When one decides to start in the exciting and lucrative world of computer and electronics recycling there are bound to be some mistakes. When I first started my company I made plenty of mistakes and they cost me a lot of money. However, after those mistakes I continued to adjust how I handled the materials and it has paid off in a big way.
The first thing that you should do is ensure that you have plenty of room to sort the materials because just about everything in a computer sells separately and to different sources in most cases.
So let's run down how to strip a computer for maximum value.
Step 1: Gain access to the inside of the computer tower. In my experience each tower is different. Getting inside can be as simple as removing a couple screws and sliding off the panel and can be as complicated finding the locking mechanism and pulling apart the case. There are some great internet sites that show the different methods for opening computers that can be found with a simple Google search.
Step 2: At this point I like to remove the power supply as it will get the wires out of the way. In most cases the power supply is screwed to the outside of the case with either 2 or 4 screws. Once those are removed the supply comes loose. From there simply unplug the various wires from the boards and drives and then set the power supply aside for disassembly.
Step 3: Now I like to remove the ribbon wires. These are the flat wires that connect the motherboard to the various components. These will usually pop right off. I then put them into a box or barrel and save them with other wires that will go into the local scrap metal yard.
Step 4: Now it is time to remove the drives. This can be a little tricky with some towers. Each tower is different as to how the drives are installed. Some can be as easy as compressing a couple of tabs and then sliding the drives out while others have screws that need to be removed. Once the drives are out of the case I set them aside for disassembly later.
Step 5: Removing the slot cards is next. These are usually controllers for devices such as video and sound cards as well as modems. They are attached with a screw at the top and then plugged into the motherboard. After the screw is removed they will pop right out. I then throw them into a box slated for sale to a refiner.
Step 6: Now it is time to remove the motherboard. Again there is no one way that they are attached. However, most of the time they are attached with screws and once they are removed the board will come right out. But, there are also some companies that use tabs that means that the board needs to be slid to one side before removal.
Step 7: With the motherboard out you can remove the ram sticks. These pop out by pushing down the tabs on each end. Once out they should be put into a box and collected for sale to a refiner.
Step 8: The last thing is to remove the heat sink, fan and then the processor. The heat sink and fan are likely held on with a lever that can be easily lifted off. Most heat sinks are aluminum and can be collected and then sold to the local scrap metal yard.
Step 9: Removing the processor is a simple case of pulling up the arm on the side that unlocks the pins and the processor can be pulled out. I toss the processors into yet another box where they are collected for sale to a refiner.
Now on to the other items.
Power Supply Disassembly: The power supply is a fairly simple unit to tear down. There are usually some screws holding the steel case together and once removed the case will come apart. Then there will be some screws holding the circuit board to the lower part of the case. Remove those and then toss the case into a box that will be taken to the scrap metal yard.
On the power supply are many wires that should be cut off. A simple pair of wire cutters can be used to clip off the wires which will then be tossed into the box or barrel where you put the ribbon wire.
The board is what is known as a "low grade brown" circuit board. These are actually pretty low on value and I collect mine and sell them to the local scrap metal yard for about.50 per pound and it adds up fast.
CD / DVD / Floppy Drive Disassembly: Disassembling CD or Floppy drives is fairly simple. Just look for the screws that are holding the cases together and remove them. Once you have access to the inside you need only remove the boards and the cases can be tossed into the scrap steel bin.
The boards from the CD / DVD / Floppy drives are considered mid-grade boards. They have moderate precious metal content. I place them all into the same box and then sell them to my refiner for $ 1.00 per pound.
Hard Drive Disassembly: Hard drives are a bit more valuable in the grand scheme of things. However, they are also more difficult to disassemble as well. Most hard drives are held together with star screws. On the front cover remove all the screws that you can see. Under the label there is going to be at least one more screw if not two. Once you have the screws out the top will pop off. This is aluminum and should be placed in your aluminum box.
Once you have access to the inside you will see the round, silver discs that hold the information for the hard drive and an arm that is resting on them. You will need to remove the screws around the collar holding the discs down. Then you will remove the brackets holding the arm on. They are held on with screws and two magnets that are made of rare earth materials.
The magnets can be saved in another box and sold online for a decent price. The discs should be collected and sold separately as they have a layer of platinum on them.
Once these items are removed you will need to turn the base over and remove the circuit board. These are known as hard drive logic boards and they are valued at $ 9.00 per pound and up. They should be saved and then sold to a refiner.
The base is made of cast aluminum and can be tossed into the box with the other materials.
This completes tearing down a computer tower for refining. You have several options for selling materials. eBay is a resource that a lot of e-cyclers like to use for selling their materials but there are other options.
A bit of warning: Never sell to the websites that say that they are buying for gold refining and offering to pay for the shipping with a pre-printed label that they will send to you through email.
I decided to do a small experiment. I collected two boxes of motherboards and listed one on eBay and sent the other to one of those places online. About a week later I had a check from the website for $ 7.50 for 25 pounds of motherboards and a PayPal payment from a buyer on eBay for $ 600 for 25 pounds of motherboards.
I found a refiner that operates in Ohio that I send all of my gold bearing material too. They pay some great prices and it makes things a lot easier. It also saves on the eBay and PayPal fees that have become quite high over the years.
The other materials, such as low grade brown boards, wires, aluminum and steel I just transport to the scrap metal yard. Collected over a period of time these items can really add up to some serious cash. For me it makes a great way to keep my gas tank full for picking up more computers from my various clients.
Source by Craig E Weaver