Any Experts Regarding Scrapping Motherboards?

FreeBirdTim

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I was going to post this in the scrap metal forum, but that forum seems pretty dead. Hope it's okay to post this here, so I can get more opinions on the matter.

A couple of years ago, I got lucky and spotted around 150 lbs. of computer scrap out for the trash. I sold the easy stuff, such as the gold fingers and lightweight circuit boards on eBay, but I still have about 100 pounds of scrap motherboards. They are 16"x16" and weigh anywhere from 2 1/2 pounds to 4 3/4" pounds each. They are very heavy, due to them being 1/8" to 1/4" thick. They seem to be high quality and have a lot of 14k gold plating on them.

My question is how much do you think they're worth for the gold content? I don't want to take them to the scrap yard because I have no clue what a good price is for them. Hate to get ripped off, but I also don't want to turn down a decent offer for them, either. Any guesses on the value of these boards would be appreciated.

Here's a few pics:
 

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Treasure_Hunter

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It is okay to post it here, good luck too...
 

CoinsAndThings

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I used to work in IT and this question would come up occasionally. In general, but not always, recovering the gold is more work than the gold is worth. However with the recent spike in gold prices that may no longer be true.

There are two basic methods to recovering the gold; Burning and using acids. Burning is not economical unless you have a huge amount to recover. Acids can be a bit dicey also, but would be the preferred method for smaller amounts. There are several recipes floating around the Internet that you can try.

If you just want to sell the boards as is, I don't think you are going to get much. There's about 5 grams in a motherboard. . Current price is ~ $62.00 per gram. So about $300 per motherboard Which sounds good. But whoever buys the motherboards will have to take the cost of extraction into account. So you're not going to get full price.

Hope that helps
 

eman1000

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2nd Coins and Things - IT Manager here and considered it myself and it certainly sounds like you have enough volume to maybe take a 2nd look at it. If you have the time and your labor is free then it might be worth it. Always seemed like a ton of work to me and a "dicey" is the word if you don't feel comfortable around chemicals and disposal of chemicals.

 

Ohiogoldfever

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I was going to post this in the scrap metal forum, but that forum seems pretty dead. Hope it's okay to post this here, so I can get more opinions on the matter.

A couple of years ago, I got lucky and spotted around 150 lbs. of computer scrap out for the trash. I sold the easy stuff, such as the gold fingers and lightweight circuit boards on eBay, but I still have about 100 pounds of scrap motherboards. They are 16"x16" and weigh anywhere from 2 1/2 pounds to 4 3/4" pounds each. They are very heavy, due to them being 1/8" to 1/4" thick. They seem to be high quality and have a lot of 14k gold plating on them.

My question is how much do you think they're worth for the gold content? I don't want to take them to the scrap yard because I have no clue what a good price is for them. Hate to get ripped off, but I also don't want to turn down a decent offer for them, either. Any guesses on the value of these boards would be appreciated.

Here's a few pics:


Hey Brother. What you have there doesn’t have much on it. The gold around the mounting holes and edges is what’s called flashing or Enig. Very very thin and not really worth chasing.

The small chips likely have small bonding wires inside them but you’ll need a fair bit to justify recovery.

I do a ton of recovery, don’t listen to guys who tell you it’s not worth it as many mean well but don’t know what they are talking about. I’ve recovered several ounces (post refining)over the last couple years just pissing around in my garage. It’s a fun hobby and can pay fairly well.

Are these a good representation of what you have? Really not anything worth getting excited over here unfortunately.

We are literally surrounded by gold, silver, palladium etc. you just gotta know where to look.
 

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flinthunter

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I've been urban gold mining for only a couple years so I'm no expert. Looks to me like all the good gold bearing components have been removed. The gold flashing on the boards is not worth recovering by themselves. Just my opinion.
 
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FreeBirdTim

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Thanks for the replies, guys. Guess those aren't worth much, but I also have around 25 pounds of smaller boards. Not sure what you call them, but I've got a big box of these guys. They do have gold pins, so maybe more value? I tried removing the gold pins one time, but couldn't come up with an easy way to do it. Maybe drop the connectors in nitric acid?
 

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CoinsAndThings

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Thanks for the replies, guys. Guess those aren't worth much, but I also have around 25 pounds of smaller boards. Not sure what you call them, but I've got a big box of these guys. They do have gold pins, so maybe more value? I tried removing the gold pins one time, but couldn't come up with an easy way to do it. Maybe drop the connectors in nitric acid?
Acid is probably your best choice. Depending on your umm...ease of working with acid.
 

