Question on welding leads.

Maybe someone with experience can stop me from making a mistake lengthening my welding leads.....
My welder is a 225 ac/dc. The manual says "check with your authorized dealer
for adding leads." HF? I don't think so...
The ones on it are #4 AWG. About a 10' ground, and about a 15' stinger. My local shop sells #2, 50', for $39. They also have larger sizes. My existing ground has a terminal which bolts to the ground clamp. I have no idea how it's conected inside the box. The stinger takes bare wire, which attaches with a set screw.
Question: How long, and how big should my leads be? Do they make a coupler which will allow me to use my existing cables as "whip" cables? I'm not factoring in Voltage drop, as I don't know how much effect it will have.
I'm thinking of making a 30' stinger, and a 20' ground using #2, and buying a tweeco ground clamp which (I think) doesn't require a terminal......any thoughts before I cut up some new cable? TIA
Josh.
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Cheesy manual. 0-150 foot (stinger plus ground) for my 250 amp welder is 1 AWG for 100% duty cycle. 150-200 feet goes up to 1/0. Given the reality of duty cycles (100% is more or less impossible stick welding, since you have to change electrodes) and the fact that you're not likely to run at max amperage much, #2 is probably fine, especially for adding only 50 feet (75 total with the #4 cable). Get two female connectors and two male connectors - then you can put the extender cables on, or remove the extender cables when you are moving the machine (less weight) or don't need them. And you can keep a more-flexible #4 stinger lead for 15 feet or so.
This works, and should be fine. I personally run heavier cable, but it's more a personal tendency towards overkill than an actual need.

Long enough for what you need them to do. Big enough to work. The rating information for my welder would seem to indicate no need to go above #1 AWG for yours, at this length, and quite a bit more than this length. 25 feet of #4 does affect that somewhat, but probably not much in practical terms.

Yes. Tweco twist locks, or similar knockoffs (compatible) and/or some other brands (perhaps not compatible). IIRC, the ones I have are rated for 300 amps. The cost of 4 connectors may lead you to decide that plain #2 cable end to end is just fine, and better on your wallet.
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I'd suggest #2 for the home/hobbist running heavier currents on the 225. I got a great deal on some #4, rarely run over 125 amps so that's fine. ($.24 a foot on a closeout!)
How long? Long enough to get to the other side of whatever you are working on plus about 10'. Ground lead can be about 10' shorter. If you work on a 50' trailer parked 10' from the welder, you are going to want about a 75' lead with 60-65' ground lead. Working on a cart frame next to the welder? stock leads are fine.
Nice way do things is to put some Tweako splices right at the outlet to the welder. Then you have your choice of either long or short leads.
Another option is to put some jacks on the main unit. My local supplier has them for about $8 each, red and black for stinger and ground. My two buzz box welders both have jacks for both leads. Much less mess in the shop.
Josh wrote:

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Thanks for the great info, guys!
I've saved enough already to think about my next big purchase. Where do I send the commissions?
Josh
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A cheaper way to extend to reach of your welder is an extension cord. It is kind of nice to have your welder close to your work in order to adjust it for varied welds. Steve

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is
I agree, Steve, but have no idea what I need or what is code..........
Josh.
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it
I have seen some ready made 220V cords on the mighty eBay for a reasonable price. I made my own cord with parts from the local Fleet store. Steve Peterson Kettle River Ironworks http://tinyurl.com/2tdvl
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Or go to salvage yards ....................... or yard sales ............. or just ask around ......
Steve
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is
And INFINITELY (did I put that in all CAPS? .............. I meant to, as in shout that word) safer. Long leads are the only way to go in some situations. You will have voltage drop, and all the things associated with long leads. But, then you have the safety factor. Something cutting the protective sheath, crushing, tripping, and the stupidest and clumsiest person in the world coming along to think up something new. Arcing can be taking place somewhere between you and the machine, and you might not see it. But then, on some jobs, you only need one long lead, and the ground can be short, like if you were working on a structure.
Other times, an extension cord is the only way to go. Kinda pricey, but I like it better than dragging leads, and having the danger factor. The only way to go if you are using a MIG, too.
So, one size does not fit all, and one setup isn't right for every application.
Steve
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What's the difference, from a safety standpoint, between long welding leads and a long extension cord? It seems to me that the higher voltage in the extension cord would pose a greater risk to personnel. Either way, you have long leads somewhere in the chain.
Shawn

