How to Mine Gold From Old Electronics

May 21, 2011 by Ted41 Comments

Gold is found in almost all computer components – processors, motherboards, extension cards, memory DIMMs and so on. But can you make money mining gold from old motherboard connectors?

mine gold from electronics

With the price of gold skyrocketing to a staggering $1500/OZ lately, a lot of people with little or average knowledge of the world of electronics have wondered about the famed “gold plated” connectors or circuits commonly found in your most frequently used household items, such as your computer.

But before going and cracking open your $1600 iMac, we should probably take a look at this experiment performed way back when gold was a mere $600/OZ by the fine people at Tom’s Hardware.

Grab some pliers and cutters and watch out for those connectors all over your all motherboard: memory slots, video and sound slots, IDE connectors. Be careful with it though, the gold layer is flashed or plated onto the connectors, so the more your harm the circuit cutting it, the less gold you’re bound to obtain.

mine gold from electronics

In the end, you should end up with tons of pins, like these ones (these came from one motherboard alone, made somewhere in the late 90s, so if your motherboard hasn’t donated as many, dig deeper).

mine gold from electronics

The chemicals used for this experiment aren’t commonly found in any garage across the world, but nonetheless, they’re available over the counter at your nearest “DIY Bombs and Electrolysis”.

mine gold from electronics

Where I grew up, this was junior high chemistry, but I still can’t understand all that much about the electrolysis process. In short: they place the pins on the anode and a few micrograms of gold chemically detach from said copper and form a sediment at the bottom of the cell. This also requires sulfuric acid and a car battery charger.

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

Now it’s time for the separation process. Remember, the gold is still taking a bath at the bottom of the sulfuric acid solution. This is mostly done by diluting and then filtering the sulfuric acid solution. Use gloves. Or just don’t do it.

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

Now what you got is a filter filled with all sorts of metals and nothing that really looks like shiny new gold. It’s dissolving time. You need hydrochloric acid and sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Don’t breathe at all. The reaction will most likely kill you. When you’re done, filter it up again. Then precipitate it with water and powdered sodium metabisulfite. No, I don’t know what that is, just go and find some damn it.

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

Apparently this is powdered gold, which you later get to blow torch up to 2000 F in order to melt.

mine gold from electronics

mine gold from electronics

Voila: your beautiful golden ball, worth approximately $8 judging by the size in that picture at the current rate.

mine gold from electronics

So what do you think? Is it at all worth it? Of course not, that is why we don’t even provide detailed instructions because we don’t want you to do this at home. However, this is a fun little experiment and we’d like to thank Tom’s Hardware for making the effort.

However, if you want to know more about recycling old computer parts for gold and what you can actually make with that, check out this little gem of a forum I came across. Stay gold!

Update: One of our readers emailed us this thorough estimate on the value of that little nugget. Interesting. Thanks Norman.

mine gold from electronics

Comments

41 Responses to “How to Mine Gold From Old Electronics”
  1. Tim says:

    Interesting. I had always wondered how much gold you could get from this process. Aren’t there companies that do this on a grand scale to pull a profit?

  2. This is like obtaining gold from rivers.Too much hard work for such a small amount of gold and the process is not profitable.

  3. Thanks to the company/individual who gave the process of how to get gold out of electric and like products. I’m going for it I have half a jar of pins. I’m taking this to the top. I’m going to help my three brother and Dad come up with some money to get a car.

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    What also existed then was the electronic ignition system. but it was inside a plain box whose contents most people do not know. Electronic ignition gave off better spars and was almost maintenance free. But such was only found in higher end cars and were generally not present in most compact cars…

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  1. How to Mine Gold From Old Electronics | Standard Madness

    Gold is found in almost all computer components – processors, motherboards, extension cards, memory DIMMs and so on. But can you mining gold from old motherboard connectors?



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