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What's worth removing from PCBs?

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  1. #1
    GrandHunterMan started this thread.
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    Question What's worth removing from PCBs?

    Hi guys, I'm new here. I did some searching but there didn't seem to be a thread that talked about removing low value stuff from PCBs. Where I live there aren't really anyone who buys whole PCBs so I'm interested in depopulating everything worth even a tiny amount. Besides the obvious like small transformers and coils, tantalum caps, MLCCs, etc, what's worth removing? I've heard aluminum electrolytic caps are worth aluminum breakage, and the ceramic caps are good to take. What about common resistors and diodes? Or poly caps? Basically, what should I be leaving on the board that no one's going to buy for scrap?

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    Scrap prices are terrible, don't waste your time on peanuts. Throw the whole board in the shred pile if your not shipping boards to a buyer

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    Quote Originally Posted by greytruck View Post
    Scrap prices are terrible, don't waste your time on peanuts. Throw the whole board in the shred pile if your not shipping boards to a buyer
    You need to be a little more specific when you say scrap prices are terrible. Circuit board prices are higher than they have been in a long time. One of the buyers updated their price list yesterday and I was very surprised at the increase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandHunterMan View Post
    Hi guys, I'm new here. I did some searching but there didn't seem to be a thread that talked about removing low value stuff from PCBs. Where I live there aren't really anyone who buys whole PCBs so I'm interested in depopulating everything worth even a tiny amount. Besides the obvious like small transformers and coils, tantalum caps, MLCCs, etc, what's worth removing? I've heard aluminum electrolytic caps are worth aluminum breakage, and the ceramic caps are good to take. What about common resistors and diodes? Or poly caps? Basically, what should I be leaving on the board that no one's going to buy for scrap?

    Thanks
    Been there / done that. Don't waste your time. It's not worth doing.

    ~ That said. ~

    Experience is the best teacher. You can get a good digital weigh scale on ebay for twenty or twenty five bucks. Depopulate some boards of their value items. Keep careful track of the time spent and the yields. It's a good education in ewaste recycling. Like anything else in life .... you walk away with more value if you've had to earn your understanding. (Not so much if it's just handed to you.)

    I would caution against possible heavy metals poisoning with this kind of work. Make sure you understand the job risks and take appropriate safety precautions before diving in.

    Later edited to add an afterthought:

    Like most everything else with scrapping .... the money is in volume & the economy of scale. You might disassemble tens of tons of ewaste items to yield a single ton of PCB's. The following link is about as good as anything i've seen so far in regards to actual yields per ton of printed circuit board material.

    https://www.copperwirerecyclingmachi...ine/index.html
    Last edited by hills; 04-29-2020 at 05:43 AM.

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    I wouldn't bother trying to get the bits you want off the boards.
    Put some time into finding a escrap buyer instead.
    Find & scrap down electronics to just the boards & figure out what does need to be taken off them, unwanted metal trim, batterys etc.
    Figure out the different sorts of boards & how they are graded. Seperate & store them untill you have enough weight to send to a escrap buyer.

    If you have somebody to sell the individual components to, they would be the buyer who buys your boards anyway, so just sell your boards to them. There's no point in doing lots of extra work for less $$ return.
    The boards themselves have many thin layers of Copper tracks inside them, the solder is made of Tin, Bismuth & Silver & older solder has Lead as well.
    So even the boards make your buyer $$. Add in the Copper wire leads & such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimicrk View Post
    You need to be a little more specific when you say scrap prices are terrible. Circuit board prices are higher than they have been in a long time. One of the buyers updated their price list yesterday and I was very surprised at the increase.
    Oh, I apologize....... Beg my pard even
    Last edited by greytruck; 04-29-2020 at 11:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IamTheGreatest View Post
    You must be looking at a different buyer, because we all got the notice, and I find it odd in a pandemic/recession that a buyer on here increased prices. Let the name calling begin!

    Economic instability leads to gold going up (usually, not always).... that could be a big driver to the increase. Additionally, with a lot of scrap operations ceasing across the country, the places that NEED the scrap or end product, may be willing to pay more if the corona has made its availability scarce. Could be any number of reason to increase prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greytruck View Post
    Oh, I apologize....... Beg my pard even
    Well Greytruck this just proves that jimi shouldn't be posting at 12am. When I'm half asleep what I'm trying to say is not usually what I type.

    I do apologize for what I said.

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    It is a waste of time. Many have tried, very few had any success. If there was money to be made, a lot of us on the forum would be doing it.



    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    Been there / done that. Don't waste your time. It's not worth doing.

    ~ That said. ~

    Experience is the best teacher. You can get a good digital weigh scale on ebay for twenty or twenty five bucks. Depopulate some boards of their value items. Keep careful track of the time spent and the yields. It's a good education in ewaste recycling. Like anything else in life .... you walk away with more value if you've had to earn your understanding. (Not so much if it's just handed to you.)

