View Poll Results: For best effortrofit ratio, a beginner should...

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  • Sell electronics/boards as-is

    6 85.71%
  • Depopulate and sell individual components in bulk lots

    1 14.29%
  • Depopulate and recover precious metals with chemistry

    0 0%
  • Depopulate and recover precious metals without chemicals

    0 0%
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  1. #1
    WeAreGod started this thread.
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    Question Introduction and Newbie Questions

    Hello from PA!

    Long time geek and tech-enthusiast.

    Looking to start e-scrapping and possibly recover precious metals.



    I've hoarded quite a lot of Flatscreen TVs, PC towers, cell phones, and misc electronics.

    My friend had a connection for practically endless older PC towers and electronics.
    My other friend is an experienced chemist and has always wanted to try and recover precious metals.


    So basically I'm wondering if it's worth the extra effort to depopulate boards and recover precious metals

    or

    Just sell my boards/electronics as-is to a very local buyer.


    What advice do you have for an absolute beginner who has alot of resources, ambition, and friend who has extensive chemistry knowledge?

    Thank you in advance!

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  3. #2
    t00nces2's Avatar
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    Where is your time best spent? If you have 35 dump truck loads of computer towers dumped in your driveway every day, it would be a waste of your time to for you to deconstruct and depopulate each and every board. Somewhere between that guy and zero is where you fall. It is up to you to find where you fit.

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  5. #3
    Patriot76's Avatar
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    Welcome to SMF, home of the largest library for e-scrap. Many threads can be found that discuss your questions by using the advance search button in the upper right hand corner of this page. As Toonces2 mentioned different circumstances dictate the answer.

    My recommendation is to try a few items, track time and expenses, and determine your profit. The real advantage to this strategy is the knowledge you and your friends will gain from experimentation. Then make sure you report back here your thoughts. Good luck.
    Give back more to this world than we take.

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  7. #4
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    if you really have access to "unlimited" computers.... then maybe it would be worth it to depopulate....

    if it were me, no matter how many I had, I would just strip them down and sell as is to a buyer on here. In fact, that is exactly what I do, but I only get maybe 20-30 computers/month....

    You reclaiming the metals yourself I dont think would be profitable either. The big huge places, that end up refining what we sell as e-waste have huge economies of scale at work for them. I dont think it would be worth the time/investment on your end to process yourself, I would just strip and sell.

    I am also in PA, wish I had a source for more computers!!! You are very lucky to have that, don't squander it!

  8. #5
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    You could look at it this way:

    Disassembly is one job.

    Refining is another job.

    Two completely different things.

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  10. #6
    WeAreGod started this thread.
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    I appreciate the warm welcome and useful advice!

    So in terms of scale...

    I probably have around 50 PC towers worth of stuff at the moment.
    About 20 RAM sticks, misc network/display cards, wires, power supplies

    I have circuit boards from about 30 TVs.

    I do have access to a pretty consistent flow of PC towers, flatscreen TVs, and other misc electronics.

    I think I'll try a small-scale gold recovery on some circuit boards I got from TVs (They look like they're have the most gold per volume out of everything).

    Once again, I appreciate everything. Love you all!

  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeAreGod View Post
    I appreciate the warm welcome and useful advice!

    So in terms of scale...

    I probably have around 50 PC towers worth of stuff at the moment.
    About 20 RAM sticks, misc network/display cards, wires, power supplies

    I have circuit boards from about 30 TVs.

    I do have access to a pretty consistent flow of PC towers, flatscreen TVs, and other misc electronics.

    I think I'll try a small-scale gold recovery on some circuit boards I got from TVs (They look like they're have the most gold per volume out of everything).

    Once again, I appreciate everything. Love you all!
    20 Ram sticks is about $17 worth (before shipping cost). Everything else from the computer has various values. Check the "scrap buyers and sellers" tab up top, then poke around some of the categories to see what people on here are paying.

  12. #8
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    A 'Lot' of computers is 1000 computers.
    If you are stripping down computers you would send off 1000 motherboards at a time, in one 'lot'.
    That would get you a 'Lot' of $$ & be worth doing.

    Find a escrap buyer, off this site is a good idea. Get the prices of the various grades & figure out how its graded. Figure out what they want you to do, ie, they want you to take the batterys off.
    Thats important. Stuff like that.

    Scrap down 20-30 computers & figure out how long it takes and what weights of escrap that you get from them.
    Figure out what its worth, then figure out how you get your escrap to your buyer, and how much that will cost you, and how long that takes.

    You will end up with lots of plastic, lots of 'lightgauge' metal, a nice amount of 3 different grades of Aluminium, some Brass, and some Copper.
    You will also have a lot of Plastic covered Copper wire, with plugs, of 3 different sorts.
    Motherboards
    Expansion slot boards
    Memory sticks
    CPU & CPU on boards.
    Power supplys.
    Waste plastic & fans
    Wires
    Metal(s)

    I would,
    Figure out how much escrap you can get and in what time.
    How much spaše you have to use & store stuff, its costs, and your transport abilitys.
    Save & scrap ( part out ) computers @ 30+ a time, seperate & grade the parts.

