Think & Tinker, Ltd.
P.O. Box 1606, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
Tel: (719) 488-9640, Fax: (866) 453-8473
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Tin/Lead Electroplating Module
-Getting Ready/Dummy Plating

Dummy Plating

Dummy plating refers to plating a piece of scrap copperclad to electrophoretically scrub the electrolyte of any floating debris that might have escaped capture by the porous anode baskets or the in-line filter. Small particles that plate out onto a board have the nasty habit of situating themselves where they can do the most harm to your circuit so it is a grand idea to get rid of them before that can do their mischief.

Mounting board in cathode clamp
Fig. 9
  1. Mount a full size piece of clean scrap copperclad (9" x 12" for 11 gal. systems and 12" x 18" for 22 gal. systems) into the cathode clamp (fig. 9). Tighten the 2 hex head bolts until the clamp fingers achieve a firm grip on the board. The handle is designed so that adequate pressure is achieved just as the bolts bottom out. Unless you really try, you cannot damage the clamp by over tightening.

  2. Plate this "dummy board" at full current (30 Amps for 11 gal. systems and 60 Amps for 22 gal. systems) for 1 hour to sweep the electrolyte clean of any suspended particulate contamination.

  3. Remove the board from the bath, carefully rinse and dry both surfaces. Your dummy board can be used many times before the surface becomes too rough to provide an initial measure of the health of your bath.

  4. Inspect the dummy board. It should be covered by a uniform, dull gray deposit all the way out the edges of the board.
It is a VERY good idea to dummy plate for at least 45 minutes at the beginning of every day that you plan to use your plater. Dummy plating will not use up much of your anode material and your bath will stay much cleaner.

Another good idea. If you are going to let your bath sit idle for weeks at a time, dummy plate for 2 hours at least once each week to insure that the bath stays in good health. If your system is fitted with the filtration / recirculation option, you can safely leave it on, even when the bath is not in use.

DO NOT TAKE THE ANODE BASKETS OUT OF THE BATH ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN CONDITIONED. It is perfectly safe, and preferable, to leave the baskets in the tank, even if the system will be idle for long periods of time. If you feel absolutely compelled to remove the basket, or if your plater will be setting idle for long periods of time, set the baskets into a bucket of distilled (or deionized) water until you are ready to reinsert them into the plater.

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Established 1990

On the web since 1994

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Copyright © 1994 - 2014 Think & Tinker, Ltd.