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Electrolysis: compensating for increasing current

  1. Feb 8, 2012 #1
    Hi folks. I need some help with a electrolysis setup I'm going to put together. One of my hobbies is gardening and I've recently decided to begin breeding my own strains of plants. I've heard that colloidal silver is very effective when it comes to deliberately producing male plants - that if you spray a female plant (or clone of a plant) with colloidal silver in the very early stages of flowering that it will turn the plant into a male. As a breeder of plants this would be very helpful because it means you can ultimately pollinate a female plant with pollen of the same genetic structure which, in turn, means the pollinated plant will only produce female seeds. If this can be done then I can control the production of male and female plants - and this is something that is extremely desirable for plant breeders.

    Anyway, I'd like to try it for myself and see if it's true and this means producing my own colloidal silver. I dare not purchase it because there are so many snake-oil sales people out there selling it as miracle medicine that it's doubtful I'll get what I pay for. I will feel much more confident producing it myself and since I like science and this endeavor appears to be simple enough for me to handle I figure why not.

    My main concern is increasing current within the resulting solution. As I understand it; the more silver ions that become suspended in the water the more conductive it becomes. I have a basic knowledge of electricity having worked as a telecommunications engineer in the past so I know that a variable resistor is the most likely solution. I haven't worked with electricity for a decade now however and I've forgotten a lot of what I used to know. I have no idea of what to order or how to integrate it into the circuit.

    I can still use a multi-meter however and take the necessary readings so if someone knows .....

    • the optimum voltage and amp range for this particular process
    • an appropriate variable resistor to use (what to order)
    • how to integrate that resistor into the circuit
    • how to adjust the resistor to suit my needs (keep the amperage in the optimum range)

    .... then I'll be well on my way to finding out if all this talk amounts to anything of any worth.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I'm looking forward to any replies it might receive and I hope that I'm not posting it in the wrong section.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I doubt that currents are at all crucial. You'll be using low voltages, so an easy way to limit the current in case of a short-circuit or something is to put a light bulb in series with your wires. If your DC supply is 12v, and you put an appropriate wattage 12v light bulb in series with the electrolytic cell, then shorting the wires will simply see the bulb glow brightly and no harm done. :smile:

    I'm sure that a google search will turn up oodles of data on making your own colloidal Ag.
    Post more if there you have something else to ask.
  4. Feb 11, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Okay, curiosity got the better of me.....http://keelynet.com/biology/colloid.htm

    That author suggests 30v as a good value. I reckon you could get 3 of those 9v DC wall warts and join their secondaries in series. Then follow his method.

    Another, with a more detailed slant on things, http://www.cancertutor.com/Cancer02/CSilver.html and he uses just one 12v wall wart. Sounds an easier lead to follow. Though I still recommend reading more widely before plunging in. See what other authors have to say.

    Have you found a source of really pure silver? That silver bullion you have been stashing in the cellar is possibly not suitable. Unless you can find someone who'll attest that the nickel impurity in silver bullion is of no consequence to plants. :smile:

    Good luck. I haven't heard of colloidal Ag have a part to play in horticulture. Will be interested to hear how you go.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
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