What Is the Top-Selling Personal Electronic Device of All Time?

What Is the Top-Selling Personal Electronic Device of All Time?

The answer may surprise you

Today, everybody you see seems to be staring at a mobile phone. About 15 years ago, every adult you saw was poking away at a Blackberry and every kid you saw was listening to music on an iPad or other portable music player.

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Everybody Is Dumping Digital Cameras . . . Can You Cash in on the Gold They Contain?

Everybody Is Dumping Digital Cameras . . . Can You Cash in on the Gold They Contain?

If you have visited the Statue of Liberty or another tourist destination lately, you have noticed that hardly anybody is using digital cameras these days. Five years ago you would have seen all those tourists taking snapshots with small cameras made by Olympus, Sony, and other companies. Today, nearly all those pix are being shot using smartphones.

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Why Recycling Metals is Socially and Environmentally Responsible

Why Recycling Metals is Socially and Environmentally Responsible

We’ve published posts in the past about why recycling gold is socially responsible. Recycled gold doesn’t have to be mined, and mining pollutes air and water and burns fossil fuels. And then there’s the fact that recycled gold is not dug from the earth by underpaid, exploited workers. Of course, it is possible that the gold that we recycle from computer motherboards, old jewelry and other sources does have a “dirty” past – because gold doesn’t have DNA, it is impossible to know whether it originally came from a mine in Africa or from ancient amulets that were stolen from the Aztecs. But even if that is the case, the gold that we recycle today is generations removed from any dirty sources and less closely linked to environmental or societal ills. 

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The Cash Cleanup . . .

The Cash Cleanup . . .

If you forgot to do any spring cleaning, these energizing autumn days can be a good time to get going. If you do, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll discover some items that will provide you with a bigger payback than you realize. Here are some items that are lying around my house. Odds are pretty good that they can be recycled very profitably by a top precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. 

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Are Gold Prices about to Rebound? And What Should You Do if they Are?

Are Gold Prices about to Rebound? And What Should You Do if they Are?

We are in the business of recycling gold from a number of sources. We work with gold scrap, electrical devices, old jewelry and even ore and sand.  What is our best advice about what you should do today if you have recyclable gold-bearing materials – perhaps materials that you have been holding until gold prices increase?

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Electrical Contacts: Little Nuggets of High Value

If you have ever been present when airplanes are being manufactured or recycled, you know how many wires they contain. It’s staggering to look at them all. In the cockpit alone, there are thousands of wires connected to gauges, displays, switches and controls.

Photo of scrap silver cadmium electrical contacts that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for recycling and refining.

Photo of scrap silver cadmium electrical contacts that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for recycling and refining.

Even though the sheer number of wires is so great, you will notice something else. Each of those wires ends in a specialized contact of some kind. There are little collar contacts that slide over blade-like contacts on gauges and switches. There are also round contacts that attach to other components with screws. In a plane that has tens of thousands of wires, there are twice that many contacts. (Every wire has two ends, correct?)

And airplanes are only one place where you will find hundreds and thousands of wires and contacts. You will also find them in appliances, manufacturing equipment, automobiles, televisions, stereos, radios, telecommunications equipment, and the list goes on and on.

Why Are Electrical Contacts Used?

The first answer to that question is that contacts allow wires to be connected securely and reliably to electronic devices. The second answer is that contacts are neat, and therefore reduce the possibility that wires will accidentally establish contact with other wires and cause equipment to malfunction. The third answer is that contacts assure a strong electrical connection between a wire and the device to which it is attached. Those are some of the reasons why contacts can be found just about anywhere in any piece of modern electronic equipment.

What Are Electrical Contacts Made Of?

The answer to that question is, it depends on the application. Copper, although it is a soft metal that oxidizes easily, is widely used because of its high conductivity and low cost. Gold, a soft metal that does not generally corrode, has excellent conductivity but high cost. Silver, silver cadmium alloy, platinum, and palladium  can also be used, depending on the application and the level of conductivity desired. They resist corrosion, making them an excellent choice for contacts that will be installed in hot or hostile environments.

Getting The Value From Scrap Electrical Contacts . . .

You can find quantities of contacts in many places, since most industries we serve use some form of electrical device. You might be lucky enough to buy a business where quantities of unused contacts are stored. You might also have obtained a large quantity of wires with contacts that you can snip and recycle. Or you might be in the business of scrapping old vehicles, machines, appliances, or medical equipment that contains a lot of contacts.

In any case, there could be valuable precious metal in the contacts that you own. To learn what they could be worth, call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344. We are here to help you find out and profit.

Related Posts:

Why Big Dollars Can Be Found in Scrap Aerospace Parts
Retooling Time Is a Great Time to Recover Precious Metals
Recycling Silver Cadmium Oxide Scrap
Why Recycling Precious Metals Should Be Done by Professionals
Buying or Selling a Business? Recycle Precious Metals before They Slip Away

Will Precious Metals Disappear from Electronic Devices in the Coming Years?

In previous posts on this blog, we’ve discussed where to find gold in cellphones, computers, remote controls, and other electronic devices.  They all contain printed circuit boards that contain gold. But here’s an interesting question. As more advanced electronic devices come to market, will they still use gold, or will that stop? Are we now in a “golden age” when gold recycling from electronic devices can still be done – an age that will end?

Enter Graphene, a Miraculous Substance

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of “miracle” materials have appeared over the last century. There were nylon, Orlon and Teflon, to name only three. But the miraculous properties of those materials is dwarfed by those of graphene, a material that was developed by two physicists named Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselow. Graphene is actually a very thin, one-atom-thick layer of the same kind of graphite that is used in pencils.

Graphene has a lot of unbelievable properties that make it sound like something out of a science fiction fable. But first let’s state why it will probably revolutionize the manufacturing of electronic devices:

Graphene is an incredibly efficient conductor of electricity.

According to some estimates that I’ve read, it conducts electricity 20 times faster than copper does. It conducts electricity so well, in fact, the engineering challenge appears to be getting it to stop conducting electricity, not to improve its performance. And as you’ll discover when you read the following, graphene has the potential to create sci-fi-like electronic devices, like paper-thin cellphones that will fold up and fit in your wallet.

Here are some of graphene’s properties that are described in recent articles on CNN and elsewhere:

It can be manufactured in films that are only one atom thick – one ounce of the stuff could cover 28 football fields. It has been called “the world’s first two-dimensional substance.”

It is remarkably strong – according to some estimates, 20 times stronger than steel, but far lighter. People are predicting that it will soon find its way into structural parts of airplanes and cars.

It’s going to find applications in electrical devices – Scientists have already made electronic speakers, batteries, and other devices from the material. Now ultra-small microcircuits are being developed that will take advantage of its thinness and conductivity. Scientists envision that electronic devices like computers will be built into electronic clothing – there will be no need to tote around a separate laptop, cellphone or GPS device.

Development is happening fast – graphene could start to appear in commercial electronic devices in only a few years. 

What Will Graphene Mean for Gold Recycling?

We don’t have the ability to see the future, of course, but graphene has the potential to create electronic devices that incorporate a number of electronic circuits that once had to be connected together. That’s why it seems probable that today’s circuit boards will become outmoded.

Your old electronic devices will not become collectibles, but as escrap they will be valuable for the gold that they contain that can be recycled profitably by a qualified gold refiner.  What do you have lying around?

Related Posts:

A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold They Contain
Where Is the Gold Hiding in Your Old Computers?
Do Tablet Computers Contain Recyclable Precious Metals
Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos