The Ugly Box Setup and Use

Setup and Use of The Ugly Box - A Cleaner and Stabilizer for Coins and Relics

in Serious Detecting Blog

Some Basic Warnings

  1. The Ugly Box electrolysis process produces very low levels and small quantities of hydrogen gas. Use in a ventilated area.
  2. Never rig the Ugly Box to use a wall socket. This can damage the device AND there is a risk of fire.

Guidance and Tips:

  1. Nickels (pure nickel and nickel alloys) should not be treated with the Ugly Box, as there is a risk of discoloration and other damage.
  2. Copper objects, including pennies, are treated a little differently. Start off the process with leads at opposite ends of the tank and run the unit for short durations.
  3. The pointed Lightning tip (may be green or black) is designed to be submerged in the tank and is waterproof. It can sit on the bottom of the tank and/or physically touch the treated object for the greatest effect. The tip should be powered on for short bursts - 5 to 10 seconds at a time, 20 seconds MAX. Multiple Thunder tip activations can be used per session.
  4. The Thrasher tip (may be blue or white, with steel wool) is NOT designed to be submerged. The object being treated should already be "cooked" with the Ugly Box and should be wet. The Thrasher tip can be used in-between electrolysis sessions. Do not attempt to clean the item in one sitting. It is designed to remove heavy layers of degrade in layers and should be employed in multiple applications.

Setup and Use

You will need the following:
  • The Ugly Box Kit
  • Tank, large enough to submerge the object. Ideally, plastic (never metal), small food storage containers work well. The smaller, the better.
  • 9-volt battery power the electrolysis process
  1. Place clean tap water in the tank, enough to cover the object being treated.
  2. Add brine, approximately a teaspoon per cup of water (you don't need much), and stir.
  3. Attach a 9-volt battery.
  4. There are 2 colored leads included in the kit, with alligator clips on each end. It doesn't matter which color lead is used for any specific part of the process. We recommend using one specific lead always for the catalyst side of the circuit.
  5. Attach one end of the first lead to the object being treated. Make sure it is touching the base metal surface. Attach the other end of the first lead to the node labeled COIN . Submerge the object in the brine tank.
  6. Attach one end of the second lead to the carbon catalyst rod (included). Attach the other end to the node labeled CATALYST. Submerge the catalyst rod in the brine tank. The user should re-use the same lead over and over for the catalyst side of the electrolysis unit. The lead will break down and periodically need to be replaced.
  7. The new Ugly Box TNT comes with everything you need for standard 9-volt operation. A 12-volt power pack is also available. Attach your 9V battery to the supplied input power cable and plug the cable into the EXT power input.
  8. Turn ON the Ugly Box by turning the Voltage Regulator knob to the right.
  9. You will know the device is working if you see a reading on the voltmeter increase from 0 to the maximum, available from your battery as you turn the knob.
  10. Small bubbles may collect on the object being treated, particularly toward the end of the electrolysis process.
  11. The correct amount of time needed to treat a specific object will depend on many different factors. Typically, an object may require 10 - 60 minutes to be stabilized and cleaned. Never keep an object in the unit for more than an hour at a time.
  12. Use the Thunder accessory [Earlier Ugly Box. The Ugly Box TNT replaces the separate Thunder and Thrasher to speed up the process and break up heavy debris. The Thunder is designed to be submerged in the brine solution. You can have the Thunder rest on the bottom of the tank, and/or touch the object. It should only be used in short bursts.
  13. Use the Trasher is NOT designed to be submerged. It should be used AFTER the object is stabilized with the Ugly Box. The object should be wet when using the Thrasher. If you use up all of the steel wool, there is additional steel wool stored in the Thrasher unit. You can also replenish the unit with 000 or 0000 grit product available at any hardware store.
  14. Depending on the object, the level of decay or debris, and other factors, multiple treatments may be needed to achieve desired results.
  15. Once the Ugly Box treatment is completed, it may be helpful to rub some toothpaste on the coin or object for a final quick polish (will act similar to jeweler's rouge). Then rinse.
  16. Buffing the coin or object with a soft cloth may remove some of the detail, and is not recommended.
Are you looking for a Re-boot kit or extra power? Browse our Ugly Box accessories.


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