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Old 06-06-2020, 05:41 PM
Folkpunk Folkpunk is offline
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Default Amperage question

Before I got started trying to learn TIG with my new machine, I went ahead and starting practicing SMAW on some 1/8" angle iron just because I'm a wee bit more familiar with arc welding than TIG. I notice I have to crank the amperage higher than recommended to keep my rod from sticking while trying to strike an arc. For instance, a 3/32 6011 rod set to AC DCEP with amperage set to 95amps when my chart recommends 80 max.

So I'm wondering if I'm really getting the amount of amperage I'm setting on the machine from a 20 amp circuit?
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:58 PM
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There are a lot of factors that could be affecting this. I assume you are using 120 volts, 20 Amp circuit?
How far is your plug away from the breaker panel. Do you have any line voltage drop from the panel to the plug. Is the welder plugged directly into the plug or using an extension cord?

The welder might be off on the amperage dial to. The dial/ gauge is just a reference anyways. Every machine will be slightly different. You need to find your machines sweet spot for the rods you are running. And this may change if you take your welder to someplace else and have a different power source. Depending on the welder, you may find you need different settings at different parts of the day. Can fluctuate depending on electric company’s actual load too at other houses in your neighborhood.

I wouldn’t be over concerned, unless you need to have the machine cranked right up as high as it goes all the time to run a bead.



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Old 06-06-2020, 06:04 PM
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What is the machine, what is the OC voltage, what is the electrode brand? If you have it set to AC DCEP, that is not happening. It is either ac or dc and not both. Many of 3/32 6011 rods have been burned by my harbor fright welder running off of 120 volts.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:51 PM
Folkpunk Folkpunk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
There are a lot of factors that could be affecting this. I assume you are using 120 volts, 20 Amp circuit?
How far is your plug away from the breaker panel. Do you have any line voltage drop from the panel to the plug. Is the welder plugged directly into the plug or using an extension cord?

The welder might be off on the amperage dial to. The dial/ gauge is just a reference anyways. Every machine will be slightly different. You need to find your machines sweet spot for the rods you are running. And this may change if you take your welder to someplace else and have a different power source. Depending on the welder, you may find you need different settings at different parts of the day. Can fluctuate depending on electric company’s actual load too at other houses in your neighborhood.

I wouldn’t be over concerned, unless you need to have the machine cranked right up as high as it goes all the time to run a bead.
I'll try it without the 50' extension chord. My only concern (which I should have mentioned earlier) is that when I do find the arc working smoothly I trip the breaker in my garage about 15-20 seconds into the weld. edit: ...then when I turn the amperage back down, the rod sticks again and or sputters out.

Last edited by Folkpunk; 06-06-2020 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:57 PM
Folkpunk Folkpunk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astronut View Post
What is the machine, what is the OC voltage, what is the electrode brand? If you have it set to AC DCEP, that is not happening. It is either ac or dc and not both. Many of 3/32 6011 rods have been burned by my harbor fright welder running off of 120 volts.
The machine is the AHP Alpha TIG. I'm not sure what the OCV is and will have to read up on it. The electrode brand is Lincoln.

The machine is set to AC. What I meant by DCEP is that the electrode holder was plugged into the positive port. Would that be considered ACEP? Sorry guys, everything I'm learning is off of youtube and this forum. I was ready to enroll in a class this summer but the covid issue stopped that.
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:02 PM
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Default Amperage question

As a starting point, the size of the electrode in decimal inches (1/8 = .125) so 125 amps is about the current. Adjust from there as needed.

I had an AC only machine for years, when I finally got running DC, I had to cut down on the current, or my puddle/weld would get away on me.



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Old 06-06-2020, 09:13 PM
Samcord Samcord is offline
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I’m not a welder, but I don’t believe that there is a pos/neg terminal in AC mode. The label only applies in DC mode.
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Old 06-06-2020, 10:06 PM
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Camaro Zach Camaro Zach is offline
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You have to be careful with a lot of the youtube instructional videos. People that have no idea what they are doing make videos as they are trying to learn something themselves.

Your machine has dc output, use it for stick welding.

What gauge is your extension cord? I use at least a 12ga. Cord on my little 110 stick welder and even then I can only get a few minutes of welding before tripping a breaker without letting things cool.

6010/6011 is harder to strike and maintain arc IMO than a 7018 on these small inverters. (I use 3/32” 7018 almost exclusively with my small welder)
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:48 AM
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What they said... ^^^^^ You need good, clean voltage to weld with no resistance in the input. A 120v machine will work good on a 12ga, "heavy-duty" extension cord, but past 50', you will probably have voltage drop.

Many will wire a separate outlet from the breaker box for the welder and other equip. like a plasma cutter or compressor. You need to create a 120v 20A circuit in your breaker panel (if you have open slots) starting with a slow-blow 20A breaker, then quality solid 12ga wire to a dedicated single "industrial" 20A outlet (shown) or maybe a 20A duplex if you have one.

Alternately, your washing machine may already be on a dedicated 20A circuit so you can just swap plugs to weld.

You want a big, thick 12ga extension cord, don't cheap out here. The cheapies will have a lot of resistance and even melt and/or get scorchingly hot at the ends or even the wire itself. Heat increased resistance, lowering available voltage and amps, and tripped the breaker because the welder was asking for too much and not getting it.

You should be able to weld 1/8" at the higher amp range but will probably be maxing out 120v at that setting. I don't know about stick but I can scratch TIG 1/8 steel no problem at the higher setting of my lunchbox (95A).
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2020, 10:02 AM
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Just to clarify as you seem confused by the whole AC and DC thing.

AC is alternating current, the same as what comes out of the outlet you are plugged into. It switches from positive to negative at 60 times per second. There is no electrode negative or positive, because it is switching from one to the other at a rate of 60hz. If you are using AC, you will need to use an appropriate rod. 6011, 6013 are the most common for that setting and with practice you can get perfectly serviceable results.

DC is direct current. This is like the power from a car battery. The current only travels one way, so if you hook your electrode to the positive lug it is positive, if you hook it to the negative it is negative. Many electrodes can be run positive or negative, you will find that the main difference is how hot it welds and you might switch polarity for different jobs/thicknesses of metal. DC runs smoother and is more versatile. It opens up your options to more types of welding rod and is easier to make a bead with a nice appearance. If you have the option to run DC and you have the appropriate rod, you should probably do so.

6011 sticks fairly easily when you are starting it, but once an arc is going it usually runs pretty easy. I have run 3/32 as low as 45 amps before on an AC machine. If you are able to start an acceptable weld and it suddenly sticks a couple inches in, you probably need to look at your welder, cords, and outlets to make sure you aren't getting a voltage drop as you weld. If you just can't get an arc started, it might just be a matter of practice and you will have other problems if you turn the amperage up too high.

Another thing to look at is the ground clamp on your welder and where it is attached to your work. A poor ground connection can cause intermittent arcs and all kinds of problems. Clean the metal where you are going to attach the ground clamp just like you clean the metal where you are going to weld, and make sure the clamp is attached firmly and as close to the weld area as practical.
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