Mighty Mite II's "secret" electrolyte is sulfuric acid. I'm assuming part of the reason Loren left this out is that most new to this idea would be scared away from buying Loren's "safe" machine if he told them they would be using hazardous materials, instead of "electrolyte" which sounds pretty innocuous. Loren doesn't even wear any safety equipment in his videos, further suggesting that his machine is completely safe to use (he also just shows the easiest part of the process in the video).
I already bought Loren's Mighty Mite II machine. As mentioned in this forum, the purchase includes only the anode basket, cathodes, and instructions. I would have no idea how to construct this myself (nor would I try). But, I'm trying to rationalize using a pretty dangerous and unforgiving technique-that requires the purchase of a bunch of glassware, chemicals, and other equipment-which is pretty hard to locate in one place (or 3-4). I'm trying read as much as I can regarding recovering gold (primarily gold-plate) from old gold-plated jewelry and computer parts (maybe gold flake). I want to utilize the machine I purchased, but I'm wondering if it can be done with less dangerous chemicals. All the methods mentioned use different techniques, and it's hard to find the right advice.
The only thing remotely unique about Loren's system is the basket. It actually is pretty neat. He claims to have a patent on this entire system, which I don't believe. If he does, the patent inspectors that looked at this didn't know their a** from a hot rock. Except for the basket, which is easily copied from his videos, everything about this cell is available on this forum, for free, in great detail. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!
The method he uses for recovering the gold from the concentrated sulfuric acid is very tedious, a series of dilutions, a little at a time. Is there a better method to recover the gold stripped by the cell?
This is what I do. Let it settle, probably overnight. Slowly and very carefully pour off the tops as much as possible - if you know how to safely do it, you can siphon it. Dilute the bottoms by pouring the bottoms into about 5-10 times more water than you have bottoms. Let it settle and cool and pour or siphon off the tops, without disturbing the solids. Filter and treat the residue as usual.
Reuse the original stripping solution you poured off, topping it off with more fresh sulfuric. If there are still some solids left in it, don't worry about it. You will eventually get it.
I purchased Loren's Mighty Mite II Reverse Electroplating Gold Recovery Cell last year. Excited about the prospect of retrieving gold from seemingly worthless gold-plated jewelry and other metal parts, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase this gold recovery system. The innocent sounding "electrolyte" solution involved did not present a serious concern to me. When I received the unit and read the instructions, I learned this electrolyte was sulfuric acid and the instructions made the process sound confusing and tedious (not to mention dangerous and messy). I do not have any experience with chemistry or working with hazardous chemicals and still debate whether or not I want to try to use the unit. I have a bunch of gold-plated jewelry and other gold-plated materials bought specifically to recover gold from them using this unit. I live in a suburban area and one of the first things I thought was, "How am going to run this thing without alerting the whole neighborhood?". The process is going to release foul smelling fumes and I'm sure my neighbors will smell my operation & be curious as to what is causing the odor. I might even have the police being called to my house. And, I'm pretty sure explaining that I was refining metals with hazardous chemicals and with no real way to recycle or store my waste would not be wise or acceptable explanation. I would like to use my unit, but I was wondering if anyone here would know an alternative way to recover gold using the special cathode tray I have and a car battery charger (I already own). I would like to know if anyone can recommend alternative instructions (and a way to ventilate and control dangerous fumes) using the Mighty Mite II's special tray and connectors. I would also consider selling the unit (it's brand new with instructions in the original box) and possibly investing in a more "commercial" unit that eliminates many of the concerns over safety and my lack of chemistry experience, but is far more expensive. From what I read, the Mighty Mite Reverse Electroplating Gold Recovery Unit is quite effective in recovering gold, and in the right hands it would be a great investment. Like many who purchased this unit, I did not expect the "electrolyte" to be sulfuric acid. Nor did I think the process would be tricky for a beginner. Again, if anyone can help instruct me to use the unit I would really appreciate it. If someone would like to purchase the unit from me, I would be open to that as well. I have a relatively, new Duracell car battery charger that I would also consider selling with the unit. The rest of the materials and chemicals needed are pretty inexpensive. If someone is interested please contact me at my email address: [email protected] If contacted, I will share a scanned copy of the included instructions (that I paid for) for no cost, so you can see what is involved and make an educated decision as to whether this is something they can handle. I will work with that individual on determining a fair price for the unit (and the battery). I honestly hope someone can provide me with a way to use the unit with less steps and less dangerous and obnoxious chemicals. I know that all of the methods require some degree of care and an element of danger. Maybe someone has used the unit with different chemicals already and knows how to make this a doable process for me.
reverse electroplating with sulfuric acid really doesn't emit fowl smelling fumes if done correctly. the gas that the cell gives off is hydrogen, which can be explosive, so use in a well ventilated room or outside.sulfuric acid is nasty stuff and very dangerous but only if the person handling it has no idea what they are doing. i would advise you to study the forum on the safe operation of the cell and and all the chemical waste material provided in the in Hoke's book "refining precious metal waste". the book is free to download from the forum from many members signature line.
