water for about 1 week. Any tips would be appreciated.