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Everything I have read prefers long extension cord to the welder over long welding leads. Since my big welder is an engine-drive, I have little experience there. My 110V MIG works great with an extension cord as long as the circuit is not shared with anything else (like a washing machine outlet).
On Wed, 2 Jun 2004 20:51:59 -0400, "Shawn" <shawn_75ATcomcastDOTnet> wrote:

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From a voltage drop and heating up the cables standpoint, you are correct that longer 240 volt cord is much preferred. But Steve has a very valid point that keeping your welder tucked out of the way (picture working on construciton equipment!) is a good thing. I have a couple of extension cords (25' and 50') that work with both the welder and my big 5hps planer.
The welder is typically positioned just inside the garage door so almost the full length of the cables are available to work on projects in the driveway as well as covering all of the garage floor.
I also have half a spool of standard welding wire in the store room. I haven't made it up into extension cables yet, no great need to spend the money on the Tweako fittings.
The 110 welder really likes to be plugged into the wall. These weleders tend to by faily overrated, they need all the help they can get. I would not run them on anything but a 12 gage cord, or better yet, a shop built 10ga cord.
Thomas Kendrick wrote:

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High Voltage or High Current. Most job sites already have 120 and 220 lines here and there.
I think If I were working down a metal doc I'd have High voltage extension. Short high current lessons the danger of snagging a high current short somewhere. The 220 is likely just be armored with two or three layers of insulation not just one.
That is one idea for a reason. The other way is likely valid in other cases.
I wouldn't think that one long lead on a Ship or something would be good - the return path for the current is very long and resistive. Might need higher voltage for the same heat.
Martin [ just beginning but have some of the physics and Electronics working ] Shawn wrote:

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"Shawn" <shawn_75ATcomcastDOTnet> wrote in message

leads
have
My point is that when you have long leads strung out, there is more chance of arcing due to the fact that welding leads take a lot more abuse than cords. And when you get a ding in your cable, you don't treat it with as much urgency as you would with a cut power cord. Yes, you do have a long cord/s somewhere, but when you can keep your leads short, you don't have as much problem with voltage drop and arc blow. And, as another poster mentioned, you don't have to hike back to the box to adjust the current a little this way or that.
But then, as with everything, there is a limit to the length of a cord or a lead.
Steve
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Josh wrote:

Have you considered putting the welder on a wheeled cart and extending the 240V instead of the welding leads? Higher voltage + lower current lighter gage wire. That's what I did for my TA 250GTSW.
Ted
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I sorta thought of it:) But, after all the hassle wiring for 230V at the box, I have no clue about making an extension cord. I can't re-locate the outlet. Do I need some #6, some male/female? If so, it's about $75. Josh
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I would be willing to do it either way, depending on the circumstances. Either way, I would try to avoid half-assed lashup that might result in a short. But, no one has mentioned one difference that could be important. If something happens to your extension cord, and it gets shorted (say a heavy steel plate fell on it, e.g.) the circuit breaker would surely trip. If something caused your welding cable to short to ground, the welder would just keep pumping out current, so the chance of a fire would be much greater.
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would
BINGO! I was trying to make that point, but didn't use the right words.
Steve
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$75? That seems kind of high ... but it's been a while since I priced this stuff. Is is the cable or the plug & receptacle that is driving this price?
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Outdoor box w/cover $30. Outlet, $15. Male plug $8. Cable, .50/ft. This is at a local electric place, as Home Depot doesn't have half what I need.
Josh.
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