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  #1  
Old 08-04-2013, 02:43 PM
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MarkBall2 MarkBall2 is offline
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Default Adding a foot pedal to the HF TIG welder

Welcome & let’s hope we can get this thing added.

The Chicago Electric TIG welder available from Harbor Freight for $499 (on sale) is a fairly basic TIG welder. It does have a High Frequency start, which is controlled by the rocker switch on the TIG torch. I discovered using it that it’s very difficult to keep the torch lit while pushing the button. My hand was just in an awkward position.

Another drawback with this welder is the lack of “on the fly” heat adjustments. I would have to start the weld, then pause to adjust the amperage. This left less than desirable start/stops in the welds. That & trying to manipulate the bulky torch & filler was next to impossible for me to do accurately.

So to solve the problem I was determined to add a foot pedal to the welder. This is that story.

I purchased this welder from a fellow member of one of the forums I frequent. In our communications he let me know about a modification that could be done which adds a foot pedal. I followed that thread & tried to contact the original poster, but that was in vain. Half-heartedly I decided to attempt to do this myself.

The players (Owner's manual is first)
Second is the inside of the welder
Third is the 7 pin bulkhead connector
Forth & Fifth are the foot pedal I found.

This is going to take more than one post, so bear with me.........
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Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

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  #2  
Old 08-04-2013, 02:49 PM
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In that thread, there were links to some foot pedals on ebay that cost upwards of $300-700.00. I didn’t pay full price for the welder, why would I want to pay full price on the foot pedal. I was going to make one, but didn’t feel my fabrication skills would be good enough (the electrical part that is) to make it work. Further searching & I found a foot pedal listed for $69.99. Including shipping it was at my door in a week for the measly sum of $84.90.
The foot pedal case is substantial. It’s made out of 14 gauge metal, has a heavy spring & a sliding pot. The hook up is a standard 7 pin & there is a microswitch inside as well. Perfect for my needs.

I needed a 7 pin bulkhead connector to connect the foot pedal to the welder, which I also found on E-bay. Cost more in shipping than it did on the connector. I think it totaled around $8-10. Then one last item, a 3PDT toggle switch. Not to be had locally, had to order it. Guess what I had that little gem in 2 weeks all the way from Shanghi. $12 was the total cost including the shipping. Not too bad considering I looked at Granger & they wanted close to $150.00, McMaster-Carr the same. Found one on Amazon for total of $42.00, but after it was ordered the company canceled the order due to not having any in stock.

Well, I had my parts. A 7 pin foot pedal from Excel (E-Bay), a 7 pin bulkhead CB/Nam radio connector, a 3PDT toggle switch from China. I also downloaded the owners manual from Harbor Freight. It has a wiring diagram inside it that was very helpful.

Pic 1 - 7 pin connector,
Pic 2 - Inside of the foot pedal,
Pic 3 - micro-switch in the foot pedal,
Pic 4 - sliding 1K pot (didn't realize it wouldn't work until later),
Pic 5 - Second connector from the right is the panel pot circuit board connection. Numbers 13, 14 & 15. Kind of blurry, but you get the idea.

More to come..........
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__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
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  #3  
Old 08-04-2013, 03:02 PM
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First thing I did was open the case. Pretty clean inside to be honest. Lots of wires & connectors. I looked at the wiring diagram & found the connector that controls the panel potentiometer. Pulled that pot out & discovered it was a 5K pot. Had 3 wires connected, Green, Black & Blue. I used my ohm meter to determine which wire was the wiper (center one) & could then calculate where I needed to put the toggle switch.

I mounted the toggle switch in the center above the front louvers, as there was nothing behind that location. Using the wiring diagram I cut & connected the circuit board connector to the middle lugs of the switch. I connected the top lugs to the foot pedal panel connector wired the same as the foot pedal. The panel pot connected back to the bottom lugs. Now I can use either the panel pot or the foot pedal. Don’t even have to disconnect the foot pedal.

The welder already had circuits to control the output. Switching to the TIG mode activated the High Frequency start. In Stick mode the HF start circuit is not activated. Now remember I had a micro-switch in the foot pedal? Well it got connected in place of the torch switch. Right into that 7 pin CB/Ham radio connector. That connector required soldered connections, so I used some 22 gauge wire to match the colors of the foot pedal.

The connector also followed foot pedal colors from the potentiometer to the toggle switch. The colors changed at the switch to keep all of it straight in my mind (I’m kind of dense sometimes).

Once I had the 7 pin panel connector wired, I connected the foot pedal to the connector, toggled the switch to the foot pedal & hesitantly added power. Using the foot pedal I could not get the amperage to change. I soon discovered I had a 1K pot (not the 10K pot that was advertised) in the foot pedal. Back to the internet, found a 5K pot (to match the panel pot built into the welder) & got it ordered. A week later I had it. Pulled apart the foot pedal, removed the 1K pot, soldered in the 5K pot & got it adjusted so I have full travel. This pot is a sliding pot, not rotary so it’s fairly simple to add. (

The bolts & spacers I added as the original bolts were broken when I received the pedal).

