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Just curious....anyone here every try to recover PMs from old computer (HDD) parts?

BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

I know motherboards and CPUs have gold, but as I take apart some older IDE hard disk drives (HDDs), there are PMs in there as well.

Honestly, nothing that I feel like I want to deal with myself (volume-wise nor having the setup for it). I know there are more "enterprising" members out there and just wondering if anyone here has done it yet?
@Jinx86 ?

I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

Comments

  • BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 4,234 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Never considered it.

    Successful transactions:Tookybandit
  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Would take a fair amount, I would think, to even get minimal PMs, but, as I sit there tonight, tearing apart old drives before throwing them away, I got wondering that.

    So far, I think the magnets in them are the most valuable (rare earth magnets).

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would call a guy once a year and he would buy my stuff. He came to the house with a scale and weighed everything separately

    hard drive boards , different types of CPU , different types of mem, sorted the boards by quality , he doesn't publish a price but here is a site with a quote for different things

    https://rockawayrecycling.com/metal/non-green-motherboards/

  • rickoricko Posts: 72,600 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are people out there that do this.... I have seen ads for 'old electronics' periodically. It is a lot of work initially. Once set up, not so bad...but the amount recovered is small - so volume is the key. Cheers, RickO

  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ricko said:
    There are people out there that do this.... I have seen ads for 'old electronics' periodically. It is a lot of work initially. Once set up, not so bad...but the amount recovered is small - so volume is the key. Cheers, RickO

    Ive dont this in the past. Huge pain in the @ss. With electronic scraping volume most definitely is key. Most of what I scraped was free and still the cost of supplies nearly out weighed the profits. But, it was a start in precious metals refining that I still use today at work. I now only use the chemicals to dissolve gold around gems stones for safe extraction. Ill have about 400 carats of material done processing today even.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 37,755 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Are there any hazardous or toxic materials inside computers or other electronic equipment that one needs to be aware of when salvaging the gold?

  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    About a year ago I was offered the task of refining silver from 200 pounds of old x-rays. I laughed and explained the logistics and the potential net silver from it all. I thought it was comical. Showed them images of what it takes to do the process correctly and the enormity of the equipment and soak tanks even the filter press that it would require. $100K in equipment and installation for a one time job. I also pointed them to a company that does this refining specificity, they required much more weight then they had on hand.

    Every now and then I get people coming into the store or calling in asking if we refining or buy computer scrap. Its always a no from me.

  • shorecollshorecoll Posts: 5,112 ✭✭✭✭

    In the very old days, there was a lot more gold. I had a Sony monitor that the pins in the monitor cable were gold-plated. Lots of old IBM equipment had gold-plated connectors. Our recycling places here no longer take any electronic scrap because the value has dropped so much...everything goes in the landfill. :o

    ANA-LM, NBS, EAC
  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    Are there any hazardous or toxic materials inside computers or other electronic equipment that one needs to be aware of when salvaging the gold?

    Not directly hazards, however, old power supplies can still hold a charge. The boards, fingers, pins, and CPUs are basically plastic, metal and ceramic. The toxic part comes in once you add them to chemistry. The fumes can kill, contact with the solutions can kill or cause permanent medical conditions. So, yeah, lots of fun. It can be an interesting hobby, but with hobby size operation dont expect to make any money.

  • 1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 6,907 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I always save the magnets @Bochiman :)

    Successful transactions with : MICHAELDIXON, Manorcourtman, Bochiman, bolivarshagnasty, AUandAG, onlyroosies, chumley, Weiss, jdimmick, BAJJERFAN, gene1978, TJM965, Smittys, GRANDAM

    Bad transactions with : nobody to date

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hard drive magnets are pretty powerful i sold a pile on ebay once got decent money . I did wonder what damage that box might have done to other packages in the mail stream

  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bronco2078....nice link/website. Thanks for posting.

    Jinx86.... thank you. That's what I was thinking as well, but I knew you had done some refining. Was willing to send these to you if you wanted, but it doesn't sound worth it. More hassle than you would make, as they were only about 8 drives anyway.

    1630Boston ... Powerful magnets, buddy, but I have 13 of them now and don't need that many :) (some of the bottom magnets are still in the drive casings as not everything was as easy as it should be and I didn't care to waste too much time and effort on any that took more than a few minutes (a few had screws that were too 'stuck' and a few had the seek arms that didn't want to pop out, etc)

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Bochiman No, problem, I would rather worn someone about the downward spiral e-scrap can be than watch them scorn my name. Drives wouldnt have enough of anything to scrap, except for aluminum cases and discs.

