At a recent farm sale I purchased an "odd lot" of two Esso oil cans , a funnel and a 5.4 gallon drum containing about 4 gallons on new Esso transformer oil. As an engine/tractor restorer as a retirement hobby - what use can I put this oil to. Back in my apprenticeship days I somehow remember transformer oil was then of a vegetable dirivative. Ant help would be appreciated
You may not need to panic too much, Paul, as PCBs were usually used in capacitors, rather than transformers. Nick is right to be precautionary, though. A good move would be to check with Esso, but I suspect you'll find it's fairly harmless mineral oil. If it does turn out to be PCB, then the proper disposal of it can be expensive!
I've worked with mineral oil in capacitors and never used it for anything else. The fact that none of the guys on the shop-floor nicked it for anything makes me suspect it's not much use!
When I worked at EMI Radar Div'n many of the high voltage transformers in the older military gear were known to contain PCB's (later ones had silicone oil), and electrical substation transformers in areas where a fire risk exists (ie inside buildings) certainly did. But, as Arthur says, the only way to be sure what you have is to check with manufacturer.
Not true, Arthur, the bulk use for PCB based oils was in high voltage substation transformers, and as Nick has rightly pointed out, it is a prohibited substance and a Duty of Care notice exists for any equipment containing it. You have to be an approved contractor with cert's etc before you can handle or tranport/store the stuff.
It's been illegal for about 30 years or more and started being removed from existing transfomers back in the 70's, so there shouldn't be much around now.
Ignition coils used a different oil, Kim so you're probably OK.
There is also a new directive out, that affects manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment, called WEEE and ROHR.
Basically it requires manufacturers of electronic and electrical equipment to make provision (including finance) for the safe disposal of the equipment (including a minimum content recycling) at the end of its life, **** even if the company is no longer in existence ****
This is the sort of thing that makes you look for an exit out of manufacturing in this country. I am sure that our colleagues in the third world won't be having to do this sort of thing, so their manufacturing costs are going to be even lower now.
Peter Forbes Prepair Ltd Luton, UK email: firstname.lastname@example.org home: email@example.com
The received wisdom when we were making impregnated capacitors was that most transformers didn't have PCBs in them. This must have been because it was largely disposed of at that time (80s). There are still quite a lot of PCB filled caps around the country in old installations. Watch out vintage electronics enthusiasts.
The WEEE is a burden, and will lead to huge clearouts of electronic scrap around the country methinks.
Tricky subject. I'm sure that in essence we all want to be good to the environment but; a, bureaucrats seem to be particularly adept at producing highly complicated and probably ineffective solutions to problems which may not actually exist (eg scrap cars, once one of the most effectively recycled products around, are now classed as 'hazardous waste' and cost so much to dispose of correctly that they litter the countryside in ever increasing numbers) and b, it does rather tilt the playing field in favour of those who don't participate.
transformer oil often is a PCB material. mention of it here in the usa the environmentals go into shock. we're told it is a poisonous substance. in the steel mills we had to go through a rigorous flushing and decontamination process to eliminate it. i suspect the greenies blew it out of proportion to the real danger but we still had to do it. polychlorinated biphenyls......i think. sammm
The transformer oil I was familiar with (in Oz) was straight mineral oil, very light grade. It was greatly prized in the workshop for use on oil stones. Mind you, 4 gallons will sharpen a lot of tools!