Lincoln SA200 Welder

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I have a 1937 model Lincoln SA200 welder that never had a starter. I have heard old welders say that they used start those on the pipeline by getting one started and then using it to start the others by connecting the welding leads from the running machine to the leads on the machine they wanted to start whereupon the generator would be motorized and the engine would start. Is this possible and could I connect several (say 3) 12 volt batteries in series to the welding leads and start my welder that way?

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I'm gonna vote NO. A stick welder has the electrical circuitry built into it to tolerate a dead short. That's what happens when the stick electrode gets stuck to the work piece with the ground clamp attached as well. Same thing when one is used to thaw a frozen pipe. The voltage droops and the metal involved gets warmer to very hot in the case of the small electrode. The resistance is fairly low.

In the case of shorting out 3 batteries in series, my expectation is that at least one would explode and perhaps all three. Let's say 700 amps at 36 volts. These are liquid-filled electrolyte batteries. I predict steam generation between the battery plates. Better put a VERY sturdy acid-resistant shield over those batteries and have plenty of water and soda to neutralize the acid spill that I believe is imminent.

Is there a ring gear anywhere on that motor?

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I think that the OP was referring to starting the welder with batteries, not to running it with batteries.

i

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On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 04:44:53 GMT, Ignoramus5923

That was my understanding as well.

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No, that's the problem. The welder was manufactured without either a starter or any provision to install one. Since I know old timers used to start such welder by hooking the leads from a running one to the leads of the one to be started, thereby motorizing the generator and turning over the engine, it seems that using batteries to do the same thing would work as well. Why would connecting the batteries to the welding leads to motorize the generator constitute a dead short? Many dc motors are run off batteries and that doesn't constitute a dead short. What do I not understand about this?

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Good chance you can get it to work, the old timers did a lot of things that are not exactly perfect. My small tractor has a stater/generator that does exactly what you want to do. Not sure the specifics on yours without seeing it.

BFR wrote:

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It's a 40 volt dc generator. At full song it puts out about 250 amps for welding. I was thinking three 12 volt car batteries in series, while only 36 volts, might provide enough juice to motorize the generator thereby spinning and starting the engine drive. Of course, as soon as the engine cranks the generator will start producing 40 volt current and, I assume, back feeding the batteries absent some circuitry (like the electrical equivalent of a check valve perhaps) that would prevent the backfeed - I don't know enough about electricity to know what such circuitry might be or how to wire it. A primitive solution might be to just have a spring loaded starter switch that would be released (by me) as soon as the engine caught, thereby disconnecting the batteries. It shouldn't be too hard to install an alternator on the engine to charge the batteries. This might sound like a lot of trouble and expense - batteries alone are about $50 each - but a ring gear and starter for an SA200 from Lincoln runs well over $600 and it would still have to be installed which might require the purchase of additional parts. Do you, or anyone else out there, have an idea about how to do that? Also, am I correct in assuming that polarity, i.e. which side of the batteries should be connected to which side of the welder leads, would determine which direction the generator would turn thereby either cranking the engine backwards or forwards?

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Do you have a manual for it? Any idea how many amps does it take to start one? Can you scrounge 3 batteries (maybe from your cars) and a DC shunt rated for a lot of amps, and see how many amps it takes to spin one up?

I have a DC battery charger for sale pictured here

http://yabe.algebra.com/~ichudov/misc/ebay/PP-1104C_G-DC-Power-Supply /

it can produce 50 amps at 39 volts. (rated for 28 nominal, but can do more).

If you are local to me (NE Illinois), you could buy one and use it for a variety of purposes.

i

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I have a manual for the welder, it says the generator is a 40 volt generator and puts out between 40 and 250 amps. I am not knowledgeable enough to know what you mean by a dc shunt. Where would I find one of those and what is a "lot of amps" - when you say "spin one up" are you talking about the shunt, the generator, or what? Scrounging 3 12 volt car batteries is not a problem. I am in Texas so NE Illinois is not very close; also, I have a couple of dc battery charges where I keep the welder, but I assume they put out only 12 volts or so since they are intended to charge only one battery at a time. Thanks for your help.

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I have a simple question, How did they start the first one?? Crank probably. If so a properly tuned engine will kick right off with one or 2 cranks. Why not see how hard it is to crank?

