I am demolishing a huge 8 kVa UPS. Lots of nice wires, screws etc.
It has a large transformer, it weighs around 200 lbs. It comes from a
that 8 KVA Ferrups UPS. There is a super heavy square shaped copper
wire on it, which, I fancy, could sell for some money. This wire is
something like 3x8 mm in cross section. Very heavy stuff. So, if I
somehow manage to pull the transformer apart, I would, first, able to
throw the steel part to garbage, and second, to get and sell copper
wire. i would also keep some of this copper wire for home uses such as
grounding wire for my generator.
Without taking it apart I will not be able to do anything with this
monstrosity, not even throw it away.
This is a specialty transformer with lots of contacts, so I do not
think that I could sell it. (another, smaller like 50 lbs transformer
is an isolation transformer which I hope to sell for at least
something. Also, there are 8 1.2 farad capacitors)
So... How do I take it apart? It was assembled from steel plates, can
it be therefore disassembled?
Here in upstate NY, an entire lake was contaminated with PCBs by some guy
"salvaging" transformers at the shoreline. The fish are no longer safe to
eat. You may want to investigate further what may be inside that transformer
of yours before disassembling it. Perhaps your state's environmental
conservation department, or local department of solid waste could assist in
finding out more. Or, the manufacturer.
Hm, all that is inside this transformer is steel, copper, varnish, and
paper. Maybe you are referring to hyooge transformers filled with
liquids? In any case, I will appreciate input regarding this issue, as
I do not want to run afoul of the laws.
Cores for transformers are generally made from carbon free iron (Armco iron)
so there's no chance that the core can become permanently magnetized. Heat
treated steel has the ability to retain magnetism, whereas carbon free
material does not. Scrap steel is selling for $85/ton right now, and
they'll likely see it as scrap steel. If not, perhaps they'll pay either
light steel prices or cast iron prices. Regardless, it has value. Doesn't
everything, if you have enough of it?
Yep, right now they're worth $1.02/lb. Here's a link that will tell you
current market scrap prices.
Question 1: Doesn't matter. I have no intention of disassembling them.
Question 2: Probably none, but none of the transformers in my home are older
than 3-4 years, except the tiny one that handles the doorbell. I doubt PCB's
are permitted in small household transformers at this stage, considering
what we know about them.
Question 3: The oil in older, larger transformers was there for either
cooling or insulation - I don't recall, and it doesn't matter, since it's
just a point of interest. But, the PCBs were there as a byproduct, not
because they had a purpose.
What's YOUR point? That, knowing what we do about these chemicals, we should
be stupid, pretend the knowledge doesn't exist, and be careless?
So, best case, $5 or so for the core. Not worth even opening yellow
Now, that's not bad at all. Thanks. Should I look up yellow pages under
recycling, or perhaps find a buyer for bare copper wire on ebay?
Again, in any case I will keep a substantial quantity for my future
projects. One current project would use this for generator ground.
I don't know which type the OP is dealing with. Do you? Considering that I
don't know, was it a crime to suggest that he investigate further before
continuing with his project?
Even more important: Why do you take it personally when I posted my
My point is that I suspected you of being a reactionary man who is unable to
consider a topic rationally, based upon the facts in evidence, without
launching into a pre-programmed tirade based upon emotional supposition and
lack of knowledge.
That you are unwilling to answer the very basic questions that I asked you
WRT transformers further demonstrates this, and I thank you for further
revealing yourself with your response.
I can't "fix" the problems that you seem determined to expose to the world,
Doug,, but perhaps you would be a bit better off it you would at least
educate yourself a bit before exposing your ignorance in any particular area
Of course, you might very well enjoy espousing your ignorance to the world;
it seems to be a popular pastime with your type.
I can't imagine you'd have much advantage trying to sell the copper on ebay.
You'd likely lose money on the deal by the time you paid for the listing.
Look in the yellow pages for yards that recycle metals. When you find the
right one, you should be able to sell the copper and the iron at the same
time. It's not much money for the iron, but it will pay for the gas for your
trip, so take it along, anyway, or ask them by telephone if they accept such
things, and what they pay. It doesn't hurt to ask each yard what they pay.
Some pay more than others.
