Hi again guys! I couldn't find a Miller Thunderbolt locally, so I got the Hobart ac/dc at HF. Seems like it's built pretty dang good! Now, however, I've got this wiring problem......
I got a 50A recepticle for the welder, along with some 8 gauge wire. Opened up the service box, and found a 60 amp breaker not being used. (used to be for an AC unit).
Anyway, all looks good, but I can't find the *grounding* rod (not the neutral bus).
The service box is free standing, set in concret for a mobile home. There is one 115V circuit wired to the box directly, and the grounding wire is fastened to the frame of the box. The box is set in concrete, and there is a water line nearby. (also in concrete)
Question. Where should I attach the grounding wire? To the box, to the nuetral bus, or to the water pipe? If I recall, the grounding rod and the nuetral bus all connect anyway.........Thanks for any help here! \ Josh.
If your panel is set in concrete and it's a main panel, the ground rod is probably also down in the concrete. You should be able to find a bare conductor that bonds the neutrals to ground. (If not, that's another problem.)
Also, #8 copper is not sufficient for 50 amps; use #6 copper. If I were in your position, I would at least arrange a consult with an electrician.
Thanks for confirming what I had thought. Reading an old copy of "Practical Electrical Wiring" I find that all the neutrals, grounding wires, and the service box are bonded inside (or should be).
On a different note.........
I had already bought a box of 6013 .125, thinking I was going to get an ac only machine. Now that I've got the ac/dc, could I get your opinion of whether to use this rod or get something else?
The first job is to weld some links of chain to the perimeter of the trailer. The links are 3/8", the base material is 2X3" angle, looks to be
1/8" thick. I'll be welding to the outside, on the vertical.
Just to get me on the right track, maybe a rod recommendation, heat setting, polarity, and whether to start at the top and move down, or start at the bottom and move up. Naturally, I'll practice a bit to get it right before I begin. BTW, I have 2 welding books on the way! Thanks for your input.
Thanks, John! Around here, at least, getting an electrician to even talk to you is worse than trying to get an appointment with the President. Checking my copy of "practical Electrical Wiring", I see that #8 copper, in free air, is good for 65-75 amps. If in cable, or conduit, it's about 55amps. I'm not sure why you think it's not sufficient.........But I'd like to hear before I use it! Thanks for the response.
6013 runs nicely on AC, better on DC. Start out on DCEN around
110 amps. These machines vary in the accuracy of the the setting on the machine to what you actually get so plan on doing some fiddling. If you run a full rod in one setting and it gets red hot or the arc starts to get less controlled at the end, you are running too high an amperage. If your bead just sits on top of the metal with no flow out on the sides, too cold. Your 1/8" rod has a 40 amp range inbetween these two points.
6013 has a heavy slag that must be removed. If your welds are perfect, the slag will lift off by itself about 10" away from where you are welding now. If you move too fast, are jerky, etc, the weld will have slag inclusions that are impossible to deal with except by grinding them out.
Which says that you will need at least a 4-1/2" grinder with both the abrasive wheel to grind the welds and the sanding disks to finish up the job. Harbor freight sells the el-cheapo for $10 on sale, I like my Mikita for $40.
OK, and thanks to all! I found the grounding rod. It was hidden and had a green insulation so it fooled me. I'm taking everybody's advice, and re-doing it with #6 wire. Heck, it's only about a one foot run........I did plug in the welder and heard the fan, though.
Now, for some more shopping. I hope some here will say "yes" or "no" to save me the hassle of buying the wrong stuff!
Ground clamp: Real cheezy OEM. Get the magnetic one at HF?
Helmet: They too have the auto dark one for $49. It's solar powered. Or should I just buy a regular #10 lens gold Hunter?
Have got the grinder. Also have an air 3" cut-off to maybe cut loose some junk welds I make.
Any chance I'll burn through the 1/8" stock using 6013 1/8"? Should I use smaller rod?
I once laughed at a friend of mine for his homemade vise grip ground clamp he had on his mobile rig, until I started doing some mobile farm machinery type repairs myself. Nothing finds a ground quicker on a manure spreader than that vice grip.
In my jurisdiction, the electrical code recognizes that welding is inherently an intermittent application unlike an oven which could be on for hours at a time. Therefore #8 wire on a 60A breaker is acceptable except on very long runs. You might want to check with your local electrical inspector before spending on #6.
Bought some #6, and was taking everything apart. Stripped the wire, and no way was I going to be able to route it into the breaker. This stuff won't bend like #8, and I had no room. So............I decided to take the breaker out and do it that way. Now, I'm sweating bullets, and my back hurts, and so on, and so I didn't use my test leads on the bus bars. But, a little tickle told me to "just lay that screwdriver over the bus and across the box lid to test for fire."