--

Clif



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If the unit is a simple 40 volt DC generator, you can simply hook 3 batteries in series across the terminals generator (plus terminal to plus and negative to negative) and spin it up. As the engine comes up to speed, the generator will start looking less like a motor and more like a generator. Once the motor is up to speed, you will have 36 volts worth of batteries being charged at 40 volts, a perfectly normal mode of operation. Simply take the batteries off line and things are fine. A standard ford starter relay will take care of the connecting and disconnecting the battery. About $10 at any auto store. Just hold the solenoid closed until the engine fires and disconnect.

What I am concerned about is how the field is excited. I would expect that the output current is controlled by some sort of field excitation regulator. Or you could wind up 'flashing' the field, a major problem if you get it backwards. Without a circuit diagram or manual, I could visualize some potential ways to fry the relatively low current windings. If you really belive the old timers, then these concerns are taken care of iternally.

I might add that you need to get the polarity right. Hook it up backwards and the engine will spin backwards.

I went looking for manuals, you need to go look for a code number somewhere on the machine. It should be a 3 or 4 digit number.

These manuals look promising: http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/operatorsmanualdatasheet.asp?p%387 http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/operatorsmanualdatasheet.asp?p0693 http://www.mylincolnelectric.com/Catalog/operatorsmanualdatasheet.asp?p(672

And I would agree, this will be a real stinker to start if it doesn't have an electric starter!!!! It looks like these things have magneto ignition, it should start with the crank. Make sure you keep your thumb on the same side of the crank handle as your fingers if you don't want a quick trip to the ER to have your dislocated thumb put back into the correct position.

Cheers.

BFR wrote:

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You're right, it does have a magneto. This reply also goes to Clif who asked about just using the crank. The problem is that this machine is on a ranch and is rarely used - when it is used, however, it needs to start and work hard for several days. If everything (meaning the carburetor and the gravity feed fuel system) is right, it will, as the old timers say, start with one or two cranks at "15 degrees F and a 40 mph wind". I am forever having to rebuild the carb and clean out the fuel filters so I am planning to convert it to propane (someone gave me the parts and I know how to do it). With lpg it starts readily, but you have to crank it over fairly fast maybe 20 or 30 times without stopping so the vapor will be drawn into the cylinders and that's a little hard on the old arm especially considering the potential for busting one's thumb or arm; once it starts on lpg it's great, no warm up or anything. The code number for the machine is "671" and the serial number is "A188912". The manual says this about excitation: "Separate excitation of generator shunt fields is supplied by an exciter which is direct connected on the commutator end of the generator. The exciter armature is mounted by a sleeve connection on the same shaft as the generator armature."

Assuming I hook it up wrong and the engine starts to turn backwards, will that hurt anything as long as I kill the switch as soon as I know the direction? It shouldn't take more than a half revolution or so to know.

Thanks for all y'all's help.

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If you want to try a test fire, here goes:

Fire the thing up using the crank, get it warm. Use a volt meter to check the polarity of the output as well as the voltage. Shut it off, hook up some jumper cables to a SINGLE 12 volt battery, maintain positive to positive, neg to neg, see if it spins. Be ready to pull the jumper cable off at the first signs of it firing. Use your voltmeter to check and see if you have the same voltage as before.

If you totally screw up, you may need to reflash the field, instuctions are in some of the other SA200 manuals, you'll just have to download several and look.

I doubt I'd convert to LPG, not worth the trouble. I've never had gasoline related trouble getting old tractors to run, even with ancient gas. Bad spark can cost you days of fiddling around. Sounds like you have a gas tank problem, full of rust and crud. How about taking the tank off and either full rebuild or replace? Or perhaps an auxillary tank that is much bigger than the one on there? As far as that is concerned, there is a fuel pump block off sitting under the exhaust pipe.

If you are looking for engine info, try posting on http://www.ytmag.com / Parts at http://www.ytmag.com/cgi-bin/store/search_parts.cgi

Can I ask what you need 40 volts DC for several days for?? Certainly is not welding!!