Pic 1 - Inside the welder,
Pic 2 - Circuit board connection (Blue, Black & Green wires),
Pic 3 - Circuit board connector hooked to the 7 pin connector temporarily to double check function.,
Pic 4 - 7 pin CB/Ham radio connector at the bottom. It replaces the original 2 pin torch switch connector. Directly above the louvers is the 3PDT switch.
Pic 5 - Look at all them wires. This is the back of the 3PDT switch. The circuit board connector goes to the middle pins, then the remainder are color coded to either the panel pot or the pedal pot.

More...........
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__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2013, 03:09 PM
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After the pot was installed, I connected it back to the welder, added a bit of power & low/behold the amps adjust like they should. Minimum amperage is 10 amps, max amps is 177-178 amps. Wait a second, the manual says max amps is 165, where did the extra 12-13 amps come from??????

I switched back to the stick mode with the toggle & 9 amps is the minimum shown with 165 the maximum amps. Hmmmmm, makes a body wonder, don’t it?

My thinking is the addition of the foot pedal, the sliding pot has a greater range than the rotary pot on the panel. This additional range may allow the welder to pump out a few more amps. Either way I’m ok with it, my Hobart has 175 amps, now this does too.

I tried it today & found I like the foot pedal quite a bit. It’s nice watching the puddle grow when I add amps & get smaller when I decrease the amperage. I can also ramp down the amps at the end of the weld like I’m supposed to, but I still end up with a little tit. That’s better than the crater I was getting before. I’ll have to work on that some to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

All in all, I spent less than $125 for this addition to the welder. All told (including shipping) of the welder/foot pedal/switch/7 pin connector/5K potentiometer & miscellaneous wire, I have less than the original price of the welder in it. Original price is $599, on sale frequently for $499. I have less than that in the whole package.

Pic 1 - the 3PDT wiring,
Pic 2 - the foot pedal panel connector color coded
Pic 3 - Minimum amps in TIG mode,
Pic 4 - Max amps in TIG mode,
Pic 5 - Max amps in Stick mode. Notice the only change I made was to move the toggle switch to the up position. To do it right, the rocker switch needs to be set also. In "Stick" mode & the toggle in the down (pedal) position, a person can adjust the amps going to the electrode with the foot pedal. That might come in handy some day.

More...............
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__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-04-2013, 03:14 PM
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I'm not proficient using the TIG welder................ yet. But I did play with it some today & discovered I need to not be afraid of it & get the metal hot, then move. I'm used to MIG/stick welding & this process requires some additional thinking.

I'll post up my "practice", you can critique all you want. Won't hurt my feelings at all.

Pic 1 - open it with Paint to read the notes I put there.
Pic 2 - the sample coupon I practiced on.

I'm having a gas coverage problem, may be the torch or maybe the weldor. Not sure which, but pretty sure it's one of the two.

Next project is to convert to the WP-17 torch & superflex cable. I have to change the bulkhead connector & then all will be right with the world. Maybe even make an extension cable for the foot pedal. It seems a bit short right now.
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__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-04-2013, 04:52 PM
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Nicely done and described, Mark.
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2013, 08:34 AM
o7oBaseMetal o7oBaseMetal is offline
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Unless the welder has a postflow, I would assume your gas coverage is cause either by your torch or by your setting on the flow meter. I would think a Harbor Freight machine would be designed for a torch with a valve and not have automatic postflow but I could be wrong. Also, if you don't open the valve far enough and touch it with your hand while welding sometimes you can turn off the gas.
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  #8  
Old 08-05-2013, 08:51 AM
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It does have post flow, either long (approximately 10 seconds) or short (about 5 seconds)

My thinking is once the arc is struck add pedal until a puddle forms, then move. Don't wait for the puddle to get huge. Most of the porosity I see at the beginnings or tail end of the welds shown are due to my not moving. That's why I'm thinking I'm boiling the weld, not "welding".

See the rocker switch next to the power breaker? That's the post flow switch. The manual just says "if the weld is tarnished, switch to 'long' to increase the gas flow".
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__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-05-2013, 05:22 PM
o7oBaseMetal o7oBaseMetal is offline
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I guess try it on long postflow and see if it helps. I would think worst thing that should happen with a 5 second post flow would be slightly bad surface oxidation but no major porosity. Maybe you are overheating the piece. If that is the case, I would say turn down your amps or increase your speed.
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2013, 10:14 PM
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I'll try that this weekend. I have some stainless to weld & really would like to become a bit better prior to welding that.

The metal was 1/4" & that might have been part of the problem. Cleaned off the mill scale, Argon bumped to 30 on the flowmeter & stomped the pedal. Seemed to have less porosity at the beginning.
__________________
Mark

I haven't always been a nurse..........

Hobart Handler 175
Century AC 230 amp stick welder
Chicago Electric 165A DC TIG
Oxy/Acetylene set
Hand/Power tools
Clark 4x6 Bandsaw
Harbor Freight Tubing Roller
Craftsman 12 x 36 lathe
New to me Enco GL-30B Mill/Drill Thank you 1800Miner
Papa Lion's Gate Build

I don't do nuttin half azzed. I phawk it up completely, given half a chance.
Reply With Quote
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