    I would caution against possible heavy metals poisoning with this kind of work. Make sure you understand the job risks and take appropriate safety precautions before diving in.

    Later edited to add an afterthought:

    Like most everything else with scrapping .... the money is in volume & the economy of scale. You might disassemble tens of tons of ewaste items to yield a single ton of PCB's. The following link is about as good as anything i've seen so far in regards to actual yields per ton of printed circuit board material.

    https://www.copperwirerecyclingmachi...ine/index.html
    Last edited by APA; 04-30-2020 at 07:46 AM.

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    https://www.copperwirerecyclingmachi...ine/index.html

    Sez "500gms Gold per ton of escrap..."

    I think even 50 grams a ton would be a bit high.
    I'm thinking of just Motherboards, nothing fancy like CPU or memory sticks.

    Though, whats a ( Metric ) Ton of good escrap worth now? ( I actually have a Metric ton of good escrap.. )

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    I have done it both ways.......I still do remove most heavy items from boards that I can sell locally (copper/transformers/aluminum).......I have removed chips/capacitors etc........Didn't really seem to make much difference in how much I made but it did create more work..........So the verdict is if you like more work for little payoff removing items from boards may be for you...........

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    Quote Originally Posted by eesakiwi View Post
    https://www.copperwirerecyclingmachi...ine/index.html

    Sez "500gms Gold per ton of escrap..."

    I think even 50 grams a ton would be a bit high.
    I'm thinking of just Motherboards, nothing fancy like CPU or memory sticks.

    Though, whats a ( Metric ) Ton of good escrap worth now? ( I actually have a Metric ton of good escrap.. )
    Completely agree. You're very right to question it. They're in the business of selling PCB recycling machines so it's in their best interests to fluff the yields a bit. Maybe they ran a batch of really old stuff that was higher in gold content. Elsewhere ... i've heard a figure of 20,000.00 USD per ton in yields but that info might have no merit. I would imagine that the refiners keep that kind of proprietary information close to the vest and for very good reason.

    My viewpoint is that i'm just a scrapper. There's really no need for me to get all up in their stuff and nose about in their business.

    It would be entirely different if i invested huge amounts in equipment, could source enough material, and take all of the risks. Much respect to those who can successfully run a business like that and do it well !

    I'm surprised that good buyers are hard to find down in the Southern Hemisphere. As a guy up in the states .... i kinda figure you as being more progressive .... most especially on environmental issues. One would thing that area would be ripe with opportunity. Any possible play with the youtube guy based in oz ?

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    eesakiwi's Avatar
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    We do tend to use stuff well past what, well America would use it.
    Like cars, 1/2 our vehicles were 2nd or 3rd hand before they hit NZ. 2nd hand Japanese import cars.
    And 160,000 kms is not too bad mileage on a used car as long as it can get a WOF.

    Anything made this century is still a 'modern' car. AND its WOF ( Warrant Of Fitness ) lasts 12 months instead of 6 months.

    Computers? Yep I was still getting purple ceramic CPU up untill this year.

    Theres a escrap buyer 600kms away, and thats a long drive, 1/2 a islands length... I have sent them messages but i still get escrap & they have said that they would take some transport costs into consideration.
    But, their prices are still 2/3rds of American prices, and thats without taking exchange rates into consideration. So they probably pay 1/2 of American prices. Their buyers are probably in the Phillipines or Somewhere Asia.
    So they need to load a shipping container full before they can sell it.
    If i got photos & weights it would help them though.

    NZ green? Well only because we havnt been here that long.. And nowhere as much real industry, trees for logs, cows for milk, sheep to vote the goverment in....

  22. #14
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    America is a big place so things vary from place to place. The state of Maine isn't terribly different from NZ. We call your WOF and inspection sticker here and it's good for 12 months. Most of the people i know buy used cars & trucks. We tend to run our cars to somewhere in the 290,000 km range before we retire them from service. Pickup trucks routinely go to past 470,000km. (I took my 1994 F-150 off the road about a year ago.)

    I know the Japanese standards for a WOF are exceptionally high for different reasons. A quality Japanese motor will probably go to 320,000km but there's a fair chance that it won't meet their strict emissions criteria by the time it hits 130000km. So much the better for you guys. Let them bear the cost of buying new and you get a good used car at a reasonable price.

    Like you ... there really aren't any good ewaste buyers in this area. .66 USD per kilo is about what they pay at the nearest scrapyard 100 km away. I usually ship to a buyer that's located about 1,400 km away. Shipping costs roughly average 1.05 USD per kilo. I could probably get that down to less than .40USD per kilo if i could ship by pallet load but there just isn't enough volume coming into the shop. It would take years to accumulate that much.

    See ... not terribly different except that you guys breed some of the fastest race horses in the world.

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