BFR wrote:

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It's welding all right. This old Lincoln is only good for welding since it's too early to even have the 115 v (dc) outlet which is good for tools that have brushes. A Lincoln SA200 (or SA250, SA300, SA350, etc.) is known as a pipeline welder and is about as good a stick welder as you can get, smooth as butter. From time to time I need to build or fix fences, pens, cattleguards, barns, etc. and I seem to put that off until I do a whole bunch at once, hence the several days of hard running on the machine and then back to sitting under a tree for 10 or 12 months (the machine, not me!). By the way, I bought a Miller suitcase wire feeder a couple of years ago, and it runs great off the old Lincoln. No auxiliary power needed or anything, just attach the Lincoln leads and go - apparently the Miller has a voltage sensor and hooks up fine to the constant voltage dc power source to run the wire feeder. Just need to use flux cored wire outdoors because of the wind. Speaking of crud in the gas tank, I think you're right, the glass fuel bowl fills up with rust flakes and that stops up the filter, etc. etc. A few years ago, I opened up the steel gas tank (it's built like a clam shell), cleaned it all out with a wire brush, and then put it back together, the rust came right back. Do you know of a product that I could line the inside of the steel gas tank to prevent it from rusting again? I think water condenses in the tank over time. I didn't know about the fuel pump blockoff; it's a gravity feed system, but I know that Continental Red Seal engine was used to drive a jillion different machines, and maybe still is FAIK.

You think it's possible that a single 12 v battery might be sufficient to turn the 40 v generator?

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Try the single battery, I would expect it to turn over a hot engine. Cold and sitting for a while will likely need two. I would not leave the battery(s) on the machine, they need to be on a keeper charger. If it does work on 1 battery, just jump it from the truck. Otherwise just use a battery pack and bring it out when needed. the RV stores have some nice switches, connectors, etc that make hookup easier. There is a forklift battery charger connector that is polarized, makes hookup easy.

Fix the fuel tank. Or replace it with a new plastic tank from the marine stores. http://www.boatingchannel.com/cgi-bin/start.cgi/bcs/subcatlist.html?catid#00 They come in lots of sizes, quite a few are quite flat. Since they have square sides, you might bet more capacity then the current setup.

Just a few days of welding? Here I was picturing some sort of 24/7 pump that needed to be run for a week. When I pump, I need to do an oil change every other day. How do you say run HARD?

BFR wrote:

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Running an engine hard enough to change the oil every 48 hours is hard. I probably don't need to change the oil in that welder except for the passage of time. BTW, have you ever (or anyone else lurking) used a product called POR15 or something like that sold to coat the inside of steel tanks to prevent rust? If so, does it work, does it last, and is it hard to install?

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A pump is the worst, 100% load, 100% of the time. I'm just moving water, it runs at about 15psi off the pump, oversized inlet and outlet. Right down at the low end of the curve, max hp required. As the self priming starts cutting in the roar goes to a roar... roar.... roar, then when it locks in you can just hear the engine groan and settle in. Governor never gets a chance to do anything except let it go at full throttle.

There is supposed to be some epoxy liner material that works on the tanks, someone will have to chime in. Start a new thread?

BFR wrote:

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The tank sealer is used on motorcyle tanks. Try the local cycle shop. Works great. Comes as a kit. A cleaner then a sealer.

--

Clif Holland KA5IPF
www.avvid.com
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Thanks everybody, particularly RoyJ, for all your help. I've wondered about how this might work for years, but this is the first time I've managed to get information that I thought was sound. What a great resource. Thanks again.

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If it's a two-piece bolt together tank that means you have easy access to the inside. I would treat it like an oil pan I had to fix made of Unobtanium (not cheap, anyway, Willys MB F-152);

Take it apart, bead blast down to clean metal, weld up the holes and big pits, and grind flush wherever able. (In the corners you just do the best you can with a Dremel or die grinder.)

Then one additional step for a tank that the oil pan didn't need - send the two tank halves out and have them hot-dip galvanized. That'll keep it in one piece for a while... ;-)

Or another trick that might be better if the welder sits for months at a time - Save the old steel tank in the barn rafters, make a mounting cradle, and go get the appropriate size polyethylene outboard boat fuel tank and a pair of quick-connects. When you aren't running the welder it's easy to take off and drain, or go use it on some other equipment.

Oh, and run stabilizer in the gas either way.

--<< Bruce >>--

--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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