DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

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DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Dec 09, 2016 11:26 pm

I owe a great debt of gratitude to ES member agniusm, for the time that he posted pics of his copper bus-plates that had been nickel-plated. (I also owe a great appreciation to snath!). I believe he had them sent out to be plated, and that sounded expensive and time-consuming. The actual plating process only uses a very tiny volume of nickel, so the price of nickel would no longer be a concern (projected to rise sharply in 2018), however...I assumed that home-plating of nickel would be a PITA. After some research, I now believe that home nickel-plating would not be difficult. It looks like it is easy, cheap, and fast. Adding a resistive plating to copper means that it can then be easily spot-welded without resorting to exotic machines or techniques, and if the plating is corrosion-resistant, then all the better.

Pure nickel = high resistance, very corrosion-resistant, easy to spot-weld, expensive in the future

Pure copper = great conductivity, corrodes easily, hard to spot-weld, cheap and readily available plus should remain cheap

"DIY plating nickel onto copper"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8Xo43sfLgY

Agniusm using nickel-plated copper
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 0#p1164028

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by redilast » Dec 10, 2016 4:40 am

So is this just for corrosion resistance? I don't think it would improve the weldability of copper?

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Dec 10, 2016 5:26 am

The corrosion resistance is a benefit, but...the real reason for the effort is that in order to easily spot-weld something, it needs some resistance (which copper doesn't have, which is why we like copper for the actual conductor). I only need the nickel-plating on the cell-ends to spot-weld onto the nickel-plated copper busses. Nickel easily spot-welds to nickel. It's an easy thing to test. If I find out anything, I'll post it here...

Anyone want to sell me your nickel clippings instead of throwing them away? The length, width, and thickness are unimportant...I just need raw stock to electroplate onto copper for spot-weld testing.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 15, 2017 5:51 pm

One of our ES members has made DIY nickel-solution. Apparently you take white distilled vinegar as a mild acid, and soak 99% nickel welding rod in it while running 4V-5V through the two rods. Alternate which rod the neg/pos are clipped to so the rods dissolve evenly, switch maybe twice a day, over the course of 48 hours or a little more.

Once the solution (Nickel acetate) is made, it is very stable for years. You attach the 4V-5V power supply with the negative (the one that causes bubbling) attached to the part that you want plated with nickel. It my take a couple days to make the acetate, but the plating happens very fast.

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 5#p1299039

These two short videos cover everything

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dF2nKDAtEg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju4uVhtkj2c

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Hillhater » Jul 15, 2017 10:30 pm

Is copper corrosion a real problem ?
It certainly forms a greenish corrosion layer quite quickly in damp atmosphere, but that also becomes a protective layer such that its common for copper to be used as a long lasting cladding and roofing on some quality buildings..
I dont imagine we would expect our battery packs to be exposed to any significant harsh environments.
I will be interested to see how much the Nickle plating improves the weldability...are you planning to test weld soon ?
On a similar front, has anyone considered or attempted using spot welded Aluminium strip ?
I realise spot welding may be difficult, but i wonder if it is realistic to consider with better weld systems now available ?
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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Matador » Jul 15, 2017 11:12 pm

Hillhater wrote:Is copper corrosion a real problem ?
It certainly forms a greenish corrosion layer quite quickly in damp atmosphere, but that also becomes a protective layer such that its common for copper to be used as a long lasting cladding and roofing on some quality buildings..
I dont imagine we would expect our battery packs to be exposed to any significant harsh environments.
I will be interested to see how much the Nickle plating improves the weldability...are you planning to test weld soon ?
On a similar front, has anyone considered or attempted using spot welded Aluminium strip ?
I realise spot welding may be difficult, but i wonder if it is realistic to consider with better weld systems now available ?


Seems very feasable with aluminium... And I think alus is 60-65% IACS which is more than enough...
A remotely possible problem is aluminium is more prone to fatigue than copper... at least I heard that somewhere...

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by agniusm » Jul 16, 2017 6:03 am

I thought and read about it too. Its ok to DIY if you are into this plating thing and all but it adds a lot of work if you want just a battery. Industrial plating will always be better cause they use different tanks to decrease, remove residues, wash samples etc. I know its easily doable DIY but it is involving.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by rojitor » Jul 16, 2017 1:34 pm

I Gotta try this method. Looks so cool!

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Hillhater » Jul 16, 2017 3:54 pm

Matador wrote: [youtube]**URBtCgzV9NQ[/youtube]

Seems very feasable with aluminium... And I think alus is 60-65% IACS which is more than enough...
A remotely possible problem is aluminium is more prone to fatigue than copper... at least I heard that somewhere...
looks good... but what is the tool in use there ?
That is a different (single electrode) method to the dual electrode units previously shown for battery tab welding.
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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 16, 2017 5:09 pm

The other electrode is directly underneath the two sheets that are being welded together.

edit: hillhater (posted below) is correct, I believe the copper sheet below is energized with the second electrode.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Hillhater » Jul 16, 2017 7:35 pm

spinningmagnets wrote:The other electrode is directly underneath the two sheets that are being welded together.
..If you mean like a conventional "clamp electrode " spot welder,..i dont think so...
.. the way the operator is moving the hand held electrode suggests there is not a "single point" lower electrode
i believe they are using the sheet of copper,..( under the two sheets of Al ).. as a the lower electrode surface.
..But i was more curious to understand what welder unit they were using ...commercial ? or DIY ?