    As for magnets I have a few hundred high power pieces laying around. Years ago when I did industrial mechanical work i disassembled a magnet used for lifting sheets of steel upwards of 3500 pounds. I got it working again and had called the service company that builds them. They were astonished that I was able to take it apart and put it back together, to the point where they sent us a new one as I solved one of their service problems. The magnet did fail again and was too dangerous to put back in use. So, guess who got a sh1t ton of free magnets.

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 21,890 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 27, 2020 8:44PM

    This guy does it, check out the video from sreetips.

    bob :)

    He says that the Intel Pent 4 chips are the only ones viable. The rest cost more than they recover.

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @AUandAG said:

    This guy does it, check out the video from sreetips.

    bob :)

    He says that the Intel Pent 4 chips are the only ones viable. The rest cost more than they recover.

    he is only saying that because he is wet behind the ears. The pentium pro is the king! over a gram of gold per !

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 21,890 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bronco2078 said:

    @AUandAG said:

    he is only saying that because he is wet behind the ears. The pentium pro is the king! over a gram of gold per !

    Sorry, he is not wet behind the ears. And I may be wrong on what chip it was. Check his site out for yourself. I'm no metallurgist. I probably misquoted him.

    bob :)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 28, 2020 9:30AM

    @AUandAG said:

    @bronco2078 said:

    @AUandAG said:

    he is only saying that because he is wet behind the ears. The pentium pro is the king! over a gram of gold per !

    Sorry, he is not wet behind the ears. And I may be wrong on what chip it was. Check his site out for yourself. I'm no metallurgist. I probably misquoted him.

    bob :)

    B) the pentium pro is the holy grail of gold recovery , set your time machine back to 1998 and grab as many as you can. There probably are none surviving . I remember selling 30 of them to a guy in 2011 or so for 700 bucks

    166 Mhz with I think 512 mb on die cache they were from a pile of servers that came from a post office of all things.

    windows NT 3.5 ? ah those were the good old days , we thought they would never end .................

  • ThreeCentSilverFLThreeCentSilverFL Posts: 298 ✭✭✭✭

    I did this about 10 years ago for fun. I refined about 1 oz of gold from memory chips. The worst part was the after products, nasty stuff that I had to get rid of at the dump. Oh ya and my garage door track rusted pretty bad because of the HCl. There also was a sulfuric acid method running a direct current through the solution to de-plate gold plated objects.

    It was overall a fun experience. Would never attempt it again though, too messy.

    PS a fun fact; gold in solution is bright purple.

  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 2,202 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I saved pins, fingers or any scrap gold from computers, auto airbags & anywhere else I could find it for many years. I had what I thought was a good pile that should have some value, don't remember the weight. Went to turn it in and got about $12 if I remember correctly. Will never do it again, it is a waste of time, you will get more $$ from saving your aluminum cans.

  • philographerphilographer Posts: 719 ✭✭✭✭

    Lot of work. Reminds me of this guy harvesting gold from the sidewalk cracks in the diamond district in NYC.

    https://nypost.com/2011/06/20/got-his-mined-in-the-gutter/

    Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 3,307 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Too toxic for my taste. Love the hd rare earth magnets though. Just snagged some big speaker magnets on trash day. Peace Roy

  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ThreeCentSilverFL said:
    I did this about 10 years ago for fun. I refined about 1 oz of gold from memory chips. The worst part was the after products, nasty stuff that I had to get rid of at the dump. Oh ya and my garage door track rusted pretty bad because of the HCl. There also was a sulfuric acid method running a direct current through the solution to de-plate gold plated objects.

    It was overall a fun experience. Would never attempt it again though, too messy.

    PS a fun fact; gold in solution is bright purple.

    Sorry, but gold in solution is golden yellow, you can reduce the volume by boiling and make a nearly red solution. In medieval times the red solution was refereed to as dragons blood. The 2nd image is 8 ozt of 995+ gold that will be dissolved again in acid to remove trace copper and silver.

  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 20,738 ✭✭✭✭✭

    No never did. I wonder about the hazmat and of it

  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 873 ✭✭✭✭

    https://rockawayrecycling.com

    He's the one who bought my catalytic converter, must have an extensive setup.

    I found an old Pentium 'one' computer from the early ninties, I kept the CPU, the pins look loaded with gold.

    Also turned another CPU and heatsink into E-scrap art... I could probably sell it for more than the gold/copper value but I keep it around... it's not bugging me :#

    It's all about what the people want...