WOW!~ My first weld! The screwdriver melted in two places, right to the bus bar and the lid. I'm in shock (pun intended), and getting more flash burns by the second. "Wish I had on those auto darkening helmet thingy." I think to myself.
It seems that this *wasn't* the service box, but downstream from it. Explains why the ground rod wasn't jumpered to the box, huh? The REAL service was down the road a bit, next to THE METER. (Duh!).
Anyway, I got the #6 installed......and learned some stuff.
Electricity don't usually growl before it bites.
A screwdriver makes a dandy electrode.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Hey, Jack! No, the Stickmate wasn't on sale, and I doubt it will be. I paid $389, and think I should have paid more. This is the BEST machine I have found for the buck, and this is my story and I'm sticking to it:)
Anything else, and you're getting a *homeowner's* type unit. This is the real deal, a Miller Thunderbolt under disguise, and well worth the dough. Spend the money and save elsewhere.
Oop! I misread your email. I thought that you had settled on the cheapie HF model... the $169 ac/dc welder that they promote. Sorry 'bout that!
Anyway... I agree that the Stickmate... AKA Miller Thunderbolt is a fine machine for a straight Arc machine. The only thing that I never liked about them was the cheap plastic handle on the front... and it wasn't recessed. Looks like an accident ready to happen w/ me around! :)
Other than that... I still want a Hobart or Miller ac/dc.... if I don't splurge on the Thermal Arc 185. It's mighty hard for me to justify the TA 185 for no more than I do at the present time... but I do want to get more serious in the future. I'm going to lose my Lincoln 225 A/C buzz box shortly (it belongs to a friend who is going to reclaim it as soon as he moves)... and I can't afford to be w/o a welder when my backhoe needs a touch-up.. or for whatever else needs fixin' around here.
A Hobart/Miller would suffice until I got my ducks in a row. Anyway... best of luck w/ y'er new toy, Josh!
First piece of advice, turn off the power if at all possible. There is usually no valid point in working it hot. I say this for those who are inexperienced AND experienced.
To bend the larger wire you use two adjustable wrenches. Thread the wire through the holes on the end of the wrenches and bend, easier done than said. I always had quality adjustable wrenches and they had no sharp edges in the hole on the ends, be aware of that so you don't damage the insulation. I did many 8-pack meter bases, I think it was 1-0 aluminum wire and many a sharp bend.
The ground and neutral are ONLY "tied"(bonded) at the main panel and NOT at a sub-fed panel. A sub-fed panel is one that is fed by the main panel. The ground wire in a sub-fed panel goes to the ground buss in the sub-fed panel.
If you run a separate ground rod or grounding system then it HAS to be connected(bonded) to the main grounding system. If you don't bond the separate grounding system then you can have a difference of potential between grounding points. There are minimum conductor sizes for bonding conductors.
Conductors (and pretty much everything else) are rated by how they dissipate heat, which is what the NEC is all about. If you have a conductor in free air then it will dissipate MUCH more heat than one confined in a conduit. You should also be aware that you are allowed only so many conductors of a size in a box of said dimensions, you don't just cram it full and then screw down the cover. There is also a minimum length of wire allowed in boxes.
Hop over to your local library and see if they have a copy of the NEC (National Electrical Code) book and look in Article 250 for grounding. Specifically look at article 110-12 and then the rest of article 110. Look in the index for welders and also ampacity of wires. Once you get used to the index in the NEC you will hate most any other index. (In the code book the word "shall" means it will be done this way, the word "should" means you really aught to.) Be aware that you local electrical inspector has final jurisdiction.
Addressing the wire size issue, no one can really tell you the wire size your welder shall use. The exact wire size and over current protection is determined by the name plate ratings and usually the manufacturer states wire sizes in the manual. However, if you are planning on using a 60 amp breaker and a 60 amp outlet then I can tell you you should use #6 copper THHN, THWN and several others but NOT TW (I used table 310-16 and assume a proper sized conduit to protect the conductors if they are exposed to physical harm). If you want to use TW then you have to go to #4 copper. If you want to use a 50 amp breaker and a
50 amp outlet then you should use #8 copper THHN or #6 copper TW . If you could fit the wires under the screws of the breaker then you could use a larger size wire, you can over rate the conductors. The breaker matches the outlet. The conductors match or exceed the breaker and the outlet. I say this because I want you to understand that you are protecting the outlet and its conductors and NOT the welder. Circuit breakers are not there to protect what ever you plug into an outlet but they are there to protect the conductors that go from the panel to the outlet.
As far as the 2 hots and a neutral, try a search on Edison three wire.
I should , but won't go into the possibility of an unbalanced panel and burning up a phase.