by Harold_V » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:36 pm

goldsilverpro wrote: I don't think his anode tray slid back and forth. I think he removed it
when he harvested the crystal. Harold could probably give the pros and cons of his design.
My tray could slide, but not without raising a portion out of the electrolyte. That was very acceptable
because the cell is inactive when scraping down the crystals. I used to park it at the far end while
scraping the crystals. The bottom of the tray sat on the end of, but inside the cell, therefore catching any
As far as my design is concerned, I would likely do a few things differently, although the cell
functioned perfectly well. The only negative aspect of my cell was that the sides were in close
proimity to the anode. That resulted in shorting of the cell prematurely. I dealt with the problem by
applying a band of black vinyl tape along the top edge, which then wrapped around the inside down
about !"# beyond the depth of the electrolyte. That discouraged shorting ade$uately. %ou can see the
tape in the photo that is posted, below.
The design had two positive aspects, which is the reason it was chosen. The only cell I ever witnessed
was almost identical to mine, aside from having four sides that sloped away from the center. That
eliminates the premature shorting, but also increases the volume of electrolyte, plus it makes sealing
the cell all the harder. I kept plastic covers on both ends of my cell when it was in operation, to
minimi&e the possibility of contamination dropping in with the silver.
I'm sure that the '.()# solution depth was determined as the ideal compromise to maimi&e
production after data from !)* years of it's history. Actually, most any other depth could be
used, but there would be a sacrifice, one way or another.
I'm afraid I'd have to agree. My electrolyte depth was only about + or +"#. ,horting was a distinct
possibility. -ecause the cell ran continuously, I cut back on amperage so the deposit was slower, thus
etending the time intervals between knocking down the crystals. Added depth, coupled with a greater
distance to the sides of the cathode would certainly be beneficial, but as .hris stated, every change is a
trade/off. 0retty much A1% design will function to some degree.
My advice is to design a system around the pro2ected volume that is to be processed. %ou are far better
served to operate a small cell for etended periods of time, re$uiring small amounts of silver for
electrolyte, than to operate a large cell, which may produce profusely, but re$uires a huge amount of
silver for the electrolyte. ,hould volume increase in the future, it's easy enough to add a second cell.
3hen designing your cell, I would also keep in mind the distance between the bars and the
sides of the tank. ,ometimes, under certain circumstances, very long thin crystals can grow,
which can bridge from the tank to the bars. The worst thing that can happen is to create a
short. It can start a fire. If a hole burns in the cloth, the undissolved sludge 4gold, slag, etc.5
can dump into the solution and drastically contaminate it. The solution will re$uire
filtering, the tank will re$uire disassembly and cleaning, and the silver crystal will have to
be melted and rerun.
%ep, what .hris said. I eperienced shorting, enough to burn a hole in one filter bag. I was fortunate in
that there was no fire. -e advised that cotton, when soaked in silver nitrate, is very eager to burn, and
will do so even when wet. 6ire is a real possibility, although not to be feared under normal conditions.
The one place I differ is crystal. Impure crystal can be run perfectly well in a cell without melting, is so
desired. I re/ran crystal a few times when I found I had run my cell too long and had copper co/
deposited with my silver. ,imply wash the crystal well 4distilled water5, then place in the filter,
covering with an anode. %ou'll discover that the crystal will process perfectly well, and create very nice
new crystal on the anode. -ottom line is there is no need to melt the crystal. I would 17T advise
cement silver be processed the same way. Too much garbage is removed in the melting process, for
cement silver is rarely of high $uality, unlike crystal that has already been through the cell once.
3e have been discussing a -albach/Thum hori&ontal cell. There are also Moebius vertical
cells that are widely used mainly because they take up less floor space. However, they are
more complicated to use and the anode stubs have to be remelted and rerun. Also, removing
the crystal is more difficult. The -albach/Thum 4usually 2ust called a Thum cell5 hori&ontal
cell is the simplest to set up and use.
.hris and I are in lock/step on this issue. The cell described is the fastest and easiest to build and to
1ice 2ob, .hris.
6or the record, my tank was made of +*' stainless, with TI8 welded corners. +!9 would be slightly
better for chemical resistance, although that is a non/issue for a silver cell. :ither material is an
ecellent choice. I had it electropolished after it was welded. ;nseen in the photo, there is a lug welded
to the back side upper right hand corner, to which the cathode lead is connected via a large clip.
.ontact with the anode is made with a silver #candle stick# electrode. I made a simple cast iron mold
that poured a round disc of silver, roughly +<'# thick !# diameter, with a =# stem, to which the anode
lead was attached with a clamp.

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