We want to begin by asking you, could you be sitting on a goldmine?
In this article we find electronic parts and electronic components that contain gold and discuss what other precious metals you can extract from old electronics you have lying in your house and garage storage.
A factual find related to the Olympics games medals to be used in the 2021 Olympics Games in Tokyo. They used metal from 6.21 million cellular phones and approximately 78,985 tonnes of electronics waste to create the medals to be used as awards. The phones were collected for 2 years between April 2017 and March 2019. These made 5,000 gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals. Read more here: https://tokyo2020.org/en/games/medals-project/
What is Gold?
Gold is the only chemical element and metal with a colour that has its name. It’s defining properties are:
- It is soft,
- Ductile, and
- An excellent conductor of electricity and heat,
Why use gold in electronics?
You may be asking yourself why gold is used in electronics, rather than copper which we use on our house lamps and, which is more affordable, or silver, which is a superior electrical conductor.
The primary reason is that electronics manufacturers use precious metals in their devices is because they conduct electricity much better than other metal alloys. Another good reason is because they are hard and have properties like corrosion resistance that are important in electronic devices as they add life to the product.
I can hear you shouting in the background and asking, why don’t they just use copper, a relatively affordable metal. Well, the answer is plain simple. Like most affordable metals, copper is not up to the task that some of the electronic parts need to actively function in their practical environment and hence why electronics manufacturers often use precious metals used. High powered products like TSP 600-124 din rail power supply have more special metals since they are operated in industrial setups and difficult factory floor conditions.
While it’s certainly possible to pan for gold, you may be surprised at all the everyday items you use that contain gold. Here’s a list of products to look to find gold. You can choose to sell it, recycle, or reuse it.
Sources of Free Gold
Most Computers & electronic devices contain circuit boards inside that will contain many types of precious metals. PCB or Printed Circuit Boards, Connectors and Components have high levels of precious metal content. In the UK we have a lot of recycling centres and with permission you could be allowed into the recycling centre yard to collect what you want and reuse it for good as is.
What electronic parts and components can you get the most gold from?
There is no simple answer to the question of which electronics or rather parts have the most gold in them; the quantity of gold will vary based on brand, model and age since most newer items carry less gold compared to old electronic devices because of advancement in technology and size.
Just about every device we use in our homes comes with a remote for convenience and each has a small PCB that contains some quantity of gold. This are minute quantities but if you had dozens of remotes you will see the sums adding up. Therefore, in the future don’t be throwing those TV & VCR remotes just yet before you claim that printed circuit board.
The main computer parts that normally contain gold include motherboard edges where they have contact with connectors. CPUs microchips have 100s of gold-plated pins, operational memory RAM have gold plated pins, other accessories like PCI boards, ports for ethernet, modems and GPU contain relatively large amount of gold.
Another factual find, a computer can have 20 milligrams worth of gold with an estimated value of $10-15.
Televisions & Cameras.
You will have noticed a trend; we are mentioning circuit boards. All TV’s and Camera’s both old models and new up to date equipment have integrated circuits and PCB that contain gold. This includes Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) brands like Toshiba and Panasonics to Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) top brands like Sony, Sharp and LG.
Stereos and Radios.
Old stereo components, Ham and shortwave radios contain some gold in their electronic parts. The older the product the higher the quantity.
You will probably get less than an ounce of gold from these devices. However, good sources include old cartridges, wired controllers and brands like Nintendo DSi, Nintendo 64, PlayStation Portable etc.
Cell phones and Tablets
There is a lot of precious metals like gold in cellphones simply because they are a recent product. As mention earlier, old products contain more gold and as such you will require a lot of mobile smart phones to justify any salvaging of gold. However, you will be able to retrieve other useful products components like sensors and semiconductors, which can be used in your DIY projects like creating a cat tracking collar for your outdoor pet.
Small appliance & toys
Toaster ovens, HVAC including space heater will contain gold. If you have grown up to be a big boy and don’t fancy playing online games and want some fresh air but with the same thrill. You might have procured yourself a Radio-controlled car toys to race with your young ones in the park. The semiconductors used in these cars have some of the stuff we have been discussing. When it breaks or you buy a bigger, better version of it, do not throw it. Get your engineering cap on and get that treasure out. As they say, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
In reality, it turns out that it’s difficult to make recycling pay for itself, however, gold retrieved from these electronic devices can be put to good use for example used to make small jewellery and make yourself look good and feel worthy.
Article researched and written by electronicscomponents.co.uk writer Ohms Lawrence
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