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Salt Water Rheostat

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  • Salt Water Rheostat

    Does it matter what kind of salt I use in the tank. I am assuming that the manual is referring to ordinary table salt.

    Does anyone know how much salt I will need for a tank 36" long, 13" wide by 7" deep. I know this is a lot larger than the manual recommends but it's available. I am using the copy chrome kit and I will probably use between 1/2 amp to about 20 amps for chroming.

    I'm just starting to get a handle on this so I am still at the "dumb question stage". Thanks, Ken

  • #2
    I don't know if the type of salt makes a difference, set it up with table salt and if that doesn't give you the results, try rock salt, both are very cheap.
    As far as the amount, the manual tells you the tank size they used and the amount of salt, do a volume calc. against your tank and keep the same ratio.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, I also got an e-mail from Caswell regarding an alternative to the salt water rheostat. They are recommending that I use Nichrome wire in multiple lengths of 34.5". Putting them in parallel or series changes the resistance and the amp output of a regular car battery. I have a few more points of clarity for them before I order the wire but I think this is a much better way than the sloshing water tank method. They also have a company on-line that we can order it from. Again, thanks for the post, I'll add their response here if you are interested in knowing about the wire method. Ken


      • #4
        Ken I would like to see that wire method, could you post it on here.


        • #5
          This is a portion of the email I received from Caswell regarding the wire method. There were pics but they wouldn't copy into this post. I think that Caswell will be posting something regarding this method because it appears to be a good alternative to the salt water rheostat. I am working on setting mine us with DPDT(on-off-on) toggle switches that will allow me to switch parallel and series circuits at the flip of a switch. It will mix series and parallel circuits too, which will fill in between the even, parallel-wired amp ratings. They list a web site-PELICANWIRE.COM, go to their online store and click through to the NICHROME #60 page, a 50' spool of #18gauge wire is only $20. Hope this helps, regards, Ken

          ............"Making a NICHROME Power Controller

          The use of lengths of Nichrome wire is an extremely inexpensive method of controlling larger current requirements used in chrome plating. Nichrome wire is often used in heating elements, such as electric fires.

          One 34.5? length of # 18ga Nichrome(#60) wire will give a resistance of 1.2 ohms

          Using a 12 volt battery, one wire length will limit the current to 10 amps, 2 lengths will provide 20 amps, and so on.
          Using combinations of the sets of wires will give a good range of operation. For example: to obtain 90 amps, simply connect the 50, 30 and 10 amp connectors to the buss bar. To make a 5 amp resistor, simply take a length of wire TWICE the normal length of 34.5? (69?).

          The wire can be ordered from:
          Pelican Wire Company, Inc.
          6266 Taylor Rd.
          Naples, FL 34109-1839
          Sales: (239) 597-8555 Fax: (239) 597-9783

          Or online at

          The installed panel, on fireproof cement board.Mount the board on blocks, away from the wall.
          Connectors cut up and bolted to panel

          In the diagrams here, we have limited to total number of wires to five, giving 50 amps, but more banks may be added and theoretically, the quantity is limitless. However, bear in mind that these large currents develop extreme heat. These wires will run at around 800 degrees F, so left unattended there may be a fire risk................."