..EDIT... found this on the Youtube version..
its a Sunstone CD630DPM2 welder unit..
The corrugated aluminum sheet is attached to the base sheet using the CD630DPM2 set at 380ws energy. The PASP-HP is configured with 1awg cables and an 1/8" copper electrode with a slightly tapered tip. Welds are quick and easy to perform as can be seen in the video. It is helpful to keep the flat tip of the electrode level with the work piece during the weld since uneven pressure can cause sticking or blow through.

Resulting welds are strong and a pull test shows good nugget size with some flagging.

The CD630DPM2 is ideal for performing your aluminum sheet welds. The PASP-HP allows operators to quickly place welds in hard to reach locations but an opposed type weld head such as the WH1125A would be ideal since there is greater control over electrode positioning and force (less chance of operator error).
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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by rojitor » Jul 17, 2017 5:51 pm

I was curious about this method and I tested it today. I hacked an old usb and soldered a 1.5v cell AA
Image

I used salfumant and common Kitchen salt.
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Well... I am not the laziest person in the world but feels like a paín in the ass doing this for every strip I am gonna weld so I don't think I am doing this thing any longer. It is interesting but I prefer buying it done. I don't know if you feel me.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 17, 2017 6:34 pm

En ingles, como se dice aguafuerte salfuman?

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by amberwolf » Jul 17, 2017 6:40 pm

https://www.google.com/search?q=salfuma ... 8&oe=utf-8
Salfumant - Spanish - English Translation and Examples - MyMemory
mymemory.translated.net/en/Spanish/English/salfumant
Salfumant, Hydrochloric acid,
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81cid ... C3%ADdrico
https://translate.google.com/translate? ... rev=search
Hydrochloric acid, muriatic acid , salt spirit , marine acid , acid salt or even occasionally called hydrochloric acid (imprecise and unnecessary translation of English hydrochloric acid ), strong water or salfumán (in Spain), is an aqueous solution of the gas Hydrogen chloride (HCl).

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by rojitor » Jul 17, 2017 6:52 pm

Sorry. I thought salfumant was internacional. We call it agua fuerte (strong water). 70 cents at any supermarket.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Vanarian » Jul 24, 2017 4:24 am

Stupid question from stupid me :P

Why not plasti-dip the whole connections with spray after battery is assembled?

It solves the copper corrosion problem and adds better protection against wet. Should also be easier right?

Edit : to ensure not to make a mess you can also stick filter to only spray on solders?
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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 24, 2017 5:12 am

Copper is very difficult to spot-weld, but makes a good conductor. Readily available and cheap. Many home battery pack builders already have a spot-welder, so...if nickel-plating can make copper buses easy to spot-weld, that would be helpful to many builders here.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by 12-C » Jul 24, 2017 10:48 pm

I'm not sure the risk of carcinogenicity is worth it.

I think there should be a very strong warning for doing this at home. Risking a household for the benefit of copper in the connections of our recreational bike batteries is not worth it in my opinion.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 25, 2017 12:29 am

That's a good point. I work in a lab, so its second nature for me to wear gloves, and eye protection, along with positive ventilation over anything that produces vapors (a vacuum hood).

One poster was using hydrochloric acid to dissolve the nickel, and one of the other methods used simple household vinegar (which is a mild acid), which I feel would be much safer, but...it would still stink. Definitely do this in a safe area, not inside your home.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by rojitor » Jul 25, 2017 3:20 am

I do not consider this "dangerous" a couple gloves and some ventilation and you are safe. As long as you don't drink it it's quite safe to do.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by rojitor » Jul 25, 2017 3:45 am

Image
I am doing the vinegar method now. It stinks :mrgreen: lol. So far I prefer the salt method. Let's see the performance. Once the acetate is done I will compare.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 25, 2017 8:56 am

There is a court case from before security cameras were common, and a customer at a store opened a can of Coca cola just after being checked out at the register. A moment later, he claimed he found a tiny mouse in the can he was trying to drink. Before it could go to court, during the pre-trial hearing, Coca Cola presented evidence where had hired a court-approved independent lab to place a mouse in a can of Coke for a week, and they proved that a mouse would be completely dissolved, bones and all. It was a scam, he was trying to get a payoff for them to avoid bad publicity.

Coca Cola is very acidic, so it does not clash chemically with the acid in your stomach. If the syrup was transported in a concentration that was 0.1 point more acidic, it would have to be transported as a hazardous material (scale is 0.1-to -14.0, with 7.0 being neutral). Even children drink Coca Cola. I don't think all the sugar in it is good, but...saying acid is dangerous is a "relative" term.

Vinegar is an acid, and I have a bottle of that in my kitchen. The danger depends on the type and concentration. That being said, I would not pour vinegar in my eyes, and if I got it on my hands, I would immediately wash them with soap and water.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Hillhater » Jul 26, 2017 1:38 am

spinningmagnets wrote:Copper is very difficult to spot-weld, but makes a good conductor. Readily available and cheap. Many home battery pack builders already have a spot-welder, so...if nickel-plating can make copper buses easy to spot-weld, that would be helpful to many builders here.
..just to save me searching for this test....has anyone verified the actual effects of the plating when spot welding copper ?
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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by spinningmagnets » Jul 26, 2017 3:41 pm

There are cordless tools like Makita and others who have had their bus-plates verified to be nickel-plated copper, and they were spot-welded onto the 18650 cells. No info on the type of machine that can do this, or the volts/amps/pulse-length that works best.

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Re: DIY nickel-plating onto copper cell connections

Post by Hillhater » Jul 26, 2017 5:20 pm

Sorry , missunderstanding..im sure it can be welded, ....but if our main reason for doing the plating is to make it EASIER to weld copper with our hobby welders, ....has that been tested and proven ?
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