ARC Welder Power

I recently bought a used arc welder that runs on 230V AC, 60Hz, single phase. It did not come with a male plug, so I purchased one (see
http://home.cogeco.ca/~dmikula2/P1010590.JPG ). Unfortunately, the diameter of the power cord on the welder is too small to be clamped down by the male plug (see
http://home.cogeco.ca/~dmikula2/P1010591.JPG ). Also, the female outlet I was hoping to use requires 4 prongs (see
http://home.cogeco.ca/~dmikula2/P1010592.JPG ). Can I buy a 4 prong male plug and use it in this female outlet? If so, how would I wire it to the welder's power cord? Why is the power cord on the welder so thin compared with other heavy appliances in my home such as the dryer cable?
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It looks like you have one of the newer 4-prong 220-240V single-phase receptacles, and an older 3-prong plug. The 4-prong ones include a neutral, so if you have an electric dryer or stove which also requires 120V for its control circuitry it's available via one hot leg and the neutral. You should be able to buy one of the 4-prong plugs at any hardware store. Wire the two hots and the ground terminals but leave the neutral terminal disconnected. If your existing receptacle is wired correctly then the W (white/neutral) terminal is the one you'll leave empty.
How many amps does the welder draw at 230V (look at the nameplate near the cord inlet)? That plug style is usually rated for 50A, but if your welder draws a lot less (20A or so) then that would explain the smaller wire. See if you can read the markings on the power cord to determine what gauge the wire is; there's always a chance that someone rewired it but used the wrong stuff. I like to open up the cover to double-check where the wires go before connecting any piece of used equipment like a welder or machine tool. You'll want to make sure that the hots and ground all go to the right places, and that the transformer taps are properly jumpered if it's configurable for multiple input voltages.
Mike
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Thanks for the advice Mike. From what I can see from the specs, the welder draws 40 amps at max power. It looks like the power cord is probably 14 gauge.
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All the 14-gauge 3-conductor service cords I see listed are only rated for 18A. Grant's point was that the cord is sized for 40% duty cycle (40A times 40% = 16A average current). But the heat generated in the cord is a function of the current squared, so if you put through double the current you're creating 4 times the heat. That gives you 4 times as much heat 40% of the time, and no heat 60% of the time, which is equivalent to 1.6 times as much heat all the time. If it were me I'd rewire it with at least a 10-gauge SOOW cord (30A, oil resistant, outdoor rated).
Mike
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If it were me...
I would hit the local home supply store's electrical aisle for a replacement stove or dryer cord that fits the wall outlet. Both are at least 30 amp rated and a lot better than what you have.

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You are likely to find a power cord from a dryer or stove at the Goodwill or other thift store with the plug that will work.
Dan
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hi, David. I have some suggestions and feedback for you.
First, take a moment away from your welder and learn to crop and resize your digital photos to a more appropriate size so they don't take so long for others to view. I have fast DSL and they still take an annoyingly long time.
I also own a small arc welder, and it came with a light-gage cord too. I replaced the cord with 10SO3, which was easy to do. That is heavily insulated with thick rubber, and your plug will fit to it. Should you want to keep your existing power cord, I suggest stripping about an inch of insulation from any large power cord, slitting it lengthwise and removing material until it will wrap closely around your cord, acting like a rubber bushing to effectively increase your insulation thickness so the strain relief on your plug will bear on it. You can build up a cord with two such bushings if you needed to.
I'm guessing that is a dryer receptacle, L1, L2 are the 220V hot leads, another terminal is neutral, and the L-shaped thing is ground. From either 220V leg to neutral would be 110V nominal. If you have a dryer that uses a 4-prong plug to fit this receptacle and you want to unplug it occasionally and plug in your welder, then by all means find that plug and put it on your welder. Else just buy a receptacle that fits your electrical box and plug, and install them.
They use light cords on small welders to save money, of course. Those welders can only be used on a 40% or smaller duty cycle, so they're cutting corners on the power cord. I replaced mine for cosmetic reasons, not technical ones. I just find it looks much more like a welder with a power cord about 3/4" thick.
GWE
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Thanks Grant. I was definitely inconsiderate with my images. I was just too anxious to get this thing going and just ftp'd the pics without resizing and compressing. I've fixed them now.
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On 10 Oct 2005 13:28:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Blink blink...a 220vt welder...at what 10 amps? Thats the smallest power wire Ive ever seen on a welder.
Exactly what kind of welder is it?
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Remove the metal strain relief, turn it around, then screw it together. I had to do this with my spot welder.
The following may not make any sense, but I'll try anyway.
The clamp on your plug looks like this right now:
( )
You want it to look like this:
((

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