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LukeMarshall said:
    https://rockawayrecycling.com

    He's the one who bought my catalytic converter, must have an extensive setup.

    I found an old Pentium 'one' computer from the early ninties, I kept the CPU, the pins look loaded with gold.

    Also turned another CPU and heatsink into E-scrap art... I could probably sell it for more than the gold/copper value but I keep it around... it's not bugging me :#

    I had a bookmark on the last computer that had all the CPUs gold content . I think it was only current to 2004 or so at which point the yields were declining.

    The pentium pro was listed at a gram , I think the only ones higher were sparc chips or DEC alpha stuff and it would be a miracle to see any of those lying around now.

    The 486 chips had a lot of gold , the 1st gen pentium 60 and 66 were up there but they were huge so it makes sense

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    here is the link!

    2009 era gold price in AU dollars

    http://www.ozcopper.com/computer-cpu-gold-yields/

  • Jinx86Jinx86 Posts: 3,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @johnny9434 said:
    No never did. I wonder about the hazmat and of it

    Not a huge concern if all the basic precautions are taken. First major concern is the fumes, so a quality filtered fume hood or fume extraction. Many hobbyists just vent right out of their work area to outside no filtration. The quantity of fumes/toxins released fall under the radar of the EPA in a huge way. As for toxic waste, when all said and done you should have nothing that gets put down the drain that could harm anyone. After my final process in refining I'm left with salt water and iron powder. Down the drain and dried and to the dump.

  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 873 ✭✭✭✭

    @bronco2078 said:
    here is the link!

    2009 era gold price in AU dollars

    http://www.ozcopper.com/computer-cpu-gold-yields/

    Nice link, looks like my original Pentium has about 1/2 gram of gold on it. Not bad

    It's all about what the people want...

  • BochimanBochiman Posts: 24,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I cringe thinking back to the years between 1996 - 2010 and all the pentiums and other CPUs that I, literally, just junked/threw away. Talking HUNDREDS at a minimum. Including some multi-proc server systems.
    The work I did back then, I had manufacturers sending me, combined, 10+ units/mo and hardly any of them wanted them returned......

    I've been told I tolerate fools poorly...that may explain things if I have a problem with you. Current ebay items - Nothing at the moment

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    back in the day I heard rumors that some guys would partially remove some gold from the good CPU's then sell the played out husks on ebay!

    like remove the top steal gold paste the top back on write numbers on with a crayon and list em for full price :D

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 8,410 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There's a series on youtube by an Australian guy who goes by "eWaste Ben". He's a scrapper, who takes advantage of his city (Melbourne?) garbage system: they just pile their non-food junk on the curb, often unbagged and unboxed. He drives around in a van and picks up used PCs, gaming systems, etc. by the van load, then he recycles the electronics.

    He has advantages that I don't think we really have here in the US. I suspect their proximity to China makes their eWaste more viable and therefore more valuable, with several recycling centers near him. I know here where I am, getting rid of eWaste after you've removed the good stuff is still difficult. And of course the function of just piling junk on the curb means he can pick and choose what he wants.

    What I've learned watching his videos: Aside from motors or generators, microwave ovens seem to be the best bang for the buck when it comes to copper (who knew?). More than TVs and window ACs. A couple of pounds per oven IIRC.
    Also, the really early computer processors (talking 1980s 386, 486) have good gold--somewhere around $200 in value per kilogram by weight. But that's still a lot of processors and good luck finding kilos of 30 year old processors. Everything else that I've seen from newer processors to the gold fingers on memory cards have gold, but so little that it's more of a hobby than any kind of profitable venture. A long, tedious road with lots of expenses from chemicals to propane kilns. And in the end, you might get a few grams of gold whose cost would far outweigh its value.

    Still fun to watch has he drives around with a go-pro strapped to his head, getting excited about snagging insulated wire and used PCs. Give his videos a watch if you're bored:

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 873 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 31, 2020 11:33AM

    I follow him, Love watching e-waste Ben sorting through the rubbish on hard waste days (apparently Australia has dedicated times in the year where you can toss out a few cubic meters of stuff on the curb for disposal)

    I believe he talks about the difference between older and newer microwaves in one video and how some have moved from copper transformers to aluminum. I've seen that in some motors and TV's I've scrapped too...

    Defiantly a good watch there

    It's all about what the people want...

  • bronco2078bronco2078 Posts: 8,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    does he talk about the deadly beryllium ceramic in microwaves?

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