Nope. The chemicals were there to facilitate heat transfer,
especially in larger grid transformers. Needless to say,
non-conductive liquids with a high boiling point are required for the
Characteristics and Uses of PCBs
PCBs belong to a family of organic compounds known as chlorinated
hydrocarbons. Key characteristics include: high boiling point, high
degree of chemical stability, low flammability, and low electric
conductivity. Between 1926-29 and 1977, PCB-containing products were
manufactured for use in applications where stable, fire-resistant,
heat-transfer properties were demanded. The most extensive use of PCBs
occurred in dielectric fluids. Such fluids typically have the
following characteristics: a heavy oil appearance, high boiling point,
high chemical stability, high flash point, low electrical
conductivity, and low water solubility. PCBs were also used as
plasticizers and additives in lubricating and cutting fluids. Most
PCBs were sold for use as dielectric fluids (insulating liquids) in
electric transformers and capacitors. Other uses included heat
transfer fluid, hydraulic fluid, dye carriers in carbonless copy
paper, plasticizers in paints, adhesives, and caulking compounds, and
filters in investment casting wax. Although PCBs are no longer
commercially made in the United States, many electric transformers and
capacitors once filled with PCBs are still in service. Additionally,
PCBs currently are being inadvertently produced as byproducts during
the manufacture of certain organic chemicals. PCB Manufacturers and
Trade Names lists some of the manufacturers, who made PCBs and the
trade names of their products.
Why Are PCBs Harmful to Human Health and the Environment
When released into the environment, PCBs do not easily break apart and
form new chemical arrangements (i.e., they are not readily
biodegradable). Instead they persist for many years, bioaccumulate,
and bioconcentrate in organisms. Well documented tests on laboratory
animals show that various levels of PCBs cause reproductive effects,
gastric disorders, skin lesions, and cancerous tumors. Exposure to
PCBs in humans can cause chloracne (a painful, disfiguring skin
ailment), liver damage, nausea, dizziness, eye irritation, and
Why not offer the whole thing to a scrap-metal dealer? When they melt
it down they'll recover the different metals...
Yeah, remove any bolts, and start splitting the iron core segments
apart (they are probably alternating meshed E and I pieces). Once you
get the first few out the rest will come easier. I'd use an
appropriately sized screwdriver and hammer...
That's a great idea, yes. If I go to a yard anyway, I will take the
steel core. I might also browse what they have and find nice rolled
steel pieces or whatever, for my future projects. It never hurts to
know scrap yards.
Reactionary? Nonsense. The OP stated that he has a transformer weighing
around 200 lbs. While this does not necessarily mean it's different from the
one in my furnace, dishwasher or doorbell, it also does not mean it's the
same. Neither you nor I know exactly what he has. You know that.
As far as "rational", I'm sure you're aware that there's an entire
generation that has no idea what sort of chemistry experiments went on in
this country before people finally woke up. Perhaps the Love Canal situation
was the wakeup call. It's entirely possible that the OP had NO idea about
what he might have in his possession.
Why do you have a problem with suggesting that he proceed with caution? Do
you believe that all the research into the dangers of PCBs are junk science?
They were intentionally used. As I understand it, PCB revolutionized the
transformer and capacitor industry when they were introduced. I seem to
recall that they were an excellent dielectric and had a very high flash
point, so fire hazards were reduced. They were a purpose made substance
sold under various trade names.
All you have to do is end up with a PCB filled transformer as I did for this
to come directly in to focus. Years ago I was given a "free" induction
furnace power supply. The donor had me sign a waiver because the supply
had a mercury spark gap included, but failed to mention that the
transformer, along with the huge capacitors, were filled with PCB's. The
law as stated at that time dictated that if any PCB filled device started
leaking, it was mandatory for the item to be disposed of by within thirty
day by proper procedures. I had to transport the power supply from one
state to another, and when it got there there were multiple wet spots from
the escaping PCB. Long story short, I talked to EPA to find out where I
stood and found out that it was illegal to dispose of such items by passing
them on to others, so I called the "donor" and informed him that he had a
serious problem on his hands. Disposal cost ran right at $3,000 for 800
pounds of transformer and capacitors, which was born by the donor. Don't
take PCB's lightly.