Ohiogoldfever

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It’s a fun hobby. Many ways to use acid. I’d suggest you look into the Gold refining forum.com Lots of great info there. Also lots of decent info on You tube.

Most of what you have can be recovered using AP (acid peroxide / Copper chloride). It’s just muratic acid basically. It takes a while but works well.

The gold jacks and pin banks can be removed really easy if you heat the back side of the board with a heat gun to soften the solder while pullin on them with pliers. Also nippers work well to just cut them from the board.

The little blocks I’ve circled are multi layer ceramic capacitors. Given the higher grade of your boards (server type material) they will contain silver and likely palladium. Possibly as much as $500-1000 a pound. Takes a bunch to make up that much though.

Also crack open these red dudes and the white boxes. They may be relays. If they are check the contacts as they are likely to be silver.

If you have any further questions I’m happy to help. Many guys have helped me along the way.
 

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Ohiogoldfever

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Oooh. I heard the mention of Nitric. Very useful. Also very dangerous. One good lung full can nearly kill you or damage your lungs. I’d suggest you avoid it until you really need it.

Most of your stuff could be processed with Hydrochloric (muriatic) Acid.

Nitric is an oxidizer, many many oxidizers can be used that are less likely to kill you of not handled correctly.
 

crashbandicoot

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I,ve likewise been fooling with this stuff for a while.There,s gold to be had but like gold any where it ain,t easy. I don,t have any hints or tips that can,t be found online already.Moosescrapper is a guy who has some good vids on youtube. Be patient and do this as a fun thing not as a way to make a living.Muriatic is a pretty safe acid,Nitric is not.if you,re going to use Nitric,do your research first and pay strict attention to safety. Any time you add a substance to an acid,say bleach in the acid/bleach refining method,you likely create a reaction and a gas that is harmful at best,deadly at worst.Be careful! Foreknowledge is your friend!
 

crashbandicoot

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Don,t neglect the Aluminum and copper that may be on your boards,Aluminum in the form of heat sinks usually and copper in Toroids,coils,transformers and small motors.You have to take them apart,but you can get enough Alum and copper sometimes to pay for your acids,beakers,retorts,Sodium Meta Bisulfite,filters and things you,ll need to try and recover and refine gold from your scrap.
 

Ohiogoldfever

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Don,t neglect the Aluminum and copper that may be on your boards,Aluminum in the form of heat sinks usually and copper in Toroids,coils,transformers and small motors.You have to take them apart,but you can get enough Alum and copper sometimes to pay for your acids,beakers,retorts,Sodium Meta Bisulfite,filters and things you,ll need to try and recover and refine gold from your scrap.

Great point. It’s not a money making venture. Sure there is some gold to be had but surly not worth trying to Make any bills from.

Keeping copper is a good suggestion. Hell I have a couple buckets full of copper cut offs. Damn things so heavy you can hardly lift it. 300-400 a bucket at this point.
 

alloy_II

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Many do not realize.

The plane of the computer motherboard is a PCB (printed circuit board), generally a four-layer board or a six-layer board. Relatively speaking, in order to save costs, low-end motherboards are mostly four-layer boards: the main signal layer, ground layer, power layer, and secondary signal layer.
 

pepperj

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A standard mother board is around $2.50 a pound.
The green boards always were worth more than blue/brown.
There's lot of information on pricing now online.
I remember when the mother board s were not worth much at all.
Did alot of military scrap electronics and that was 50 microns thickness on lots of contacts.
I used to buy the silver rivets that went on the PCB. 90% silver and 10% cadmium.
Floor sweepers lunch money. 😁Bought 10 lbs a year for 13 yrs $3 oz. Sold it off when I retired in /06.
 

alloy_II

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Multi layer motherboard for demonstration purposes only, this is not exactly how i would process them - but very close.

Pick the chips off, leave any pins showing gold, shred the board then via pyrolysis eliminate the organic material.

I removed the pins without any gold showing, the reason for this was to keep the nickel content down as it will in time contaminate the electrolyte.

Melt copper into an anode for the copper parting cell, any gold will remain as sludge.

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mb3.jpg
 
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FreeBirdTim

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Wow, thanks for all the great advice! I think I'll start by buying a heat gun to get all those gold plated pins off the boards. Gold pins seem to sell for decent amount on eBay. That project will keep me busy for awhile! Thanks again!
 

pulltabfelix

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Old circuit boards from main frames and mini computers back in the 1960's thru the 1980's are valuable in terms of reclaiming gold. But PC's are not so valuable and hardly worth your time and efforts.
 

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