I'm using the Mighty Mite II, it works and is safe so long as you are mindful of the fact you are playing with acid. But you wouldn't treat it with any more or less concern than you would Nitric or HCl, or even bleach for that matter.
The only complaint I have about the Mighty Mite doesn't even have anything to do with the design or material. Loren is a very different type of guy, you watch his video and see how he handles sulfuric acid, I half think he didn't use gloves so as not to alarm or bring attention to the "electrolyte" being dangerous. As if by not saying you are dealing with dangerous acids would allow him to sell more. That kind of gives you an idea of what kind of person you are dealing with, but then again that's only my opinion. Anyway, I paid the 149.99 or whatever it was, I got the pieces and instructions, then I ordered the correct size Pyrex dish just like it described in the instructions. Directly from Pyrex, and the parts didn't fit. I saw the problem, the edges were too wide, it's Corning's new design for that size glass dish, so I went to the corning outlet store and found one with a glass lid, bought it, took it home, and his kit didn't fit, the angle and slope of the depth was wrong. So then I drove around to a few thrift stores, and finally, found a dish.
I wasted so much time, effort and energy in trying to find the dish, I was pretty mad. I called Corning and spoke with a sales rep who mentioned that the particular type of dish I was looking for, had been discontinued, for awhile... Hmmmm... So I sent an email to Loren about this, I asked if he was aware of it, and if he had any plans to adapt his design to the new dish, and if he was going to take a trade in of the old one, for the new design that fit the new dish. I figured if I have already spent 149.99 on parts that were designed for a dish that no longer exists, that he should at least trade the old one for a new one when he changes the design, I didn't that that was not reasonable.
The email I received in return kind of shocked me, and I have yet to reply, I want to cool off first, it's only been a few days now. What he said was in clipped and angry sounding tones. He first said that he usually doesn't respond to emails from customers, and that I was lucky he was responding to me. Then he said he was aware that Corning had stopped making those dishes, that he kept that design because he wanted to make it inexpensive and easy for people to use his system. He wants to make it affordable. I paid 149.99 for two small pieces of stainless steel, and a copper wire basket? And I have to buy a battery charger and dish I had to drive all over for? And he wants to make it so that it's AFFORDABLE? Well, you know what I was smelling. He went even further to say that he wasn't going to give me a refund (which I didn't ask for) and that he would ALLOW me to purchase replacement parts for the one I did buy, and if he did make a new design I would have to buy it.
I am debating now if I should contact eBay and let them know that Loren is selling a kit that deals with harmful acid which he does not warn about, and that his design requires a part that is no longer made, that in fact if you want to find it you have to do so at a garage sale or thrift store with no option to purchase NEW.
So although the design is very simple, it does use cathodes on both sides of the anode basket which makes it work more efficiently, you just have to make sure you don't overload it and blow your power supplies fuse. But to be fair, Loren's design works well, it's well made and well thought out. But I won't ever ever EVER purchase anything from him again, EVER.
I suspect what happened is that he either fabricated, or had someone fabricate, a bunch of these parts, and then Pyrex stopped making the dish he designed them for. If that is true, then he probably has a lot of these parts laying around he needs to sell, otherwise he looses money. So now he is in a situation where he has to make this system as attractive as possible, so he makes it look safe, clean and easy. I knew before purchasing it that the cell was going to use some type of acid, and because of the color of the "electrolyte" and the type of material he used for anode/cathode I figured in must be Sulfuric, however he should really be disclosing this information for people who wouldn't have a clue.
Whenever anyone complains, asks a question about the parts being obsolete, mentions safety he seems to give himself into a tiff. He is so focused on making money that he isn't paying attention to the potential profit from repeat customers.
Like I have stated before, I will never, ever, EVER purchase anything from Loren again. I would go out and purchase the sheet metal working tools needed to make it myself, and pay whatever it cost me, just to avoid ever dealing with him again. And as I said above, I am almost convinced that I should file a complain with eBay about him not disclosing the dangerous Sulfuric Acid required for his cell to work, and the fact he is selling parts for a Pyrex dish that is no longer made. I am not a rat but Loren could very well be putting people at serious risk for harm if something isn't said by someone.
I am very glad that I found this site .
I was considering buying one of these units but will not buy now.
AS for E BAY I think some one did alert them about his business practice
as the product can not be bought on ebay any longer you have to purchase it
direct from him
Loren is a great guy .
I have spoke with him for hours on the phone, you must have came at him wrong.
The stainless is non magnetic grade that is it.
The best about the system is that it strips to both sides at once.
The reaction is line of sight remember.
Basket can be stainless also just watch your water content and heat or it will eat the basket.
Drain cleaner is your locally available chemical, read posts on here.
You can get the correct shape glass baking dish at Walmart from 2 or 3 makers, so you rant is way off base.
I know this post is over 5-years old but here goes. Has anyone tried using sheet lead instead of the stainless steel? Lead is closer to hydrogen in the activity series so it should be less reactive in the sulfuric acid. We know it survives quite well in sulfuric acid since it is in millions of lead-acid batteries. Just a thought!