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Shoplight Fixtures

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    Breakage started this thread.
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    Shoplight Fixtures

    I dismantle shoplight fixtures as part of lamp recycling and I've always just thrown the fixture, sans ballast, wire, and bulbs, in with the shred. But I've been doing more of them than usual, lately, and I've seen some attractive yellow metal in the contact points for the bulbs. What is it?



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    Quote Originally Posted by breakage View Post
    i dismantle shoplight fixtures as part of lamp recycling and i've always just thrown the fixture, sans ballast, wire, and bulbs, in with the shred. But i've been doing more of them than usual, lately, and i've seen some attractive yellow metal in the contact points for the bulbs. What is it?
    Mercury.

    All kidding aside anyone dealing with light fixtures should be aware that mercury is a possibility. Not sure what your yellow metal is, have you put a magnet to it.
    Last edited by alloy2; 08-07-2016 at 12:34 AM.
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    Its Brass.
    Fluoro light fittings are a good earner if you get enough of them, without the bulbs of course.....

    Newer ones have about 60-100gms of Copper in the ballast itself, even newer ones use a 'Invertor' setup and contain nearly nothing.

    Older units, the ballast transformer is in a pressed metal casing and filled with Tar, there's also the option that they might have poisonous PCB's in there too.
    If its got 'No PCB's' printed somewhere on it, its OK to mess around with, if it has not, don't, its probably got PCB's in the capacitors.

    Depending on your situation, you can take the newer transformers apart.
    The newer ones are normally painted white, by peeling off the backing/mounting strip with some tools, levers and bench vise is good, then hammer out all of the metal plates to get a Copper coil, Biggest ones weigh 100gms of Copper.

    The ones in the pressed metal casing, full of tar, are really messy. To get the Copper wire out, there's sheets of rice paper impregnated with Tar in there, some wooden blocks as spacer, some components, normally a flat capacitor or such.
    . Its really messy and at current prices, not worth it for me.

    Otherwise, and you will have to figure this out yourself, your time value and the prices you can sell your metals for, tools and space to hoard the metals, what you want to sell it as.
    You can just save up the transformers and sell them at the 'Transformers' price. That involves hardly any work at all.

    Ie, in NZ$. The Copper wires worth NZ$4.60/Kg and 'Transformers are worth NZ$0.58cents a Kg.

    So that makes NZ$0.46cents a ballast in Copper and $? From the light gauge metal around it. Vs
    A 1Kg ballast is worth NZ$0.58cents. and that took no work or mess or tools at all.

    The wires on these fluro strip fittings, is normally a good return of Copper as its a single thickish strand with a plastic coating. It adds up quickly.

    The Brass, it would take a lot to get some money from it, but its part of the dismantling process so in the end you get what its worth anyway, the screws holding the faceplate on are sometimes plated Brass too.

    So,
    'Light gauge steel = $.
    'Brass = $.
    'Plastic coated Copper wire = $.
    'Transformers, or 'Domestic Copper' = $.

    Getting these units normally means you will end up with floodlights and other metal light fixtures too.
    Last edited by eesakiwi; 08-07-2016 at 05:11 AM.

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    Breakage started this thread.
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    I guessed it was brass but I wanted clarity. And I meant the fixture contacts, not the bulb's. Hg lamps are all kinds of unpleasant.

    Our yard buys non-PCB for slightly above shred and I am not inclined to work on the ballasts. They are mostly older, pre-electronic models. It's a mess, as you say, and while I know pretty well how to tell PCB from not, it's iffy. The timeframe from when PCB was banned and when it was actually removed/shown in the labelling isn't a tight crossover and varies from country to country. Some units have a clear datestamp on the back but GE ballasts use a strange coding system for when they were manufactured. Even some non-PCB units still contain it, just to a lesser degree, as I understand. I keep the PCB ballasts in a lined drum (we do get some leakers!). And that's my nerd-out for the evening.

    On the topic of ballasts, I heard from someone that, rarely, one of the wires connected to it is made of palladium and not copper. I haven't noticed any silvery wires in the mix but maybe I'm not looking closely enough. True or false?

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