    Find out what parts you can sell. Selling something so its going to be used is always ' Better than Scrap value'. A little bit of extra work for a lot better $ return.

    Work out your costs to get it to the buyer. If you post them, thats a co$t.
    Knocking the Copper heatsink off a small CPU suddenly becomes worthwhile, do the math.
    Low grade power boards might not be worth sending.
    Or, if you have pallet loads, they might be, computer power supplys have their own price.

    Some old computers sell as 'Retro' for their original games setups. Parts that you cannot get any more.
    Old keyboards have certain people looking for them, the 'seperate numbers keypads' keyboards' etc, The sort with the '5-7 Pin DiN plugs.

    Figure out how to get rid of the plastic, best is to get $ for it, thats not easy, and its even harder now.
    Theres many grades of plastic & it HAS to be 100% clean & sorted. No glue, no stickers & no screws.
    Or to dump it and the costs of doing that.

    The lightgauge steel, save it plus any other steel you get & sell it to a scrapmetal dealer/buyer, those $$ 'should' cover your fuel costs for your whole project.

    Save the wire. You can cut the plugs off & sell it as 'insulated Copper wire'. Gold pin plugs have escrap value.

    Work out the Flatscreens,
    Every Flatscreen with a broken screen is potential parts, plug it in, if its got sound & light behind the screen, its a potential new going flatscreen. $
    Every flatscreen with a intact screen is a potential new flatscreen. $$
    Save up & match them up.
    Find www.badcaps.org. . Its a great site that has lots of info about fixing Flatscreens. & Youtube.

    Individual boards would be hard to sell on ebay unless you know they worked, often one board blows & ruins the ones after it ( plasma screens expressly )
    Now they have 2 boards, maybe 3, 1-2 midgrade, one power board ( low grade ) not a lot of $$ considering, so its best to try & fix them, or sell parts to those who fix them.
    Same with laptops.

    You are going to get computer monitors, small computer sound systems, scanners & printers & printer/scanners.
    This is part of the job. It involves lots of work for little return, so figure out your best actions.
    Can you sell it?
    That saves dumping the plastic. And the time involved.

    CPU,
    'Old computers' have large CPU. 'Even older Computers' have Purple ceramic CPU. They are worth good $$. Find out how much.


    Hard drives, floppy drives, memory stick sockets, fans, DVD drives.
    You can scrap these down,
    The bigger Gig Hard drives, you can erase & test & sell them. Better than scrap $
    Or scrap for the Aluminium ( high pressure drop forged, actually 'Extrusion Aluminium' grade,) but you probably get 'Cast Ali' price for it. Has to be clean of screws etc.
    The boards are high grade boards.
    Save the little arms, and the magnets, The arms have extra Gold in the wiring. Im not sure where to sell them, ebay?
    The motors, save them up, worth more than scrap Steel. I save up 5 gallon buckets full & sell them like that.

    DVD drives, writers are worth a few $, i scrap the rest, plastics a problem, the boards are good escrap. Theres the head in them, with 2 tiny strong magnets, motors, a steel shaft, brass shaft. Optics & lasers. Work out whats worth $ & your time involved.

    Laptops.
    It takes ages to pull them apart. Best to sell whole if they are going. Blank the hard drive.
    Or sell as Escrap after removing battery ( worth $ if it works ) whole.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Refining.
    Basically we do not recommend refining.
    I tried & i dont recommend it either. I have a few gallons of dark Green HCL Acid to prove it.
    And no Gold.
    Each various grade item has to be processed seperate. This leads to amassing larger quantities of each items, which then leads to a semi industrial process(es).
    Which leads to more co$t$ up front, and then machinery, premises, environmental concerns.
    And then sourcing the escrap.
    Somebody else has already been thru this, has done this, and is doing it right now. And they want to buy your e$crap.
    Sell it to them, it will save you a LOT of time, and worry, and $$$.
    Even once somebodys got 'Gold' ( and you wont get 1/2 of it first time you try, maybe the 2nd time, & 2/3rds the third try.. ) nobody will buy it without a independant assay.
    That assay is probably done by the people who process your buyers escrap, and then they will pay you for the 50% Gold you got,
    but not for the Platinum or Palladium that you missed....
    Minus the assay test.
    And your setup co$t$.

    If you want Gold. Sell your Escrap & buy Gold coins, its legal tender, you can swap it for Ca$h any day you want to.
    Last edited by eesakiwi; 01-17-2020 at 08:48 AM.

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  14. #9
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    Eesakiwi's breakdown is the most comprehensive advice you will get from anywhere short of a book titled "e-scrap for dummies."

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